We all love free stuff. But when it comes to services, such as hosting, IT support, or VPN services – we can most likely agree that you get what you pay for. Hence VPN accounts are no exception.
Here are some of the advantages/disadvantages of both free and paid VPN services
1. VPN Protocols
Most free VPN services provide only PPTP VPNs. And we should know already that PPTP VPN is insecure. Paid VPN providers allow you to use PPTP, L2TP/IPSEC, OpenVPN, SSTP and even SSH to tunnel your connections securely.
So the clear winner is Paid VPN
2. VPN connection speed
Using a free service usually means that it is already overused by other folks. Adding provider’s lack of money (since he provides a free service) would result in a lack of bandwidth, because bandwidth comes at a cost and it’s not cheap to provide a VPN server able to support hundreds, if not thousands of connections at the same time. Paid VPN providers normally invest a decent percent of their profit on bandwidth and servers, so the winner here is, again, Paid VPN
There are similarities between free VPN Providers and TOR, and low bandwidth is one of the main things they have in common
3. VPN 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 in a corner. And again, the winner is Paid VPN
Same as bandwidth: support comes at a cost. If you really expect someone to spend his time for free solving your connection problem, then you are going to have a bad time. Such as Free vs. Paid software model, support is one of those things you pay for. 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”. Again, the winner is Paid VPN
5. VPN Servers/Nodes location
More servers = more money to spend. Why would a free VPN provider give you access to 100 servers in 50 countries if he only gets a few dollars out of advertising on his homepage? That definitely won’t pay the servers & bandwidth fees – which can easily go beyond $5.000 /month. On the other hand, the paid VPN business model relies on offering as much VPN server locations as possible. Again, the winner is Paid VPN
Such as TOR, a free VPN provider usually won’t ask you to signup to use its VPN service. And even if it does, you can easily use fake user details, while a paid VPN service would ask for your correct details which are also used during the payment process (i.e. paypal, credit card etc.)
So the winner in the anonymity contest is Free VPN, as you don’t have to provide full/real details. But keep in mind that your IP address can still be logged by the VPN provider, or your traffic monitored. So you are kind of “anonymous” for not providing your contact details, but your IP address is still the same – whether or not you are using a paid VPN provider, and the provider can easily log your activity.