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Need a VPN Service? Here are Three Free Options

A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is essentially a privately tunnelled connection across the public Internet. In the...

Need a VPN Service? Here are Three Free Options

A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is essentially a privately tunnelled connection across the public Internet.

 

In the past, the main reason people used a VPN was to connect to a company server. Individuals would “VPN in” to their work network in order to access company documents and emails.

 

VPNs are still widely used for this purpose, but in recent years a huge market has opened up for VPN services that people use for two other reasons. The first is to mask global location in order to access region-locked online services such as streaming TV channels. The second is to ensure online privacy, again by hiding the origin of an Internet connection.

 

If you wish to use a VPN service, there are services out there that are completely free of charge. Here are three alternatives to get you started.

 

1. TunnelBear

TunnelBear is an accessible and easy to use VPN service with attractive client software for a range of platforms including Windows, Mac OS X, and Android.

 

TunnelBear is fast, reliable, and simple to install, and the company has recently begun to add advanced privacy features to a service that was originally focused on changing your apparent physical location.

 

Like many “free” VPN services, TunnelBear restricts data transfer— in this case the limit is 500MB per month. This isn’t much at all if you intend to use the service to stream media, but the premium services are inexpensive if you like what you see with the free version.

 

2. Hotspot Shield (by Anchor Free)

Hotspot Shield is one of the most well known free VPN clients and, like TunnelBear, it is available for all the main desktop and mobile platforms.

 

Unlike TunnelBear, however, the free version of Hotspot Shield doesn’t place any restrictions on your data usage. It is supported by ads, though, so if you’re infuriated by popups it may not be for you. If you’re happy to click them away regularly, you can use this for all your VPN requirements without putting your hand in your pocket.

 

 

3. CyberGhost

CyberGhost is a VPN service focused on anonymity. Like the other services on this list, the free service is a complement to the more sophisticated paid packages the company offers.

 

There are various restrictions to the free service, the main ones being that connections automatically reset after three hours, and that you have far fewer options available to you than you would with the commercial version. But if you need a free VPN service for occasional use only, you could do far worse.

 

As this list makes clear, most VPN providers offer a free service as an entry-point into their commercial services.

 

If you think that using a VPN service is likely to become a regular part of your computing life, it does make sense to pay the subscription fees and upgrade your solution. The VPN service marketplace is so competitive that the prices are reasonable.

 

TunnelBear, for example, costs just US$49.99 per year for unlimited bandwidth across multiple devices. For this, you get both anonymity and access to region-locked services in a range of countries—and that really is a rather good deal.

 

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