This is a huge privacy breach, so I compiled a list of the best free (and safe) VPNs for Windows. However, even these weren’t perfect. In return for a no-logs policy and military-grade encryption, safe free VPNs impose limits on data, servers, speed, and even streaming and torrenting. If you don’t want any restrictions, I suggest you try a low-cost premium VPN. ExpressVPN’s easy-to-use Windows PC app is the best in 2023 and it’s backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee. You can get a full refund (no questions asked) if you’re not satisfied. When I tested this, my refund was approved in minutes and the money returned in 5 days. Try ExpressVPN on Windows risk-free

Quick Guide: Best Free VPNs for Windows PC in 2023

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The Best Free VPNs for Windows 11, 10, 8, and 7 (Tested in January 2023)

1. ExpressVPN — #1 Windows VPN With Best-In-Class Speeds and Security Features

Key Features: ExpressVPN provides the best combination of speed, security, and privacy. While it’s not free upfront, I strongly believe it’s worth the small investment to maximize protection on Windows. It comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee, which gives you a risk-free way to test every premium feature before committing to a subscription. You can get a full refund if you’re not satisfied — it’s a “no questions asked” refund policy. ExpressVPN has exceptionally fast speeds across its global network of 3000+ servers in 94+ countries. On average, my speed with ExpressVPN only dropped by 18% from my regular speed when I tested over 50 servers. This was a very small reduction, with no noticeable difference to my online activity. Sometimes, it even increased my internet speeds instead of slowing it down! This makes it a great option for torrenting (every server supports P2P), multiplayer gaming, and streaming. For the best possible speeds, I recommend using the proprietary Lightway protocol. This was designed with a mere 1,000 lines of code in comparison to OpenVPN’s 70,000. You’ll get near-instant server connections and reduce the impact on your Windows device. If you want even faster speeds, you can use the split tunneling feature to exclude selected websites and programs from the encrypted tunnel (like your local news sites). To maximize security on your Windows device, ExpressVPN has a kill switch automatically enabled to protect your data if your connection is interrupted. There’s also built-in protection against IP and DNS leaks — I ran multiple leak tests and ExpressVPN passed every time. Better still, the audited no-logs policy has even been proven in a real-life government investigation — no identifying data is ever tracked, stored, or shared. All servers are RAM-based and run on TrustedServer technology, which are physically unable to retain information that passes through them. ExpressVPN is one of the only VPNs with a browser extension specifically for Microsoft Edge, as well as Firefox, Chrome, and Safari. You can even set up a virtual router with ExpressVPN on Windows 10 and 8. The virtual router works just as well as a physical router, and it allows you to share the VPN connection with every WiFi-enabled device in your home. This includes devices that don’t typically support VPN software, like gaming consoles and smart TVs. Every plan is backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee so you can try ExpressVPN on your Windows device for yourself. You can get your money back without any hassle if you don’t like it. I tested the process myself and was surprised by how easy it was. I simply contacted a customer support representative over 24/7 live chat and asked for a refund. The representative completed my request in minutes and I had my money back in 5 days. Try ExpressVPN on Windows risk-free

2. CyberGhost — Optimized Servers for Streaming, Torrenting, and Gaming on Windows (Only Free for 45 Days)

Key Features: CyberGhost is a premium VPN but you can use it for free 45 days with the money-back guarantee. This works like a free trial, which is great if you just need a short-term VPN for your Windows device. To get a full refund, you just need to speak to a customer support agent over email or 24/7 live chat before the 45 days are over. I especially like that the Windows app comes with a range of optimized servers, making it easy for you to choose the best server for your needs. These optimized servers are specifically designed to give you top performance when streaming, torrenting, and gaming. Other speciality servers include Dedicated IP and NoSpy Servers. The Dedicated IP tab is only usable if you pay an extra fee (CyberGhost will give you a dedicated IP address for your personal use, which you can access through this tab). The NoSpy Servers are available to everyone — these are highly-secure servers that are owned and operated by the CyberGhost team at their Romanian headquarters. Unfortunately, I did find that speeds dropped whenever I connected to a server far away from my physical location. To ensure the best possible speeds, I recommend connecting to an optimized server close to your location and using the WireGuard or OpenVPN protocol. Like ExpressVPN, CyberGhost has military-grade encryption, leak protection, and a kill switch. The no-logs policy ensures that your personal information remains hidden and the RAM-based servers don’t store any data either. There’s also a built-in blocker against malware, trackers, and ads (although I found the ad blocker didn’t really work). The best way to know if this VPN is right for you is to try CyberGhost for free on Windows. You can test every feature for 45 days and get a full refund later. I contacted the 24/7 live chat and spoke to an agent to arrange my refund — it was processed in less than 5 minutes and I had my money back in a week. Try CyberGhost on Windows for free

