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 VPNs in South Africa.
Best Free South Africa VPN 2021
30 day money-back guarantee.
- ★ Fastest VPN
- ★ Servers: 5300+
- ★ Countries: 59+
WHY I LIKE NORDVPN: NordVPN has long been regarded as one of the strongest brands in cybersecurity. With one of the largest server offerings on my list and support for most, if not all operating systems, making NordVPN an obvious choice for many. They have 24/7 customer support if you need help getting started. Their app is one of the most well-designed apps I have ever used. NordVPN even accepts cryptocurrencies as payment for extra anonymity.
45 day money-back guarantee.
- ★ Best torrent VPN
- ★ Servers: 7200+
- ★ Countries: 91+
WHY I LIKE CYBERGHOST: CyberGhost VPN is the first choice of many other cybersecurity experts, and the reason is clear; they have the most complete VPN service. An incredible number of extra features that are best suited for the more advanced users but also work flawlessly for every-day purposes like P2P-filesharing. Cyberghost VPN also has the longest stretching money-back guarantee at a full 45 days.
30 day money-back guarantee.
- ★ Best cheap VPN
- ★ Servers: 3200+
- ★ Countries: 65+
WHY I LIKE SURFSHARK: Surfshark VPN is perfect for those who want a cheap and reliable VPN that also has many extra features. "Camouflage Mode" hides your usage from your ISP, "Kill Switch" suspends your connection and protects your information if you temporarily lose Internet access, "MultiHop" to connect from multiple countries at the same time just to name a few. My favorite feature of Surfshark is "Whitelists" which allow the user to exclude specific apps and programs from the VPN connection.
30 day money-back guarantee.
- ★ Best gaming VPN
- ★ Servers: 200+
- ★ Countries: 63+
WHY I LIKE PRIVATEVPN: PrivateVPN is the strong underdog in the world of VPNs. With a shy number of servers, it is evident that they are focusing on quality over quantity. Overall, PrivateVPN is a very decent choice of VPN, especially if you had enough of the excessive advertising by some of the other more known brands in this list. Setting up the VPN requires extremely little intervention, and you can even pay with Bitcoin.
30 day money-back guarantee.
- ★ Incredibly cheap VPN
- ★ Servers: 700+
- ★ Countries: 27+
WHY I LIKE ATLAS VPN: Atlas VPN is one of the best new free VPN services. With the free version, you get unlimited data, no ads and zero logging. During my speed tests, Atlas VPN performed very well and could compete with mainstream services. Kill Switch, Ad-blocker, and P2P support all included with a regular subscription, which is incredibly cheap for such a robust service.
30 day money-back guarantee.
- ★ Best Netflix VPN
- ★ Servers: 35500+
- ★ Countries: 78+
WHY I LIKE PIA VPN: PrivateInternetAccess is at the top of my streaming tests, which is a great combination with their easy-to-use UI, Open-Source software and built in adblocker. PIA is also perfect for those who want to be able to pay with PayPal which for some reason, many other VPN services do not support. 30-day money-back guarantee, multiple Netflix libraries, and extremely affordable are the three main selling points for this VPN service.
30 day money-back guarantee.
- ★ Best Android VPN
- ★ Servers: 3000+
- ★ Countries: 94+
WHY I LIKE EXPRESSVPN: ExpressVPN is one of the fastest and most reliable VPN services. With the 30-day money-back guarantee, you will have a fair chance to see if you are happy with the service. They support almost every device and OS out there, and their 24/7 customer support is the best I have experienced among all the VPNs in this list. The only pitfall that ExpressVPN has is the price. It is double the price as some of the other services in this list. Despite that, I strongly believe ExpressVPN is one of the best VPN services you can get.
30 day money-back guarantee.
- ★ Best free VPN
- ★ Servers: 1246+
- ★ Countries: 55+
WHY I LIKE PROTONVPN: ProtonVPN is based in Switzerland and is most known for their e-mail service ProtonMail. They currently offer the safest free VPN services on the market. There is also support for TOR usage and P2P file sharing. I highly recommend ProtonVPN if you are intending to do some extensive online sharing. It goes without saying that Proton does not collect logs of any kind and is completely safe to use.
