My name is Per-Erik Eriksson and I am a cybersecurity expert. I have compared and tested hundreds of free VPN services to find out which one is the best. For some general purposes, a free VPN will suffice. However, if it is something you will use more than once and if you care about your personal privacy and data then you may be interested in checking out my collection of the best VPN in Ireland.
List of The Best Free Ireland VPNs 2021
Detailed free VPN comparison
How to download a free VPN
A free VPN will not protect your information as well as a paid service will, but if you are only going to use it temporarily and not handle any sensitive information such as your passwords, then it will probably work just fine.
It’s getting increasingly popular to use free VPN services for streaming but what many soon realize is that it is not worth the risk or hassle with a free service. A free VPN can use your information for advertising at best and in the worst-case scenario, log your activity. On our list of most reliable and affordable services, there is not a single one that uses logging, but this is unfortunately much more prevalent with free services. There is a saying that reads:
“If you don’t pay for the product, you are the product.”
Hola VPN is a so-called “freemium” version of a service. Signing up is extremely easy and it is a VPN that we recommend for users who only need to use a virtual private network temporarily.
They have apps for both iOS and Android which makes it a very convenient solution for people who are abroad in countries where certain websites are blocked by the government.
Avast Free VPN
Avast has a 7-day free trial which is perfect for users who need unlimited bandwidth during a limited time period. It’s also a very convenient way to try out the program before you buy it because you are not required to make a purchase.
If you find yourself needing it for more than 7 days, then you are free to either get a subscription or move on to another free virtual private network.
Hotspot Shield offers a free version of their service which is called “Free Proxy“.
While protecting your device from various cyber-threats you are free to use their service while browsing public WI-FIs’. Another great alternative for people who want to use a free service!
Getting started with a free VPN
When using a VPN for streaming, there are a couple of factors that are important to keep in mind:
- Is there a limit on how much data you can use?
- Is the speed good enough for streaming?
- Does the VPN service log your activity?
The answers to these questions are very obvious for paid services. For free programs, it is a different story. We do not recommend using a free private network for long term use.
Free VPN for PC
All services listed here work flawlessly for PC, as it is one of the most common requirements for making our top list of VPN services. PC is the most commonly used operating system and a service that doesn’t work for Windows is simply not good enough to be listed by us.
The best free VPN for Windows that we have tested is first on our list. But the truth is that if you choose a free service then you have to compensate with something else. Often it will be with targeted advertising. In other cases, it may be logs of your activity being sold to third parties.
The best-case scenario when using a free service is them constantly nagging you to upgrade your subscription. In other cases, they may limit your bandwidth.
9 out of 10 of all VPN services we tested and reviewed work for both MAC and PC. It is very common for operators to develop an application for each OS that exists. The only exception is Linux, where you have to choose a more specialized service.
Free VPN for Apple TV
ExpressVPN has a very easy-to-read guide on how to set up a VPN for AppleTV. Coincidentally, ExpressVPN is also our first choice when it comes to VPN with Apple TV! They offer very high speed for streaming up to 4K resolutions. The best part is, they have a 30-day money-back guarantee.
If you are looking for unlimited bandwidth with a free VPN then you need a service that has a 30-day money-back guarantee. This is because it is very common to use bandwidth restrictions with free services.
If you subscribe to a virtual private network and use their 30-day money-back guarantee, you have full access to the program for a full month. This means you have absolutely ZERO bandwidth restrictions!
No advertising, no bandwidth restrictions, no logs, and no risk at all.
Many users prefer to test VPNs by downloading movies through torrent sites and check the speed before they decide to purchase the service. Some will even venture out on the dark web, but it is not recommended without a paid VPN service.
Free VPN for Google Chrome
All services listed in our top list work perfectly with Google Chrome. Almost all of the operators that we tested worked seamlessly in the Chrome browser. The only web browser we encountered problems with was Opera, which performed poorly when it came to general speed and efficiency tests.
This goes hand in hand with the fact that the Opera browser performs poorly in ordinary performance tests compared to Chrome and Microsoft Edge.
