More & more these days, online privacy is unfortunately becoming a neccessity. Every day people across the globe are signing up to VPN’s (virtual private networks) for their online security, or anonymous Internet navigation, or even to by-pass censorship and country firewalls (China, for example). It seems like there is an increasing amount of VPN providers all over the web, and even more of them are free VPNs.
Why use a paid VPN when I can get a free VPN……..Good question… Free isn’t always Free…
When looking at a Free Vpn, it’s important to understand that whilst you might not be paying in cash for a certain service, you may be paying another way, and most times it’s not always that crystal clear. A perfect case in point being Hola. A Free Vpn used by over 46 million user’s world wide to bypass geo-restrictions, When a user installs Hola, he becomes a VPN endpoint, and other users of the Hola network may exit through his internet connection and take on his IP. This is what makes it free… Hola does not pay for the bandwidth that its VPN uses at all, and there is no user opt out for this. As mentioned in our opening paragraph, it’s rare to have a free service on the internet that doesn’t somehow make money through other methods. In Hola’s case, the company sells bandwidth to customers via Luminati, and this bandwidth is sourced directly from Hola VPN users. In simple terms, if you use Hola VPN you’re handing over your internet to Hola’s and Luminati’s customers to do whatever they want with it. This a huge breach of privacy, that many Hola users are utterly unaware of.
At the end of the day, Free Vpn companies have to pay for their services somehow, & generally that means the end user, you, will suffer in some way.
Bandwidth– Bandwidth Throttling, often requiring payment to remove limitations.
Stability-with Free Vpn’s you will often loose your connection, have problems with loading data or your VPN disconnecting without any reason. Free VPN providers often experience many technical issues with connection, because of inability to manage their technical capacity and accepting more VPN clients than their systems can technically serve. This makes the network overcrowded and the connection highly unstable.
Unwanted Advertising-pop ups, unwanted spam that you may not realise has in fact been the result of your vpn company selling on your details…no logging…I don’t think so.
Unwarranted use of your bandwidth-there’s no true way of knowing how your internet bandwidth may be used, as mentioned above, even if it’s only used by legitimate customers. If your bandwidth is used by Hola, a footprint is made and traces will lead back to you. This means your own IP address could be used for illegal activity or nefarious purposes.
Support-Same as bandwidth: support comes at a cost. If you expect someone to spend his time for free, solving your connection problem, then you are going to have a tedious time. When you choose a paid VPN service, you should expect someone to answer your tickets and do his job, while free services are usually provided “as is”. You get what you pay for.
Availability-Assuming you don’t want to unexpectedly disconnect every now and then, then availability is important. The bandwidth problem described above combined with a lack of multiple VPN nodes puts the free VPN provider at a disadvantage compared to a Paid service that has invested a decent percentage of it’s profits on bandwidth and servers.
Generating Income– from collecting data, selling it, marketing with it. or worst case scenario…giving it up at the worst of times to the worst people they could…the dreaded DMCA hand-offs.
Locations-This is a deceptive one, as having as many locations as possible is obviously better…right? Not necessarily. While it’s great to have hundreds of servers in dozens of countries, why would a free VPN provider give you access to 100 servers in 50 countries for free? For the reasons explained above. It’s a speculate to accumalate exercise. Often it’s more about the actual quality of the company that you decide to deal with, that will determine you’re over all experience of using a Vpn. Having a huge number of servers all over the globe is great, but if you can’t get hold of the support team, when you need to, it’s useless. Often, as in the real world, small shops often have better service than a larger ‘supermarket’. Yes, you may pay a little more, but as mention above, you get what you pay for.
It’s always worth checking out your chosen Vpn providers Facebook pages, Twitter Feeds as well as review sites. You will often see true user’s feed back pop up on the social media feeds, while review sites, are helpful, can often look a bit rigged to me. Forums are also a fantastic source of background info. do some research before signing up to something that you really don’t know much about.
Which is exactly the reason you wanted a VPN for in the First place…to avoid this.
It’s always worth remembering…If you’re given a product or service for free, you are most likely the product. Your data, your personal information, or in this case, your internet is no doubt being used by many other companies just like Hola that offer up free services or software.
At the end of the day it is clear that not all free stuff is good especially when it comes to online privacy and security. Most free VPN’s cannot be trusted and may represent serious security threats.
Therefore, if you value your private data and web-life, try to avoid using such services and leta paid service take care of your web privacy and security.
Paid VPN Services>
As we have discussed above, paid Vpn Services will provide you with an Encrypted Private tunnel for your traffic to pass through.
Generally just because they ARE a paid service, they have a vested interest in making sure you, the end user, has a smooth, trouble free experience in using their product.
This isn’t always the case just because it is a paid service though. It has to be said, some Vpn providers are better than others, as mentioned above. As in life, you get what you pay for. It pays to do you’re research, check the forums, contact the Vpn provider to see how things work.
You will get an idea of whether you want to buy their product, just from the speed of their response, knowledge of the systems they are running & you will get a general feel as to whether you will receive the customer service that you expect from the promises that they are making. Remember, Its great having 500 Servers located worldwide, but if the service goes down & you cant get hold of customer service, you might as well have lit the $5 bill you spent on the Vpn with a lighter.
Benefits of a Paid Vpn Service>
Bandwidth Throttling-A paid Vpn will have taken the time & money to ensure they NEVER go short on bandwidth, after all, if you have anonymity, but no bandwidth, what’s the point right?
Fast Servers with Unlimited bandwidth is what your paying for, so make sure you get it, verify with the company if necessary.
Stability–For the same reasons free VPN providers cannot guarantee a fast connection, when their networks are overcrowded, especially during the peak hours..With a paid VPN, you are guaranteed that a speed of your connection is at least as high as your speed without any VPN. The speed of your local Internet provider is often the highest limit of speed for the use of all other services, including a VPN. Although you can occasionally get even faster connection through a Vpn, particularly if you are hitting a site in a country that you are surfing through. I.E If you want to watch any USA Site… going through a USA server will certainly be the best & quickest solution.
Kill Switches-Another great feature of a paid Vpn is that they can often have a kill switch option which can be invoked if your network drops out for example. A VPN kill switch solves this problem by automatically stopping all traffic from entering or leaving your device if you are disconnected from a VPN server location. This prevents your network traffic from being routed back through your internet service provider and exposed to prying eyes. In case the VPN unexpectedly disconnects, the kill switch stops your computer from accessing the Internet. Once you are reconnected to the VPN server location, Network Lock restores your Internet traffic automatically.
Support–This can be a tricky one, as you would think that having paid your hard earned cash, you can expect a certain standard of service, right? Generally this is the case. A paid Vpn Service IS going to have a dedicated customer service team…Paid to make sure that you receive the service you’ve paid for & have a trouble free experience, just like any other service. Again, do your research, contact the customer support of the Vpn company you are interested in, check out the forums. After all, the whole point of getting a paid service is to take your privacy seriously, if problems do arise, as they sometimes do in Vpn Networks, they are dealt with promptly. Unfortunately Bigger isn’t always better, large companies may have a huge number of servers, but it’s useless if customer support are not on the ball, or the staff are so busy they take too long to get around to solving your issue.
Read this feed back left on Reddit about a well known Vpn provider.It has to be said this is just an example of a large company’s customer support failing miserably, there are many positive reports also, but as I said earlier, Big isn’t Always better>Un-Named Vpn, stay away. (self.VPN)
submitted by Noctophrenia