Would you like to access an internet site that is not visible in south africa? Would you like to browse the Net anonymously without communicating your actual IP address outside and, therefore, without detecting your actual identity? For these and many other purposes, the password is just one: VPN. I’m sure you’ve heard of it before, but today I want to help you shed some more light on the subject.
VPNs (short for Virtual Private Network) are handy tools. You can disguise your connection and bypass the regional restrictions applied by internet sites (as they make the relationship look like coming from other countries). To simplify the concept as much as possible, intermediaries act as links between the user’s computer and the sites visited, thus hiding the latter’s identity.
Maybe it seems too complex a topic for your computer skills, but I assure you that you are wrong: using VPNs is less complicated than it looks and, above all, does not require the disbursement of money (not necessarily, at least). Don’t you believe it? Then take five minutes of free time and check out the list of the best free VPNs I’ve prepared for you: I bet you’ll be amazed at the potential and flexibility of this tool, not to mention the simplicity with which you’ll be able to use it!
What VPN means
Ready to enter the VPN universe? Perfect, I want to start immediately by explaining in detail what this word means: VPN is the abbreviation of the English phrase Virtual Private Network, which we can translate into south africa as a “virtual private network,” and it is a particular technique that makes information about what takes place on the Internet invisible to unauthorized glances (whether they are cybercriminals, censorship bodies, surveillance bodies or otherwise).
In detail, this camouflage of activities is achieved through a specific type of encrypted connection (or tunnel, in the jargon) that is created between the device that connects to the Internet and the server that offers the VPN service: to be precise, speaking of Internet browsing, you require the VPN server to browse on its account, and the navigation data is exchanged between the server and the device from which you browse, in protected and encrypted mode, to prevent anyone from accessing it from outside.
In tiny words, this means that an internet site you browse on will see the VPN server’s IP address, not that of the user who looks at it, thus ignoring the actual location from which you visit it. Furthermore, numerous VPN applications, especially those not related to the browser, allow you to apply the same criterion for Internet browsing and de incoming and outgoing data of any application that exploits the Network, increasing the level of protection even more.
To put it all, even the Internet service provider (TIM, Vodafone, Infostrada, Fastweb, etc.) is not able to enter the tunnel and trace back to the traffic generated through the VPN: this means that your manager may know that you have connected to a VPN, but can not know anything about how you exploited it or the data you exchanged through it.
The VPN tunneling policy can also be used in professional sectors, especially if a company gives its employees permission to work from locations outside the location itself. If the company offers VPN access, the employee can connect to the internal local Network, even from home or from any other site, entering his login credentials and taking advantage of the virtual tunnel established by the VPN. Therefore, thanks to the VPN, you can work from your home desk on the company’s internal files and documents, with the absolute certainty of not being spied on from outside and of communicating with your workplace through an encrypted and protected connection.
How to use VPNs
Including what I’ve explained to you so far, you’re thinking that understanding how using a VPN can make you difficult: let me say you’re wrong because thanks to the explanations I’m about to give you, everything will be evident to you. Time a few minutes, and you will do everything independently, even without being a computer scientist.
I repeat, first of all, that through the VPN, the traffic between you and the Internet is protected, encrypted, and hidden, and that everything happens through a virtual tunnel between you and the VPN itself. To create this tunnel, programs or apps specifically for the purpose are taken care of, which are made available by the VPN services themselves: it is, therefore, necessary first to identify the VPN that best suits your needs, then to complete a possible registration to the service (it is not always required), download the program or app made available and, finally, configure them using your login credentials if necessary. After this, the software will create a tunnel between the user and the server and encrypt and “lock” the communications.
Once in the VPN tunnel, data traffic can no longer be seen or intercepted from outside, just as it happens when a satellite “loses sight” of a car entering the tunnel. Moreover, as I have already mentioned, Internet services do not know the actual location or IP address of those who exploit them, but those of the VPN. This means that your manager cannot understand what is happening inside the tunnel but at a cost often paid for in terms of speed. If the VPN service is not fast, or the servers are particularly far from the geographical location of those who exploit them, there could be significant slowdowns in the use of the Network. Do all clear? Well, then let’s go ahead and move on to the action by discovering, together, the best free VPN services.
