A virtual private network (VPN) gives you more privacy when using the Internet. Suitable Windows clients include all online applications in their protection. These freeware solutions do a good job.

Internet anonymization procedures come in two versions: proxies and VPNs. The former you research on the Internet to enter their server addresses in the settings of Windows and/or your browser. More convenient to use are the more modern VPNs: corresponding client programs eliminate the need to search for proxies. They also allow you to surf anonymously, and the passage of traffic through an encrypted tunnel ensures eavesdropping security against hackers. Eavesdropping security is an advantage when Internet surfers go online on the go via public, i.e. unsecured, WLAN(hotspot)s. Users also gain privacy at home, as they transmit a different IP address to web servers and thus bypass geo-locks and evade any (unjustified) IP bans, for example from forum operators. For the following VPN clients, a click on the interface is sufficient to start the Virtual Private Network; in part, there is a notification area icon with the corresponding context command in the Windows taskbar. If desired, the VPN activates every time you start Windows.

Free VPN provider – that’s what it’s all about

VPNs exist in two variants: as a client for Windows and as an add-on for browsers. If you want to anonymize and protect all Internet applications, you should use a Windows client. After installation, it is sufficient to switch on the VPN with a click – all data traffic is already flowing under the guise of the protection program. On the other hand, leaner browser add-ons are sufficient for sporadic anonymous web excursions. However, power users are better served with the Windows clients, especially since they integrate into the autostart.

9 pictures

The best programs

Hotspot Shield: Very lush volume

+ 500 megabytes of anonymous traffic per day
+ Displays the anonymous IP address in the main window
+ Built -in Internet speed test (determines Mbps as well as ping and jitter in ms)
+ Kill switch function / setting switch
+ Web addresses can be stored, their websites should not load anonymously
+ Different protocols can be selected
– No free choice of country: US IP address only – Rerouting
via US server is unsafe in terms of security

Kaspersky Secure Connection: Lush Volume

+ 200 megabytes of anonymous
traffic per day + 100 megabytes of additional daily traffic free of charge via registration
+ Uses the proven infrastructure of a large provider
+ – Social approach: KSN network can contribute to security
– Some default settings that are unfavorable from a data protection
point of view – No free choice of country: only automatically assigned IP address
– 300 megabytes of daily traffic without registration would be ideal
– registration for MyKaspersky is bumpy, captcha codes entered are often incorrect
– kill switch function called “kill switch” is missing in the free version

Avira Phantom VPN: German IP, browser protection

+ Provider with a German seat assigns a German IP address
+ Setting option “Block harmful websites and content”
+ With registration 1 gigabyte (instead of 500 megabytes) of traffic free of charge
+ Light or dark design (dark mode) can be used
+ – Latencies at a glance – informative, but (faster) countries cannot be selected
+ – Central administration interface called Avira for other provider software (some users find the function practical, others as bloatware)
– No free choice of country: only automatically assigned IP address
– 500 megabytes of anonymous traffic per month relatively little
– Kill switch function is reserved for the Pro version
– “Send diagnostic data” activated in advance in the settings

OkayFreedom VPN: Free choice of country

+ Country for IP address in free version can be selected without payment
+ Provider with German headquarters
+ Function “AlwaysProtected” – corresponds to a kill switch
+ Simple (tray context menu) interface …
– … in which, however, any status information is missing
– Monthly anonymous traffic (2 gigabytes) could be higher
– Hardly anything configurable

Windscribe VPN: Multiple countries, professional settings

+ Country for IP address in free version can be selected without payment
+ Latencies at a glance
+ Shows the anonymous IP address in the main window
+ Including kill switch function called “Firewall”
+ Extensive configuration menu, including VPN protocol selectable
+ Also DNS protocol and TAP driver version can be selected
+ IP countries can be sorted alphabetically, according to geographical location and latency
+ 10 gigabytes of anonymous traffic per month with full registration …
– … 2 gigabytes of traffic with minimal registration could be higher
– Some countries for certain IP addresses are grayed out and cannot be activated for free

Hide.me VPN: Lots of settings and favorites

+ 10 gigabytes of traffic volume per month
+ Country for IP address in the free version can be selected without payment
+ Sorting of servers by country name or ping (latency) possible
+ Color of the notification area icon can be changed
+ Displays the anonymous IP address in the main window
+ Favorite function for your own VPN server
+ Kill switch function / setting switch
+ protocol can be selected, even WireGuard is included …
– … which, however, requires a fee-based tariff
– connection establishment in random samples unreliable

TunnelBear: With a nice IP card

+ Friendly animated interface
+ Not most nationalities, but free choice between them
+ “VigilantBear” function acts as a
kind of kill switch + “GhostBear” function, which can slow down web usage, but “your encrypted data for governments, companies and Makes ISPs less detectable “; The feature helps if the connection to a VPN or maintaining the connection does not work, but you will not be less secure if you do without it
+ The monthly quota of 500 megabytes can be increased by 1 gigabyte to 1.5 gigabytes via Twitter tweet
+ Registration from the program possible …
– … but such a registration is necessary
– The animal touch may seem cheesy
– Few setting options

Proton VPN: Unlimited traffic for free

+ Unlimited traffic even in the free version
+ Displays IP-anonymous IP address in the interface
+ Several server locations can be selected per country
+ Explicit connection to servers possible, but also with the “fastest” or “most reliable”
+ progress bar with a click when connecting to a VPN server
+ kill switch function
+ the tool uses either OpenVPN (TCP) or OpenVPN (UDP)
+ beta updates can be activated in the settings
+ pretty map and statistics
– a little confusing because the interface is packed
– registration necessary, takes a little long due to verification
– German-language interface, but English-language changelog included

The best free VPN software

Finally, a subjective assessment: The author of the article likes Hotspot Shield best. With a generous 500 megabytes of traffic per day, the program offers more anonymous surfing volume than most of its competitors per month, and 1-click operation is easy. Anyone who does not value the choice of a specific country IP address and has no problem with a US IP will get a good overall package here. But ProtonVPN is also making up ground with a lot of (unlimited) VPN volume; Hotspot Shield is easier to use. By the way, VPN is by far not the only way to move through the data network with a cloak of invisibility. In the following article you will find some other programs with different technical approaches: Surf anonymously : Disguise IP via proxy and VPN. The programs presented there are suitable as an alternative or as an addition to VPN.