With the mass surveillance, hack attacks etc, the Internet has become a very dangerous place to be. While these are somewhat new, the old problems of cyberbullying and identity theft have also increased multifold. An increasing number of countries are censoring the Internet in their countries, and many like Saudi Arabia are also killing activists in the name of blasphemy and what not. To secure your online presence, VPN is a very important tool.
What is VPN?
VPN stands for Virtual Private Network. As the name suggests, it creates a private, secure connection between your computer and a server operated by the VPN service provider’s server. Internet connectivity is provided by the company’s server. This allows you to protect your identity, as your IP address would remain hidden.
When is it useful?
Using VPN is especially imperative when using unsecured public WiFi networks. Information on such networks is not secure or encrypted, and others connected to the network can easily view your information.
Even on secured networks, like the ones you have in your homes or offices, the ISP knows what you’re doing online all the time. And, depending on your country of residence, they might be required to share these details with government agencies.
What can it do?
As VPN creates a private network for you to browse the internet on, it protects your online privacy. It also protects you against mass data surveillance programs by changing your location to a country with strict privacy laws, By changing your location it also makes it difficult to track you. It protects you from the man in the middle attacks, which are very popular on unsecured networks. Many VPN services also provide DNS resolution system of their own to protect users from DNS poisoning. They also allow you to circumvent government censorship and protect their identities.
Limitations of VPN
It is not foolproof. While it provides security, anonymity is different. A skilled and determined attacker can almost certainly determine your identity, provided enough time. Using VPN will not help if you unwisely download malware from Internet or are fooled by a phishing attack. So, always be wary when online and read this.
Best Free VPN Services –
All free VPNs are usually limited by bandwidth, speed and/or ads because all of them have a paid subscription too. Many others have malware embedded with them. So, we have done the research for you so that you get a safe and good service. Here are the 10 services we have picked for you –
1 hide.me –
It is a Malaysia based service which has servers across 30 locations. However, the free version limits your server choice to Singapore, Canada, and the Netherlands only. It also limits free usage to 2GB per month but provides good speeds even in the free version.
2 Betternet VPN –
A true free to use VPN service, it is very easy to use, with single button activation. It has no speed or data limits for free users and works quite well. It also has a paid version, which adds some extra security features. The only downside is the currently limited number of servers.
Download Betternet for free from its official website.
3 TunnelBear VPN –
Another simple service with no complex setup procedure, TunnelBear has servers in US, Germany, UK, France and various other countries. It also has a paid service, which removes the 500MB/month data cap on the free version. Additionally, it also blocks all tracking websites.
Download TunnelBear VPN here.
4 CyberGhost Secure VPN –
An easy to use service, it comes in both free and paid versions. CyberGhost also lets you spoof your IP address to provide you with better security. However, the free version offers 1GB/month data, up to 2Mbps connection speed and a maximum of 6 hours of continuous connection.
Download CyberGhost here.
5 Proton VPN –
One of the new players in the market, it is made by the same team behind ProtonMail, making their privacy features some of the best in the market. It does not have any cap on data even in the free version, although it is deliberately slower to promote the paid subscription. It has servers in the Netherlands, Japan, USA, and Switzerland. As an added advantage, it does not keep logs on the users.
Download ProtonVPN here.
6 Windscribe –
Windscribe is one of the best free VPNs out there. While its adblocker and firewall can be a little aggressive, Windscribe’s generous data allowance and proper privacy commitment easily make it one of the best free options. It offers 10GB data per month for the free product, which you can increase by tweeting about the service (+5GB) and by referring your friends (+1GB for each referral) and has servers in a lot of locations like US, Canada, Luxembourg, France, Hong Kong etc. It does not log any data about it’s users. The only downside is free users cannot access all servers.
Download Windscribe here.
7 Psiphon –
Probably the most easy to use of all the VPNs mentioned in this article, Psiphon is a truly free VPN. It does not cap data usage and allows access to all servers even to free users. There is a pro subscription if you want to support the developers and access advanced settings. The only downside is reliability – many network providers have been able to shut it down, although the developers have always found workarounds.
8 Globus Free VPN browser –
Globus Free VPN comes as a package which includes a VPN agent and a browser. When you download and install the VPN agent, the browser automatically installs and gets pinned to your taskbar. It anonymously encrypts the entire traffic.The VPN agent gives you IP of UK by default along with a list of IP addresses you can select from. It is easy to use and provides full tracking and protection against data acquisition. However, connection drops are not reported by the software, so you have to keep using services like whatismyipaddress.com to check whether you’re protected or not.
9 Avira Phantom VPN –
This free VPN service provides a secure, encrypted and anonymous access to the internet on your Windows PC as well as your Android devices. It encrypts the entire communication between your Windows PC and the network and ensures your online privacy. Like most of the VPN software, Avira Phantom VPN also lets you change your IP address and access the websites restricted in your area. Avira Phantom VPN is a lightweight file and gets installed on your PC easily. However, only 500MB/month is provided for free use.
10 Neorouter Free –
This is a free zero-configuration VPN solution for your PC. It supports various platforms including Windows, Linux, Mac, Android, iOS and more. Neorouter comes with a P2P support (peer-to-peer connection between computers), portable client setup and remote wake-up (wake up your PC when connected to a network). The secured network protects your internet traffic on shared connections and helps you sharing files and folder with your friends and play network games. It is a completely free service, with no caps on data or speed. Just follow instruction on website to setup.
I am a student of Mechanical Engineering (Undergrad 6th sem). My interests lie in 3D modelling, technology, writing and football. Feel free to ask me anything !