We all like getting things for free. And while we’re aware that those free products or services come with inevitable trade-offs, we rarely take a step back and truly think about them. Online security software such as VPN services make no exception.
The question is: are you ready to accept the security flaws and trade-offs of a free Virtual Private Network? Or will you choose a reliable VPN with security protocols that guarantee to keep your online activities away from prying eyes?
How free VPN services make money
VPNs serve many online purposes, such as:
- Allowing you to access restricted content
- Keeping your online activity private
- Hiding your IP address
- Making it impossible for cybercriminals to steal your private information
- Downloading files in complete anonymity.
VPN providers must operate a global server network, continually update their apps and security protocols, provide customer support, and so much more. But all this costs money. And if you’re getting it for free, what’s the catch?
Paid VPN services cover costs by charging users subscription fees. Meanwhile, some of the most popular free VPN services make their money off you, which defeats the whole purpose of using a VPN in the first place.
Think about it. You’re using a VPN to secure your data privacy. Yet these free VPNs often make money by selling your online preferences to advertising agencies, ad platforms, or data-gathering companies.
Free unlimited VPN vs. free limited VPN
Free VPN services are usually unlimited free or limited free. Unlimited VPNs claim to offer everything a paid service provides – which makes them extremely suspicious.
Free limited VPNs, on the other hand, are the free alternative of popular paid VPN services.
Here at CyberGhost VPN, for example, we give out a free VPN solution in the form of our Chrome and Firefox browser extensions. However, you only have access to a limited number of features compared to our paid product.
Free unlimited VPNs can be dangerous
1. Inviting malware to your device
According to a study of free VPN apps, nearly 4 out of 10 free VPN software have hidden malware inside. The risks associated with it are many, but the most concerning of all is the possibility of losing all your passwords and having your accounts hijacked.
2. Next to zero security
As if the risk of having malware installed on your device wasn’t enough, free VPNs use weak and fickle online security features. Don't expect 256bit AES encryption, DNS leak protection, WebRTC leak protection, or IPv6 leak protection. These security flaws leave you vulnerable to cybercriminals, hackers, and governmental spying agencies like the NSA.
3. Data in the hands of 3rd party companies
According to another study, 74% of free VPN apps contained tracking embedded in the source code. This means your data is getting collected and stored to be sold to advertising and analytics companies.
4. Unblocking streaming services doesn’t work
One of the main reasons why people use a VPN is for bypassing geo-restrictions and accessing content that is normally blocked in their region.
However, getting that with a free unlimited VPN is wishful thinking. Their limited infrastructure and the small number of VPN servers mean that free VPNs have almost zero chances of providing you access to geo-blocked content. Even some paid VPN providers fail to unblock major streaming services such as Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime video, or HBO Now.
5. Significant speed drops
It’s not a secret that virtual private networks can negatively affect your connection speed. However, with premium VPN services, those speed drops are often insignificant.
The same cannot be said about free VPN apps. Their below-par server infrastructure (sometimes combined with bandwidth caps) causes so much slowdown that even regular browsing can give you a headache.
6. Pop-ups, pop-ups, and more pop-ups
To make money, free unlimited VPN services sell their in-app space to advertising agencies and other clients.
This is a double-edged sword for you. First, facing a screen full of advertising, time and time again, is bothersome. Plus, if you accidentally click one of those links, you can end up on malicious sites.
7. Redirecting your internet traffic without your permission
Here’s a little less know money-making tactic free VPNs use: browser hijacking. This will redirect you to partnership websites without your permission.
Each visit that website gets earns the VPN service money and causes you unnecessary frustration.
CyberGhost VPN: Online privacy, state-of-the-art security & premium features
The truth is, there’s just no comparison between a paid VPN and its free counterpart. Let’s look at all the features CyberGhost VPN offers:
- Access to 9600+ VPN servers located in 91+ countries and 117 server locations
- Dedicated servers for all the major streaming platform such as Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, HBO NOW, BBC iPlayer, and more
- Special P2P torrenting servers for guaranteed anonymity and superior download speed
- The possibility to secure up to 7 devices at the same time with just one CyberGhost VPN subscription
- Total online anonymity guaranteed by our No Logs policy
- Automatic Wi-Fi protection that kicks-in every time you join a new public network
- 256 AES fail-proof data-encryption – the same type used by banks or military institutions
- DNS and IPv6 leak-protection
- Unlimited bandwidth
- Built-in kill switch
- Customization options so you can enjoy the best VPN experience for you
- 24/7 Customer Support in 4 languages
- 45-day money-back guarantee
CyberGhost VPN vs. free unlimited VPN services
|Features||Free unlimited VPN||CyberGhost VPN|
|Number of VPN servers||<20||4500+|
|256 AES data encryption|
|Unblocks streaming services|
|24/7 Customer Support|
|Multiple protocol support|
|Stops online tracking|
|Streaming & downloading server filter|
|Accesses Flash content securely|
Want to know more about how paid VPNs significantly outperform even the most popular free VPN? Check out our FAQ section below. For further guidance, you can always check out our dedicated setup guides section or reach out to our Customer Support team via live chat or email. They’re available 24/7 and can answer your requests in English, French, German, or Romanian.
A paid VPN is definitely worth it if:
- you're looking for a premium VPN that can help keep your internet traffic away from prying eyes so that you can browse anonymously;
- you want to use a virtual private network for unblocking streaming services, games, or any geo-restricted type of content;
- you don't want to experience the frustration of slow connection speeds or bandwidth caps;
- you want to know for a fact you're not transferring your personal data to a VPN that logs its users data.
Our Ghosties can’t get enough of us
Choose the plan that works for you
3 Years + 26 Months , $2.19/mo
All you need from a truly complete VPN solution
- Over 9600 VPN servers worldwide
- AES 256-bit encryption
- DNS and IP leak protection
- Automatic kill switch
- OpenVPN, IKEv2, WireGuard® protocols
- Strict No Logs Policy
- Unlimited bandwidth and traffic
- Highest possible VPN speeds
Disclaimer: Per our Terms and Conditions, using CyberGhost VPN for illegal purposes is not permitted or encouraged.