Best Free VPN For 2023: Everything You Need To Know
Security and privacy have been among the biggest concerns for many internet users in recent years. That’s also the chief reason why VPN services have become immensely popular (as what they do is offer an effective additional layer of privacy and security for the user’s online activities).
If you have no clue what a VPN is, why people use it, what the best options for the best free VPN are, and more, then this post is absolutely for you. So, don’t miss out; right below are the full explanations about VPNs, from what it is to how it works, free vs. paid VPNs, how to choose the best VPN, and more. So, simply read along for the details now.
What is a VPN?
The term "VPN" stands for "Virtual Private Network," which is a tool that helps users protect their privacy and enhance security while using an internet connection.
To be more specific, as you can guess from its name, a VPN, or virtual private network, does create a sort of private network only for you – a private link (also referred to as an encrypted tunnel) between your device and a VPN server owned by the VPN service of your choice.
This private link (or tunnel) allows your data and information to travel in an encrypted manner. It also keeps external influences out. This way, security and your privacy while using the internet are significantly improved.
However, please note that not all VPNs available on the internet can offer effective protection for your online privacy and security. Later on in this post, we will share some tips on choosing the best free VPN, so keep reading to find out.
How does a VPN work?
A good VPN, as stated previously, acts as an additional layer of protection and security for its users' online activities. Without a doubt, it’s the most important function of a VPN.
In fact, anytime you use the internet and engage in different online activities, your device is sending out requests and receiving data and information back. Some of this data can be seen by your Internet Service Provider, and if you are using a WiFi connection that is not your own or a public Wi-Fi hotspot, there’s also a chance that it can be intercepted by the Wi-Fi hotspot operator or even a hacker nearby.
Also, the site you visit may be able to find out different things about you, such as your browsing activities, your approximate location, and more.
However, when using a VPN, your device (smartphone, tablet, PC, laptop, or whatever else) connects directly to a server that your VPN provider owns before heading to the ultimate destination on the internet. The connection is totally encrypted, and your data and information are also transferred in an encrypted manner and become unreadable for even the best-equipped hackers.
In addition, using a VPN also means that it’s a lot harder for sites you are visiting or advertisers to track what you are doing since they can just see that your requests come from a VPN server.
Major benefits of a VPN for personal use
Not only large companies and corporations benefit from using VPNs, but also individual users. Here are some of the major benefits that VPNs offer for personal use:
Obviously, adding an additional layer of security and data privacy that allows safer internet access is the biggest reason to use a VPN.
As mentioned above, using a VPN helps your data travel in an encrypted manner. Thus, there’s no need to worry that 3rd parties or someone else can be aware of your online identity or access your data and information. This way, a VPN does let you browse the internet in peace, right?
Security on public networks
Thanks to VPN encryption, using a virtual private network also keeps your data and privacy safe and secure from potential risks when accessing the internet via public WiFi hotspots.
Change or hide your IP address
When you use a VPN, you directly connect to a VPN server owned by the provider, which means your actual public IP address is also hidden. As a result, third parties or anyone else watching you can just see the IP address of the VPN server, not your true IP address.
To be exact, this is a feature of the VPN service, which not only enhances security but also offers additional benefits, such as changing your location, allowing you to access region-blocked content and services (like Netflix), and more.
Of course, if you activate a VPN when you go online, you can get some other benefits, such as escaping data throttling, helping evade ISP tracking, streaming from anywhere, and more.
Note: VPNs do help you stay safe and secure while using the internet and also provide other substantial benefits, but please keep in mind that using VPN services for unlawful purposes is prohibited as it’s against the terms of service of the VPN providers. So, always be sure that you act in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations of the VPN provider and other service providers.
Potential drawbacks of using a VPN
Despite offering a bunch of substantial benefits, using a VPN may also have a few potential downsides, such as:
- Slow connection speeds. With some VPNs, you may experience slower-than-usual internet speeds, especially if the VPN server is far away from your current physical location.
- Downtime. Sometimes, VPN servers require maintenance. Thus, during the associated downtime, it’s likely that you can’t use the service until it’s back.
