Following the stringent measures that have been put in place by most countries, a large percentage of the population has to stay at home. This has increased the use of online streaming and security products. The use of free VPN for windows and mac OS has shot up exponentially.
The question then is, what VPN for PC is the right choice? Is a free VPN a good option? And, if so, which one should you go for?
Before we go into details, let’s have a look at what surrounds the application.
Working principle of a VPN
VPNs for PC come in two types: remote access VPN and site-to-site VPN. A common one uses IPsec and SSL technology to create a connection between computers.
There are general features that should be found with every VPN. A VPN for Windows should be able to provide secure and private access to servers anytime and anywhere. The provider should ensure that their VPN is simple and easy to install, set up, configure, and maintain.
A VPN should also NOT be costly. The provider should be able to achieve high levels of performance without the occurrence of daily issues and lagging. User-friendliness, security, and flexibility are incredibly important.
7 Best free VPNs for Windows
We can now narrow down our research and delve into specific free VPNs for the Windows 10 operating system.
Following is a list of the top 7 providers for Windows with their popular features, pros, and cons. The list contains options that are either completely free (open-source), include a free trial, or offer money-back guarantee.
The tagline of this PC VPN is “Secure your digital life.”
Surfshark operates on the British Virgin Islands. It is, therefore NOT legally mandated to log the data of its users. Due to its location outside of the 14 eyes alliance, it is a great option of choice.
This VPN gives the user fast and secure access to online content. Surfshark offers reliable OpenVPN and IKEv2 tunnelling protocols.
It has more than 800 servers in 50+ countries. According to our research, this service does NOT log IP addresses and is free of WebRTC, DNS leaks.
The monthly subscription is only around $1.99, making it one of the cheapest options in the market.
+ Easy to use user interface
+ A strict no-logs policy. Internet traffic is, therefore, (legally) NOT stored
+ One account can use an unlimited number of devices
+ The Surfshark VPN for PC has a kill-switch that is in-built to ensure that the online activities, private data, and information are never exposed to third parties
+ This Windows VPN offers private DNS for every server to avoid any potential security breach due to online browsing
+ Use of IKEv2/IPsec, OpenVPN protocols
+ Camouflage mode for Windows, Android, iOS, and Linux operating systems
– Fairly new/unknown service
The tagline for this Windows VPN is “Amplify the Entire Internet.”
The company is based in the British Virgin Islands (BVI), which has no legal mandate to log the data of users. It’s one of the most popular providers in the market – this means a higher level of trust in the confidentiality of information.
This service charges a monthly subscription fee of US $12.95 and $8.32 for a 1-year subscription. A free trial is not offered by the provider; however, with this neat trick, you can try it without actually spending a dime – Purchase the subscription and ask for a refund within 30-days if you don’t like the service.
Nothing to lose, really.
Just like any high authority VPN, ExpressVPN secures your internet traffic and personal data from corporations and other 3rd parties who have bad intentions.
This VPN for PC has a wide reach with servers in 160 locations and 94 countries, including over 2000 servers to keep the user from any bandwidth limitations.
It uses the OpenVPN protocol with AES 256-bit encryption and is supported by mobile and desktop platforms for a maximum of three devices (one account).
Unlike a few others from this list, this provider allows the bundle Tor and pay for its services using Bitcoin.
+ 3 simultaneous connections
+ Several encryption options available: OpenVPN (UDP), OpenVPN (TCP), L2TP/IPsec, IPsec, IKEv2, and PPTP
+ Its privacy service is unique, and the identity of the user can be kept secure
+ Unlimited bandwidth
+ Numerous server locations
+ No DNS leaks
+ Strict no-logging policy.
– High subscription cost
The tagline for this Windows VPN is “The Internet with no borders.”
This VPN for PC will not track, collect, or share the user’s data. It can be used on Windows, macOS, Android, Linux, Android TV, Firefox, Chrome, routers, and Apple platforms.
NordVPN provider has 5,700 servers that are located in more than 60 countries. Their policy insists that they do NOT store your internet activity, bandwidth, IP address, traffic data, and the details of your session.
NordVPN provides a double VPN or onion over a VPN, offers military-grade encryption coupled with CyberSec malware and ad blocker.
The provider has 24/7 product support; however, their email response time according to our tests was quite slow… – 1817 min.
