Can A Free VPN Hide Your IP Address? (Clear Answer)

The VPN market is very competitive but also very expansive and confusing to newcomers. There’s loads of talk of Premium but also “free” VPNs, and it can be hard to sift through all the information to see which ones will do the job you need.

Can a free VPN also mask or hide your IP address like a paid one can? Or are there catches and downsides to these free services that means we should stay away from them?

A reputable free VPN will hide your real IP address and location like any other VPN, but free services will vary widely in quality and privacy and it is recommended to avoid peer to peer, proxy or otherwise shared free VPNs that don’t have a clear zero log policy.

The bottom line is that you definitely don’t always have to pay to mask, change or hide your IP address for basic internet use, as there’s plenty of good, reputable free VPN options which can do this for you if you know where to look.

In this guide, we’ll also try and guide readers through the maze of how VPNs work, and offer some good free options you can use to hide your IP and location without forking out for expensive subscriptions.

A Good Free VPN Will Hide Your IP Address

A high quality, legitimate free VPN will work just like a Premium VPN in terms of general function, in that it will mask or hide your real IP address and location and replace it with another one. However, with free VPNs, there are usually some data, server selection or streaming access limitations.

Therefore, as long as you pick a good option, a free VPN will work just the same as any other good VPN. It will create a secure, encrypted “tunnel” through which to send/receive internet traffic from your device, and in the process also change your IP address and location according to the VPN server location you select within it’s interface.

Therefore, to any websites you visit and send/request information from, it appears that the requests are coming from the IP address/location/device of the VPN server, not your actual, real IP address/location/device.

In other words, a proper VPN adds a very strong layer of encryption around your internet traffic and also routes your traffic through servers which change your apparent location to any websites you visit. A properly functioning VPN anonymizes your internet traffic and is basically impossible to crack in the civilian/commercial world.

Some High Quality Free VPNs

If it’s good to know that a high quality free VPN can do exactly the same job as a Premium one in terms of masking your IP/location, the next step would be to know which free VPNs are “good” or recommended to use.

Check out the table below for some good, reputable, free VPN offerings, all of which have positives and drawbacks, but which all function like a proper, legit VPN program with the appropriate privacy/security.

ProviderFree Server LocationsData LimitMore Info
ProtonVPN3 (USA, Amsterdam, Japan)UnlimitedSee here
AtlasVPN3 (USA East, USA West, Amsterdam)5 GB/monthSee here
TurboVPN4 (USA, Germany, Singapore, India).UnlimitedSee here
ZoogVPN5 (USA, UK, Netherlands)10 GB/monthSee here
Hide.me5 (Netherlands, USA, Germany, UK, Canada)10 GB/month (random server selection)See here
PrivadoVPN10 (USA, UK, Canada, Germany, France, Netherlands, Switzerland, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, New Zealand)10 GB/monthSee here
Windscribe10 (USA, UK, Canada, Hong Kong, France, Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland, Romania, Denmark).10 GB/monthVisit site
Tunnelbear49500 MB/monthVisit site


ProtonVPN have a fantastic free offering with unlimited use if one of the 3 free locations works for you. PrivadoVPN have the best server choice, and ZoogVPN are also good when I use them. All 3 look and work like a proper VPN, and also maintain strict zero logs even on their free version, and so are recommended from a privacy standpoint. But all options are decent and legit for basic secure browsing.

For unlimited use or streaming access, you’ll need a Premium plan; see here for some good value options.

Poor Quality Free VPNs To Stay Away From

Let’s round off our information by listing some poor quality free VPNs it’s advised to stay away from. Whilst they may technically mask or hide your IP, some free services have serious privacy or security problems, and for this reason can’t really be considered legit VPNs. Or else they might just be really slow and unreliable.

Here are some free services to avoid:

  • UrbanVPN – Is a peer to peer shared VPN service. Offers loads of locations and unlimited use and will change your IP, but definitely isn’t zero logs and can’t be considered a proper, private VPN.
  • Hotspot Shield
  • Betternet VPN
  • TouchVPN
  • Hola VPN
  • SuperVPN
  • Psiphon VPN
  • Any browser add on VPNs

For a free VPN to be considered, it must:

  • Be a standalone app that you open and start, not built into a browser
  • Look and work like a proper VPN.
  • Maintain zero logs even on the free version.
  • Be reliable and deliver at least acceptable speeds.
  • Not be sharing or “pooling” connections or IP addresses.


As a regular VPN users for 7+ years, I like providing useful info to help people find free or low cost VPN solutions for online security and privacy.

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