Digital security and privacy should be top of mind when using your Windows PC. Whether you’re streaming, torrenting, shopping, socializing or working online, it’s advisable to hide your browsing activity, personal information and IP address.
The best free VPN for PC can help you achieve that.
The problem is that the free VPN market is awash with dodgy VPN services. To find one that is safe, you have to cut through the mess and test several free VPN services. Thankfully, we did the hard work for you. We tested numerous free VPNs for PC and narrowed down your options to five quality VPN services.
- Windscribe and Proton VPN are great free VPN services for PC. Besides solid security and privacy, the VPN services have an excellent ability to bypass geoblocks.
- When picking a free VPN service for PC, consider what you intend to use the VPN for. If unlimited data is a must, Proton VPN is a safe bet. However, if the need for speed supersedes uncapped data, Windscribe ticks that box.
- It is impossible to find a reliable free VPN service without service limitations. If you want to stream, download torrents or play online games risk-free and without restrictions, try the 30-day money-back guarantee that ExpressVPN and NordVPN offer.
Three of these VPN providers come with free plans but impose usage limits. We included two top-tier VPNs with money-back guarantees, in case you need a service with unrestrained usage, at least for a month. Keep reading to learn the details about their strengths and weaknesses.
The best free VPN for PC is Windscribe, thanks to its solid security and privacy, fast speeds and excellent ability to unblock geo-restricted content.
There are many fully free VPNs available on Microsoft Store and Apple’s app store, but these VPN services aren’t trustworthy. If you want to save a little cash or need a service for the short haul, we recommend using VPNs with free plans like Proton VPN and Windscribe.
Pick your ideal free VPN provider for PC — Proton VPN and Windscribe are good to get started with. Download and install the VPN service on your PC, and that’s it. Some of these free providers don’t even require you to create an account to start using them.
The Top Free VPNs for PC
What Makes the Best Free VPN for PC?
When shopping around for the best free VPN service, the price tag shouldn’t be a factor. You have to scrutinize the VPN through multiple lenses, including security, privacy, speed and data limits. We’ll get into the details of what makes a good free VPN in a bit.
First, here’s a sneak peek into our best free VPNs for PC:
VPNs With Free Plans:
1. Windscribe — Best free VPN with good download speeds
2. Proton VPN — Best free version with unlimited data
3. TunnelBear — Best free version with unlimited server access
Paid VPNs With Money-Back Guarantees:
4. ExpressVPN — Paid service with unmatched ability to bypass geoblocks
5. NordVPN — Paid VPN service with advanced security features
The best free VPN service should offer top-notch security and privacy. It should come with robust VPN protocols and encryption standards to hide your traffic from prying eyes. The VPN should also have a no-logs policy and strong history of upholding user privacy.
Thankfully, the VPNs on our list tick all these boxes.
In addition, the free VPN should have a kill switch to cut internet traffic in the event that the VPN connection drops. A split tunneling tool is also indispensable if you want some PC apps to use the VPN tunnel while letting others access the internet directly. An ad and malware blocker come in handy if you want to work or stream movies without interruption or the risk of cyber attacks.
Speed is another important factor, regardless of the online activity you want to accomplish. The good thing is that the free VPNs we picked offer serviceable speeds. They don’t match NordVPN or ExpressVPN speeds, but they cut it for most online activities.
We discussed their speeds in detail to help you find a VPN that best meets your needs. What’s more, free VPNs come with usage limits such as data caps and the number of servers.
We’ll disclose the limits attached to each service to help you pick a free VPN to support your use case: streaming, remote working or casual use.
The 3 Best Free VPNs for PC
We begin our guide with the best VPNs that have a free plan.
The VPN services are offered by reputable companies with a track record of robust security and user privacy. Let’s discuss the nitty-gritty details, starting with Windscribe, our best free VPN provider for PC.
