Not only is Hotspot Shield Free one of the better known free VPN options in our rankings, we also reckon it's the best.
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You can choose to anchor yourself to one of 25 countries if you pay for the Elite version of the app , and this should enable you to access just about anything you want; in the free version, you're limited to locations that Hotspot Shield chooses for you and put up with ads. Those on the free plan can protect up to five devices simultaneously, and are limited to MB of data per day so around 15GB per month. That may sound restrictive, but compared to TunnelBear below, it's actually one of the more generous free VPN limits.
If security is your sole aim, then Hotspot is on the same wavelength, boasting 'military-grade encryption' - comforting if you do your banking and shopping online or by mobile. In addition to security, Hotspot Shield Free also won plaudits in our testing for being so friendly to use.
Whether on its mobile apps or on desktop, you won't find it the hair-pulling user experience offered by some competitors. That said, getting started is a little bit of a pain with Hotspot requiring you to go through a seven-day trial of the premium version first.
That's all very well and good, but that involves giving them your credit card details in case you decide to carry on with the full version once the trial is completed. However, can of course then go for the free version once the premium trial has expired.
Want to try Hotspot Shield Free? You can download it here. TunnelBear is incredibly simple to use — just switch it on and choose a location, and your internet traffic will be re-routed via that node. Protecting your identity doesn't get easier than this — TunnelBear is the best free VPN you can download today. TunnelBear might have something of a cutesy design, but it's a serious free VPN, especially after its acquisition by security giant, McAfee. There are free and paid-for subscriptions to choose from. The only restriction with the free plan is that you are limited to MB of traffic each month.
TunnelBear offers a range of paid-for plans that remove the restrictions associated with the free plan, like the download limit, the numbers of countries available and the amount of connected devices. Windscribe is a new name on the block, but its data cap and emphasis on privacy make it a winner.
Windscribe is a relative newcomer to the free VPN scene, but its generous data allowance and commitment to protecting your privacy make it the best around if you need more data than the MB free tier with TunnelBear.
You only need to create a username and password to sign up an email address is optional, but might prove handy if you forget your password. Speedify , as the name suggests, has one main aim as a free VPN provider: to ensure that while you benefit from encryption, your internet connection remains as speedy as possible. Even if you only have one type of internet connection, the firm claims its turbocharging technology will still help speed things up. Free users get 4GB of data for the first month, but that drops to 1GB during subsequent months. And this VPN provider is definitely worth a look on the performance front, as during our testing, the aforementioned speed-granting technologies did actually prove themselves to have a positive effect.
Want to try Speedify? There are, naturally enough, limitations for the free plan to incentivize upgrading to the paid offering. But if you can live with that, this is an impressive provider with a strict no logging policy, and you can sign up with nothing more than your email address. Speaking of clients, there are a good range of these — with native software for Windows PC, Mac, Linux, iOS, plus Android — and we found performance levels were pretty solid too.
However, speeds may drop at peak times when lots of users are around and paying folks get priority; at which point you may be tempted to upgrade to a paid plan. But clearly, with its unlimited data allowance, this is one freebie which is well worth considering. There are other limits too: you can only connect a maximum of one device, and are limited to three server locations Singapore, Canada, and Netherlands rather than the 30 locations paying subscribers get. There are no adverts here, either. Performance was impressive in our testing, too. Overall, then, this is a more-than-solid free offering which tries to maintain your privacy, without too many restrictions.
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2. Nord VPN
Need an easy-to-use VPN with plentiful servers? You got it with SurfEasy. There are both paid and free offerings, with the latter not restricting the amount of devices you can use — free users can hook up a maximum of five devices simultaneously, just like paid subscribers. You also get 1, servers across 25 countries, and a very user-friendly Windows PC client. Performance is solid enough, although we found that some longer distance trips to more remote servers i.
Which could be a compelling argument to switch from the likes of Chrome or Firefox…. So do be sure it is turned on. You may also want to check that the app is using the OpenVPN protocol, as many default to less secure but possibly faster VPN protocols. Pleases see here for more information on VPN protocols. Tunnelblick is a free and open source OpenVPN client that can be configured to work with either special Tunnelblick configuration files.
The latest beta client also features a firewall-based kill switch. You will need one file per VPN server location, although it's often possible to download multiple configurations in a single zip file. In this case, you'll need to unzip the files before they can be used.
Download , install and launch Tunnelblick. Drag the configuration file or multiples files for multiple server configurations to the Tunnelblick icon in the menu bar.
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It will probably ask for your Admin password. The icon will turn a darker shade to indicate that you are connected. If you hover the cursor over it, it will display additional information. As such, you'll need to fix the issue manually Safari is not affected, anyway. New to the latest beta version of Tunnelblick is a very welcome kill switch feature.
To enable the kill switch, go to Configurations and click on the individual VPN configuration the kill switch must be enabled for each configuration. But IKEv2 is also a good option. It is, however, closed source proprietary software. This lets you know at-a-glance that you are protected. Clicking on the icon will usually display additional details and options.