Published on: September 23, 2022
Short on time? Here’s the best free VPN for India in 2022:
- 🥇 ExpressVPN: Even though ExpressVPN doesn’t have a free plan, you can test it risk-free with a 30-day money-back guarantee. It has virtual servers in India (via Singapore and the UK) that aren’t constrained by India’s strict VPN data retention laws but that still reliably provide you with an Indian IP address. ExpressVPN is also very secure, maintains super fast speeds, and has best-in-class streaming, torrenting, and gaming support.
I spent weeks testing free VPNs that work in India to find out which ones are best in 2022.
It’s difficult to recommend free VPNs as they often lack industry-standard security features, set a limit on data and device connections, or log user data in order to sell it. On top of that, most free VPNs don’t have servers in India.
However, I tested tons of free VPNs and found 5 that are excellent for India. They are all very secure, very fast, and very user-friendly.
VPNs Removing Servers From India
Under India’s current laws, VPN servers that are physically located in India must store user data for at least 5 years. As a result, many major VPN providers have decided to remove their physical servers from the country. However, some VPNs (including a handful on this list) replaced their physical servers in India with virtual servers, which are located in a different country but still provide users with an Indian IP address. The virtual servers are not subject to India’s user data retention laws.
Quick summary of the best free VPNs for India:
- 1. 🥇 ExpressVPN — Best overall VPN for India (with a 30-day money-back guarantee).
- 2. 🥈 CyberGhost VPN — Excellent VPN for streaming (with a 45-day money-back guarantee).
- 3. 🥉 Proton VPN — Best free VPN with unlimited data.
- 4. Windscribe — Good free VPN with unlimited connections.
- 5. Hotspot Shield — Fast VPN for browsing in India.
- Comparison of the Best Free VPNs for India in 2022.
- How to Choose the Best Free VPN for India in 2022.
- Risks & Disadvantages of Using a Free VPN.
- Top Brands That Didn’t Make the Cut.
- Best Free VPNs for India — Frequently Asked Questions.
1. 🥇 ExpressVPN — Best Overall VPN for India in 2022
ExpressVPN is my favorite VPN for India — while it doesn’t have a free plan, it comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee so you can try it out risk-free for a whole month. It has 2 virtual server locations for India, super-fast speeds, and industry-leading security and privacy features. Its apps are easy to install and use, and it’s my top pick for streaming, torrenting, and gaming.
ExpressVPN offers virtual servers in India via the UK and Singapore, allowing the provider to bypass India’s data retention laws. I conducted multiple IP tests on servers in both locations, and I was assigned an Indian IP address every single time. ExpressVPN also has a massive 3,000+ servers in 90+ countries, including many locations close to India like Singapore, Thailand, Bhutan, and Sri Lanka.
Throughout my testing, ExpressVPN’s proprietary Lightway protocol helped to maintain lightning-fast speeds. Web pages loaded instantly, videos started instantly and streamed uninterrupted in HD and 4K, and a 25 GB file took about 10 minutes to download, which is really impressive. Also, ExpressVPN’s built-in speed test is very accurate and allows you to find the fastest servers in India and its surrounding areas.
In addition to having all of the industry-standard VPN security features, ExpressVPN comes with advanced security tools, including:
- TrustedServer Technology — By using RAM-only servers, ExpressVPN ensures that all data is wiped every time the server is switched off/on.
- Perfect forward secrecy — This feature changes encryption keys for each session to ensure hackers can’t access past or future keys in order to spy on your traffic.
- Full leak protection — Throughout my testing on Indian (and nearby) servers, I didn’t encounter any DNS, WebRTC, or IPv6 leaks. Thankfully, only the IP address for the country where I was connected appeared, and not my actual UK IP address.
- Split tunneling — With this feature, you can route some of your apps through your internet service provider (ISP) and some through the VPN to help speed up data-intensive activities. ExpressVPN supports split-tunneling on Android, Windows, Macs, and routers.
- Threat manager — ExpressVPN stops trackers from targeting you with annoying ads and prevents you from visiting malicious websites.
- No-logs policy — ExpressVPN doesn’t store any of your online traffic, and its no-logs policy has been audited by independent organizations on several occasions.
I’m also impressed that ExpressVPN is able to access 65+ streaming sites, including Netflix India, Hotstar, and India-based Zee5. Additionally, it supports torrenting on all servers, including India, and works with all of the popular torrenting clients like BitTorrent, uTorrent, and Deluge.
ExpressVPN’s plans start from $6.67 / month. While this price is a bit higher than some competitors, I often see ExpressVPN include extra months for free, and it truly offers amazing value. ExpressVPN allows 5 simultaneous device connections with each plan.
