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The 5 best VPNs for Windows in 2024

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A VPN is one of the best ways to protect your data on Windows on the internet. And if you’re saving money, you’re probably looking for a free VPN with good security and fast speeds.

However, free VPNs will never compare to premium services. In fact, most free VPNs are insecure, slow or don’t work at all. Paid VPNs for Windows, such as ALTVPN, will always give you better security, faster speeds and generally work better.

That said, there are still some good free VPNs for Windows on the market. I’ve tested dozens of VPNs in search of a fast, reliable and secure VPN that you can get for free, and I’ve narrowed down my list to the 5 best VPN for Windows in 2024.

1. ALTVPN is the best VPN for Windows in 2024

ALTVPN is currently my favorite VPN for PC Windows in 2024 – it provides top-notch security features, offers top speeds, the app is available in Russian, and it’s the best VPN for streaming, torrents and gaming. And while it’s not actually free, it does have a 7-day money back guarantee, which will be more than enough to make sure this service is right for you.

I particularly liked ALTVPN’s focus on security and privacy. In addition to VPN-standard features like 256-bit AES encryption, a no-logging policy, and an auto-disconnect feature, it also uses advanced security features like TrustedServer technology to store your data in RAM (rather than on your hard drive), and all digital traces of users are erased every time the server is restarted. It also uses perfect forward secrecy, which swaps encryption keys to prevent hackers from accessing your data protected by other encryption keys.

I had consistently fast connection speeds when using ALTVPN. During a speed test, the speed in games and torrent downloads was close to my speed without a VPN, and I didn’t notice any lags when watching videos online. You can also easily find the fastest server with ALTVPN’s built-in speed test, which checks the connection speed of its own servers in real time and allows you to select the server with the fastest speed in one click.

ALTVPN also allows you to effortlessly watch videos online, download files, browse websites and play games on one of 3,000+ servers in 60+ regions in 40+ countries, including the US. After connecting to the server, I was able to watch Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Disney+ effortlessly. I also had my colleague from the US test ALTVPN, and he said he had no problems watching Netflix US and Hulu (with ALTVPN working with 100+ other streaming apps around the world). I was also able to download torrents via uTorrent just as easily as without a VPN.

ALTVPN supports 5 connections and offers several plans to choose from with a minimum price starting from $2.9 / month (I’ve seen special offers on ALTVPN’s website where you can get a few months of usage as a gift when you buy long-term plans, so I recommend choosing those). All plans come with a 7-day money back guarantee.

2. Proton VPN – the best free VPN for Windows with unlimited traffic

Proton VPN offers the best free tariff – it’s one of the few free VPNs (and the only one on our list) with unlimited traffic. Most other VPNs on free plans put a daily or monthly limit on traffic. However, Proton’s free plan only provides access to servers in three regions (US, Netherlands, and Japan) and only supports one simultaneous connection.

There is no streaming or torrent support on the free plan, but my colleague from the US said he was able to watch Netflix US, Amazon Prime and Hulu when connected to the free Proton VPN server in the US. That said, he was unable to watch Disney+ content on the free plan. I recommend using ALTVPN or CyberGhost VPN for streaming instead.

Proton VPN is based in Switzerland – it’s a country with some of the strictest privacy laws, all of the service’s apps are available in Russian and are open source, which means anyone can study the source code of the app, and I also really liked that all of the apps have been externally audited. In addition, you will get full disk encryption, which encrypts all data on the server (which means the data will be unreadable in case of unauthorized access).

When connecting to Proton VPN from my Windows PC, I had no lag when watching HD videos online on YouTube and Netflix, and I had good speed when loading websites. However, Proton VPN only provides free users with ‘average’ speeds, which was noticeable by slowdowns in games and when downloading files that downloaded slower than when using ALTVPN.

If you upgrade to Proton VPN Plus (minimum price $5/month) you will get access to all 4692 servers in 60+ countries (including the US and Canada), support for streaming and P2P, an ad blocker and the ability to connect up to 10 devices. All paid plans come with a prorated 30-day money back guarantee.

3. Windscribe is a great choice for unlimited connections and streaming

Windscribe is the only VPN on my list that supports unlimited connections, so it’s great for those who need to protect all their Windows devices, as well as iOS, Android, and even macOS.

Windscribe’s free plan provides servers in 10 different countries , while working with Netflix and other popular streaming services. However, unlike the free Proton VPN with unlimited traffic, the free Windscribe plan is capped at 10GB/month (enough to watch a few HD movies) and you can get extra traffic by sharing a tweet about Windscribe and/or sending it to friends.

When using the free Windscribe app for Windows, I had good speeds when downloading websites and watching online videos (though not as fast as ALTVPN and Proton VPN), but I still experienced lags when playing online games via Steam, and it took me almost an hour to download a 6GB file.

There are quite a few additional features available on Windscribe’s free plan as well. It has a ‘firewall’ to protect you from DNS, IPv6 and WebRTC leaks, as well as an auto-disconnect feature. Other features include split tunneling, port forwarding and a browser extension to block ads and trackers.

