A Virtual Private Network (VPN) replaces a user’s IP address with one from the VPN provider to protect search activity. What’s more, businesses and individuals alike benefit from using a VPN to protect sensitive data. Maybe you use a free VPN to keep your internet searches and other information private, and it seems to work.
Are you wondering why you should opt for a paid over a free VPN? Here are five reasons why you shouldn’t go for free VPN services.
Free VPNs typically work with fewer servers that are easily overloaded, resulting in slower speeds. What this means for you is it’s harder to stream video, listen to music, or upload and download files and software. Slow internet speeds make for unacceptable user experience.
There are also often limited usage protocols that don’t allow users over 500MB per month, making using a free VPN more challenging. And even more frustrating, where the government intervenes, free VPNs often can’t access geo-restricted websites like US Netflix.
Restricted access is only one of several reasons why you shouldn’t go for free VPN services.
If you’re online surfing the web, your IP address is easy to track and monitor. Even if you use a free VPN, the level of anonymity may not be what you think. According to Tech Radar, recent research of 238 VPN apps on Google Play revealed that 82 percent of the free mobile VPNs requested permission to access GPS, email, photos, and messaging.
Before you freely give over this information, it’s essential to think about why a company wants it. Allowing any entity to monitor your activity online leaves you open to manipulation. Do you ever wonder why a company would offer a free VPN?
The truth is, free VPNs aren’t really free. They’re often data farms that collect user information and sell it. In fact, 75 percent of the free apps on the market use third-party tracking embedded in the source code. This code gives the app access to your data and your location, which the company uses for targeted advertisements.
These statistics are but a few reasons why you shouldn’t go for free VPN services.
Consider that social media platforms have used free VPNs to collect information about their audience, including the web pages that users visit, GPS Location, shopping history, preferences, and personal interests. A free VPN can take all that information and sell it or use it for their interests.
In contrast, the best paid VPN services offer a no-login policy to ensure the user’s connection and browsing are private. In other words, they don’t collect and save your information.
Plus, if you install a free VPN, you’re risking more than losing your data.
Not only are free VPNs not secure, but 38 percent of the apps also contain malware, which can redirect you to intrusive advertising, and also steal sensitive personal data, and more. Malware comes in various forms, from viruses, which attach malicious code to clean code, corrupting files, and locking down the user’s system, to spyware that hides in the background collecting information such as passwords and other data.
Trojans and ransomware can also wreak havoc throughout the network.
When you connect to a free VPN, you may expect that your data and private information is secure. After all, one of the primary purposes of a VPN is to achieve anonymity. Security is the biggest reason to use a VPN—however, 18% of free VPN tunnels don’t use any encryption. Not only that, but many use multiple entrance points that leave the network vulnerable. That means your connection is open to malware and more.
An encrypted connection ensures that your information is safe from monitoring.
With paid VPNs, you can count on advanced encryption, ensuring your anonymity on the web. Plus, there are other tech security features with a paid VPN, such as an internet kill switch. Adding a kill switch offers an extra layer of protection on a VPN if encryption is lost or broken, and there’s a breach in data security. If the VPN breaks and loses encryption, the software shuts down, so no data leaks out.
Free VPNs lack these advanced features, and the level of encryption they do offer may not be secure enough.
As you can see, a free VPN might not be worth the risk. You don’t know who you’re dealing with on the other end, and the truth is, if you’re not a paying customer, then you’re probably the product. Ultimately, a paid VPN provides risk management, security, and peace of mind. These are the biggest reason why you shouldn’t go for free VPN services.
Your data is valuable, and it’s worth protecting, so make sure that you’re working with a trusted VPN provider.