If you’ve got an Android smartphone, chances are you’ve found dozens of free VPN apps promising to help boost your online privacy on-the-go.
Hopefully you haven’t been downloading them, because almost all of them have major issues you want to avoid. These range from strict bandwidth limits their ads chew through to severe privacy concerns and even malware.
But that doesn’t mean there aren’t a handful of free VPNs for Android you can trust!
What to Look For in an Android VPN
Before we discuss our best recommendations or why you should preferably avoid free VPNs, let’s take a quick look at what you should be looking for when choosing a VPN ap:
- The provider is not based in a 5/9/14 Eyes country
- Strict no-logs policy
- 256-bit AES encryption
- Automatic kill switch
- IP and DNS leak protection
- Lots of servers
- High-speed connection
- Able to unblock streaming services
- Unlimited bandwidth
- OpenVPN protocol
- 24/7 customer support (live chat is best)
When it comes to looking for a free VPN, it’s unfortunately impossible to tick all of these boxes. But we managed to find a few options that come as close as we can reasonably expect…
The Best Free VPN for Android
Our guidelines for finding a free VPN you can trust are:
- Doing plenty of research, but being wary of fake or compromised VPN review sites
- Using a freemium service, where the provider offers a free version as well as a premium version
Using this criteria, we recommend the following providers:
- Windscribe is a freemium service, so you can upgrade to the paid version at any time. The two versions are almost exactly the same, with the only limitations being a 10GB/month bandwidth cap and a smaller server network to choose from. However, you can get an extra 2GB/month if you Tweet about the provider!
- ProtonVPN is another freemium option. There aren’t any data limits, but you can only connect to VPN servers in 3 countries.
- Tunnelbear is a cute, bear-themed freemium VPN that offers 500MB/month for free. However, you can get an extra 2GB/month if you Tweet about the provider! There are a few other issues (including some user logs being kept), but it’s a good way to ease into the world of VPNs.
- Speedify only gives you 2GB for free every month, and they have a few other notable issues. These include a less-than-ideal logging policy and substandard encryption.
Why You Shouldn’t Rely on a Free VPN for Android
While it would be great for a free Android VPN to be well and truly free, that’s never really the case. The 4 options we listed above are the best we could find – and there are issues with all of them!
However, they do pass a fairly simple test.
Most free VPNs also have at least one (usually multiple) of the following issues:
- Completely fake
- Logs your data and sells it to the highest bidder
- A government honeypot (or is otherwise known to give user data to the government)
- Has poor security
- Has major malware issues
If you’re going to use a free VPN with your Android device, then ideally it should only be as a short-term solution.
The Better Option…
By far, the best way to go is to take advantage of free trials and money-back guarantees if you only need a VPN short-term. Though, of course, we do recommend having a VPN long-term!
If your plan is to upgrade to a premium VPN at a later stage, then we recommend the following best VPNs for Android:
- CyberGhost VPN – 14-day money-back guarantee (45-day guarantee on longer subscription terms)
- ExpressVPN – 30-day money-back guarantee
- NordVPN – 30-day money-back guarantee
- SaferVPN – 30-day money-back guarantee
- Surfshark VPN – 30-day money-back guarantee
However, do remember money-back guarantees often have terms and conditions attached! In some cases, this includes bandwidth limits.
Ultimately, using a free VPN isn’t really recommended. But if you’re in a short-term bind, then the Windscribe freemium option or (better yet) a premium VPN with a money-back guarantee is the perfect solution.
Be sure to compare VPNs using our comparison tool to find the right VPN to install on your Android!