Virtual Private Networks can seem expensive to those that are unsure about the investment. Unfortunately, discounts are usually only applied to lengthy commitments, such as a 1- or 2-year subscription, and it would be unreasonable to expect you to jump right in without being able to try before you buy.
Nowadays, most reputable VPNs offer a free trial to their service, averaging around 30-days so you can test whether it does what it says on the tin. In this guide, we explore the best free trials that VPNs offer and how you can make the most of your hard-earned money.
Best 5 VPNs with free trials – In-depth analysis
The list below shows our experts’ picks for the top free trial VPN services on the market.
PrivateVPN is the undoubted king of free trials. It offers a 7-day free trial with no commitment needed. All that is required is a valid email address (which can be a disposable one), and off you go! And as if that wasn’t enough, PrivateVPN offers an additional 30-day money back guarantee.
The free trial is available via the website when you first sign-up for the service, with mobile users being sent to the website for sign-up. This means the trial is available to everyone, no matter which device they use.
Free trial users gain full access to all Private VPN’s features and its servers in 56 countries. They can connect up to 6 devices at once, torrent to their heart’s content, or watch Netflix localized to 15 regions worldwide (not just the US).
PrivateVPN offers excellent 24/7 live chat support, which is fully available for free trial users.
CyberGhost is a highly-rated and fully featured Romanian VPN service offers potential customers a 24-hour no-strings free trial via its Windows, macOS or Android apps. The only thing required is a valid email address, although a disposable email address is fine for this.
iOS users can instead enjoy a 7-day free trial but must cancel via the App Store before this time is out or will be atomically changed for a 1-year subscription. Because there is no Linux app to implement the free trial, Linux users must sign-up for it on another device.
During the trial period, users have full access to all CyberGhost’s servers and all of its features. And if you still need more time to trial the service before fully committing, CyberGhost offers a very generous 45-day money back guarantee on top of the free trial.
As we have already mentioned, CyberGhost offers a very fully-featured service. In runs servers in 55 countries around the world, allows a very generous 7 devices to connect at once (even when using the free trial account), keeps no logs that can comprise users’ privacy, and unblocks BBC iPlayer and US Netflix flawlessly.
ProtonVPN is a superb free trial VPN provided by the developers of Proton Mail. It is a secure VPN provider that lets people use the service on an unlimited basis. This makes it perfect for privately surfing the web on a daily basis.
As is always the case with reliable VPNs, ProtonVPN does want to sell people a subscription to the full premium service. For this reason, it does throttle free-users bandwidth. This means that the free tier of the ProtonVPN service will not provide the speeds necessary for doing tasks such as streaming in HD.
HotspotShield VPN is a service from the US that is well known for its free plan. That free VPN provides a single server in the USA that many people use in times of crisis (during protests, political upheaval, etc). Those who enjoy the free plan – but require a bit more – can test the rest of its servers thanks to the 7-day free trial of the ‘Elite’ version. Those who do upgrade to the paid service get access to servers in 25 countries – with access to services like Netflix and BBC iPlayer.
We think Hotspot Shield is a good VPN that suits people who like to stream. For this reason, we recommend giving the free trial a go. It is also good for gaining privacy and security both at home and on public WiFi.
ZenMate is a VPN provider that has been around for numerous years. It is a great all round VPN based in Germany. It has servers in 35 countries which means that it is good for unblocking content. And while that is fewer locations than some of its competitors – the VPN has placed those servers in all the most useful places. With ZenMate all users get to try the VPN for free. Not only does it have a free trial, it actually has a permanent free option – which means that you can test it for as long as you like. T
he free version does have some limitations (download cap and server locations). Overall we like ZenMate because it is a VPN that provides both privacy and reliability that can be thoroughly tested without splashing out.
SaferVPN is a service based in Israel that is a strong all-round VPN service. The apps are available for all platforms and SaferVPN lets users install the VPN on up to 5 devices simultaneously. When it comes to privacy and security, this VPN is strong thanks to robust OpenVPN encryption. And because it has servers in over 35 counties, it is great for bypassing geo-restrictions or accessing censored content.
With SaferVPN, users get access to apps that are easy to use, and it has 24/7 live chat support to ensure you can always get help when you need it. Most impressively, this VPN has a 24-hour free trial that anybody can use without providing any payment details!
