VPN stands for Virtual Private Network. VPN services have recently become much more popular for several reasons.
Geoblocking is one reason people use VPN services. Some websites and free online services are restricted to people from specific countries, which can be circumvented by routing your internet connection through a proxy server or a virtual private network located in a country that has permission to use the website or service. By doing so it will appear to the website that you are browsing it from an allowed country, and thus you will be granted access.
The government and law enforcement agencies have also increased their surveillance programs for various reasons, such as cracking down on illegal filesharing and blanket monitoring of online behavior to catch terrorists, criminals and even political dissidents. Whether this is actually an effective way of dealing with issues like terrorism or filesharing is under debate, but the use of VPN services as a way to enhance online privacy has soared.
In this video I will review some of the best free VPN services available as of 2015.
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CyberGhost is probably the best free VPN service currently available. CyberGhost does require you to install their custom VPN client for you to use the free service, and there are some other restrictions as well.
Every time you open the client you must watch ads for around 20 seconds, the service disconnects you after 3 hours of continuous surfing and only a specific amount of clients can connect to a server, so you may have to occasionally queue for access to a specific server.
That being said they have no bandwidth restrictions, the best speed of any free VPN service I’ve tried, they have over 70 free servers from various different countries, you don’t need to register an account and CyberGhost does not keep logs, so your privacy is somewhat secure.
VPNBook is a free VPN service that does not require its own VPN client, you can use it via the integrated VPN client on your operating system, which should be supported on Windows, Mac and most Linux distributions.
VPNBook supports both OpenVPN and PPTP. You also do not need to register an account, and the password and username for the server can be found directly on the website. They do change those ever so often, so be sure to check their website often for the latest login details.
VPNBook also has a decent server selection, although not the best, and they have no bandwidth limits. However the connection speed on their servers was quite slow, but still usable for browsing most websites. You may have some trouble streaming high quality videos though.
TunnelBear also requires its own VPN client, which you can download from their website or the iOS and Android appstores if you want to use it on your mobile device. It took me ages to install the client on Windows 7.
TunnelBear also requires you to register an account with your email and name, for you to be able to use the free VPN service, for some people this can be a privacy concern. TunnelBear has a number of different server locations, which is good, and their connection speed was decent as well. However their daily bandwidth limit of 500MB is quite low, but you can increase it to 1.5GB by promoting TunnelBear on Twitter.
To use the HotSpotShield free VPN service you have to download their VPN client software. It took a bit longer than usual to install it and caused some lag on Windows 7, but at the end everything seemed to be working fine.
HotSpotShield did launch my browser to their website a few times which was slightly annoying. If you’re gonna have pop-ups, the least you can do is make them minimally annoying. HotSpotShield also only has one server located in the US for their free VPN service, which I find a bit limiting and also a privacy concern. Their bandwidth limit (750MB per day) is nothing to brag about either. The speed of the connection was OK.