It is always better to test the waters before diving into things. A lot of the services, these days, allow a free trial to the users before they buy a subscription for the service.
A lot of the VPN services have joined this bandwagon of availing free trial to users. The practice helps both the user and the service provider to achieve their goals. Some of these companies even offer freemium pricing model which means you can use products forever free with certain restrictions (such as data or speed).
If used wisely, a free trial can help the user increase his knowledge base about the service and make a wise and informed decision when he needs to make a choice.
The meaning of a free trial varies from one service to another, and the user must be aware of the various nuances in the free trial policy of the product.
This article will tell you all about the free trials offered by several VPN services and will also guide you on how to test the service properly during the trial period.
But before getting into the details, let us have a look at some of the best VPN services available with a free trial. [Also check: Top Ten VPN Services]
The best ‘free trial’ VPNs
Although there are many services which offers free trial, we decided to list about ten of our favorite ones here.
NordVPN is among the most popular VPN services out there. The most significant contributing factor to the success of this VPN service is its vast server network. This VPN service has more than 5000 servers in 60 countries of the globe.
The good news is that NordVPN avails both a free trial period as well as a money-back guarantee service to its users. There is a 7-day free trial for the service which the user can enjoy after submitting the card details.
If not satisfied, the user can ask for a refund within 30 days after subscribing to the service.
VyprVPN is an excellent VPN service which carries all the necessary tools to protect the user’s privacy without compromising the user’s online experience.
The company is based in Switzerland which makes it easy for them to follow a strict no-logs policy. The speed on the service is fast enough to take care of the needs of the gamers as well.
However, the service offers only a 3-day free trial period to the users. Some may argue that the time is not enough for testing the service.
But the service provider seems confident of the abilities of VyprVPN, and therefore, provided a very small time-frame for the trial service.
3. Hotspot Shield
This US-based VPN service offers a 7-day free trial period to the users.
Hotspot Shield has its own sets of merits and demerits. The one-week time should be enough for the user to gauge this VPN service.
One can expect lightning-fast speeds on this service. It has also got all the advanced security features ranging from military-grade encryption to the internet kill switch.
The service has more than 2500 servers in 25 countries around the globe. Even though there are not a lot of countries involved in the server network of Hotspot Shield, the high density of servers ensures that there are no latency issues for the user.
HideMyAss! is one of the veterans of the VPN world. This product was created by a British teenage boy and got acquired by Avast once the product became popular.
The service provides a 7-day trial period to the users. They have also got 30-days money back guarantee policy. These features make it very easy for a user to test the service.
HMA! has one of the best server networks when it comes to covering the globe. It has servers in more than 190 countries. This huge server network can help the user bypass many geo-restrictions with ease.
hide.me provides the user with immense control over the properties of the VPN. There are multiple protocols and connectivity options which let the user enjoy a lot of freedom on the internet.
Hide.me offers a version for free to the users. One can enjoy the free version of hide.me for as long as one wants. The free version is limited by the 2GB data transfer cap per month. It allows only one connection, and there are only five server locations for the free user to connect.
Those who want to test out the full-fledged version of this VPN service will have to rely on the 14-days money-back guarantee of hide.me. The user will need to pay an amount to test all the features of this VPN service.
SaferVPN is an Israeli VPN service. Just like it is with most of the Israeli things, SaferVPN is also aggressive in its policies. They give only 24 hours to the user to test the service.
It is not very common to come across a one-day trial policy from any VPN service. However, they somewhat make up for the frugal trial policy by providing the user with a 30-day money back guarantee for the service.
SaferVPN does possess some features which may excite the users. It has Smart Wi-Fi protection which automatically turns on the VPN when the user connects to any unsafe Wi-Fi network.
The encryption and protocol are in line with the top VPN services, but the speed may vary depending on the user’s location which is why it becomes even more critical to test the service.
7. Goose VPN
Goose VPN is a Dutch service which is quite generous when it comes to the period of the free trial. One can use the service for 30 days before taking off the thinking cap and deciding if the service is worth subscribing or not.
Goose VPN provides dedicated servers for activities such as streaming and torrenting on the service which makes it very easy for the user to find the best servers. Goose VPN bypasses a lot of the regional restrictions and promises accesses to the popular streaming services.
The generosity of Goose VPN continues for the number of simultaneous connections as well. There is no limit on the number of devices which can be used with one account.
8. VPN Unlimited
VPN Unlimited is yet another US-based VPN service. Even though the jurisdiction of this service makes some people question privacy on the service, the speed on VPN Unlimited keeps attracting the users.
One striking feature of VPN Unlimited is that one can also get lifetime subscription of the service with just one payment. If you are considering getting the lifetime subscription, you may first want to try out the service.
This VPN service provides the user with a 7-day free trial period. It should be enough to give an idea to the user about the quality of the VPN service.
Teddy bears are cuddly, grizzly bears are deadly, and TunnelBear is lively. This VPN service must be having the most exciting user interface among all the services.
The service has a free version which has a data cap of 500 MB per month. But it is a useful tool for the user to get an impression of the service.
