Free VPN vs. Paid VPN
There are plenty of free VPN options on the market, but do they actually do anything? You might be tempted to take these companies up on their offers and get a free VPN. Here’s everything you need to know about free VPNs, paid VPN services, and how the two compare from the point of view of the user.
What is a free VPN?
VPN is a service that encrypts your internet connection, reroutes it through a secure tunnel, and therefore conceals your identity online. And this is a simplified explanation! VPN is an extremely complicated system that requires time, energy, and people in order for it to operate seamlessly.
As one might imagine, VPNs are not cheap to maintain, which is why you should always be suspicious of companies offering you this complicated but still essential service for no payment at all. Free VPN services claim that they can deliver the same results as their paid counterparts, so who wouldn't want to try that? But the reality of free VPNs is much more complicated and to put it shortly, the customer rarely comes out as the winner.
What’s wrong with free VPNs?
Tracking your data and selling it to third parties
Maintaining a VPN is a pricey endeavor, so these companies have to make money using some other means. The easiest way that most VPN services manage to do that is to sell the data of their trusting customer to third parties, who usually pay good money to know what people are doing online, what their online shopping patterns are, and what type of content they respond to the most. And all this work goes into better advertising the products back to you, so you are more likely to buy what they are selling. The worst part is that people have no way of knowing who their data is being sold to, users have no control over their own data in this case.
Insufferable amount of ads
Another way for “free’ VPNs to make money is to bombard their users with ads, to the point where even opening the VPN application on your laptop becomes a dreaded chore. While annoying enough on its own, this practice also contains real risks. As these companies are rarely picky about what they advertise through their app, they are willing to work with just about anyone. So oftentimes you will get ads from shady companies, and some of the links may even lead you to malicious websites or infect your device with malware.
The constant push to upgrade to paid versions
A good chunk of these free VPNs also offer paid versions of their services and they make sure that everyone who subscribes to a free version knows about it. It’s similar to the annoying amount of ads you usually get when using a free VPN, only they are two times as persistent when their own product is involved. In reality, their free services are oftentimes useless and add nothing to your online security. It’s just a gateway to get the users to pay for the real deal.
Why free VPNs can never compete with paid VPNs
Poor encryption protocols
Because free VPN companies are not making any money from their product, they also don't invest much in it. This leads to poor security, weak encryption that may sometimes make your connection even more vulnerable rather than enhance its security.
Slow Internet Speed
What distinguishes a solid VPN from a weak one is that when using a high-quality VPN service you will not be able to detect any sort of the change in the speed of your connection. The free VPNs on the other hand slow down your connection, making it almost impossible to stream content or play games while connected to a VPN.
Privacy at Risk
Normally, when using a paid VPN service your IP address is hidden from all sorts of snoopers. With a free VPN, they are more than happy to sell that information to anyone who is willing to pay, so in the end, you may be risking your privacy a lot more by using a free VPN.
Why are Paid VPNs superior?
The most crucial aspect that makes paid VPNs infinitely more safe and effective, is that they make money charging the customers for the actual services. This means that they actually have an incentive in providing good quality services, unlike unpaid VPNs. The money actually goes into maintaining and constantly improving the infrastructure which leads to superior service and more loyal customers.
All good paid VPNs will have a strict no-log policy, meaning that they never keep tabs on their clients, unlike the free VPN service providers. When the VPN service is good, even the company providing it does not have access to what you do online. That’s the whole purpose of having a VPN - to ensure that you can be anonymous online and that your online activity can not be traced back to you.
Since the quality of their service is what gives BlufVPN companies their edge, they are constantly updating their encryption, making sure that they incorporate all the latest and safest ways to protect their clients. In the world of cyber security, staying up to date with new discoveries and technologies is crucial if you want to provide a robust protection system. There is no way to do that when the majority of your income comes from selling data to third parties.
Free VPNs are not worth your time and certainly are not worth risking your privacy online. Selling your data and personal information without your consent while also slowing down your connections and leaving you vulnerable to outside attacks is hardly a worthy service. Luckily, we have paid alternatives with a variety of subscription plans, aimed to accommodate all sorts of users. Investing in your online privacy is one of the best things you can do to ensure long term safety.