Would you like to access an Internet site that is not visible. Would you like to surf anonymously on the Net without communicating your real IP address to the outside and, therefore, without detecting your true identity? For these and many other purposes, the password is only one: VPN . I’m sure you’ve already heard about it, but today I want to help you shed more light on the subject.
VPNs (short for Virtual Private Network ) are extremely useful tools, thanks to which you can disguise your connection and bypass regional restrictions applied by Internet sites (as they make the connection appear as coming from other countries). To simplify the concept as much as possible, they are intermediaries that act as links between the user’s computer and the sites visited, thus hiding the identity of the latter.
Perhaps you think it is too complex a subject for what your computer skills are, but I assure you that you are wrong: using VPNs is less complex than it seems and, above all, does not require the payment of money (not necessarily at least). Do not you believe it? So take five minutes of free time and take a look at the list of the best free VPNs I have prepared for you: I bet you will be amazed by the potential and flexibility of this tool, not to mention the simplicity with which you will be able to use it!
What does VPN mean
Ready to enter the VPN universe? Perfect, I want to start right away by explaining in detail what this word means: VPN is the abbreviation of the English phrase Virtual Private Network , which we can translate into a “virtual private network” , and it is a special technique designed to make invisible unauthorized looks (whether they are cybercriminals, censorship bodies, surveillance bodies or other) information on what takes place on the Internet.
In detail, this camouflage d <sselle activities is obtained through a specific type of encrypted connection (or tunnel , in jargon) that is created between the device that connects to the Internet and the server that offers the VPN service: to be precise, speaking Internet browsing, the VPN server is required to navigate on its own account, and the navigation data is exchanged between the server and the device from which it is navigated, in protected and encrypted mode , so as to prevent anyone from accessing it from the outside .
In very simple terms, this means that an Internet site you surf on will actually see the IP address of the VPN server, and not the user who actually looks at it, thus ignoring the real position from which you are visiting. Numerous applications for VPN, especially those not related to the browser, allow you to apply the same criterion not only for Internet browsing, but to hide the incoming and outgoing data of any application that exploits the Net, increasing even more the level of protection.
To be honest, not even the Internet service provider (TIM, Vodafone, Infostrada, Fastweb, etc.) is able to enter the tunnel and trace back traffic generated through the VPN: this means that your manager can know that you have connected to a VPN, but can not know anything about how you’ve used it or the data you’ve exchanged through it.
The VPN tunneling criterion can also be exploited in the professional sectors, especially if a company gives its employees permission to work from outside the headquarters: if the company offers VPN access, the employee can connect to the internal local network even from your own home or from any other location, entering your login credentials and taking advantage of the virtual tunnel established by the VPN. So, thanks to the VPN, you can work from your desk at home and on the company’s internal documents, with the absolute certainty of not being spied on from the outside, and to communicate with your workplace through an encrypted connection. protected .
How to use VPNs
Including what I have explained so far, you will certainly be thinking that understanding how to use a VPN can be difficult for you: let me say that you are wrong, because thanks to the explanations I am about to give you everything will be very clear. Time a few minutes and you will be able to do everything autonomously even without being a genius of information technology.
I repeat, first of all, that through the VPN the traffic between you and the Internetis protected, encrypted and hidden, and that everything happens through a virtual tunnel between you and the VPN itself. To create this tunnel, specific programsor apps are used for the purpose, which are made available by the VPN services themselves: you must first identify the VPN that best suits your needs, then make an eventual registrationat the service (it is not always required), download the program or the app made available and, finally, configure them using their login credentials. After this, the software will create the tunnel between the user and the server, and to encrypt and “lock” the communications inside it.
Once in the VPN tunnel, data traffic can no longer be seen or intercepted from the outside, just like when a satellite “loses sight” of a car entering the tunnel. In addition, as I have already mentioned, Internet services do not know the real position nor the IP address of those who exploit them, but those of the VPN. This means that your manager can not know what is happening inside the tunnel, but at a cost, often paid in terms of speed: if the VPN service is not fast, or the servers are particularly far from the geographical position of those who exploit them , there could indeed be significant slowdowns in the use of the Internet. Is this clear? Well, let’s move on and move on to discovering the best free VPN services together.
Best free VPN services
Before entering into the heart of the matter and giving you the list of what I think are the best free VPNs , let me warn you about a couple of things: first, exploiting VPNs of dubious origin can be risky, because the server same could record your traffic (it is able, being the tunnel configured inside it) for advertising or data analysis activities. Let’s be clear, the VPNs that you will find in this list do not (at least not at the time when I’m writing) profiling activities, but always read well, and carefully, the terms of service , which you can consult during registration.