3. Proton VPN — Unlimited Data for Free and No Ads for Uninterrupted Windows Browsing

Key Features: Proton VPN provides unlimited data on its free Windows app. This is a generous gesture and rarely seen when it comes to free (and safe) VPNs. You don’t have to worry about going over your data limit or having to wait until next month to reconnect. You can just leave Proton VPN connected on your Windows device at all times. In tests, I found that Proton VPN’s download speeds aren’t the slowest (that would be Hotspot Shield and — but it’s not that fast either. On average, my speed dropped around 65% from 115Mbps to 40Mbps. Luckily, this drop didn’t make too much difference for me with a few minor lags on news sites. You only have access to 3 free servers in the US, Netherlands, and Japan. As soon as you connect to a server, Proton VPN’s strict no-logs policy ensures that no browsing activity is tracked, stored, or shared with third parties. As an extra security measure, I recommend turning on the kill switch to prevent any accidental data leaks while you’re switching servers (or if the connection unexpectedly drops). In addition, each server is secured with AES-256 bit encryption and Perfect Forward Secrecy — this means the encryption key is constantly changing to reduce the risk of your data being compromised. There’s also built-in leak protection against IP and DNS leaks. I ran multiple tests on and every server passed with zero leaks. Unfortunately, Proton VPN blocks streaming and torrenting on the free plan to entice you to upgrade into a subscription. With some trial and error, I found Proton VPN’s US server #8 could access Netflix, but more often than not I was met with streaming proxy errors. If you want to stay connected to Proton VPN at all times but you don’t want to deal with streaming or torrenting blocks, you can set up split tunneling on the Windows app. This lets you reroute your favorite streaming sites or torrent clients through your regular internet connection (instead of the VPN). All you need to sign up for a free Proton VPN account on Windows is an email address. making it easy to get connected right away. Try Proton VPN on Windows for free

4. Hotspot Shield — Great for Windows Protection on Public WiFi Networks With Free 15GB Per Month

Key Features: Hotspot Shield’s free VPN is ideal for securing your Windows device on public WiFi networks, including cafes, airports, libraries, and hotels. It uses military-grade encryption to prevent anyone from spying on your online activities. The kill switch blocks all traffic if the VPN connection is ever unexpectedly interrupted. If you’re like me and forget to activate Hotspot Shield on unsecured networks, the auto-connect feature even keeps you protected without having to manually connect. The free plan only has 1 virtual server in the US. While Hotspot Shield actively blocks streaming sites on the free plan, I was pleasantly surprised to find that its free US server works with Netflix, Disney+, and Hulu. Depending on when you connect to the server, you could experience some buffering and lag. In my tests, my speed dropped from 115Mbps to just 5Mbps (an almost 96% reduction). It’s worth considering this slowdown if your regular internet speeds are slower, as you could experience a significant decrease. To give your speeds a boost, you can try switching to Hotspot Shield’s own Catapult Hydra protocol as it was designed to improve speeds over long distances. You have 15GB of free data each month, which is restricted to 500MB per day. To help the data go further, you can set up the split tunneling feature so only specific websites and apps use the VPN connection. Unfortunately, some data will be used up by Google ads. To support the free plan, your general location is given to Google so you can receive targeted advertisements while browsing online. This isn’t a huge breach of privacy, but it’s also not the completely anonymous experience I expect from a VPN. If you’re only using it for a short period of time, Hotspot Shield is a good choice for secure browsing on Windows (especially on public WiFi hotspots). It’s quick and easy to get started — it took me less than a minute to sign up for an account and connect to a server. Try Hotspot Shield on Windows for free

5. — 10GB Free Monthly Data and Strict No-Logs Policy for Guaranteed Privacy on Windows

Key Features: has high-level security and privacy features on its free Windows VPN. Your traffic is protected by AES-256 bit encryption, a kill switch, leak protection, and an auto-connect function. You can even torrent and stream on Netflix (although I had to reconnect several times to find a working server). While there’s only 10GB of free data per month, it’s enough for several hours of streaming or even a sizable download. You can conserve your data allowance by using the split tunneling feature, which lets you bypass certain websites and apps from the VPN connection. This reduces the amount of data used when you’re using the VPN. In addition, you can turn on Stealth Guard so only specific apps are allowed to operate when the VPN connection is active. Unfortunately, my average speed dropped by 80% from 115Mbps to around 20Mbps. doesn’t throttle speeds on the free plan, but this is a significant slowdown that may impact you if your base internet speeds are already slow. If speed isn’t a huge issue for you, then is a great option for Windows. I was highly impressed by the unique features on offer, especially since it’s completely free. You do need to renew your account every 30 days, but you can do this an unlimited number of times. In short, there are no hidden costs and you don’t even need to sign up to use the VPN. Just download the VPN app for free and you can get connected on Windows right away. Try on Windows for free

