The Best Free VPNs for Windows 2024

The best free VPNs for Windows, like PrivadoVPN and Proton VPN, safeguard your digital privacy, enhance internet security, and unblock streaming.
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Best for Streaming Enthusiasts

4.4
Editorial Rating
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On PrivadoVPN's website

PrivadoVPN
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Best for Privacy Advocates

4.9
Editorial Rating
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On Proton VPN's website

Proton VPN
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We’ve selected the best free VPNs for Windows based on features like ease of use, robust security, affordability, the ability to bypass geo-blocks, and more. Among a plethora of options, PrivadoVPN stood out, striking a perfect balance between effortless usability and enhanced security features. Proton VPN, anchored in Switzerland, offers unmatched privacy protection and a strict no-logs policy.

If none of these services meet your needs, we also provide recommendations for premium VPN services with the best free trials.

In this article
Are free VPNs for Windows worth it?
The best free VPNs for Windows
PrivadoVPN: Best for streaming enthusiasts
Proton VPN: Best for privacy advocates
Honorable mentions
How we tested the best free VPNs for Windows
Best free VPNs for Windows FAQs
Bottom line: the best free VPNs for Windows

Are free VPNs for Windows worth it?

Venturing into the realm of free VPNs might seem appealing, but it's essential to tread with caution. That’s because a completely free VPN often comes with hidden risks. First, your data privacy has a higher chance of being compromised due to your information being sold to third parties or your log activity being collected. Second, free VPNs are likely equipped with a weak server infrastructure due to a lack of resources and updates to their software. Third, they can potentially be embedded with malware, either on purpose to monitor your user activity or unintentionally due to a compromised download that wasn’t meant to be distributed.

This reality underscores the superiority of the best premium VPNs for Windows, which often include advanced security features, like a double VPN or perfect forward secrecy, and split tunneling. These features — along with faster speeds, a wider range of server location options, and additional offerings like ad blockers — significantly enhance online security and the user experience. Plus, a premium VPN often comes with free trials and 30-day money-back guarantees, ensuring a risk-free exploration of their services for anyone who wishes to test their VPN features and performance before making a commitment.

Choose NordVPN for a budget-friendly, secure VPN
4.9
Editorial Rating
Learn More
On NordVPN's website
VPN
NordVPN
Up to 66% off 2-year plans + 3 months extra
  • Ultra-secure, high-speed VPN complete with malware protection and automatic blocking of intrusive ads and third-party trackers
  • Other benefits include a premium password manager, dark web monitoring, and access to IP-restricted content
  • 3 plans to choose from for custom protection on up to 10 devices
  • Too many confusing plans

How to choose the best VPN for Windows

Choosing the right virtual private network for your Windows device involves more than just picking the first option you come across. It's crucial to find a service that aligns with your specific needs and budget. This process is akin to selecting a guardian for your digital footprint — one that not only promises to protect but also enhances your online experience. Whether it's for work, entertainment, or maintaining privacy, the right VPN will make all the difference.

When in search of the ideal VPN for your Windows device, consider these key factors:

  • Ease of Use: The best VPN should not only be powerful but also user-friendly. Seek out a VPN with an intuitive interface and responsive customer support that will help you set up a VPN on Windows if you need assistance. A straightforward experience, whether adjusting settings or switching servers, is essential to ensure the VPN enhances rather than complicates your internet use.
  • Cost-effectiveness: While choosing the least expensive VPN is appealing, consider looking beyond the price tag. A good VPN offers a balance of features and affordability, ensuring you get the most bang for your buck. Evaluate a VPN's value by considering the security features provided against the subscription cost.
  • Data Privacy: Choose a VPN that guards your privacy fiercely. Always read the fine print of a strict no-logs policy to check for any sneaky data collection practices. Check if the no-logs policy is backed by a third-party independent audit. Also, consider the VPN's home country, especially if it's in an intelligence-sharing alliance like the Five Eyes Alliance, which might risk your data being shared with authorities or governments.
  • Security: A reliable VPN prioritizes your safety with robust security features. This includes advanced encryption standards, like AES-256, to protect your data from prying eyes. A kill switch is necessary, automatically cutting off your access to the internet and maintaining your privacy if your VPN fails. Consider additional protections, too, like secure protocols, DNS leak prevention, or other features that further enhance your security. Opt for a VPN that protects your online life.
  • Server Availability: More servers mean more options. A vast network allows for better access to content across the globe and often results in faster speeds due to closer server proximity. Look for a VPN that offers a wide range of servers, especially if you aim to bypass geo-restrictions or circumvent censorship in regions like China, for example.
  • Speed: No one likes a slow connection. A VPN that minimally impacts your internet speed is essential, especially for streaming, gaming, or downloading large files. Consider VPN providers that are known for their speed and reliability to enjoy an uninterrupted online experience.

So when you're considering the best free VPN services, select a VPN that excels in these areas to ensure a secure, private, and optimal online experience on your Windows device.

