What is the difference between free vs paid VPN services?
Let’s face it. No one likes to part with even a few dollars if they can help it. For this reason, thousands of people regularly make use of free VPNs. There is just one problem.
In the best case, free VPN services can result in excruciatingly slow web browsing. In the worst, they can put your online security in real danger. Here, we’ll look at why this is.
Free Vs Paid VPN Key Differences
Imagine that your neighbor calls one day to ask if they can use your Wifi. As a one-off favor, most people wouldn’t have a problem with this. Now, though, imagine that all your neighbors want access to your Wifi 24/7.
Would you let hundreds, possibly thousands of people connect to to the Internet through your router for free? Most people wouldn’t. However, this is essentially what free VPN services do every day.
- Even when a VPN is free, someone somewhere is still liable for paying for the Internet connection everyone is making use of.
- Because millions of people make use of free VPN services, Internet browsing speeds can slow to a crawl.
- In most cases, free VPN services are anonymous. This means that you don’t know who might really be monitoring your activity online.
It might seem cynical. However, few businesses or individuals online ever give away services for free.
In some cases, it might look as though a service like VPN is free. In most cases, though, companies will generate income behind the scenes by selling user data.
If you make use of a free VPN service, this is something you need to keep in mind.
Free Vs Paid VPN Security
Do all free VPN services share user data? It is difficult to say for certain. However, the easiest way to settle the free vs paid VPN argument is to look at TOR.
What is TOR?
TOR is the world’s best-known free VPN service. It is also one of the easiest to make use of. Users run a TOR (short for The Onion Routing) VPN client on their computer. Once up and running, users benefit from being able to browse the Internet 100% anonymously.
- TOR works by routing Internet traffic through millions of computers worldwide.
- Many people donate bandwidth to the TOR network, as well as voluntarily run exit nodes to help people bypass things like online censorship.
- TOR software is opensource. This means that the security of the TOR network is fully transparent.
At face value, TOR sounds too good to be true. However, using TOR can be high-risk.
TOR and Other Free VPN Dangers
Because anyone can help maintain the TOR network, it is possible for governments and cybercriminals to set up their own TOR VPN exit nodes. This gives them the ability to monitor all network traffic. The U.S. Government is just one entity that already admits to doing just this.
Given all of the above, the case against using a free VPN service is simple. When using a free VPN service, you don’t know who has access to your web browsing information. Nor do you know how they might use this data. This is a high price to pay for VPN access that is slow and rarely reliable.
Paid VPN Services are Surprisingly Affordable
Most VPN users are people who look for ways to enhance their privacy online. For this reason, it does not make sense to use free VPNs.
This is especially true considering that VPNs are like our recommended VPN.
Do you worry about your online privacy? If so, make sure you are familiar with both sides of the free VPN vs paid VPN argument.
Then make sure to only trust paid VPNs and never log or store any of your personal browsing information. Check out our recommended VPN which does cost a few dollars a month but will protect you more than a free VPN.
Online freelancer, owner of Shielded VPN and long time website creator and designer. Happily married man and father of two amazing boys.