When Is A Paid VPN A Better Option
If you dont want to deal with the limitations of a freemium VPN, its worth upgrading to a paid service. Paid VPNs have:
- Torrenting support with unlimited bandwidth. Some paid VPNs even have a SOCKS5 proxy and port forwarding for faster speeds.
- Access to streaming platforms like Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, and more. While a couple of freemium VPNs do offer sporadic access to streaming sites, you wont get very far with the tiny data allowance.
- Strict no-logs policy thats been proven in real-world scenarios or through independent audits.
- Advanced privacy and security features, such as anonymous sign-up options, specialty servers , and ad blockers.
- 24/7 customer support over live chat and email.
- Money-back guarantee for easy refunds if youre not completely satisfied.
Should I Use A Free VPN
If youre serious about your security then you should use a VPN on your PC, smartphone, and tablet. While the free variety might be tempting, and can certainly be used in a pinch, we would strongly recommend that you pay up and get a fully featured, secure version instead, such as those found in our most secure VPN roundup.
Limiting The Amount Of Data You Can Use
As mentioned above, some of the most popular free VPNs limit the amount of data you can use. They do this entice you, then push you into upgrading to a paid plan out of sheer frustration .
A good example of this practice is Tunnelbear, which limits monthly data to a measly 500MB.
Tunnelbear pushes you towards their paid packages from the moment you sign up
Don’t Miss: How To Use VPN To Change Location
Benefits Of A VPN With A Premium Price
Fortunately, you dont need to risk anything when using the free VPN. The top top-rated VPN providers provide incredible value with subscription plans starting at less than $1.89 monthly.
With a small amount every month, you can are able to avoid the risks mentioned above, and enjoy the numerous advantages of a high-quality VPN.
- Geo-block bypass. The top virtual private networks allow you to block geo-blocks from most major streaming services, such as Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu.
- Unlimited bandwidth: You wont be restricted in the use of your internet.
- Multi-device protection Premium VPNs safeguard multiple devices simultaneously. Some VPNs offer unlimited protection.
- The most secure and reliable virtual private networks have the most sophisticated security features to ensure you are secure.
- A great value price. Alongside low costs, Many premium VPNs provide discounts as high as 75 per cent. See the best offers here.
- Faster speeds. Since they conceal your online activities, Premium VPNs shield your connection from being throttled by your ISP, who is deliberately slowing your connection when youre often streaming or downloading torrents.
These are only a few of the benefits provided. Take a look at the top five VPNs listed below and determine which one is the most suitable solution for your needs.
Risk Of Malware Within Free VPN
Because your VPN service provider will have access to your personal information, you should carefully consider which applications you trust. Free VPN apps often involve risks that few want to be exposed to.
Free VPN services have been found to collect data about their users through malware. According to a CSIRO study, 38% of free VPN apps for the Android operating system contained malware. As many as 75% of the apps included code that could be used to track users.
Don’t Miss: How To Install Free VPN On Xbox One
Tips For Using A VPN To Stay Safe
VPNs can add a layer of security and privacy to your web browsing, but its a relatively thin layer considering how good the tech industry has become at tracking people.
The most important thing to do about this is to use the safety steps I listed above, such as a password manager, multifactor authentication, and tracking blockers, and to follow standard safety advice to avoid online dangers that have nothing to do with your ISP or IP address. VPNs do not protect against most known online risks, such as phishing, tracking, malware, and ransomware, says Roya Ensafi, assistant professor at the University of Michigans computer science & engineering department and principal investigator of VPNalyzer.
White is quick to point out that theres ultimately no guarantee that a VPN provider is on the level, even when testing like Consumer Reports comes back with good results. The best we can do is to get an assessment for symptoms and hints of trustworthiness when we evaluate a VPN, he says.
That said, choosing a VPN that seems solid is much safer than one without those signals of trustworthiness. Not doing so could put you at risk. If you use a VPN with a default configuration thats insecure, it could allow for lateral movement, where an attacker can move through your home network and access all of your devices.
When Is A Free Service A Viable Option
Were not saying that free services dont have their place, and in fact they can be very useful for casual users its just useful to know their limitations.
If youre using your VPN to quickly change location to check prices of products in other areas, avoid mild geo-blocks like those used on some news sites, and for the occasional email when on public Wi-Fi, a free option may well do the job. For more long-term or secure VPN usage, though, they simply cant cut the mustard.
Also Check: Install VPN On Samsung Smart TV
Free VPNs Inject Ads Into Your Browser
Its a simple concept, but it makes sense. Free VPNs need to make money somehow, so instead of charging users a nominal fee most free services tend to follow murkier corporate practices.
One of the most common ways free VPNs make money is by injecting ads into a users browser.
