In the 21st century, more people have become aware of the dangers associated with the internet. Internet users are alive to the fact that a Virtual Private Network (VPN) could be helpful in safeguarding their online security and privacy. However, not all VPNs have what is needed to secure your online privacy.
I put to test more than 100 VPN services to get the 5 best free VPN services of 2020.
5 Best Free VPN Services in 2020
Before I begin to give you in-depth information on the best free VPN Services, I believe I need to explain as to why the VPNs I recommend in this review are devoid of the ills I associate with free VPN services.
The explanation is simple. All the 5 Best Free VPN services in this review have a premium service. They offer free service as a way to introduce their service to you. Once you test their service and you are happy, they hope you will upgrade to their premium service.
Most users upgrade because the free service has some limitations as regards the servers you can access, and also a capping on the amount of data bandwidth you can use in a given month.
However, the bottom line is that they have to give you a stellar service to entice you into upgrading to their premium options. And so the kind of service you get is top class notwithstanding it’s a free VPN service.
The Reasons for recommending the above 5 Best Free VPN Services and not any others
It is our instincts to like free things. That’s why we are everywhere online typing the word ‘free’ on a mission to get whatever we need in our lives without paying a dime. However, whenever you seek for a free service, ask yourself one question. Why is someone providing a service for free? Are they good Samaritans?
Let’s face it, coming up with a meaningful VPN service is not Childs play. You have to invest in a lot of infrastructures. Even some of the premium services are struggling to have servers across the globe. So how can a free VPN service install and maintain servers around the world, pay for their offices, employ workers including technicians and engineers?
There must be something beyond your eyes! There must be a monetizing angle.
This leads us to the mother of all questions on free VPN services. How do free VPN Services make their ends meet?
Here are some of the known dangers associated with VPN Free Services:
Free VPN Services could Sell your Online data for money
Before you embark on using free VPN services, you had better ask yourself how the VPN service makes money. They could as well be selling your important data to third parties to make their ends meet. Hence be careful and try to find honest reviews about any free VPN services before you sign up. The Safety of your data should be your guiding principle.
Free VPN Services could use inferior encryption
Signing up and using a VPN service does not in itself mean that you are safe online. To be secure online, you need to ensure that the VPN service is encrypting your packets of data as they transit on the internet. But again that’s not enough. You also need to understand that there are different encryption protocols and levels of encryption that can be implemented by a VPN service.
Any meaningful VPN service will use at least AES 128, and or AES 256 bit encryption. This is what we refer to us the military-grade. They are the kind that the US government uses to protect its sensitive data. The problem with Free VPN services is that they are likely to provide you with weak encryption of data exposing you to hacking.
Insertion of scripts in your browser for purposes of advertising
Do you know how it annoys when you are continually bombarded with unsolicited ads? That’s what you get with some of the free VPN services. Let’s face it, the free VPN has to make money to continue operating. So what do they do? They are known to insert scripts in your browser that enables the serving of ads. That’s why I usually recommend my readers to go for paid VPN services and avoid such stressful moments.
Most Free VPN Services will provide unstable connections and slower speeds
You can imagine being unable to connect to your VPN service when you urgently need to surf the net. Or think of a situation where you have connected to your VPN, but the speed is too low to allow you to carry out an online task. How would you feel? Terrible huh! And, it’s obvious that with a free VPN service, you won’t be able to stream your favorite sports or show.
So if you are looking at streaming Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, or any other streaming services, that won’t happen with a free VPN service. You will have to sign up with the best premium VPN service, which in my case is NordVPN. With NordVPN, at $3.49/month you can unblock and stream all your favorite shows and channels in HD. You will also be able to torrent anonymously so that the only person that knows you are torrenting is you.
DNS Leaks, IP Leaks, and WebRTC leaks are what you get with most Free VPN Services
Regardless of whether you are using a paid or free VPN service, it’s advisable to find out whether it leaks your data. First, find out your real IP address here. After you know your real IP, connect to your VPN and proceed to https://ipleak.net to find out whether your IP leaks. Should you see your real IP, it means that your VPN service leaks your data in a security hole and should be avoided at all means. Some of the common leaks associated with VPN services are the DNS leaks, IP leaks, as well as the WebRTC leaks. Free VPNs are known to leak and expose your data. Most of them are a security risk.
Comprehensive analysis of the 5 Best Free VPN Services to Use in 2020
TunnelBear: The Best Free VPN Service to use in 2020
Ease of use
Strong OpenVPN encryption
Fast ideal for streaming
Zero logs policy
Base in Canada, a cause to worry
TunnelBear is the best free VPN service I recommend in 2020. It is a premium service that comes with a free version referred to as “little”. The ‘little’ will allow you to sign up and use the TunnelBear VPN service absolutely free.
However, with this free plan, you will be limited to 500 MBs of data every month. I like that the TunnelBear free plan allows you to access all their servers except for the Australian server.
How compatible is Free TunnelBear VPN?
TunnelBear is compatible with all the major platforms including Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS. The VPN also provides you with both the Chrome and Opera extensions. And they allow simultaneous connections up to 5 devices using a single account.
