If you want to test a VPN out before paying for it, a free VPN trial can let you experience the VPN features and ease of use before committing to a year or more of service. Here are nine VPNs that offer free trials, money-back guarantees or freemium versions.
A free VPN trial gives you the chance to get a feel for the VPN’s features and decide if you want to subscribe to that VPN or not. However, there are a lot of gray areas with free trials, and not all VPNs come with one.
While some VPNs offer a 30-day money-back guarantee that can be used in place of a trial, others come with a permanently free plan. There are also VPNs that come with a combination of these offerings.
In this article, we will recommend nine VPN services: three that offer the best actual trials, three VPNs with the best money-back guarantees, and three that have the best free plans.
The best VPN provider with a free trial is ExpressVPN, thanks to its comprehensive suite of features and blazing speeds.
Some VPN services with free trials include ExpressVPN, NordVPN, Surfshark, CyberGhost, PrivateVPN and Private Internet Access.
Some VPN services that come with a 30-day money-back guarantee (technically a free trial) include ExpressVPN, NordVPN, Surfshark, PrivateVPN, Private Internet Access and ProtonVPN.
We’ve listed these VPNs in order of quality — both with the free trial and the quality of the VPN itself. We chose these VPNs based on certain criteria, including how easy it is to get a refund using their money-back guarantees, the quality of their free plans and the features they offer on their free trials.
Some VPN providers offer free plans that you can use like a free trial to get a feel for the VPN. Free plans normally restrict some features such as data usage, server locations and device connections. These VPNs usually come with more limited money-back guarantees, or none at all.
Some VPNs that offer free trials won’t make our best free VPN trial list because they have significant shortcomings.
Here are nine VPNs that offer the best VPN free trial options, the best VPNs with quality money-back guarantees that you can use as a trial, and the best free VPN tiers that can be used as a trial.
More details about ExpressVPN:
ExpressVPN can be best be described as an excellent all-rounder VPN. Like most top-tier VPNs, ExpressVPN doesn’t have a free plan. It offers a seven-day free trial, but only for the Android and iOS apps. Instead, we suggest you use the guaranteed refund to get a feel for the full VPN service.
ExpressVPN’s 30-day money-back guarantee ensures you get a refund within that period if you’re not satisfied with the service. We tested the money-back guarantee and had no issues requesting a refund.
As the name suggests, ExpressVPN is built for speed. Not only are its speeds fast, they’re also pretty consistent. ExpressVPN is one of the fastest VPNs in our automated speed tests, and its extremely fast speeds make it good for activities like streaming, gaming and torrenting.
Its streaming performance is just as good. ExpressVPN unblocks all the popular streaming sites, including Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer and more.
ExpressVPN also offers robust security features. The VPN breaks the mold by introducing its own VPN protocol, called Lightway, which enhances security while maintaining ExpressVPN’s strong speeds. ExpressVPN also offers OpenVPN and IKEv2, two of the best and most popular VPN protocols. However, IKEv2 is only available for iOS and Mac.
For privacy, ExpressVPN has a no-logs policy and complies with some of the world’s best privacy laws. Its location in the British Virgin Islands means it’s extremely hard to subpoena information, and even if you could get a court order, there wouldn’t be any data to hand over. You can read more about it in our ExpressVPN review.
More details about NordVPN:
NordVPN offers a free trial period of seven days, but only on Android. However, it makes up for this with its 30-day money-back guarantee, which gives you the chance to explore its features and decide if the service is right for you.
If you decide you don’t like the service, then you must cancel your subscription within 30 days. The money-back guarantee is available on all plans, even the monthly option, which means it effectively offers a 30-day trial for free.
Security is NordVPN’s real forte. It uses AES-256 encryption and the best VPN protocols, including OpenVPN (TCP and UDP), IKEv2 and NordLynx (NordVPN’s proprietary protocol based on WireGuard).
NordLynx, which uses the bank-grade ChaCha20 cipher for encryption, excels both in security and speed. In fact, in our automated speed tests, NordVPN outperforms ExpressVPN, Surfshark, Speedify, Windscribe and Mullvad in worldwide speeds. It also unblocks all the major streaming sites.
