Free VPN... Tried and Tested!

There are a large number of free VPN software programs for you to download. If you're not exactly sure what a VPN is, then read my article, An Explanation of How VPN Works.

What I've tried to do here is to filter out the sites that claim they are free but in reality are fronting sites for free trials... with pay at the end of the trial! What you see here are genuine, free sites but they will have some limitations. Why's that, you may ask...

Free Suppliers Have To Manage Their Costs

You have to be aware that any free vpn server software has an overhead cost -- the website, hosting, servers, maintenance and staff costs, at least.

To keep this cost manageable to the provider, there has to be some income to cover the cost-- would you be willing to have a monthly outlay to the world from your salary packet? Of course not! So, we can't expect a free service to offer the goodies that a pay service offers. That's why free sites employ restrictions on their service to keep costs down. Some of them use some or all of the following...

  • Offer a free service but encourage you to upgrade to a more attractive pay service.
  • The free service shows ads on your screen, so the provider can earn a 'click through' income.
  • The upload/download speed of the VPN service is throttled back, maximizing server traffic at the expense of service speed.
  • The number of geographical servers is limited, which funnels traffic and leads to slower speeds. The small numbers of servers restricts your IP address to a limited country or countries.

Free Or Pay VPN?

At the end of the day, if you are only looking to encrypt and anonymize a limited amount of data/surfing, then free VPN should be fine for you.

If you want to secure your computer for most of your connections, then you'll come to find a free VPN will have its drawbacks. Personally, I need to be sure that anything leaving or arriving at my PC is securely encrypted and my identity cannot be tracked or stolen. I also don't want my connection speed compromised, so I moved away from free services and use Hide My Ass! Pro VPN.

You can try the free VPNs and if they don't match up to your requirements, then you won't go wrong with some of the excellent pay services that are available.

Free VPN Recommendations

1. Open VPN

OpenVPN is a community-supported project with many developers and contributors from OpenVPN Technologies, Inc. and from the broader OpenVPN community. OpenVPN is a full-featured SSL VPN -- it is not a web application proxy and does not operate through a web browser.

You do need to purchase a license to use the software at a cost of $5 per client connection per year. If you can master the OpenVPN set up, then you won't need to move to a paid version.

However, for most home users, it will be difficult to understand the technical language and this will be a barrier to implementing it on your PC or Mac. To get some idea of what's involved, here's the link for their Quick Start Guide.

2. Anchor Free Hotspot Shield

From my experience and the reviews of others, this is the best free vpn software. Hotspot Shield uses HTTPS with 128-bit encryption for security, with the VPN server in California.

It supports its free service with ads at the top of your browser page but they are not too intrusive...

You can get rid of the ad by clicking on the 'x' to the right of it. There are no bandwidth restrictions.

However, in my usage, I've found the service very slow in comparison to Hide My Ass! Pro VPN.

I also find that I can't log into HTTPS membership sites, nor banking log on pages, due to the proxy server refusing the connection. There were no problems with connecting to websites in general, however.

You are encouraged to upgrade to the Elite service, of course, which offers a no ads service with extra security features.

To be fair, the HotSpot Shield Elite at $29.95/year is really good value and protects your PC, Mac, iPhone and Android. For me, this service is so much faster... such a pity the free service can't match it!

3. Proxify

To access the Proxify Free Service, there is no software to install. Just click on this Proxify Link and enter the website you wish to access.

You are able to customize your connection by removing cookies, scripts, ads, referrer information etc. Your IP address is hidden and your connection encrypted. You can upgrade for a very small fee to get a whole host of benefits or to access their 290 geographical diverse satellite servers, so that your server location is at your choosing.

4. proXPN

proXPN has a basic account which is free. It offers the same level of security and privacy as the Premium Account(from $6.25/month), but speed is limited to 300kbps and you are restricted to one location in the United States.

One thing you ought to note is that records of your activity are retained for 14 days.


Supporting Articles

  1. What To Look for In a VPN Service
  2. The Features and Benefits to You of Hide My Ass! VPN Service
  3. When and What To Use As A Free VPN Service

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