Free VPN vs. Paid VPN: Making the Right Choice for Your Security

Free VPNs, as the name suggests, offer VPN services at no cost. However, these free services often come with a catch. They tend to offer lower levels of privacy protection and security, often hindered by ad displays. Furthermore, they usually have limitations on communication speed and capacity, and the servers available are often limited. The reliability and transparency of the operator can also be problematic.

On the other hand, paid VPNs, which come with a nominal monthly cost, offer robust security features, high-speed connections, and a wider range of server locations. They also tend to be more reliable and transparent in their operations.

In this guide, we will delve deeper into the disadvantages and dangers of free VPNs, comparing them with the advantages and security offered by paid VPNs.

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Understanding the Differences: Free VPNs vs. Paid VPNs

Free VPNs and paid VPNs differ in terms of how they generate revenue, as well as the features and services they offer. Paid VPNs generate revenue directly from user subscription fees, while free VPNs employ various models such as advertising revenue, paid upgrades, and data collection and sales.

  • Revenue Generation Models
  • Features and Services Offered

Revenue Generation Models

Paid VPNs generate revenue directly from user subscription fees. On the other hand, free VPNs employ a variety of revenue models, including:

Typical Revenue Generation Models for Free VPNs
  1. Advertising Revenue: Free VPNs often display advertisements within their apps. Each time a user clicks on or views these ads, the VPN provider earns revenue.
  2. Paid Upgrades: Some free VPNs offer limited features and encourage users to upgrade to a paid version for enhanced functionality. The free version typically has restrictions on features, server availability, speed, and customer support to incentivize users to upgrade.
  3. Data Collection and Sales: Some free VPNs collect user data during VPN connections and sell this information to marketing companies for revenue generation.

Features and Services Offered

The features and services offered by free and paid VPNs also differ significantly. Here’s a quick comparison:

FeatureFree VPNPaid VPN
Communication SpeedSlowFast
Communication CapacityMay have a limitUnlimited
Server CountriesMostly a few countriesDozens of countries
Number of ServersLimitedOver 1,000 available
Security and PrivacySome services have unclear policiesHigh level of security and anonymity
Customer SupportOften not availableMany offer 24-hour chat support

The Risks and Disadvantages of Free VPNs

Free VPNs come with potential dangers and risks, including lower levels of privacy protection and security, intrusive advertisements, limitations on connection speed and capacity, limited number of available servers, and questionable reliability and transparency of operators.

The Risks and Disadvantages of Free VPNs
  • Lower Levels of Privacy Protection and Security
  • Intrusive Advertisements
  • Limitations on Connection Speed and Capacity
  • Limited Number of Available Servers
  • Questionable Reliability and Transparency of Operators

Lower Levels of Privacy Protection and Security

Some free VPNs lack clear privacy protection policies, and there’s a risk that personal information could be leaked to third parties through VPN connections. Worse yet, there’s a real possibility that the operators themselves are selling the collected data, raising serious concerns about information leakage. In one instance, a free VPN application made headlines when it was discovered to be designed to involve users in cyber-attacks. With a free VPN, such concerns about privacy protection and security are ever-present. (See the news article here.)

Intrusive Advertisements

Another downside of free VPNs that generate revenue through advertisements is that these ads can be intrusive and disrupt your online experience.

Limitations on Connection Speed and Capacity

To provide a level of connection speed and capacity that satisfies users, there are limits to what can be offered for free. Many free VPNs, regardless of their revenue model, impose restrictions on connection speed and capacity. This makes them unsuitable for applications where speed and capacity are important, such as video streaming.

Limited Number of Available Servers

Just like with connection speed and capacity, there are limits to how many servers can be maintained for free. For bypassing geo-restrictions, one of the purposes of using a VPN, it’s advantageous to have a large number of servers and countries where servers are located. However, a free VPN can only be used for limited purposes in terms of geo-blocking.

Questionable Reliability and Transparency of Operators

In some cases, the reliability and transparency of free VPN operators are questionable. For example, one free VPN, VPN cat master, has an unknown operator, and Japan’s VPN Gate, which is operated by volunteers from around the world, provides no information on the actual status of individual operators. If the actual operation is unclear, support in case of trouble may be insecure, and it may also be impossible to pursue responsibility in case access information is misused.

