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Top VPN softwares list by usage

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The topic of VPN ( Virtual Private Network ) has long since arrived in the mainstream: the technology is no longer complicated, but has become accessible. Both free and paid programs make it easy to pull up a kind of IP address protection shield with a click (or to do this automatically with a Windows autostart entry after each boot process) in order to be on the Internet with a different IP address. It is about the public IP, also WAN-IP ( W ide A rea Ncalled network). Websites or web servers can use this to identify you when you visit a page. By “firing” on a VPN, you avoid this. You share your IP with several other users of the VPN utility in question. If you wish, you can change the number at any time with a mouse click by selecting a different location in the VPN software interface. There are various reasons for using a VPN service: those in need of protection regain a bit of privacy in the face of rampant tracking methods on the web, they avoid any unjustified IP ban in online games/forums and they bypass geoblocks when streaming. The latter may seem expensive enough already, don’t you want to spend money on a VPN service? An investment is not absolutely necessary:

By the way: You get the best protection with maximum data transmission performance with a purchased VPN. You can get one similar to renting antivirus programs. Sometimes there are discounts that make a purchase more affordable. In the article “VPN test 2022: The best providers in comparison” you can find out which anonymization applications are currently the best.

Free VPN Services: The 10 Best Providers

In the following we present some freeware VPNs that convince free of charge. Before looking at the tips, check if your antivirus hosts a VPN. At least rudimentary functionality can be found here. If something is missing or not enough for you, take a look at the software in the next paragraphs of the article.

1. ProtonVPN

ProtonVPN is well positioned with a company headquarters in Switzerland. The origin is to be classified as trustworthy. The Avira company also cuts a solid figure in this respect, it is based in Germany. Only ProtonVPN offers unlimited traffic for free and without speed limits. Professionals are happy about several selectable protocols: In addition to an “Intelligent (recommended)” setting, the config dialog lists “WireGuard” and “OpenVPN” once in TCP and once in UDP interpretation.

The application uses a “VPN Accelerator” feature for acceleration and uses the GPU (graphics processing unit, so-called hardware acceleration). The accelerator is said to use special technologies to increase VPN speed by up to 400 percent. If necessary, activate the receipt of beta updates. The paid additional function “Net Shield” promises to block malware and trackers.

2. PrivadoVPN

 

The “ PrivadoVPN ” service grants you 10 gigabytes (GB) of data transfer capacity per month for anonymous web sessions, which is generous among the limited Free(mium) services. Switzerland acts as the supplier location – commendable. The sober application surface is elegantly reserved. In the settings you can choose between various protocols (IKEv2 and WireGuard, as well as OpenVPN with either TCP or UDP).

3. Windscribe

 

Windscribe ‘s free plan gives you 10 GB of traffic per month to browse the web. The company is based in Canada. A special feature: Registration is obligatory. If you wish, you can omit your e-mail address. Then you only get 2 GB monthly quota. You can upgrade to the said 10 GB with a free upgrade by entering your email address. The application settings window allows you to switch to a beta update channel. Use a toggle slide switch to turn on a software-internal firewall: it acts as a kind of better kill switch that disconnects the network connection with other VPNs if the VPN fails, so that privacy-conscious citizens or dissidents do not use their otherwise transmitted plaintext IP reveal identity.

The firewall is supposed to do more than a classic kill switch, which makes sense, but which the Windscribe managers dismiss as snake oil (deceptive packaging): It offers no protection because it is a reactive measure. Data packets could leave the computer between the interruption of the VPN connection and the detection of the program. A firewall, on the other hand, blocks all (!) connections outside the tunnel. If the VPN connection drops, nothing needs to be done and not a single packet leaves the computer because the firewall won’t allow it.

4. Hide.me VPN

Founded in 2012, Malaysia-based Hide.me VPN offers a free plan with 10 GB of monthly surfing volume. In addition to many VPN protocols that can be activated and are well explained (IKev2, OpenVPN, SoftEtherVPN, WireGuard, SSTP), the tool shines with security features. Those would be: kill switch and stealth guard. The latter is reminiscent of the Windscribe VPN firewall.

