VPNs are becoming increasingly popular to protect yourself while surfing, to disguise the IP address or to overcome geoblocks. But the best VPN services cost money. If you are looking for a free VPN, you should be careful, because most offers have a catch somewhere. We show you how you can still get a free VPN.
VPN for free, is that even possible? Yes, you can, and in this post we will introduce you to free VPNs for various purposes. But you always have to keep one thing in mind: Running a VPN service costs money because employees and servers want to be paid. So a free VPN has to be financed somehow. Before you realize how that works with a free VPN and how fine it is for you, you should stay away from it.
In any case, it is worth considering whether you shouldn’t use a paid VPN for a security tool. The last one gives a good overview CHIP test. The market is highly competitive, which means that there are practically permanent discounts and you have to pay between 3 and 6 euros per month for the test winner, depending on the subscription period chosen. If you need a VPN more often, you should consider this small investment.
What is a VPN and when does it make sense?
VPN is the abbreviation for Virtual Private Network. You can do that with a little know-how set up yourself or you can use a VPN provider who provides the right software plus servers in different countries. If you use such VPN software on your computer, smartphone or tablet, it encrypts all Internet traffic and routes it through the VPN provider’s server. If you visit a website with the VPN switched on, take the detour via the VPN provider and are on the way with their IP address.
This has several effects: Your data is protected by the encryption, which is useful if, for example, you are out and about in an open hotel WLAN. Since you surf with the IP address of the VPN server and the providers have servers in many different countries, you can elegantly change your location and practically do so, for example, whether you are in the USA or Switzerland and thus overcome geoblocks for websites .
But there is also a big disadvantage: You have to trust the VPN provider, because all your Internet traffic runs through their server and they shouldn’t save any logs or even sell your data on.
Opera: Free Surf VPN
Im Browser Opera there are some functions that are not available from the competition. This also includes a VPN. You have to be careful with the terminology, because only surfing traffic in Opera is protected here. The provider therefore speaks of a surf VPN in marketing, HTTPS proxy is the technically correct name.
There is no limitation of the data volume and also no explicit throttling. According to our benchmarks, however, as with all VPNs, you have to expect a loss of speed. Standard DSL was slowed down from 20 to 14 Mbit / s. The practical thing about the Opera VPN, however, is that you don’t need a subscription, you don’t have to register anywhere, just switch on the function and you’re ready to go. The VPN determines an optimal location, you can manually select at least the region, Europe, North and South America or Asia are offered.
The question of financing still arises: Opera’s business model is advertising and in the Data protection you can read that every user gets their own ID, through which usage data is collected anonymously. However, Opera explicitly states that neither logs are created about the pages visited nor about the IP addresses of the users.
ProtonVPN is a strong VPN service in the paid version and it is also available in a free version. The provider’s wish is of course that users of the free version can switch to a paid subscription, but those who want can stay with the free VPN.
There is no volume limit, but in contrast to the paid version, ProtonVPN Free is throttled, can only be used on one device and there are only three countries to choose from. ProtonVPN only records when users log in, apart from that there is one No-Log-Policy.
The free version of ProtonVPN is therefore suitable for occasional users who want to surf securely, especially in public WLANs. Try the offer if you need a VPN while on vacation, for example, but don’t want to spend any money on it.
Windscirbe is a Canadian VPN service that offers a free VPN in addition to the paid subscription. The big catch here is the volume limit. It starts with 2 GB of data volume per month, if you enter an email address when registering, it becomes 10 GB per month. This can be sufficient for many cases.
Sometimes Windscribe also runs additional promotions so that free users get even more data volume, but of course the goal here is also to get one or the other to buy a subscription. Either way, Windscribe also offers a lot in the free version, such as a selection of locations from ten countries, including the USA, UK, Germany and Switzerland.
You can also relax when it comes to logs, Windscribe saves the last time you used the service and also keeps an eye on the data volume, otherwise you will no logs saved.
Watch out for free trials and a money-back guarantee
Like you our last VPN-Test As you can see, many VPN providers offer a free trial. You can then use this free VPN for a short period of time to get an impression of the service. But be careful: Sometimes you need to register with payment details and if you forget to end the trial, the subscription will start.
Instead of a real trial, some providers now offer a money-back guarantee. The promise: You subscribe to the VPN service as normal, if you are dissatisfied in the first 14 days, in the first month or any other period specified by the provider, you can simply cancel and get your money back in full. Sounds good, but our samples showed one thing above all: it can be quite tedious to get out of a VPN subscription.
Prepare for annoying support games. Sometimes the money-back guarantee only applies if you have not exceeded a certain data volume. And here, too, the following applies: if you forget to cancel, you have the paid subscription on your cheek.