Can you browse anonymously and securely for free? We look at four VPN services and tools to find out.
A virtual private network (VPN) allows you to browse the internet anonymously, without giving away your identity or your location – except to the company running the VPN, of course. Using a VPN has its advantages for anyone worried about their browsing security, particularly for at-risk groups such as anyone using a public Wi-FI spot.
For businesses, using a VPN means your location is agnostic – essentially, you’re able to act as if you are not attached to your current location, which makes it a great option for testing out services that are usually only available if you’re in a particular place.
The easiest way to access a VPN is to subscribe to a third-party service – and we’ve already identified some of the better commercial VPN services in a previous feature. But what about the free VPNs – are they any good?
They’re usually slower than their commercial counterparts and as we’ve explained previously, a recent study by Data61, the University of NSW and other research partners found that some free VPN apps expose users to privacy and security vulnerabilities.
However, that doesn’t apply to all free VPN services. Here are three of the better options available (at the time of writing) – although VPN services can tend to change, so you should definitely check them out yourself carefully first. For those who want to create their own VPN, we’ve included a free software tool for that too.
Next: the four free VPN apps compared