Hotspot Shield, SetupVPN, RusVPN are a couple of services that we have tested for use with Mozilla Firefox.
All of the services have their expected disadvantages that come with free services such as advertising, but every single one fulfilled their purpose when testing for simple day-to-day tasks like using social media.
However, we quickly encountered problems with all of them when we tried to stream anything over 720p resolution.
The free services clearly do not pass our streaming tests. However, if you are satisfied with 480p streaming or 720p + with buffering, then a free service for Firefox can definitely work for your purposes.
Chromecast does not have built-in VPN functionality, which means you have to connect your Chromecast to a virtual router using VPN. This sounds much more difficult than it actually is, but we recommend that you at least have some computer experience if you are going to take on this task.
ExpressVPN has written a well-detailed guide on how to set up a VPN with Chromecast.
When it comes to streaming via IPTV using VPN, speed is of the highest priority. Everyone who has watched online TV knows that buffering and lag is one of the most frustrating things to experience when you are trying to relax with your favorite TV shows. We do not recommend using a free service for IPTV. This is because it’s very risky for you if the operator logs your activity. If they do this then it is very easy for various governments and companies to demand these logs and thus be able to prove that you use services such as IPTV.
Free VPN service for Android
Our tests have shown that many of the Android VPN services are difficult to use, bulky and slow. But some that stand out are NordVPN and ProtonVPN which you’ll find high on our leaderboard.
We have tested the services on mobiles like Samsung Galaxy S8, S9, and even S10. The only noticeable difference between the mobiles is the speed, which is significantly slower with older cellphones.
For iPhone and iPad
When we conducted our VPN tests for mobile VPN services, the end result was the same. Free software providers are almost useless while other well-known operators actually offer a good free product.
We do not recommend using a free VPN for long-term streaming, but it works well for single videos. We encountered problems when using a VPN service for more than 1 hour of streaming at a time, which indicates that either your allocated bandwidth is running out, or the service is slowly but surely throttling your connection. Both are something we have come to expect from free services.
Security of free services
When you start looking for a VPN it is often because you have realized that you are not as anonymous & protected as you first thought on the internet.
Their first instinct is to find a free service because why pay for something when it’s available for free? As it turns out, it’s not smart to trust a third-party company with your information without a consumer contract like you get when you subscribe to their service.
Your information is used as a form of payment and can be sold to advertisers by the operators. These advertisers are not always trustworthy. If you do end up using a free version, make sure they refuse to sell your data!
Therefore, it is important to be aware that you are not 100% protected when using a free VPN tunnel!
Frequently asked questions
🔒 Are free VPN services secure?
- No. They can at best protect your data usage from your ISP but often your information is sold to third-party advertisers.
🔒 Are free VPN services reliable?
- Far from all. The services listed here have undergone hundreds of hours of research and testing to ensure your safety. Unfortunately, we, and sometimes even the operators, do not have complete control over advertisers who use your information with free VPN services.
🔒 How does a free VPN work?
- You usually register with your e-mail address or log in with Facebook. Then you can download your free VPN software and start using it. No payment is required, but you will ultimately pay with your personal data instead.
🔒 How do free VPN services make money?
- Free VPN services often sell your information to advertisers who may use it to deliver targeted ads. However, there are many anecdotes about how personal information is sold to highly questionable companies. Use a free VPN service at your own risk.
🔒 Which free VPN works with Netflix?
- All VPN services listed here work flawlessly with Netflix. This is one of the basic requirements for a modern VPN service, according to VPNetic.
🔒 Which free VPN should I use?
- You should use a VPN that does not log or sell your information.
🔒 Which free VPN is best?
- VPN operators are constantly competing to offer the best free VPN service. But at the same time, they want to make money, so the services usually come with restrictions. The best VPN service for you is highly personal and depends on what you intend to use it for.
SUP46, Start-Up People of Sweden, Regeringsgatan 6th floor, Stockholm
Author Per-Erik Eriksson
Per-Erik-Eriksson is the main author of VPNetic. Everything you read here has been written by him or one of his colleagues. Per-Erik has 10 years of experience within cybersecurity and has previously worked at Microsoft as a software engineer.