Best VPN services for free
Before getting to the heart of the matter and listing what I think are the best free VPNs, let me warn you about a couple of things: firstly, exploiting VPNs of dubious provenance can be risky, because the server itself could record your traffic (it can, being the tunnel configured within it) for advertising or data analysis activities. Let’s be clear, the VPNs you’ll find on this list don’t do (at least not at the time I’m writing you) profiling activities, but always read the terms of service well and carefully that you can consult when registering.
Also, know that hiding behind a VPN does not secure the law, since there is no way not to leave traces of what you do on the Internet: I want to point this out because, often, it is thought that by exploiting VPNs, you become allowed to carry out illegal practices. However, I guarantee that this is not the case, since a crime remains a crime even from inside a tunnel, and the judicial authorities could – always with warrants and particular legal files – trace the IP address of those who exploit a VPN, in the case of an investigation, and severely punish it. It, therefore, uses this valuable service with awareness, conscience, and in full respect of the law.
That said, read on to find out what are currently the best VPN services that you can take advantage of for free as well.
While not a free service, I absolutely cannot overlook NordVPN: one of the world’s most famous and used VPN solutions. The reasons for this success? I would say the high degree of security, flexibility, ease of use, and convenience.
NordVPN is compatible with all popular devices and operating systems (Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS/iPadOS, Smart TV, Android TV, Raspberry Pi, NAS, routers, etc.) and offers a wide range of VPN servers spread all over the world. This allows you to protect navigation, even on public Wi-Fi networks, hiding all data from attackers and Internet providers (not even nordvpn operators themselves can access any data, as nothing of the activities carried out by users is recorded); to overcome regional restrictions and access the foreign catalogs of streaming services.
I server disponibili sono tantissimi, tutti abbastanza veloci: alcuni di essi sono finanche ottimizzati per attività specifiche, come lo scambio di file sulle reti P2P (es. BitTorrent), la navigazione tramite protocollo Onion (quello usato dalla rete anonima Tor ) o la navigazione con IP dedicato.
Come già detto in precedenza, il servizio non è gratuito, ma prevede vari piani, tutti con garanzia soddisfatti o rimborsati di 30 giorni: il piano più conveniente è quello di 2 o 3 anni in base alle promo in corso , proposto a meno di 3 euro/mese (fatturati annualmente); in alternativa ci sono il piano da 2 anni a 2,97 euro/mese (fatturati annualmente), quello da 1 anno a 3,93 euro/mese (fatturati annualmente) e quello da 1 mese a 9,56 euro. Nei periodi di promo, inoltre, nel prezzo possono essere inclusi degli extra (come il password manager NordPass , del valore di 194.61$). L’uso del servizio è consentito su un numero massimo di 6 dispositivi in contemporanea.
Per cominciare a usare NordVPN, collegati al sito ufficiale del servizio , scegli il piano di tuo interesse e crea il tuo account. Dopodiché devi installare il client ufficiale di NordVPN sui tuoi dispositivi: se utilizzi Windows , apri dunque il file .exe che hai ottenuto, clicca sul pulsante Sì , attendi che vengano scaricati da Internet tutti i file necessari al corretto funzionamento del programma e concludi il setup, facendo clic prima su Next e poi su Install e Finish . Se utilizzi un Mac , invece, puoi scaricare NordVPN direttamente dal Mac App Store .
Su smartphone e tablet, invece, apri lo store del tuo device (es. Play Store su Android o App Store su iPhone/iPad ), cerca NordVPN in quest’ultimo e fai tap prima sull’ icona dell’applicazione e poi sul pulsante Installa/Ottieni . Su iPhone/iPad potrebbe esserti richiesto di verificare la tua identità tramite Face ID, Touch ID o password dell’ID Apple.
