Short for virtual private network, a VPN is a versatile tool that encrypts your online activity and unblocks content anywhere in the world. With a VPN free trial, you can put some of the best VPN services to the test before you commit to paying for it—giving you a true glimpse at what a VPN service is like, rather than just a glimpse of the good stuff.
With 15 years of experience in testing security software, here at TechRadar we regularly try and test all the biggest names on the market to recommend only the best software.
Before you get going, it's important to note that many providers are a bit sneaky when it comes to what a "real" free trial actually is. Typically, new customers are allowed 30 days to decide if they are happy with a VPN service, or get a full refund if they aren't. Oftentimes, VPN providers market this as a free trial, when in fact you'll actually pay for those 30 days if you continue to use the service after the "trial" period is up. So, it's kind of free, but not really free.
The best three VPN free trials at a glance
In TechRadar's 15-year history, we've reviewed hundreds of VPN services and analyzed the speed, security, unblocking capability, and value for money of each one to curate this list. Check out our top three VPN free trial picks below:
1. NordVPN: the best VPN with a free trial
NordVPN is one of the industry's top dogs (and the fastest VPN on the block) thanks to its ability to unblock virtually every streaming platform and some seriously smart security features. Your NordVPN even includes ad blocking and malware protection as standard.
In addition to its fairly-priced plans, you can take NordVPN for a test drive with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
2. ExpressVPN: the best premium VPN with a free trial
ExpressVPN currently reigns as our #1 pick for the best VPN overall. With remarkable speeds, incredibly easy-to-use apps, and unparalleled attention to detail, it's the service we trust most.
It offers a no-questions-asked 30-day money-back guarantee. While it's certainly not a cheap pick, ExpressVPN makes up for it by bundling in a year of secure cloud storage from Backblaze, a built-in password manager, and an extra 3 months for free.
3. Surfshark: the cheapest VPN with a free trial
Surfshark is a popular VPN choice thanks to its eye-catching pricing: just around $2 per month on a 2-year plan. With built-in ad-blocking and antivirus capabilities, it's more than just a VPN, it's a full security suite.
Take advantage of unlimited simultaneous connections to protect every device you own, and those of everyone you know, all with a 30-day money-back guarantee to trial it.
My latest VPN test results are in! I've updated the servers, locations, prices, and features so you can see which services are actually worth trying before you buy.
The best VPN free trials in 2024
Why you can trust TechRadar
Let's take a deeper look at the best VPNs and the fre trials they come with. We've noted the best
The best VPN with a free trial
The best, and quickest, VPN with a free trial
Free trial type: 30-day money-back guarantee | Number of servers: 5,600+ | Server locations: 80 | Maximum devices supported: 6 | Works on: Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux (CLI), routers and more
✔️ You want the fastest VPN around: NordVPN soared to the top of our speed charts during our last round of testing.
✔️ You're looking for a built-in security suite: Check out ad blocking and malware protection tools as part of your NordVPN subscription.
✔️ You want real value for money: NordVPN comes with a full toolkit of features and customizable pricing, so only pay for what you'll use.
❌ A simple UI is a must: Exploring the NordVPN map interface is fun, but it's not as intuitive as ExpressVPN's streamlined apps.
❌ Command line isn't for you: While NordVPN can be used on Linux machines, the command line interface does lack navigability.
❌ You want access to global content: servers in 60 countries is no small feat, but our other top picks have more international coverage.
🔒 NordVPN ticks all the right boxes; it's incredibly fast, has proven its commitment to user privacy with numerous audits, and unblocks a ton of streaming platforms. Take a look for yourself with its 30-day money-back guarantee.
Our in-depth NordVPN review dives into the details of the service and its roster of privacy features.
NordVPN proves that you don't have to break the bank to get your hands on a quality VPN service. You get a lot of functionality in return for a very modest price—but, as you'd expect from our number one pick, you can try before you buy with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
I'm consistently impressed by its all-in-one approach to security. This means you're getting more than just a VPN when you subscribe to NordVPN. Built-in ad blocking and antivirus protection keep your day-to-day browsing secure (and your personal details out of the hands of cybercriminals), and users on the Complete plan get access to a password manager, data breach scanner, and secure cloud storage.
One of NordVPN's standout features is its Meshnet, which allows users to create their very own secure private network that covers up to 60 devices simultaneously. That's great news if you plan on doing some file sharing, gaming, or virtual routing—and best of all, the Meshnet feature is now free for everyone.
