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Truly Free VPN Providers

Free software? Who doesn’t like free software, right? Ah, well, that is a double-edged sword conundrum if there ever was one. You see, we all know that free things in life don’t come cheap (pun intended).

There is a reason why the phrase “there is no such thing as a free lunch” is so driven into popular culture and knowledge. This is because free things can often be risky or dangerous, and not what they seem! You’ll often be worse off with something free than if you paid for it yourself.

The same goes for software. Only a small portion of free software really works, is safe, and is worth downloading. Now, when it comes to protecting your internet connection with a network security solution like a VPN, or virtual private network, one should particularly not skimp or mess around there.

However, if the software has been approved by cybersecurity specialists and the IT community, why not use a free VPN?

Yes, you can definitely use a free VPN, just not any free VPN out there. The last thing you want is to route your precious devices and all of the sensitive information on them (as well as your, ahem, browsing history) through an untrusted solution. This could lead to all sorts of problems for you in the long run like identity theft, or sometimes, right away in the form of a malware infection.

Other times, free software you pick up on any old app store may just work and do what it says (if you are lucky) but the best-case scenario is that the software is going to be severely limited, or might paste you with ads and become unstable as you use it.

For these reasons, it is important to first look at what a VPN is technically, as well as what it can and cannot do. After familiarizing yourself with that section, we’ll take a look at the top, legitimate, and approved free VPN providers you can safely start using right now.

What is a VPN?

In order to protect your online activity and privacy, a virtual private network, or VPN as it is more commonly known, masks your real IP address and creates a secure, encrypted tunnel for internet access. No snoopers, trackers, or other curious parties will be able to connect your online activity to you.

A VPN helps you boost your internet freedom by using servers in different countries to unblock restricted websites (those that won’t open from your current location but do at home).

You could use this ability to access an endless supply of Netflix content (for instance the Netflix USA catalog), but it also gives you access to international media or news that may be blocked in nations with authoritarian governments.

The nation’s regulatory body does this and some governments have the power to block entire sections of the internet without having to answer for breaching human privacy rights or the right to access the internet.

Most of the time, establishing a VPN connection is simple. Once you’ve signed up for a VPN service, you download and install the VPN software. After selecting a server to connect to, the VPN will take care of the remaining tasks.

The VPN will successfully change the geographic location of your WiFi or ethernet connection while also concealing your internet connection in a protective cloak.

So why use a VPN? As you use the internet, your device is constantly exchanging data with other users of the network. Your browser also talks to the internet. Therefore, you frequently allow websites and other prying eyes access to your real IP address, which without your knowledge reveals your true location, browsing history, operating system specifics, device identifiers, and much more.

Top Free VPN Providers You Can Use Safely Right Now

As far as which free VPN provider you can safely use right now, the list is definitely not huge, but you still have a few good options. The following is a curated list of VPNs that are safe to use to encrypt and anonymize your internet sessions while some even offer features close to their premium bigger brothers.

Here is the list:

  1. PrivadoVPN: The best for Windows and Mac users
  2. Proton VPN: The one that offers unlimited data
  3. The best customer service of the bunch
  4. TunnelBear: Want server locations? This is the one
  5. Windscribe: Speedsters should find Windscribe is blazingly quick
  6. Atlas VPN: A good choice for smartphones like iOS and Android devices
  7. ZoogVPN: The one to use if you have FireTV

As you can see, no free VPN has all of the features you might need. However, this is free software after all. There is no reason you should surf the internet in a ‘naked’ fashion and not use one of these VPNs to wrap yourself in a private and secure blanket on a dangerous and risky internet space.

The catch is, of course, that you will have to sacrifice some features. If you’d rather go for the solution that has the best overall features for casual browsing, go for PrivadoVPN.

It is a newcomer and has all the bells and whistles you will need such as good encryption, Netflix unblocking, about ten server locations, and no speed cap (however a 10 GB per month data cap). Frankly, this is quite good for a free VPN which you can use with peace of mind and never pay a cent.

Naturally, most of us will use over 10 GB of data per month and require a bit more speed here and there. Well, in that case, go for Proton VPN, the only VPN on the list where data usage is not capped.

On top of a VPN, you should think about investing in a good antivirus solution that can monitor your internet activity 24/7 in real-time. Combining this with a VPN (which cannot kill or detect viruses) is a great way to have a satisfactory level of internet security and anonymity on the cheap.

Main image by Stefan Coders

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