7 Best Free VPNs for the Dark Web in 2023

The Dark Web is a dangerous side of the Internet filled with malevolent people who can easily access your personal information. Moreover, it’s home to many illegal activities, so if your ISP sees that you’ve downloaded the Tor browser to access the Dark Web, it might take action. If you want to be safe and hide your Dark Web usage, you’ll need a VPN. You can use a free VPN for Dark Web surfing if you’re on a tight budget, but there’s a better option that will offer proper protection.

Free VPN providers aren’t that reliable and might not provide you with the features you need, like strong encryption and leak protection. Many don’t even support Tor traffic. However, if you use a free trial of the best VPN for the Dark Web, you’ll get everything you need to stay safe and hide that you’re on the Dark Web. 

In this article, we’ll recommend the 7 best free VPNs for the Dark Web along with the best free trials of premium VPNs you can use instead. We’ll also give you a step-by-step guide on how to get a free VPN trial for the Dark Web.

So, let’s get into it!

How to Get a Free VPN Trial for the Dark Web

To get a free VPN trial for the Dark Web, you’ll need to find a suitable premium VPN provider with a money-back guarantee and subscribe to its services. Here’s everything you have to do:

  1. Sign up for a free VPN trial (we recommend ExpressVPN’s 30-day risk-free trial).
  2. Download and install the VPN app on the device(s) you’ll use for the Dark Web.
  3. Open the VPN app and sign in to your account. 
  4. Download and install Tor.
  5. Now, you can open Tor and surf the Dark Web safely.

Best Free VPN for the Dark Web

The best free VPN for the Dark Web must offer robust security and privacy measures to keep you safe online and hide your activity. Any suitable VPN for the Dark Web must support Tor traffic. It must also offer a wide server network that covers multiple countries and allows you to switch servers whenever you want. Lastly, the VPN must offer support for many different devices and platforms, so you can protect all your Dark Web activities with their native apps.

Based on the criteria mentioned above, these are the 7 best free VPNs for the Dark Web:

  1. ExpressVPN – Our #1-Rated Free VPN for the Dark Web
  2. NordVPN – Best Free VPN for the Dark Web with Enhanced Privacy
  3. Windscribe – Free Dark Web VPN for Multiple Devices
  4. ProtonVPN – Top Free VPN for the Dark Web with No Bandwidth Caps
  5. Speedify – Free Dark Web VPN with Wide Server Range
  6. Tunnelbear – Best Free VPN for the Dark Web for First-Time Users
  7. Avira Phantom – Free VPN for the Dark Web with Antivirus Protection

1. ExpressVPN – Our #1-Rated Free VPN for the Dark Web

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ExpressVPN is the best VPN for the Dark Web on the market thanks to its robust security and privacy measures. The provider offers military-grade encryption, which is excellent for using the Dark Web as it will ensure no one can see your traffic. 

ExpressVPN also comes with a no-logs policy, high-end tunneling protocols, leak protection, and many other features that protect your IP address and other sensitive identifying information. You can safely use it to access Tor and surf onion sites on the Dark Web.

You can use ExpressVPN simultaneously on up to 5 different devices, allowing you to secure all of them at the same time. It is compatible with a wide range of devices, including phones, laptops, PCs, tablets, routers, and more. 

ExpressVPN offers unlimited bandwidth and a sizable server network of more than 3,000 servers in 94 countries. Also, it is the fastest VPN on the market, making it excellent for those who want a seamless browsing experience with no buffering or disconnections.

Now, ExpressVPN is not a free provider, but you can try the premium VPN for free thanks to its 30-day money-back policy. This will allow you to test all its premium features with no risk to your wallet. If you don’t like the service, you can request a refund via ExpressVPN’s 24/7 live chat support.

PROS

  • Top-notch security and privacy
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Super-fast Internet connection speeds
  • Covers 94 countries worldwide

CONS

  • Could use more servers

2. NordVPN – Best Free VPN for the Dark Web with Enhanced Privacy

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NordVPN is an excellent choice for surfing the Dark Web due to its high-end privacy features. The premium provider offers a Double VPN feature that encrypts your Internet traffic twice by routing it through 2 different VPN servers before reaching your destination. NordVPN also offers military-grade encryption, a no-logs policy, leak protection, an ad-blocker, anti-malware technology, and more. 

Like ExpressVPN, NordVPN offers unlimited data to all its users. In addition, you can simultaneously use it on up to 6 devices, including laptops, phones, routers, PCs, tablets, and more. 