Also, know that hiding behind a VPN does not make it safe from the law , because there is no way not to leave traces of what you do on the Internet: I want to point it out because, often, it is thought that by using the VPNs you become authorized to practice illegal. I guarantee you that it is not so, since a crime remains a crime even from inside a tunnel, and the judicial authorities could – always with mandates and particular legal files – go back to the IP address of those who exploit a VPN, in the case of a investigation, and punish him severely. It therefore exploits this practical service with awareness, conscience, and in full respect of the law.
That said, keep reading the following to find out which are currently the best VPN services that you can take advantage of for free.
Opera VPN is the best example of free VPN : with few pretensions, it is integrated directly into Opera, the famous browser for surfing the Internet (which I also told you in my tutorial on the best browsers ). In reality 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 exploit if you need to mask the IP address while surfing the Internet, in order to access blocked sites in your country, but the protection offered does not go beyond browsing the Internet, and is limited exclusively to sites visited through the browser.
Without this premise, it’s time to explain how to activate Opera VPN: if you use a Windows or MacOS , download the browser from this page by pressing the green button Download Now , open the file you just downloaded and, if you use Windows, presses the button Accept and Install , then click on the Yes button , while if you use macOS drag the Opera icon to the Applications folder of your Mac.
Now open Opera from the Windows Start menu (the flag icon, at the bottom left) or from the Applications folder of macOS, click the red O button you find at the top right, then on the Settings item , on the item Confidentiality & securitythat you find in the left bar and, finally, click on the box Enable the VPN to affix the check mark.
Return to your browsing activity, which is now protected through the VPN. To deactivate the service, repeat the procedure in exactly the same way, unchecking the box Enable VPN to return to “normal” navigation.
As for the Android or iOS operating systems , you can fully protect the traffic generated by your smartphone or tablet using the Opera VPN app , which you can download from Google Play or the App Store . Once you have downloaded and installed the app, call it from the list of apps on your device, press the Get Started button , then on the Skip entry at the bottom left, tap Got It and when the request for authorization to use the VPN, tap the OK button and then the blue Connect button .
From now on you will be connected to the Opera VPN, which in its mobile version also allows you to change position: to do so, touch the blue Change Regio n button and choose the desired position. To disconnect from the VPN, recall the notification area of your device, tap the banner for the VPN connection via Opera and press the Disconnect button (or select the disconnect option directly from the app).
Although the malware detection service of this VPN leaves a little to be desired, I decided nevertheless to include it among the best free VPNs because, in fact, Betternet is completely free . Show a small advertisement before each connection and include in-app suggestions, but this is an acceptable exchange for free use of the service; also because the VPN offered by Betternet has no data limits, nor devices that can be used simultaneously, the connection speed is quite good, and there are several positions available to “simulate” a connection.
Betternet is available on Windows computers, as an extension for Google Chrome and Firefox browsers , as well as on Android and iOS platforms. All you have to do to use it is to go to the download page most suitable for your operating system, then press the blue button Get The App : if you use Windows, wait for the file BetternetForWindowsxyz, exe to be downloaded, then start it with a double click and presses the Yes , Next , Install , Install and Finish buttons to install it.
To install the Google Chrome extension, connected to the Chrome Web Store and click on the Add and Add Extension buttons, while on Android and iOS you simply need to download the Betternet app from your smartphone / tablet store.
To take advantage of this VPN there is no need for registration and, as I have already explained to you, all you have to do to use it is to view a small advertisement at every connection. I recommend that you do not visit sites that are notoriously full of malware, and that you have a good antivirus while browsing through Betternet: as I told you, this VPN does not offer an effective malware detection service.
TunnelBear is certainly one of the best VPN services in circulation, which guarantees anonymity and protection to those who decide to rely on it, and which can hide only the data related to surfing the Internet, taking advantage of the extensions for Google Chrome and Opera browsers , and the entire Internet traffic between the device and the server, taking advantage of programs for Windows or MacOS computers , and apps for Android and iOS .