ExpressVPN is undoubtedly the best VPN for India. It comes with virtual Indian servers as well as physical servers in nearby countries like Bhutan and Sri Lanka, provides lightning-fast speeds, and includes advanced security features. Despite not having a free plan, ExpressVPN provides excellent value, and all plans are covered by a 30-day money-back guarantee so you can see for yourself if it’s right for you.
2. 🥈 CyberGhost VPN — Great for Streaming (With Blazing-Fast Speeds)
CyberGhost VPN has 25+ virtual servers in Mumbai, maintains very fast speeds, and is one the best VPNs for streaming. It doesn’t offer a free plan, but its long-term plans come with an impressive 45-day money-back guarantee.
I really like how CyberGhost has dedicated streaming servers for specific streaming services in different countries. These servers are designed to always work with the streaming service and provide optimal speeds for streaming content. In India, there are streaming servers for Hotstar and Netflix India — both worked seamlessly in my tests.
Throughout my testing I was able to connect to different virtual servers in India without any issues, and I was pleased to have a similarly positive experience connecting to servers in Pakistan, Malaysia, and Sri Lanka.
I also had really fast speeds on all Indian servers, but CyberGhost is not as fast as ExpressVPN. While I didn’t notice any delays while browsing, videos took 2 seconds to load, and the same 25 GB file took 13 minutes to download, which is still really good.
CyberGhost comes with some great extra features, such as:
- Smart rules — You can customize the CyberGhost app in a variety of ways to make your experience even smoother. For example, I used this feature to set up CyberGhost to automatically connect to an Indian server upon start-up.
- Content blocker — Helps to prevent ads, trackers, and malware from infiltrating your device (but the ad blocker doesn’t work that well).
- ID Guard — CyberGhost’s dark web monitoring warns you if your email or passwords have been leaked.
Plus, CyberGhost allows you to split-tunnel apps, but it’s only available on Android (unlike ExpressVPN, which offers the feature on multiple operating systems).
When it comes to security features, CyberGhost has perfect forward secrecy, full leak protection, and RAM-only servers. The no-logs policy hasn’t been audited, but CyberGhost publishes a transparency report every 3 months that displays all of the requests it received for user data and proves that no user data was exchanged.
CyberGhost allows up to 7 connections and prices start from as little as $2.23 / month.
CyberGhost has 25+ virtual servers in India, maintains fast speeds, and has dedicated servers for Netflix India and Hotstar. It also allows torrenting on all Indian servers. Its long-term plans are covered by a 45-day money-back guarantee, and the monthly plan has a 14-day money-back guarantee.
3. 🥉 Proton VPN — Free VPN With Unlimited Data
Proton VPN has the best free plan out there (with unlimited data). However, most free plans block features behind a paywall, and Proton VPN is no different. For example, it allows just 1 connection at a time, only provides access to servers in the US, the Netherlands, and Japan, and doesn’t support streaming and torrenting.
One of my favorite things about Proton VPN is that it includes the VPN Accelerator feature on its free plan. VPN Accelerator uses state-of-the-art technology to boost your speeds by up to 400%, especially while connected to distant servers. In my tests, I always had significantly faster speeds with this feature enabled than without it while I was connected to all 3 free server locations. General browsing was very fast, but my speeds with the free plan were nowhere as fast as with ExpressVPN or CyberGhost VPN.
Proton VPN has top-notch security and privacy features, including perfect forward secrecy, full leak protection, and full-disk encryption (scrambles all of the data on the server). Proton VPN’s no-logs policy has been confirmed by a third party, and it issues a transparency report.
I also really like that all of its apps are open source, which means the code is available for anyone to review and scrutinize — and since most people don’t have the technical background to inspect them, Proton VPN has taken the extra step and conducted independent audits for each one.
I’m also a huge fan of Proton VPN’s split-tunneling feature, which allows you to exclude website IP addresses, as well as apps. However, Mac users will be disappointed as it’s only available on Android and Windows.
While Proton VPN’s free plan is really good, you need to upgrade to one of Proton VPN’s premium Plus plans (starting at $4.99 / month) to gain access to all of its servers (including in India). The paid plans also provide the fastest speeds, streaming and torrenting support, and a really good ad blocker. You get up to 10 connections, and all plans are covered by a prorated 30-day money-back guarantee.
Proton VPN has a fantastic free plan. It includes unlimited data, great security features, and pretty fast speeds, but you only have access to 3 server locations (not India) and streaming and torrenting aren’t allowed. Users can upgrade to the Plus plan to get access to the India servers, watch their favorite India streaming services, and securely download files.
