Using public wifi without a VPN is bad news

Opting for a free VPN for Android or any other device isn’t always a great idea. Some providers have bad intentions and will sell your personal info or your browsing history (or both) to the highest bidder. That’s why we always recommend paying a few bucks per month for a reputable VPN service.

However, there are a few trustworthy VPN providers out there that offer free plans, but they have quite a few limits in place. Almost all of them give you a monthly data allowance and some even automatically select the location for you. If that doesn’t bother you, a free virtual private network may be a good option for you.

Related: The best VPN routers available

We’ve rounded up the best free VPN services for Android you can get, all of which are also available on other platforms. But before we dive into the list, let’s first talk about what VPNs are and why you should use one.

What is a VPN, anyway?

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If you already know what a VPN is, how it works, and why you should use it, feel free to skip this section and scroll down to check out the list of the best providers. Everyone else, keep reading.

A VPN — short for virtual private network — routes your data through its servers and encrypts it before sending it to the website you are visiting. To put it simply, a VPN changes your IP address, making it seem like you’re located somewhere else than you really are. For example, if you live in Germany and connect to the internet via a VPN server located in the US, the website you’re visiting will think you’re based in the US.

This has a lot of advantages. One of them is that you can bypass geo-restrictions put in place by various streaming services. For example, Netflix offers way more content to its US subscribers than those in most other places around the globe. So by connecting online via a US VPN, you can get access to a lot more movies and TV shows.

A VPN also gives you access to popular services like BBC iPlayer, a free streaming service with loads of great content that is only available in the UK. Just connect online via a UK VPN server, visit www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer, and start binge-watching your favorite shows and movies.

A VPN gives you complete anonymity online. Using it hides your browsing history from everyone — if the VPN provider has a no-logging policy — including your ISP. Yes, your ISP can see your browsing history if you don’t use a VPN and can sometimes sell it to third-parties such as advertisers, which is something we’ll talk about in more detail a bit later. Additionally, a VPN encrypts your data, which comes in handy when browsing the web on a public network — more on that later on as well.

This is a brief overview of what a VPN is. If you want more details on how it works, check out our dedicated post by clicking here, or just watch our very own Gary Sims explain it in the video below.

Best free VPNs for Android:

Editor’s note: We will be updating this list of the best free VPNs for Android regularly as new services launch.


1. TunnelBear free VPN

TunnelBear free VPN for ANdroid united states server location

The TunnelBear free VPN for Android, which is owned by McAfee, gets you 500MB of data per month. It’s super simple to use and doesn’t require a credit card to sign up. You can choose between servers in 23 countries including the US, Germany, Australia, India, and more.

TunnelBear has a strict no-logging policy for peace of mind and isn’t ad-supported despite being free (hooray). It offers additional free data valid for the month to those who tweet about the provider, download the TunnelBear app on their PC, or invite a friend who then signs up for the service. Unused data does not roll over to the next month.

If you need more data than 500MB per month, you’ll have to upgrade to a paid plan. Pricing starts at $4.17 per month if you prepay for two years.

The nitty-gritty:

  • Free data allowance: 500MB per month
  • Server selection: Manual — 23 locations available
  • No-logging policy: Yes
  • Paid plans: Start at $4.17 per month

2. Kaspersky VPN Secure Connection

Kaspersky vpn for Android poster

The free VPN by Kaspersky works like a charm but has its limitations like the rest of the services on this list. It offers 200MB of data per day or 300MB if the app is connected to a My Kaspersky account, which translates to at least 6GB per month. That’s not bad considering it’s free, but the service still isn’t suitable for power users. Unfortunately, there’s no option to score additional free data like with TunnelBear.

You don't need to make an account to use Kaspersky's free VPN.

There are a number of server locations available, but you can’t choose which ones to connect to using a free plan — the service will choose it for you automatically. The app is easy to use, allowing you to start browsing anonymously with just a simple tap. Signing up for the VPN is a breeze as well, as you don’t need to share your credit card or email address with the provider.

There are paid plans available, offering unlimited data and the chance to choose the server location. Pricing starts at around $2.5 per month if you opt for an annual plan.

The nitty-gritty:

  • Free data allowance: 200/300MB per day
  • Server selection: Automatic
  • No-logging policy: Yes
  • Paid plans: Start at $2.5 per month

3. Hotspot Shield free VPN for Android

Hotspot Shield on cell phone vpn stats

There are a few things that make Hotspot Shield one of the best free VPN services for Android you can get. It offers 500MB of data per day or around 15GB per month. That’s not enough for heavy usage, but it is more than what you get with most other free virtual private networks.

