The Pros & Cons Of Using A Free VPN

These days, it seems like we’re always around the corner from another major data breach. Whether it is news that Facebook is selling our data, LinkedIn getting hacked, or credit bureaus leaking our information, the cyber world is no longer a safe place.


Truth be told, it hasn’t been a safe place for a very long time. Identity theft statistics have been steadily rising, and if identity theft doesn’t scare you, then it should. Identity theft is not just a major hassle. You can lose a lot of money and your reputation too.


Which is why virtual private networks (VPNs) have become so popular. They are touted as the way to protect your data. Without them, you are incredibly exposed.


However, not everyone is willing to commit the $10 or so a month that subscription to a good VPN costs. In this case, is a free VPN worth it?


Here are some of the pros and cons of a free VPN app, and whether you should give it a try.


Pro: It can be better than nothing


Without a VPN you are truly exposed to the worst elements of the cyber world. Hackers can easily get your information. Government agencies can spy on you unchecked. A free VPN may not be perfect, but it can be better than nothing. Rather use the free version of a popular VPN than nothing at all.


Con: There are many fakes


Unfortunately, the free VPN market is saturated with fake VPNs that either do nothing, or worse. Some free VPNs actually sell your data to advertisers. You have to ask yourself what they’re getting from providing a free service, and since advertising has a tricky place in the online privacy market, there’s good reason to be wary.


If you are going to try a free VPN, use the free version of one of the trusted VPN providers, such as ExpressVPN or Windscribe.


Pro: It gives you the chance to try it out


Using a free VPN is therefore rarely a long-term solution. However, it can serve as a free trial. Instead of paying for it without trying it, you can see how it works and whether it suits your needs. You can get an idea of whether it is user-friendly or complicated to use, and how customer service treats you.


Con: You won’t get very far


However, even the free versions of trusted VPN apps have significant downsides. They give you incredibly limited bandwidth, with some providing as little as 500MB a month. That will get you nowhere, and barely even serves as a free trial.


An alternative is to go with a VPN provider that offers a 30 day money-back guarantee. This way, you’ll have to pay up at the start, but you can get your money back after 30 days if you don’t like what you see.


Make sure that their offer is “no questions asked.” Some VPN providers will grill you about why you want to leave them before giving your money back, which can be frustrating and leaves a bitter taste.


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