How many VPN Servers do you get with Free TunnelBear VPN?
The TunnelBear VPN provides its users with 20 servers across the globe that includes the USA, UK, Germany, Canada, Australia, Brazil, Italy, and Singapore among others. In short, with the Little Plan (Tunnel Bear Free VPN) you’ll access all the TunnelBear servers across the globe except for the Australian server.
However, I’d better let you know that the TunnelBearVPN does not work with Netflix due to the stringent Canadian copyright laws. They also do not allow P2P on their Network.
What kind of performance do you get with the Free TunnelBear VPN?
In my tests, TunnelBear exhibits satisfactory speeds. Indeed, the VPN supports streaming in HD quality. It’s also free from the dangerous VPN leaks. Testing the VPN for leaks at ipleak.net, I didn’t come across any leaks. No DNS leaks, IP leaks as well as WebRTC leaks.
In summary, TunnelBear is the best free VPN service. In fact. The VPN provides you with all their premium feature except that they limit usage to 500 MBs per month. Such capping is restrictive.
However, you can easily upgrade to their premium plan (The Grizzly plan) and save up to 50%. The premium plan will provide you access to all the TunnelBear servers across the globe with unlimited bandwidth and speed.
Hide.me is the second Best Free VPN Service to use in 2020
• Easy to use client
• Robust encryption
• Excellent download speeds
• No ads served
• No throttling
• Strictly no logs
• Free VPN limited to 2GB
• Free VPN limited to 3 server locationsVISIT Hide.me
Hide.me is a top VPN service based in Malaysia that offers both free and paid VPN services. The Free Hide.me VPN is entirely free. There are no hidden gimmicks like selling your data, throttling your connection, or serving of ads. The VPN encrypts all your connections to keep you safe online. It supports all the major platforms and has excellent download speeds.
With the Hide.me Free VPN, you get the equivalent of their premium service with the following exceptions:
Free Hide.me VPN Data Transfer limit
The Free Hide.me VPN service limits your data transfer to 2GB per month. With such a limitation, if you are a heavy user, the 2GB might not be enough. Their Plus service allows up to 75GB, while the Premium service provides unlimited data transfer.
The Free Hide. Me VPN Plan has Limited Server Locations
Using the Hide.me free VPN service, you can only connect to a choice of 3 server locations (Canada, Singapore, and the Netherlands). Limited server locations would also mean a limitation of the streaming services that you can unblock. You see, to unblock a particular service, you require a server in the same region as the service.
Also to get the fastest speeds, you need to connect to the nearest server. Hence the three servers might pose a challenge to your online activities. On the other hand, their premium service allows access to all their 34 servers.
Hide.me Free VPN Simultaneous Device connections
Another challenge you’d face with the Free Hide.me VPN service is the number of simultaneous connections that you are allowed. Unlike their Premium service that allows up to 5 simultaneous connections using a single account, the free version will enable you to connect to only one device at a given time.
In spite of the above, I can say that free Hide.me service is ideal for beginners and small-time users. It’s also the best way to try out a VPN service to find out whether it works for you before committing to the paid service. All in all, a free VPN service is better than browsing the internet with no VPN protection.
Windscribe makes to the list of the best free VPN services that you can use to stay safe online in 2020
• Generous 10 GB data allowance
• Simplistic interface
• Strong encryption
• Excellent speeds on Premium service
• Unlimited Simultaneous connections
• P2P allowed
• Great customer support
• Free option a bit slow
• No live chat support
• Base in Canada, a cause to worryVISIT Windscribe VPN
Winscribe is the premium VPN that provides you with a free VPN option with a generous 10GB of data every month. I think it’s an ideal option if you are not a heavy user.
Windscribe VPN has the following Best free VPN Features:
Easy to use app, and compatibility with all major platforms
Winscribe is compatible with all the leading platforms from Mac, Windows, Linux, Mac OS, Android, and also Chrome, Firefox, and Opera browser extensions. The Windscribe VPN client is simple and easy to use. The VPN allows unlimited simultaneous connections. Unlimited concurrent connections are a boon more so in a family set up where you have many devices being used by different members of the family at the same time.
Windscribe Free VPN Service features robust security encryption
Windscribe implements OpenVPN with AES-256 Cipher, SHA 512 Authorization, a 4096-bit key and also supports Perfect Forward Secrecy. Windscribe enhances your security levels by providing DNS as well as IPv6 leak protection. Besides, the VPN has an inbuilt Internet Kill Switch feature that’s excellent at protecting your data. It disconnects the internet whenever the VPN connection fails.
Strictly No logs policy works well for Windscribe
As stated above, Windscribe VPN is based in Canada. The country exercises massive surveillance on its citizens. They are also a ‘5Eyes’ Jurisdiction-member to the UKUSA Agreement where members share intelligence on their citizens.
You can get extra GB’s of Windscribe Data
If you need more data for your tasks and you are not ready to upgrade to the premium service yet, there’ away you can earn extra data. Twitting about Windscribe will earn you an additional 5GB data. Also referring a friend will net you 1GB of extra data.
