With millions of individuals using VPNs daily, it’s evident that free VPN providers get certain things right. They, too, have flaws, and you must learn how to identify those flaws and determine if they will interfere with your online activities.
While it may be tempting to get a free VPN to avoid paying for a subscription, it may jeopardize your security and privacy.
Typically, free products usually include hidden fees. However, this is not always the case. Users want connectivity, speed, dependability, privacy, and anonymity while using a VPN service (a virtual private network).
In terms of features, free VPNs and subscription-based VPN services differ significantly. A free VPN is great for everyone who needs a bit of extra anonymity with their internet conversations. On the surface, the primary difference between a free VPN and a paid VPN is the monthly subscription fee.
What are the disadvantages of using a free VPN?
Introducing malware onto your device
According to research on free VPN apps, roughly four out of every ten free VPN apps include hidden spyware. The hazards are numerous, but the most serious is the chance of losing all of your passwords and having your accounts hacked.
Security is next to none
As if the risk of virus installation on your device wasn’t enough, free VPNs employ shaky and erratic internet security protocols. Expect nothing less than 256-bit AES encryption, WebRTC leak protection, DNS leak protection, and IPv6 leak protection. Because of these security shortcomings, you are susceptible to hackers, cybercriminals, and government spying agencies.
They monitor you online and sell your personal information or browsing data
Many free VPNs, like Betternet VPN, admit to sharing your session data with marketers and bombarding you with advertising.
When other parties gain access to your private information and collect your data, your online privacy is jeopardized, negating one of the primary goals of using a VPN.
Furthermore, some free VPNs will hijack your browser and reroute you to partner websites without your permission.
Ads will continually interrupt your browsing
One of the most prevalent methods for free VPN services to earn from your use is to sell advertising. Even if the provider does not track or sell your data, the persistent aggravation of ads may make you regret trying to save a few bucks each month.
It’s also doubtful that any free VPN will scan all of those advertising for malware and adware so that a single mistaken click might land you in major danger.
They have restricted functionality. Therefore you will need to subscribe to a paying service
If you find a free VPN that doesn’t collect data and keeps ads to a minimum, you’ll likely run across another issue: service limits. However, depending on your needs, you may be able to live with the constraints.
Paid VPN companies usually provide free services to persuade you that it is better to pay for a subscription. So, while the free VPN will not compromise your data or devices, the provider will ensure that it does not satisfy all of your needs.
What are the advantages of a paid VPN?
A large server network
For example, NordVPN maintains over 5200 servers in 60 countries, allowing you to connect to the server closest to your location for the fastest possible connection.
- P2P servers for safe and easy file sharing
- Obfuscated servers to bypass internet restrictions in authoritarian countries
- Onion Over VPN enables safe access to .onion websites
- Double VPN your traffic is routed through two servers rather than one for added security
- Dedicated IP servers only available to users who have bought dedicated IPs
Third parties can see your internet traffic, track your activity, and steal important information if it is not encrypted. Having a VPN activated is essential if you often connect to public Wi-Fi, as hackers frequently target unprotected networks.
Paid VPNs employ AES 256-bit encryption, which encrypts your data and converts it to gibberish while in transit, ensuring that no one can snoop on it.
Paid VPNs, unlike free VPNs, do not sell or gather your surfing data for other reasons because their business model is completely subscription-based.
When you use a high-end service, having a VPN activated at all times is a smart idea if you want to protect your privacy everywhere you go. They will also not limit the amount of data you may use using your VPN.
Access to services
There are several circumstances under which you may be unable to access specific websites or media. A few countries, such as China, Iran, and Russia, restrict access to social media platforms, Western news sites, and numerous online pages and applications. With a premium VPN, you may change your IP address and unrestrictedly access any services you want.
Free VPNs may not always allow you to evade strong limitations and may not provide you with the privacy you need.
Free VPN vs. Paid VPN: Privacy and Security
|Simultaneous multiple connections||No||Yes|
|Dedicated IP address||No||Yes|
|Hidden IP Address||Yes||Yes|
|Extensive server base||No||Yes|
Paid VPNs Pay off
There are some situations where using a free VPN is acceptable, such as when you need to use a VPN once to unlock a website on a long-distance bus Wi-Fi network. However, when comparing a free VPN vs. a paid VPN for daily usage, a paid VPN delivers fundamental features such as speed, wide network services, and top-tier encryption and essentials such as security and privacy.
The best-paid VPNs and why they’re worth the price
- ExpressVPN – Ultra-Fast Servers for HD Quality, Best encryption
- SurfShark – best VPN for security and encryption
- NordVPN – best VPN service for privacy
- PureVPN – Best Server Base
While a free VPN may appear to be an appealing alternative, using it puts your security and privacy at risk. In contrast to Paid VPN services, free VPN providers must make profits differently. Some free VPNs may provide a restricted version of their free service, compromising your security. Free VPNs may even sell your data to make money in certain circumstances.
On the other hand, a reputable paid VPN provides significantly superior security, performance, and user-friendly features.