Best Free VPN: What, How, and The Best!
Privacy is not an option, and it shouldn't be the price we accept for just getting on the internet - Gary Kovacs
In this day and age where just about everything is online, people have become dependant on the internet. People seek entertainment on the internet and they seek business on the internet. But the internet is filled with holes and traps that leak your data all the time. As the quote said, privacy is not an option and it shouldn't be the price we accept for just getting on the internet. We need privacy as human beings. But how do you get privacy on the internet when there you know nothing about how your data is being leaked? Simple - Use a VPN or better yet, use one of the Best Free VPNs out there.
But What is a VPN?
This question may sound dumb to some but there are a lot of people who are new to the world of the internet or are just too young. If you are among these people or are simply unaware of what a VPN is, it is an application that hides your internet activity from the receive unless you want to by encrypting your data. Let's explore this in a bit more detail. So basically it hides what you are doing on the internet. This includes hiding your search history, your internet address, and so on.
Let's talk a little more about this.
How Does VPN Work?
To explain it simply, a VPN works by connecting you with the internet through a VPN network rather than through your internet server. Or to be more technical, it routs your internet connection through the router of your chosen VPN service provider rather than your Internet Service Provider (ISP). The data that you transmit will then be emitted from the VPN service producer.
What this does is essentially hide your IP address and protect your identity. If you are unaware of this technical term called IP address, it is simply a string of digits and numbers used to identify your device on the internet. When you use a VPN service, the service provider acts as an intermediary between your device and the internet.
This has another benefit as well. Since your IP address is masked when you use the internet through a VPN, if it is intercepted by someone, they won't be able to read that data until your data reaches its destination, basically encrypting it.
So, this is the basic gist of how a VPN works. But there is a burning question among those who use VPN. And that question is:
What Does a VPN hide and Doesn't hide?
Once you know what a VPN does, you would naturally want to know its limitations. Since there is no technology that is perfect, and VPN is all about your online security, people would naturally be worried about the strengths and limitations of VPN.
Let's Talk about what a VPN hides before talking about its limitations.
What a VPN hides
1) IP Address
This is one of the core functions of a VPN. When you browse the internet without a VPN, people can easily see your IP address. The first and most basic thing that an IP address tells you is your location. Using your IP address, a skilled person can track your location down to the street level. And what's worse, if you are constantly using your internet without a VPN, then the said individual can track your movements live.
The second thing that an IP address can reveal is the online services that you have registered to. This is basically a fancy way of saying that skilled people can track your search history through your IP.
And the list just goes on.
And by hiding your IP address, the VPN basically blocks the said individual from tracking all of the information your IP address reveals. As we mentioned earlier, VPN works by encrypting your IP address through a third-party server i.e VPN service provider. This is one of the primary reasons to use one of the best free VPNs. You can use a paid service if you want to, but for most people, a free VPN should be enough as long as it is one of the best.
2) Your Geo-Location
No, Geo-location is not the same as your physical location. In fact, a Geo-location is just the location that points to the signal from where the internet service is being used from. But that being said, under normal circumstances, this is not all that different from your Physical location.
Once someone is able to track your Geo-location i.e the location that is shown by your IP signal, it is not really that hard to track where the device is being used life, down to the street level. While this data is not always accurate, it is accurate enough to track your physical movements in a general area.
This is a scary thing since once a website knows where you are using the internet from, they can either promote or block certain types of content and websites. For instance, in the context of Nepal, most porn sites are banned. This is done by tracking your geo-location and banning them as requested by the Nepali government.
Another such example is: The ad's shown on social media. How do you think Facebook knows what type of ads to show to those who are from Nepal? This cannot be done unless it knows the location from where you are using their website.
This not only affects what you see but the price you get as well. And this is another reason to use among those Best Free VPNs.
3) Internet Traffic
Your IP address contains a ton of data, and what you do online is among them. To put it simply, your IP address contains your browser history. This includes everything from what you search, the websites you visit, how long you visit them, what you do on these websites, and the browser history you delete.
The scary thing about this is that incognito or private mode barely does anything to prevent this. While these modes do prevent ads and cookies from websites along with not recording your browser history, they barely do anything to hide these data from the IP address.
And once a hacker gets these data, they can easily send you targeted messages, use you as a portal to spread malware, blackmail you, or in the worst-case scenario using your browser history in conjunction with your location to cause you physical harm.
VPN service basically prevents things like this from happening. It encrypts your data end-to-end. This means that only the website you are interacting with can see your activities there - no one else.
Let's add +1 reasons to use one of those Best Free VPNs at the very least!
What it doesn't hide?
As you may have seen, VPN basically masks your IP address so that any third party (besides the Service provider) cannot see what you are doing. But that being said, it doesn't hide your actual IP address. If someone was to gain access to your IP address despite the use of a VPN, you will be exposed to every risk that you normally would be. Although it is hard to do it is not impossible.
At the same time, you must remember that the VPN server can still see your IP address. This is the reason why you can see ads on some VPN services.
Besides this, A VPN cannot hide your browser history. Since a VPN functions on IP address, it has no control over the data your browser records. And your browser records every data that doesn't rely on your IP address. This includes data like your browser history stored on your computer, your bookmarks, passwords saved on your browser, etc.