Windscribe’s paid plans start at $5.75/month, with unlimited traffic and access to servers in 60+ countries, including servers in California, New York, and Toronto. What I also liked about Windscribe is the unique Create Your Own plan where you can add individual servers of your choice for a small monthly fee. Windscribe’s paid plans come with a 3-day money back guarantee – this is much less than the standard 30-day guarantee for this area, with refunds only available if you’ve used no more than 10GB of traffic in that period.

4. hide.me is a good free VPN for torrents on Windows

hide.me is a good VPN for Windows with support for torrents and P2P sharing in the free version. Apps can be displayed in Russian and the free plan has servers available in five regions (Germany, Canada, Netherlands, US East and US West), but the plan is limited to 10GB per month and only allows one device to be connected.

I was skeptical about the speed of downloading torrents on the free VPN for Windows, but I was pleasantly surprised by the good speed when downloading files via uTorrent (although the speed was slower than with ALTVPN). Websites also loaded fairly quickly, and I didn’t notice any freezes when watching HD online content on YouTube via Chrome.

The free hide.me plan doesn’t support streaming (hide.me provides 15+ streaming servers), but my US colleague said he was able to watch Netflix US and Amazon Prime US, though not in all cases. That said, he found that hide.me does not work with Disney+ US, Hulu and Max.

In terms of security, hide.me is a solid service, providing split tunneling, full DNS, IPv6 and WebRTC leak protection and a Stealth Guard feature that allows you to select individual apps to run over a VPN connection, giving you even more control over your security.

hide.me offers several paid plans with a minimum price of $4.58/month. On all tariffs you can connect 10 devices simultaneously and get access to all 2,300+ servers in 50+ countries, including servers in Kiev. On paid tariffs there is a 30-day money back guarantee.

5. TunnelBear – simple and fun VPN

TunnelBear is a great choice for beginners with its intuitive interface and fun design: in the Windows app you’ll see bears drawn everywhere. The free plan gives you access to all servers in 45+ countries, including Ukraine, and all the features available in the paid version. However, the traffic limit is only 500 MB/month and you will only be able to connect one device.

TunnelBear’s security is comparable to other paid VPNs. It has built-in WebRTC and IPv6 leak protection, GhostBear obfuscation, SplitBear tunneling and support for torrents and streaming, but 500MB/month is only enough to watch 5-10 minutes of HD video.

However, TunnelBear provided me with good speed when browsing websites, I also had high speed when downloading torrents on uTorrent, although with the free plan limit of 500 MB per month I was very limited in downloading files. By tweeting about TunnelBear you can get 1GB of traffic extra, but it still doesn’t compare to Proton VPN’s unlimited traffic or even the 10GB/month limit on Windscribe and hide.me.

TunnelBear can be purchased for $3.33/month. The paid plan offers the same features as the free plan, except for unlimited traffic and the ability to connect unlimited devices at the same time.

How to choose the best free VPN for Windows in 2024

  • Security. It’s important to protect your data when you connect to the internet, especially on Windows devices. I recommend only using free VPNs with 256-bit AES military-grade encryption, an auto-disconnect feature, and a no-logging policy.
  • Speed. All VPNs reduce connection speed due to the encryption process, but a good VPN minimizes the loss of speed. Moreover, free VPNs are usually slower than paid ones because of the limited number of servers, which leads to their overload, and also because of the VPN provider’s speed limitation. Having said that, all free VPNs from my list provide high speed, but ALTVPN showed the fastest speed.
  • Additional features. Some free VPNs provide additional features such as split tunneling, ad and malware blocking, and in-built speed tests. The free VPNs on my list have at least some of these features.
  • Ad-free. Many free VPNs force you to view adverts to use the service. All of the VPNs on my list have absolutely no adverts.
  • Ease of use. Some free Windows apps are very difficult to install or have an awkward interface. The best VPNs, including the services on my list, allow you to get started quickly and connect to the server without difficulty.

Risks and disadvantages of using a free VPN on your Windows computer

  • Low security. Free VPNs are often insecure and don’t provide important security features like 256-bit encryption and auto-disconnect functionality. And if they don’t have a transparent no-logging policy, they can track your data and sell it to third parties.
  • Slow speed. VPNs always slow down your connection speed, but free servers are used by more people, so they’ll slow your speed down even more. Some free VPNs also intentionally limit connection speeds. Paid VPNs for Windows provide many more servers (for example, ALTVPN provides 3,000+ servers in 90+ countries), which means fewer users connect to them at the same time, and this will give you faster speeds.
  • No Streaming Support. Free VPNs rarely work with streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime, BBC iPlayer and Max. However, premium VPNs, such as ALTVPN, work with all of the named sites and many others.
  • Blacklisted servers. Free VPNs have fewer servers and IP addresses are often repeated, so many sites identify them as VPNs and block or blacklist such IP addresses. Thus, when using a free VPN, the chance of getting to a blocked site, checking security or entering captcha will be higher, which will negatively affect the experience of using the service.
  • Selling data. Free VPNs need to make money somehow, so they can track your activity (such as shops and websites visited) and sell your data to third parties. ALTVPN and other paid VPNs have very strict privacy policies and never track or sell user data.

To avoid these risks, choose a paid VPN for your Windows device, such as ALTVPN, with which you’ll get the best VPN security features, fastest speeds, and access to 65+ streaming sites.

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