The free version has a few other handicaps when compared to the premium service, but that is the case with the free version of all the services.
TunnelBear has servers in more than 22 countries and also gives satisfactory speed on the network. Features such as GhostBear and VigilantBear make the service more fun and effective.
ProtonVPN is a Swiss VPN service known particularly for the physical security for some of its servers which are also known as the secure-core servers. The service boasts of these servers being placed in former military establishments and other such secure compounds.
ProtonVPN also has a free version. The features on the free version are limited, but it is a lot similar to the premium version. The paid version of the service is nothing but the free version on steroids.
Once can know enough about the service by using the free version. However, the user also needs to keep in mind that the performance parameters will be a lot better in the paid version.
The need to try VPNs
Now we know about the best VPN services with a free trial offer. But before jumping on the keyboard to start our free trial accounts on the service, we need to realize why is it that we need a trial period in the first place.
Well, there is no rocket science is realizing that trial periods are for the user to assess the service.
However, we all know what VPNs do. A VPN service preserves our privacy on the internet. Some of you may be aware of the mechanism used by the VPN services to achieve this goal.
All the VPN services use the same mechanism to protect the user’s privacy. A VPN service first encrypts all of the user’s data and then redirects it through its own servers.
Since the traffic is first obfuscated and then redirected through the VPN servers, it becomes almost impossible for any third-party to know about the user’s online activities.
The VPN services vary in the sense that they have a different number of servers at different locations, different level of encryption, different policies, etc.
You can know all about these differences in the services through their websites and other reviews on the internet.
So, what is it that makes a free trial advantageous?
You may find that a VPN service may get some polar ratings on two different review forums. One review may speak highly of the service while the other is on a constant rant about the poor quality.
Even though the reviews don’t contradict each other very often, the rare occurrences confuse the user about the product as well the integrity of the reviewer.
There can be a lot of the reasons which can lead to a difference in the performance of the service and therefore the reviews. One such reason is the geographical location of the user.
The servers play an important role when it comes to the quality of the service. Servers at different locations within a service may offer different bandwidth to users. It can drastically affect the user experience.
The free trials help the user get a better picture of the service for her location. It doesn’t matter if the VPN service excels for the users in one part of the region or the country. There won’t be a point in getting the service if it doesn’t fair well for the user’s location.
The other advantage of the free trial is that the user gets to know how easy or tough it is to set up and use the service. One can also get to know about the various small features of the VPN service which are not often discussed in the reviews.
Those who are new to the VPNs can know a lot about the service and the parameters. There can be no better way to know more about the service other than experiencing it firsthand.
The user will know how the service is affected by servers, encryptions, protocols, etc.
We feel that the user should always go for the trial service whenever possible.
Free Trial Vs. Free Vs. Moneyback VPN Services
Companies offer their trial services in various forms and under different packages.
Most of the free trials offered by the companies come under either the free trial or the free service, or the money back guarantee category. Let us have a brief look at all three categories in the context of VPN services.
Free trials are the most common among VPN services.
The user gets either the full-fledged service for a limited period or gets the service without any time constraint but with limited features.
The other constraints may include limited bandwidth, capped data usage, limited servers, etc.
Free trials allow the user to have a go at the service without any strings attached. In most of the cases, it turns out to be enough to persuade the user to try the product.
VPN services differ a lot when it comes to the free trial period. Some VPN services are available for free for a mere seven days while there are others which let the user asses the service for 45 days before asking for any fee.
There are a few services such as Hide.me which avail the service for free but with a data cap. One can keep using the service for as long as one wants, but within limits enforced by the user.
A service may cap the data usage and refresh every once in a week, or every once in a month or it may even decide never to restore it.
Another common constraint on the free trial of the products is the limited server access. VPN services often deny the user access to some of the popular servers on the VPN network.
For instance, a VPN service with dedicated streaming servers may not let the free trial users access the US streaming server. Generally, the US streaming servers are very high in demand because of the abundance of content on streaming services in the US.
Some of the free trials also ask the user for card details. Even though the service doesn’t charge user during the trial period, sometimes the services get benefited from the negligence of the user.
We will discuss these issues in greater details in the later section of the article.
Moneyback guarantee service
The money back guarantees services are the ones which offer the service to the user at some price but also promises to refund the money in case the user is not satisfied with the product.
There is a deadline before which the user needs to express this dissatisfaction to count eligible for the refund. This period for deadline also varies from one VPN service to another.
The money back guarantees can also be considered the same as free trials as there is the possibility of using the service for a limited duration without paying for the service.
But there are some advantages and disadvantages of a money back guarantee service over the free trial service.
The primary advantage of the money back guarantee is that unlike free trials, there are no constraints on it.
The user gets access to all the features of the service without any limitation.
The service provider also experiences some benefits from availing the money back guarantee. This type of service mostly attracts serious users, and only a small percentage of such users demand a refund after they start using the service.
Some of the VPN services are also available for free to users.
These services don’t charge a single penny to the user, but there is hardly any good enough free VPN service which we would consider recommending to our readers.