It’s also super easy to get started, as you don’t have to share your email address or your credit card info with the provider. Just download the app on your device, tap “Connect”, and you’re ready to go. The major drawback is that you can’t select the server you want to connect to — the app will do that for you automatically. There are also ads present in the Android app, which is annoying.

Like the rest of the services on this list, Hotspot Shield has a no-logging policy. It also offers paid plans starting at $5.99 per month that get rid of the ads and the rest of the limitations.

The nitty-gritty:

  • Data allowance: 500MB per day
  • Server selection: Automatic
  • No-logging policy: Yes
  • Paid plans: Start at $5.99 per month

4. Avira Phantom free VPN for Android

Avira phantom Android vpn service

Avira’s Phantom free VPN Android service offers a monthly data allowance of 500MB, which is less than a few other providers on this list. However, the service does allow you to connect to any of the 40 locations available, unlike some of the competition that selects the server automatically.

Read next: Best cheap VPNs — what are your options?

The sign-up process is hassle-free. Just download the app, select a location, and then turn on the VPN to start browsing anonymously — no need to share any personal data with the provider. The free version offers everything you get with a premium plan, with a couple of exceptions. There’s no kill switch available for disabling internet access if the VPN connection drops, and you don’t get any tech support.

To get rid of the limitations the free plan comes with, you’ll have to pay up. An annual plan will set you back $78, which translates to $6.5 per month.

The nitty-gritty:

  • Data allowance: 500MB per month
  • Server selection: Manual — 40 available
  • No-logging policy: Yes
  • Paid plans: Start at $6.5 per month

5. Hide.me

Hide.me logo for Android

This Android VPN limits you to 10GB of data per month, which is quite generous. There are five server locations available to choose from — Netherlands, Canada, Singapore, and the US (east and west coast).

Hide.me promises it won’t log your activities, giving you peace of mind that the provider won’t sell your data to the highest bidder. It’s easy to set up and start using, without the need to share your credit card info. All these things combined make it one of the best free VPN services to use.

If you need more data, there are a few paid plans to choose from. Pricing starts at $3.32 per month and goes all the way up to $12.95 per month, depending on the length of the subscription.

The nitty-gritty:

  • Data allowance: 10GB per month
  • Server selection: Manual — five available
  • No-logging policy: Yes
  • Paid plans: Start at $3.32 per month

6. Speedify free VPN for Android

Spedify VPN

Speedify offers 2GB of free data per month and can only be used on one device. It’s easy to set up, as you don’t even need an account. You just download the app, connect, and you’re ready to go.

The service can automatically connect you to the fastest VPN server based on your location, or you can select the server yourself. There are 37 of them to choose from in countries like the US, Japan, Italy, Australia, and many others. As the rest of the VPNs on this list, Speedify promises a no-logging policy, meaning it provides full anonymity online.

In case 2GB per month isn’t enough for you, the company also offers paid plans with unlimited data. Pricing is set at $9.99 per month, but you can get it down to just $1.5 per month if you opt for a three-year plan.

The nitty-gritty:

  • Free data allowance: 2GB per month
  • Server selection: Manual — 37 locations available
  • No-logging policy: Yes
  • Paid plans: Start at $1.5 per month

7. Windscribe VPN

Windscribe

Windscribe is quite a generous free VPN, offering 10GB of data per month. But only if you share your email address with the provider. If you don’t, you’ll have to do with just 2GB of data per month.

You have the option of manually selecting the server you want to connect to. There are plenty of them to choose from — 20 servers in 10 different countries. There are also loads of great features available including Split Tunneling, which allows you to choose which apps go over the VPN.

If you like using Windscribe but don’t like the data limits, you’ll need to step up to a paid plan. A monthly subscription will set you back $9, but you can get the price down to $4.08 per month if you prepay for the entire year.

The nitty-gritty:

  • Free data allowance: 2 or 10GB per month
  • Server selection: Manual — 20 locations available
  • No-logging policy: Yes
  • Paid plans: Start at $4.08 per month

8. ProtonVPN

Proton VPN on an Android phone

The last provider on our best free VPN list is ProtonVPN, which stands out because it doesn’t have a data limit. You can browse anonymously online with your Android phone or any other device for as long as you want, but your speed will take a hit — especially when there are a lot of users online. There are three locations available which include the Netherlands, Japan, and the US.

Read next: The best VPNs for torrenting

Setting up the VPN is easy, although you do have to make an account. But once you sign up, you get a full-featured seven-day trial for free. The Android app also doesn’t contain any ads, regardless if you’re on a free or paid plan.

