There are typically two types of VPNs, one that is entirely free to use and others that are subscription-based and charge you a small fee each month. Of course, any free service is tempting, but the harsh reality is that nothing in this world is actually free. If you do not pay for a product, you are the product! So, is it also true for free VPNs? What does a paid VPN have up the sleeve that makes it a better choice? Let’s find out in our full review.
How does a free VPN work?
Unlike other online tools like a photo editing app, you can not invest your time once and create a VPN to distribute it for free. Instead, a VPN is a service that relies on a massive network of thousands of servers that must be maintained regularly. This sort of infrastructure necessitates the hiring of hundreds, if not thousands, of people and a large sum of money.
Even though free VPN services do not charge for subscriptions, they must somehow earn money to keep the servers running ( unless they put money from their own pocket, which is highly unlikely). And this is where the main problem begins.
How do free VPNs make money?
Tracking and selling your browsing data
One of VPN’s primary purposes is to stop others from tracking your browsing data to ensure complete privacy. Unfortunately, free VPNs have been known to keep track of the websites you visit, what you buy, how long you spend online, and even what device you’re using. They can then profit from selling your data without your permission. Therefore, paid VPNs are the way to go if you are concerned about your privacy and do not want others to see your browsing history.
Showing you Ads
31% of all internet users worldwide use a VPN, and displaying advertisements in the app is a great way to monetize the free services. When a user clicks on an ad, the service provider receives a portion of the revenue. If you have millions of users, this can be enough to sustain a business.
However, excessive ads can be annoying, and most of these ads are difficult to close. Some ads may contain malware that can infect your device, ruining the whole purpose of using a VPN in the first place.
Not working properly
Many free VPNs are actually fake and do not really connect you to any secured servers or mask your address. This is frustrating when you go through the pain of downloading and installing a VPN only to find that it fails to unlock your favorite show on Netflix.
Bottom line: Paid VPN vs. Free VPN – Which is better?
The quote “You get what you pay for” perfectly illustrates the differences between a paid and free VPN service. Users pay for a VPN download, which is how paid VPN companies generate money. They then put that money into their infrastructure, add new features, and seek to give the greatest customer experience possible. Because long-term customers are the foundation of their company strategy, it’s critical that they look after their clientele and retain a positive image.
People don’t expect high-end service from free VPNs and have to compromise on the speed, stability, and privacy. So if you seek a premium service that will protect your privacy every time, we recommend you try out a paid VPN. You can get a 7 days free trial on Surfshark VPN to try out all the features before paying for the service. You can also get a 30-day money-back guarantee if you are not happy with the service.
However, if you do not need all the premium features and do not mind seeing some ads and sharing your browsing history, a free VPN can get the job done.