The 3 Best Free VPNs Without Ads (It Exists)

There are many VPNs on the market, yet there aren’t many that are free and even fewer that don’t have ads. That’s why finding the best free VPN without ads is difficult. 

Yet, we have found one clear standout VPN that has a free plan that doesn’t suck. And that VPN is ProtonVPN

ProtonVPN offers almost two dozen servers in three countries (US, Japan, Netherlands). Their speeds aren’t mind-blowing but are more than enough to stream video in 4K from Netflix, Amazon Prime, and others. It also allows torrenting and has a strict no-logs policy, all for free and without any ads.     

->> Get ProtonVPN Free  

ProtonVPN – The best free VPN without ads

protonvpn

Pros:

  • Free plan without ads
  • Paid plans available
  • Based in Switzerland
  • 3rd party audited
  • Double VPN
  • Fast and safe protocols 
  • Unlimited data
  • TOR access
  • Focus on privacy & security

Cons:

  • Paid plans are pricey
  • Blocked by some streaming platforms
  • No phone or chat support
  • No dedicated IPs

->> Get ProtonVPN Free

About ProtonVPN

ProtonVPN is a Swiss-based VPN service operated by Proton Technologies AG with headquarters in Geneva. The company is also known for its email service, ProtonMail.

The founding team met at CERN, where, among other important things, the web was born. The VPN side of their business came to fruition after realizing that activists and journalists need better protection when using ProtonMail. 

ProtonVPN has more than 1,400 servers in 60+ countries that are owned and operated by the company itself. But, the free plan offers only 23 servers in three countries – Japan, the Netherlands, and the United States. 

Why is ProtonVPN so special?

protonvpn app
Best Free VPN Without Ads

ProtonVPN is special because it has a free plan that doesn’t have any ads, and the company doesn’t sell your data, i.e., your browsing history and similar. 

They say that privacy and security are basic human rights, and therefore they offer a free VPN service that’s basically subsidized by paying users. They could serve you ads and earn more money, but that doesn’t seem to align with the founders’ moral code.

ProtonVPN’s privacy policy is airtight and security top-notch, although some security features are missing on the free plan. For instance, there’s no P2P and torrent support, adblocker, streaming service support, Tor access, and Secure Core VPN. 

Still, even the free service comes with a strict no-logs policy, kill switch, and, of course, the ability to access blocked content.  

Because the company is based in Switzerland, your data is protected by Swiss privacy laws that are some of the strictest in the world. Plus, the strict no logs policy implies that your data won’t and can’t be revealed to third parties.

ProtonVPN is available on all major platforms and operating systems:

  • Windows, 
  • macOS, 
  • Linux, 
  • Chromebook, 
  • Android, 
  • Android TV, and 
  • iOS/iPadOS

ProtonVPN plans

protonvpn plans
ProtonVPN Plans
Free 
  • 23 servers in 3 countries
  • 1 VPN connection
  • Medium speed
  • Strict no-logs policy
  • Access blocked content

This is our main point of interest. ProtonVPN is the best free VPN without ads, period. Beggars can’t be choosers, and therefore 23 servers across three countries will have to do. The servers are spread like this:

  • 3 in Japan
  • 11 in the Netherlands
  • 9 in the US

At the time of testing, all the servers in Japan, the Netherlands, and the US were at 89 – 100 percent capacity. This didn’t affect the speed, though, which was superb and around 13 Mbps less than without VPN. My internet connection never goes above 100 Mbps anyway, so the speeds that I got from the free ProtonVPN plan were excellent. 

The downsides of the free, no ads plan are:

  1. Only 1 VPN connection/ device at a time
  2. Limited servers and countries
  3. No P2P support
  4. No adblocker
  5. No streaming support
  6. No Tor

So, although you get high speed and no ads, you will have a limited service if you intend to use the service for anything other than securely and privately browsing. 

You won’t get localized Netflix libraries, for instance. Also, no P2P file-sharing support, for instance, for torrenting. To get these benefits, you’ll have to upgrade to one of the premium accounts.  

Basic 
  • 350+ servers in 40+ countries
  • 2 VPN connections
  • High speed
  • Strict no-logs policy
  • Access blocked content 
  • P2P/BitTorrent support 
  • Adblocker (NetShield)

The Basic plan is an inexpensive plan, especially when paid annually or bi-annually. It offers connectivity for up to two devices, more servers and more countries, even higher speeds, as well as support for file-sharing and a NetShield adblocker that will block ads, malware, and trackers.

Notably, there’s no streaming service support, one of the main reasons people are getting VPNs. For that, you’ll have to upgrade to the Plus plan. 

Plus 
  • 1,400+ servers in 61 countries
  • 10 VPN connections
  • Highest speed (up to 10 Gbps)
  • Strict no-logs policy
  • Access blocked content 
  • P2P/BitTorrent support 
  • Adblocker (NetShield) 
  • Streaming service support 
  • Secure Core VPN 
  • Tor over VPN

Plus is the most popular ProtonVPN plan, and it’s easy to see why. You can compare this plan to that of most other major VPN companies’ plans. 

