By now, you should know that using a VPN is the only way to stay safe while browsing the internet. Going online without a VPN is irresponsible, at best. You open yourself up to identity theft, as well as censorship from your own government.
However, a lot of people are still reluctant to use a VPN. It may sound confusing, or perhaps you’re not convinced of the benefits. Alternatively, you may not have the money to spend every month.
If you don’t want to pay for a VPN just yet, there are some good free VPN options available. Of course, there are both pros and cons to using a free VPN.
Here are some of the pros:
- It’s better than nothing
Ideally, you’ll subscribe to a paid VPN service, but if not,a free VPN is still better than browsing the web unsecured. This is especially true if you’re using a free version of one of the best paid VPNs. They’ll comewith their drawbacks, but you can rely on them for your safety. So, if you really cannot afford a VPN subscription, at the very least use a free version.
- An opportunity to experience the benefits
A free VPN also gives you the opportunity to try the software before committing money to it. While it’s not going to be that easy to test how well it is protecting you – you’ve got to rely on the experts for that– you will find out whether it’s easy to use, if it gives you access to geo-restricted content, and whether it significantly impacts your speed.
There are, however, significant downsides to using the free version of a VPN. These are some of the cons you will come up against:
- Limited bandwidth
One of the ways VPN providers convince people to sign up for the paid version is by limiting the bandwidth available to non-paying users. If you’re going to be using their service heavily, they need you to compensate them financially. So, most free versions of VPNs offer very little bandwidth.Generally, this varies from 500MB to 1GB per month, which is probably not enough to last you a day. Windscribe offers 10GB, which is much better, but still won’t get you through the month.The one exception is Hotspot Shield, on which you only compromise with speed and, on the Android version, ads.
- Bad customer service
Another disadvantage to using a free version of a VPN is that the customer service is likely to be poor. They dedicate their resources to paying customers, after all. Good VPNs are easy to use and don’t often malfunction. But when they do, most users don’t have the technical know-how to fix the problem, and customer service is then very necessary.
- Access to servers limited
Finally, you’ll experience other limitations on free VPNs, such as limited access to servers. A VPN provider that has servers all over the world may only make some of them available to you. Thus, when you want to access content in a specific country, or the server closest to you isn’t working, you may not have all the options you’d like.
Ultimately, using a free VPN is much better than using no VPN at all. At the very least, it is an opportunity to test the product before you buy.