NordVPN also offers other standout security features like dark web monitor and threat protection (a more developed version of NordVPN’s Cybersec). The dark web monitor scours the illegal marketplace for your sensitive personal information. Threat protection works like an antivirus software, scanning files and deleting the ones it finds to be dangerous.
More details about Surfshark:
Surfshark has a seven-day trial for Android, iOS and macOS, and it also offers a 30-day money-back guarantee on all devices that you can use as a VPN trial.
Additionally, Surfshark comes with the basic features like an automatic kill switch, split tunneling and auto-connect. The VPN also offers advanced features like CleanWeb, its adware and malware blocker. CleanWeb also prevents you from visiting malware-infected websites.
Another great feature is NoBorders mode, built to bypass internet restrictions like China’s Great Firewall. NoBorders gives you access to a curated selection of server locations designed to get around network blocks in authoritarian countries.
Like NordVPN, Surfshark offers multi-hop servers to keep your IP address hidden by using two servers in case one fails. You get other features like IP address rotation and static IP servers. Read our Surfshark review to learn more about its security features.
For security, Surfshark uses AES-256 encryption as well as the most secure encryption protocols: OpenVPN, IKEv2 and WireGuard. In terms of privacy, it’s fairly safe, thanks to its strict no-logs policy, GDPR compliance and affiliation with the British Virgin Islands, a jurisdiction with strong data protection laws.
More details about CyberGhost:
CyberGhost’s free offerings are quite unique, including a one-day free trial on desktop — something that ExpressVPN, NordVPN and Surfshark don’t offer — and a seven-day free trial on mobile.
If you’d like to go further, CyberGhost offers a 14-day money-back guarantee with its one-month plan and a 45-day money-back guarantee with its extended plans.
CyberGhost has an impressive user interface, designed with both beginners and advanced VPN users in mind. It also covers the basics, including an automatic kill switch and a split tunneling feature, which is available for Android and iOS only. There are also advanced features like the content blocker, which blocks suspicious ads, trackers and URLs.
For better functionality, CyberGhost provides “smart rules,” a set of automation features that let you decide how the app operates whenever you launch it.
CyberGhost delivers excellent security, using the industry standard AES-256 bit encryption and the secure OpenVPN, IKEv2 and WireGuard protocols. It also maintains a strict no-logs policy; it doesn’t keep logs that can be traced to a particular user, such as the websites visited or the original IP, which is great from a privacy standpoint.
Unfortunately, CyberGhost is not the fastest VPN out there, with relatively slow download speeds and high ping rates. It pales in comparison to the likes of ExpressVPN, NordVPN and Surfshark. You can read more about the VPN in our CyberGhost review.
More details about Private Internet Access:
Private Internet Access (PIA) has affordable plans, plus a seven-day free trial and 30-day money-back guarantee. The seven-day free trial is limited to the mobile apps — you won’t be able to get it on the desktop app. With the 30-day money-back guarantee, you’ll have ample time to test out the features and request a refund.
PIA is loaded with features. It offers a kill switch in two formats: regular and advanced. The regular kill switch blocks your connection to the internet if the VPN connection drops suddenly. The advanced kill switch blocks your connection to the internet completely unless you’re connected to the VPN. It also supports split tunneling and offers a branded ad blocker called MACE.
For security, PIA provides AES 256-bit encryption and the most secure open-source encryption protocols, including OpenVPN and WireGuard. It also offers the Shadowsocks encryption protocol for an extra layer of protection.
More details about PrivateVPN:
PrivateVPN’s free offerings are pretty industry standard. It offers a seven-day free trial and a 30-day money-back guarantee, which are enough to try out the service and decide if it is your cup of tea.
While PrivateVPN makes our best free VPN service trial list, it doesn’t have many standout features. It’s pretty bland, but it comes with the necessary features for a VPN.