In addition to the offering of the Basic plan, the Plus plan comes with connectivity for up to 10 devices, which is more than enough for the whole family and eye-watering speeds and access to Secure Core and Tor. 

Finally, there’s also the support for streaming services with a connection to Plus servers. On the paper, ProtonVPN supports the following Netflix libraries:

  • United States
  • United Kingdom
  • Canada
  • France
  • Australia
  • Germany
  • India
  • Japan
  • Italy
  • Switzerland

In practice, it can be more of a trial and error situation with some servers willing to work with Netflix and others less so. The most uncooperative were Netflix, Japan, and India, which I couldn’t get to work.

Disney+, Amazon Prime, HBO, BBC iPlayer, and many other streaming services work for most of the users as well. 

The Plus plan also allows P2P on most servers. You’ll recognize them by a logo of two opposite arrows. 

Visionary
  • All Plus plan features
  • ProtonMail Visionary account

And finally, the Visionary plan that comes with all the Plus plan features but also a ProtonMail Visionary account. The email service side has support for up to six users, 20 GB storage, 50 addresses, unlimited folders/labels, and custom email addresses.  

ProtonVPN standout features

ProtonVPN Has Plenty of Settings
No-logs policy (All plans)

Proton’s strict no-logs policy means that none of your data is revealed to third-party institutions, and you basically browse, download, stream, and torrent like a ghost or a ninja. Whichever is your favorite.

Kill switch (All plans)

It’s an open secret that VPN connections break as well, and that’s why most VPNs have a so-called kill switch feature that will drop your internet connection as well if you lose your VPN connection. ProtonVPN has this feature disabled by default, so you can go ahead and turn it on for maximum protection. 

Secure Core VPN (Plus and Visionary)

Secure Core is basically double VPN, and many major VPN companies offer it. With this feature, your internet traffic will go through servers in privacy-friendly countries that include Switzerland, Iceland, and Sweden and are Proton-owned.

DNS leak protection (All plans)

Proton’s VPN apps all include DNS leak protection that prevents third parties from seeing the IP address of the DNS server in use. It was already enabled and couldn’t be turned off.

Split tunneling (All plans)

The split tunneling feature lets you exclude specific apps and IP addresses from the VPN tunnel. You can also assign only particular apps to go through the VPN tunnel. 

ProtonVPN speed

Without VPN
US server
Dutch server
Japanese server

ProtonVPN Free alternatives

We have found two other VPNs that offer free service but come with major caveats. Read on to find out more.

Windscribe 

windscribe
Windscribe – VPN Without Ads

Pros:

  • 10GB Free
  • Dedicated IP addon
  • Port forwarding
  • Strict no-logs policy
  • Unlimited simultaneous connections
  • Feature-rich browser extensions
  • Kill switch
  • Dedicated servers for streaming

Cons:

  • Only 10GB per month
  • Only 10 countries 
  • Slower speeds sometimes

>> Get Windscribe VPN Free

This popular Canadian VPN offers a free plan apart from their Monthly Plan, Yearly Plan, and Build A Plan plan. 

Windscribes free plan comes with unlimited connections and access to servers in 10 countries but also with only 10GB per month of data. This may or may not be a dealbreaker for you, depending on how much bandwidth you need. 

This could be an excellent choice for undemanding users as all the other full-plan features are also included.

>> Read more in our full Windscribe review

Opera VPN

Opera VPN Without Ads

Pros:

  • Free VPN built-in into the Opera browser
  • Good speeds for a free VPN
  • Unlimited data and bandwidth
  • No logs
  • No subscription
  • Easy to setup

Cons:

  • 3 locations only
  • No standalone app
  • Available only on desktop devices
  • Not reliable for streaming

Opera VPN is an interesting beast. It’s a free VPN that lets you browse privately but only through the Opera browser. There are no apps or even browser extensions. You simply enable VPN, and that’s it. You’re protected.

The Opera browser has been around since 1995 and is a somewhat popular browser. The VPN they offer isn’t a true VPN, though. It is free, doesn’t have ads, has unlimited data, but you’re only protected while browsing through the Opera browser. 

That means that other apps that you’re using aren’t protected, which may or may not be an issue for you. There are also limited server locations available and only labeled as Americas, Asia, and Europe.

There’s no telling which city or even country you’re connected to. Still, Opera VPN might be a reasonable choice for a limited number of users. With so many inexpensive VPN options out there, you’re better of getting the whole package, even if you’re an Opera browser user.  

>> Read more in our full Opera VPN review

The bottom line

I recommend ProtonVPN as the best free VPN without ads that is also fast and incredibly secure (kill switch, no-logs policy, double VPN, DNS leak protection) with 20+ servers in Japan, Netherlands, and the US, and support for only one device on the free plan.

ProtonVPN’s free plan was obviously designed for users that are looking for maximum privacy and security and not those that want to stream Netflix for free. If you have that in mind, ProtonVPN free is an excellent choice. 

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