免费 or paid VPN? Should you pay for a virtual private network?

By: Kelly | Last updated June 18, 2019
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There’s no debate when it comes to the benefits of using a virtual private network. VPNs are valuable tools that help you stay safe, private and anonymously online and they open up a lot of locked doors. However, not everyone is prepared to pay money for one, especially if they are new to the whole concept of VPN. There are a lot of free VPN providers on the market and why shouldn’t you give them a chance? After all, they exist as a business, so that means they have customers using and trusting their services.

The key features of a VPN

Most people assess the quality of a VPN based on a few general factors:

  • Available servers (the more, the better; their location is also important, because it is better to have fewer servers but spread in as many locations as possible, than to have a lot of servers concentrated in a single area)
  • Bandwidth (all reputable VPN providers offer unlimited bandwidth)
  • Supported protocols (the more, the better)
  • Encryption (256-bit encryption has become the standard)
  • The ability to unlock restricted content such as streaming services (Netflix, HBO, BBC iPlayer, Hulu and so on)
  • Privacy policy (always aim for the ‚no-logs’ or ‚zero-logs’ policy when choosing your VPN provider)
  • Torrenting policy (most VPNs allow torrenting and even have dedicated servers for P2P file sharing)
  • Performance results (the faster the VPN, the better)

Can a 免费 VPN offer all the aforementioned?

免费 VPNs are not all bad. After all, they come at no charge, which is the only reason why some prefer them. However, they are mostly used on an occasional base, when users have to connect to the internet from unsecure, public networks. In theory, they have more or less the same features as a paid VPN. The only problem is how many of them you are allowed to access without paying. The main issue with a 免费 VPN is that it has limitations.

Issues with 免费 VPNs

Most 免费 VPN providers impose limitation in terms of bandwidth and servers. And if you are going to use a lot of data when surfing the web, for instance to stream movies, you’re going to reach that threshold in no time. Those bandwidth limitations are monthly, or in some cases even daily.

The same goes for servers. Even though a VPN has hundreds or even thousands of servers available, you usually get access to only a few servers if you sign up for a free plan. That means that all the users who sign up for the free VPN are going to overcrowd those same few servers, which will lead to a noticeable decrease in your connection speed.

Another common issue with 免费 VPNs is their logging policy. Even though you’re not paying to use the VPN, that provider has to earn its money somehow, in order to survive on the market. And it usually does it through advertising, by selling your data to third parties. That is why if you carefully analyze the privacy policy of free VPNs, you’ll see that they don’t have a ‘no logs’ or ‘zero logs’ policy, like reputable, paid providers. Instead, they keep logs on their users.

However, there are some trust-worthy companies out there that offer 免费 VPN services. Here are some of the most reliable, 免费 VPNs to consider: Windscribe, TunnelBear, ProtonVPN, Hotspot Shield, Speedify, Hide.me.

By: Kelly | Last updated June 18, 2019