In January 2019, it was reported that as much as 1,769,185,063 records were leaked across multiple data breaches globally. Wouldn’t it be nice to know that you’re protected? Luckily, a VPN can help!
A VPN provides an encrypted connection between your computer and your Internet Service Provider (ISP) by serving as a proxy. The VPN service can also make it difficult for hackers to intercept your internet activity and steal your data.
In addition, a VPN can help you access geo-restricted content as well as blocked websites. For instance, the kind of content that you’ll find on Netflix when you access it from the U.S. is different from the content that you’ll find when accessed from some places in Asia or Africa.
However, many people often have a hard time knowing which one to choose out of the many free VPN services available. In this review, we will provide insights on top 5 free VPNs we think you should try in 2019 in the order of their value propositions.
The Best 5 (Free) VPNs You Should Use in 2019
Urban VPN brands itself as the only 100% free, 100% fast, and 100% anonymous VPN service in the world. Founded by Urban Cyber Security in 2018, the Urban VPN team is made up of more than 30 experts with backgrounds that run across cybersecurity, ethical hacking, and network systems.
Many people tend to be skeptical about free VPN services because you may never know what you are unwittingly losing in exchange for the free service. Urban VPN, however, can provide a sustainably free VPN service by setting up its service as a P2P powered VPN in which all users help to unblock the internet by sharing their network resources.
Despite being a P2P VPN server, Urban VPN protects its users’ identity and data with encryption and DNS/IPv6 leak protection technology. The best part is that Urban VPN doesn’t have a cap on accessible data bandwidth, unlike some other VPNs that can only allow you to browse the web without support for streaming or torrenting.
Many VPN services tend to sacrifice speed on the altar of anonymous encryption. However, Urban VPN is optimized to deliver a fast connection through a large network of fast VPN servers in 81 locations. It is also compatible with Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android operating systems.
Windscribe offers both free and premium VPN services but its free service seems to be the most generous among other competitors with freemium models. Windscribe provides users with a free VPN service that covers 10 GB of data every month and users can get an extra five GB if they tweet about the service. In addition, to the VPN service, Windscribe also has an inbuilt ad and malware blocker called R.O.B.E.R.T for blocking trackers, malware, clickbait, and specific content types.
Windscribe’s VPN service is available on Windows, MacOS, Linux iOS, and Android. It also has browser extensions for use on Chrome, Opera, and Firefox. We also love the fact that you can set up Windshield on your router and some other devices such as Amazon FireTV and Kodi. Windscribe can also be used on whatever software or devices that can run OpenVPN or IKEv2 protocols
Cons: The 10 GB data cap doesn’t provide much room to stream content. Users of the free version are restricted to only 10 servers out of 50 servers. The VPN also stores some user information while in use.
Hide.me offers a decent free VPN service that is not particularly impressive or dismissible. Hide.me also has a freemium model – free users get strong encryption, zero-user logs, and ad-free browsing. Hide.me has a strong 256-bit AES encryption and it goes beyond encrypting your internet traffic data to also providing encryption on your personal files, passwords, and financial information. It features an in-built kill switch that ends your session if you suddenly lose the VPN connection. This way your computer doesn’t automatically reconnect to the internet without the VPN.
The service is available on virtually all operating systems including Linux, Windows. MacOS, iOS, and Android. Hide.me can be used in-browser with Chrome, Firefox, and on hardware such as Amazon FireTV and routers. It is strong enough to support five simultaneous connections, however, the usage is capped at two GB of data per month.
Cons: The biggest con is the low cap on data use. It will serve the purpose for light browsing, but you won’t be able to do much on YouTube. Furthermore, there’s obviously no Netflix for you. In addition, free users can only access five servers and only one of those servers is in Europe.
4. Proton VPN
ProtonVPN provides free and paid users a strong encryption service that will obscure your browsing activity and protect your personal data. ProtonVPN has a proven policy of not keeping user logs and it is compliant with Swiss privacy laws. It also offers unlimited browsing, but it doesn’t support streaming or torrenting.
One key differentiating factor with ProtonVPN is the quality of its customer service. ProtonVPN has a team committed to customer support. ProtonVPN is founded by the team that delivered ProtonMail, the world’s largest encrypted email network.
Cons: Free users can only access server networks in three countries. It doesn’t have a data cap but it seems to suffer from slow connection speeds that can be frustrating. The lack of streaming and torrenting support also makes it unusable to access entertainment content.
TunnelBear offers a VPN service with a user-friendly UI/UX and it delivers decent connection speeds to servers in about 22 countries. It delivers a reliable encryption service with AES 256-bit encryption that works on macOS, Windows, iOS, Android, Chrome, and Firefox. Tunnelbear doesn’t keep user data logs and it is committed to independent audits as proof that your data and identity will always be kept private.
TunnelBear has been operational since 2011 after being founded by Ryan Dochuk and Daniel Kaldor. The fact that it is still alive suggests that the team is doing something right.
Tunnel also offers an incredible VPN footprint with more than 350 VPN servers spread out in 22 countries. However, it only provides free users with 500 MB of data per month and it seems that the free plan is designed to be a teaser that encourages you to sign up for one of its Pro plans.
Cons: There’s not much anyone can do with 500 MB of data every month. In addition, TunnelBear doesn’t support streaming and services such as Netflix are also unavailable.
VPNs have become an important element of the modern internet experience because of the security and privacy that they provide. A Gallup study conducted in November 2018 revealed that Americans are more worried about cybercrimes than violent crimes. For instance, 71% of Americans polled were worried that their personal or financial information might be hacked and 67% of the people polled were worried about identity theft. In contrast, only 24% of respondents were worried about being a victim of terrorist attacks.
In this review, we have established that you can put security and privacy fears to rest by using a free VPN Service.
In our opinion, Urban VPN clearly stands heads and shoulder above the other free VPN services profiled in this review. The fact that it doesn’t have a Pro version eliminates the need to place restrictions on the quality of the free service. Hence it is not surprising that urban VPN doesn’t have bandwidth data caps.
In addition, it doesn’t slow down your network or ruin your browsing experience with ads. Instead, it has an extensive spread with 81 server locations across North America, South America, Asia, Middle East, Europe, Africa, and Oceania.