Can You Trust Free VPN Services in 2023?

Security threats have become too common these days. No month ends without news of a major digital breach. Attackers are increasingly targeting big brands like Dropbox and Robinhood, but they haven’t given up on stealing the data of average Internet users.

Luckily, you can protect yourself from malware, hackers, and other security threats by using a VPN. Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) encrypt your data through military-grade technology.

They also hide your IP address from the public, protecting you from advertisers, stalkers, and governments. With that in mind, VPNs are not always free. The best VPNs cost $5 to $10 a month.

That being said, VPNs like NordVPN have a 30-day money-back guarantee. You can download VPN for free and use it for a month. If you don’t like its services, you can cancel your membership and ask for a refund.

Free vs. Paid VPNs: What’s the Difference?

With so many free VPNs online, you might be tempted to save your money and pick a free provider. However, if you truly want to secure your data and identity online. Here’s why:

Some Free VPNs have Malware

Just like every other business, free VPNs are out to make money. They may not charge you a monthly fee, but they often partner with advertisers. Some advertisers infiltrate your browsers with malware.

Also known as adware, malware from advertisers track down your digital footprint on all platforms. This way, you always see adverts related to topics you’re interested in.

Some adware is so aggressive that it hijacks your browser and unintentionally forces you to open adverts. Of course, this can expose you to more dangerous threats like ransomware and viruses.

Limited Data Use & Slower Connections

The majority of free VPNs limit your monthly data. They do this so that you can upgrade to a paid plan. Additionally, they limit your data to keep their costs down.

Either way, limiting your data consumption increases your exposure to cybercrimes. Once you hit your monthly data limit, the VPN can’t protect you anymore. And that means your data is no longer encrypted, and your IP remains public for all to see.

Another disadvantage of choosing a free VPN is that it may slow down your Internet connection. Sure, most VPNs lower your Internet speed because of the many protocols they follow.

But some free VPNs intentionally slow down your Internet speed. Not only is this practice annoying, but it also tempts you to use the Internet without a VPN.

Free VPNs Track Your Online Activity

One feature that distinguishes free from paid VPNs is how they treat your data. Many free VPNs track your online searches to sell business leads to advertisers.

Paid VPNs do not track your Internet activity, so they can’t expose your online activity to anyone. Needless to say, it’s better to use a service provider that does not track your data.
This is particularly true if you use pirating sites to download free movies and files. Also, it’s important to use VPNs to visit websites blocked by your government, such as social networks or streaming websites.

You May Not Access a Geo-Restricted Website

A good VPN can help you get on Netflix or Hulu while on vacation. You can use it to access social media where you can’t access Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. Additionally, you can use a VPN to watch geo-restricted sports.

Unfortunately, most free VPNs do not have the technology required to unblock geo-restricted websites. They may unlock a few websites but not succeed at unlocking websites that use high-end geo-blocking technologies.

As we already stated, most free VPNs limit your data and slow your Internet connection. As such, even if they help you unblock Netflix, you’ll probably watch a couple of episodes because you hit your data cap. And if the Internet speed is too slow, you may not enjoy your experience.

Unreliable Services

Free VPNs don’t ask for your money, meaning they have no obligation to offer reliable services. If your account gets hacked, they’re not obligated to help you recover it.

The company’s only obligation is to make money. And if they can’t get your money, they will use your data to turn a profit. That means they may sell your data, your bandwidth, or your eyeballs (adverts).

If the company faces a malware attack or crashes for any other reason, don’t expect it to resolve the issue urgently. It could take weeks before they fix issues, leaving you exposed to data hacks.

Of course, you don’t want to use a service that’s under no obligation to provide reliable services. You need a VPN to keep you safe. But if it can’t guarantee your cybersecurity, consider paying a small monthly fee for reliable services.

Free VPNs May Hand Over your Data to the Authorities

Most people use VPNs to browse the Internet anonymously. However, you’re not safe if the VPN company tracks your data. It can always hand over your information to the authorities if they ever requested it.

Now, you probably have nothing to hide and wouldn’t care if the government requested your data. But that’s not the case for everyone. Some people use VPNs to help them share their opinions securely.

Maybe they want to criticize a punitive government. Perhaps they want to hold a high-profile government official accountable. But they can’t share their opinions publicly. A VPN can help such people talk freely.

However, such people can only get digital protection if they use a premium VPN. Free providers may hide your IP address. But if they keep logs, they can easily sell you to the authorities.

In Conclusion

Free VPNs may save you money. But it’s the premium providers who keep you safe. Shop around for a safe, affordable VPN. Choose a company with a free trial or money-back guarantee. This way, you can always cancel your membership if you dislike their services.

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