There are more than 5,600 NordVPN servers to choose from—that's more than ExpressVPN, although they aren't dotted across as many countries. Still, this expansive network means you'll have no trouble hopping digital borders to evade geo-blocks preventing you from checking out international content, or even government-imposed bans on social media platforms.
When it comes to customer support, NordVPN has never let me down. I've thrown even the most techy questions at its 24/7 live chat team and received timely, thorough answers. If you'd rather do your own troubleshooting, you'll be glad to learn that the NordVPN knowledge hub has plenty of tutorials on hand (and in multiple languages.)
The 30-day money-back guarantee isn't a traditional free trial, seeing as you'll need to pay for a plan first, but if you decide NordVPN isn't for you, claiming your money back is fuss-free and straightforward. It's well worth taking the month to trial the service on your favorite devices, and seeing for yourself exactly why it tops our ranking.
|The map is a fun UI element, but can be a little busy
|Ease of use
|Not as much attention to detail as ExpressVPN, but otherwise easy to navigate
|The fastest VPN in our latest tests
|Easily unblocks Netflix and other in-demand platforms
|Security and privacy
|Packed with privacy features
|24/7 live chat support can handle any inquiry
|Customizable plans, and great value
The best premium VPN with a free trial
The best premium service with a 30-day money-back guarantee
Free trial type: 30-day money-back guarantee | Number of servers: 3,200+ | Server locations: 160 | Maximum devices supported: 8 | Works on: Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux
✔️ You want a VPN that you can set and forget: auto-connect functionality and a kill switch mean you connect once, and you're always protected.
✔️ You want lots of locations: with over 160 locations around the world to choose from, you can unblock content no matter where you are.
✔️ You need a VPN you can trust with your life: ExpressVPN's regular audits and no-logs policy shows its commitment to keeping you safe from oppressive regimes.
❌ You're on a strict budget: ExpressVPN is an expensive choice. If you can't afford its prices, I'd recommend looking towards NordVPN or Surfshark.
❌ You want a Linux app: ExpressVPN only offers a command-line interface. If you need a graphical user interface (GUI), you should consider Surfshark, Proton VPN, or PIA.
🔒 ExpressVPN is a show-stopper, constantly excelling in our rigorous testing. Try for yourself with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Check out our in-depth ExpressVPN review for a closer look at the service, and see why it's our top VPN pick for 2024.
ExpressVPN usually tops the majority of my buying guides—most importantly the best VPN list—and for good reason. It's a feature-rich service that focuses on high-quality, intuitive apps that are as easy to use as they are reliable. With a 30-day no-quibbles refund, you can take it for a spin and see for yourself why it's my favorite VPN in 2024.
It offers industry-leading encryption, DNS content unblocking, a no-logs policy, a kill switch, P2P torrenting support, and leak protection. Together, this means you can trust ExpressVPN with your life, just like the thousands of journalists, activists, and political dissidents around the world who put their faith in the service.
ExpressVPN's well-maintained server and IP list mean that you'll always be able to unblock content from anywhere in the world. I love that its customization options mean I can choose the encryption that'll work best for whatever I need, whenever I need it.
The 24/7 customer support service we witnessed is a huge bonus, with helpful and knowledgeable agents that are always on hand to ensure you stay protected at all times. The only negative we have is that you can only use ExpressVPN on five devices at any one time. It's still not bad (just fewer than the likes of NordVPN and Surfshark) and since you can set this up on the router, that helps bypass that issue at home.
While its 30-day money-back guarantee doesn't offer a "true" free trial experience, it does give you ample time to see if it is the right VPN for you before claiming your money back. Plus, with the money-back guarantees offered throughout the industry, you can see how each compares before committing to anyone in particular.
However, even when taking payment—which will be required upon signing up in the case of the ExpressVPN free trial—it favors anonymity and security. There are plenty of payment options available, including Bitcoin for increased privacy.
If you want to save money, you can get the best ExpressVPN prices by signing up for a longer plan. If you subscribe to the 12-month plan, you get an extra 3 months of protection for free.
|A clean and simple design that gives you everything you need, exactly when you need it
|Ease of use
|Intuitive apps with auto-connect functionality make life easier
|Fast enough for anything you could throw at it, but slower than NordVPN and Surfshark
|Effortlessly gives you access to content around the world
|Security and privacy
|Express offers military-grade protection for total peace of mind
|Always available, friendly, and helpful
|More expensive than leading competitors