Free VPN vs. Paid VPN – What is Best?

Updated on: 20 February 2019
Updated on:20 February 2019

A VPN is not something that is very complicated, right? – So you can use a free VPN application instead of a paid one? Why pay for something that simple?!

It’s actually not that simple.

You can use a free VPN for a limited number of things but for anything more advanced such as streaming and real privacy you absolutely have to use a premium VPN.

A free VPN is extremely slow

One of the main reasons why a free VPN is not good enough is because it’s very slow. Since it does not make any money, the owners of the VPN will not have the resources as well as determination to update and maintain the server infrastructure necessary to ensure high-speeds.

A relatively well-known VPN can have up to several tens of thousands of users connected simultaneously. High-speeds can only be ensured with extremely advanced and string servers. And every single server needs to be configured for these high speeds nit just a few.

Just one of such high-speed servers can cost up to $5,000 per month to maintain.

Is the VPN is offered for free then there is no way whatsoever that it could maintain such servers.

A free VPN is just slow – very slow; every time; all the time.

A free VPN has only few servers

Above I have mentioned that having high-speed servers is very expensive. But even if the VPN has only slower servers it can still cost around $3,000-$4,000 to set up one of these servers, even if costs will not be that high later on.

No one will invest tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars to run free VPN servers. So, any free VPN has only a limited number of servers.

Those that do have many servers are usually VPNs that do not actually themselves own the servers but have random people over the internet allowing their computers to act as servers and the VPN pays them a very small amount of money.

This os extremely risky because you will basically give full access to your traffic to a completely unknown individual over the internet. Not even the VPN itself will know who that person is. That person and computer many even be hiding behind another VPN himself.

Free VPN IPs will get banned by streaming providers

Streaming services such as Netflix do not like VPNs and will do all they can to ban IP addresses belonging to a VPN. Paid VPNs will very quickly replace the banned IPs but free VPNs may never replace banned IP addresses.

That’s because a free VPN does not have the money to constantly update its IPs but also will not have enough (if at all) paid staff members whose task is to constantly check for banned IPs and replace them with new ones.

If you fire up a free VPN, you will almost always see that none of their servers and IPs work with streaming services. It’s also very rare that they replace their IPs just because of them being banned by streaming sites.

A free VPN simply does not work for streaming, no matter what.

A free VPN is rarely secure

A pretty big disadvantage of a free VPN is the fact that they do not offer good privacy and security features. Some free VPNs are even created with the idea to steal people’s traffic data and either sell them or to get access to online accounts such as social media or internet banking.

Also, many free VPN servers are actually hosted by different random people on the internet, who can very easily intercept your traffic and steal all your data and hack all your online accounts.

With a premium VPN you will at leats know who the company is that you are doing business with and you will be able to read real user reviews on the internet. Also, all the servers will actually be owned by them and not by third party random individuals over the internet.

What a free VPN is good for

You can still use a free VPN is you want to for simple things such as unblocking a site once to read something not available in your country, such as a newspaper for example.

If you need to accomplish anything more complex, such as browsing the internet for an extended period of time, then a free VPN will not be good enough due to the slow speeds and high loading times.

If you wish to unblock streaming sites such as Netflix then you can forget that completely, as that will almost never work. Almost all the IP addresses of any free VPN are already on Netflixes block list. But even if you do het access, the loading and buffering speeds will be atrocious.

You can also forget about privacy, as you will have no idea who else will have complete and unrestricted access to your data. So, if you use a free VPN, then under no circumstance should you access websites where you will have to enter a username and password.

So, which paid VPNs are good?

There are a couple of VPN applications that perform great in several categories, such as servers, speed, streaming and privacy. NordVPN comes to my mind here.

NordVPN has close to 6,000 servers in 62 countries. All these servers are high speed and optimised for streaming. NordVPN also has a zero-logs policy, meaning that will keep absolutely no records whatsoever about your internet activity.

It’s a paid VPN but you can get it for as less as $2.95 per month if you choose the 12 months package. It’s a top of the line premium VPN with advanced features and you can get it for only $2.95 per month while many other VPNs of this kind cost around $10 per month for the same services.

So, instead of getting a useless VPN for free, I strongly recommend you get a top-tier premium VPN that only costs a ridiculously low price of $2.95 per month.

Written by: Elizabeth March

Advanced ITSEC Specialist Based in Cambridge, England, Elizabeth has held notable positions for a range of high-profile vendors and clients in the European IT Security and Communications Sector. As a former IT Trainer, Technical Specialist, and Product Manager; she transitioned into the role of an expert IT Copywriter in 2015. Since then, her works have been published globally, and she continues to help people easily decipher complex technical challenges and make informed decisions about their digital lives.

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