ProtonVPN has a strict no-logging policy and can only be used by a single device at a time by free users. Paid plans start at $5 per month and go all the way up to $30 per month.

The nitty-gritty:

  • Data allowance: Unlimited
  • Server selection: Manual — three available
  • No-logging policy: Yes
  • Paid plans: Start at $5 per month

Are free VPNs even safe?

Android Chrome horizontal tab switching

Yes and no — it depends on the provider you choose. Using one of the VPNs listed above is probably safe, although we can’t make any guarantees. However, there are a lot of sketchy VPN providers out there that should be avoided at all cost.

The reason why is that some will try and make money off of you somehow. Running a VPN service is expensive, and the provided has to make money one way or another. So if it is not making it via subscription fees, it could be making it either via ads (which is understandable but annoying) or by selling your personal info or your browsing history — or both — to the highest bidder. Basically, a free VPN provider could be doing the exact thing it should be protecting you from.

Read next: The best VPN routers for gaming, business, and personal use

To put things into perspective, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) reviewed 283 VPN apps on the Play Store a few years back and found frightening results. Eighteen percent of the VPNs didn’t encrypt data at all, while 75 percent used third-party tracking libraries. Yikes! That just goes to show that you really have to be careful about which free VPN service you opt for.

When deciding whether or not a certain VPN is trustworthy, research is key. Do some digging online and check out what various publications, as well as users, are saying about it. Also make sure the company isn’t based in a country with a bad track record on online privacy, like China or Russia. You could never be sure if a VPN is sticking to its promises, but research will at least give you some peace of mind.

Which platforms do free VPNs support?

free VPN supported platforms

In addition to Android, all the free VPNs on this list also support Windows, Mac, and iOS devices, Some also support Linux and offer extensions for various browsers including Chrome, Firefox, and Opera.

Can I install a free VPN on my TV or gaming console?

VPNs don’t play well with TVs. While you can download and use them on Android TVs, most other smart TVs don’t support them. The same goes for gaming consoles like the Xbox One and PlayStation 4. However, there are hacks you can use to get around these restrictions.

One of them is to install a VPN on your router, which will then protect every device on the network including TVs, gaming consoles, computers, and tablets. That means you don’t have to install a VPN app on every single device you use anymore. By having a VPN on your router, your device is protected as soon as you go online.

However, not all VPNs support this feature. From the providers on our list, the only ones that do are Hide.me, Windscribe, and ProtonVPN. Additionally, you need a supported router as well. But even if you have one, we don’t recommend installing a free VPN on it just to protect your TV or gaming console. The reason why is that the data limits offered by free VPN providers are too low for you to frequently play games or watch content online — we’ll talk about this more in the next section. Installing a VPN on a router makes much more sense if you have a paid subscription.

Do free VPNs work with Chromecast or Fire TV Stick?

google chromecast remote

You’re probably wondering why should you go through all the trouble of installing a VPN on your router just so you can get access to more Netflix shows via your TV app if you can just cast the shows from your phone to the TV via a Google Chromecast. Well, the problem is that VPNs and Chromecasts don’t play well together. While your phone is connected to a VPN, your Chromecast is not, so the two can’t communicate with each other. The way to get around this is to connect both the devices to the same VPN server, which you can do by installing a VPN on your router.

Things are a bit different when it comes to Amazon’s Fire TV Stick since the device doesn’t need to be paired with a phone. All you have to do is download a VPN app to the Fire TV Stick, switch it on, and you’re ready to go. The free VPN providers on this list that offer an app for the Fire TV Stick are Hotspot Shield, Hide.me, and Windscribe.

It’s a similar story with the latest Chromecast with Google TV, since it has a user interface, offers access to the Play Store, and doesn’t need to be paired with a mobile device to work.

Can I use a free VPN for Netflix?

Netflix VPN for Android

Sure you can, but you have to keep data limits in mind. If you want to watch an hour or more of Netflix or any other video streaming service per day, a free VPN likely isn’t for you. As explained in our “How much data does Netflix use” post, you’ll burn through around 300MB of data per hour when streaming at just 480p. When watching 4K content, the data usage per hour jumps to as much as 11.5GB. If you go down the middle and opt for Full HD (1080p) streaming, expect to use around 3GB per hour.

Netflix can use as much as 11.5GB of data per hour.

