Advantages and Disadvantages of Free VPN

Any advanced user knows that using a VPN is one of the foundations of internet security. But, is it really such a wonderful remedy, or are there pitfalls? What if I told you that free VPN can be a threat too?

Free VPN, like any other freebie, has pitfalls and should be used with caution. For masking an IP address or accessing blocked sites, a free VPN can be a suitable tool. But, if you suddenly decide to download or upload a video to a torrent tracker or become anonymous on the Internet, a free VPN will not be able to provide the proper level of protection.

Better to play it safe and buy a subscription. You can cancel your subscription within a few days and get your money back. Luckily, most of the best VPN services offer a money-back guarantee.why avoid free VPN

Free VPN: Advantages and Disadvantages

The main and indisputable advantage is the very fact that VPN is free. But beyond that, I want to highlight three more really useful benefits.

✔️ Bypass censorship

With the spread of the Internet in some parts of the world, Internet censorship has become a serious problem. In China and North Korea, for example, governments don’t just filter. They block the Internet entirely. These states have their own analogs of the Internet and have their own versions of various services, such as social networks, e-mail, online stores, news, and the like.

To some extent, Internet censorship exists in all countries, and one has to live with this phenomenon. As a rule, these are attempts to regulate various kinds of content such as adult sites, foreign channels of foreign news, various services and services on the Internet, and everything else that the government considers inappropriate. Thanks to VPN technology, internet censorship can be bypassed for free. All that is required for this is to download a free VPN and connect to a foreign server.

✔️ Bypass geo-restrictions

Geographic restrictions govern access to different types of content. Unlike censorship, geo-location restrictions are mainly used by Internet companies that want to restrict access to their goods and services. If you want to access this kind of content, you will need a VPN with a server in the country where the content you want is available.

Free VPN usually offers only a few server locations to choose from, so bypassing geo-blocking may not work if the necessary content is on the servers of a certain country whose servers are not serviced in free VPN. For the sake of fairness, you should note that free VPN copes with removing geo-restrictions just as well as paid ones.

✔️ Free VPN gives you the opportunity to try the service

Using a free VPN is rarely a long-term solution, but it is a very convenient option for those who have never used a VPN before. Many VPN providers offer free samples, which is great. Agree, who needs a cat in a poke? The opportunity to try the service before buying is a sign of a quality product.

For all its tempting, free VPN has a whole bunch of disadvantages that even the lack of a price tag cannot compensate for. Free VPNs are so far from perfect that I personally would only use them to access blocked content. For any other task, I recommend staying away from them, and here’s why.

❌ They store and sell your personal data

As mentioned, free VPNs can provide basic security (depending on the service) and help you access a blocked site. But what about the service itself? Since free VPNs don’t charge their users, they have to look for alternative funding methods. Ultimately, free VPN stores your data such as location, browsing history, content viewed, and the like and sells it to advertisers.

Of course, they do not openly declare this, but they reserve the right to do whatever they want with your personal data. Therefore, I strongly recommend that you read the privacy policy or contact customer support.

❌ Tons of ads

Free VPN is too spammed with annoying ads. Advertising is one of the most important sources of funding for any free service on the Internet, and free VPNs use this effectively. In order to somehow get rid of online advertising, you can install an ad blocker, but it, as practice has shown, is not always effective.

Even the best free VPN aims to beat back costs by resorting to online advertising. If advertising does not bother you, the following points will discourage even the most convinced freeloaders.

❌ Free VPN doesn’t have its own servers

Free VPN does not own a network of its own servers. Buying and maintaining servers is quite expensive. Instead, free VPNs often use third-party (virtual) servers. Basically, this means that the servers are owned by someone else who leases them to other companies, including free VPN providers.

This means that what is stored on these servers and how the owner disposes of this information is outside the control of the free VPN service that you used.

❌ At the request of the government, the free VPN will transfer all your data

Total surveillance of everyone and everything is something that the governments of many countries of the world often keep silent about. Under the guise of fighting extremism, they monitor their citizens, trying to track down potential threats like terrorists, pedophiles, and other dissenting individuals. But, thereby, the personal life of each of us ceases to be personal.

At the international level, there are several intergovernmental organizations created to monitor and control personal data on the Internet. These are the so-called “5/9/14 Eyes”. For example, the “14 Eyes” includes 14 countries that collect and transmit to each other all data about Internet users. VPN companies often receive requests from government agencies with requests for the personal data of users. This is a common practice. The difference is that most premium paid VPNs do not record or store any data, so they have nothing to divulge. This does not apply to a free VPN.

❌ Low speed

Any VPN connection, whether paid or not, slows down your internet speed. Premium VPNs have far less impact, however. If you have a fairly high-speed Internet connection, you will never notice a loss in speed. Quite the opposite, free VPN services greatly slow down the connection speed. In many cases, watching streaming videos and downloading content is painful and frustrating.

Not to mention the fact that free VPN networks are not stable. This is again due to the cheapness of overcrowded rented servers. So, in the long run, slow speeds may be the least of your problems.

❌ Low level of security

Free VPNs use weak protocols and low level of encryption, which have been hacked more than once. This means that if suddenly your data is compromised, even in encrypted form, it will still be possible to unblock it. For hackers, this is an easy target, do not forget that not only your personal data is at stake, but also passwords, logins, and bank data.

Conclusion

Using a free virtual private network service can end up in a loss of money or a visit to government agencies with a copy of your correspondence with a friend and a subpoena. So before using one, think twice about why you need it at all.

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