6. TunnelBear — Fast Free VPN for Windows With 500MB Monthly Data

Key Features: TunnelBear’s free Windows VPN is packed full of premium features, but you only have 500MB of free data per month. The strict data cap means you’re limited to casual browsing and checking emails. However, you do have access to TunnelBear’s full range of servers in 3000 locations, military-grade encryption, leak protection, a kill switch, and an obfuscation feature called GhostBear (it makes the VPN connection appear to be standard internet traffic). I ran multiple speed tests and TunnelBear is fast. I only saw a 21% reduction on average (from my base speed of 115Mbps to 90Mbps), which is excellent for a free VPN service. TunnelBear doesn’t throttle speeds, so I found I could browse online without any lag. If you’ve got a slow internet connection, TunnelBear has a TCP Override feature on its Windows app. This forces the app to use the OpenVPN TCP protocol, which improves your connection stability. You can even use TunnelBear to watch Netflix and BBC iPlayer (although it struggled to connect to Disney+ and Hulu). Unfortunately, 500MB of data per month is barely enough for 30 minutes of SD streaming. If you’d like a data boost, you can post a tweet promoting TunnelBear for an extra 1GB. This is a single-time offer though, after which you’ll go back to the 500MB allowance. To download TunnelBear for free on Windows, you just need to create an account with your email address. While it’s not great for streaming, torrenting, or gaming, it’s ideal if you need a secure way to check emails and bank online. Try TunnelBear on Windows for free

Comparison Table: 2023’s Best Free VPNs for Windows

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Warning! Avoid These Free VPNs for Windows

Easy Setup Guide: How to Install a VPN on Windows

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Cross VPN

In tests, Cross VPN was flagged by 11 different antivirus programs as containing malware, particularly Trojan viruses. It’s been listed in the top 10 most malware-infected Android VPN apps, which doesn’t bode well for its Windows app.

How I Tested and Ranked the Best Free VPNs for Windows

To be open and honest about my methods, I tested 50+ VPNs VPNs against the following criteria and ranked them based on the results they produced.

100% free — Your money should never be at risk. I personally tested all the VPNs to make sure it’s either completely free or has a proven money-back guarantee. Generous data allowance — You need at least 500MB per month for checking emails and social media. If you’re a fan of streaming, torrenting or gaming, at least 10GB is ideal. Strong security and privacy features — Even a free VPN should protect your internet traffic with AES-256 bit encryption, a kill switch, leak protection, and a strict no-logs policy. Good speeds — Many free VPNs deliberately throttle speeds to force you to upgrade to a paid plan, but the best free VPNs won’t make you suffer through buffering or lag. User-friendly Windows app — Each VPN works on Windows 11, 10, 8, and 7 (including PC, laptop, phone, and tablet).

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How do I set up a free VPN on Windows?

Easy! I’ve listed out 3 easy steps to install a Windows VPN app. I recommend this method if you don’t want to deal with the hassle of manually configuring your own VPN. Even though Windows does have a built-in VPN client on versions 11 and 10, you’ll find many essential security and privacy features lacking. For example, the built-in VPN client only offers limited protocols, has no kill switch or split tunneling, and requires you to set up the connection manually every time. Unless you’re fairly tech-savvy, it’s challenging to set up and get working.

Are free VPNs safe for Windows?

It depends. You’ll find 2 types of free Windows VPNs: “Freemium” VPNs and completely free VPNs. Freemium VPNs for Windows are entirely secure — you can check out this list of the best freemium VPNs in 2023. These VPN companies have released a free version of their apps to entice you to upgrade into a paid plan. Your free account is subsidised by other paying users. However, completely free VPNs should be approached with extreme caution. Free VPNs still need to make money and can easily do so by selling your internet browsing history. The best case scenario is that you’re bombarded with ads, which could lead to your online movements being tracked. Worst case, the VPN contains malware designed to locate and steal your sensitive data, putting you at risk of identity theft and malicious hackers. If you don’t want to risk your personal information (but you also don’t want to spend any money), you can take advantage of CyberGhost’s 45-day money-back guarantee to use it for free. This is the longest money-back guarantee out there — and you’ll get unlimited access to all its premium features during this time. Just make sure to ask for a full refund before the 45 days are up.

In most countries, it’s completely legal to use a VPN on Windows. However, the protection of a VPN doesn’t give you license to perform illegal activities, like cyberstalking, hacking, or downloading and distributing copyrighted materials. There are some countries where VPNs are banned or heavily regulated, like China, Russia, and the UAE. I recommend you check the local laws in your country before you start using a VPN. Try ExpressVPN on Windows risk-free

Protect Your Windows Device With a VPN

Not every free VPN for Windows is safe to download. Some free VPNs log your data to sell to third parties and even infect your Windows device with malware. Every free VPN on this list provides high levels of data security and privacy, as well as providing good speeds and server connections. While some have limitations, you won’t have to compromise your safety when using these free VPNs. If you don’t want any restrictions, then ExpressVPN is the top choice for Windows with military-grade security, lightning-fast speeds, and an impressive global server network. While it’s not free, ExpressVPN is backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee so you can get a full refund if you’re not 100% satisfied. I tested the refund policy myself and it took a few minutes to approve over 24/7 live chat. The money returned to my account in just 5 days.

Summary — Best VPNs for Windows in 2023