Free goodies never fail to bring a smile to our faces, be it a buy one get one free deal on apparel, a heavy discount on accessories (although one needs to shell out some cash), or even a free pint of beer. And when the freebie comes as a masquerade key that enables you to access blocked online services it becomes a cherry on top. Cryptic jargon aside, we are talking about the free VPN apps that have become the most sought-after service in the past few years.
If you are not aware of what VPN is- it basically routes your data via its servers and sends encrypted data over a network. Online safety and privacy are of paramount importance these days and VPN serves it right when it comes to using the internet on a public network.
Moreover, VPNs are cited to be a secure solution as it encrypts information and prevents service providers from accessing your data. Some VPNs even allow you to access restricted content, and geo-based sites and bypass internet filters as well.
Another benefit of using a VPN is that it allows you to access any website or app anonymously, thus saving it from the prying eyes of ISP (Internet Service Provider) that can see your browsing history with some even being accused of selling the information to third parties.
But though all of these look good, VPN services are not entirely free and come with certain limitations. Some VPN network providers charge a price of as low as $2.5 a month for their services. While the free VPNs can do away with the casual user, there’s no harm in paying a couple of bucks if you want that added layer of security while browsing websites.
Best Free VPN Apps for Android and iOS – iPhone & iPad
Here’s a list of free VPN apps for Android and iOS devices like iPhone and iPad that you can check.
Notice: Users are recommended to check the service agreement, legal terms, and copyright laws and see if the VPN service works in their region.
1. Hotspot Shield Free VPN Proxy
Hotspot Shield is one of the best free VPN services available for Android users. The free version of this VPN provides limited locations and is filled with ads. However, the good part is that the Hotspot Shield offers 500MB of data per day which is around 15GB per month.
Hotspot Shield has a no-logging policy which means the ISP can’t sneak at your browsing history. In addition, the free plan can protect up to 5 devices simultaneously. Hotspot Shield is easy to use and it comes with military-grade encryption allowing safe transactions and accessing banking facilities via your mobile.
The premium version of this VPN service avails almost 70 server locations, however, one can’t select the server they want to connect to, and the app does that automatically. The paid plan starts at $7.99 per month.
2. Tunnelbear – VPN & WiFi Proxy
This grizzly bear design free VPN for Android is owned by McAfee. The VPN offers 500MB of data per month. If that’s not enough you can get additional free data if you invite a friend and they sign up for the service. The easy-to-use Tunnelbear VPN doesn’t require a credit card to sign up.
The VPN allows you to choose servers in 22 locations including North America, Australia, India, Germany, Hong Kong, etc. As per Tunnelbear’s no-logging policy, it doesn’t collect “IP addresses visiting our website” or “IP addresses upon service connection.”
Unlike Hotspot Shield, Tunnelbear’s elite plans are slightly cheap and start at $4.99 a month and it isn’t ad-supported.
3. ProtonVPN – Fast & Free VPN
ProtonVPN is another trustworthy VPN app that offers decent features for Android. It uses 256-bit encryption and OpenVPN. The best part about ProtonVPN is that it gets an unlimited data allowance although there are limitations to the free plan. The free VPN plan limits access to only three servers (Japan, Netherlands & the US) on one device.
In case you upgrade to the premium plan, you can access about 577 servers across 44 countries on up to 10 devices. ProtonVPN has a strict no-logging policy, which means you get secured private browsing. It doesn’t include any ads and only asks for your email id for signup.
Windscribe is another generous free VPN app that provides 10GB of data per month. However, you can grab the free data only when you share your email address, else the data is capped to just 2GB of data for a month.
While Hotspot Shield connects to the servers automatically.
Windscribe gives you the option to manually select the server you want to connect to. It offers access to over 20 servers in 10 countries. A few other benefits include Split Tunneling which allows you to choose which apps go over the VPN tunnel.
The paid plans come at a $9 monthly subscription, however, you can get a price as low as $4.08 a month if you opt for the yearly plan.
ExpressVPN is another user-friendly app that comes with a one-click connection. The VPN has 256-bit encryption and offers unlimited bandwidth. It has over 160 servers in 94 countries and provides fast connections decent enough to stream content in HD.
