Are Free VPNs Good for Online Privacy?
A VPN (Virtual Private Network) is no doubt one sure route to take if you want to secure your privacy. A VPN encrypts your data, keeping you safe from snoops. Ideally, you’ll log on to the service before accessing any website. This way, the VPN intercepts your IP address and then encrypts it.
With a VPN, though, you still have to give up a measure of privacy. The provider will have access to your IP address and other online activities. This is why it is necessary always to make sure your provider keeps no logs of your online presence. If it does, this information could get into the wrong hands.
VPN providers are divided into two broad categories. They include providers who offer free services and those who do not. Free VPNs are further divided into totally free VPNs and the ones that offer a trial period. In this article, we will be discussing how effective free VPNs are regarding online privacy.
Are Free VPNs Good for Online Privacy?
Free VPNs do not require any form of payment before you use them. The duration of the free offer differs, depending on the provider. The question to bear in mind before hopping on these offers is whether the VPN can keep you secure. Maintaining a VPN service costs quite a great deal of money. Thus, if a provider is making its services free, it has to cover its cost through some means. In some cases, free providers compromise on users’ security to make ends meet.
As earlier mentioned, a free provider can track your activities. They collate data and then sell it to data mining companies like advertising agencies. Essentially, when you make use of these free VPNs, you hand over information to these agencies. Most providers do not categorically state that they mine the data of users. However, some do. In either case, you have to be careful about free VPNs.
Some free providers also allow for malware. This is another area through which your privacy could be compromised with a free VPN. This malware is typically related to advertising. Thus, while making use of the VPN, you could be the target of adverts. Apart from the inconvenience this brings, it also shows that the VPN’s security is not watertight. If an advertising-related malware is allowed, who is to say that some other nefarious one won’t creep in eventually?
Why we don’t recommend free VPNs
Apart from security concerns, there are other reasons we do not recommend free VPNs. Please find them listed below.
- Slow speed
Speed is also an important consideration when choosing a VPN. You want to be able to surf, stream, or download content at top speed. Free VPNs are notorious for being slow. In a lot of cases, this cannot be helped as their systems are not up to par with paid providers. Thus, slow speed is a necessary fallout of a lack of revenue. However, in some cases, providers can slow your speed deliberately. They do this to force your hand so that you can get on a paid plan. In any case, you can be sure that a free plan may be unable to match the speed of a paid plan.
- Inability to unblock streaming platforms
Free VPNs may not be able to unblock streaming platforms like Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, etc. One of the attractions of a VPN is that it allows you to access content on these platforms despite their geo-restrictions. VPNs provide servers in any country you choose. That way, they make it possible to connect to a server and access content meant for that country. For instance, with a VPN, you can access Netflix US even from Japan. However, free VPNs are usually unable to unblock these platforms, or grant you just limited access.
- Limited data
It is usually no fun if there is a cap on the data you can use with a VPN. This is usually the case with free VPNs. Free providers put a data cap ranging from 500MB to 2GB. What this means is that you have to scrimp to preserve the data. You will thus be careful about downloading or streaming content online. This will surely lead to an unsatisfying experience for you.
Are Risk-Free VPNs a Better Choice?
Another category of free VPN is risk-free VPNs. Risk-free VPNs demand that you get on a plan first. They then give you a money-back guarantee period to recover your money. During this period, you will be able to make use of the premium features of these VPNs. The process for requesting a refund is actually quite hassle-free. Risk-free VPNs are ideal if you want to access premium VPN services for free.
Two of the best risk-free providers are ExpressVPN and NordVPN. ExpressVPN is one of the best providers in the VPN market. It has a wide range of servers, unbeatable encryption, and top-notch streaming speed. Additionally, it does not store logs and has a reliable DNS-leak feature. All of these will be available to you during the 30-day money-back guarantee period. If you are unsatisfied with its services, you can request a refund within the window.
NordVPN has more than 5000 servers in 59 countries. It thus gives you a wide range of servers to choose from. The provider gets around geo-blocks easily, unblocking Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer with ease. It is equipped with excellent security features. It makes use of both military-grade encryption and tough protocols like OpenVPN. It also allows torrenting, dedicated high-speed servers for this purpose. NordVPN gives you a 30-day money-back guarantee period.
You should make use of one of these risk-free VPNs for a truly pleasurable experience.
If you decide to go with a free VPN, you should be aware that you may be saddled with sub-par services. Additionally, your security may be compromised by these providers. In the alternative, you could go for one of the risk-free options. With them, you can rest assured of premium service, on all fronts.