- The use of VPNs is heavily regulated or even banned in some countries. So, please make sure that you always check the legislation where you are located.
- Potentially hard to set up. You may also find it difficult to set up a VPN. This, of course, depends on the VPN service you opt for, so make sure that you pick a beginner-friendly VPN service.
Free or paid VPNs
Choosing a free or paid VPN is a really common question.
Currently, there are a lot of free VPN options available, and you can easily find a free VPN service within a few Google searches. But it’s extremely important to note that not every free VPN out there is safe to use, as they do not provide you with adequate security and privacy. Honestly speaking, unreliable VPNs do more harm than good.
So, if you intend to pick a free VPN, just consider services provided by trustworthy and reputable VPN providers. Luckily, a bunch of reliable, premium options for the best free VPN from famous providers are available on the internet these days (some of them will be mentioned in the upcoming section of this post).
Well, it's true that many top-notch VPN providers these days offer free versions of their premium services, which are highly recommended. However, you should also keep in mind that free VPNs always offer much less than their paid counterparts.
Free VPNs, even if they are the best free VPN services, always come with limitations, such as data caps, a lack of server locations, slow speeds, and more. So, if you want more than what a free VPN offers, you may want to opt for the paid service.
In short, choosing a free or paid VPN totally depends on your needs and what you look for in an ideal VPN service, right?
How to choose a free VPN service
Choosing your best free VPN is not an easy task at all, though there are more and more free VPN services out there.
Once again, please keep in mind that not all free VPNs are safe and reliable. As mentioned recently, using unreliable VPNs or VPNs that don’t provide you with adequate security and privacy brings more threats than real protection.
So, in order to pick a quality free VPN service, you should at least look at some of the following key aspects:
Security and privacy features
No matter whether you opt for a free or paid VPN, always make sure that you choose one that provides all the essential security features. They include strong encryption, trustworthy open-source VPN protocols, and others. Besides, you should only choose a VPN service that has a strict and transparent no-logging policy.
Needless to say, trustworthy and reputable VPN providers surely grant their users secure and high-quality services. So, it’s always highly recommended to look for free services from reliable providers. The great news is that there are more and more premium providers offering free versions of their services (they will be mentioned in more detail in the next section of this post).
Data cap and speed
As you can guess, almost all the best free VPN services have limited monthly data, and they are not fast either. So, it’s important to look for a free VPN that offers a generous data allowance and pretty good speed.
The number of servers
Most free VPNs just provide a very limited number of free servers. So, it’s a big plus if the free VPN service you opt for offers several servers to choose from.
Other essential factors you should also look for in the best free VPN include ease of use (is it user-friendly and intuitive?), whether it has annoying ads, and more. Of course, it’s also a significant plus if the service has additional features like unblocking censored content, split tunneling support, etc. Don’t forget that you should also spend time checking out reviews from other users to find out how good a VPN service actually is.
These are some basic things to look for when choosing a free VPN service. If you want further tips and details on selecting an ideal free VPN service, visit this post: "How to Choose the Best Free VPN for PC" to learn more now.
What is the best free VPN for 2023?
Here are a few recommendations for the best free VPN of 2023. They are all from premium VPN providers, featuring top-notch security and privacy and charging no fees at all.
Proton VPN Free
If you are looking for the best VPN with unlimited data, then Proton VPN is more than a great choice.
While almost every free VPN out there has a data cap per month, Proton VPN does let its free users use the service as much as they want.
In terms of privacy and security, the free version of Proton VPN features strong AES-256 encryption together with the WireGuard protocol.
Plus, a kill switch, OpenVPN, a strict no-log policy, and more can also be found in Proton VPN’s free plan.
- Available on: Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux, Chrome, and Firefox
- Data allowance: Unlimited
- Connection: 01
- Free servers: 03
See More: Best Truly Free VPN For Mac
When it comes to the best free VPNs, Windscribe is also an ideal option to take into consideration. Despite not offering unlimited data, PrivadoVPN’s free plan also grants its users 10GB of free data a month, which is quite generous as compared to many other free VPNs. In fact, 10GB per month seems enough for basic usage.