30 day money-back guarantee.
- ★ Best multi-device VPN
- ★ Servers: 1000+
- ★ Countries: 200+
WHY I LIKE HOLA VPN: Hola VPN garnered a bad reputation a few years back when it's free proxy service was abused, and some user data was leaked. Hola quickly fixed the issues, but the damage to Hola's reputation was already made. Today, Hola VPN is a strong contender in the search of the best vpn service. Hola has industry standard encryption, thousands of high-speed servers, and, a solid no log policy. The price is also very affordable, especially considering you can connect 10 devices simultaneously.
10 day money-back guarantee.
- ★ Best reputation
- ★ Servers: 91+
- ★ Countries: 17+
WHY I LIKE OVPN: OVPN is the best alternative for people who expect heavy security from their VPN provider. No other operator has the same level of physical security that OVPN has. All their servers operate without any type of storing media, which would otherwise log information. One selling point that really stands out, is their insurance. They go out of their way to protect their customers by having insurance so that when some government requests documents, they will have the resources needed to fight the claim in court.
45 day money-back guarantee.
- ★ Fastest free VPN
- ★ Servers: 3200+
- ★ Countries: 80+
WHY I LIKE HOTSPOT SHIELD: Protect your personal information from hackers, snoopers, and ISPs with the fastest free VPN of 2021. That is right, the crown for fastest free VPN has already been claimed by Hotspot Shield, supported by multiple speed tests around the web, including my own. While their premium VPN service is one of the more expensive ones, the free version is good enough for people who just cannot pay for a VPN service, but still value their online privacy.
No money-back guarantee.
- ★ Best new VPN
- ★ Servers: 202+
- ★ Countries: 41+
WHY I LIKE TRUST.ZONE: Trust.Zone is a rather new player in the VPN-game that offers a minimalistic VPN-option for a competitive price. Based in Seychelles with no-logging policies, this is a great alternative for those that want to remain completely anonymous. Unlimited speed and bandwidth make this a decent choice of VPN for P2P-sharing. All common operative systems are supported.
15 day money-back guarantee.
- ★ Great adblocker included
- ★ Servers: 1800+
- ★ Countries: 20+
WHY I LIKE iTOP VPN: Statistics show that VPNs are one of the most popular internet security tools, with more than 400 million people around the world using VPN servers for various purposes. There are a variety of expensive VPNs available and all of them have great features, but they are also a bit overpriced. iTop VPN is by far one of the most efficient services that offer all features collectively in a single place.
Detailed free VPN comparison
VPNs are becoming a standard to browse the internet as more and more people are getting more concerned about their privacy. Although there are thousands of VPN services that claim to be most secure, many of these services are costly as well.
It is impossible for everyone to buy and pay for a top-notch VPN service that comes with some exclusive features such as a no-logs policy, hundreds of server locations, and the highest speed. On the brighter side, there are thousands of free VPN services that we can use without any upfront costs.
Free VPN Providers — Market Share
According to CloudWards, free VPN users cover 29 percent of the total VPN market. This is a large percentage of people who use free VPN services to remove any type of censorship. In this article, I have listed my top ten free VPNs list that you can download and start using right now, but let’s first dig deep and learn more about free VPN services.
Are Free VPNs Safe?
There are various VPN providers that offer free trial versions of their software. Such free trial versions are normally safe, but they come with limited features. However, there are some VPNs that are entirely free without any restrictions. Such VPNs can pose a threat to your privacy.
For instance, these types of VPNs can use your computer as an exit node for some other user. They can also collect your data, including the websites you visit and other location information. This data is often sold to other organizations for malicious purposes.
Therefore, all free VPNs are not secure and many of them do not even have any policy that they follow. Hence, it is always recommended to use free trial versions before you jump onto any unpopular free VPN service that might be collecting your data.
Top 10 Free VPNs
Here is my list of the best free VPN services. Some of these VPNs are just trial versions of paid services, while the others are completely free to use.
ProtonVPN is one of the most credible VPN services with excellent customer ratings. This is a Switzerland-based company that claims to keep all your data private. The company does not save any data logs whenever you connect to their servers. Their premium version offers access to hundreds of server locations available in over 55 countries.
