Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) are widely available, enabling users to create secure connections between two parties, regardless of where they are in the world. While many free VPNs are available, few are actually safe to use, as they are free, which means they have to rely on advertising to make money, which can conflict with user privacy.
Visit any website that offers free VPNs and you’ll see pop-ups, banners, and other types of marketing. These ads can be distracting and even problematic, as they’re often hidden behind banners and other content that users have to view before they can get to the main page. Sometimes, ads even appear to be important to the point that disabling ads results in an unstable or unusable product.
What Is the Best Free VPN?
There’s a lot of debate around which free VPNs are the best and which ones to avoid. Truth be told, it’s not easy to find the absolute best, free VPN. You’ll often find a plethora of options, with many services providing great value and features, with the downside being that they often lack the security features necessary for truly safeguarding your personal data.
Here are our top picks for the safest, best, and most economical free VPNs, as well as some of the more prominent ones.
The first on our list is NordVPN, an all-around excellent choice for anyone seeking a secure and private connection. It is one of the most popular free VPNs, with over 2.7 million active users. That makes it one of the largest VPNs in the world with user-base, holding the #2 position in the global VPN ranks. It was also one of the first VPNs to market, launching in 2011 and currently available in over 120 countries, which makes it one of the most international VPNs available. At just $2.99 a month, NordVPN is one of the most economical choices on our list.
The second spot on our list is ExpressVPN, another budget-conscious choice with over 500,000 active users. Its cost is higher than NordVPN’s at $5.99 a month, but the service provides extensive functionality for a premium price. For a limited time, new users can get the premium three-year plan for just $1, then it will be $5.99 per month. This makes ExpressVPN one of the cheapest options available if you’re looking for value for money. It is available to download from almost all platforms, including iOS and Android. It has a no-logging policy, meaning it does not keep any records of user activity, which provides a secure and private connection. As with the other VPNs on this list, ExpressVPN also provides military-grade security, allowing users to remain anonymous and secure when browsing the web.
3. Avira Phantom VPN
Phantom VPN is yet another option for our list, this time from the Avira family, which now owns the VPN that bears their name. This particular product is extremely lightweight and portable, clocking in at just 2.85 MB. Weighing in at under 5 MB each, these are ideal for people seeking a mobile-friendly, lightweight VPN solution. In general, VPNs from the Avira family offer great performance for such light usage, which makes them a solid choice for mobile users. Having said that, the lack of a built-in killswitch is a bit worrisome; while many VPNs will suspend your account if they detect you’re using their service without a decent internet connection, Avira’s Phantom VPN does not provide any kind of emergency cover in case you lose your connection. That’s pretty serious security-related flaw. Luckily, Avira is aware of this and are currently working on fixing it. For the time being, this is a major point of contention in our books.
Finally, we have ZenVPN, which hails from the Republic of Korea and is officially endorsed by the country’s government, as well as the NSA, the world’s leading privacy authority.
What makes ZenVPN special is that it is designed specifically for the Asian market, with servers based in Korea and Japan and offering a user-friendly experience to those using the service for the first time, or those who are simply looking for a different approach.
Korea and Japan have a very high number of VPN users; nearly every Korean and nearly every Japanese person uses VPNs on a daily basis. That makes ZenVPN ideal for the Korean and Japanese markets, where it has over 300,000 monthly active users. It is also one of the most downloaded VPN apps in both Korea and Japan, so it is well-established and popular among users in those two markets. This makes it a great choice for users seeking privacy and security when using public Wi-Fi, as it has a no-logging policy and uses advanced security algorithms to prevent eavesdropping. Since it is a governmental-endorsed product, it operates in full compliance with the nation’s strict privacy laws, which are some of the most restrictive in the world. It is also completely free, which makes it one of the most economical options on our list.
The Downsides Of Using Public Wi-Fi
Let’s discuss the downsides of using public Wi-Fi for a little bit, shall we? First off, all of the VPNs on this list are perfectly safe to use when connected to a secure network, like a wired or wireless private network. When connected to a public network, however, these VPNs pose a threat to your personal data. Even if they don’t retain any logs, there’s always a chance that a third party could potentially intercept your data and use it for their own purposes.
Another downside of using public Wi-Fi is that they are usually shared among many people, which means there’s a chance that someone could walk up to you while you’re logged in and use your internet connection without your permission.
Why Is Privacy So Important?
With so much focus on security and privacy these days, we want to make it clear what these numbers mean, and why you should care about them.
Firstly, the more people use VPNs, the less people there will be walking around without any security. It’s widely acknowledged that everyone’s hiding something these days, and with good reason. If more people used VPNs, the fewer there would be tempted to prey on others, whether that be for financial gain or sexual gratification.
Secondly, privacy is important because security alone won’t protect you from all forms of malware, spam, or hacker attacks, meaning you’ll still need to keep your software up-to-date and clean. It’s also important to have privacy guards in place to prevent companies from peering into your personal data or using it for their own purposes. Without privacy, all of the hard work that goes into keeping your information secure could go down the drain.
Thirdly, protecting your personal data is important because no one else should have access to it. The fewer people who know about your personal data, the safer you are, which means you can have peace of mind when using public Wi-Fi or any other network you’re not familiar with. Ensure you trust the owners of these networks, and make sure you’re not compromising your safety in any way by transmitting personal or confidential data over public Wi-Fi.
Which Is The Safest Free VPN?