Best Free VPN To Access Dark Web in 2024

Last updated: April 7, 2024 Reading time: 21 minutes
8Best Free VPN's

Quick Update: Best Free VPNs To Access The Dark Web

  1. Proton VPN: The alternate routing technology bypasses censorship and allows easy access to blocked websites.
  2. TunnelBear: It uses the GhostBear feature, which is the obfuscation feature and helps bypass censorship.
  3. It doesn’t throttle the connection and allows accessing all the advanced features even in the free plan.
  4. AtlasVPN: It comes with 10 GB monthly bandwidth and uses strong encryption to protect activities on the dark web.
  5. Hotspot Shield: It has Tor over VPN feature and uses Catapult Hydra tunnelling protocol to bypass internet blocks.
  6. Betternet: It uses the Catapult Hydra protocol but offers a limited 500MB of data daily.
  7. Windscribe: It offers various ways to increase the monthly bandwidth limit and guarantees maximum speed to access the dark web.
  8. PrivadoVPN: It allows users to connect to servers in 12 locations and puts no bandwidth restrictions.

To get more information about these free dark web VPNs, read their short reviews in the latter part of the article.

Using a VPN to access the dark web is crucial due to its numerous privacy and security issues and controversies. Although the dark web does have a few legal uses, it is also a hub of illegal businesses and activities, which makes a reliable dark web VPN necessary while accessing it.

Moreover, a reliable VPN for the dark web also helps bypass ISP throttling issues and attain online anonymity by masking your IP address and encrypting data traffic. However, using a free VPN to access the dark web might almost be equivalent to not using a VPN altogether unless you make the right choice.

Although there is no doubt that free VPNs are generally a hazard to cybersecurity, a few reliable free VPNs do exist that help access the dark web. These VPNs have relatively good security features and help attain some measures of online privacy.

How does a free VPN work?

Apart from a few key differences, such as those discussed above, free and paid VPNs work similarly. You must install a client application on your device to connect to the server and establish a secure connection.

Free VPNs operate several servers in different countries. They act as intermediaries between your device and the internet. Once you’ve selected a server, the client application encrypts your internet traffic using protocols like OpenVPN or L2TP/IPsec. This ensures your data’s security and protection from unauthorized access. However, be careful since most free VPNs do not offer top encryption features.

The encrypted data from your device is then channeled through a secure tunnel created by the client application. This makes your online identity and location anonymous, and websites can’t track you.

Does an entirely free VPN exist?

Running a VPN requires massive resources, such as maintenance and infrastructure expenses. That is why many free VPN services engage in fraudulent activities to raise revenue that will cost you in the long run. So, it is close to impossible to find a completely free VPN. Many of them impose limitations and restrictions such as:

  • Data caps – This limits how much data you can use monthly. Once you exceed that threshold, you are charged or lose access to the service until the next period.
  • Bandwidth restrictions – Free VPNs limit bandwidth usage, resulting in slower connection speeds and reduced performance. This is frustrating if you’re undertaking resource-intensive activities like streaming.
  • Limited server options – Free VPNs offer a small number of servers to connect to, restricting you from accessing blocked content in other regions. Furthermore, these servers are highly congested during peak usage, making them extremely slow.
  • Advertisements – Some free VPN services display advertisements to generate revenue. These advertisements can be intrusive and negatively impact your user experience.
  • Privacy concerns – You should exercise caution with free VPNs as some may log your online activities and sell your data to third parties, compromising your privacy.

Is a free VPN safe enough to use on Dark Web?

Using a free VPN is always tempting, especially for such users who don’t have a monthly or yearly subscription budget. But in reality, free VPNs on the dark web aren’t a good option as they are not designed to provide enough security and protection on the dark web. Free VPNs offer slow speed due to limited bandwidth. Also, the Tor browser offers slow speed due to routing the traffic into multiple nodes, making browsing difficult.

