Nowadays, many people are familiar with VPN (Virtual Private Network) services and how they are essential for online security and privacy. Naturally, some frugal netizens believe a free VPN can do the job without significant drawbacks. However, that’s definitely not the case for several reasons.
Most notably, VPN providers need a revenue stream to maintain a high-quality service. Without one, free VPNs can only manage to deliver subpar results. Or worse, they resort to shady practices to earn money. Read on to learn the details.
Benefits of a VPN
Firstly, let’s overview the benefits and why many purchase VPN services in the first place.
- Hiding your location and IP address. The most apparent advantage of virtual private networks is the ability to change your IP address and location. Plus, a VPN grants encryption to mask your activities from your ISP and other nosy onlookers.
- Minimal speed loss. Connecting to a VPN server inevitably slows down your connection speed because your data packets have to travel a greater distance than before. However, the speed reduction is minimal if the VPN service uses cutting-edge tunneling protocols to ensure efficiency.
- Bypassing geographical restrictions. The ability to change your virtual location can be used to unlock geographically-restricted content. For example, most VPN customers utilize this benefit to attain more movies and TV shows on streaming services like Netflix. Furthermore, the same principle applies to bypassing online censorship in totalitarian countries.
- Digital security for every device. VPN software is compatible with everyday internet-connected devices like computers and smartphones. However, a well-rounded VPN can protect other household devices if it offers router configuration files.
- Protection against ads, trackers, and malware. The best VPNs on the market include numerous additional cybersecurity benefits. For example, you can enjoy protection against online trackers, malicious ads, and even malicious software (viruses, keyloggers, ransomware, etc.).
It’s crucial to note that these (and other) perks are unlocked with only a handful of top-quality premium VPN services. You can find out which these services are on the Cool Tech Zone website. It covers various VPN and cybersecurity-related topics to help you choose the right tool for staying secure online. But now, onto the reasons to avoid free VPN services.
Free VPN service drawbacks
There are hundreds of free VPN services to choose from, and all of them vary in the downsides they include. Here’s a general overview of what you can expect to encounter.
- Data caps. Free VPNs limit the amount of data you can protect using their services. This is primarily done to prevent overuse and minimize the amount of network maintenance required.
- Throttled speeds. Another way to keep maintenance costs low is to artificially slow down the maximum connectivity free VPN users can achieve. Another reason is that the service doesn’t have the necessary hardware to support high-speed connections.
- Minimal server options. Don’t expect a costless VPN to have a wide-reaching server network across the globe. Instead, you’ll have only a few options in a small region.
- No bonus security features. The absence of a revenue stream means free VPNs can’t pay competent cybersecurity professionals to develop reliable security features against ads and other online dangers.
- Outdated technologies. A free VPN won’t stay up-to-date with the most cutting-edge technology that guarantees excellent performance in many regards.
- Potential data logging. Free software is notorious for including monetization methods that don’t benefit customers. For example, you may have to deal with screen-wide and virus-infected ads while using the app. Alternatively, the service collects troves of personal information in the background to sell to advertisers and make ends meet.
As you can see, the list of downsides is quite extensive. Additionally, most of them will make using the VPN on a daily basis a frustrating experience. Meanwhile, the more heinous practices will undermine your digital security and put you at greater risk than before. And so, there’s no benefit to using a free VPN over a paid one.
There’s no shortage of free VPN services on the market, and most are not worth using. Mainly because they deliver poor results and have potential risks. Therefore, your best bet is to use a paid VPN provider for guaranteed security, privacy, and top-notch connectivity.