The Superiority of Paid VPNs: What Makes Them Stand Out?

Paid VPNs offer a multitude of advantages, with the following five being the most significant when compared to free VPNs.

The Superiority of Paid VPNs
  • Enhanced Privacy Protection and Security
  • High Speed and Unlimited Capacity
  • High-Quality Support and Service
  • Abundance of Servers and Diverse Locations
  • Availability of Advanced Features

Enhanced Privacy Protection and Security

Major paid VPNs typically adopt a no-log policy, ensuring they don’t retain any communication logs during VPN connections. This eliminates concerns about privacy-related information leaks. Communication content is also highly encrypted, making it challenging for third parties to intercept and decipher.

High Speed and Unlimited Capacity

Paid VPNs offer fast communication speeds and unlimited data capacity. While VPN communication speeds can often be slow due to server performance and congestion, major paid VPNs limit these issues, providing sufficient speed for enjoyable video streaming and online gaming. Most also offer unlimited data capacity, allowing for unrestricted use.

High-Quality Support and Service

Major paid VPNs offer superior support and service. For instance, provides a 24-hour chat service to address questions and issues promptly. They can communicate in many languages apart from English, facilitating communication with users worldwide. Similarly, offers a 24/7 chat service, available in English and other languages.

Abundance of Servers and Diverse Locations

Major paid VPN services maintain a large number of servers in diverse locations. Both our recommended companies, , and , have more than 1,000 servers, located in various countries worldwide.

Countries10560100
Servers3,000+5,800+3,200+

Availability of Advanced Features

Paid VPNs offer a wide range of advanced features. These include a “kill switch” that disconnects the Internet connection as soon as the VPN disconnects, configurable VPN protocol selection for optimal VPN protocols when communication speeds are slow, “Split Tunneling” to use VPN only when opening specific applications, simultaneous use for multiple devices, support for multiple operating systems, and router support. These features allow for a more personalized VPN experience.

The Superior Choice: Paid VPNs

Considering the risks associated with free VPNs and the comprehensive benefits of paid VPNs, paid VPNs are the superior option. They offer affordable peace of mind, prompt problem resolution, and a money-back guarantee for peace of mind.

Affordable Peace of Mind with Paid VPNs

The primary drawback of a paid VPN is the associated cost. However, when considering the enhanced security and peace of mind it provides, the expense is minimal. Major VPN services can be utilized for as little as $3 to $7 per month. If you can secure a safe, private, and efficient online environment for as little as 10 to 30 cents per day, the cost is justifiable.

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Best Cheap VPN Services – Affordable VPNs Surfshark is an affordable VPN we highly recommend. Typically, the most affordable VPNs cost less than $3 per month. Among these, Surfshark shines with its r...

Prompt Problem Resolution

Issues are inevitable with VPN connections. If you encounter an urgent problem such as an inability to connect to the server or watch videos, the support team of a paid VPN will promptly assist you.

Money-Back Guarantee for Peace of Mind

Paid VPNs typically offer a money-back guarantee and a trial period. If you are dissatisfied with the service after using it, you can request a refund within the money-back guarantee period at no cost. All major VPN services offer a straightforward process to request a refund. , and all offer a 30-day money-back guarantee.

▼How to Cancel Subscription and Request a Refund▼

ExpressVPNNordVPN
Surfshark

The Best Paid VPN Services

Here are some excellent VPN services we recommend.

Prices1-Month: $12.95
6-Months: $9.99/month
12-Months: $6.67/month
1-Month: $11.99
12-Months: $4.99/month
24-Months: $3.99/month
1-Month: $12.95
12-Months: $3.99/month
24-Months: $2.39/month
Money-back Guarantee30 days30 days30 days
Countries10560100
Servers3,000+5,800+3,200+
Maximum devices supported56Unlimited
Connection SpeedUltra FastFastFast
SecurityAES-256
Kill Switch
AES-256
Kill Switch
AES-256
Kill Switch
PrivacyNo-loggingNo-loggingNo-logging
Support24/7 Live Chat Support24/7 Live Chat Support24/7 Live Chat Support