Hola VPN was one of the first free VPNs to hit the mainstream. Arguably the most popular VPN of its time, Hola reportedly still has more than 80 million users.
Unfortunately, Hola has been injecting ads into peoples browsers. Not only generic ads but targeted ads based on a users specific browser history.
Perhaps worse, Hola was also found to turn user networks into botnets by selling their bandwidth. Unlike Traditional VPNs , which set up dedicated VPN networks to reroute your traffic, Hola doesnt pay the bandwidth costs for users who use the free extension. Therefore, users of the free app are unwittingly opening their bandwidth on a first come, first serve basis.
Are VPNs Safe Some Arent
VPNs continue to grow in popularity, as more people become concerned about internet privacy.
As the VPN market grows to meet this demand, there are now 1,000s of free VPNs promising to keep you safe and secure online, at no extra cost.
Sounds great right? Not so much. VPNs are expensive and complicated software that require a great deal of investment to maintain. They also need to keep up with the ever-changing world of internet privacy. So how would a completely free VPN offer you that kind of service?
Free VPN providers need to cover costs and turn a profit, so they generate revenue from their customers using hidden tools and tricks. These tactics are not only dangerous and dishonest, but completely betray the principles of VPNs.
As youre about to see, using a free VPN could actually make you less safe online, cost you more than you know, and ruin your entire internet experience.
Before going any further, lets take a look at premium VPNs.
Everything free VPNs promise, a premium VPN actually can do, for a small fee and without any hidden dangers.
Premium VPNs charge a small monthly subscription starting as low as $1.89 and use this to invest in state-of-the-art security tools, 1,000s of servers across the globe, lightning speeds, unlimited bandwidth and much more. Even better, many offer a 30-day money-back guarantee. You can sign up and test one out for a month, risk-free, and compare the experience to a free VPN.
Don’t Miss: Uverse Access Code
Outdoor Security Cameras That Take Home Security Seriously
The problems aren’t just limited to potential constitutional violations and human error. The creation of the backdoor would likely create a cascading chain of other security flaws as engineers attempt to comply with the feds. Here’s the academic take from a host of reliable authors, including security legend Bruce Schneier, who is currently a fellow at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University:
“Exceptional access would force internet system developers to reverse forward secrecy design practices that seek to minimize the impact on user privacy when systems are breached,” the authors write. “The complexity of today’s internet environment, with millions of apps and globally connected services, means that new law enforcement requirements are likely to introduce unanticipated, hard to detect security flaws.”
The message is clear: The current legal environment suggests that the US government is moving toward an end to encryption, and is therefore not required to protect your privacy — at least for the foreseeable future. That means until we see the expansion and development of more decentralized and uncensorable bandwidth markets even the most promising VPN with the most watertight technology is not one I want to subscribe to if it or its parent and affiliate companies are headquartered in the US.
The Service Doesnt Guarantee Your Privacy Or Security
If a business doesnt charge for the use of a VPN, then they likely dont have enough money to secure your data or will spend only a small amount to do it.According to Top10VPN study, numerous applications do not remove unwanted permissions and features. Experts have been able to locate examples of this on the camera on the device, the microphone, and GPS tracking.
Recommended Reading: Nordvpn On Tcl Roku TV
What Problems Do No
Your free options are split in two truly free services that likely make money from serving you ads or selling your data, or freemium VPNs. Freemium services offer a stripped-back version of a premium, paid-for product, essentially acting as a never-ending VPN free trial in the hope that it can entice you to upgrade.
The issues with the former are obvious youre routing all your traffic through an application that you essentially cant trust, negating the primary function of a VPN. And, seeing as 67% of those surveyed identified online privacy as a key concern, a considerable amount of people are using potentially substandard free services in the hope of staying anonymous.
Freemium options can look appealing, though, and they are useful to a certain extent. However, compared to the premium products theyre based on, these free versions often come with significant limitations. Most commonly the amount of data you can transfer is limited, ranging from the measly 500MB per month TunnelBear offers to the relatively generous 10GB a month youll get from Windscribe. One of the very few providers not to limit data for free users is our chart-topper ProtonVPN.
So, in general, while freemium options are generally safe to use in terms of protecting your data, they dont provide the full package.
Not All VPNs Are Created Equal
You sign up with a VPN to protect your online privacy. But a 2016 study of 283 Android VPN apps by The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation in Australia found that many VPNs don’t offer the kind of security users need.
According to the reports findings, 67% of the VPN apps studied in this analysis embedded at least one tracking library in their code to track users online activity. That’s worrisome. If a VPN is tracking your activity, it may intend to sell that data to third parties, for purposes of marketing or ad-targeting.
The study also found that, for several reasons, 84 percent of the analyzed apps didn’t properly encrypt the online data of users. This means that it could be easier for snoops to track what users are doing when browsing the Internet.
