Nothing good ever comes for free, and this is true for VPNs as well. The most important reason for using a VPN is anonymity and security on the internet. A free VPN might promise all that, but it is just an eyewash a lot of the time. There are many possible threats that you are susceptible to if you are using a free VPN. I once thought my free VPN could unblock content and provide more options than my Charter Spectrum cable. It became evident to me that it was not possible.
In the end, you will have to buy a premium VPN service for total protection and more access. There are many premium VPNs available that have cheap annual deals. Before you think of using a free VPN, there are some facts you should know.
Things to Know about Free VPNs:
Free VPNs can claim to make your online surfing safe, but there are risks attached. If a service is charging money for the same thing you think you got for free, there is a catch. You should keep these things in your mind if you are using a free VPN:
#1: Risk of Malware Infection
There is a big chance that malware infects your free VPN service. According to research published in 2016 by CSIRO, six out of ten VPNs most likely malware-infected were free. Most of the viruses were related to the ads that pop up when you use a free VPN.
#2: Activity Trackers
You might be using a VPN to stay safe from being tracked online. Well, many free VPNs have trackers for advertisement and analytics purposes. Your activity will be traced, and there is no way to know for sure. Many free VPNs can use up to four trackers operated by third-party contractors.
#3: Slow Connection
If you are using a VPN, there are chances it will slow down your internet connection. Free VPNs can generate and reroute a lot of traffic with basic servers. The overloaded servers can slow down connections at peak times. This is also a great trick for VPN services to force you to buy the premium package for a faster connection.
#4: Privacy at Risk
There is an old saying that if something is free, you are the product. It simply means that free VPN providers want you to use the service so that they can get your data. Data is a huge commodity these days, and corporations buy and sell public data all the time. Free VPNs are major offenders when it comes to data leaks. They can sell your data to ad companies and make money off of you.
#5: Pop-up Ads
Pop-up ads might be the most annoying form of ads in the world. There are times when you want to turn away from a website just because of the ads. Well, free VPNs allow pop-up ads that can hinder your online experience. They make money by showing ads to the users availing the free service. If you don’t want ads, get the premium package.
#6: Government Intervention
Free VPNs may allow the government to get hold of user data. They do not safeguard your browsing history, and you are not as anonymous as you think you are. Governments can use this data to track people and illegal activity over the internet.
#7: Content Restrictions
Some people use VPNs to unblock restricted content. Many times, a country’s laws can prohibit some types of websites. Moreover, many streaming websites have different servers and content for every country. If you want to access more content, a free VPN might not be useful for you. While they can unblock some content, they are easy to trace and restrict. For instance, you can’t use free VPNs to navigate on Netflix or Amazon Prime.
#8: Data Encryption
End-to-end encryption means your data is stored as a code at all times on servers. It only decodes itself when it reaches the destination. Encrypted data is almost impossible to read and keeps all your information secure. Free VPNs do not encrypt any data, and all your browsing history is safe as it is. Anyone can tap into the pool of very public and easily accessible data. Although they may sound like a great bargain, free VPNs can hurt your privacy without you knowing.
Data encryption, better internet speed, ad-free browsing, and privacy protection make paid VPNs the only logical choice.