When it comes to speed, it lags a little behind ExpressVPN, especially on its remote servers. Speaking of servers, it has a wide server network of 5,400+ servers in 60 countries, allowing you to switch between various locations whenever you want.

NordVPN is a premium VPN, but it offers a 30-day money-back guarantee which you can use as a risk-free trial. If you want your money back, you can request a full refund before those 30 days are up via its 24/7 live chat support.

PROS

  • Wide server network
  • High-end privacy features
  • Double encryption available
  • Easy to use

CONS

  • Slower speeds than other providers

3. Windscribe - Best Multi-Device & Free VPN for the Dark Web

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Windscribe is a smaller provider that doesn't get all the attention it deserves. Its paid service is great, but its free VPN is surprisingly good too. It supports Tor traffic (obviously), but what makes it the top pick for us is that Windscribe also supports unlimited parallel connections.

That's right - you can use this VPN to access the dark web on as many devices as you want. You never have to keep signing out of different devices to use Windscribe on all devices at the same time. And their apps work on most platforms too!

They're also very generous with the data limit. Windscribe normally gives you 2GB per month, but you can get 10GB if you sign up with an email address and confirm it.

What's more, with Windscribe, you get a powerful ad blocker too - R.O.B.E.R.T. This feature will automatically block connections to malicious domains and ad trackers. R.O.B.E.R.T. can block even more stuff (porn, VPNs, social media), but you'll need a paid account for that. On the plus side, you can use it to manually block specific IPs that are associated with phishing and ads.

We also liked that you can use their Stealth and WStunnel protocols with the free version. With them, you can obfuscate your traffic to bypass VPN blocks. Also, this is a no-log VPN, and Windscribe's free VPN doesn't display any ads.

Other than that, the speeds are pretty good, the UI is nice, and you can use over ten servers.

4. ProtonVPN - Best Open-Source Free VPN for the Dark Web

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ProtonVPN is one of the few providers that actually open-sourced all their software. So if you value transparency in your VPN, they might be the right pick.

The cool thing is that you don't need to sign up for ProtonVPN if you already have a ProtonMail account. Just log in with your ProtonMail email address and password, and you'll get access to the free version of ProtonVPN.

ProtonVPN has apps for pretty much all platforms, but you don't get parallel connections. With the free plan, you can only use the service on one device. Also, you only get medium-ish speeds. They're nothing to write home about, but they're not bad, either. Oh, and you can only use a few servers.

The good news is that ProtonVPN's free service doesn't have any bandwidth caps. Also, they don't keep logs, and don't display ads either. Also, the UI is very polished and intuitive.

ProtonVPN supports Tor traffic, but it's a shame that its Tor over VPN feature isn't available to free users. Basically, it lets you browse .onion sites directly in your browser (Opera, Firefox, Chrome, etc.). You also won't be able to use their NetShield feature (ad blocker) and Secure Core feature (DDoS protection).

5. Speedify - Best Pick If You Want Tons of Servers

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Out of all the VPNs we tested, Speedify has by far the biggest server network. If you want dozens of locations around the world and tens of servers to choose from, Speedify is the right pick.

The speeds are pretty okay, and this provider has apps for most devices. The UI is a bit dated, however, so it's not extremely pleasant to look at that. Plus, navigating the app's settings can be confusing.

With the free plan, you only get 2GB of data per month. And like ProtonVPN, you can only use Speedify on one device, so there are no simultaneous connections. The good news is that this VPN has a no-log policy and doesn't show ads. Also, you can use some decent security features like IP and DNS leak protection, a kill switch, and AdGuard (a DNS service with a built-in ad blocker).

6. Tunnelbear - Best Free VPN for the Dark Web for People New to VPNs

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What makes Tunnelbear popular with people who never used VPNs before is its design. It's cartoony, but it just makes it very easy for anyone to understand what's going on. Also, the app's dashboard is very straightforward - you only have the server map and the settings, which are all self-explanatory.

Tunnelbear's free VPN offers a decent selection of servers and supports up to five parallel connections. However, you only get 500MB of data per month and slower speeds.

But we were pleasantly surprised to see that the free version lets you use a kill switch (called VigilantBear) and obfuscation (GhostBear). Oh, and it doesn't store logs or display ads.

7. Avira Phantom - Best Pick If You Want to Pair It Up with Antivirus Protection

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When you browse the dark web, antivirus protection is a must. So it's a good thing that Avira Phantom works through the main Avira app.