5. Hotspot Shield VPN

With 500 megabytes (MB) of traffic per day (!), Hotspot Shield VPN sets an exclamation mark. The free service, called Basic, is limited to assigning you a US WAN IP. A different US IP will be used for the next connection; internet protocol addresses from other countries require a chargeable upgrade .

The disadvantage of US IPs: Due to the server location, the US security authority NSA could snoop. If that doesn’t bother you and if you don’t want to handle sensitive network activities with an exchanged IP, you get a companion that is generously dimensioned in terms of traffic and can be operated intuitively. Confusing though are the owner and owner name changes: Anchor, Pango, Aura – branding and interface changed several times. Keyboard shortcuts can be listed and used.

6. Atlas VPN Free

If you accept the company headquarters in the USA, you won’t go wrong with Atlas VPN Free . If the US connection is a problem for you, Hotspot Shield is also out of the question. Atlas VPN offers 5 GB of monthly traffic.

Hotspot Shield offers more in total per month, but theoretically you can surf more with Atlas VPN in one day than with the competitor. The selection of protocols is not huge, but it is useful: the highly regarded WireGuard can be used freely, as can IPSec/IKEv2.

7. Avast One Essential

The antivirus (AV) “ Avast One Essential ” protects you from malware of all kinds. Protection against malware is not an extra here, as it is with a few pure VPN applications, but one of various features in the free all-round package. If you already use an antivirus, you may not want to switch to Avast. Then another, dedicated VPN application is preferable.

However, if your current antivirus is the default Defender or your license is about to expire, you can consider Avast’s AV solution. The VPN quota is 5 GB per week. That’s more than the Panda Free Antivirus, which is also available as freeware and integrates the Hotspot Shield infrastructure and grants you 150 MB per day for safe web browsing.

8. Avira Phantom VPN

In addition to Avast, Avira also offers you a VPN application among the antivirus providers: Avira Phantom VPN is a genuine VPN concealment tool without an anti-malware component that is at least as important. It can therefore be used in addition to an existing virus protection program. You get 500 MB traffic per month and a dark mode.

The essence of the antivirus company Avira can be seen in the settings: “Block harmful websites and content” can be activated there using the switch. This complements a fully-fledged real-time virus scanner. However, “send diagnostic data” is switched on at the factory, this telemetry should be switched off for safety-conscious people. Avira comes from Germany, but since a takeover some time ago it has belonged to the US group NortonLifeLock (like Avast from the Czech Republic).

Free Trial VPN Services

Paid premium VPN services usually do not have the restrictions listed in the penultimate article paragraph. A non-binding free trial version (like Hotspot Shield) is sometimes available. You do not have to cancel here if you do not enter any payment data. The range of features then simply remains limited. However, if you purchase a time allotment to use a paid VPN, make sure you have a money-back guarantee and cancel in good time if you don’t like it so you don’t incur any costs. Otherwise, the service will go into paid renewal and money will be deducted from your account each month. For example, you have 30 days to cancel. Tip: You can find cheap budget VPNs in our VPN price comparison article.

1. NordVPN

The top dog among internet access anonymizers is NordVPN. High speed, very simple operation, very good streaming suitability and premium security emerged as advantages in the editorial test. A special feature is the built-in virus protection.

  • Very simple operation
  • Premium security
  • High speed
  • Very good for streaming
  • Strikte No-Log-Policy
  • Limit of six devices
  • Country selection only average

2. Surfshark

In the editorial test, Surfshark delivered excellent streaming performance. Safety and speed were also praised.

  • Outstanding streaming performance
  • Unlimited simultaneous connections
  • Very good security
  • Good pace
  • Cheap price
  • Partly illogical country sorting
  • Privacy Policy in English only

3. CyberGhost

In the test, we praised the VPN pioneer “CyberGhost” for its ease of use, strict no-log policy and transparency. The 45-day money-back guarantee is a bit more generous than NordVPN and Surfshark (which has a 30-day period here).