Ad installazione completata, non ti resta che avviare il client di NordVPN , effettuare il Log In al tuo account e selezionare il server VPN a cui connetterti, scegliendo una delle nazionalità disponibili, uno dei server presenti nella sezione Speciality servers (quelli ottimizzati per P2P , navigazione tramite protocollo Onion o IP dedicato ) oppure effettuando una ricerca per trovare il server VPN più adatto a te.
Al termine della navigazione, apri nuovamente NordVPN e clicca sul pulsante Disconnect , per disconnetterti dalla VPN. Se qualche passaggio non ti è chiaro e/o ti servono maggiori informazioni sul funzionamento di NordVPN, leggi la mia recensione del servizio .
Un altro servizio VPN che devi assolutamente prendere in considerazione è Surfshark , che permette di navigare in tutta sicurezza tramite una cifratura avanzata (che rende le comunicazioni impossibili da intercettare per malintenzionati, provider Internet e perfino per gli stessi gestori del servizio) e l’uso di oltre 1040 server disseminati in più di 61 Paesi di tutto il mondo.
Surfshark può essere usato per superare le restrizioni geografiche, le censure e accedere ai cataloghi esteri dei servizi di streaming. Inoltre, ci sono funzioni avanzate che permettono di personalizzare al massimo il funzionamento del servizio e proteggere a 360 gradi la connessione: Whitelister per creare una lista di eccezioni con i programmi che non devono usare la VPN; CleanWeb per proteggersi da malware e altri contenuti dannosi/fastidiosi online e Kill Switch per disattivare automaticamente il collegamento a Internet in caso di disconnessione dalla VPN.
L’applicazione di Surfshark è disponibile per Windows , macOS e Linux su computer (dov’è disponibile anche tramite estensione per i browser Chrome e Firefox ), per Android e iOS/iPadOS ) su smartphone e tablet, su Amazon Fire TV Stick ), Smart TV, Apple TV, PlayStation, Xbox e anche altri device che non supportano direttamente l’installazione di VPN, tramite il sistema di DNS intelligente di Surfshark ). L’utilizzo è consentito da più dispositivi in contemporanea, senza limiti.
Quanto ai prezzi, il piano più conveniente di Surfshark è quello di 24 mesi a 1,79 euro/mese con fatturazione ogni 24 mesi; in alternativa ci sono il piano da 12 mesi a 4,99 euro/mese con fatturazione annuale e da 1 mese a 9,89 euro ; tutti con garanzia di 30 giorni soddisfatti o rimborsati.
Let us take action. To install Surfshark on your PC, connect to the official website of the service, click on the Buy Now button, choose the plan you intend to subscribe to and make payment by credit card, PayPal, Google Pay, Soffro, Amazon Pay, or Cryptocurrency. After that, download the program for Windows or macOS and install it: on Windows, launch the file .exe obtained and click on the Yes button; on macOS, use the Mac App Store or package .dmg).
To install Surfshark on smartphones and tablets, instead, open the application tab in your device store (using the links I provided you before) and press the Install/Get button. On iOS/iPadOS, you may also need to verify your identity via Face ID, Touch ID, or Apple ID password.
Once you’ve installed the Surfshark application on your device, all you have to do is start it, choose whether to create an account or sign in to an existing account and press the Connect button so that you can connect to the fastest VPN server.
Alternatively, go to the Locations section and choose the server to connect to “manually.” At the end of the browsing session, press the Sign Out button to disconnect from the VPN. More information is available on surfshark’s official website.
Opera VPN is the best example of a free VPN. Of few pretensions, it is integrated directly into Opera, the famous browser to browse the Internet (which I also told you about in my tutorial on the best browsers). However, it is not a very structured service: optimal speeds are not guaranteed, and there is no possibility to choose the part of the world from which to simulate the connection.
Opera VPN is a service that you can easily take advantage of if you need to mask your IP address while browsing the Internet to be able to access sites blocked in your country, but the protection offered does not go beyond browsing the Net and is limited exclusively to sites visited through the browser.
It’s time to explain how to activate Opera VPN: if you use a Windows computer or macOS, download the browser from this page by pressing on the green button Download Now, open the newly-downloaded file and, if you use Windows, press on the Accept and Install button, then click the Yes button, while if you use macOS drag the Opera icon into your Mac’s Applications folder.