Hence, the free Windscribe VPN plan is an excellent service that you can use to protect your online activities. However, if you need blazing fast speeds to stream or torrent, you’d better upgrade to their premium plan that offers you unlimited speeds and bandwidth.
Hotspot Shield is another Best Free VPN service
• Easy to use
• Above Average speeds
• 500 MB daily data allowance
• Robust encryption
• Free Chrome Extension with an ad blocker
• Serve Ads
• Base in the US raises my eyebrowsVISIT Hotspot Shield
Hotspot Shield from Anchor free is a VPN service based in the USA that offers both free and premium VPN service. It has consistently helped many online users to secure their online activities. Some of the VPN’s features are as follows:
Hotspot Shield Compatibility
Hotspot Shield works perfectly with all the major platforms. You can use it on Windows, Mac OSX, macOS, Android, and iOS. You also get browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox.
Hotspot Shield VPN Service exhibits above-average speeds and performance
Hotspot Shield does not disappoint when it comes to speed and general performance. In fact, it is capable of streaming without buffering. They do not limit speed even for the free VPN option which is an attractive feature.
However, the Hotspot Shield Free version comes with the following limitations:
The free VPN connects only to the USA Server
If you sign up for the Free Hotspot Shield VPN service, you will be allowed a connection to just the USA server. However, the Chrome extension allows you to connect to 14 servers but not the USA server. Technically, this means that you can connect to a total of 15 servers.
Hotspot Shield Serves ads to its free VPN users
They go on to state that they do not share a user’s personal information with unauthorized third parties safe for service providers that they use for internal technology, and business operations. Such operations include Payment processing, data analysis, website hosting, information technology, email delivery, and also customer support service.
In summary, I can say that the Free Hotspot Shield VPN is helpful mostly to a casual user. For heavy data users, the free service is excellent to test before upgrading to their Elite service that will provide you with unlimited data, and allow you to access all their 25 global servers.
CyberGhost is the best VPN Service with a Free Trial
• Incredible speeds
• 7 simultaneous device connections
• Easy to use apps for all leading platforms
• 4800+ servers in more than 60 countries
• Zero logging of online activities
• P2P allowed
Minimal connection logsVISIT CyberGhost VPN
CyberGhost is a Romanian based VPN service that’s getting better with each day that passes by. In fact, its number three on our ranking of the best VPN services to use in 2020. The premium service is billed at $2.75/month, and it comes with all the features you’d need in a VPN service.
CyberGhost VPN free trial lasts for one day and is laden with excellent features. The free trial is ideal for testing the CyberGhost service to find out whether it’s the appropriate VPN for your unique online security needs.
Additionally, they also provide you with no questions 45-days money-back guarantee should you not be happy with their service. Here are some of the features of CyberGhost that makes it among the top VPN services:
Compatible with all the major platforms
CyberGhost is compatible with all the leading platforms including Windows, Mac OS, iOS, Android, Linux, Chrome OS, Routers, Raspberry Pi, among others. The VPN allows connection up to 7 devices which is among the highest in the VPN industry. It’s easy to install and does not need additional configurations.
Number of servers and server locations you get with the CyberGhost VPN
CyberGhost is continually increasing its number of servers across the globe. Currently, the number stands at 3000 servers in more than 60 countries. Such a massive collection of servers is ideal for unblocking streaming services across the globe. Also, connecting to the nearest server results to fast speeds. Thus, CyberGhost is suitable for travelers, as well as ardent streamers.
Robust security features and incredible speeds
With CyberGhost, your online security is assured as they employ the military-grade 256-bit encryption to protect your packets of data as they transit online. You get OpenVPN, L2TP/IPSec, and the PPTP protocols. The VPN also comes with a NAT Firewall to protect you from online malicious activities such as hacking.
CyberGhost exhibits incredible speeds and comes with the invaluable Internet Kill Switch to protect your data in case the VPN connection falls unexpectedly. The VPN also has an inbuilt DNS VPN leak protection. Testing the VPN for leaks at ipleak.net, I didn’t notice any leaks.
If after going through the above Best Free VPN services you strongly feel that you need a high-quality premium VPN service to protect your sensitive data, read on…
NordVPN is the Overall Best VPN Service to use in 2020
Summary of features:
⇒Strictly no logs
⇒Blazing fast speeds
⇒Based in Panama: No Government Spying
⇒5,700+ servers in more than 62 countries
⇒Double Data encryption
⇒Choice of OpenVPN, PPTP, L2TP, IKEv2, and IPSec VPN protocols
⇒6 simultaneous connections
⇒IPv6, DNS, and WebRTC leak protection
⇒Obfsproxy feature ideal for bypassing firewalls
⇒Tor over VPN
⇒Smart Play feature that improves streaming connectivity
⇒Works with US Netflix, and iPlayer
⇒Affordable pricing @ $3.49/month on NordVPN 3-year plan
You can read my comprehensive review of the NordVPN Service to get an in-depth analysis of the premium VPN service.