From it, you launch Avira Phantom, but you can also get Avira's free antivirus program. And you get other free privacy and security tools - a password manager, a browser extension that blocks malicious domains (Browser Safety), and a way to fix over 200 privacy issues in Windows (Privacy Pal).

On its own, Avira Phantom's free version isn't anything too special. You get 1GB of data per month, pretty slow speeds, and you can't pick which server you use. The free plan only lets you use the "Nearest Location" option.

Still, it is nice that Avira Phantom (like Windscribe) lets you use their service on as many devices as you want.

Why Premium VPN is Better Than Free VPN for the Dark Web

When you surf the dark web with a VPN, only two things really matter - how safe your data and privacy are and how smooth and stable your speeds are.

Unfortunately, free VPNs often offer weaker security than paid VPNs. Don't get us wrong - the free VPNs we mention in this article are definitely safe to use. But some of them lock important security features (like ad blockers) behind paywalls (meaning you're better off getting a paid subscription).

Of course, the same can't be said about random free VPNs you find on the app store. They usually log your data, expose you to ads (some of which are malicious), and can even infect your device with malware.

Besides that, free VPNs are slower than paid VPNs. Not to mention they often come with bandwidth caps. Tor is already very slow, so it's important to use a VPN that at least won't slow down your speeds by a lot.

Final Thoughts

While surfing the Dark Web, it’s highly recommended that you protect yourself with a VPN. A free VPN for the Dark Web won’t offer many essential security measures, so your privacy will always be at risk. You should sign up for a free trial of a premium VPN instead to ensure your safety.

We recommend ExpressVPN for surfing the Dark Web because the premium VPN provides the security and privacy features you need to safely do so. Best of all, you can try it out risk-free for 30 days to see if it’s the right solution for you. If it doesn’t work out, simply request a refund.

FAQ

Is It Safe to Use a Free VPN for the Dark Web?

No, it’s not always safe to use a free VPN for the Dark Web. Many free VPNs aren’t strong enough to protect you, but it’s better to use a free VPN than no VPN at all. That said, free trials of premium VPNs are the best way to ensure your safety on the Dark Web. 

Can You Access the Dark Web with a Free VPN?

Yes, you can access the Dark Web with a free VPN, provided it supports Tor traffic. However, a free VPN won’t protect you as well as a premium VPN will. This is why we always recommend using a free trial of a premium VPN like ExpressVPN over any free VPN provider.

What's the Difference Between the Dark Web and the Deep Web?

You'll see the two terms used interchangeably, but they're not the same thing.

The dark web is actually a part of the deep web. On the other hand, the deep web contains any content that wasn't indexed by search engines (like Google or Yahoo!). So while the dark web is part of the deep web, other online content is also part of it: paywall-hidden web pages or login screens, for example.

How to Stay Safe on the Dark Web?

We suggest reading our article on this topic. It explains what measures you'd need to take to get a safer experience on the dark web.

If you're in a rush, no problem - here's a quick rundown of what you should do:

  • Always use an antivirus program (VPNs can't protect you from malware).
  • If possible, use a virtual machine (an OS within your OS) to surf the dark web.
  • Use Tails, a secure OS that's integrated with Tor.
  • Never click random links.
  • Don't use the same Bitcoin (or any other cryptocurrency) address you use for the surface web (the normal Internet).

Is It Illegal using a VPN to Access the Dark Web?

Generally, no. In most countries, neither VPNs nor the dark web is illegal. What is illegal is using a VPN or the dark web to do illicit stuff - like buying illegal weapons and drugs.

How Do You Find .Onion Sites?

The easiest way to do that is to post a question in these subreddits:

Just ask people to recommend some .onion sites. Or ask them to provide a list of Tor sites.

You can also google that question. You'll often find lists like this one.

Will Using the Dark Web with a Free VPN Slow Down Your Speeds?

Most definitely. VPNs already slow down your speeds, and - as we said at the start - free VPNs are slower than paid VPNs. Expect noticeable speed drops and longer server connection times.

Even when we used a nearby server from the speediest VPN (Windscribe), we still barely averaged 5-6 Mbps. For reference, nearby server speeds with paid VPNs usually average around 11-12 Mbps for us.

You can try to optimize your VPN speeds if you want, just don't expect huge speed boosts.

What’s the Best Free VPN for the Dark Web?

The best free VPN for the Dark Web is ExpressVPN. While it is a premium provider, you can use its 30-day money-back guarantee as a risk-free trial to access the Dark Web safely and securely.

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