Free VPNs are more likely to track your data. The CSIRO study said 65 percent of paid VPN providers didnt track users online activity, but only 28 percent of free services did the same.
Why? Free services need to make money somewhere. If they’re not charging you to use their service, how else do they earn a profit to support the product they provide?
At the same time, paid VPNs are more likely to provide stronger encrypting services. Thats because theyre profiting from subscriptions. Theyre more likely then, arguably, to spend the money necessary for stronger encryption methods.
Also Check: VPN Roku Stick
The Best VPN Deals This Week*
*Deals are selected by our partner, TechBargains
- NordVPNâ$79 for 2-Year Plan – Save 72% this Holiday Season
- Surfshark VPNâ$59.76 for 2-Year Plan + 3-Months Free
- IPVanish VPNâ$38.38 for 1-Year Plan
- Private Internet Access VPNâ$79 for 3-Year Plan + 3-Months Free
- TunnelBear VPNâ$120 for 3-Year Plan
- Norton Secure VPNâ$29.99 Per Year for 5-Devices
That said, every VPN listed does put some restrictions on its free version. Some services limit the amount of bandwidth you can use in a given period. Some keep the number of simultaneous connections low, generally to one or two. Some restrict you to certain servers, meaning you can’t jump to a better-performing server or easily spoof your locationâmore on this below. Tunnelbear VPN is a noteworthy exception, allowing free users to access all its servers.
Paying for a VPN subscription typically unlocks all these features, and often adds additional sweeteners unavailable at the free level. You get all the servers in all the locations, and usually the service also provides more simultaneous connections. Kaspersky Secure Connection VPN is one exception to this model providing an unlimited number of connections at its free tier.
How To Protect Yourself Without A VPN
Those who are worried about privacy but don’t fall into the above categories can use other tools besides a consumer VPN to protect themselves:
- Use Tor, a free browser protocol that “anonymizes” your online activities and makes it difficult to track you
- Enable DNS-over-HTTPS in your browser to foil tracking logs
- Use your mobile data connection instead of public Wi-Fi by using your phone as a hotspot for other devices
- Set up a private VPN server on your high-end or gaming router, or “flash” a cheap router with free firmware like DD-WRT or Tomato , so laptops and mobile devices can use your secure home broadband connection while out of the house
“Some of the issues discussed could also be addressed without relying on a VPN service,” admitted Markuson, but added that “commercial VPN services make it easy.”
“Anyone, without having any technical knowledge, can add a layer of security and privacy with a single click,” Markuson added.
Ultimately, though, for the average consumer, VPNs may be a solution to a problem that isn’t much of a problem anymore.
“How much is really secure, how much is mostly secure, and how much should I really be worried about?” said Wisniewski. “I don’t think you need to worry about this.”
Recommended Reading: How To Change Your Google Country
Things To Consider Spotting A Potentially Useful VPN Review
There are a few things that would give away the fact that a VPN review is influenced or not. Here are some of the things that you should keep an eye on:
- The language used is straightforward and not constantly marketing the features/unique selling points.
- The VPN review should include performance metrics.
- The review mentions about the protocols and various platforms supported.
- Remarks about the pricing plans and comparison with other options can be a good sign.
- If a review is too glowing and doesn’t mention any negatives, be suspicious.
You could always research into who owns the VPN service you’re considering and who owns the publication reviewing it.
Can I Download A VPN For My Iphone/android Or Other Devices
Yes, there are several VPN options available for mobile and other internet-connected devices. A VPN could be essential for your mobile device if you use it to store payment information or other personal data or use internet-connected apps for things like dating, gambling, money transfers, etc. Many VPN providers also provide mobile solutions many of these can be downloaded directly from Google Play or the Apple App Store.
Read Also: Use Opera VPN
Top 5 Reasons Why Free VPNs Are Dangerous
Free VPNs are dangerous as they undermine your privacy rather than protecting it. Specifically, some free VPN service providers dont have the resources to guard your data and prevent others from engaging in the unscrupulous practice of selling it. Therefore, you should always think twice before installing a free VPN client.
Heres why its unsafe to use a free VPN:
Speedify Free VPN For Android
Speedify offers 2GB of free data per month and can only be used on one device. Its easy to set up, as you dont even need an account. Download the app, connect, and youre ready to go.
The service can automatically connect you to the fastest VPN server based on your location, or you can select the server yourself. Like the rest of the VPNs on this list, Speedify promises a no-logging policy, meaning it provides full anonymity online.
If 2GB per month isnt enough for you, the company also offers paid plans with unlimited data. Pricing is set at $9.99 per month, but you can get it down to just $2.99 per month if you opt for a three-year plan.
- Paid plans: Start at $2.99 per month
Don’t Miss: Do I Need VPN On My Iphone