4. Windscribe — Free VPN With Unlimited Connections
Windscribe’s free plan doesn’t set a limit on the number of simultaneous connections, so it’s perfect for users in India who wish to access content on multiple devices. The biggest drawback of the free plan is that you only get 10 GB of data per month (or just 2 GB if you don’t share your email address with Windscribe). Users of the free plan don’t have access to a server in India, but Windscribe offers servers in 10 different locations, including Hong Kong, which is the closest option to India.
I was impressed with Windsribe’s speeds. To test the speeds on multiple devices at the same time, I recruited several family members to download the VPN on their devices (we had a total of 10) and connect to one of the 10 countries. The servers located closest to us provided the best speeds, so I recommend that users in India first try the server in Hong Kong. To get the fastest speeds, though, check out ExpressVPN.
Windscribe comes with a lot of advanced security features, including RAM-only servers, perfect forward secrecy, full leak protection, split-tunneling (it allows you to exclude apps for Android, Windows, and Mac), and a pretty customizable ad and malware blocker. However, I wish its no-logs policy was audited.
Windscribe allows streaming (and works with Netflix India) and torrenting on the free plan. However, with a 10 GB monthly data cap, this is only really enough to watch a few movies per month in HD or torrent a small file.
Upgrading to a premium plan removes the data limit and grants you access to the Indian server. Windscribe’s paid plans start from $4.08 / month, but they only come with a 3-day money-back guarantee.
Windscribe offers a free plan that allows unlimited connections, has good speeds, allows access to 10 server locations (but not India), and includes really good security features. However, you only get 10 GB per month, which really puts a limit on your browsing, streaming, and torrenting. The paid plans remove the data cap and allow access to all servers. Windscribe backs each plan with a short 3-day money-back guarantee.
5. Hotspot Shield — Fast VPN for Browsing in India
Hotspot Shield’s free plan is decent for browsing in India. Even though the free plan gives you access only to servers in the US, I had reasonably fast speeds — web pages loaded almost instantly and YouTube videos buffered for about 5 seconds before playing in 720p.
Hotspot Shield allows free subscribers to use its super-fast Hydra protocol, but speeds on the free plan are capped at 2 Mbps, which were drastically slower than ExpressVPN.
I like that Hotspot Shield includes perfect forward secrecy and DNS leak protection, but IPv6 and WebRTC leak protection is only available for Windows — you have to manually disable each one to prevent leaks.
With the free plan, Hotspot Shield only allows 500 MB of data each day (and you can’t carry over any unused data to the next day). The free plan also doesn’t support streaming. While you can torrent, the miniscule daily data limit means you can only download very small files.
To remove the data limitations, add streaming support, get access to the Indian server, and get up to 5 connections, you need to upgrade to one of Hotspot Shield’s premium plans, which costs as low as $2.99 / month. Hotspot Shield offers a generous 45-day money-back guarantee on all plans.
Hotspot Shield’s free plan is good for pretty fast browsing speeds in India but not much else. You only get access to 1 server location (the US), there’s no streaming support, and you can only use up to 500 MB per day. Hotspot Shield offers monthly and yearly paid plans that unlock all of these restrictions, and each plan is covered by a 45-day money-back guarantee.
Comparison of the Best Free VPNs for India in 2022
|VPN||Free Plan/Money-Back Guarantee||Starting Price||Data Cap||Works With Netflix India||Allows Torrenting in India||Device Connections|
|1.🥇 ExpressVPN||30-day money-back guarantee||$6.67 / month||Unlimited||✅||✅||5|
|2.🥈 CyberGhost VPN||45-day money-back guarantee||$2.23 / month||Unlimited||✅||✅||7|
|3.🥉 Proton VPN||Free plan + 30-day money-back guarantee||$4.99 / month||Unlimited||Paid plans only||Paid plans only||1 (up to 10 with paid plans)|
|4. Windscribe||Free plan + 3-day money-back guarantee||$4.08 / month||10 GB monthly||Paid plans only||Paid plans only||Unlimited|
|5. Hotspot Shield||Free plan + 45-day money-back guarantee||$2.99 / month||500 MB daily||Paid plans only||Paid plans only||1 (up to 5 with paid plans)|
How to Choose the Best Free VPN for India in 2022
- Servers in India or nearby countries. A VPN needs to have servers in India, or fast servers in other nearby countries. ExpressVPN and CyberGhost VPN have virtual servers in India.
- Strong security. While many free plans may lack essential security features, all of the VPNs on this list include industry-standard VPN security features like a kill switch, 256-bit AES encryption, a strict no-logs policy, and leak protection.
- Speeds. All VPNs will slow down your speeds to some degree because of the extra distance internet signals need to travel to VPN servers. The encryption process also contributes to the speed loss. But a good VPN is able to maintain fast speeds for browsing, streaming, and torrenting (ExpressVPN has the fastest speeds in the industry).
