What is the difference between Free VPN vs Paid VPN?
Should people pay for a VPN or it is OK to use it free? These it’s often hard to get an accurate answer. Let’s investigate differences along with the pros and cons of free and paid VPNs. Free is always going to sound more appealing than having to spend dollars on an annual VPN subscription. But there is a lot more you should consider. If nothing is free, then how exactly they are providing you the free service. For sure they aren’t a charity organization helping the internet users for free.
Differences Between Free VPN vs Paid VPN
To make a decision, you should know the difference between a free VPN and a paid VPN. Below are the differences based on some very commonly known factors.
Free VPN Price Is Not Always Free
The first appealing thing about free VPNs is that they are free. However, they sell your data to third parties like advertisers. At the same time, most of the paid VPNs are very costly.
|Free VPN = $0||Paid VPNs ~ 10$/mo|
Free VPN Protocols Offered Are Limited
Most of the free VPNs only offer Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP); a protocol that is at least able to mask your IP address but is packed with security risks. This reason should be enough for users to avoid using free VPN with PPTP protocol.
On the other hand, almost all of the paid VPN offers a list of highly secured protocols such as IPSec, L2TP, IKEv2, and OpenVPN. These protocols create the best kind of VPN tunnel to provide premium security to the end users.
|Free VPN – PPTP mostly||Paid VPNs – all VPN protocols: IPSec, L2TP, IKEv2, and OpenVPN|
No Technical Support for Free
When you set up a VPN for the first time, it is normal to get stuck at some point. Most of the free VPN does not have a technical support team to help you out if you happen to face any issue. Even if they have a professional support team, the support is not good enough, and it is not available 24*7. On the other hand, a highly skilled and well-trained technical team is available 24/7 to help you out via chat, email and call in case of paid VPNs.
|Free VPN – No Support||Paid VPNs – 24*7 Support|
Free VPN Are Not Private & Logless
One of the main reasons for using a VPN is to protect your privacy. Free VPNs often records your browsing history and internet activity for their purpose. They don’t take money from you, but they have to earn money to provide you the VPN service. Selling your activity logs and browsing history to third parties, as well as putting up annoying targeted ads are some of the ways free VPNs earn money to keep the VPN service up and running on the cost of your privacy.
On the other hand Paid VPNs do not play with your privacy. There are two types of paid VPNs, first is the kind of VPNs which keeps a bit of connection traces but as per the service level agreement, they never monitor your activity or share any information they have related to you. The second type of paid VPNs do not keep any trace at all, so how can they share when they do not have them? Which makes them even more reliable. Most of the paid VPNs have a no-logs policy and located in regions with no data tracking laws.
|Free VPN – Always at risk.||Paid VPNs – Secured.|
Free VPN Speed is Limited
Free things are expected to attract a large number of people. If a free VPN service gets quite famous and the right amount of people to try it out, their servers might go down or become unresponsive due to high load making users face random disconnections. On the other hand, paid VPN providers ensure that no matter how significant the traffic is, their infrastructure will be able to withstand it, as they already have an idea of people registered with them and possible traffic they might face.
|Free VPN – Inconsistent low speed||Paid VPNs – Consistent high speed|
Drawbacks of Using Free VPNs
1. Spying on everything users do online. They track your browsing history, files you download and upload, the time you spent on each of the websites. They are not any less than groups like ISPs, governments, and hackers that want to collect your data and use it for their benefit.
2. Selling user data to their partners. It was still okay if free VPNs collected your data. However, they sell the received data to the third-parties that send us targeted advertisement with the information they have. They sell it to maintain their infrastructure. But, doing it on the cost of user privacy is not at all good. In worst cases, these advertisements may be infected and will allow the third party to sneak into your system.
3. Annoying ads. Free VPNs earn money by displaying targeted Ads, which are annoying, and it affects your Internet speed as well. It also kills time, as you will have to close the Ads pop up now and then.
4. Speed & connectivity issues. When many users connect to the same free VPN service, speed will inevitably get affected. Most of the free VPNs do not have a good infrastructure to handle high loads. When too many people get connected, users start facing speed and connection issues.
5. Poor features. Most of the free VPNs don’t have features like Internet Kill Switch, DNS Leak Protection, Multi-logins, etc.
6. Vulnerable for DDoS attacks. Free VPNs are often set up as a trap to gain control of your system and use it in performing a DDoS attack.
7. Not secure. The level of security free VPN provides very vulnerably as they do not maintain a good infrastructure.
8. Free VPNs resells bandwidth. Some free VPNs provider also trades your unused bandwidth in the Global digital market. One example of this bandwidth stealing and reselling is Hola VPN service. Hola was found to be stealing user bandwidth and then fraudulently reselling it through its sister company Luminati, refer this link for more details.
9. Not safe. A recent survey by Australian and U.S. researchers confirms that free VPNs are not safe at all. The key findings of this study can be summarized as follows
- 18% of free VPN apps implement tunneling protocols without encrypting users’ data.
- 38% of free VPN apps contain some malware presence.
- 66% of free VPN apps leak DNS traffic.
- 84% of free VPN apps don’t route IPv6 traffic through the VPN tunnel.
