VPNs have become an essential part of using the internet, whether you’re looking to access geo-restricted content on YouTube or Netflix or simply wish to hide your web surfing activity from your internet service providers.
Most VPN services have a subscription model, where they charge you for the service. Luckily, that’s not the case for all of them. Here are the best free VPNs for the Android OS.
Windscribe is a Candian VPN that’s available on a variety of platforms, including Android. While there’s a paid version, you can use Windescribe VPN for free. They use military-grade encryption and have a strict no-logs policy.
With a free account, you get 10GB of free encrypted web surfing a month. You can increase that and earn an extra 5GB a month by tagging Windscribe on Twitter as a form of advertisement. You also get a malware detector and ad blocker automatically with the app.
The Android app is lightweight at just under 80MB when installed. Its sleek and intuitive design makes it easy to use even for non-technical users. Additionally, you can use the same free account on an unlimited number of devices, both Android and not.
If you’re looking for a free app to bypass Netflix’s geo-restrictions, then Windscribe isn’t the one for you. Only paid users get access to global Netflix content.
Also, as a free user, you’re limited to 10 locations out of Windscribe’s 60 available servers. And while connection speeds are highly unstable for free users, it won’t get in the way unless you’re loading up online games or videos that take up a lot of bandwidth.
Download: Windescribe VPN for Android
Hide.me is a Malaysian VPN that’s been around since 2012. The app is free to download on use on all Android devices. They use 256-bit encryption on your data and have a strict no-logs policy.
With a free Hide.me account, you get 10GB of free data per month. Not to mention, Hide.me’s Android app comes with a Stealth Guard, allowing you to pick which apps can access the internet when the VPN isn’t connected.
The app is user-friendly and lightweight at just over 60MB when installed. The free version of Hide.me lets users unlock geo-restricted content on streaming websites such as YouTube and Spotify.
A free Hide.me account doesn’t unlock Netflix content. Also, you’re only limited to using five locations of Hide.me’s 75.
You can only have one active connection per free account. So even if you have it installed on multiple Android devices, you won’t be able to connect all of them at once.
Download: Hide.me for Android
ProtonVPN is a Swiss VPN service that’s relatively new, released in mid-2017. They offer a free version alongside their usual subscription-based model.
A free ProtonVPN account comes with 256-bit encryption, an optional automatic kill switch, as well as DNS leak protection. The best is yet to come with ProtonVPN. Free users have unlimited data use and it lets you unblock geo-restricted content on YouTube, Spotify, and even Netflix.
The Android app is only available on devices that use Android 6.0 and up, but you don’t have to worry about creating space is the app is also super lightweight and has a sleek and dark design that makes connecting to the web safe and easy.
A free account’s connection speeds are too low to comfortably stream videos and online games all the time. Also, you only have access to their servers in the US, Japan, and the Netherlands.
Download: ProtonVPN for Android
Opera VPN is slightly different from all the other free VPNs on this list. It doesn’t have its own app, but it’s a feature that’s embedded inside the Opera web browser. Opera VPN is a 100 percent free VPN and doesn’t have a paid version.
Opera VPN encrypts all the data you send and receive through the browser, they have a no-log policy, and you benefit from having unlimited data.
The Android app is slightly heavier at around 130MB when installed. But you can think of this as a two-in-one solution as Opera is also a powerful web browser. The VPN part of the Android browser doesn’t allow for a lot of customization, but it’s easy and quick to use
Opera VPN doesn’t unlock any geo-restricted content on YouTube, Netflix, or Spotify. Also, Opera only has four dedicated servers for the VPN based in the US: Germany, Canada, the Netherlands, and Singapore.
Connection speeds aren’t optimal for streaming, but with a little bit of patience, you can still watch online videos on YouTube and other streaming platforms.
And note that since it’s built-in, Opera VPN doesn’t encrypt data traffic from other apps on your phone.
Download: Opera for Android
Speedify is an American-based software that offers both a free and a paid version. They collect some basic user data but don’t keep activity logs. They also use 128 GCM encryption for your data.
You get 2GB of free data that renews every month with a free account.
With Speedify, you can unlock US Netflix, Hulu, and Spotify and access geo-restricted content. You also have access to all of their servers in over 33 locations.
Speedify is by far the lightest app on this list, coming to around 15MB when installed. The app is simple, and you can switch on the VPN in under five seconds.
The downside is connection speeds. It tends to lag the connection for free users. As for Netflix, you can only access US Netflix using Speedify, which isn’t of much use if you’re already based in the US…
Download: Speedify for Android
The Dangers of Free VPNs
Without proper research, you might find yourself using an unsecured VPN or one that continuously collects your data with little to no warning. Instead of installing the first free VPN app for Android you see, take a few minutes to research the VPN and any available alternatives.
That way, not only will you protect your security and privacy, but you’ll also ensure you get the best free VPN out there.
Looking to invest in a VPN? You should check reviews first—but can you always trust them to be impartial?
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