More details about Windscribe:
- Pricing: Free; $1 per server per month
- Provider Website: windscribe.com
- 11 free server locations
- Good download speeds
- Unlimited simultaneous connections
Windscribe is our best free VPN service, and it’s no surprise that it snagged the first spot on our best free VPN for PC list. It has the security features you want in the best free VPN for PC: solid VPN protocols, AES-256 encryption, a kill switch (called firewall) and split tunneling.
It also implements a strict no-logs policy, meaning that it doesn’t collect, store or share user data.
What distinguishes Windscribe from the crowd is the ad and malware blocker called R.O.B.E.R.T. The tool wards off targeted ads and malware so you can work, browse or stream without fear of landing on malicious websites. It also lets you configure access rules to block IPs and websites you don’t want your child to visit on a PC.
You get 10GB of data right out the box, but you can get an additional 5GB by tweeting about Windscribe. The data cap may be off-putting if you’re a binge-watcher or like watching HD and 4K videos. However, if you change the video quality to the standard definition, it could be enough for two to three hours of uninterrupted streaming.
Servers in 11 Countries
Windscribe lets you access servers in 11 countries, which is great by free VPN standards. During our testing, the servers unblocked Amazon Prime Video and BBC iPlayer on the first attempt. Netflix, Disney Plus and HBO Max stood the guard up at first, but after several attempts, we found our way into their libraries as well.
As far as speed goes, Windscribe delivers lag-free streaming on nearby servers, though inconsistency could get in the way when accessing distant servers.
Windscribe works flawlessly on Windows devices. The app is chock-full of advanced features, which is a joy for more seasoned users. However, beginners may find the interface confusing due to unintuitive icons that offer no description of their purpose.
You can remove usage limits when you subscribe to the Windscribe paid plan. The provider offers a smooth transition via the build-a-plan pricing option. With the plan, you purchase individual VPN locations for $1 each and unlimited data for $1.
However, the build-a-plan has a $3 minimum, as you can read in our full Windscribe review.
- : Up to 15 GB free with email confirmation and Tweet
- : 15 GB
- : Unlimited
- : Unlimited GB
- : Unlimited
2. Proton VPN
More details about Proton VPN:
- Unlimited data & bandwidth
- Solid security & privacy
- Easily circumvents geoblocks
- Servers in 3 countries
- Middling speeds
Proton VPN is a Swiss-based free VPN provider that sets itself apart from the pack with solid security and privacy. Even though it’s free, it pairs secure VPN protocols with AES-256 encryption to keep your internet traffic safe. This way you can work, trade crypto, make payments and send sensitive files online without the risk of exposing your personal information.
The VPN offers excellent download speeds on paid plans. However, the provider places free users on the busiest servers as an indirect way to soft-cap the connection speeds. That may hinder you from enjoying smooth gameplay, streams or torrent downloads.
Proton VPN has other usage limits. For example, free users have access to three server locations: the U.S., Japan and Netherlands. Besides that, you get only one simultaneous connection and can’t use the service for torrenting on a PC (unless you opt for a paid plan).
Enjoy Unlimited Data
Drawbacks aside, Proton VPN is the only free VPN service on our list to offer unlimited data. If you’re binge-watching or doing any other data-heavy online activity, you can use Proton VPN without fear of getting cut off in the middle.
It also unblocks any streaming service you throw at it, but with only three VPN server locations, your options are a bit limited.
The Proton VPN app is designed with Windows PC users in mind. It’s packed with basic and advanced features, without complicating usability. Whether you’re a newbie or a tech-savvy user, you won’t struggle to install or use the native Windows app.
If security and privacy are a priority, Proton VPN’s free version should be on your radar. If you like it, but dread the service limitations, fret not. You can enjoy unfettered use when you subscribe to a paid plan, which starts at $4.99 per month. There’s also a 30-day money-back guarantee, in case you change your mind. Read our full Proton VPN review to learn more.
