FREE VS PAID VPNs - IS PAYING WORTH IT?
How shall we differentiate free VPNs from paid VPNs? Are there any real differences? Yes, there are many significant differences. Many users would prefer a free VPN, so they should understand the ramifications of using a free VPN vs. using a premium paid VPN service.
The number and types of sites that are unlocked through a free VPN Service are limited compared to paid VPNs. Free VPNs are usually featureless and have no settings that you can change. Free VPNs are not reputable and often have very weak privacy agreements, if any at all.
Free VPNs are not free; something has to pay the bills. Interesting to consider that your information gathered could be sold to pay the bills. Global business providers almost always use paid VPN services (if they have a system administrator that has any technical education); as you will soon find out, these businesses are using a paid VPN for excellent reasons.
Free VPNs are best implemented for short-term use or testing purposes, but if you are looking for long-term use, you certainly should look for a Paid VPN service. If you do use a free VPN, you should probably (strongly advise against this) not log in to your private accounts, thereby submitting personally identifying information and your passwords, banking or credit card information, address, etc. to the VPN company.
If you fall for the lure of free VPNs for long-term use, forget about your privacy. As per the research, most free VPNs are found to collect their users’ data and sell it to third party companies and, even worse, the DARKNET. On the other side of the coin, a reputable paid VPN service will give you 100% privacy, not compromising their customers’ data.
NO-LOG IN OR ZERO LOG POLICY
As per the Zero-log Policy, VPN services are bound to not collect or share your data to authorities or any government agencies. Free VPNs will not offer the No-log policy, but reputable paid VPN Services, such as Nord VPN, will include a 100% No-log policy.
Free VPNs= many annoying ads. Paid VPNs= NO ADS.
If you go with the free VPN services, you will find your bandwidth is throttled, but paid VPNs will never block or control your bandwidth.
Paid VPN services follow the strict HTTPS browsing policy; hence everything a user searches for, or websites that they visit will be encrypted using the 256-bit AES encryption protocol; NORD VPN uses next-gen encryption, and even takes it a step further with IKEv2/IPsec [which], "significantly increases security and privacy of the user by employing very strong cryptographic algorithms and keys. NordVPN uses NGE (Next Generation Encryption)
Why does this matter, you could be asking at this time? This matters because in the event of an attack, the attacker (hacker) will not be able to crack or track the user’s information. To be fair, some free VPNs offer 100% HTTPS encryption, but many do not, and fewer still use NGE (Next Generation Encryption).
Free VPN Services will either offer you access to the internet through a limited amount of servers or, usually, just one server per country. If you wish to access the internet through multiple servers (NORD VPN has 5500 server locations around the world), you need to get a Paid VPN Service, thereby greatly increasing your connection speed.
As we discussed earlier, Free VPNs throttle bandwidth, this dramatically decreases your internet speed. In contrast, if you have opted for a Paid VPN Service, you will quickly notice the vast difference in speed. The old saying, “you get what you pay for” comes to mind for some reason. With that in mind, NORD VPN is now rated the fastest VPN with their exclusive LYNX technology
Free VPN services often have data-cap limitations, so you will only get 300–500 MB data for a 24-hour time period (as an example). Paid VPN services, on the other hand, will allow access without any limitations: UNLIMITED.
You can connect multiple devices (NORD VPN standard plans allow for six connected devices) when you opt for a paid VPN service. However, free VPNs will usually only allow you to connect one device at a time.
No customer support will be offered with most free VPNs, but if you have a premium VPN service, you will get instant support for any complaint.
FREE VPNs are very limited in features and unsafe for long-term use. You should certainly make a move to a paid VPN unless you don’t care about privacy, security, and anonymity. For long-term repeated use, free VPNs are incredibly UN-secure, and your data is VERY subject to being sold to third party companies, INCLUDING the DARKNET.
If you do care about little things, such as your password or debit card information not getting sold to the highest bidder, then you must get a paid VPN service within your budget range. Today, most VPN services offer free trials, and with free VPN trials, you are allowed a 100% refund if not satisfied with the results within the time of the trial period (typically 30 days).
SOME FINAL SUGGESTIONS
You don't need to take my word for it, please follow up with your own research to confirm what has been shared in this post, which I have updated from my own personal technology blog.
Here are a few links to confirming articles, in addition to the articles linked within this post.
ARTICLE 1 HIGHLIGHT:
...we generally advise against the use of free VPNs.
The reason is simple – many of them simply sell your data to 3rd party advertisers.
And this defeats the whole purpose of having a VPN in the first place.
But there’s more:
1. Many free VPN services are not transparent about how they make money from you using their services; in most cases, when you’re not being sold a product you are most likely the product.
2. Most free VPNs simply sell your data to affiliated/partnered companies or to the third party who is willing to pay the most.
3. Some free VPNs have gotten caught using shady practices like injecting ads, referring affiliate traffic and more (more info can be found on the CSIRO research and FTC complaint against a free VPN).
This article lists 13 popular free VPN services that all have privacy concerns.
FULL ARTICLE HERE
ARTICLE 2 HIGHLIGHT:
Apple and Google are allowing numerous extremely popular but potentially unsafe free VPN apps to remain in their app stores.
The companies have ignored formal advice regarding the apps that continue to pose a privacy risk after previously being identified in two widely-reported VPN investigations.
We are making public in this report the substance of that advice to help free VPN users avoid compromising their privacy.
77% of apps identified as potentially unsafe in our VPN Ownership Investigation still pose a risk.
⸰ That report revealed nearly 60% of popular free VPN apps were secretly
⸰ Chinese-owned and that nearly 90% had serious privacy flaws..
Downloads: over 210 million total (Play); 3.8 million per month (App Store)
74% of apps identified as potentially unsafe in our Free VPN Risk Index still pose a risk.
⸰ That report showed 85% of 150 Android apps tested to have unsafe permissions or functions; and that
⸰ 25% exposed users via DNS, WebRTC or IP leaks.
⸰ Downloads: 518 million installs from Play – up from 260 million in six months.
⸰ 80% of the top free VPNs in the App Store are also in breach of Apple’s data sharing ban, our analysis shows.
FULL ARTICLE HERE