Similar to Windscribe it has a Split Tunneling feature. It allows you to connect with up to 5 devices and comes with zero activity and connection logging. Security features include- Network Lock, DNS leak protection, etc.
Compared to ProtonVPN or Hotspot Shield, ExpressVPN’s premium plan is expensive and comes at a cost of $12.95 per month with a 30-day money-back guarantee. However, there is a special deal 15 months offer on the ExpressVPN website that costs $6.67 per month.
It is worth mentioning that ExpressVPN doesn’t have any free trial offer but it rather provides a no-questions-asked refund in the first 30 days for those who are not satisfied with the service.
CyberGhost has over 6000+ servers in more than 90 countries enabling you to access geo-restricted sites. CyberGhost’s one-click installation and simple interface make it easy to operate. It provides 256-bit encryption and an automatic kill switch with all its apps.
Similar to the other VPNs it has no logs policy and comes with a built-in ad blocker. CyberGhost offers a 24-hour free trial service and a 45-day money-back guarantee.
SurfEasyVPN is another decent VPN app that is created by the developer who designed Opera. The VPN app has 500 servers in 28 countries. This easy-to-use VPN offers WiFi hotspot security and a no-logs policy. Moreover, you can bypass firewalls for unlimited browsing and get added features for downloading torrents.
Although some of the VPN apps mentioned in this list ask only for the email address for sign-up, SurfEasyVPN, however, seeks permission to access your phone’s photos, media, and files.
The free version of the VPN app offers 500MB of data, for unlimited data you will have to shell out $3.99.
8. PureVPN Free
PureVPN is one of the largest VPN services which is based in Hong Kong. The VPN has over 2000+ servers across 180 countries. PureVPN comes with advanced features including malware protection, an internet kill switch, and a hotspot VPN to provide a secure connection across multiple devices. The setup is easy and it doesn’t have any bandwidth cap.
However, one of the drawbacks of PureVPN is that it offers only a 7-day free trial and the money-back guarantee is not as clear as it’s shown on paper (better don’t make any hasty decision on purchase).
Hide.me VPN offers 2GB of data per month for free providers. The limitation on the free version is that you can connect only one device and it is restricted to only three locations viz; Singapore, Canada, and the Netherlands.
But on the bright side, the VPN throttles with connection speed, and neither stores users’ data nor transfers information to any third party. The app supports the OpenVPN protocol and has no ad policy. Hide.me VPN is a decent app when it comes to secure browsing, maintaining your privacy with limited restrictions.
Conclusion – Best Free VPN Apps for 2020
So here is a roundup of some of the best free VPN apps that you can download for secured browsing on your mobile. Some of the VPNs mentioned in this list are compatible with other platforms as well like Windows, and Mac to name a few. But before we wrap up here are a few take away that you should keep a note of.
Although the VPNs bundle a bunch of benefits there is no guarantee that it’s entirely safe. Many VPN providers follow a strict no-log policy, it may not be a complete true blue. Hence it is recommended that you check the claims and policies and choose services from trustworthy VPN companies.
Besides, a free VPN might not be a suitable option if you spend most of your time browsing websites given free VPN apps offer low data and a few other limitations (location, device connection). For casual browsing (be it on public networks at time), a free VPN can be a workaround, however, if you prefer using a VPN for downloading restricted content (heavy game files, etc) or watching content geo-restricted streaming services then it is advised to choose subscription plans that best suits your need.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Is there a totally free VPN for Android?
Yes, there are some free VPN apps for Android. You can choose between 3 VPN protocols with its free Android app: WireGuard, IKEv2, and OpenVPN.
Which is the safest free VPN for Android?
Some of the safest free VPNs for Android are as follows:-
1. NordVPN – excellent VPN for Android with a free trial.
2. Surfshark – affordable Android VPN with a money-back guarantee.
3. Atlas VPN – smooth Android app experience.
4. ProtonVPN – a solid all-around free VPN for Android.
5. Hide.me – independently audited free VPN for Android.
How can I add a free VPN on iOS?
Simply download the free app from the App Store and open it once installed. Then select the virtual location you want to use, and turn on the VPN. Once you’ve done that, all your traffic from your iPhone or iPad is encrypted and your IP address is hidden, so you can surf more securely and anonymously.