This basically means that if someone gets access to your computer or mobile, they can see what you have been up to (unless you combine VPN with the Incognito Mode)
5 Best VPN of 2021
By this time, you should have a general knowledge about what a VPN is, how it works, along what it can and cannot do. And by this point, you should also have realized that having a VPN is better than not. Half of your day is spent staring at the screen, mostly using the internet if you are an urban person anyways. So leaving your activities exposed for this duration is not exactly a smart move. But the thing is, most of the VPN services are expensive. Because they let your mask your IP address and disguise it into IP from a different location, VPN services charges you money. You should also note that these services charge money based on how much data you use on VPN. Thankfully, there are few VPN that give their services for free- at least a part of their services.
Let's talk about 5 of these Best Free VPN.
1) Proton VPN
Works on: Windows, macOS, Android, Android TV, iOS (e.g. iPhone, iPad), Apple TV, Chromebook, Chromecast
Data Usage Limit: Unlimited
Connection Speed Limit: No speed limit, but prioritizes connection of premium users
Server Location: USA, Japan, and the Netherlands
Split tunneling: window and android
Proton VPN is undoubtedly one of the Best Free VPN. The reason for this is rather simple. This VPN service gives you ample security with rather good services. It works on all general devices and you can use unlimited data through this VPN server. It has virtually no speed limit either.
But since you will be using a free version, there will be some restrictions for you. For instance, you will be able to access the server from three locations only. These three locations are Japan, the USA, and the Netherlands. On top of this, you won't be able to choose specific locations. Besides this, although you will be able to use the internet at virtually unlimited speeds, your speed will be a bit less than those using paid versions.
2) Tunnel Bear
Works on: Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, and Linux with browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox, and Opera
Data Usage Limit: 500 MB per month
Connection speed limit: No speed limit
Server Location: Over 20 locations (including
Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile)
Split Tunneling: Andriod only
Tunnel Bear is one of those VPNs that are not really meant for those who are constantly on the internet. Rather this is meant for those who only use the internet for a specific purpose and for less than 5 hours a day - or at least the free version is.
On the free version of this VPN, you will only have access to 500 MB of data. But that being said, you can use this VPN to access content from over 20 locations some of which are mentioned above. Along with this, you will be able to access the internet with virtually no speed limit. Unline Proton, Tunnelbear does not discriminate between the speed of paid and free users.
There are a few more limitations to the free version of this free VPN i.e you won't be able to access Netflix through this VPN and you can only have 5 simultaneous connections. Despite all of these, it is still one of the Best Free VPN, simply due to its security and accessibility locations. In fact, the only drawback of this free VPN is the limited data usage and lack of Netflix accessibility.
Works on: Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS with browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox, and Opera
Data Usage Limit:2 GB per month or 10 GB if you log in and confirm using your email address
Connection Speed Limit: No speed limit
Server lOcations: USA, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Romania, Switzerland, the UK, and HongKong
Split Tunneling - Andriod apps
When we compare Windscribe with the previous entries, we can somewhat consider this VPN to be a combination of both. This free VPN has adequate servers and data but not as much as the previous two. Now unless you are someone who is addicted to the internet 10 GB of data per month should be more than enough for basic online searches and to watch region-locked content.
Along with this, this VPN also has the feature of unlimited connection speed. While having limited data with an unlimited connection speed is not the most efficient combination, it does work when you need to watch region-locked content, besides Netflix.
You can only access Netflix while using this VPN only in the locations of the US and UK. Does the free version of Windscribe have some limitations? Definitely but is still has adequate data usage, excellent security, and adequate locations to browse from, making it one of the best free VPNs to use.
Works on: Windows Android iOS macOS Linux Amazon Fire TV Router Chrome Firefox
Data Usage limit: 10GB data usage per month
Connection speed limit: Unlimited
Server locations: Germany, Canada, Netherlands, US East, US West,
Split Tunneling: Windows, AndroidAndroid, macOS
Hide.me VPN is really similar to Windscribe. In fact, both of these can be considered as different versions of the same VPN. As you may have noticed from above, the only difference between Windscribe and Hide.me are server locations and the devices it can be used on. Besides this, both of these VPN has the same features.
You can access 10 GB of data with unlimited speed and from a few locations. Both of these VPNs have the same limitations as well. This VPN does allow you to access Netflix regardless of the location though so it might have a slight edge when compared to Windscribe but not much. Needless to say, since Windscribe rightfully deserves to be on this list of Best free VPNs so does hide.me
5) Hotspot Shield
Works on: Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS
Data Usage limit: 500 MB per day, refreshes every 24 hours
Connection speed limit: 2 Mbps
Server locations: US-based server location only
Split Tunneling: No
Hotspot Shield is another one of those VPNs that is not meant for internet addicts. You can only access 500 MB of data per day and that too at a limited speed of 2mbps. This may seem like a big flaw but when you use 500 with an average speed of 2mbps, it makes the data last adequately long.
While you may get a bit of slow internet, especially if you use large websites, for the most part, 2Mb is adequate for you. And another drawback of this free VPN is that you will be able to access the servers of only US. But this VPN does excel in security without any ads so it has every right to be on the list of best Free VPNs
So the conclusion is,
VPN is all about protecting your internet security by masking your IP address. While it is an effective way of giving you internet security, it is by far not the complete method. It has a major weak spot and that is the VPN server. However, for the most part, using a good VPN is enough to hide your data, save you from targeted advertisement and give you access to region-locked content.
As for the Best Free VPNs, it should be noted that these are the best ones you can get in both speed and security without the annoying ads. While there are other free VPN servers out there, they nearly are not the best. Some of them are quite secure, but they have some annoying ads that barely make them non-eligible for the top 5.
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