There’s been a lot of talks online over the past few years about the need for VPNs. The general consensus has been that it is simply irresponsible to use the internet without a VPN. You’re leaving yourself open to identity theft, which should rightly send shivers down your spine.
The thing is, the risk is an invisible one, and that makes it easy to ignore until it’s too late. It’s similar to how we treat our health. Everyone knows how important it is to exercise regularly, but it takes a new year or, more often, a health scare to actually get us to the gym.
The problem with VPNs is that they are costly. The $10 a month you will pay for a VPN is not going to break the bank, but none of us give away money for something that doesn’t give us immediate gratification.
So, what about a free VPN server? If people aren’t willing to pay for a VPN, is a free VPN a good substitute?
Here is the information you need to know about which free VPNs you can trust.
Advertising is a no-no
Firstly, we must point out the (kind of) obvious. Companies often provide software for free using targeted advertising. With a VPN, this is a non-starter. VPNs exist to protect your privacy. If a VPN is using your data for targeted advertising, it’s not doing its most basic job.
I’m not saying that these VPNs are necessarily a scam. They could be using non-targeted advertising, even if in this day and age, that doesn’t get you far. However, it is better to be safe than to risk it.
If you’ve heard of Hola, you probably know about the hype and the controversy. Hola is a peer-to-peer VPN service. In other words, they route users’ connections through each other’s servers. This obviously presents a range of dangers in and of itself.
Hola is useful for circumventing geo-restrictions or censorship, but nothing else. The company that makes it has been caught in some incredibly shady business dealings. They log and sell your data, so it’s not just the peer-to-peer factor that is troubling.
Free versions or trials
But don’t despair yet. There are free VPNs. Or there’s something that comes close. Many excellent paid VPNs offer a free version. This free version will be limited in some way. Often, it is the bandwidth that is limited, giving you enough to view restricted articles and the like, but not to use most of the time.
Alternatively, they block high-speed activity. Again, you’ll be able to see the content your government may be keeping from you, but you won’t be able to stream or even work effectively.
You can trust these free VPNs, though, and they are likely to get you to the point where you’re ready to pay for the service. They can be the perfect stepping stone, and I highly recommend it if you’re not intending on paying for a VPN otherwise.
Most VPN providers do offer a money back guarantees. You can decide after 30 days whether you want to keep using the service. If not, you get all your money back. This is generally the easiest way to get a free trial of the “full” version of the software.