Besides this, free VPNs have security issues that make them unreliable. These include:

  • Most free VPNs lack advanced features that boost privacy and security on the dark web.
  • They can be infected with malware or use embedded third-party trackers for tracking and advertising.
  • Some free VPNs might hijack the browser and redirect users to any malicious site.
  • Despite many claims, some free VPNs don’t follow a zero-logging policy. They log and sell users’ data with third parties without their consent and generate revenue.
  • Free VPNs have bandwidth and speed limitations, leading to slow connection speed.

Therefore, for all these reasons, try out using the best premium VPNs for the dark web, such as: 

8 best free VPNs to access the Dark Web

Accessing the dark web requires solid premium features. Fortunately, the best free VPNs for the dark web come with features that ensure a secure browsing experience.

Here are the eight best free VPNs that work with the dark web taking into account speed, security, and privacy features.

1. Proton VPN

ProtonVPN - free vpn for dark web
  • Website URL:
  • Server connections in three countries
  • Follows strict no-log policy
  • Unlimited bandwidth
  • Anti-censorship feature
  • No ads

Proton VPN is a free VPN to access the dark web without putting data caps or limiting bandwidth. The VPN offers 24 servers in the Netherlands, Japan, and the US. These servers offer unlimited bandwidth and ensure that slow speeds aren’t an issue while accessing the dark web.

The VPN offers impressive alternate-routing technology, an anti-censorship feature that allows browsing the web freely. It helps circumvent censorship and enables access to websites and services blocked by the government and the ISPs. Besides this, the VPN also uses a kill switch feature that prevents IP leaks when the VPN connection drops. But these are premium features; to use them, buy the pro version of Proton VPN.

Another reason to use Proton VPN on the dark web is its jurisdiction. It has its headquarters in Switzerland, which respects users’ privacy. It isn’t a member of the global surveillance alliance and hence won’t log or share users’ data with intelligence agencies. The user’s data are protected under strict Swiss law and aren’t accessible to anyone.

The VPN uses top-notch encryption levels and secure tunneling protocols like WireGuard, OpenVPN, and IKEv2 to maintain online security on the dark web. It follows a strict zero-logging policy and keeps users’ activities anonymous and private. The IP address, browsing data, and traffic logs of the users aren’t logged. Hence, there’s no room for anyone to reveal your true identity.

2. TunnelBear

tunnelbear for the dark web
  • Website URL:
  • 500 MB data limit
  • Servers in 48+ countries
  • Impressive GhostBear 
  • Easy to set up
  • Multiple device compatibility 

TunnelBear is a reliable, free VPN provider to access the dark web safely. The VPN provider uses the highest encryption standard, such as AES-256-bit, for encrypting incoming and outgoing traffic. In addition, it uses SHA-256 for data authentication and multiple handshake encryption keys depending on the device used to access the dark web.

The VPN claims to follow a strict no-log policy that refrains from collecting IP and data logs. But as it belongs to Canada, an invasive jurisdiction, this creates trust issues.

The GhostBear feature is designed to browse the dark web safely. It is an impressive obfuscation feature that disguises the VPN traffic as regular internet traffic and makes data less trackable for the spying eyes. This way, TunnelBear VPN bypasses the censorship blocks and provides unrestricted access to the deep internet world.

The VPN also offers Vigilant Bear and Split Bear options that increase online security while logging into the dark web. But there’s no information on the website if these features are accessible in the free plan. 

Speed can be another issue while using TunnelBear VPN on the dark web. The free version has a limited bandwidth of 500MB per month, resulting in slow speed and connection lags.


hide-me - best for dark web
  • Website URL:
  • 10 GB monthly data limit
  • Server locations in five countries
  • Follows zero-logging policy
  • Encrypted DNS servers
  • Multihop is the best free VPN on the dark web. It offers encrypted DNS servers that prevent third parties from monitoring the DNS requests and the websites the users visit. These servers route the internet traffic through the same tunneling protocol and guarantee that every server receives the same level of encryption. This way, VPN helps get around internet blocks and ensures users can access the dark web without any hurdle.