Now open Opera from the Windows Start menu (the flag icon, bottom left) or from the macOS Applications folder, click the button with the red O that you find at the top right, then on the Settings entry, on the Confidentiality & Security item in the left bar, and finally click the Turn on VPN box to tick it.
Then return to your browsing activity, which is now protected through the VPN. To turn off the service, repeat the procedure precisely, removing the check on the Turn on VPN box to return to “normal” navigation.
Although the malware detection service of this VPN leaves a little something to be desired, I still decided to put it among the best VPN for free because Betternet is an excellent service that can be used for free for seven days. However, you must subscribe at the end of the trial period, priced from $11.99/month.
It shows a small advertisement before each connection and includes in-app suggestions, but it is an acceptable exchange for the unrestricted use of the service; also because the VPN offered by Betternet has no data limits, nor of devices that can be used simultaneously, the connection speed is quite good, and there are several locations from which to “simulate” a link.
Betternet is available on Windows computers, extensions for Google Chrome and Firefox browsers, and Android and iOS platforms. All you need to do to use it is to go to the download page that best suits your operating system, then press on the blue Get The App button: if you use Windows, wait for the BetternetForWindowsxyz,exe file to be downloaded, then start it with a double click and press on the Yes, Next, Install, Install, and Finish buttons to install it.
Per installare l’estensione di Google Chrome , collegati al Chrome Web Store e clicca sui pulsanti Aggiungi e Aggiungi Estensione , mentre su Android e iOS devi semplicemente scaricare la app di Betternet dallo store del tuo smartphone/tablet.
Per sfruttare questa VPN non c’è bisogno di registrazione e, come ti ho già spiegato, tutto ciò che dovrai fare per usarla è visionare un piccolo annuncio pubblicitario a ogni connessione. Ti raccomando di non visitare siti notoriamente ricolmi di malware, e di avere a disposizione un buon antivirus durante la navigazione tramite Betternet: come ti ho già detto, questa VPN non offre un servizio di rilevamento malware così efficace.
TunnelBear è sicuramente uno dei migliori servizi VPN in circolazione, che garantisce anonimato e protezione a chi decide di affidarvisi, e che può mascherare sia i soli dati relativi alla navigazione in Internet, sfruttando le estensioni per i browser Google Chrome e Opera , sia l’intero traffico Internet tra il dispositivo e il server, sfruttando i programmi per computer Windows o macOS , e le app per Android e iOS .
Per installare TunnelBear su Windows o macOS, recati nella pagina di download del programma e attendi che il file di installazione venga scaricato sul tuo computer, dopodiché fai doppio clic sul file appena scaricato e, se sei su Windows , premi il pulsante I Agree , poi sui pulsanti Install e Sì e segui le istruzioni a schermo per accedere alla VPN. Se usi macOS , invece, trascina l’icona di TunnelBear nella cartella Applicazioni del tuo Mac e richiama il programma dalla cartella Applicazioni . Per quanto riguarda Google Chrome , recati nella pagina del Chrome Web Store dedicata a TunnelBear e clicca sui pulsanti Aggiungi e Aggiungi estensione , mentre su Android e iOS devi recarti nello store di app del tuo dispositivo e scaricare TunnelBear.
The VPN offered by TunnelBear has an entirely free mode of use, through which you can take advantage of 500 MB of VPN traffic per month for free, as long as you make a simple registration form this page: enter a valid email address and password in the appropriate boxes, press on the Create Account button and follow the instructions that will happen to you by email to validate your subscription. Then, you can use the credentials thus obtained within the programs or apps I told you about earlier.
In addition, if the data limit is tight or you decide to invest some money in your security, you can subscribe to the service by paying about $10 per month or $60 per year.
Avira Phantom VPN
You have undoubtedly heard Avira’s name talking about computer antivirus. But, no, you are not getting confused: Avira Phantom VPN is the VPN solution offered by the manufacturer itself; it has exceptionally stable servers and allows you to use IP addresses, both for browsing and for access to Internet services, in different countries of the world.
