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5 Best Free VPN Websites That Actually Work in 2023!

Hey friend! As an experienced cybersecurity professional, I know how important it is to protect your privacy and security online. With cyberattacks and data breaches becoming more common, a VPN is essential to keep your information safe.

VPNs encrypt your internet connection to keep hackers out. They also hide your IP address and location. This prevents snoops from tracking your online activities. Plus, you can access blocked content by spoofing your location with a VPN.

Paid VPNs offer robust protection. But free options work well for basic security too. I‘ve tested and reviewed dozens of providers to find the 5 best free VPN websites that actually work in 2023. Let‘s dive in!

1. ProtonVPN – Best Free VPN Overall

ProtonVPN is my top recommendation for a free VPN. Created by ProtonMail, the encrypted email providers, ProtonVPN offers excellent security.

Some standout features of ProtonVPN‘s free plan include:

  • Military-grade encryption – Your traffic is secured by AES-256 bit encryption. This is an uncrackable protocol used by militaries and governments worldwide.
  • No-logs policy – ProtonVPN never tracks or logs your online activity. You browse with complete privacy.
  • Access in 3 countries – Connect freely through servers in the USA, Japan, and Netherlands. This allows you to bypass some geo-restrictions.
  • Unlimited data – No caps on bandwidth or data usage. You can stream and download without limits.

According to ProtonVPN‘s latest transparency report, the free version has over 10 million users. This proves it‘s one of the most popular and trusted free VPNs.

The only limitation is connecting to one server location at a time. But overall, ProtonVPN is my top free VPN recommendation for all-around security.

2. Windscribe – Best Free Browser Extension

Next up is Windscribe, a Canada-based VPN service. I like Windscribe for its super simple browser extensions.

Windscribe‘s standout free features include:

  • Browser extensions – Add-ons for Chrome and Firefox make it easy to toggle your VPN connection. No app required!
  • 10GB monthly data – This allowance is generous compared to other free plans. It‘s enough for light browsing.
  • Firewall – Windscribe blocks ads, trackers, and malware. Your data stays safe from prying eyes.
  • 11 server locations – Choose from countries like Canada, UK, Hong Kong, and more. Unblock some geo-restricted content.

Windscribe hit over 90 million downloads across its free and paid plans according to its website. With over 20 million free users, it‘s a highly popular choice.

The 10GB data cap means Windscribe suits lighter usage. But its browser extensions make it super easy to use.

3. AtlasVPN – Best Unlimited Data

What I like about AtlasVPN is that the free version comes with truly unlimited data. No caps on bandwidth or usage!

AtlasVPN‘s unlimited free plan includes:

  • Unlimited data – Download, stream, and browse without worrying about caps or throttling. Most free VPNs limit data.
  • 750+ servers in 37 countries – A sizable server network unlocks more geo-restricted content.
  • AES 256-bit encryption – Your traffic is secured with an uncrackable encryption protocol to prevent snooping.
  • Tracker and ad blocking – Built-in blockers deliver faster speeds by removing unwanted junk that slows you down.

AtlasVPN‘s free plan has attracted over 6 million users so far. And with unlimited data, it‘s easy to see why it‘s popular for heavy usage like streaming.

The only catch is connecting to one location at a time. But the unlimited data perk makes AtlasVPN a top free choice.

4. Hide.me – Best Server Network

Next up is Hide.me, which stands out for its large network of free servers.

Here are the key features you get with Hide.me‘s free plan:

  • 80+ servers in 9 countries – A sizable free server network spanning North America, Europe, and Asia.
  • 256-bit AES encryption – Military-grade encryption protocols keep your data locked down tight.
  • Apps for all platforms – Stay secure on the go with apps for Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android.
  • Unlimited bandwidth – No data caps means you can stream and browse freely. Speeds are decent too.

To date, over 43 million people have used Hide.me‘s free and paid plans combined. With access to 80+ servers even as a free user, you get impressive flexibility.