The best thing about VPN is that it allows the users to access basic security-boosting features like the kill switch. The VPN uses the industry’s highest encryption and advanced protocol, like the WireGuard protocol, that secures internet activities from all prying eyes. It also enables the users to use the stealth guard and multihop to enhance their security on the dark web.

The VPN provider comes with an allocated monthly bandwidth. It provides 10 GB monthly data, which might be insufficient for a smooth browsing experience. Also, it promises not to throttle the connection so that you won’t experience a slow speed on the dark web. Switching protocols or servers spread in five locations can also improve speed.

Furthermore, is a trusted private VPN to access the dark web as it belongs to a safe jurisdiction. It doesn’t keep connection logs, IP addresses, or any other browsing data that guarantees your activities on the dark web are not recorded. The VPN doesn’t offer port forwarding or fixed IP address features in the free plan. As these features can enhance online security on the dark web, do think of buying the premium plan backed with the 30-day refund policy.

4. AtlasVPN 

  • Website URL:
  • 10 GB monthly data
  • No speed limits
  • Three free server locations
  • No-log policy
  • Unlimited device connections

Atlas VPN is another free VPN to use on the dark web. It comes with 10 GB monthly bandwidth but doesn’t put any restrictions on the speed limit. Users can enjoy stable and above-average speed while browsing the dark web. Also, connecting to servers in Norway, the Netherlands, and the US or switching tunneling protocols boost browsing speed.

The VPN provider utilizes strong military-grade AES-256 and ChaCha20-Poly1305 encryption to protect internet traffic from privacy invaders. Also, it supports the WireGuard and IKEv2/IPSec protocols that establish a secure and reliable connection while connecting to the dark web.

To enhance online security and privacy on the dark web, Atlas VPN offers a variety of advanced features. This includes Private DNS, MultiHop+, and SafeSwap servers. The SafeSwap server is an impressive feature for surfing the dark web. It provides different IP addresses that bypass internet blocks and makes users’ activities untraceable. But these advanced features don’t come in the free plan. To use these features, upgrade to the pro version of Atlas VPN.

Atlas VPN’s jurisdiction makes people think twice before they use it to access the dark web. It belongs to the US, a leading global surveillance alliance member. They keep and share user logs without users’ consent. Besides this, Atlas VPNs’ privacy policy is also questionable. It claims to follow a zero-logging policy, but it isn’t mentioned on the VPN site if this applies to free-version users.

5. HotSpot Shield

hotspotshield VPN
  • Website URL:
  • No ISP throttling
  • Best-in-class encryption
  • Fastest VPN servers
  • No data limit
  • Catapult Hydra tunneling protocol

Hotspot Shield claims to be the fastest VPN that delivers 2x faster than its competitor. It offers 800+ fastest VPN servers, unlimited data, and robust encryption, making it a reliable VPN on the dark web. The AES-128-bit and 256-bit encryption safeguards the data from all spying eyes.

The VPN offers Tor over VPN features and advanced Catapult Hydra tunneling protocol in its free plan that helps access the dark web safely. The protocol makes the VPN traffic regular internet traffic and helps bypass internet blocks and censorship. In other words, by connecting to this protocol, users can enjoy a secure browsing experience on the dark web, even in countries where Tor is banned.

Moreover, it protects against IP and DNS leaks and ensures the ISP won’t know about your activities. However, it doesn’t allow users to use the kill switch and the Smart VPN feature since they are only available in the paid plan.

Using the Hotspot Shield VPN for the dark web might put the users in doubt. The VPN’s past track record contains controversies and shady practices that risk users’ online privacy. Also, it belongs to the privacy-invasive jurisdiction of the USA, which puts the users in a doubtful situation.

