Note: Updated in June, 2020.
Many companies advertise free VPN services and Google Play and Apple’s AppStore are filled with different free VPN services. Many things that seem to be free are hard to pass but actually a free VPN is never a recommended option for anyone who likes to protect themselves online. Here are 5 top reasons why you should avoid using free VPNS.
Because you’ll be driving all your web traffic through an tunnel to a VPN server while using a VPN you have to be 100% sure the VPN you’re using is reliable and heavily encrypted. Maintaining such service isn’t free and that’s why the best VPN services cost you a little per month. With free VPN services you can never be sure is your connection really encrypted or secured in any way. You can’t even be sure how the service provider will be using your information. It’s been proven that some Free VPN providers have been selling user data to third parties and advertisers and some have even sold their customer’s Internet bandwidth essentially making their customer part of a botnet. Read more from a study released in January 2017 why for example HotSpot Shield is a very bad choice for you.
Some of the free VPNs have been proven also to drive traffic through their client’s network, making it possible for free VPN users to use other client’s IP address. Since free VPNs are often used in cyber crimes, this might in the worst case scenario make you responsible for cyber crimes that someone using the same free VPN has committed online if the traffic has been driven through your computer when using a unreliable free VPN. Some free VPNs have also let third parties to follow their clients online to provide targeted advertising. In such situations the browsing has never really even been anonymous and the client would’ve been better off when not using a VPN at all. With free VPNs all your browsing information may be collected to data logs that can then be sold to advertisers as well. With a good paid VPN you don’t have any of these problems – in fact most of the best VPN service providers don’t log anything what their clients do online.
As mentioned before, renting/buying and maintaining reliable servers isn’t free. That’s why not a single one of the best and the most reliable VPN services aren’t free. Server costs are paid with a monthly free, making it possible to offer fast and reliable VPN servers for the whole clientele. Free VPN services rent the cheapest servers there is and client connections can drop randomly. Many free VPN services also have waiting times for their users limiting the usage of their servers. This means you can not use VPN connection right away but you’ll have to wait for your turn and the server location is very limited – many countries might not be available at all during peak hours. Unreliable connections are not only frustrating but can also be a huge security risk. When connection to the VPN server drops all your traffic is again unprotected making your IP address visible to everyone. Paid VPNs can provide not only fast and reliable servers but a wide selection of servers all over the world. Services like NordVPN and ExpressVPN both offer a huge selection of servers, a selection that no free VPN can match. NordVPN has over 5000 super fast servers in over 59 countries, ExpressVPN has over 1000 servers in 87 countries.
Because of the expenses free VPNs often also limit your connection speeds to save bandwidth on their servers. With paid VPN you get unlimited speed and unlimited bandwidth!
Premium VPNs offer a wide selection of different VPN protocols so you can choose which suits your needs the best. Protocols like OpenVPN and SSTP have been proven to be very reliable. With free VPNs you can’t often even know what protocols they’re using and are your data even secured in anyway.
When using a free VPN you actually can be risking your online privacy and it is possible you’d be safer when not using a VPN whatsoever than while using a free VPN. Some free VPN software is basically just adware and/or spyware.
Check out our article about The Best VPN services in 2020 and find out what service is the best one for you to protect your online privacy! You can also check out more comprehensive overviews of different VPN services here.