Surfshark is a VPN provider that burst onto the scene a couple of years ago. The service is a fantastic all-rounder that is great for both privacy and unblocking content. Surfshark has servers in 62 countries, which is great for accessing blocked or censored content. And it is able to unblock Netflix US, BBC iPlayer, and other desirable services.
This VPN has apps for all platforms, and it is very easy to use. It also has a zero logs policy, which means that it can be trusted to keep your data private. Plus it has strong encryption to ensure your data is secure both at home and on public WiFi. All users can test the service thanks to its 30-day money back guarantee. And mobile users get a 7-day free trial.
HideMyAss is a solid VPN provider that has servers in a whopping 190 countries. That makes HMA particularly good for people in need of a VPN server in a rarer location (most VPNs have servers in around 65 counties). HMA has apps for all platforms, and it is very easy to use, which makes it great for VPN noobs. We also like that this VPN provides strong encryption, and keeps no usage logs.
When it comes to unblocking content, this VPN will let you access sought after services like Netflix US and BBC iPlayer, this puts HMA in the most elite circle of VPNs. To top it all off, HMA will let you test its service for free for up to 30-days thanks to its money back guarantee.
Windscribe VPN is a Canadian provider that many people enjoy using for free. However, it is worth noting that the free subscription plan is rather limited in terms of download caps and server locations. The free plan also blocks Netflix US, so if this is a concern you will need to trial the full premium version.
The good news is that Windscribe gives potential subscribers a 24 hour free trial of its premium plans – to allow you to test its entire server network. This is great news, and we like this VPN because it is easy to use, has strong OpenVPN encryption, and provides great customer care. It also has a zero-logs policy (which makes up for it being based in a FiveEyes country).
AirVPN is an Italian provider with a strong privacy focus is often viewed as providing a techie VPN service for techies by techies. While there is some truth in this, we don’t actually think it is any harder to use than any other VPN service, while offering lots of bells and whistles not available elsewhere.
A three day no strings free trial is therefore a great opportunity to find out if AirVPN works for you. To obtain a free trial you must request it via the website’s Contact Form. You may have to wait a few hours for an email confirmation (especially if posting outside Italian office hours), but once you have it then you can access all features of the service during the trial period.
If you can’t be bothered to submit a request and /or are impatient to try out AirVPN, you can instead simply purchase an instant access three day trial for 2 euros (approx. $2.25USD) using the website’s automated payment system.
AirVPN has been winner of our annual Privacy Award for two years running due its position as the clear market leader when it comes to privacy technology. This includes use of very strong encryption, VPN obfuscation using SSH and SSL tunneling, and anonymous VPN use via VPN through Tor. AirVPN is also one of a very few providers to offer a fully-featured GUI Linux client.
You just can’t get much simpler than that. There is also a 30-day money back guarantee if you need more time to think about things.
CactusVPN uses strong OpenVPN encryption and performs the core functions of a VPN service with aplomb. This includes effective DNS and WebRTC leak protection, a kill switch (Windows only), dedicated P2P servers, 24/7 live chat support, and decent speed performance.
Why are free trial VPNs useful?
A VPN free trial is a fantastic way to test and see if the VPN you want to use is capable of doing what you want it to do – for example, unblock US Netflix. No one wants to have to input their card details just to make sure the restricted service of their choice can actually be unblocked by the VPN.
Free trials are especially vital nowadays because VPN services are quickly being blocked out by media streaming services. Nobody likely ever considered the extent to which Netflix would go just to block VPN services. Under pressure from copyright holders, expect other streaming services to adopt a similar approach if they haven’t already.
If the service you’re considering doesn’t offer a free trial, or if it comes with heavy restrictions, consider taking advantage of its money-back guarantee (if one is offered).
Choosing a Free Trial VPN
Ok, so let’s assume for a moment that you already have a free trial VPN. If you are keen on seeing how the VPN performs before purchasing, there are a few simple tests you can run while connected to the service.
Follow these tips to properly test a VPN:
- IP and DNS Leaks – With data encryption and online privacy being one of the main reasons people buy VPNs, having your IP or DNS address leak while connected to the service is unacceptable. Test your VPN connection with a tool such as ipleak.net to see if your VPN is properly masking your real IP And DNS addresses. Read more in our guide on IP and DNS leaks!