- Additional features. All of the free VPNs listed here offer convenient extras like split tunneling or an ad blocker.
- Affordable paid plans. Since you may consider upgrading to a premium plan in the future, I only recommend free VPNs that offer budget-friendly paid plans.
Risks & Disadvantages of Using a Free VPN
- Inadequate security. Free VPNs tend to lack even the basic security features, leaving your online traffic and IP address exposed to hackers, your (ISP), and the government.
- Slow speeds. Free VPNs often throttle your speeds, making it difficult for web pages to load or videos to start. Thankfully, all of the free VPNs I recommend maintain pretty fast speeds.
- Blacklisted servers. Most VPNs offer small server networks, meaning they have fewer IP addresses to assign to users. Many sites block commonly-used VPN IP addresses. The top premium VPNs like ExpressVPN typically have thousands of IP addresses.
- No streaming/torrenting. Most free VPNs don’t typically work with Netflix, Disney+, or Amazon Prime Video, and similarly, a lot of free VPNs don’t allow torrenting.
- Strict data limits. There are a lot of VPNs that attach a daily or monthly data cap on their free plan. These can range from as little as 200 MB per day to 15 GB per month, which really prohibits how much you can do online while connected to the VPN. Proton VPN is one of the few VPNs that allow unlimited data with its free plan.
- Selling user data. One of the biggest risks with using a free VPN is that it will store and even sell your personal information or online behavior to advertisers — this helps offset the costs of offering a free plan. It’s important to ensure any free VPN you use has a trustworthy no-logs policy — Proton VPN’s no-logs policy has been independently audited and verified and it also issues transparency reports proving it doesn’t share user data.
Top Brands That Didn’t Make the Cut
- PrivadoVPN — The free plan allows unlimited device connections, 10 GB of data per month, and supports P2P traffic, but unfortunately PrivadoVPN’s free plan doesn’t have servers close enough to India to provide good speeds.
- hide.me — hide.me’s free plan is fast and ad-free but doesn’t have a good choice of servers near India.
- TunnelBear — TunnelBear has a decent free plan that includes all of the features from its premium plans. However, you only get a lousy 500 MB per month, which is only enough to test out the product.
Best Free VPNs for India — Frequently Asked Questions
Are VPNs legal in India?
Yes, but India passed a law that requires VPN providers to store user data on India-based servers for at least 5 years. This triggered some VPNs like ExpressVPN and CyberGhost VPN to replace their physical servers in India with virtual servers, which provide users with an Indian IP addresses but aren’t physically located in India. Virtual servers allow VPNs to get around the data retention law and continue to secure their users’ privacy.
What’s the best free VPN for India?
ExpressVPN is my top VPN for India. While it doesn’t have a free plan, it has affordable plans that start at $6.67 / month, and it’s the best overall VPN on the market in 2022. It also has a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you have plenty of time to try it out risk-free.
ExpressVPN offers industry-leading security features, lightning-fast speeds for connecting to servers in India, works with Netflix India, Hotstar, and other India-based streaming services, and allows torrenting on its Indian servers. In addition, ExpressVPN replaced its physical servers in India with virtual servers (that access India via the UK or via Singapore) to bypass India’s VPN data retention laws.
If you’re looking for a really good 100% free VPN, check out Proton VPN. It allows unlimited data, has fast speeds, and includes excellent security features. However, you only get 1 simultaneous connection, access to servers in the US, Japan, and the Netherlands, and there’s no streaming or torrenting support.
Do free VPNs work with Netflix India?
There may be a couple, but most free VPNs don’t allow you to access a server in India. If you are unable to connect to an Indian server, you won’t have access to Netflix India. The few free VPN plans that include access to an Indian server have very small daily or monthly data limits. For example, TunnelBear’s free plan has a server in India and allows streaming, but you only get 500 MB per month, which isn’t enough to watch a full 30-minute episode of a show in HD.
The best way to ensure that you can watch Netflix India is to purchase a premium VPN like ExpressVPN, which has Indian servers, reliably works with Netflix India, has super-fast speeds, and is very easy to use.
Are free VPNs safe to use for India?
The majority of free VPNs are NOT safe to use in India. Many free VPNs lack basic security features, log your data (and sometimes even sell it), or contain malware.
However, all of the truly free VPNs that I recommend, including Proton VPN, Windscribe, and Hotspot Shield, include industry-standard VPN security features like 256-bit AES encryption, a kill switch, DNS leak protection, and a strict no-logs policy. They also have advanced security features like perfect forward secrecy and extra features such as split-tunneling and an ad, tracker, and malware blocker.