The monthly subscription costs $11.95/mo and a 3-year subscription $2.99/mo. NordVPN does not offer a free trial.
+ Military-grade Ikev2/IPsec/OpenVPN and AES-256-GCM encryption and double-hop
+ Risk-free 30-day money-back guarantee
+ Kill switch
+ Extra care in handling DNS leaks
+ NordVPN does NOT log user’s data
+ Unlimited bandwidth
+ Supports up to 6 devices operating on any platform
+ Provides HTTPS Protection and Anti-DDoS Protection
+ Payments can be made both in cash and cryptocurrency
+ Has support for the Netflix account, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, HBO, Sling TV, and Showtime.
– The Windows VPN restricts torrenting to only a few servers.
The company is based in Labuan Island of Malaysia.
Organizations may not transfer personal information outside of Malaysia jurisdiction unless specified by the Minister under the Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA) legislation.
However, this comes with some exceptions…
Hide me VPN (free version) for Windows offers 10GB of data per month to play with. The provider only allows the connection of one device and only gives access to five server locations. The paying subscribers get more than 50 server locations.
Fortunately, there will be no limiters on the connection speeds for free users.
It has more than 1,400 servers in more than 34 countries around the world in your hands with native software for Windows PC and Mac, Android, Linux, and iOS. A large number of protocols PPTP, L2TP/IPsec, SoftEther, SSTP, OpenVPN, and IKEv2 keep strong encryption.
The customer support team is reachable 24/7. Customer support is also available to free users.
+ Located on the Labuan Island of Malaysia, which is strictly excluded from 14 eyes alliance
+ Not legally mandated to log data – Malaysian Personal Data Protection Law
+ Lifetime free Windows app
+ Strong encryption standard PPTP, L2TP/IPsec, SoftEther, SSTP, OpenVPN, and IKEv2 protocols
+ Offers both free and paid services, the free service has several good features
+ Tons of servers around the world
+ Their customer support has a quick customer response time (Live chat and according to our tests – 68 min email reply)
+ A long list of supported devices
+ Usable with Netflix, Spotify, YouTube, TOR and torrenting
– The VPN provider does not have an established connection overseas in China
– Average speeds
The tagline for this VPN provider is “Protect yourself online with high-speed Swiss VPN that safeguards your privacy.”
This VPN for PC enables you to use the web anonymously and visit blocked websites through more than 628 servers in 33+ countries.
ProtonVPN offers unlimited free data and can support a maximum of 10 devices. The monthly subscription rate is $4/mo and $24 for a year. There is a free trial option for one month.
Thie VPN for Windows passes the user’s internet traffic through a core network that is located in countries, such as Iceland and Switzerland. Most importantly, it’s compatible with Windows, Android, iOS, macOS, Linux and even working with TOR.
+ A free version can be used to test its security
+ A low-cost service (paid version)
+ It has a refund policy is you aren’t satisfied with its services (paid version)
+ Multiple connections to its VPN for secure locations
+ DNS leak prevention with other prime features including forwarding secrecy, strong protocols, Swiss-based company, trusted, physical security
+ Zero-logs policy
+ Its user interface is well-built and intuitive with a friendly P2P environment
+ It can be used with Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, YouTube, Kodi, and also when torrenting
– It has a single session timestamp
– Not working in China
– Audited by the cybersecurity company Defence Code
The Windscribe company is based in Richmond, Ontario, Canada with servers in more than 60 countries.
This VPN can be used on a wide range of platforms; Windows PC, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS operating systems. Compatible also with Amazon Fire Stick and routers.
Windscribe VPN uses AES-256 cipher with SHA512 auth and a 4096-bit RSA key to creating a protection tunnel for your data.
Has a good mix of both data and servers.
Great choice of VPN for Windows, as it offers a good chunk of free data and is suitable for music and video streaming.
Users do NOT need to provide any personal information when they are signing up for the service.
The company has a clever marketing ploy, where they will boost your data by 5GB if you send out a tweet about the service, and if you refer a friend who subscribes to the paid tier, you’ll be given access to that higher tier at no charge!
This VPN for Windows allows for installation of more than one of its services at a time and you can also switch between them.
Windscribe provides a monthly plan that starts at $9, and a yearly plan at $49.
The user can also build their payment plan, where the user will pay based on the number of locations they want to access. Charged at $1 per location per month.