6. Betternet

Betternet VPN
  • Website URL:
  • 500 MB per day
  • Only one virtual location
  • Catapult Hydra protocol
  • Shows several ads
  • Speeds are beyond average 

Betternet is yet another free VPN provider enabling safe browsing. The VPN uses AES-256-bit encryption to stop prying eyes from monitoring your activities. Also, it employs the Catapult Hydra protocol, which protects the devices and helps bypass internet restrictions.

 Betternet VPN offers inconsistent speed in the free version. It limits bandwidth consumption per day and allows 500MB of data daily. Also, it allows access to one random server in the US. Such limited bandwidth and server access are suitable for casual browsing. But when accessing the dark web, frequent connection drops make browsing difficult, and the ISPs and other prying eyes can learn about your true identity.

The free version also doesn’t offer any advanced features like the kill switch or split tunneling. It doesn’t block pop-up and banner ads, resulting in a frustrating user experience. To prevent all these issues, consider upgrading to the pro version or avail of the free trial period.

7. Windscribe

  • Website URL:
  • 10GB monthly data limit
  • Access to ten international servers
  • Strong encryption
  • Access to advanced features like kill switch and multihop
  • Headquarter in Canada

Windscribe‘s server access and bandwidth make it a great option on the dark web. It offers global servers with fast speed and bandwidth. You can connect to servers in ten locations like the US, Canada, the UK, France, and Germany. Also, it provides various options that increase the monthly bandwidth and guarantee that you surf the dark web at a fast speed.

Users creating an account for Windscribe VPN provide 2GB of data each month. Confirming the account with their email address automatically upgrades to 10GB monthly data. They can add 5GB of data to the monthly bandwidth if they tweet about the VPN. With so much bandwidth, users won’t face any speed issues while accessing the dark web.

Windscribe VPN utilizes strong AES-256-bit encryption and authentication keys to protect the data traffic. It supports secure protocols like OpenVPN and IKEv2 for increased security. Also, it claims to follow a decent no-log policy and doesn’t store information that can reveal users’ true identities.

The VPN offers an impressive ROBERT feature that blocks ads and malware. But to use other advanced features, subscribe to the paid subscription plans.

8. PrivadoVPN

  • Website URL:
  • 10 GB data limit
  • Servers in 12 locations
  • Top-notch encryption
  • Unlimited bandwidth
  • Follows zero-logging policy

PrivadoVPN is also a reliable free VPN that works on the dark web. It offers unlimited bandwidth and strong encryption and follows a strict zero-logging policy, making it one of the best free VPNs on the dark web.

The VPN employs AES-256-bit encryption and secure protocols like WireGuard, OpenVPN, and IKEv2. These security standards effectively hide online activities from the prying eyes on the dark web. In addition, the VPN follows a strict no-log policy that guarantees all activities remain private.

Besides this, PrivadoVPN offers 10GB of data monthly but doesn’t put any bandwidth limit. It is impressive as users’ browsing experience on the dark web won’t be affected. The users can also connect to servers available at 12 different locations. Hence, speed isn’t a problem when using PrivadoVPN on the dark web.

PrivadoVPN offers all essential security and privacy-boosting features, such as a kill switch, split tunneling, and SOCKS5 proxy. But, since these are not available in the free plan, you must invest in the premium plan. And if you’re unsatisfied, you can demand a refund during the initial 30 days of the purchase.

Tips on how to choose the best free VPN for the dark web

There are several factors that you should consider when choosing a VPN service:

  • Robust security features – One crucial feature to prioritize is military-grade AES 256-bit encryption, which is virtually unbreakable and ensures your online activities remain private. A kill switch is also essential as it automatically blocks your connection if the VPN ever disconnects, preventing data leaks.
  • No-logs policy – You should have peace of mind that your VPN will handle your data responsibly. A solid no-logs policy proves that a VPN won’t store or sell your information. 
  • Fast speeds – Tor reroutes your internet traffic through multiple locations, effectively enhancing anonymity. However, this process considerably impacts your connection speed, resulting in slower performance. 

Similarly, while using a VPN, your speeds will also be affected, but the key is to choose a VPN that minimizes the impact on your speeds. Opting for a VPN that minimizes speed reduction will help you balance privacy and performance.