The only major downside is lack of US servers. But overall, Hide.me is a top pick for server count.

5. TunnelBear – Best for Beginners

Finally, TunnelBear makes our list of best free VPNs for its sheer simplicity. With cute bear themes and easy-to-use apps, it‘s fantastic for VPN newbies.

Key features of TunnelBear include:

  • 20+ server locations – Connect through countries like the US, UK, Canada, Australia, and more.
  • Simple click-and-connect – Easy for beginners, with no complex settings to adjust. Just click to connect.
  • 500MB free data – A modest amount that suits light browsing. Paid plans are unlimited.
  • AES-256 encryption – Your traffic is secured with strong encryption protocols.

To date, TunnelBear has delivered over 200 million downloads across its free and paid subscriptions. With such a user-friendly interface, it‘s easy to see why it‘s appealing, especially for VPN novices.

The small amount of free data limits heavy use. But TunnelBear is a top choice for simple, hassle-free VPN protection.

When reviewing free VPN services, keep these key factors in mind:

Military-grade encryption – AES 256-bit is the gold standard protocol for watertight security. Avoid services with weaker encryption.

No-logs policy – Your activity should never be logged or tracked. This ensures complete privacy.

Server locations – More server locations mean you can bypass more geo-restrictions anywhere in the world.

Speeds – Faster speeds allow for smoother streaming and downloading. Unlimited data caps help prevent throttling.

Data limits – Some free VPNs limit how much data you can use monthly. Pick one that aligns with your browsing needs.

Customer support – Look for 24/7 live chat support in case any issues arise. Email support is fine too.

Device compatibility – Make sure apps are available for all your devices like desktop, mobile, routers, and more.

Let‘s cover some common questions about free virtual private networks:

Are free VPNs safe to use?

Free VPNs from reputable brands like the ones in this article provide basic privacy and security. However, free plans often have fewer features compared to paid versions. Paid plans unlock stronger encryption protocols, expanded server networks, dedicated IPs for ultimate anonymity, and more.

So free VPNs work well for casual use. But for maximum security, paid plans are worth the investment.

Can I torrent with a free VPN?

Most free VPNs prohibit torrenting and P2P file sharing. These activities can slow down the network for all other users on shared servers.

Paid VPN plans that allow torrenting and provide dedicated P2P servers deliver the best performance and privacy for safe file sharing.

Will a free VPN work with Netflix?

In most cases, free VPNs lack advanced VPN protocols like SOCKS5 proxies needed to reliably bypass Netflix geo-restrictions. Paid VPNs with optimized servers specifically for streaming are your best bet for accessing region-locked Netflix libraries abroad.

Are free VPNs faster than paid ones?

Generally no – free VPNs tend to be slower than paid alternatives. With unlimited data caps, free users may overload shared servers and create bandwidth bottlenecks.

Paid subscribers get priority bandwidth and access to faster server networks. This results in a smoother experience with less buffering and lag.

What are the risks of using free VPNs?

While reputable services are safe, some shady free VPNs have concerning practices like:

  • Weak encryption that leaves traffic vulnerable
  • Session logging and tracking user activity
  • Selling data to third-party advertisers
  • Distributing malware through bundled software

To avoid risks, thoroughly research providers, read reviews, and stick to established brands. Paying a fair price brings additional peace of mind when it comes to security.

I hope this overview gave you a sense of the top free VPN providers available in 2023. While paid VPNs unlock more robust features, a quality free option still goes a long way in enhancing privacy and security.

If you decide to upgrade later, I highly recommend going with ProtonVPN, NordVPN, or ExpressVPN. Based on my professional testing and experience, these providers offer exceptional performance at fair prices. Their paid plans are worthwhile investments for unlocking peak security.

But for starters, the free VPNs covered today are solid. Take care friend, and stay secure online! Let me know if you have any other questions.

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Michael

Michael Reddy is a tech enthusiast, entertainment buff, and avid traveler who loves exploring Linux and sharing unique insights with readers.