Pros of Using a Paid VPN
1. No Logging Policy. Free VPNs not always logless on the other hand paid VPNs are mostly collect very limited logs. There are two types of paid VPNs, first is the kind of VPNs which keeps a bit of connection traces but as per the service level agreement, they never monitor your activity or share any information they have related to you. The second type of paid VPNs do not keep any trace at all, so how can they share when they do not have them? Which makes them even more reliable.
2. DDoS Protection. Free VPNs don’t have DDoS protection, most of the Paid VPNs safeguard their users against DDoS attack, and their network firewall confronts the DDoS attacks. Since VPN masks your real IP address with continuously rotating IPs, it will be tough for a DDoSer to reach you.
3. 100% Uptime. Free VPNs don’t care too much about uptime. On the contrary, to ensure 100% uptime to their users paid VPNs maintains a robust infrastructure, they have a team of sysadmins who proactively monitor the VPN servers. In case Apart from that, they also preserve multiple up and running VPN servers, which can be used in case if any server goes down. They also perform periodic server audits.
4. Port Forwarding. No port forwarding provided for free. Port forwarding is one of the best ways to shield your public IP addresses from hackers as well as from government surveillance. It is not an option anymore. It is inevitable for internet users to practice digital techniques which can safeguard their original public IP address. Hackers or monitoring bureaus can find a lot about you if they can trace back your unique IP address. By a lot we mean they may be able to get into your system and your browsers directly or can intercept any emails, messages, or content you share in your network. Port forwarding shields you from all these troubles. Your devices and servers outlive guarded against undesired access, while your ventures remain obscure from all kinds of monitoring bureaus and hackers.
5. Advanced Security Measures. Paid VPNs do their best and use the best VPN protocols to keep it reliable. They can’t take a chance because one wrong move and one valid news security or privacy breach will bring them to the road and eventually to court. So more than the customers, they are concerned about their security measures. With coming days most of the paid VPNs service providers are building robust VPN network using amazing technologies like split tunneling, kill switches and DNS and IPv6 leak protection which make sure that you’re private. Your confidential data is not made public even when you get disconnected from the VPN due to some technical or network issue at their end or your end.
6. No Bandwidth Cap. Free VPNs always limit their bandwidth. Unlike the free ones paid VPNs provide unlimited bandwidth, which means you can use the internet limitless without worrying about the Bandwidth caps.
7. Use Case-Based Servers. They have dedicated VPN servers for different purposes like torrenting, Netflix, BBC, etc.
8. Multiple Server Locations. Paid VPNs have various VPN servers in various geographical locations using which you can bypass geo-restrictions.
9. 24/7 Support. Unlike Free VPS most of the paid VPNs offer 24/7 support via live-chat, voice, remote desktop, and email. Not all paid VPNs give all form of support. However, you can always reach out to them using the available support option.
Free VPNs vs. 1$ LimeVPN
|1$ VPN||Free VPN|
|We Own A Global Network. LimeVPN owns a global VPN server network, which consists of 19+ global VPN locations across the world. We have a substantial, low latency backbone built for high speed and growth network.
From the US to the UK, Europe, Asia, and Oceania.
|Free VPN has a Very Limited Network Free VPN providers have minimal VPN locations, and their VPN servers capacity is often overwhelmed with users who can cause constant low speeds, and persistent VPN connection crashes.|
|Zero Logging Of Your Activities. Unlike free VPN providers, LimeVPN keeps no logs. So we wouldn’t be able to provide them on demand. No 3-rd parties: we write the code, manage the network and own the VPN servers.
|Maintain All or Limited Logs. If you want serious privacy, free VPN services are a big no-no; they keep all sorts of logs and willingly cooperate with authorities. Moreover, they collect your data from selling it to advertisers.|
|1 Gbps Dedicated Speed | Download file in 2 minutes. LimeVPN does all the VPN server optimizations, manages its network and owns all the hardware, enabling us to deliver blistering speed & fastest VPN in the world. Speed and traffic are unlimited.
|Low Speed | Unstable Connection. Due to poor network infrastructure and constant overloads, free VPNs connection is unstable and prone to drops, high speed is by no means guaranteed.|
|24/7 Human Support. Many affordable VPN providers don’t have live support. LimeVPN has 24/7 support service with a live-chat, voice, remote desktop and a ticket system. LimeVPN immediately provides you with a new IP address once the earlier one is blocked.
|No Support. With a free VPN, don’t expect a good customer service that you did not pay for.|
|All 256-bit VPN Protocols Supported. LimeVPN supports all VPN protocols (PPTP, L2TP / IPsec, OpenVPN, SSTP, SoftEther) and all devices iOS, Android, Mac OSX, Windows, Linux, Routers, and Chromebooks.||Only the Simplest 128-bit PPTP Protocol. Most free VPNs are only capable of offering PPTP, which has limited encryption of just up to 128-bit. This means your security level is shallow.|
Final Views | Free VPN vs. Paid VPN
After going through the comparison, it is straightforward to understand that paid VPNs are far better than free VPNs. When you use a free VPN, you compromise your online privacy and security unknowingly with your own hands. Free VPNs are not capable of providing the level of reliability, safety or speed that paid VPNs can. It is also true that not all paid VPNs are 100% trustworthy and secure, but with a little research, you will find reliable VPN services like LimeVPN that give you a highly secure internet experience for only $1 which is almost for free.
Remember, there is no such thing as free, and the final cost of using a free VPN certainly surpass what you would be getting with a paid VPN.