Free VPNs can do many of the same things as paid VPNs, so if your needs are simple and minimal you may well be able to make do with one of the best free VPNs we list here. There are also other ways to hide your IP address, but a VPN is the best option for most people.
Free VPN vs Paid VPN: What's the difference?
In our extensive testing of VPNs - both free and paid services - it is apparent that you will be significantly more satisfied if you're willing to spend just a few pounds a month on a service such as NordVPN or ExpressVPN, which we have found are two of the best paid-for VPN services.
In general, free VPNs tend to offer limited data allowances, fewer server locations and slower performance. There are also fewer security features and it is generally accepted that free VPNs are not as secure as paid-for services.
You can likely put up with two of these three differences, especially if all you want to do is watch US Netflix from the UK, but the meagre data allowances mean you may only be able to watch one episode or movie per month. As soon as you go over the limit you'll either need to uninstall the VPN and find another free version, or stump up for the paid version of that service.
That said, it's often worth installing a free VPN before you pay for a service just to see how you get on with it. And with that in mind we present four of the best free VPN options available today.
What's the best free VPN?
Tunnel Bear is our free VPN of choice. Its full version features in our overall VPN chart at number four, and we have a review of it available for you to read here (spoiler: we awarded it 4.5/5 stars).
It operates servers in 20 countries, including the UK, US, Australia, Canada and more. That means you'll be able to protect your privacy, as well as connect to region blocked streaming services.
The difference between the free and the subscription services are mostly concerned with your data allocation. The free service gives you 500MB per month although you can request an increase to 1GB via Twitter.
Apparently, bear-related puns increase your chances of success. Beyond this you can pay either monthly or annually for unlimited data. The download speed was reported as a respectable 12Mb/s.
Windscribe's free version is reasonably good, offering unlimited devices, a firewall, adblock and P2P.
However, the limitations emerge when you start looking at the number of server locations (there are 11 compared with the 50 you'll get with the paid-for version) and your bandwidth, which is limited to 10GB per month.
Another free option that's even more limited is ProtonVPN, which has just three countries available, only works on one device and has a low speed.
The latest version of the Opera web browser now includes a VPN client. Unlike other browsers, this isn't an extension or add-on: it's part of the browser. This does mean you're lacking overall privacy if you access the internet outside of that browser, but it really is free, so you're not limited on the amount of data you use per month and you won't have to pay for a subscription.
To use the feature you have to go to the O menu, then Settings, then Privacy & Security and toggle the free VPN on.
Find out more about browser VPNs here.