The VPN includes a kill switch, auto-connect and split tunneling. Its encryption protocols are OpenVPN, IKEv2, PPTP and L2TP. Of these four, we recommend OpenVPN and IKEv2, which perform well in security and speed, respectively.
It uses AES-256 encryption, but provides AES-128 as the default. You can read our guide on encryption to learn more about AES-256 encryption and why it’s the standard.
Plus, PrivateVPN’s streaming performance isn’t bad at all. It gets you into geo-restricted content on all the major streaming sites, including Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime and more. Read more about it in our PrivateVPN review.
More details about Windscribe:
Windscribe’s free version comes with 10GB of data per month. It also limits you to VPN servers in 10 countries. You can use R.O.B.E.R.T., Windscribe’s customizable server-side domain and IP blocking tool, but only with three access rules (more details on this below).
Other than those restrictions, free Windscribe users can access the whole service. Windscribe’s money-back guarantee on paid plans runs for only three days, so testing it out with the free plan is your best bet.
Windscribe’s paid plan comes in two categories: a one-month plan and a one-year plan. With the paid plan, you get unlimited bandwidth, unlimited simultaneous device connections, a bitcoin payment option and a more robust R.O.B.E.R.T.
R.O.B.E.R.T. is Windscribe’s custom tool. On the paid plan, R.O.B.E.R.T. allows you to create up to 1,000 access rules to make content filtering more flexible. This tool is also useful for blocking ads, malware, social media, gambling sites, fake news, clickbait and crypto miners.
Beyond that, Windscribe paid plans offer the same security features that are found on the free version, including an automatic kill switch, AES 256-bit encryption, and OpenVPN (TCP and UDP), WireGuard and IKEv2 protocols.
If you want something in between the paid plan and the free plan, Windscribe also lets you customize your plan by paying for the servers you need, at $1 per server per month (with a $3 minimum). Learn more about Windscribe in our full review.
More details about ProtonVPN:
With ProtonVPN’s free plan, you get servers in three countries, one device connection and slightly reduced speeds. What’s most impressive about the free version is that you have unlimited data. ProtonVPN provides a 30-day money-back guarantee, but it only refunds you for the portion of the subscription you didn’t use.
ProtonVPN offers three paid plans: Basic, Plus and Visionary. Basic gives you two simultaneous device connections and a bitcoin payment option. With the Plus plan, you get five simultaneous device connections, and the Visionary plan offers 10 simultaneous device connections.
The paid plans give you access to far more server options than the free plan — 801 servers in up to 50 countries. All the plans also come with a 30-day money-back guarantee. Read our full ProtonVPN review for more details.
More details about TunnelBear:
TunnelBear’s free version offers up to 500MB of data, which can be boosted to 1GB by tweeting about the service. Unfortunately, it’s not the most generous free VPN service out there. It also doesn’t come with a money-back guarantee because of the free plan.
TunnelBear offers two paid monthly plans, Unlimited and Teams. The only difference is that Teams offers centralized billing. Other than that, both plans offer unlimited bandwidth, five simultaneous device connections and a bitcoin payment option.
From a kill switch to split tunneling, all of TunnelBear’s plans get the basics right. There’s also a feature called “fastest tunnel,” which allows you to connect to the closest country to you.
TunnelBear’s speeds are not world class, but you should be able to stream, torrent and do some light gaming without experiencing any lag or buffering.
For security, TunnelBear uses AES 256-bit encryption and the industry standard OpenVPN and IKEv2 protocols, which are available on macOS, Windows and Android. It uses the L2TP paired with IPsec for iOS. Read more about TunnelBear in our full review.
Overall, you have a lot of options for using VPN free trials. ExpressVPN is not only the best VPN out there, but its 30-day money-back guarantee on the monthly plan means you can use the VPN for free for a full month. It also includes free mobile trials, but it would be better to experience the VPN’s full features with the refund guarantee.
Which of the VPN free trials do you think is best? Do you plan to use multiple free trials in a row? Do you have suggestions to add to our best VPN free trials list? We’re looking forward to hearing your thoughts on the ones you’ve tried. Let us know in the comment section below. Thank you for reading.