The best free VPNs for Windows

Top 2 free VPN services for Windows compared

Starting price Starts at Free Starts at Free
Money-back guarantee Yes — 30 days Yes — 30 days
Streaming support Yes — Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+ Yes — Netflix, Hulu, Paramount+, Pluto TV, BBC iPlayer, Disney+, HBO Max
Learn more Get PrivadoVPN

Read our PrivadoVPN review


Read our Proton VPN review

PrivadoVPN: Best for streaming enthusiasts

4.4
Editorial Rating
Learn More
On PrivadoVPN's website
PrivadoVPN
  • Affordable pricing and a free plan option
  • Fast speeds and unblocks Netflix
  • Low server count

Who it’s best for

PrivadoVPN is the go-to choice for users primarily interested in streaming. Its robust unblocking capabilities make it easy to access platforms like Netflix, ensuring a seamless viewing experience. It’s one of the best VPNs for streaming due to its ability to sidestep network blocks.

What we liked

We found plenty to like about PrivadoVPN, especially its robust performance when it comes to streaming services. This VPN not only lets us access geo-restricted content with ease but also bolsters our security during these sessions with features like a kill switch and IP leak protection. When it comes to the specifics, PrivadoVPN is pretty generous. It has a free plan that's quite accommodating, while those looking for more can opt for a premium upgrade. The assurance of a money-back guarantee provides added peace of mind.

The PrivadoVPN dashboard open on the Preferences page on the VPN protocols.

Premium users have access to an adequate number of servers, ensuring you can always find a connection that suits your needs. Moreover, this VPN doesn't skimp on device compatibility, supporting simultaneous connections across multiple gadgets. Speed and security are top-notch, thanks to the use of leading VPN protocols. And for the privacy-conscious, its strict no-logs policy is a significant plus. Streaming enthusiasts will appreciate its capacity to bypass VPN blocks on popular streaming platforms, making it easier to dive into your favorite shows. Plus, torrenting is a breeze with its P2P support.

What we didn’t like

PrivadoVPN operates with a smaller server network, which might not appeal to everyone. It has hundreds of servers, a number that might seem somewhat limited when it comes to the variety of server locations across different countries. This might especially affect users on the free plan, who might find the available server options a bit too restrictive for their needs.

PrivadoVPN specs

Price range $1.11–$10.99/mo
Money-back guarantee Yes — 30 days
Number of servers Hundreds in 47 countries and 64 cities
Number of connected devices 10
VPN protocol WireGuard, OpenVPN, and IKEv2
No-logs policy No logs
Unblocks Netflix? Yes
Torrenting support Yes
Learn more Get PrivadoVPN

Read our PrivadoVPN review

Proton VPN: Best Swiss-based VPN for privacy advocates

4.9
Editorial Rating
Learn More
On Proton VPN's website
Proton VPN
  • Easy to use
  • A strict no-logs policy that’s been tested in court
  • More expensive than NordVPN, Surfshark, and CyberGhost

Who it’s best for

Proton VPN is perfect for users who prioritize privacy above all. Its Swiss base offers strong legal protection, and its no-logs policy is ideal for those serious about their online anonymity.

What we liked

Proton VPN emerges as a standout contender, offering features that distinguish it from others. At the heart of Proton VPN's appeal are its open-source platform and a firm commitment to a no-logs policy, which has been verified by an independent audit and upheld within the privacy-friendly confines of Swiss law. Its use of full disk encryption enhances the security of users’ data, even in high-risk countries. While it does offer AES-256 and ChaCha20 encryption for robust data protection and DNS leak protection to safeguard your online activities, it's important to note that advanced features like Secure Core servers, NetShield ad-blocking, Tor over VPN, and forward secrecy are reserved for its premium subscribers​​​​.

Proton VPN dashboard open on the Preferences tab.

The free version of Proton VPN, however, is not without its merits. Users are treated to unlimited bandwidth and no data caps, ensuring uninterrupted browsing and online activities without the hassle of ads. We liked that Proton VPN automatically connects you to the fastest free server location in the Netherlands, Japan, Romania, Poland, or the United States. This version also includes a kill switch and always-on VPN functionality, highlighting Proton VPN's dedication to maintaining user privacy and security at no cost. Such attributes make Proton VPN's free offering an attractive option for Windows users in search of a dependable VPN solution that doesn't compromise on the essentials of privacy or security​​​​.

What we didn’t like

While Proton VPN's free version is celebrated for its unlimited bandwidth and strong privacy protections, including a no-logs policy and high-level encryption, users may encounter some limitations. Speed and server access are noted concerns, with free users having access to servers in just five countries, which could impact the versatility and speed of their online activities​​​​. Additionally, while the free plan offers many privacy-focused features, advanced options like Secure Core VPN, NetShield Ad-blocker, and streaming service support are reserved for paid plans, which may require a bit more understanding and adjustment for those new to VPNs​​.