Available in the form of a program for Windows and macOS, and apps for Android and iOS (all can be downloaded from this page), this service not only protects activities through the browser, but the total data traffic between the device and the Internet, and can also be used by multiple devices at the same time. To install Avira Phantom VPN on the computer, go to the program download page and click on the green button. Then, download the free VPN, wait for the file to be downloaded and start it with a double click.
Now, if your operating system is Windows, click the green Accept and Install button, then the Yes button, and wait for the installation of all services to complete. Otherwise, if you use macOS, drag the downloaded file to the Applications folder, then click the Accept and Install button and wait for the installation to complete. The program will be launched on its own at the end of the procedure.
Avira Phantom VPN is among the best VPNs ever and allows you to take advantage of 500 MB of free traffic per month upon a simple registration to Avira services (you must then enter credentials in dedicated programs or apps). Alternatively, you can take advantage of the PRO version for free for one month, without a data limit, and then proceed to subscribe to a pay subscription at the price of 7.95 euros/month.
Windscribe is one of the best free VPNs currently available. It offers programs and apps for many platforms: Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS, BlackBerry, extensions for Chrome, Firefox, and Opera browsers and the Kodi program, as well as apps for Amazon FireTV, Nvidia Shield, plugins for DD-WRT, and Tomato for routers, and configuration generators for OpenVPN, IKEv2, and SOCKS5; all downloadable conveniently from this page.
If you want to use Windscribe on your computer:
- Go to the program download page and click on the icon for the operating system you are using (e.g., Windows).
- Wait for the file to be downloaded to your computer, start it with a double click, and if you’re on Windows, press the Yes and OK buttons.
- Place the checkmark on the I accept the terms of the license agreement box and finish the setup by pressing twice on the Next button and then on Finish.
If you use macOS, after downloading Windscribe to your computer, you have to drag the downloaded file to your Mac’s Applications folder and then start the program via double-click. As for Android and iOS, all you have to do is install the app through your device store.
The free version of Windscribe, which you can use after a small registration to be made by pressing on the blue Use For Free button, allows you to take advantage of 10 GB of monthly traffic and connect from multiple devices at the same time, with a limitation – as well as on the data – only on the locations from which to log in (some are available only and exclusively to paid users). However, this does not alter the fact that, overall, the quality of service is good. Furthermore, the speed of navigation offered, despite the free nature of data traffic, is acceptable.
You must subscribe to a Pro subscription to eliminate traffic and location restrictions, which is not such a departure: it costs $4.50 per month or $45 per year. More info here.
Another excellent free VPN service is Hide Me, which has servers spread across 22 countries, so you can take advantage of 22 different locations when connecting. All in all, the connection speed is more than acceptable. In addition, traffic is encrypted at the global connection level (and not just for the browser) through programs for Windows, macOS, and Linux, and apps are available for Android and iOS.
To download Hide Me to your computer, connect to the download page that best suits the operating system you are using, then press on the blue Download Now button, wait for the file to be downloaded, start it with a double click and, if you are on Windows, press the Yes, Install and Finish buttons to finish the setup, while if you are using macOS, you have to drag the Hide Me icon to the Mac Applications folder (and then start the program with a simple double click).
A bit like the solutions I proposed to you at the beginning, the accessible version of hiding Mi also offers 2 GB of monthly traffic upon registration, and guarantees, in addition to anonymity and security, not to store any logs about the activity of its users, thus ensuring the safety of what is performed through the VPN. To unlock the data limit, you can subscribe to the service at a price starting at $4.99 per month directly from this page.
Did you see that? Not only have you quickly learned what a VPN is and what it is for, but now you can move with confidence even among the various free VPN services and choose the one that best suits you. What do you say? Now that you understand what it is, do you feel that using a VPN is excessive for your purposes, as you need access to blocked websites while browsing? Then I invite you to consult my tutorial on how to hide IP, in which you can find solutions that are certainly more suitable for your purpose.