The demand for VPNs has increased over the past few years as more people opt to work from home and use the internet much more than ever to stay entertained. This rise in popularity roots from the rise in cybercrimes. As technology makes things more convenient for us it also makes life so much easier for hackers. Hence, the need to keep your network as tightly encrypted as possible.
Although tight security is the major reason a lot of people use VPNs, they also offer other interesting features like accessing blocked websites, watching TV or sports from different countries, downloading torrents anonymously, etc. Therefore, the huge demand for VPNs is no surprise.
There may be many questions rising in your head right now so let’s go ahead and answer them all one by one. We’ll start by explaining what exactly a VPN is and how it works and then go ahead to tell you a little about the best free VPNs available for you to download and stay safe online.
So how does a VPN work?
Well, technically a VPN masks your IP address by connecting you to the internet through the server run by it. All your data passing through the VPN server will be encrypted. This ensures your privacy and security because nobody can snoop around your data, be it your ISP, the government, or hackers. A VPN also helps you elude censorship and access restricted websites.
It doesn’t matter if you’ve subscribed to a standalone DSL internet connection like CenturyLink internet or a cable connection bundle offer like Spectrum bundles that may include TV, internet and even home phone, an added advantage of using a VPN service for you would be the ability to evade throttling issues. Since your IP address is not visible, your ISP cannot slow down your traffic depending on your online activity.
Are free VPN services safe?
However, not all free VPNs are risky. Quite a few reputable companies are offering free VPNs that will help you stay safe over the internet. Of course, they won’t provide as many features as a paid version but it’s better to use a free version than no VPN at all. Just make sure before you download a VPN you know how exactly they’re making their money. If they’re selling your data or using it for advertising then that just kills the purpose of using a VPN anyway.
Also, think about the reason behind you wanting to get a VPN. If security is your main concern then you may want to consider paid versions that aren’t that expensive either. If you just want to avail features like unblocking websites, then you should be fine with a free version. The best-paid VPN is ExpressVPN that comes with a 30 days money-back guarantee. It’s compatible with the majority of devices and is a robust software that offers great speed.
However, for this article let’s just leave the paid versions at this and go ahead to discuss the four best free versions available for download.
1. Hotspot Shield Free VPN
Hotspot Shield is one of the most popular VPN software out there and rightly so because it is also the best free VPN available. It offers you 70+ server locations with protection for up to 5 devices on one account. There is, however, a 500 MB per day data limit and you are forced to put up with ads.
If you do your banking and online shopping on your phone then Hotspot Shield’s military-grade encryption is what you need. On top of being highly secure both it’s mobile and desktop versions are pretty user friendly. There is also a paid Elite version of Hotspot available for serious users.
Do not be fooled by the cute logo, because it is a serious free VPN service offered by the world-renowned security king McAfee. The only downside is the 500MB monthly data limit, which is quite restrictive when it comes to regular use. However, there is an array of paid versions available at very economical prices that remove the restrictions related to the free version.
We also like how TunnelBear collects minimal data from its users. It does not require a first name to sign up nor does it keep a track of the number of connections you’ve had with them. It does not seem like a bad deal for something that’s also easy on the pocket.
With Windscribe you receive a 10GB data allowance per month and can choose from ten remote servers for free. At Windscribe your privacy is their priority, therefore, they do not store IP stamps, visited sites, or connection logs. The only thing temporarily stored when you’re connected is your username, the amount of data transmitted and the server you are connected to. But these details are also deleted within three minutes of your disconnection.
As added perks, they run a referral plan as well as a Twitter plan. This means that if you tweet about them you receive 5GB of extra data. If you invite a friend you get 1GB and if a friend signs up to a paid subscription you get bumped up to an unlimited plan and can access over 60 remote servers. To sweeten things up even further, they’ve thrown in a built-in firewall and ad-blocker as well.
The main goal of Speedify is to offer you a tightly encrypted yet speedy internet connection. Unlike many free VPN providers that would slow down your connection, Speedify claims that its turbocharging technology will help speed up whatever kind of connection you’re using.
Free users are offered the same amount of servers as paid plans but the data allowance is limited to 5GB per month in the start and drops to 1GB later. It’s enough to cover basic use like surfing, email, etc. but you may want to look into paid plans if you’ll be using it regularly.
Like we said earlier, not all VPN providers are equal so you need to be careful when choosing one. You don’t want your security compromised through the very tool that you were using to keep yourself protected from snooping entities. Limit your choices to the VPNs discussed above and you should be fine.
However, keep in mind that a VPN cannot guarantee 100 percent security and privacy but they are essential for coming as close to 100 percent as possible. Therefore, if you haven’t already signed up to one, avail of one of these without paying a single dollar.
Stay safe ya’ll!