+ Strict no-logging policy
+ User-friendly software interface
+ A wide range of servers and locations to choose from which are located in close to 60 countries
+ 10GB of free data each month
+ This VPN for Windows has no DNS leaks
+ Built-in malware and ad blocker
+ Can be used for Netflix, YouTube, Kodi, Skype, and torrenting
– Their customer support system is a Chatbot named Garry that only responds to already programmed queries.
– Unfriendly user-friendly refund policy – only 3 days
The tagline for this VPN provider is “Privacy is a universal right”.
This is one of the best known free VPN for Windows. TunnelBear has more than 220 servers in more than 20 locations around the world.
This Windows VPN has 256-bit AES encryption and a kill switch. The VPN for PC supports a maximum of about 5 devices.
It has a paid monthly subscription as well that ranges from $4.99 to $9.99.
The free version of the VPN for PC will give you a bandwidth of a limited amount – 500 MB every month which is a lot less than other VPNs for Windows. TunnelBear VPN is compatible with Windows, iOS, macOS, Android, Linux, Firefox, and Chrome.
+ A kill switch to ensure that no data leaks out to outside parties
+ Easy installation
+ The TunnelBear VPN for PC can be used when torrenting
+ The VPN provider’s systems are independently audited to avoid any data leaks
+ A no-logging policy
+ Offers data blocking and also protection from online malware activities
+ Has high upload and download speeds
+ GhostBear mode is very vigilant, ensuring no data leakages when the device is disconnected from the Wi-Fi connection.
+ Can be used with HBO Go, Kodi, and YouTube.
– The user cannot leave it “always-on,” as they will get caught short on bandwidth data before the end of the month
– Router installation is not supported
– Doesn’t support Netflix
– The free version does not have the enterprise functionalities
Beware: 4 more reasons to get a Windows VPN
- The possibility of online threats and malware attacks are present in Windows operating systems. A good VPN can be used to safeguard your device for either personal or business use.
- A Windows VPN connection will secure connection to the organization’s network and the internet. The same can be applied when you are connecting to public Wi-Fi, say in a coffee shop, library, or conference. These are efficient in cost-saving and network capability.
- Windows is the most widely used operating system in the world and with this, the company can secure access to the web for its users and maintain their privacy. The company can then use their carrier networks to route data and process information.
- The overall process of this linking and data transfer gives the user a view that all the computers are linked to each other in real-time.
Is a free VPN for PC worth downloading?
To be frank, there is no straightforward and easy answer to this question. This will depend on the use you intend for the free Windows VPN. If you want to use the free Windows VPN to just get a bit more security on your personal computer or mobile device when you are connected to a public Wi-Fi, then one of the ABOVE free VPNs is worth getting.
When it comes to using VPN to stream online content or download terabytes of torrent files… A free VPN for Windows will not cut it here.
The first reason is that the providers of the full no cost VPNs for PC will limit you to a daily or monthly data allowance that you’ll go through in no time at all. Secondly, most of the free VPNs for Windows do not possess the kind of easy access support or server range that is needed to ease the running of such activities with the use of a virtual private network.
Pros and cons
Free and paid VPNs: What are the main advantages and disadvantages of a free VPN? Here’s a list:
- Offers you online anonymity, as they still use server networks, the same as premium VPNs for PCs
- Free VPNs have the same security protocols and encryption features just like those in the premium VPNs
- Can bypass questionable censorship, such as censorship in countries such as China and North Korea.
- Free VPNs enable you to bypass geo-restrictions that is the same as premium VPNs for Windows
- Free VPNs usually limit the amount of data available to you and the speed you can use it at. This renders them useless for video streaming and torrenting.
- Some free VPNs could log and sell your data. This is because they will have to find an alternative form of financing as they are not receiving any resources from subscriptions.
- Some free VPNs include ads that will bombard the user and ruin the user experience. Mostly premium VPNs either have no ads or provide the option of disabling ads.
- Often, free VPNs do not own servers and rent them from third parties instead. There is then no guarantee that these 3rd party companies will respect the privacy of the users
- Some free VPN for Windows can give your data to the corporations through online surveillance. As high stakes are on the line, premium VPNs mostly are not willing to record the data of their users and have none to hand over.
- Free VPNs will reduce your internet speed with a greater effect than premium VPNs.
- Some Free VPNs for PC have weak protocols and poor encryption, and hackers might end up stealing and maybe selling your data.