To install TunnelBear on Windows or macOS, go to the download page of the program and wait for the installation file to be downloaded to your computer, then double click on the file you just downloaded and, if you’re on Windows , press the I Agree button , then on the Install and Yes buttons and follow the on-screen instructions to access the VPN. If you use macOS, instead, drag the TunnelBear icon to the Applications folder of your Mac and recall the program from the Applications folder. For Google Chrome, go to the Chrome Web Store page dedicated to TunnelBear and click on the Add button and Add an extension, while on Android and iOS you have to go to the app store of your device and download TunnelBear.
The VPN offered by TunnelBear has a completely free use mode, through which you can enjoy free 500 MB of VPN traffic per month, provided you make a simple registration from this page : enter a valid e-mail address and a password in the checkboxes, presses the Create Account button and follow the instructions that you will be sent via email to validate your registration. You can use the credentials obtained in the programs or apps I mentioned 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 a month or $ 60 a year.
Avira Phantom VPN
Have you heard of the name of Avira talking about antivirus for computers and no, you’re not confusing: Avira Phantom VPN is the VPN solution offered by the same manufacturer, has extremely stable servers and allows you to use IP addresses, both for navigation that for access to Internet services, in several countries of the world.
Available as a program for Windows and MacOS , and an app for Android and iOS (all can be downloaded from this page ), this service is not limited to protecting only the activities through the browser, but the entire data traffic between device and the Internet, and can also be used by multiple devices simultaneously. To install Avira Phantom VPN on your computer, go to the download page of the program and click on the green button 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 on the green Accept and Install button, then on the Yes button, and wait for the installation of all the services to complete. Otherwise, if you are using macOS , drag the downloaded file to the Applications folder, then click on the Accept and Install button and wait for the installation to complete. The program will be started by itself 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 after a simple registration to Avira services (you must then enter the credentials in the programs or dedicated apps). As an alternative, it is possible to use the PRO version for free for one month, without limit of data, and then proceed with the subscription of a pay subscription at the price of € 7.95 / month.
Windscribe is one of the best free VPNs available today. Offers programs and apps for many platforms: Windows, MacOS, Linux, Android, iOS, BlackBerry, extensions for Chrome, Firefox and Opera browsers and for the Kodi program, as well as apps for Amazon FireTV, Nvidia Shield, DD-WRT plugin and Tomato for routers, and configuration generators for OpenVPN, IKEv2 and SOCKS5; all downloadable from the comfort of 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 (eg Windows ). Wait so that the file is downloaded to your computer, start it with a double click and, if you are on Windows, presses the buttons Yes and OK . Next, check the box I accept the terms of the license agreement and end the setup by pressing twice on the Next button and then on Finish.
If you use macOS , after downloading Windscribe to your computer, simply drag the downloaded file to the Applications folder on your Mac and then start the program by double-clicking. As for Android and iOS, you do not have to do is install the app through the store of your device.
The free version of Windscribe, which you can use a small recording to be made by pressing the blue button Use For Free , allows you to take advantage of 10 GB of monthly traffic and to connect from multiple devices simultaneously, with a limitation – as well as data – only on the locations to be accessed (some are only available to paid users). This does not mean that, overall, the quality of the service is good and that the speed of navigation offered, despite the free nature of data traffic, is absolutely acceptable.
To eliminate traffic and location restrictions, you need to sign up for a Pro subscription, which is not that expensive: it costs $ 4.50 a month or $ 45 a year.
Another great 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, the traffic is encrypted in terms of global connection (and not only for the browser), through the programs for Windows, MacOS, and Linux, and there are apps for Android and iOS.
To download Hide Me on your computer, connect to the download page most suitable for the operating system you are using, then press the blue Download Now button , wait for the file to be downloaded, double-click it and, if you are on Windows, press on the Yes , Install and Finish buttons to finish the setup, while if you are using macOS you have to drag the Hide Me icon in the Applications folder of the Mac (to then start the program by a simple double-click).
A bit ‘like the solutions that I have proposed at the beginning, even the free version of Hide Me offers 2 GB of monthly traffic after registration, and guarantees, in addition to anonymity and security, not to store any log about the activity of its users, thus guaranteeing the security of what is done via the VPN. To unlock the data limit, you can subscribe to the service at a price starting at $ 4.99 a month, directly from this page.
Did you see? Not only have you easily learned what a VPN is and what you need, but now you are able to move securely between the various free VPN services and choose the one that suits you best. How do you say? Now that you understand what it is, do you think that using a VPN is too much for your purposes since you simply need to access blocked Internet sites while you surf? Then I invite you to consult my tutorial on how to hide IP, in which you can find solutions that are more suitable for your purpose.