It is a healthy human desire to save money whenever possible. No wonder we always search for good deals. If there is something that goes for free, we would definitely pay attention to that. Actually, there is no significant difference whether you get the third hamburger for free, receive one month or Internet for free, or pick a free VPN service. Saving some cash is always great.
However, there is always a flip side. In the case with VPNs, we should understand that there are people behind it. They spend time and put much effort to make the service work. Apparently, they want to get money for their job. In addition, the company needs funds to keep its global servers’ infrastructure. So, where do they get the money from if their product is free? Good question.
How free VPNs make money?
VPNs are not charity; they are business. And they do have their strategies to make profits.
In fact, some of them openly admit that they share users’ browsing data with advertisers. So, if you use a free VPN don’t be surprised to get bunches of annoying pop-up ads selling you something. Free VPNs may even hijack your browser and send you to a different website without your permission. Once again, the goal is to try to sell you something.
Also, many free providers appear to be P2P networks. They send your data via other users’ devices and rout other people’s traffic through yours. Needless to say, this makes you vulnerable to malware and DNS attacks. In addition, the VPNs that use this scheme sell your spare bandwidth. This is their way to make money. But this is quite dangerous for you.
Restrictions you’ll face using free VPNs
Putting aside the question of VPN’s profits and security issues, let’s have a look at the limitations users face when using a free service.
- Bandwidth limits. Free VPNs limit the amount of data you can use. Some of them restrict traffic to as low as 500 MB. This is their trick to make you try the service and want to upgrade it to a premium plan later. Smart enough.
- Slower speeds. Obviously, there are thousands of people out there that don’t want to spend money on paid services. When too many of them use the same servers (limited in number, in fact), connection speeds go down tremendously. At the same time, free providers may intentionally slow your connection down. In this
waythey encourage users to purchase a premium plan.
- Poor torrenting capabilities. With speeds and bandwidth limitations free providers put on their users, it is clear that comfortable torrenting is hardly possible with a free service. Moreover, some providers prohibit P2P connections for free plan users.
- Limited access to streaming platforms. With a limited number of servers available to free users, a VPN won’t grant you access to the best streaming platforms. In fact, many paid services fail to let their users have permanent easy access to Netflix or Hulu. Some of them offer dedicated Netflix servers, but
naturallythey are not available with the free plan.
How much does a VPN cost on average?
A desire to save some money is understandable. Paying for something when there is a free option sounds dumb. But everything is relative and sticking to a paid service does not mean you will spend all your savings. The choice of providers is enormous, their prices vary, and there is a huge chance you will find something reasonable.
The average price for a reputable service is around $10/month. However, the monthly costs may decrease significantly if you purchase a longer-term plan at once. The best deals allow saving up to 70% on monthly spending on a VPN. Sound great, isn’t it?
Benefits of Using Paid VPNs
Moreover, if you go for on the best paid VPN services, you’ll get a lot of benefits that are not available for free users. Just a short list of those:
- Top-notch security. Reputable providers use a military-grade AES-256 cipher and support reliable protocols to secure their users’ data. Also, they offer extra features to make your VPN connection reliable. These are kill switch, split tunneling, double VPN, and more.
- Privacy protection. Reliable VPNs have strict no-logs policies, and thus, do not share their users’ information with the third parties. No one, including your ISP, will ever find out what you are doing online.
- A bigger number of servers. When you pay for a service, you get unlimited access to all the VPN’s servers located around the world. This gives you more capabilities to open geo-restricted content and go around censorship limitations.
- Better streaming possibilities. The best VPNs can give access to different streaming platforms, including Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer.
- Malware protection. Many VPNs include built-in malware and ad blockers. With all the modern threats, it never hurts to have an additional layer of protection.
Free VPN vs Paid VPN: Which Way to Go?
With all said above, you should give deep thought whether to pay for a VPN or use a free version. If you are still looking for an excellent free plan, answer one question: Are you ready to deal with all the restrictions and also risk your security for saving a couple of dollars? And if your answer is ‘yes’ then here are the final recommendations on how to choose the right free service.
- Avoid VPNs that say they offer unlimited services. They are the most dangerous options available. Remember, there’s no such thing as a free lunch!
- Consider picking a free service from a premium provider. Of course, the VPN will put restrictions on bandwidth, speeds, server access and will continuously encourage you to upgrade the plan. But these are minor troubles in exchange for the security you will get.
Finally, mind that the best-paid VPNs offer money-back guarantee and will return you the money if you change your mind within the given period of time. Also, some of them offer free trials to make you feel the taste of their service. A small research and some reading will help you make a decision.