Last Updated on March 20, 2021 by Calvin C.
Your security and privacy is extremely important and should not be traded for anything. That is why I have decided to give you 9 reasons to avoid free VPNs because they are not exactly ‘free’.
What a VPN must deliver
A VPN is a service you need on the internet to keep your data secure and protect your identity when browsing.
Your browsing patterns are an asset to some companies as they are able to make decisions with a statistical edge.
Cybercriminals also prowl the internet searching for victims, so a VPN is supposed to protect you from all these risks.
In other words, there are standard features one expects to find in a good VPN and these are:
Before you sign up for a VPN plan, you need to be sure that ALL these features are present.
Fortunately, review sites like VPNAnchor strip these VPN services to bare bones so that you know what you are getting.
To get 100% security and privacy, you need a VPN run by a genuine VPN provider and this comes with a subscription.
The subscription goes to maintain servers, improve features, research, support the workforce and other operational costs to maintain high security.
This brings to this question:
- Who pays to run a free VPN service?
If you think a free VPN is 100% free, then think again because it is YOU who pays indirectly.
I will lift the veil and reveal why you need to stay clear of free VPN services if you value your privacy or security online.
- Got no time? The overall best VPN we recommend is NordVPN.
To make it clear, free VPN services that I am referring to are those VPNs where you don’t make any payment or submit credit card information.
You simply download from Play Store or App Store with zero subscription or free-trial.
The same goes for proxies because some of these masquerade as free VPNs.
Another chilling fact is that some paid VPNs have serious security and privacy flaws so you lose even more.
- In all these cases, you get a VPN whose function is exactly the opposite of what you expect.
Let’s dive in…
Reasons why you should avoid free VPNs
1. Limited services
If you want a VPN with 100% guaranteed security and privacy, then you should get a paid VPN.
A free VPN cannot provide all the standard features I mentioned above because of limited resources.
Therefore, since online security is of utmost importance there is no room for compromise.
By using a free VPN, you are deprived of essential security features that are the backbone of a VPN.
Even if the provider indicates that you get unlimited data with a free VPN, don’t expect the same connectivity you find in ExpressVPN.
The limitations of a free VPN alone give you a poor user experience.
2. Plenty of Ads
One way in which free VPN providers generate revenue is by displaying Ads.
You don’t find this at all in a paid VPN and if you do, that service is not to be trusted.
Ads compromise the functionality of a VPN as they use up your bandwidth.
In addition, they can be a portal to malicious sites and you end up with malware on your device.
There are plenty of Ad networks that are not legit so you need to be extra cautious by avoiding free VPNs.
You don’t need that…
Get a VPN that does nothing else but protect your security and privacy.
No Ads, no BS.
3. Poor network
As I highlighted above, with a free VPN you get a limited network connectivity.
You only get access to a few servers and these servers are usually located far away from you.
This is contrast to premium VPNs like NordVPN, that has more 5100 fast servers in all major regions.
The more the servers, the better the network.
Like in any network, there is always a risk of cybercriminals raiding network servers and a small network is more vulnerable.
Consequently, you are more likely to get service disruption with a free VPN.
Paid VPNs simply re-route data to servers that have not been compromised hence maintain connectivity.
4. Your bandwidth is sold
Another way in which free VPN providers make a profit is by utilizing your device’s processing power.
In such cases, this bandwidth is availed to paid users as a way to force free users to upgrade their plan.
As a free user, you end up getting a slow network. The danger is that free VPN providers don’t disclose fully what they do with your bandwidth.
They can use your device to mount cyberattacks and it’s not good for you.
Any attack on the VPN network can affect your device if you use a free VPN service.
5. No privacy
If you use a free VPN then don’t expect your privacy to be protected.
Free VPNs providers log your data and they can do whatever they like with it, even if it means making a profit.
Premium VPN services, on the other hand, have a strict no logs policy to safeguard your privacy.
VPN providers like CyberGhost VPN even introduced anonymous dedicated IP address system so that their servers assign IP addresses randomly.
Free VPN services leak DNS and this means even your ISP can see the sites you visit.
6. Security risk
In addition to lack of privacy, free VPNs are not secure.
I have already highlighted that Ads can increase the risk of you getting malware.
Unlike trusted VPN services, free VPNs are not audited and any claims you find on their websites are not to be believed.
This is not the case with premium VPNs like NordVPN, ExpressVPN or Surfshark VPN.
NordVPN was audited by an auditing and assurance firm – PricewaterhouseCoopers AG Switzerland (PwC Switzerland) in 2020 and they found that they 100% adhered to the no-logs policy.
7. Your activity is tracked
Most free VPN services have a tracking code embedded in the VPN such that the provider can monitor what you do on the internet when you use it.
This defies the purpose of using a VPN because what you don’t want is a third party tracking all your activity.
You don’t get this with premium VPN services and this brings us to the next point point…
8. Your information is sold
When providers of a free VPN service gather your data, they can sell it to the highest bidder for a profit.
This is also a way to generate revenue even though it is done without your consent.
The main thrust of free VPN services is not to provide privacy and security as you are made to believe.
You personal data is where the money is and what is easier than giving a free service to unsuspecting users, then collect valuable data every time there is a connection?
9. Can’t unblock streaming sites
One use of a VPN is to unblock streaming sites like Netflix if you want to bypass geo-restrictions.
Unfortunately, free VPNs don’t have the capacity to do that and if you are able to unblock a site, it’s not long before the IP address is blocked.
In order to have freedom to watch TV shows or movies in any region, you need a premium VPN.
These have thousands of IP addresses that can be used to access content from any region around the world.
In addition, top VPNs still maintain excellent connection speeds so that you are able to watch videos without network lag.
Now you appreciate why you need to carefully select the right VPN for your needs.
Premium VPNs have their own individual strengths and all have the standard features mentioned in the first section.
Our overall VPN of choice is NordVPN
There are other top VPN services that also deliver excellent service and these are:
Stay away from free VPN services, unless you don’t mind losing your privacy and security.
Note that premium VPN services have free-trials or money-back-guarantee so that you test all the features before paying a subscription.
These are safe and you can ask customer support via live chat if you have any queries.
Do you use a free VPN? Leave comments below and share the post with your friends on social media.