It’s basically impossible to get the best out of something free – all you can wish for is that the product is good enough to meet your basic needs at that moment.
The same idea applies to Virtual Private Network, simply known as a VPN.
There are lots of people that are using free VPN services every day, which means these services are doing enough to meet their needs.
These services have drawbacks, and the trick is to be able to detect these drawbacks and decide whether the services will truly be beneficial to your online needs.
To save your time, I made a list of best VPNs, so you can simply pick one from there.
Top Reasons that Separate Paid VPNs from Free VPNs
The major importance of a VPN is to be able to provide complete online anonymity, to be able to protect you from hackers and allow you to have access to specific websites that have been blocked in a certain location. The thought of getting all these advantages for free is definitely interesting.
The main issue is that, for a company to be able to run a reliable VPN service, which includes maintaining a worldwide server network, developing apps for and providing reliable support for its customers does not come cheap.
And nobody starts a VPN company for charity.
While paid VPN companies are able to run their services from subscription fees of their clients, free VPN companies will need to find a way to generate money from your use. Some of those services are able to run smoothly by offering limited VPN features.
If you are looking for a VPN service for once in a while online anonymity, a free VPN with just one or two features might do the trick.
The VPN free services that you need to worry about are the ones that will promise to give you all the major features and the extra ones at no cost.
It has been proven that some companies will compromise your online security in order to generate income that will keep them in the business. And trust me, that’s the last thing you want from a VPN.
We will let you know what a paid VPN can offer you that you cannot get from a free VPN and when it is important for you to step up.
The Risks of Using a Free VPN
What you need to ask yourself is that, if a business is providing you with important features for free, what are they getting in return? I will start by mentioning what you are losing that is generating income for these businesses. Then we will talk about the minor issues that you can ignore if you are willing to use a free VPN.
1. They may track your online activities and log your personal or browsing data.
There are a lot of free VPNs that have to acknowledge that they share your online activities with ad companies that will, in return, load you with their ads. There is no point in using a VPN if your online data can be seen by anybody. To make it worse, there are some free VPN companies that will hijack your browser and redirect you to one of the ad companies that are paying them.
2. They allow third parties to have access to your connection.
A lot of free VPN providers operate as P2P networks, which means that your data will be transferred to another client’s device and vice versa. This form of sharing can be quite dangerous, and it makes you vulnerable to malware and DNS attacks.
And to make it worse, some free VPN services will actually sell your leftover bandwidth on the global market.
This can be quite risky, but that’s how they generate income to run their service.
3. Their security can easily be cracked.
Just like I mentioned earlier, operating a world-class secure network platform can be quite expensive unless you cut corners. A lot of free VPNs use a weak security encryption level that can easily be cracked by anyone.
This means that your personal data that you are sharing online can easily be hacked by anyone with the know-how. If you are in a country like the USA that monitors online activities, then you should know that you are not safe with a free VPN.
4. The annoying ads.
One of the most common ways that free VPN services use to generate income is by selling ads. Even if the service does not monitor your online sessions, you can’t escape the annoying ads that will pop up on your screen from time to time. All you need to do is to mistakenly click on one of the ads, and you will see irrelevant pages appearing on your screen. So if you are looking for a VPN to stream videos, play online games or download large files, you will quickly get annoyed because these ads will waste your time.
Because a VPN generally reduces your connection speed, but you will hardly notice with a paid VPN, but the story is quite different with free VPNs because you will need to deal with a lot of constant ads, and their network is always small.
5. They provide you with limited features, so you’ll later need to upgrade to a paid service.
Maybe you are lucky enough to get your hands on a free VPN that does not sell your online data and keeps the ad at a minimum level you will likely face another major drawback, which is service limitation. However, depending on the reasons why you need a VPN, you might be able to manage the limitations.
Most free services are offered by the popular VPN providers that will like to convince you that the paid plan is the better plan for you. So what they do is that your data will be secured, but they will ensure that you do not have access to all the extra exciting and important features. Some of these services will limit your bandwidth and your network access, and you might not be able to have access to streaming platforms that have been blocked in your location.
When Is It Fine to Use a Free VPN?
Although free VPNs have a lot of flaws, there are still some free VPNs that you can use for minor online activities.
For example, if you are traveling and you need to access a website at home that has been poorly blocked at your current location, or maybe you are at a public place, and you want to connect to the wi-fi, and you want to be secured, there are some free VPNs services that will do just fine.
Paid VPN offers Ultimate Protection and Top-Notch Features for their Users
I’m sure by now, you will agree with me that there is no free VPN that provides a complete, secure, world-class service.
In my VPN price comparison article I found that most services are actually affordable, and you can get a top VPN service without breaking the bank.
Below I will give you some unique reasons why you should consider paying for a VPN service.
1. They genuinely protect your online data sessions.
As soon as you are done browsing, and you disconnect your network, the normal thing is that your data session should disappear, and this where a paid VPN becomes important. Although there are some popular VPNs that save your connection logs after browsing but it’s usually for diagnostic reasons, and you can rest assured that you are not being monitored.
2. They provide world-class network security.
One thing you should know is that VPNs cannot survive without subscribers, so they basically need to ensure that they provide the best security level possible if they don’t want to lose clients. With the top VPNs, you will be getting end-to-end, AES 256-bit encryption with support for a lot of popular protocols, including the ultra-secure OpenVPN.
To make it better, some paid VPNs will add extra security features like Double VPN, kill switches, DNS and IPv6 leak protection. This means that your online sessions will still be protected even if there is an unexpected disconnection from your VPN server.
3. Unlimited bandwidth.
This is one of the perks of using a good VPN – you can rest assured that you will always enjoy secure browsing with no data cap. If you love streaming videos or playing online games, this advantage will always come in handy.
4. They provide you with access to more server locations.
In terms of access to servers, you will be getting unlimited access to the networks. This means that you will be able to browse websites and use streaming services that have been blocked in certain locations.
Basically, the more the number of servers, the faster the speed of the connection, and the easier it is to access blocked sites. And you will be amazed by the number of servers that most of these VPNs have placed strategically in every corner of the world.
5. They are able to bypass Netflix’s restriction and function in some stringent countries like China.
This is one of the factors that highlight the top VPNs. It’s important to let you know that some paid VPNs will struggle to unblock Netflix or get past the Great Firewall of China or Russia because of the encryption level of these locations and apps.
However, you can still get some top VPNs that will easily go through these restrictions and give you full access.
6. They provide extra exciting features for a better experience.
There are other fantastic features that you will be getting from a paid VPN that you will not have access to on a free VPN.
For example, most paid VPN services will allow you to use their product on several devices at the same time with just a single account.
This can come in handy for clients that are looking for a VPN that can handle their business or for a parents that are looking for a VPN that can accommodate the whole family. Other exciting features include IPs, P2P servers, ad a world-class responsive customer support system that you can trust.
A free VPN sounds appealing and economically reasonable. However, when you consider the risks that you are opening up yourself to, it becomes too dangerous. While a trusted VPN will always keep your data safe and secure, provide you with top-notch performance and better browsing experience.