They also offer a completely free version that you can use for as long as you want. This version is limited to just three countries with a couple of servers in Japan, the United States, and the Netherlands. However, most features in this free version remain unchanged. Hence, users can enjoy secure browsing without paying a cent.
On the contrary, the free servers of ProtonVPN are often overloaded and occupied by various other users who want to enjoy free services. Therefore, it is sometimes difficult to find a good stable serve with a strong connection.
- Price: Free Forever (ProtonVPN Limited Version)
|Secured VPN Service||Limited Servers|
|No-logs Policy||Only 3 Countries Available|
|Entirely Free Version|
|Based in Switzerland|
Psiphon is certainly one of the most underrated free VPN services. It is a completely open-source VPN with its code available on Github. This service is excellent for bypassing any censorship, but it is not as solid as other VPNs when it comes to privacy.
As for connectivity, there are tens of country options to connect to the most optimal server that does not compromise your network speed. Also, it is a great tool to use when you are surfing on a Public-Wifi. However, it is not strongly recommended for security reasons.
Another best thing about Psiphon is that it comes with a simple layout and there are not many fancy buttons and processes to go through. Hence, you can easily install and connect to the fastest server with a single click. Undoubtedly, it is a go-to option for anyone who is more concerned with speed and bypassing censorship.
- Price: Free & OpenSource
|Fastest Connectivity||Not for Privacy|
TunnelBear has been around for many years, and it is said to be one of the most secure VPN services. Although TunnelBear is a paid service that can cost you hundreds of dollars based on the package you choose, they also offer a trial where users can enjoy 500MBs per month for free.
The provider offers over 41 countries and various server locations to establish a completely tunneled connection. Also, they have a no-logs policy, and they ensure data privacy of all their users. Moreover, they have been audited by third parties and they invite teams to audit the inner operations of TunnelBear to ensure the privacy factor.
Overall, TunnelBear is a great VPN service and its free version is a good start for anyone who rarely uses a VPN. They can enjoy free 500Mbs of VPN protection every month.
- Price: Free Limited 500Mbs Every Month
|Fastest Connectivity||Not for Privacy|
WindScribe proves to be another reliable VPN service that also offers a free limited version. The paid version comes with over 30 locations while the free version is just limited to 10 location servers. Also, WindScribe provides 10GB of bandwidth every month to their free VPN users.
They also encrypt all your information while you are connected to the internet and under their policy, they do not share any of your DNS information. Still, they do not seem to have a no-log policy which means they can potentially save your browsing data. Hence, it might not be a perfect option for complete privacy-lovers.
On the brighter side, it is a good VPN service to use while you are connected to the Public-WiFi. Also, you need to sign up with your mail account before you can use their free VPN service.
- Price: Free 10Gb Bandwidth Every Month
|Free Bandwidth||Little Slow|
|Secure Browsing||Saves your Data|
|10 Server Locations|
Hotspot Shield VPN
This VPN service is a bit complex, but it’s certainly not difficult to use. The users with the free version get 500MBs of VPN access every day, and they can only connect to US-located servers. However, paid users to have access to over 80 countries, and they can connect to 3200+ servers.
Also, they offer military-grade encryption. Hence, all traffic across the network is secured and untouched. As for mobile users, the Hotspot Shield provides limited 2Mbps access and the application comes with a lot of ads.
The users may face speed issues when the allocated servers are too occupied in the free version. The paid version is also very expensive as compared to other paid services. Although Hotspot Shield is a great VPN, it is not audited by a third party and they do not seem to have a no-log policy for data protection.
- Price: Free 500Mb Bandwidth Everyday
|Free Limited Bandwidth||Throttled Mobile Version|
|Military Grade Encryption||No Clear Data Policies|
|Lots of Server Locations|
Kaspersky offers a range of security products to provide its customers with complete protection. The company creates some amazing security tools for home networks as well as businesses. Their VPN service is also popular among their users.
In their Free trial version, Kaspersky offers a 200Mb bandwidth per day which is upgradable to 300Mb if you connect a My Kaspersky account. The two most highlighted features of Kaspersky VPN are their no-logs policy and IP Address Masking.