How to choose one? 5 must-ask questions
It is imperative that you are careful with your choice, as not all free VPNs for Windows have been created the same.
We have listed five questions below to ask yourself before downloading and installing one for Windows.
1. What is the business model of the VPN provider?
The providers of these are still running a business and in it for the money. The operation of such a business will cost a lot, especially if it is popular, such as the high-end VPNs for PC like ExpressVPN. These providers will leverage the use of their free versions as a marketing tool to draw in potential clients to change to the paid version of their services once you feel happy with the free one. Most of these VPNs for PC providers will engage in selling users’ data or provide something to a third party and this will, in turn, compromise your privacy.
2. How does the free VPN for Windows protect my PC or mobile device?
Most of the VPN providers will use a desktop application that will run in the background as it encrypts your internet traffic. This, however, is only a solution to part of the problem. It is still possible to fingerprint your laptop due to the permissiveness of tracking solutions that can be found on almost all websites online. There are a few VPN providers, such as Windscribe, that apply an approach that is more holistic by integrating the equivalent of a super ad-blocker.
3. By using free instead of paid service, what do I lose?
It is the general expectation that a free product will have some corners or features cut out and this is also the case for any provider. Some of the VPN providers will give you more bandwidth than the others, connection to servers in major locations, ad blocking, P2P, and firewall with an upgrade path that can easily be paid for to unlock unlimited bandwidth that will present you with more locations and OpenVPN configurations.
4. Does your provider log anything?
There is also the other side of the spectrum, where there are providers who will don’t store logs and they will erase everything once your session ends.
5. Is it possible to sign up for the service completely anonymously?
A provider who lets you subscribe to their services without using your email address and other personal details are much better. There are other VPNs for Windows who will offer their users double hopping where your traffic can be further obfuscated by being able to double down on privacy.
Using a Free PC VPN to watch Netflix and other TV streaming apps
By tunnelling out to a VPN server that is beyond the control of despots, a free VPN for Windows can bypass oppressive censorship. This feature can be used to access streaming content that is not available in your location or region. Some different shows and movies will be available to overseas Netflix subscribers which is not available to subscribers in the US. This is because Netflix has specific deals to distribute this content in different regions.
Netflix is not the only TV streaming service that can be tricked by the use of a free Windows VPN. There are different streaming arrangements for BBC and MLB in different regions. These companies will try to block the use of the VPNs for PC to enforce the regional streaming deals.
This then becomes a hassle for the users, as the number of servers you can connect to is limited. The users have fewer options to spoof their location. It is also more difficult for the users to jump from one server to another in search of unblocked access or faster speeds. Some VPNs can work with Netflix and other TV content streaming apps but only for paid users.
If you are looking for another option to aid you in going around the Netflix blockade, purchasing a static IP address is a good option. This will mostly require that you have a premium VPN subscription atop the additional cost of the static IP.
Using a VPN for PC to stream Netflix content is a tough task and is even tougher. The best (paid) Netflix VPN can be found here.
- How does a VPN for Windows 10 work?
It works by routing your device’s internet connection by selecting VPN’s private server instead of your internet service provider (ISP).
- Which are the best Free VPN for Windows?
There are several VPNs for Windows that offer great service. The ones which offer money-back are Surfshark, NordVPN, ExpressVPN, and a limited free VPN we like the most is hide.me.
- Is free PC VPN safe to use – YES or NO?
This is dependent on who is running the server that you have chosen to use with your VPN. If the provider of the VPN logs the data, and if their connection is not encrypted, then it is not safe as it may lead to exposing your data. If you pick your provider carefully, then YES!
- How do I set up a free VPN for Windows?
The process usually goes like this – Sign up -> download -> install -> choose a suitable server -> connect.
- Does Windows 10 come with a VPN?
Yes, Windows 10 does come with a VPN. You will, however, have to configure it before you can use it.
- Can anyone track you if you use a VPN?
If you are engaged in illegal activities over the internet, then this can be traced, even if you use a VPN. Do NOT do anything you shouldn’t do. We believe you should always follow local laws.
- Can I use my Windows VPN on multiple devices?
Yes, it is possible to use your windows VPN on multiple devices. The VPN can be connected to the router at your workplace and all the devices that will be sharing this single network will be protected from any user who would want to view their internet activity.