For online privacy and security, VPNs have become a necessity for online users. Even if you don’t care so much about your online presence and privacy, you should use a virtual private network. VPNs encrypt your internet traffic and route it through remote servers, hiding your IP address and location. This prevents hackers, government agencies, and internet service providers from monitoring your online activities.
While there are many free VPN services available, they come with significant risks that can actually compromise your privacy instead of protecting it. Here’s why you should stay away from free VPNs.
Drawbacks of Free VPN Services
Data Logging and Sales
Free VPN providers need to generate revenue somehow to operate. Many do this by logging user data such as browsing history, online activities, and connection details. They then sell this data to third-party advertisers and data brokers. This completely violates the purpose of a VPN to keep your information private.
Paid VPN services earn money through subscription fees instead, so they have much less incentive to sell user data.
Operating a global network of high-performance VPN servers requires significant funding for hardware, software, staffing, and research. Most free VPN providers lack the financial resources to properly invest in security and infrastructure.
As a result, free VPN apps often use outdated encryption protocols or even no encryption at all in some cases. Others have security flaws like IPv6 and DNS leaks that expose your IP address and location. This leaves your data vulnerable to hackers and government surveillance.
Malware and Viruses
Shady free VPNs try to monetize users through ads and malware. A study found that 38% of free Android VPN apps contain malware or suspicious third-party trackers. Others sell bandwidth to botnets without user consent. These pose significant risks of identity theft and device infection.
To earn revenue, most free VPN apps bombard you with intrusive and annoying ads. These diminish the browsing experience and consume device storage and bandwidth. Some even inject ads into web pages you visit.
Free VPN services restrict features to convert you into a paid customer. They often limit server locations, device connections, bandwidth, and connection speeds. Some only work for specific activities like web browsing. Paid users get access to the full functionality.
Some shady free VPN browser extensions contain malicious code that can hijack your browser. They redirect you to phishing sites or insert unwanted ads into pages without consent. This is an unethical practice and heightens security risks.
Benefits of Paid VPNs
Here are some benefits of using a paid VPN service instead:
Stronger Security Protocols
Paid VPN services invest heavily in advanced security infrastructure and protocols to protect user traffic. They offer robust encryption standards like AES-256-bit encryption combined with secure protocols such as OpenVPN and IKEv2/IPSec. These make it extremely difficult for hackers to intercept your data.
No Data Logging
The top paid VPNs have strict no-logs policies, meaning they do not track or store user activity data. This has been confirmed through independent audits and court cases where the VPN provider could not furnish any user data records when requested. You can read information source on their website.
Paid VPNs offer reliable connections and robust performance with thousands of high-speed servers worldwide. They can unblock geo-restricted content with ease and support torrenting across all servers. Free VPNs pale in comparison to these aspects.
Strong Customer Support
Paid VPNs invest heavily in customer support and provide 24/7 live chat and email ticketing systems manned by knowledgeable representatives. This ensures any issues you face can be quickly resolved. Such support is non-existent with free services.
While free VPN services are alluring, they come bundled with major privacy and security risks that can do more harm than good. Your data is the price you pay for using them. Paid VPNs are only a few dollars a month but provide far stronger protection and performance without any shady downsides. So invest in a premium VPN service like Surfshark or ExpressVPN to safeguard your online presence.