The VPN is extremely easy to connect to, especially in the free version. The users do not have the choice to connect to specific server locations. So, users can simply push the button and Kaspersky will connect you to the most optimized server location.
- Price: Free 200-300Mb Bandwidth Everyday
|IP Address Masking||No Choice to Choose Servers|
|Zero Logs Policy||No Kill Switch|
|Secure & Safe|
Although CyberGhost is a premium VPN, they are generous enough to offer a free 24-hour trial where users can try CyberGhost up to its full capacity. There are over 7300+ VPN server locations in 91 countries. The huge versatility of servers makes CyberGhost a great VPN.
The best thing about CyberGhost is that they have a no-logs policy but despite their own policy they allow users to use Smart Rules features to set their own privacy rules and triggers. Also, they use one of the strongest encryption protocols to send your data across the VPN tunnel.
It is also optimized for services like Netflix and Amazon Prime. So, you can browse freely without any restrictions and compromise on speed. The premium version is also discounted on their site. So, you can purchase it cheaply or you can simply try it for free.
- Price: Free 24 Hours Trial (Cheap Packages)
|No-Logs Policy||Free Trial Lasts 24 Hours Only|
|An abundance of Server Locations|
|Smart Rules Features|
SurfShark is another best VPN that comes with a 30-days free trial. The VPN offers over 63 server locations with excellent browsing speed. Also, it is available on multiple devices such as Windows, macOS, and Linux.
More importantly, SurfShark offers all those features that we often see in premium VPNs at high costs. One of these features is split tunneling. It also has a built-in ad-block and malware protection system to keep your browsing more secure whenever you activate the VPN.
Overall, SurfShark is a decent VPN and it is affordable too if you are willing to spend some money. The 30-days trial also works great with a complete range of premium features.
- Price: Free 30 Days Trial
|Split Tunneling||No Robust Data Protection Policies|
|Available Across Multiple Devices|
Hide.me is a great start for anyone who is concerned about their privacy, but they are not familiar with the technical side of the internet. The VPN offers a simple and easy-to-use interface for easy navigation.
Although the paid version has 1900+ servers in over 75 locations, the free version is only limited to 50 servers. The free version also has a monthly bandwidth of 10 GB. The positive point of their free version is that they do not throttle your network speed, unlike other free VPNs.
The VPN also offers a range of features including IP Leak Protection, Fast Proxy, and most importantly their no-log policy. Hide.me keeps all their user data private and they do not collect any sensitive information on their customers.
- Price: Free 10Gb Monthly Bandwidth
|IP Leak Protection||Limited to Single Device|
|Bolt Proxy Servers|
|1900+ Server Locations|
PrivadoVPN is another premium service that comes with a Free version as well. They offer a 30-day trial period where users are allowed to use 10Gb bandwidth. There are around 8 servers in free versions while the paid version includes a range of servers from over 45 country locations.
The only downside of PrivadoVPN is that their free version is only limited to a single device with 10Gb bandwidth. Above that, it includes a zero-logs policy along with the best encryption methods. Also, the service offers special optimization for Netflix and other streaming sites to explore content across your borders.
Moreover, the provider allows you to download your favorite torrents without any restrictions, which is another plus point. Also, it is available across multiple devices including macOS, Windows, Android, and Linux.
- Price: Free 10Gb Bandwidth for 30-Days
|Zero-logs Policy||Limited to Single Device|
|8 Server Locations|
|Optimized for Streaming Services|
|Easy to Use|
The verdict – Which one to choose?
All these VPNs work really well but if I have to further shortlist them based on certain criteria then this is going to be my choice:
The Completely Free VPN Choice
If you are looking for a completely free VPN without trial versions then Private VPN’s free versions are a go-to option for all privacy lovers. However, if you just want to get away with all the Geo-restrictions then Psiphon is a simple choice.
The Free Trial VPN Choice
All free trial VPNs come with excellent features.
If you want to try free VPNs that you may purchase in the future then CyberGhost might be your right option because it comes with almost all important features that you need to protect your privacy along with a range of services.
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 favourite 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.
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