Such services often retort to unethical ways to make money. There have been instances when free services were found selling the data of the users to third-parties.
They also redirect the user’s online traffic through third-party servers which often leads to data monitoring and retention.
Most of the times, a free VPN service will make the user’s data even more vulnerable rather than protecting it from the threats.
However, free VPN services are quite popular when it comes to mobile application. Most of the people use these free VPN services on mobiles to circumvent the geo-restrictions.
The catch of trial services
The service providers have a few tricks up their sleeves to make the most out of the free trials they provide to the users.
The end goal of the service is to have as many customers as possible when they provide free trials to the users. It is also true that a lot of the users don’t subscribe to the service once the trial period is over.
Sometimes, the services may try to make some marginal profits even from these users who don’t end up subscribing to the service. The service providers tend to structure the terms and conditions in such a way that it is not easy for a customer to have the service just for free.
However, this also does not mean that all such providers are unethical. Sometimes, the added complexity helps filter out the non-serious users and those who even try to abuse the free trial service.
There are a few things that we would like you to keep in mind before subscribing to any free trial service or the one which guarantees money back in case the customer is not satisfied.
You must have noticed that some of the VPN services avail their free trials only after the user registers some payment card details with the service.
The services don’t need to charge any money for the free trial, yet they ask for the user’s card details to take advantage of the case when the user may forget to revoke the subscription before the end of free trial period.
As soon as the trial period ends, the subscription fee gets deducted from the user’s account. Majority of these services don’t even send a notification to the user before the end of the trial period.
As a user, you need to be careful when you try any such service. A lot of the users forget to unsubscribe from the service before the end of the trial period and end up paying for a service which they might not have wanted.
It is trickier to get money back from the money back guarantee services. Let us discuss some of the loopholes which the service provider may use to deny the refund.
One should know that payments made through cryptocurrencies and the cash payments often don’t get refunded by the services.
The services mention this clause somewhere at the corner of their refund policy. You should never pay in cash or cryptocurrency when there is a possibility that you might go for the refund.
The online payments include the transaction charges which are added on top of the cost of the service. The service provider will only refund the cost of the service, and the user will always end up losing the transaction fee. So, often the user will not get a complete refund of the money paid while subscribing to the service.
Some VPN services may also have the policy of conditional refunds. The service will ask the user why they want to terminate the subscription.
If the user replies with some issue which the service provider ends up solving, then there may be no refund. Or if the service provider is not satisfied with the user’s reasoning to end the subscription, it may deny the refund to the user.
This policy does stop people from abusing the money back policy, but sometimes the policy backfires even for serious users. The user ends up having more grudge against the service in such a case.
You may also not have a case for a refund if you subscribe to the service through an discount or special sale program. The product comes with some heavy discount through the sale programs, and the services use it as a reason to not entertain the refund requests.
One should take care while getting the service at a discounted price as it may leave the refund policy null and void.
Gauging the VPN service during the trial period
The trial version of a VPN service will often come with some constraint. It can either be the limited time for which the trial is available or the limited features which come with the free service.
The user needs to have a set plan to judge the service within the constraints. The assessment can also vary with the user’s motive for getting the VPN service.
Some people use VPN to safeguard their privacy on the internet, while there are others who want to get across the geo-restrictions.
There are also a few parameters which will always undergo the scanner when it comes to VPN service. Let us discuss a few such features which the user should always test or asses before getting a VPN service.
Of all the parameters that can only be judged while using the service, speed should be one of the first things that you assess on the service.
The speed should be excellent for the automatic server or the closest server. It should also be satisfactory for the rest of the servers.
The speed on the service depends on a lot of factors such as the distance of the user from the VPN server, the bandwidth available on the server, the traffic density on the server, etc.
These parameters vary for different locations. Hence, this is one case where the user should not trust even word of mouth and test the speed himself.
No matter how fast a VPN service is, it is useless if it fails to protect the user’s privacy. VPN services often come with strong security features such as robust encryptions and secure protocols.
But often these security features come at the expense of speed on the service. The user needs to ensure that the speed does not suffers much because of the security measures.
A lot of services provide both AES 128-bit as well as the AES 256-bit encryption. AES 256-bit is the strongest encryption available and also among the most advertised features on VPN services.
However, the default settings of the VPN service may not use AES 256-bit encryption as it requires more processing power and brings down the speed in a few cases.
The user can ensure that the VPN service showcases high speeds even when the advanced security features are active.
The free trial also brings the opportunity for the user to crosscheck that the service works well on all her devices. It can be a matter of great annoyance for the user to find out that the VPN won’t work on all the devices.
Some of the VPN services also provide access to logs which sheds more light on the data retention policies of the user. Even though it is not easy to determine if the service follows a no-logs policy or not, the user can always get a clue by looking at the logs from within the client.
The added features or the extra features which are often exclusive to the different VPN services can be best tested on the free trials.
Ad blockers, track blockers, dedicated servers, multi-server connections, etc., are some of the very exciting features. All these can be subjected to testing during the trial period.
The user can decide if these added features add any value to the product or not.