  • Large server networks – Go for a VPN service with the highest number of servers, as this will prevent slowdown during peak usage. Additionally, you’ll get the fastest speeds using a server close to you.
  • Data allowance – Most free VPNs limit the data you can use within a specific period. As such, it is wise to pick a free VPN service that gives you unlimited data to browse the dark web without disruptions.

The legality of free VPNs depends on several factors, like the jurisdiction in which you reside and the specific activities you engage in while using the VPN.

While using a free VPN in most countries, there are several considerations that you should keep in mind:

  • Local laws: Some countries place certain restrictions on VPN usage or have specific regulations regarding encryption technology. So, you must familiarize yourself with such laws and regulations to ensure legal VPN usage.
  • Illegal activities – While using a VPN is legal, engaging in illegal activities is not permissible. Illegal activities such as hacking, fraud, drug trafficking, and credit card theft, among others,  might result in severe legal fines or even jail time. 
  • Terms of service – Reviewing the service provider’s terms of service and privacy policy is essential when using a free VPN. Some VPN services restrict certain activities and content, and violation can expose you to termination of services or other consequences.

When might a free VPN not be a good choice?

A free VPN may not be a good choice if you prioritize security, privacy, reliable performance, comprehensive features, and customer service.

Suppose you use a VPN for professional engagement, financial transactions, and data-intensive tasks such as streaming or torrenting. In that case, it is crucial to invest in a paid VPN service rather than using a free VPN.

Paid VPNs offer more advanced security features, are faster, more reliable, and come with various server networks.

Why we don’t always recommend free VPNs

Free VPNs may appeal if you can’t afford a monthly or yearly VPN subscription. However, free VPNs are not always an appropriate option.

This is because they don’t have the requisite security and protection protocols. Additionally, free VPNs have limited bandwidth which causes them to have prolonged speeds.

Free VPNs have several security loopholes that render them unreliable. They include; 

  • Lack of advanced features that enhance privacy and security on the web.
  • They are prone to malware infections and can track your browsing activity for advertisements.
  • Other free VPNs hijack your browser and redirect you to malicious websites.
  • Most free VPNs claim zero-logging policies, but they log and sell your data to third parties to generate revenue without your consent.

Free VPNs have limited bandwidth and speeds, which cause slow connection speeds.

Free VPN vs. paid – Which should you get?

When deciding between a free and paid VPN, there are several factors to consider:

  1. Security and Privacy: Free VPNs often come with limitations in terms of security and privacy. For example, they may have weaker encryption, log user data, or sell your information to third parties to generate revenue. On the other hand, paid VPNs generally offer more robust security measures, no-logs policies, and a commitment to user privacy.
  2. Server Network: Paid VPN services usually have a more extensive network of servers spread across multiple countries. This allows you to access a broader range of geo-restricted content and ensures better performance and reliability. Free VPNs often have limited server options, leading to slower speeds and restricted access to certain websites or streaming services.
  3. Speed and Performance: Free VPNs typically have more users sharing limited server resources, resulting in slower speeds and less consistent performance. Paid VPNs usually offer faster connections with dedicated servers for optimal performance, especially for bandwidth-intensive activities like streaming, gaming, or torrenting.
  4. Additional Features: Paid VPNs often offer additional features such as ad-blockers, malware protection, split tunneling, and kill switches. These features enhance your online experience and provide added security. Free VPNs typically lack these extra features.
  5. Usage Limits and Restrictions: Free VPNs often restrict bandwidth, data usage, and the number of devices you can connect simultaneously. Paid VPNs usually offer unlimited bandwidth, higher data caps, and multiple device connections (some, like Surfshark and Private Internet Access, even support limitless connections).
  6. Reliability and Trustworthiness: Paid VPN services are vested in maintaining a good reputation and ensuring their users’ satisfaction. They invest in infrastructure, security audits, and ongoing development. On the other hand, free VPNs may be less reliable, and some may even engage in malicious activities or compromise your privacy.