Impressively, PrivadoVPN provides more than 10 free servers in eight countries. Besides, it also has all the essential security and privacy features, including AES-256 encryption, WebRTC/DNS leak prevention, IKEv2 and WireGuard, OpenVPN, zero logs, and more.
- Available on: Windows, Android, macOS, iOS, Linux, FireTV, and more
- Data allowance: 10GB of free data per month.
- Connection: 01
- Free servers: 12
Windscribe also provides its free users with up to 10GB of data per month (for those verifying their emails).
As with the two best free VPNs introduced recently, Windscribe has a clear and strict no-logging policy. In addition to reliable security and privacy (AES 256-bit encryption, a leak protection system, a no-logs policy, etc.), the free version of this VPN also boasts advanced features like 04 protocols to choose from, split tunneling, and others.
The free version of Windscribe offers more than 10 free servers in different countries.
- Available on: iPhone, iPad, Mac, Windows PC, Chrome, Firefox, and Opera.
- Data allowance: Up to 10GB of free data per month.
- Connection: 01
- Free servers: Access to more than 10 servers in 10 countries
Obviously, there are still many other free VPN services from trustworthy providers that ensure robust privacy and security. A large portion of them provide a limited amount of free data per month.
Of course, different free VPN services are packed with different features, including different pros and cons. So, before picking a VPN, you should take time to learn what it offers and how well it meets your needs. Here are more free VPN options for you to take into consideration:
- Atlas VPN Free
- Hide.me Free VPN
- TunnelBear Free
- VPN HotspotShield Free
For more details, you can check out the following articles to find out what makes these VPN services (and other ones) worth a spot on the list of the best free VPNs.
- Free VPN For Netflix: Top Best Choices
- Best Free VPN For Android: Top 05+ Best Options
- What Is The Best Free VPN For IPhone In 2023?
How to set up and install a VPN
Setting up a VPN can be a difficult task for beginners. But don't worry! In fact, the setup is pretty simple, and there is more than one way to set up a virtual private network on your device (smartphone, laptop, and others).
The first method, which is also the quickest and simplest way to get a VPN, is to install it via the app. So, all you need to do is download the app from Apple’s App Store, the Google Store, or the Microsoft Store (depending on the device you want to set up the VPN on) and follow the instructions to finish the installation. Next, open the app on your device and then sign up or log in. After that, you will need to connect to a VPN server, and then you are all set!
Of course, you can also manually set up a VPN. However, this is a quite complicated process, so if you are not a tech-savvy user, it’s highly recommended to set up the VPN via app.
But if you don’t want to let a VPN app configure things automatically, check out the post "How To Setup A VPN: A Complete Guide" to learn details for the manual VPN setup process.
Is there a 100% free VPN?
The answer is, fortunately, yes. As you can see, there are worthwhile options for free VPNs, some of which are listed above. They are all totally free, so you can use them without spending a buck. Of course, if you want more than what the free version of these VPN services offers (unlimited data, more server locations, etc.), you will need to pay to upgrade the service.
Is the free VPN unlimited?
Not all free VPNs offer unlimited data. To be exact, almost every great option for a free VPN has data caps. However, the great news is that ProtonVPN, as mentioned above, grants free users unlimited data. So, if you want the best free VPN without a data cap, then consider Proton VPN.
Should I pay for a VPN?
Worthwhile free VPNs from reliable providers are not so common, but they do exist and always come with a few drawbacks, such as data caps, a lack of free server locations, slow speeds, and more.
So, if you want more than what the free version of the VPN service you are using offers, you should consider paying for a paid plan with more features included.
The term "VPN" has become increasingly popular among internet users in recent years. Now you know what VPN means and why it matters, right? Recently, we also provided you with essential guides and knowledge concerning choosing and setting up a VPN. As you can see, the best free VPNs do exist, so if you are looking for a top-notch VPN, the above recommendations are really worth considering.