The phrase “there is no such thing as a free lunch” is very relatable when it comes to the ultimate debate between whether one should choose a free VPN or a paid one. Take the example of Facebook. Though Facebook is a free website for everyone, Facebook charges you by taking your privacy away from you. It stands with other well-known websites such as Google that is popular for selling user data to third-party advertising companies. What we are trying to tell you is, that there is always a catch.

What to Get: Paid VPN or Free VPN?

This brings us to the matter of free VPN services. Though it may seem like a convenient option to utilize free VPNs instead of subscribing to paid VPNs, we recommend you steer clear of them. Using a VPN is an expensive task, which raises a question as to the possibility of a VPN truly being free. You may not pay for free VPN with dollars, but what you don’t pay for in green, you make up for by paying in data. Yes, your data is sold to third-party ad agencies by free VPNs and quite possibly, your identity is given away too. Scared? Wait till we tell you more!

VPN Protocols

Most of the free VPNs you will find out there are only capable of providing you with PPTP protocols and as we have previously covered, PPTP protocol is not as safe as it is made out to be. Premium VPNs from well-known and trusted brands offer you several VPN protocol options. You are secure if you have more than two option but almost all paid VPNs provide you with PPTP, OpenVPN, SSTP, SSH, and L2TP/IPSec tunneling protocols for extra security.

Winner: Paid VPNs

free versus paid vpnVPN Connection Speeds

Most people out there make the mistake of going for free VPNs which in turn leads to low connection speeds as well. Since the provider of the free VPN is low on funds that he would have gotten in subscription fees had it not been free, he would have funds to pay for more bandwidth and multiple connections located all over the world. But since he does not, you can imagine the speeds you will get with a free VPN. A paid VPN, however, has a lot of funding to invest in this kind of thing and providers of such VPNs make user experience their utmost priority with fast speed connection for VPN users, a list on top of which is connection speed.

Winner: Paid VPNs

Support

Much like bandwidth, customer support features cost a lot of money too. When you reach out to customer support, a representative on the other end spends his time fixing your problem and as you well know, time is money. Money that a free VPN provider does not have but a paid VPN provider does. A paid VPN provider actually invests in the customer support feature which makes it the ultimate winner.

Winner: Paid VPNs

VPN Servers/Nodes Locations

A free VPN will realistically not be able to provide you with 100 servers located worldwide if its main revenue is made by selling data to ad agencies. Paying for server locations can easily cost thousands of dollars that free VPN providers simply cannot afford. On the other hand, a paid VPN has a legitimate revenue source that can provide enough funding for a monthly server fee.

Winner: Paid VPNs

Anonymity

A free VPN provider is a lot like Tor and will not necessarily ask you for to sign up. Even if it prompts you to sign up, you can easily use fake details to maintain your anonymity. Though there are many downsides of free VPNs, this one is definitely an advantage. A paid VPN will ask you for login information such as your name, email and password along with payment options such as PayPal or credit cards. Even though you may be able to use a fake name, you cannot fake your payment information which will end up giving your true identity away.

Winner: Free VPNs

Logging Activities

The last thing you want is a VPN service logging your every move and it sort of beats the purpose of using a VPN, wouldn’t you agree? If a VPN service clearly states in its terms and conditions that it logs user data, you need to avoid it at all costs. Even paid VPNs are vulnerable in this department sometimes. A well-known VPN called PureVPN which clearly states that it doesn’t keep user logs ended up providing the FBI user logs it was never meant to have stored to aid an investigation in 2017.

The key is to see where the VPN is based. If a VPN is based in countries that have data retention policies, then avoid those VPNs, whether they are free or paid ones.

Winner: Neither

Quality of Service

As we mentioned, free VPNs have to have some mode of income to pay for their overhead costs. Usually this revenue comes by selling your browsing activity to agencies for scrap amount. But this kind of money is still not enough to pay for all the features that you would require in a VPN. Reduced connection speeds and data leaks are just one aspect of things. Using a free VPN that sells you out could very well get you arrested if the country you reside in has strict laws against certain kinds of online browsing.

When compared to free VPNs, paid VPNs provide you with a much better quality of services.

Winner: Paid VPNs

Best 5 Paid VPNs of 2018

We have compiled the list of best 5 VPN services of 2018 after tested their speed, server performance, and other important factors.

Conclusion

The reason anyone uses a virtual private network is to hide their online tracks from those they wish to remain hidden from. Momentarily, it might seem like a good idea to choose a free VPN so you don’t have to pay money, but in the long run, it might do you a lot of harm. Instead, what you can do is subscribe to a cheap VPN so that you get the best of both worlds. Our obvious winner definitely has to be paid VPNs.

Allena Dominus

Started the career as a Product Manager, I now reveal the ins and outs of the digital world, online privacy, IoTs, and the trends shaping the technology industry and much more.

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