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The Pros and Cons of Free vs Paid VPN Services

All you need to know about advantages and disadvantages of free & paid VPN services.

Free Vs Paid VPN
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VPN is one of the indispensable tools for maintaining reliable access to your favorite apps and websites. There are hundreds of VPN services that are available online, and each VPN service provider offers a different level of security and service.

Some VPNs come with value-added services like a built-in antivirus or a firewall.

Another major difference among VPN services is whether they are free or paid. Just like site-to-site vs. remote access VPN services are different from each other, there is a drastically different level of services in free and paid VPN services.

This article will take an in-depth look at the pros and cons of free vs. paid VPNs and how you can choose the best service provider according to your requirements.

What Is the Difference Between Free vs. Paid VPNs?

The main purpose of the VPN service is to protect your network connections from trackers, hackers, and cybercriminals. It does so by encrypting your data and using advanced security protocols.

The free VPN service is usually freemium, and anyone can use it. You can install it on your PC or smartphone without paying any monthly or yearly subscription fee. 

On the other hand, paid VPN providers charge users for a monthly or yearly VPN subscription. When differentiating between paid and free VPNs, some important factors to consider include connection speeds, security features, available servers, and the ability to bypass geo-restrictions.

You may also want to consider if it allows torrenting or not. 

Pros of Using Free VPN Services

A free VPN is a perfect option for people who don’t expect a high-end service. If your device is used for general internet surfing and doesn’t require an exchange of sensitive data, a free VPN can be a perfect option. It is enough to assist you with basic VPN functions.

For instance, it allows you to change your online location to access blocked content. In countries with strong online censorship laws, you can use it to access foreign news and social media websites. 

There are many reputable VPN services that have apps for iOS and Android. You can install these apps in just a few clicks and start using the services.

Installing a VPN app on your smartphone is highly recommended if you use Wi-Fi hotspots in public places. Some free VPN providers offer split tunneling and kill switch options to let the users try additional services.

Some reputable VPN providers offer strong encryption and robust security measures even in their free software version of software.

Cons of Using Free VPN Services

You can access only limited features and services using a free VPN service. Since running a VPN company requires maintaining thousands of servers and employees, it is imperative to consider how the company is making money.

First, the company keeps pushing you to upgrade your plan and pay for the improved features. It does so by bombarding you with ads. 

Considering that the researchers found an open database of 25 million free VPN users’ records in 2022, there is a big chance that free VPN companies might sell your data. If you plan to play video games, stream content, or want to ensure the privacy of your online activity, the free VPN will not be sufficient for you.

Free VPNs provide a basic level of service with fewer servers to choose from, slow data speeds, and weaker security protocols.

The low bandwidth provided by free services makes your web browsing experience very frustrating. Since torrenting and PTP connections are not allowed, you will be unable to download files from peer-to-peer networks. 

Free VPN services are not supported by customer service. If you face any technical issues, you might have to refer to third-party blogs and videos to fix them. You should ensure not to install any unknown VPN as it may contain malware, which can be a major risk to your privacy and data. 

Pros of Using Paid VPN Services

Paid VPN services provide many additional features which are not available in free VPNs. This includes access to multiple servers, unlimited bandwidth, and advanced security protocols.

It also lets you bypass geo-restrictions. Paid VPNs have better customer support. Most reputable companies provide live chat support, which is available 24/7. 

You can also enjoy greater privacy by using a paid service. Unlike free VPN services, paid VPNs don’t rely on selling your data to stay afloat. Some VPNs even allow you to create an account without registering your email.

Besides providing top-notch encryption and strong privacy, paid VPN services have an extensive server network. For instance, NordVPN operates more than 5,500 servers in 59 countries. 

You can enjoy a faster and more reliable connection by connecting to your nearby server. Paid VPNs also let you use a Dedicated IP address, a static IP address that only you can use. Unlike the free VPNs, you can download torrents without any limits on speed or volume.

Cons of Using Paid VPN Services

The price itself is the biggest disadvantage of paid VPN services. Considering that reputable VPN services cost between $50 and $100 per year, it might be unaffordable for people in poorer countries.

Another disadvantage is that the pricing structure of VPN services is designed to persuade you to buy longer-term plans. For instance, you will have to pay an overpriced amount if you buy monthly plans. You’ll get discounts only when you buy a plan with longer terms paid in advance, i.e., 1 year, 2 years onwards. 

Once you buy a long-term plan, you’ll be limited to using the same service for that term. Even if you pay for a VPN service, you will not get access to the complete services.

To further improve your experience, you might have to pay extra for “add-ons.” Considering that services like Netflix started blocking VPN traffic in 2016, you may find it difficult to access the content even with paid VPN services.

In that case, you will have to contact the customer support team, who will guide you further about connecting to the right server.

Conclusion

With so many options available, choosing the right VPN service for your needs can be challenging. Both free and paid VPN services have their pros and cons. While free VPN services might offer you some basic protection, they are unsafe to use.

Free VPN has limited performance, poor security, and a lack of privacy. Compromising privacy for money is not a good idea at all. Considering the speed, security, and privacy, it is worth paying for a VPN service. 

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