Protect Yourself With a Free VPN Service

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hide.me VPN for Windows
Geographically diverse VPN network. Decide which apps should use the VPN connection. The privacy policy is also good, with the right promises, and the payment scheme allows for a good amount of anonymity. That free tier offers MB free data per month, which is enough for browsing the web. And this VPN provider is definitely worth a look on the performance front, as during our testing, the aforementioned speed-granting technologies did actually prove themselves to have a positive effect. But it's a fairly major limitation if you're looking to download or stream video, for example - you'll need to delve into the other free options on our list if that's what you're after. Most however will sell user data or provide a something to a third party that will, again, compromise your privacy.

Using a VPN to Watch Netflix

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Auto Server Let our client automatically pick the fastest location for you. Auto Reconnect Once the connection has been interrupted, the software reconnects automatically. Auto Connect on Startup The client automatically launches and connects on startup, so you are always protected without taking care of it.

Kill Switch When kill switch is enabled and the connection interrupts, the client automatically blocks all outgoing network connections.

IP Leak Protection Thanks to our built-in firewall, the app limits all in-and outgoing connections to the VPN server, so it is impossible that your IP leaks to unwanted third parties. Step 1 Download and install hide. Step 2 Connect to any server that allows access to your favorite sites. Step 3 Congratulations, you can now browse freely securely! How to install hide.

More reasons why hide. Check here for the full lowdown on this controversy. Want to try Hotspot Shield Free? You can download it here. Speedify , as the name suggests, has one main aim as a free VPN provider: Even if you only have one type of internet connection, the firm claims its turbocharging technology will still help speed things up.

Free users get 4GB of data for the first month, but that drops to 1GB during subsequent months. And this VPN provider is definitely worth a look on the performance front, as during our testing, the aforementioned speed-granting technologies did actually prove themselves to have a positive effect. Want to try Speedify? There are, naturally enough, limitations for the free plan to incentivize upgrading to the paid offering.

But if you can live with that, this is an impressive provider with a strict no logging policy, and you can sign up with nothing more than your email address.

Speaking of clients, there are a good range of these — with native software for Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, plus Android — and we found performance levels were pretty solid too. However, speeds may drop at peak times when lots of users are around and paying folks get priority; at which point you may be tempted to upgrade to a paid plan. But clearly, with its unlimited data allowance, this is one freebie which is well worth considering.

There are other limits too: There are no adverts here, either. Performance was impressive in our testing, too. Overall, then, this is a more-than-solid free offering which tries to maintain your privacy, without too many restrictions. Want to try Hide. Need an easy-to-use VPN with plentiful servers? You got it with SurfEasy. There are both paid and free offerings, with the latter not restricting the amount of devices you can use — free users can hook up a maximum of five devices simultaneously, just like paid subscribers.

You also get 1, servers across 25 countries, and a very user-friendly Windows client. Performance is solid enough, although we found that some longer distance trips to more remote servers i. Which could be a compelling argument to switch from the likes of Chrome or Firefox…. Want to try SurfEasy? PrivateTunnel is a free VPN that offers protection for all of your devices - both desktop and mobile.

There's quite a bit of talk right now about whether a VPN to protect neutrality. The idea is that, if you tunnel through your ISP, it won't be able to throttle your connection or charge you to access specific online services. That makes sense on paper, but it actually works out that way depends on what the ISPs decide to do.

They could simply throttle all VPN traffic, for example. To me, the issue of net neutrality is a matter that should be decided on by Congress, and not one to be left up to individuals to solve, ad hoc.

Activists rely on VPN services to change their IP addresses and spoof their online activity to get around government censors. Regular people can use VPN services to encrypt sensitive online activity while connected to unknown Wi-Fi networks to foil ad tracking and to spoof their location. This last point means that, in some cases, you can enjoy region-locked content.

What do I mean by region-locked? The Netflix we know here in the US isn't the same Netflix that people in other countries see. Overseas, Netflix subscribers can see HBO shows, and major hit films on the streaming service that don't show up within these United States. That's because Netflix has specific deals to distribute this content in different areas. Netflix isn't the only service that can be tricked. There are numerous others. It's certainly fun to feel like you're getting away with something when using a VPN to gain access to restricted content, but don't complain if you get caught violating a company's terms of service in the process.

Just because you have a Netflix account does not mean you have a legal right to access Netflix content in another country. In fact, using a VPN to watch Netflix has become much harder as of late, because many VPN services render region-locked streaming sites inaccessible, and because the streaming services are fighting back against the VPN services that don't.

Let me say two things upfront: I am very well aware that there is nothing inherently immoral or illegal about downloading files through BitTorrent or peer-to-peer P2P services. That said, I also acknowledge that like it or not exchanging copyrighted material over these services is generally a breach of copyright law. For one thing, these services can put a strain on the company's resources. For another, it can put them into awkward legal situations.

But people are attracted to the idea because of the privacy protections and location-spoofing VPNs can provide. Before using a VPN for torrenting , it's a good idea to look through the VPN company's terms of service or FAQ to discover what its policy is for this kind of downloading activity.

Be sure to read carefully, because violating the VPN company's terms of service may result in you being banned from its use. Free VPN services generally fall into one of two camps: Hotspot Shield uses ads to make its free version pay, but it also restricts the number of servers you can access with a free account. That's not a deal breaker if you don't need a VPN to spoof a specific location. Others, such as Steganos Online Shield, place a monthly cap on network bandwidth.

Steganos has a limit of MB of traffic per month, which is not unusual for services that use bandwidth caps.

What Is a VPN?