- VPN Speed – While connected to the VPN, run a quick speed test through a service such as Speedof.me or Speedtest.net. Keep in mind there are a number of factors that may affect the connection speed of a VPN including the speed of your own connection, VPN server load, and the physical distance between you and the VPN server you are connecting through, etc. Check out our VPN speed tests to see which providers offer the fastest servers!
- VPN Features – There are tons of useful features with a VPN service that should be considered during a free trial period. These features can be as simple as allowing torrenting on servers, or more technically advanced like double VPN encryption or network kill switches.
- Customer Support – If you are having issues with any of the points above, submit a support ticket or jump on live chat (if available) to see what level of assistance the VPN service provides for customers.
Additionally, if you are looking for a VPN for Netflix or want to unblock BBC iPlayer abroad, try accessing the stream using a couple of different VPN server locations to ensure proper coverage and the ability to watch in HD quality.
Alternatively, if you want a low-cost service, take a look at our cheap VPN or VPN deals pages
If you’re new to VPNs, we recommend taking a look at our helpful guides:
What to look out for when choosing a VPN free trial
There are a few things that we’d recommend looking out for when choosing a VPN free trial. First off, the length of the trial is something you’d definitely want to consider before signing up. Many VPN free trials only last for one day, though others may last for 3 days, or even up to a week. So when you sign up, it’s a good idea to do so when you’ll have the time to be able to take full advantage of testing the service for the allotted time of the trial.
Also, you should consider the number of servers as well as the locations of the servers that the VPN service you are trialing offers. This is important because if you want to access the Netflix US catalog, then the service will need to offer servers in the United States. It’s also worth checking with the VPN provider to see if it is even unable to unblock Netflix, as the streaming service has been upping its game when it comes to blocking VPN IP addresses.
Another thing to look out for when choosing a VPN free trial is whether or not the VPN allows for torrenting. If it does, then it should also provide a killswitch feature and collect no logs.
Depending on your personal use case, before signing up for a VPN free trial it is important to consider the VPN provider’s features and capabilities to accomplish what you want it to accomplish.
VPN Free trials vs VPN money-back guarantees (MBGs)
A proper free trial VPN will allow you to use the VPN for free for anything between a day and a week, as mentioned above. This kind of free trial is extremely useful, however, it is pretty rare.
The vast majority of VPNs provide a money-backguarantee
The vast majority of VPNs provide a money-back guarantee. This does permit you to trial the VPN and all of its features, however, you must initially pay for the service in order to get access. Money-back guarantees may last for anything between one week and a month, with some rare providers, like CyberGhost, even offering a 45-day money-back guarantee.
Do VPN services with money-back guarantees always honor their guarantee?
Sadly, this is not always the case, so if you are thinking about subscribing to a VPN that we have not recommended specifically it is worth checking whether we’ve reviewed it on ProPrivacy.com. Check out our VPN reviews.
The price section of our reviews will let you know if there are any limitations or clauses in the VPN’s money-back guarantee that might catch you out.
Free trial VPN restrictions
When it comes to VPN free trials there are a couple of variations that VPN providers commonly offer. The most common is a money-back guarantee and although it does involve initially paying for a subscription, the VPNs that we recommend are known to always honor their guarantee. This is great because it permits people to trial a premium VPN with all the trimmings without actually having to risk their hard-earned cash.
Less common than the traditional money-back guarantee is a limited-time free trial. With this kind of free trial, you’ll typically get a full premium account and the trial will usually last for anything between one day and seven days.
Finally, some VPN providers do offer a fully free service. This kind of free VPN is not a trial but rather a free service that has a number of restrictions designed to make people want to upgrade to the full service. Check out our guide to find out more about free VPNs.
Are free trial VPNs secure?
Free trials for VPNs are always for the full premium VPN service. That means that you are getting all the same privacy and security features that you can expect to get if you pay. The free trial is specifically designed to let potential subscribers try the full service, with all its bells and whistles. This means that all of the free VPNs in this article are secure and provide watertight digital privacy.
Do VPN Free trials keep logs?
Whether you are using a full premium VPN service, or that provider’s free trial, the logging policy remains the same. The providers that we have recommended are all known to have either a no-logs policy or a policy that involves only minimal non-invasive connection logs. That means you can trust these free trial VPNs to provide you with solid digital privacy. To find out more check out our no logs VPN page.