Proton VPN specs

Price range $4.99–$9.99/mo
Money-back guarantee Yes — 30 days
Number of servers 4,400+ servers in 91 countries
Number of connected devices 10
VPN protocol WireGuard and OpenVPN
No-logs policy No logs
Unblocks Netflix? Yes
Torrenting support Yes
Learn more Read our Proton VPN review

Honorable mentions

While PrivadoVPN and Proton VPN shine as top picks for free VPNs on Windows, a few other services deserve acknowledgment for their unique offerings and strengths. TunnelBear, Bitdefender VPN, and hide.me stood out during our research and testing phases for their distinctive features that cater to different user needs.

  • Bitdefender VPN offers integrated solutions for users already within the Bitdefender ecosystem, providing seamless security across devices. It's ideal for those seeking an all-in-one antivirus and VPN package.

    Get Bitdefender VPN | Read our Bitdefender VPN review
  • TunnelBear sets itself apart with user-friendly applications and a commitment to transparency and security. It's perfect for beginners wanting a simple, no-fuss VPN experience with reliable performance.

    Read our TunnelBear review
  • hide.me is known for its strong stance on privacy. It has a robust no-logs policy and offers a generous 10 GB per month on its free plan. It's best for users who prioritize privacy without compromising on data allowance.

    Read our hide.me review

How we tested the best free VPNs for Windows

To select the top VPNs featured in this article, we looked closely at critical aspects impacting user experience and security. Our comprehensive evaluation process included thorough research and testing.

  • Speed Tests: We measured connection speeds with and without the VPN to gauge its performance.
  • Privacy and Security: To ensure user data protection and privacy, we analyzed privacy and security features, scrutinized no-logs policies, and tested for any IP, DNS, and WebRTC leaks.
  • Server Network: We assessed the number and distribution of servers to ensure global coverage and the ability to unblock geo-restrictions and circumvent censorship.
  • Ease of Use: We evaluated user interfaces and setup processes on Windows devices for ease of use and simple installation.
  • Streaming and Torrenting: We checked capabilities to unblock content and support for P2P file sharing.

These criteria helped us determine which VPNs offer the best combination of security, performance, and value for Windows users.

Best free VPNs for Windows FAQs


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Is there a totally free VPN for Windows?

Yes, several VPNs for Windows offer free plans with limitations on data usage and server access, including PrivadoVPN and Proton VPN. The best free VPNs for Windows won’t drop your speeds, prioritize security and data privacy, and include accessible servers.


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What is the best free VPN for Windows PC?

​​The best free VPN service depends on your specific needs, such as speed, security, or streaming. We recommend PrivadoVPN for users primarily interested in streaming and Proton VPN for users who prioritize privacy above all.


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Does Windows 10 have a free built-in VPN?

Windows 10 includes VPN support, but you still need a VPN service to use it. You can use your Microsoft VPN client for Windows to connect to third-party VPN services, such as NordVPN. For most VPN users, this presents an unnecessary step when you can just use the NordVPN Windows app or whatever app is associated with your VPN.


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Is there a 100% free VPN?

​​Yes, but free VPNs often come with restrictions on data, speed, security features, and servers. Additionally, many free VPNs don't offer the same security protocols and features as premium services, and users may be more susceptible to hackers and malware.


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Is Proton VPN still free?

Proton VPN offers a free plan with no data limits but with other restrictions. If you want to opt for the premium service, we’d recommend looking elsewhere due to the price point. Proton VPN is actually more expensive than top names like NordVPN, Surfshark, and CyberGhost.

Bottom line: the best free VPNs for Windows

After thorough testing and comparison, PrivadoVPN and Proton VPN emerge as the best free VPNs for Windows users. They strike an excellent balance between security, speed, and usability.

While TunnelBear, Bitdefender VPN, and hide.me did not make the top two, they offer valuable services that cater to specific user preferences and needs. Choosing the right VPN depends on your requirements, from enhancing online privacy to unblocking content. Each of these VPNs provides a safe starting point for protecting your online activities on Windows devices.

But if you’re looking for a top-notch service with all the bells and whistles, consider investing in one of the best VPNs 2024.

2 best free VPNs for Windows 2024

Starting price Best for Learn more
Starts at $1.11/mo Best for streaming enthusiasts Get PrivadoVPN

Read our PrivadoVPN review

Starts at $4.99/mo Best for privacy advocates
Read our Proton VPN review

Customizable Coverage That is Simple to Use
4.9
Editorial Rating
Learn More
On NordVPN's website
VPN
NordVPN
Up to 66% off 2-year plans + 3 months extra
  • Ultra-secure, high-speed VPN complete with malware protection and automatic blocking of intrusive ads and third-party trackers
  • Other benefits include a premium password manager, dark web monitoring, and access to IP-restricted content
  • 3 plans to choose from for custom protection on up to 10 devices
  • Too many confusing plans

Author Details
Mars is a cybersecurity professional and writer based in California. Currently pursuing a B.S. in Cybersecurity, he serves as an Advisory Board Member for WEBGAP, specializing in browser isolation. With an interest in OSINT, ethical hacking, and threat intelligence, Mars enjoys writing security content and has experience as a Security Researcher, Cybersecurity Analyst (WEBGAP), and Editor-in-chief (Secjuice).