How to use a free VPN with Tor?

  1. Sign up for a VPN – Choose the best free VPN considering your security and speed needs.
  2. Download and install the VPN – Ensure it is compatible with your devices.
  3. Login with your VPN account. 
  4. Connect to a server – Connecting to the nearest server ensures minimal latency.
  5. Download and install the Tor browser – Download it from Tor’s website to ensure it is malware free.
  6. Open the Tor browser and click Connect to Tor – This connects you to the VPN and Tor.
  7. Enter a verified onion URL in the address bar – You can find these URLs on various indexes verified publishers maintain. 

VPNs to Avoid with Tor

Hola VPN 

The free version lacks encryption. Moreover, Hola VPN logs sensitive user information, including Internet Protocol (IP) addresses and web browsing details. So, avoiding Hola VPN for any online activity is advisable, as it may compromise your privacy and security.

Urban VPN 

This VPN service doesn’t provide clear information regarding its encryption protocols, leaving users uncertain about the level of protection offered. Furthermore, Urban VPN keeps logs of user activities and sells anonymized data to third parties. Therefore, it is advisable to steer clear of Urban VPN if you value your online privacy and desire to safeguard your personal information.


The dark web looks safe for those seeking anonymity and internet freedom. But still, it is a dangerous place to visit because of the illegal activities that often occur there. While accessing the dark web, protecting online anonymity and privacy is essential. The best way to remain secure and avoid all dangers is to use a VPN on the dark web. A reliable VPN provider hides their IP address and online identity. The snooping eyes of the ISPs, agencies, or hackers won’t know who you’re and what you are doing.

Besides the solid premium VPNs, you can also use free VPNs on the dark web. Some free VPNs like the ones mentioned above can easily be used on the dark web. All of them provide decent service for accessing the dark web. But remember that the free VPNs are not as safe as the premium ones and have restrictions. Thus, choose the free VPN wisely, or consider using the VPNs that offer a free trial.


Some free VPNs like Proton VPN, Hotspot Shield VPN, and TunnelBear VPN allow access to the dark web. However free VPNs come with several security dangers and issues. Hence, they won’t guarantee a smooth and more secure experience than a paid VPN. is the best free VPN for browsing the dark web. The added IP leak protection feature prevents server cut-outs and boosts online security. It also uses strong encryption with security protocols that ensure an anonymous browsing experience. Besides this, offers unlimited bandwidth and doesn’t throttle the connection, so everyone can enjoy a stable connection while surfing the dark web. However, you need to switch to the premium plan to access the advanced features that offers.
Free VPNs have come a long way but can’t compete with the best premium VPNs. There are a few reliable free VPN providers that can be considered. But before using  free VPNs on the dark web, it’s crucial to know the risks that come along with them: 
These VPNs don’t provide access to all the servers compared to premium VPNs.
Free VPNs have speed and bandwidth limits for each month. These limitations lead to slow speed, which isn’t enough for a smooth browsing experience on the dark web.
These service providers log and sell users’ data to third parties without their knowledge. 
They embed trackers and malware to compromise users’ online security. 
The free VPN providers restrict access to advanced security and privacy-enhancing features. 
Therefore, experts suggest using a reputable VPN backed up with a money-back guarantee offer for all these reasons.
It’s essential to use the Tor network to access the dark web. Tor browser is among the most secure private browsers designed for anonymous communication. But as Tor provides layered encryption, the ISP can know you’re connecting to the Tor browser. Also, your IP address is visible, and the Tor vulnerabilities expose you to hackers. Therefore, using a VPN with Tor is much safer. When you connect to a VPN server, it first hides the IP address and encrypts the internet traffic.

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About the Author

Rebecca James is an IT consultant with forward thinking approach toward developing IT infrastructures of SMEs. She writes to engage with individuals and raise awareness of digital security, privacy, and better IT infrastructure.

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