How to pick the Best Free VPN for your needs
Virtual Private Network is an excellent way of masking your online activities. VPNs hide your IP address thus making it impossible, or rather hard, for hackers to pinpoint your location or see your activities when you are online. Another benefit of VPNs is that they help one to go around geo-restrictions. If you are in a region where you cannot access content such as US Netflix, BBC, and other media, you can easily bypass all the restrictions by using a VPN.
Here is the thing, though, to get the best VPN services, you’ll have to spend some money. I’m talking about VPNs that have thousands of servers spread across different regions in the world with tens of thousands of shared IP addresses. Even more important, paid VPNs are usually more reliable when you want some assurances that your logs won’t be retained by the provider. The problem is that not everyone can afford to pay for a VPN. There’s also a possibility that you are traveling to some region for some time and you’d like some privacy on your online activities and hence investing in a paid VPN doesn’t make financial sense. In such instances, you’re better off checking out a free VPN.
It doesn’t matter what the reason is for seeking a free VPN, but once you decide to go down this road, then you need to tread very carefully. That’s because free VPNs are notorious for selling users’ data, and this can leave you very vulnerable. It’s, therefore, paramount that you check on the reputation of the provider before committing yourself.
Top 3 Free VPN
If I was to pick just one free VPN that I can trust and rely on, then it will be Hotspot Shield. The VPN is very secure and extremely fast. Hotspot Shield does not just market itself as having ‘military-grade encryptions’ for the sake of luring in customers, but it is actually a claim that is tested and proven. In our security and privacy tests, Hotspot Shield performed well above average. Their no-logs policy also means that you don’t have to worry about your data ending up in the wrong hands as there won’t be any data available, to begin with.
Its excellent speeds are guaranteed to give you a smooth online experience. With Free Hotspot shield, you will receive 500mb data every day. This may seem small, but you will find it very generous when you start comparing it to other alternatives in the market.
Another reason to love Hotspot Shield is the fact that you can use it on up to 5 different gadgets. The best part is that it can run on various platforms such as iOS, Android, and Windows. There is also a version of it that can be used on Chrome. Whether you are planning on using them on your mobile devices or on your pc, you will find these applications very user-friendly.
Drawbacks of Hotspot Shield
Hotspot shield has to get generate revenue somehow to remain in business. For this purpose, the VPN relies on ads. Therefore, you can expect to see lots of advertisements while using Hotspot Shield. They can get really annoying at times.
Another issue with Hotspot shield is that they do not support streaming. If your sole purpose of getting a VPN is to stream US Netflix, BBC or any other shows, you’ll probably have to invest on a paid VPN for that. After all, 500mb is barely enough to get you through half an episode.
Finally, we have to discuss the data cap. At 500mb per day, Hotspot Shield is more useful when you’re doing some research on the web than it is in doing anything else. With such a low limit, it is difficult to imagine a scenario where you can have 5 devices connected simultaneously without receiving a notification that your daily data is exhausted.
At position two, we have another decent free VPN service known as Windscribe. The data cap here is set at 10Gb per month. This is lower than what Hotspot Shield are offering, but the good news is that you can get an extra 5GB by tweeting the company. Quite a clever way to market yourself, I must say. You can also get an additional 1Gb every month by referring your friends. And it gets even better! If you were to refer a friend who then upgrades to Windscribe Pro, you would be rewarded with an unlimited plan that’ll bring more servers at your disposal!
Windscribe is also one of the few free VPN providers that allow you to choose a server location. Most free VPNs usually have numerous servers, but they automatically pick the server for you. With free windscribe, you can select one of the eight remote servers available.
Using Windscribe is also pretty easy. All you have to do is create an account by setting up a username and password. You can also choose to use your email address when creating your account. Using an email address is optional, and hence you can choose not to include it but adding it will come in very handy should you forget your password in future.
If ads are a deal-breaker for you, then you are going to fall in love Windscirbe. The VPN comes with both malware and ad blocker that is accessible to both free and paid plans.
Windscribe is compatible with different operating systems, including iOS, Windows, and Linux. They also released an Android app recently. Therefore, you can use Windscribe in all the popular smartphones out there. It will also run on macOS, and they have a browser extension for both Firefox and Chrome.
All Windscribe apps are very easy to use. The applications also come with a live chat option and a simple setup guide that can help you get started.
Drawbacks of Windscirbe
The problem with Windscribe is that they tend to store some data when you are connected. This raises serious privacy concerns.
Another minor issue with Windscribe is the data cap. 10gb per month is less than what Hotspot Shield offers. The opportunity to push the limit by tweeting the VPN and referring friends is highly welcomed. However, for how long can you do this before you finally run out of friends or you just get tired of tweeting them? Also, there is a possibility that Windscribe might deactivate this option after they’ve hit a certain number of active users.
TunnelBear is another decent free VPN with a user-friendly interface. You don’t have to go through tedious tasks to create an account or to switch on your VPN. This makes it very ideal for all the elderly people who are keen on their privacy but don’t want to spend hours trying to power on the VPN.
It features AES256 encryption, which is commonly used by most paid VPNs. TunnelBear also goes through independent auditing to make sure that there is no conflict of interests on the user’s privacy. They also have a very strict no-logs policy.
With TunnelBear, you’ll have over 22 servers at your disposal. These are located in different countries, and hence it should boost your access to geo-restricted content.
TunnelBear also performed relatively well in our speed tests. The VPN is also ad-free.
You can use TunnelBear on Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, Firefox, Opera, and Chrome.
Drawbacks of TunnelBear
The major disadvantage of TunnelBear is the data cap, which is set at 500mb per month. That’s ridiculously low. While most other providers are giving you 500MB per day, TunnelBear can only spare you the same data for a whole month. This seriously limits your internet consumption. It’s for this reason that we believe TunnelBear is ideal for people who don’t do a lot of browsing or don’t use VPN so much.
TunnelBear also doesn’t support streaming of both music and TV. We can’t say much about this because after all, 500MB is not enough for any sort of streaming.
Also, the server network of TunnelBear is very limited.
The above three VPNs are quite good, but they cannot compare to paid VPNs. Premium VPNs have more to offer, including the ability to stream videos and music, unlimited data, and most importantly, they are more secured with thousands of servers to choose from. Therefore, you can try out the above VPNs, and if they are what you’d like in a VPN, then you can go ahead and upgrade for premium and unlimited services.