We test the best free virtual private network tools. Surf the web with privacy, with VPN private browsing. And spoof US IP address with a free VPN. Best free VPNs.
And if you want to know why you might need a free VPN, see our piece How to watch US Netflix from the UK.
Best FREE VPNs of 2016 UK: CyberGhost
CyberGhost is our favourite free VPN service, with servers in a variety of countries including the UK and the US, as well as many European territories. There is an excellent paid-for Premium version of CyberGhost offering users the choice of 24 countries, but the free tool is excellent, offering access to 14 countries. Unusually CyberGhost says that it doesn’t limit bandwidth for free users. That is a big win. As is the speed we have enjoyed when browsing through CyberGhost.
Indeed, there are only a couple of restrictions on the free version of CyberGhost, and neither is particularly onerous. You can’t use the free CyberGhost on iPad or iPhone, for instance. And with the free version you’ll be logged out after three hours of browsing. In our tests you could log in again immediately, however.
Best FREE VPNs of 2016 UK: Opera
Our second favourite free VPN is… the Opera web browser. Yup, this free web browser includes a VPN client. It offers a free VPN with no limit on the amount of data you use per month.
At the time of writing you can pick server sites from only US, Canada or Germany. In our tests it works really well. Simply go to the O menu, then Settings, then Privacy & Security and toggle the free VPN on.
Best FREE VPNs of 2016 UK: Total VPN
Total VPN is a brilliant paid-for VPN service, but the freebie – although good – can’t stack up to CyberGhost. The paid-for Total Premium costs £5.99 per month.
Total VPN Free VPN offers you only three locations, limited bandwidth, limited data transfer and one device connection. The Premium version offers more than 30 locations, unrestricted bandwidth and transfers, three device connections and more.
Best FREE VPNs of 2016 UK: Tunnel Bear
Tunnel Bear is another great paid-for VPN service with a so-so free offering. The service operates servers in US, UK, Canada, Germany, France and Japan. There is one in Australia too, but this is for paid customers only.
The free version has a data allocation of 500MB (although you can increase this to 1GB by asking Tunnel Bear via Twitter. Yeah, weird). When we used it web speed was pretty good. The paid-for version offers unlimited data and extends the service to smartphones and tablets.
Best FREE VPNs of 2016 UK: PrivateTunnel
The free version of PrivateTunnel is limited to just 100 MB of data when you first try it. Consider it a trial rather than a viable service. Still, it is worth trying because after the free trial as you use more data you simply pay for the amount of data you use. There is no limit on the number of devices you can use, and no time limit within which to use the data. There are prices for 50GB, 100GB and 500GB.
You can choose between servers in the UK or US, Canada, the Netherlands or Switzerland. Download speeds were steady without being the fastest.
Best FREE VPNs of 2016 UK: Verdict
There really is no reason not to try CyberGhost. It’s a great VPN tool with a free version that has very little in the way of restrictions. Indeed, the only reason not to plump straight for CyberGhost is that the Opera VPN tool may satisfy your needs. And the restriction there is just that you have to use a very good web browser – but not the web browser of your choosing. The other tools are great if you are paying, but the free versions are cut down too much to be truly competitive free tools.
See also: Best antivirus for Windows.