Paid vs Free VPN – 5 Things to Consider
As the popular saying goes, if something is too good to be true, it probably is not. There is every reason to be excited about enjoying things for free, but caution is advised when the matter is about your privacy.
Here’s How Paid vs Free VPN Compare
Running a VPN service 24/7 has costs attached to it. A free VPN – although it grants you access to blocked websites – doesn’t tell you the full picture. The implication is that if the service is not charging the users, then it’s making money through some other means. Data is the most valuable thing today, and it’s exactly what’s being sold to keep up with the operational costs – your data.
Advertisement is a huge business. The way to improve accuracy in delivering the right ads to the right people is through collecting data on users, which includes browsing habits. Some will show you ads to gain revenue, but that does not guarantee that your web activity is not getting logged. And others will offer very limited services and try to upsell a premium version.
For reasons that will become clearer, here are some of the things you need to consider when choosing between paid vs free VPN.
Things to Consider while choosing Paid vs Free VPN
Encryption is an essential aspect of a VPN; it’s what makes data secure. Free VPNs provide weaker security. Nearly all free VPN services use AES 128-bit encryption. While even the AES 128-bit encryption is considered tough to beat, paid even services to ensure the highest encryption level with AES 256-bit.
The presence of encryption alone is a significant reason why VPN is better than proxy services.
Encryption refers to the process of converting plain-text into what’s known as cipher-text. It’s called cipher-text because it has been coded to appear unreadable. Encrypted data looks like gibberish without the decryption key that can revert it to plain-text.
iProVPN uses AES 256-bit encryption on all of its servers. So you can walk into a mall or coffee shop and connect to the public Wi-Fi hotspot without the risk of data theft and session hijacking.
2. VPN Protocols
A VPN connection is based on several things, a protocol being one of them. A protocol defines the rules for communication. In short, it defines a standard so that communication follows reliably.
Free VPNs do not offer the flexibility of choosing between protocols. The feature is either absent or locked behind a premium version of the VPN. iProVPN features leading protocols; OpenVPN, IKEv2, LT2P/IPsec, PPTP. The option to switch between protocols is easily accessible through the settings menu.
3. Server Locations
Out of the many things, server locations is the biggest differentiating factor between paid vs free VPNs.
VPN allows you to spoof your location with the VPN server’s IP address. You could be sitting in Finland but connect to a VPN server in the USA to change the virtual location to the USA. This simple yet effective method allows you to access geo-restricted content. Disney+ is one of the many services currently unavailable outside of the United States. So with a VPN, it’s possible to spoof the location for gaining access.
Free VPNs provide limited access to servers. You would either get connected to a random server or have a very limited range of servers. Distance to the server matters for performance, so the free VPN is unlikely to offer nearby servers.
VPN is an important factor for the overall experience. It wouldn’t be much of a streaming experience if the video stayed in a browsing loop. The key to good performance is latency, which is the distance data has to travel and back. The closer the server is to your location, the better performance will be.
A free VPN will provide random connections to servers. The lack of control over server selection limits guaranteed performance. Moreover, free VPN services cannot sustain peak traffic, leading to slower performance even when connected to a nearby location.
Privacy is a fundamental goal when using a VPN. Hiding online activities makes it possible to bypass censorship and government surveillance in countries like China and North Korea.
Replacing the ISP with the VPN server allows it to see everything that you do on the internet. It’s where trust is key. Knowing that your data is in safe hands is of the utmost importance when shopping for a VPN service.
Free VPN services make money by selling data to advertisers. The data includes a user’s web browsing history, something which the VPN service knows. Some VPN services offset the cost of running a free version through its paid service, but such services are in the few and offer limited speeds and features.
Knowing where the VPN provider operates from will tell you a lot. Any region that falls under the Five Eyes alliance’s jurisdiction will always be at the risk of one court that compels it to retain and share user data.
iProVPN operates from the British Virgin Islands, which is considered a safe territory because it lies outside the said jurisdiction. Our ‘zero logs’ policy ensures the confidence that your activities will never be tracked or recorded.
Always Use a Trusted VPN
As a matter of utmost importance, you must always use a trusted VPN service, for the reasons we’ve explained. Free VPNs might excite, but secret logging of your activity prevents you from reaching complete anonymity.
iProVPN is not only capable of delivering privacy on the internet, but the pricing plans provide a choice. Start as low as $10 a month, and upgrade as you go.