windscribe on computer
Elizabeth Henges / How-To Geek

What to Look For in a Free VPN in 2023

When picking a free VPN, there are a few things you should be aware of. The biggest issue is that most of the free VPNs you’ll find online, whether in an app store, via web search, or in advertisements, are untrustworthy. Not only will they not necessarily protect your privacy, they will often add insult to injury and sell your data themselves. Using one of these free VPNs without researching them first can be worse than not using a VPN at all.

Thankfully, there are a handful of exceptions. In all these cases, the exceptions are free tiers of paid VPN services. The good news is that, unlike free trials, these free plans don’t have any time restrictions, so you can keep using them as long as you want. But, since these free tiers are for prospective customers to try out the service before they commit, they come with some restrictions.

For example, all the free VPNs below only let you use a set number of servers and won’t let you connect just anywhere. Most will also restrict your bandwidth to some extent, limiting you to a certain amount of monthly data before asking you to upgrade to a paid tier. This can get annoying, but the tiers are essentially trials, so it does make sense.

Smart operators can use several accounts and thus keep their browsing private. If you’d like more but aren’t too keen on spending too much, check out our overview of cheap VPNs.

Best Free VPN for Netflix: Windscribe

windscribe art


  • 10GB of bandwidth for free
  • 10 free servers
  • Free servers can access Netflix


  • Need to sign up to get more than 2GB of bandwidth
  • Not the best interface

Our favorite free VPN is Windscribe, a great paid service with a fantastic free plan. Like most services on this list, the free plan is a way to try the VPN before subscribing to the paid tier. Windscribe is at the top of the list for three reasons—it’s fast, easy to use and, more importantly, can unblock Netflix on its free plan.

All the other free plans on this list will be unable to crack most streaming services (if any), but Windscribe rises to the occasion. While testing the free servers in our Windscribe review, we were surprised to find several of them connected without any issues. If you are hankering for a certain show and your local Netflix library doesn’t have it, Windscribe is your free ticket.

That said, you don’t want it to be a long show, either. Windscribe does cap free users at 10GB a month if you provide your email address—otherwise, it’s only 2GB. Compared to most of the other choices on this list, which require creating an account, just an email address for a 10GB cap is very good.

In short, Windscribe offers 10GB for free, fast servers, Netflix access, and a decent interface to boot. If you need a free VPN, this should be your first stop.

Best Free VPN for Netflix


Read How-To Geek's Full Review

Windscribe is a reliable free VPN that offers good speeds and lets you access streaming servers even on the free plan.

Best Free VPN for Browsers: logo on white background


  • 10GB of bandwidth for free
  • 8 free servers
  • Anonymous signup


  • Interface is a bit drab
  • Slow is another great free VPN that offers 10GB for free, much like Windscribe. This VPN service also uses an easy-to-use interface, especially with its browser extension. The free tier has eight servers across the globe, so you should have no trouble connecting and using the VPN.

Though VPN browser extensions can have drawbacks, as long as you know what they can and can’t do,’s extension is very good. It’s easy to use, and you can quickly connect and disconnect without going through the main interface. Everything is clearly marked, so there is no struggle to figure out what’s what.

However, as you can read in our review, in which gave the VPN a 7/10, it has a few issues. The biggest in terms of its free tier is that the available servers are slow, with speeds of only about 10 percent of your base speed. Still, with 10GB of browsing available for free (and being the only other entry that doesn’t require you to create an account to get started), is a solid option.

Best Free VPN for Browsers

Read How-To Geek's Full Review is a dependable free VPN that has a great extension for most browsers and a generous allowance of monthly bandwidth.

Best Free VPN for Privacy: Proton VPN

ProtonVPN logo on a white background


  • Unlimited bandwidth
  • 3 free servers
  • Great reputation for privacy


  • Free servers are slow
  • Interface is a bit rough

Next up is Proton VPN, a solid VPN for anybody needing some extra privacy, as you can read in our Proton VPN review. Proton VPN is also the only provider on this list that doesn’t cap its free users. In its campaign for more internet freedom, the company lets anybody use it as much as they’d like.

This is great, of course, but it does mean that Proton VPN’s servers are often overloaded, the biggest cause of VPN speed loss. The free servers are painfully slow, and some are near unusable at peak times.

Still, if you need a free VPN that doesn’t cap your usage and has a strong reputation for privacy, Proton VPN is a service to keep in mind. Free users get access to the special Stealth protocol that impedes detection by surveillance services. It also serves as a good way to get a feel for the service without using a credit card if you want to try Proton VPN before buying.

Best Free VPN for Privacy

Proton VPN

Read How-To Geek's Full Review

Proton VPN is a VPN famous for being private and secure. Its free plan comes with the same guarantees, though its speeds can be a bit slow.

Best Free VPN with Lots of Servers: PrivadoVPN

PrivadoVPN running on laptop and desktop


  • 10GB of bandwidth for free
  • 12 free servers


  • Slow
  • Lack of features

If you want a large number of servers to choose from, PrivadoVPN is a great choice. With 12 servers worldwide and 10GB of bandwidth, this free tier is pretty good—Windscribe offers the same bandwidth but only ten servers.

However, quantity is not always better than quality. As you can read in our PrivadoVPN review, the service comes packed with speed issues, and with few features, there isn’t much you can do to improve your experience. In addition, PrivadoVPN has some default settings you should change to ensure you remain safe while browsing—something you don’t need to do with the other services on this list.

Still, 10GB of protected browsing for free is pretty good once you tweak the settings, especially if you already used up the limits with Windscribe and

Best Free VPN with Lots of Servers


Read How-To Geek's Full Review

PrivadoVPN isn't a great VPN, but its free plan comes with a generous allowance of 10GB of bandwidth and a massive 12 servers worldwide.

Frequently Asked Questions

VPN stands for virtual private network. A virtual private network reroutes your internet traffic through a secure tunnel, preventing your internet service provider and network operator from seeing what you're doing. It also disguises your IP address from the services you use online, letting you access geographically restricted content and prevents websites from associating your browsing with your real IP address.

Many free VPNs are not trustworthy and will sell your data instead of protect it. Most trustworthy free VPNs are free tiers of services with paid tiers.

If you are using a trustworthy free VPN, it will often work as well as a paid VPN, albeit with limitations such as limited servers and data caps. Some will also be slower than a paid VPN, as free servers can become overloaded.

VPNs are a great way to hide from anybody trying to track you online while spoofing your location. As a result, they're popular among torrenters and anybody worried about surveillance.

Most VPNs can be installed with a single click. It will then take a click to connect, and you're done. You can use the VPN's app to configure any other settings.

The Best VPN Services of 2023

Best Overall VPN
Private Internet Access
Best Budget VPN
Private Internet Access
Best VPN for Windows
Best Free VPN
Proton VPN
Best VPN for iPhone
Proton VPN
Best VPN for Android
Best VPN for Streaming
Best VPN for Gaming
Best VPN for Torrenting
Best VPN for China
Mullvad VPN
Best VPN for Privacy
Mullvad VPN
Profile Photo for Fergus O'Sullivan Fergus O'Sullivan
Fergus is a freelance writer for How-To Geek. He has seven years of tech reporting and reviewing under his belt for a number of publications, including GameCrate and Cloudwards. He's written more articles and reviews about cybersecurity and cloud-based software than he can keep track of---and knows his way around Linux and hardware, too.
Read Full Bio »