Free VPN or a paid VPN? It’s enticing, isn’t it? Or perhaps a better way to frame the question: why should we pay for a VPN when there are free options?
This is a common question, and we will work to give you a complete answer. The differences between a free VPN and a paid VPN will allow you to decide which one will be best suited to your situation.
Let’s face it: when it comes to price, it’s always more attractive to have a free VPN rather than having to pay 40$ or more for an annual subscription to a virtual private network.
But price is only one factor to consider when choosing between a free VPN and a paid VPN. If nothing is really free, then how exactly do you pay for the service. Now let’s get to the heart of the matter to find out what to expect if you choose a free VPN!
Are free VPNs really free?
All VPN providers incur high overhead to provide their service. They must manage or rent servers in several countries, invest in encryption technology, software development and, of course, customer support.
These costs do not spread easily and add up quickly. So with all these costs, how can free VPNs actually be free?
One thing is for sure: the VPN company certainly makes money somewhere. We can be sure that no VPN provides a community service to us, the Internet users in a philanthropic way!
Unfortunately, most users don’t think about it until they sign up for a free VPN.
How do free VPNs make money?
Take the example of Hotspot Shield. Hotspot is a highly rated consumer VPN, the free version of which allows use of up to 750MB per day.
In 2017, Hotspot Shield was accused of intercepting and redirecting traffic to partner websites such as online advertising companies, according to the Center for Democracy and Technology.
Hotspot Shield denied the accusations and said the privacy of online users has always been their “absolute priority.” Yet they have not explained how they are able to manage the service for free.
The problem is not limited to Hotspot Shield.
A study of 283 free VPN apps on Android found that nearly 40% of free VPNs injected malware into users’ devices for “unsavory” purposes.
Ad-supported VPNs sell your data to large companies, advertising agencies and corporate marketing departments. This is the antithesis of what a good VPN is supposed to do. Also, most of them are scams to get rich quickly.
The reason you get a VPN is to enhance your online security. A free VPN doesn’t do that.
That’s the end of it.
Securing your traffic: Free VPN vs. Paid VPN
Ensuring the privacy and security of the internet, as well as uninterrupted access to geo-blocked content, requires investment in secure infrastructure and ever-changing technology.
This is what a good VPN promises its customers.
There are several reasons why I recommend paying for a VPN. Here are a few:
- They have more to lose: As with any security technology, trust plays an important role in the process. I’d rather trust a VPN company that has a lot to lose if it gets caught selling my data, rather than a free VPN that can close shop and easily reopen under another name.
- Better security features: With paid VPNs, you can count on advanced encryption and additional devices such as an Internet shutdown switch that guarantees anonymity when surfing the web.
- Proven encryption: A paid VPN has proven encryption. Did you know that in the above-mentioned CSIRO study, it was also found that 18% of free VPNs did not encrypt traffic at all?
Not only are free VPNs devoid of many of these advanced features, but the level of supported encryption may not be safe. You are much better to opt for a cheap VPN service than using a free VPN.
Ultimately, when you surf the internet, the most important aspects that interest you in using a VPN are privacy and security.
The best way to do this is through a reputable service provider that charges you for a free service.
As a good old saying goes: you get what you’re worth.
It was discovered that many free VPNs sold their users’ data to third parties and did not encrypt user activity on the web. Another saying? All you have left is your eyes to cry!
Keep in mind that free is not available and that the cost of using a free VPN certainly exceeds what you would get in exchange for a paid VPN. One last saying “A savvy man is worth two!”.