Everything comes at a price. Cliched but undeniably true. How does that fit in the context? Think about all the fun you’re having whilst you’re torrenting with a free VPN thinking that your VPN client loves you and your activity is absolutely private. On the other hand, there’s another person doing one thing different than you before they hop onto a torrent website. What’s that one thing you ask? It’s a mere question that goes like, “What is the best-paid VPN service?”
It all seems fine but what’s the catch about the word “Paid”? Why do people use a paid VPN service when they’re getting almost the same benefits with a free VPN service?
Okay, the last line might have been partially incorrect. Or maybe, it’s a false narrative you’ve been hearing about the free VPNs.
The truth is, there’s a stark contrast between the services offered by a paid VPN and a free VPN. Not to mention, it’s not constrained to services only. In case you didn’t know, your data might be getting compromised by your VPN service provider—that must have sounded a little scary.
So, intrigued by the wonders your free VPN might have been doing to you? Let’s have a look at some of the major things that separate a free VPN from a paid one.
All eyes on you:
Recall why you used a VPN in the first place? To avoid your ISP keeping the track of your data, possibly? Or maybe to save your email from being deluged with spam emails from the advertisers?
We hate to break it to you but in reality, you’re probably under an illusion of safety with your free VPN service provider. Most of the VPNs share their users’ data with advertisers —their online activities, location, sites they visit, etc. So, roughly, the safety of your browsing with a VPN is almost akin to your regular browsing. Sad eh?
Along with the advertisers, a lot of corporations and third-parties might also be interested in your data. In order to stay afloat, your free VPN provider sells your data.
But the good news is, you could spend a few bucks and get yourself a decent paid VPN service to actually use a VPN like you want to.
A limit on everything:
Humans hate constraints. Everybody wants to be a free bird. But free VPNs could only get you a little taste of it. You’d get data, but there would be usage limit for every month. For example, Tunnel bear offers 500mb data every month. That could be useful if you just want to surf the internet but for the most part, it’s worth peanuts in the current age of the internet. A few hours of streaming and you’d be left with all your data exhausted.
Another compromise that you might have to make with a free VPN would be the level of security. This is an important one because data encryption is an essential part of the VPNs. There’s no denying that free VPNs encrypt your data but most of them use security protocols that have become obsolete. They use outdated security protocols like PTTP which do not really offer ample solidity in terms of security.
You never know the location you want to tunnel to. You could be interested in the local Korean content because you love K-pop or you might want to browse Netflix’s local content in the US. Wouldn’t it be a bummer if you come to know that your VPN provider only offers a trifling number of locations? If you’re using one, you know how awful the feeling could be.
WE HATE ADS. Yes, one of the most annoying parts of using a free app is usually the pop-ups that fill your screen and don’t go until a certain amount of time has gone by. Ads make the experience very unpleasant and they’re one of the sweetest candies that attract users to using a premium service.
If we speak about tunnelling, ideally, your data must traverse through an invisible tunnel that hides the origin point of the traffic. Free VPNs are prone to exposing that data (called IP traffic leak). In plain English, your IP address that was meant to be hidden is not really hidden and sadly, your activity is visible to the outer world.
How does a paid VPN make your experience better?
For starters, they can sustain with their subscribers so they don’t need to sell your data. In terms of security, they use the latest security protocols like AES 256-bit encryption, L2TP, IPSec, IKEv2, etc.
In terms of speed, since they have more servers in different parts of the world, your browsing doesn’t get clogged with the digital hurdles and thousands of users can browse data without any fuss at the same time.
Another major factor is no limit on the bandwidth. Which means you could focus on browsing without giving attention to any quotas.
So, in a nutshell, there’s a massive difference between the two and you know the risk you’d be putting your data into when you use a free VPN over a paid one.