Deciding between a free and paid VPN can be challenging. On the one hand, you have a service that doesn’t cost a dime and, on the other hand, you have an option that offers advanced features but requires you to pay a certain fee.
While free VPNs have their flaws, they do get some things right. With the best free VPN services, you can secure your internet connection and safeguard your online activities from prying eyes.
But cost aside, are free VPNs the more attractive option? Do they offer the same reliability as paid VPNs? In this article, we take a look at the pros and cons of free and paid VPNs.
If free VPNs work, why get a paid one? Sure, free VPNs provide a simple way to take your protection up a notch. Just remember, nothing is free. There’s always free cheese in a mousetrap!
Wonder what the catch is? Here are the pros and cons of using a free VPN.
Pros of free VPNs
- Don’t cost money
A free VPN is free. You don’t need a subscription, and in some cases, you won’t even have to create an account. Moreover, as an extra perk, you never have to worry about providing your credit card details or any other payment info.
- Shared IPs
Most free VPNs assign shared IPs which enhances anonymity and makes it even harder for ISPs, government authorities or any other third party to monitor and track your browsing behaviour.
Free VPNs offer limited geo-unblocking allowing you to bypass censorship and access content that is not available in your current region.
Cons of free VPNs
- Poor security
Free VPNs can compromise your safety. Recently, a study of over 200 VPNs found that among other free providers, SuperVPN and Betternet VPN all contain malware. The VPNs also use weak encryption protocols leaving you at the mercy of hackers, snoopers and other malicious individuals.
- Keep logs
- Slow connections
Free VPNs can be frustratingly slow. While it’s true that a VPN will affect the speed of your internet connection, many free VPNs go a step ahead and further throttle internet speeds in a bid to encourage users to upgrade to a paid plan.
- Can’t Unlock Netflix
Free VPNs have few servers and are unlikely to offer access to premium streaming services like Netflix and the BBC iPlayer. Both services have upped their game and have blacklisted and blocked most of the IP addresses provided by free VPNs.
- Limited bandwidth
Again, most free VPNs limit the amount of data they allow on their free accounts. While some like TunnelBear offer a meagre 500MB monthly allowance, you can get up to 10GB with Windscribe. Still, the data caps make free VPNs unsuitable for video streaming and other bandwidth-intensive applications.
Paid VPNs are better suited to protecting sensitive data and online privacy. The VPNs are now more affordable than ever, and you can easily find one that not only suits your security and privacy needs but also is within your budget.
Pros of paid VPNs
- Strong encryptions
Paid VPNs are more secure and come with best-in-industry encryption protocols such as OpenVPN, SSTP and L2TP/IPsec. They also offer advanced features like a firewall, kill switch, ad block and anti-malware for added security and privacy.
- Fast internet speeds
Paid VPNs provide fast and reliable connections making them perfect for streaming HD movies and TV shows. Their servers are less crowded and more stable, and you don’t have to worry about bandwidth limits or speed throttling.
- Unblock Netflix and BBC iPlayer
While not always guaranteed, you’ll have a better chance of accessing Netflix and the BBC iPlayer with a paid VPN. They offer dedicated IPs and actively replace blacklisted and blocked IP addresses.
- Dedicated customer support
With a paid VPN service, you get to enjoy high-quality customer support. Most offer 24/7 technical support and provide a quick response to report tickets, emails, and calls. Some paid VPN service providers also have web chat support which is faster and more reliable.
- Multi-device support
Paid VPNs support simultaneous connections, and with a single subscription, you can protect all your devices including those of your family members.
Cons of paid VPN services
The only major drawback of paid VPNs is that they come at a cost. However, when you consider all the benefits you get, it’s not a problem. Price is what you pay, the value is what you get!
Although some free VPNs will work just fine, they pale in comparison to paid VPNs. They have limited features and can prove to be disappointing to the more privacy-focused users. If you want to get fast connection speeds, strong encryptions, and reliable technical support, then we suggest getting a top paid VPN service.