Providing a VPN service isn’t free
This is one of the best reasons to avoid using a free VPN service. Good VPN companies are the ones with servers in many locations. For example, ExpressVPN has servers in more than 100 countries around the globe, PureVPN has over 500 servers in 141 counties and HideMyAss has 933 servers in 353 locations. The more servers provider has, the higher costs are involved in maintaining or renting it.
Why would a genuine company provide a free VPN service if the expenses are so high. And even if they offer a good service with a good connection, where do they get the money from to support their costs, client and technical support?
Below, we have listed some of the ways free VPN providers make money to offer their services.
Selling subscriber bandwidths
As mentioned earlier, to afford maintaining or renting servers all over the world isn’t cheap at all. Some of the free VPN providers find a way to reduce their costs by using some of their existing subscribers as servers or even sell their subscribers’ bandwidths to a third party. This can cause two potential issues; your internet browsing experience will decrease because your bandwidth will be used by other subscribers. And you will take responsibility for every subscribers’ online actions as they will be connected with your computer and IP address. Therefore, any illegal actions they take may put you in big trouble.
Collecting data and selling database
Most of the free VPNs collects your personal data which can include your IP address, contact number, email address, home address, your activities on the web as well as mobile activities. They store it and can offer to sell to third party companies. Most of the top paid VPN providers have a strict logging policy and your data wouldn’t be stored and sold to other companies.
Some of the free VPN providers tie up with other companies to make money by modifying the web code to display extensive number of ads on your web browser. If you read some of their terms and conditions you will see them saying that they collect personal information to sell it to a third party or to allow showing advertisements while surfing internet. Most of the times you won’t know where does that come from so it would take a while for you to figure out the main cause. Many people had to clear their computer clean to get away clean from this issue. So avoid downloading softwares that may cause your computer technical problems.
No security offerings
Most of the people sign up for a VPN is to secure their online identity and internet anonymity. If that’s what you are looking for then do not consider any of the free VPNs as they don’t provide secure connections. Free VPNs and the cheap ones don’t have their own encryption protocols which means that the information passing through may end up with more people than you would like to causing more security failures.
Giving easy access to scammers
VPNs in most censored countries
Most of the VPNs whether it’s free or with a subscription fee work alright in countries like United States and most of the countries in Europe. However, it can be more tricky to make it work in countries where the online censorship level is much higher. Countries like China, Vietnam, Iran, Myanmar, Cuba and others impose serious internet restrictions to their residents. In those countries, the difference between free VPNs and the top ones are distinct. In order for VPN to work well for example, in China it’s important for it to have good encryption protocols and servers. Even many low cost VPN companies are unable to provide good service and speed to their users in most of censored countries. Therefore, our main advise is to invest a little bit more and get the service you expect it to provide.
The best free VPN service providers
Although most of the free VPN services are dangerous to use, there are also some genuine free VPN service providers that offer a good service, however most of the time its service is limited and they often encourage its users to upgrade to paid plan to receive more benefits and better service. Some of our top recommended free VPN service providers include TunnelBear with limited free version, Hotspot Shield and Tiger VPN.
We have compiled a list of the top free VPN providers, please check out the page Best Free VPN service providers.
I’m a freelance writer living in Canada. Highly interested in topics on technology, online surveillance, and censorship. Love traveling and outdoor activities.