The best way to describe a VPN is “free – – with an asterisk.” Many are not reputable and could compromise your security by turning you into an application. Some will even secretly install malware on your device to gather data.

One of the most famous cases involves the free VPN Hola, which was found in 2015 selling its users’ bandwidth mercenary-style to anyone who wanted it. Users’ devices became part of botnets used to distribute spam emails and launch cyber attacks.

The best VPNs are free and have strict privacy policies and they don’t keep any logs. They also offer a wide range of servers to hide your data and speed, and don’t impose a cap on how much you can use the service. They don’t also provide you with pop-up advertisements which slow down your connection and reduce your internet speed.

The number of free servers is limited, which makes the VPN less useful in certain situations. Free VPNs aren’t great at unblocking geoblocked content like certain sports channels on Netflix. This is a key feature to be looking for in order to be able to stream media or torrenting. There are several reliable free VPNs, including Proton VPN by Kaspersky Lab. This well-established cybersecurity firm is the one behind the development of this VPN. It offers a reliable, secure VPN that doesn’t record any data and has an intuitive interface for desktop and mobile. It also comes with a Kill Switch that blocks internet traffic if the VPN fails to connect.