Free virtual private networks (VPNs) have become few and far between. But what is still available out there? Read on to see the options we’ve tried and what they offer, as well as the options we haven’t tried and why!

“Honey, It Cost A Lot To Look This Cheap”

Free VPNs aren’t what they used to be. There are still free options available though. Should they be given a chance? Well, that depends on your personal needs.

Free VPNs may not be all things nice sugar-and-spice. Just like sugar daddies are also not the no-strings-attached limitless donut subscription we were promised.

Find out what that means as we go through different options for free VPNs we’ve tried.

You Say Hello I Say Goodbye To Hola VPN

Hola VPN seems to be the hot thing roommates everywhere are using for accessing Netflix of other countries.

First of all, it’s good to mention that we have skipped Hola VPN testing out free VPNs.

Hola VPN looks to be a proxy rather than an actual virtual private network. This because you are actually using another Hola VPN user’s IP address. And in turn, other users get to use yours.

For starters, the problem is people are then using your IP address for illegal activities and this could implicate you in a crime. At best you give up some of your bandwidth, which could slow streaming or other internet activities down.

Then also, Hola VPN users with the Google Chrome browser extension that are also users of the online Ethereum wallet service MyEtherWallet, have been victims of phishing attacks.

So even if privacy isn’t a concern, and having personal data sold to companies like Cambridge Analytica doesn’t sound problematic, then these mentioned concerns might ring some alarm bells.

How Do Free VPN Providers Fund Their Services

Look, regardless of what one might be willing to sacrifice, it is always good to ask the simple question ‘how do they pay for this’.

Firstly, there are a number of free VPNs that also offer premium versions of their free services. So they work to have people pay for better service by getting them started on a free limited one. Check, we get it.

Secondly, there are VPNs with paid subscriptions that offer free trials. We didn’t test those out, because they are free only for a week or so. Those include PrivateVPN and CactusVPN.

Lastly there all other VPNs that have no answers to how they pay their running costs. Shady as the mariana trench, we say. The money to have servers up has to come from somewhere. So user data must be how they fund their service.

Here are the free VPNs we’ve tried.

Hotspot Shield Free

Hotspot Shield offers a premium service that is paid, next to their free service.

Since Hotspot Shield free has a daily limit of 500mb, it’s already clear that Netflixing is out of the question. Having installed the app on a phone, pretty quick we’re out of data. Whether it was the guided sleep meditation on Youtube or podcasting, our daily use is gone. That sucks.

The app indicates later that we’ve gotten another free half hour of connection. The timer that starts after, is anxiety-inducing, to be honest.

Fun bonus: Hotspot Shield has a deep cleaning option for your phone.

Another VPNbase writer, Phillip Morris, reports happy times, however. He has the app on his phone for avoiding location tracking and geo-spoofing websites. He doesn’t do any type of streaming on his phone.

In many places, Hotspot Shield is mentioned as the best free VPN. So for safe online money transfers, checking flight prices from another location and so on, Hotspot Shield might be cool. It also supports up to five devices.

But… NETFLIX!

Tunnelbear

After having installed Tunnelbear on the Mac, which offers a premium version as well, we turn it on. This one definitely has the coolest interface. Also, we are now title carriers of ‘Little Tunnel Bear’. Cute points. However, pretty soon this happens:

Tunnelbear is good for privacy, but only has 500mb for free per month! Help. Sending out a Tweet about them yields another free GB. But streaming, forget it.

HOW CAN WE WATCH THE OFFICE US??

Windscribe

This provider offers 10GB for free per month! Hurray! Let’s hurry to the servers!

Windscribe also offers paid plans and has a plan where you are billed per location, interestingly. For reasons unknown, they require your e-mail address. This isn’t customary in VPN-land.

So Windscribe is installed, a connection is made to a US server, of which only a few are available. We hurry to Netflix in Google Chrome. Yay! Totally different content. And there, The Office US. After clicking on it though, we get a message that Netflix is detecting a proxy and asks to turn it off.

FAIL.

Are you getting tired? So are we. Here are some recommendations for premium VPNs to use with Netlfix.

ProtonVPN

With the free version of ProtonVPN, it gives the option to connect with one device and there’s access to three servers locations in the world; The US, Japan, and the Netherlands.

Logging in with ProtonVPN, take care to enter your username and not your e-mail address. It took us a moment to get it right.

Reviews on Google Play indicate difficulties with logging in, so just pay extra attention to registration and logging in.

ProtonVPN offers unlimited bandwidth, how cool! Youtube away and don’t even worry about it. It doesn’t work with older Mac OS though and with only one device, it’s not possible to run it on a phone and computer at the same time.

According to Reddit users, it seems to work with Netflix, or at least seven months ago.

The Pot of Gold At The End Of This Article

Sorry, this is just a plain old conclusion. Because in adult life we deal with the realization that things usually come at a certain cost. Yes, it’s painful and heart breaking, but better to realize this sooner, for the better we will be at making the decisions right for us.

Trying to stream Netflix with free VPNs hasn’t been a great experience *ehem* understatement if the year. That’s also because we don’t want to surrender our data and security to shady proxies though. But ProtonVPN can stay on the phone for the time being.

It really depends on your personal needs whether these options will work for you. Remember premium VPNs are less than a life lesson away.