By comparing those numbers with the data limits set in place by free VPN providers, you can quickly figure out that free VPNs aren’t the best for Netflix. Speed may be questionable for some providers as well, especially ProtonVPN, which will reduce your speed when there are a lot of users online. This may translate to a bad Netflix experience, as the video may stop and buffer multiple times while you’re watching it.

You also have to consider the fact that a lot of free VPNs will automatically select your location, which means they are more or less useless for Netflix. You would have to opt for a provider that offers manual server selection — like Windscribe, for example — so you can connect to a US server to get access to a larger library of content.

Another thing to keep in mind is that Netflix doesn’t like it when people visit its website via a VPN. The service constantly blocks VPN servers once it identifies them, so the one you go with may not work. This applies to both free as well as paid VPN providers, however.

Will a free VPN keep me safe on public networks?

Just like a paid VPN, a free one should keep you safe when using public networks in places like restaurants, hotels, and at the airport.

The problem with public networks is that they aren’t very secure. It’s relatively easy for someone with the right equipment to capture the packets of data that go from your device to the router, allowing them to see exactly what you’re doing online. If the website you’re visiting is using a protocol called Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP), the hacker can see your login details if you sign in as well as everything else you do on a website.

To protect your data, using a VPN on public networks is a great idea.

For that reason, using a VPN on public networks is a great idea, since the service encrypts your data so that the hacker can’t see your online activities. You can read more about this in our “How easy is it to capture data on public free Wi-Fi?” article written by the professor himself, Gary Sims.

However, it’s worth mentioning that when visiting websites with encrypted connections (HTTPS), hackers can’t see what you do online. A VPN may not be required in this case, but you’ll always have to check whether a website is secure or not. If the connection is secure, you’ll see a green padlock in the address bar of your browser. Most popular websites do offer encrypted connections these days, but not all of them.

Unfortunately, there’s no padlock visible when it comes to Android apps, making it a lot harder to figure out whether a connection is encrypted or not. So in a case like this, using a VPN is a good idea.

Will a free VPN hide my activity from my ISP?

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As already mentioned, your ISP can see the websites you visit and exactly what you do on them, provided they don’t have an encrypted connection. If you’re on an encrypted connection (HTTPS), your ISP can still see the websites you visit, but it can’t see what you do on them. For example, it sees you visited YouTube but doesn’t know which videos you watched. By using a VPN, your ISP will see nothing.

That means if the government comes knocking on their door demanding to see your browsing history, it’s out of luck. But you probably don’t do anything illegal online, so this shouldn’t be too big of a concern to you.

A bigger issue is that ISPs in the US can sell your browsing data to third parties like advertisers, which is a big no-no in my book. So by using a VPN, you can make sure your ISP won’t be making any extra money off you.

It’s important to keep in mind that while your ISP won’t see your browsing history anymore if you use a VPN, the VPN provider could. All the major VPN companies promise they don’t log your activities, so this shouldn’t be a concern. But then again, there’s no way you can check if that’s true.

It’s a lot easier to believe this claim if it’s coming from a reputable VPN that charges for its services than the one that doesn’t. As already mentioned at the beginning of this post, if the VPN provider isn’t making money from subscriptions, it might be making it by selling your data.

Free vs. paid VPN: Which one is right for me?

Hulu app Android VPN

If you’re not a power user and only need an Android VPN every now and then for some light browsing at home and on public networks, a free VPN will do you just fine. But if you want to use a VPN to watch content on streaming services, regularly download stuff from the internet, and keep browsing history private at all times, a paid VPN is the way to go. Simple as that.

There’s a third option as well. If you only need a VPN for a week or so to test it out, you could just sign up for a free trial. Not all providers offer it, but some do. This will get you unlimited data, likely faster speeds than free VPNs, and you won’t have to worry about the provider selling your personal data as much. If you don’t need the VPN after the free trial, just cancel your subscription. To keep using it, pay the subscription fee at the end of the trial and remain anonymous online.

One of the best options for a free trial is ProtonVPN, which gives you full access to its services for seven days without spending a dime — click here to learn more. But if after reading this article you’ve decided to skip free VPNs altogether and don’t care much about free trials, check out the three paid providers we recommend, along with their prices, below:

  • ExpressVPN — from $6.67 to $12.95 per month
  • NordVPN — from $3.71 to $11.95 per month
  • Ivacy — from $1 to $9.95 per month

To learn more about good VPN providers, check out our guides for the best VPNs for gaming, torrenting, and Netflix.


There you have it — these are the best free VPN Android providers in our opinion, although there are a few other great ones out there as well. We’ll make sure to update this post with new ones once they are launched.