More details about TunnelBear:
- Solid security & privacy
- Free servers in 48 countries
- Independent security audits
- Slow speeds
- 500MB data limit
TunnelBear’s overall quality doesn’t match Proton VPN or Windscribe. However, its security and privacy chops make it hard to ignore. The free VPN provider uses AES-256 encryption by default together with solid VPN protocols. It’s also open about its privacy stance, with a no-logs policy backed by annual independent audit reports.
It doesn’t come with all the advanced features of Proton VPN or Windscribe either, but has the vital ones like a kill switch. The 500MB (1GB when you tweet about TunnelBear) monthly data limit is one of the reasons TunnelBear came in third on our list.
Compared to Proton VPN and Windscribe, the data limit is dismal and may be enough only for light use.
What’s more, TunnelBear’s solid security doesn’t aid its unblocking ability. During our testing, the VPN service got us into HBO Max and Crunchyroll U.S. Sadly, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer and some Netflix libraries were able to detect that we were using a VPN. As a result, the streaming services denied us access, proving that TunnelBear isn’t a great streaming VPN.
Get Access to All Server Locations
The free version lets you access servers in 48 countries, which is as good as it gets with a free VPN.
Remember: TunnelBear is hit-or-miss when it comes to circumventing geoblocks, so don’t expect all of its servers to get you into all geoblocked apps or websites. Its speed is serviceable when connecting to nearby servers, but long-distance servers may not yield desirable performance.
TunnelBear comes with a native app for Windows. The cartoony visuals might not be for everyone, but the app excels where it matters most — usability. Whether you’re a newbie or a seasoned user, you won’t struggle to find your way around.
To remove TunnelBear’s usage limits, you have to go all-in, but the paid plans are cheaper than Proton VPN. Read our comprehensive TunnelBear review to learn more. If you find the limits too restrictive, be sure to check out our TunnelBear alternatives guide.
- : Unlimited GB, five devices, priority customer service
- : Unlimited GB
- : 5
- : Unlimited GB, five devices per user, centralized billing, account manager, price per user per month
- : Unlimited GB
- : 5
The 2 Best Paid VPNs With Money-Back Guarantees for PC
In this section, we’ll discuss the pick of the bunch when it comes to paid VPN software. The virtual private networks cover the basics well, so we won’t dwell on features like VPN protocols, encryption, automatic kill switch or split tunneling. Instead, we’ll focus on the unique features they bring to the table.
More details about ExpressVPN:
- Very fast connection speeds
- Excellent privacy & security
- Unparalleled ability to unblock streaming sites
- No free trial or free plan for PC users
ExpressVPN is the best VPN for PC and going by its all-around performance, there’s no sign it’s going to relinquish the top spot anytime soon. Its closest challenger, NordVPN, may have overtaken it on the speed front, but it’s still one of the fastest VPNs out there. Whether you’re streaming, torrenting, gaming or video calling, you won’t notice the VPN is on.
Besides the basic security features, ExpressVPN uses perfect forward secrecy (PFS). With PFS, the encryption keys change periodically, so that if a hacker gets hold of one key, they can’t use it to decrypt past or future internet traffic.
If you’re a journalist or human rights activist, PFS lets you share sensitive information without fear that someone is going to eavesdrop on it.
In addition, ExpressVPN’s servers run on RAM instead of hard disks (it calls this TrustedServer technology), so all data is wiped with every reboot. This means that if the VPN server is seized or accessed illegally, the intruders will come out empty-handed. In addition, all servers utilize obfuscation technology to hide VPN use, making ExpressVPN the best VPN for China and other restrictive regimes.
Unparalleled Unblocking Ability
ExpressVPN is a streaming monster that unblocks any streaming service, geo-restricted app or website you throw at it. We regularly test this VPN service, and it never fails to show us why it’s a juggernaut when it comes to circumventing geoblocks. Moreover, it offers unlimited bandwidth and data, so you can stream without fear of getting cut off.