ExpressVPN: Ultra-fast Internet Speeds

Top page of ExpressVPN
Prices
1-Month: $12.95
6-Months: $9.99/month
12-Months: $6.67/month
Money-back Guarantee30 days
Countries105
Servers3,000+
Maximum devices supported8

ExpressVPN has some of the fastest internet speeds of the VPNs we have used. ExpressVPN is consistently found by review sites to be one of the fastest VPNs. Furthermore, they have more than 3,000 servers in 105 countries, so you have a lot of choices for which country to change your IP address to. We have confirmed that you can even connect to servers in China, where restrictions are strong. And ExpressVPN has a no-log policy.

After you’ve registered with ExpressVPN, you can use it to easily browse the internet just by downloading their app.

Ideal for those who:
  • Place a high importance on internet speed
  • Want a stable connection from China

\30 day Money-Back Guarantee/

NordVPN:  The Ultimate Balance of Price and Internet Speed

Top page of NordVPN
Prices (standard plan)1-Month: $11.99
12-Months: $4.99/month
24-Months: $3.99/month
Money-back Guarantee30 days
Countries60
Servers5,800+
Maximum devices supported6

NordVPN’s excellent service, and balance of price, internet speed, servers, and countries, has allowed it to gain the greatest market share in the world. Overall, NordVPN consistently receives great reviews from leading experts. NordVPN  has more than 5,800 servers in 60 countries, so you also have a lot of choices for which country to change your IP address to. We also have confirmed that you can even connect to servers in China, where restrictions are strong. And NordVPN also has a no-log policy.

After you’ve registered, you can easily browse the internet using NordVPN just by downloading their app.

Ideal for those who:
  • Want to balance price and internet speed
  • Want to use the VPN with the greatest market share

\30 day Money-Back Guarantee/

Surfshark: Impressive Performance with a Lower Price

top page or surfsharkvpn
Prices (standard plan)1-Month: $12.95
12-Months: $3.99/month
24-Months: $2.39/month
Money-back Guarantee30 days
Countries100
Servers3,200+
Maximum devices supportedUnlimited

Surfshark offers impressive performance with a lower price. You can get Surfshark much cheaper than other services if you apply for the 24-month plan. Furthermore, Surfshark has no connection limits. So, you and your family can connect and use all your devices simultaneously. Surfshark has more than 3,200 servers in 100 countries. Just like the other VPNs, you also have a lot of choices for which country to change your IP address to. And also, we have confirmed that you can even connect to servers in China, where restrictions are strong. And SurfsharkVPN also has a no-log policy.

After you’ve registered, you can easily browse the internet using Surfshark by downloading their app.

Ideal for those:
  • Who are budget conscious
  • Who want to connect with lots of devices

\30 day Money-Back Guarantee/

Conclusion

Conclusion
  • Revenue Generation Models: Paid VPNs generate revenue directly from user subscription fees, while free VPNs employ various models such as advertising revenue, paid upgrades, and data collection and sales.
  • Features and Services: Paid VPNs generally offer faster communication speeds, unlimited data capacity, servers in numerous countries, over 1,000 servers, high security and privacy, and 24-hour chat support. In contrast, free VPNs often have slower speeds, data limits, servers in fewer countries, limited server availability, unclear security and privacy policies, and limited customer support.
  • Risks and Disadvantages of Free VPNs: Free VPNs come with potential dangers and risks, including lower levels of privacy protection and security, intrusive advertisements, limitations on connection speed and capacity, limited number of available servers, and questionable reliability and transparency of operators.
  • Advantages of Paid VPNs: Paid VPNs offer enhanced privacy protection and security, high speed and unlimited capacity, high-quality support and service, a large number of servers in diverse locations, and a wide range of advanced features.
  • The Superior Choice: Considering the risks associated with free VPNs and the comprehensive benefits of paid VPNs, paid VPNs are the superior option. They offer affordable peace of mind, prompt problem resolution, and a money-back guarantee for peace of mind.
The Best VPN Services
  • : Recommended for those who need higher internet speed
  • : Recommended for those who want to balance price and internet speed
  • : Recommended for those on a budget
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