  • Outstanding streaming performance
  • Unlimited simultaneous connections
  • Very good security
  • Good pace
  • Cheap price
  • Partly illogical country sorting
  • Privacy Policy in English only

Alternatives to free VPNs

There are roughly two “flavours” of internet anonymization procedures: in addition to VPNs, there are proxies. You research the latter on the Internet in order to enter their server addresses in the Windows settings and/or in your browser. A proxy IP is usually stored in the Internet options of Internet Explorer, which Chromium-based browsers (and, depending on the configuration, Mozilla Firefox) access.

Cons with proxies: No encryption like VPNs, also you have to check for them manually. Proxy IPs published on the web often do not enable you to surf (anonymously) because the associated servers are paralyzed or switched off, meaning that you can no longer get online. In short: A VPN is actually better in all respects. You can either switch on its IP protection manually after calling it up, or you can do this using a combination of two settings: “Start tool with Windows” and “Establish protection independently after calling it up”. Depending on the VPN client, there is a switch that brings both together. In addition to classic VPN suites such as those presented in the article, which provide all your Internet programs with a different IP,

If you find a working proxy, the same applies as with a VPN: the provider captures your surfing traffic and can record it. You have to trust that he doesn’t – and that he has ethical ambitions, i.e. he won’t redirect you to phishing websites in a hijacker-like manner.

Smart DNS servers are another alternative to VPNs, they are more modern than a proxy. You can also use Smart DNS to bypass Geo-IP blocks, but you will not receive encryption and will not be assigned a new IP address. SmartDNS is sometimes cheaper than a VPN and is suitable for devices on which a VPN cannot be installed. DNS is the domain name system Further information can be found in the Windows guide “Change DNS server for safer and faster surfing”.

Verdict: The Best Free VPN Services

The top 10 VPNs compiled at the top of the article are all more or less solid. They are roughly sorted by quality, with ProtonVPN in particular standing out. But you can also do well with the other solutions.

  • ProtonVPN is top : Unlimited data volume, WireGuard and VPN accelerator as well as good data protection come together here.
  • Like ProtonVPN, PrivadoVPN is based in Switzerland (good). The 10 GB monthly traffic is generous here.
  • The provider of Windscribe also grants you 10 GB of data volume per month – including a suitable firewall module.
  • Hide.me VPN ranks in terms of a generous 10 GB of usable data/month.
  • Don’t have a problem with a US IP or just want one? Then Hotspot Shield VPN wins the race. With 500 MB of anonymously transferable data per day, the quantity is right. In our practical test runs, the test subject automatically reestablished the VPN connection after booting with changing IPs more reliably than some other solutions.

FAQ: VPN

1. Which VPN is really free?

Various VPN services are available free of charge, a certain basic functionality is usually available and does not oblige you to invest any money. In addition to Hotspot Shield, for example, the Opera browser’s own VPN is free, but it only secures the IP during surfing sessions within this client.

2. Is VPN Free?

Freeware VPN programs are free. If the free features are enough for you and you don’t exhaust the traffic quota, you don’t need to shell out a monthly or annual rent for a commercial offer. Tip: If you combine the VPN-Free programs from two competing providers, you will get a higher gigabyte yield for anonymous data traffic at no cost.

3. Is NordVPN free?

NordVPN is available in different packages and has to be paid for. A setup program can be downloaded for free, but don’t disguise yourself with it for free. You are at least able to make use of a money-back guarantee within 30 days.

4. What is VPN and what are its benefits?

A VPN hides your identity from prying web servers. Such a service exchanges your IP address, which your PC reports to websites, making you that bit more anonymous. However, there is no such thing as absolute camouflage: other techniques such as cookies and browser fingerprinting are still used by clever websites to recognize their visitors. VPNs used to be used in particular to securely connect one’s own PC to the company network via an encrypted tunnel; this is still common practice today, but “browse anonymously” VPNs are the common focus.

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