Compatibility isn’t a problem, either. ExpressVPN is the best VPN for Windows, Mac and all Linux distros. It’s also the best VPN for beginners, thanks to its intuitive VPN apps. The Windows app is a cinch to use — it’s just a “connect” button and a server list.
ExpressVPN offers a seven-day free trial, but that’s available for mobile users only. Thankfully, you can take it for a spin risk-free with its 30-day money-back guarantee. You can get a refund within the first month of use, no questions asked. Read our ExpressVPN review to learn more.
More details about NordVPN:
- Easily unblocks streaming apps
- Blazing-fast speeds
- Advanced security features
- High latency on long-distance servers
- Not beginner-friendly
NordVPN is a cheaper yet reliable ExpressVPN alternative. It stacks up well against our top pick and proves its worth by being the fastest VPN. Security-wise, the VPN provider has a set of advanced tools you don’t get with ExpressVPN, such as a threat protection tool that blocks ads and prevents you from landing on malicious websites.
Another nice addition to the NordVPN security suite is the dark-web monitoring tool. This tool scours the dark web repositories for information associated with your email. If it finds a hit, it alerts you to take remedial measures to prevent further damage or cyber threats.
NordVPN sets itself apart from the pack with specialty servers. The obfuscated servers hide VPN use, whereas double VPN servers send your traffic via two servers for extra protection. You can also use Onion over VPN when navigating the dark web or get a dedicated IP address, which is exclusively yours. Read our dedicated IP guide to learn more.
Enjoy Remote Access With MeshNet
Fresh out of NordVPN’s development lab, the MeshNet tool has cemented NordVPN’s position as the best VPN for remote access. It lets you create a virtual local area network (LAN) to remotely connect with colleagues and accomplish projects regardless of your location.
NordVPN is easy to install on Windows, Mac and Linux devices. The Windows app comes packed with tons of advanced tools, which aren’t always easy to use, or even find. For example, some specialty servers only appear in the UI if you have OpenVPN selected as your VPN protocol.
Like ExpressVPN, NordVPN isn’t a free VPN for PC. It has a seven-day free trial, which is available only for mobile users. However, you can get a firsthand feel for its features and capabilities risk-free, thanks to the 30-day money-back guarantee. Read our NordVPN review to learn more.
Are Free VPNs Safe?
The majority of free VPNs available in the Microsoft Store and Apple’s app store aren’t very safe — see our worst free VPN guide for VPNs to avoid. A VPN provider must generate revenue to keep the operation running and maintain the infrastructure. If a service doesn’t ask you to pay anything, how does it recoup its investment and turn a profit?
Some dodgy VPNs might collect and sell private information to third parties, defeating the purpose of using a VPN.
Others might serve you ads in the app or unload malware to your device and network. Even if the free VPN isn’t established with ill intent, it’s likely they don’t have the features to uphold your security and privacy.
We vouch for VPNs with free plans, such as Windscribe and Proton VPN, because they are operated by companies with a history of superior security and privacy. They have the right security features and are safe to use. The only downside is that there are some usage limits, like speed or data.
The best free VPNs for PC we’ve discussed do what they say on the tin. They are safe and are designed to keep you private and anonymous online. However, as secure and private as they are, the free services for PC come with service limitations.
Before you pick a free VPN, consider what you want to use it for, keeping in mind that no free VPN is perfect. Take our best two free VPNs for PC, for example. While Windscribe offers great speed and unblocking ability, its 10GB data cap doesn’t sit well with binge-watchers.
Proton VPN, on the other hand, offers excellent security and ability to unblock geo-restricted content. It also offers unlimited data, and would be great for binge-watching, if only it didn’t soft-cap connection speeds.
If you want to stream movies, play games, download torrents and hold virtual meetings without fear of getting disconnected in the middle, try our paid VPNs. We recommend getting started with ExpressVPN because it offers excellent security, lightning-fast speeds and an unmatched ability to unblock streaming platforms.