Is it worth paying for a VPN?

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Thousands of internet privacy-conscious consumers are currently flocking to VPNs. When your personal data is at stake, investing in a virtual private network is wise. 

However, consumers now have more voice than ever, including free options that seem to do the same things as paid ones. 

So the ultimate question remains; is it worthwhile paying for a VPN or using a free service? This post will cover this question in detail, and by the end, you should have enough information to make an informed decision.

What is a VPN?

VPN stands for Virtual Private Network, which is a tool that provides internet users with a way to access the internet privately.

Is it worth paying for a VPN

A VPN is a virtual private network that uses encryption protocols and security technologies to provide anonymity and privacy. It allows you to connect from remote locations to access your company's internal network or the public internet. 

How to choose a provider

You should consider many factors when deciding on a VPN provider. These factors include the number of servers available, how fast the VPN connection is, and what type of security protocols it offers.

How to choose a provider

So let's take a look at each of these points:

Determine what you want from it

Many VPN providers offer specialized options for specific reasons due to the fact that people purchase VPNs for different reasons. 

For example, a Virtual Private Network VPN for remote working security might have additional features to those designed for streaming movies or playing video games.

Choose one with great UX

If you don't want to spend too much time fiddling around with settings and extraneous features, you should opt for one that is easy to use and enables you to get up and running quickly.

Ensure it covers the locations you need

VPNs that offer a large number of servers and locations are more likely to be successful as they provide more flexibility to the user

For example, if you're asking yourself, what is the best VPN to use in New Jersey, you should ensure that it has IP addresses that cover the New Jersey region. This is true for any region you want to use it in.

Decide on your budget

There are free VPNs available, but it is advisable to use a paid service that provides the best service (more on this later). Nevertheless, most providers offer great rates, and you can usually save money by buying several years upfront.

While this sounds costly, it usually costs under $100 for a multi-year subscription.

Look for a no-log policy

A no-log policy means that a VPN provider will not keep any logs of users' online activities. This ensures that your web browsing history, online activities, and other sensitive data stay private.

This is important because it helps you remain anonymous and protects your personal information from being shared with third parties.

Choose one with excellent customer service

Although it is unlikely you will need to contact the provider, it is always wise to choose a company that invests in customer service.

Why would anyone need a VPN?

VPNs are not only for privacy-conscious individuals; they also have capabilities that extend to the average consumer.

Why would anyone need a VPN

There are several reasons that people opt to use them, including:

They improve security when using public WiFI

When you use a VPN, it creates an encrypted tunnel between your computer and the VPN server. This tunnel prevents anyone from intercepting your information as it travels through the internet. 

It also protects you against any malicious software or hackers that might be on the network you are connecting to. 

Say someone is trying to hack into your computer while you are connected to a public WiFi network; they would have to break through the encryption of the VPN for them to access your information. 

You block your ISP from snooping on your online activities

Because a VPN connects your device to a remote server, it allows you to access the internet from another location and encrypts your data so that it cannot be seen by anyone else.

This helps you avoid ISP snooping on your traffic. Moreover, some ISPs will sell your data to third parties without your consent (or implied consent from using their service). If they don't know that you are using them, they can't sell your data.

You protect yourself from governments

The internet is a global platform accessible to everyone, posing a threat to some governments. Governments have been trying to censor the internet for years and have been able to do so in some places (think the Great Firewall of China). 

However, with the rise of VPNs and other technologies, it has become more challenging for them to control what people access on the internet.

When connected through a VPN, you can access websites blocked by your government or ISP without any restrictions.

You can unblock geo-blocking

Geo-blocking is a practice in which content providers restrict access to their service based on the user's location. This is something that has been happening for a long time, and it can be found in many different industries like media and entertainment. 

However, it has become more prevalent lately with the rise of global streaming services like Netflix. A VPN allows you to skirt around these blocks by tricking them into thinking you are something else.

Enhanced remote working security

Because this software provides encrypted data transmission over a public network, they increase security and privacy on remote networks.

Furthermore, as with public WiFi networks, it stops hackers from hacking your connection and gaining access to sensitive company data and systems.

Paid vs. free

As mentioned earlier, you can find lots of free options online, which poses the question of why anyone would ever buy one.

Paid vs. free

However, there are some excellent reasons for purchasing a subscription, not withstanding the safety aspect.

Dangers of using a free service

  • They could track your online activities: While this might not be true for all, they have to earn money somehow, and the easiest way is to track and sell your data. That is the exact opposite of everything VPNs are supposed to accomplish.
  • You will use a shared IP: Most online services have information on IP addresses used, and if you use one used by many people, it defeats the purpose. For example, Netflix will have logs on commonly used IPs, meaning they can block them if they think you are attempting to circumvent their geo-blocking protocols.
  • Their encryption isn't very good: Free VPNs tend to use unreliable security measures and weak encryption, which can be compared to spyware. Because of this poor protection, hackers or government agencies can easily decode it and use your data.
  • You will be bombarded with ads: Along with selling your data, they make heavy use of adverts. Some of the lower-quality free options will even inject scripts that cause pop-up ads when using your regular browser.
  • They offer limited services: In reality, nothing in life is free, so they cut corners somewhere. Free VPNs tend to have fewer features like kill switches that automatically disconnect you from the internet if the VPN connection drops.
  • Bandwidth limits: Even if you manage to find a completely secure free option, they often limit your bandwidth and the amount of data you can use per day. This leads to a sub-par experience.

Advantages of using a paid service

Paid VPNs are typically more reliable than free VPNs because they usually have more resources and are better funded. They also tend to have higher speeds, making them ideal for streaming content. 

Paid VPNs also tend to have fewer restrictions on the amount of data you can use per month or day. Some of the main advantages of choosing a paid VPN over a free one include:

Increased speed

The speed of a VPN is directly related to the number of servers it has. The speed is also dependent on the server's location and other factors like how many devices are connected at a time. 

Paid VPNs offer better speeds because they have more resources and more servers.

Ad-free experience

Because paid providers get their revenue from paying customers, they do not need to present annoying and potentially dangerous adverts to their users. 

Better security

Paid VPNs offer better security than free ones because they have the resources to invest in their infrastructure and technology. They have a dedicated team of professionals that monitor the network 24/7 and ensure its safety. 

There are several protocols that VPN providers can use, including:

  • OpenVPN
  • WireGuard
  • PPTP
  • IKEv2/IPSec
  • L2TP/IPSec
  • SSTP
  • SoftEther

Free options will typically use the less secure PPTP protocol, which is easy to set up but has many documented vulnerabilities. Conversely, paid ones tend to use the more secure options like IKEv2/IPsec or OpenVPN.

Enhanced reliability

The main reason paid VPNs are more reliable than free ones is that they have better infrastructure, better customer support, and more advanced features. 

These include the aforementioned kill switch that is essential if you want to ensure your device doesn't use unsecured connections.

Extra features

Most premium VPNs will have many extra features, including apps designed for use with mobile devices. By doing so, you can continue browsing safely, even when using a phone or tablet.

Final words: Is it worth paying for a VPN?

In summary, yes. Depending on where you live, a VPN will be less than $5 a month, which definitely makes it a sound investment. 

In addition to ensuring better online security, you will have a raft of valuable features that enhance your online experience.

About the author 

Peter Keszegh

Most people write this part in the third person but I won't. You're at the right place if you want to start or grow your online business. When I'm not busy scaling up my own or other people' businesses, you'll find me trying out new things and discovering new places. Connect with me on Facebook, just let me know how I can help.

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