VPN

Are Free VPNs Safe? – Tribune Online

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The internet is one of the world’s greatest technological wonders — allowing us to find entertainment on demand, research any topic in the world, and even take our offices with us to work remotely from anywhere. While the internet has been an incredible asset for everyone around the world, the reality is that the world wide web is not so “worldwide” after all.

 

After all, we often have to struggle with geo-blocking, internet censorship, and several other restrictions depending on our geolocation. Not to mention the looming threat of hackers waiting to steal some of your most important personal data. That’s where a VPN comes in handy!

 

VPNs have taken the world by storm in the past few years. But, the cybersecurity tool can come with a monthly subscription fee, which is something that not everyone wants to pay for. There are several free VPNs out there, but they’re often not worth installing on your device — and that’s exactly what we’ll be investigating today. Before we get started though, these are the top 7 free VPNs according to experts’ reviews. So if you still insist on using a free VPN on your device, make sure to use one that has been thoroughly tested and is recommended by cybersecurity experts!

What is a VPN?

So, what exactly is a VPN anyway? You may have heard of VPNs before, they’re also known as virtual private networks. These cybersecurity tools have become increasingly popular over the years, especially over the past decade. They have two main functions, but these tools can be used in a variety of different ways as they offer some excellent advantages to internet users. Let’s take a look at how they work.

 

The main purpose of a VPN is to hide your internet traffic and mask what you are doing on your device while connected to the internet. This is achieved by encrypting your internet connection — which prevents anyone from snooping on your device. Not even your internet service provider or the government can keep track of your internet traffic while you’re using a VPN.

ALSO READ: How to use a VPN to protect your online presence?

This feature is especially important if you’re someone who frequently uses public WiFi hotspots such as the ones found at airports, hotels, and restaurants. While these public WiFi hotspots may be cheap and convenient to get your device online, they do pose a massive threat to your device as they are often unsecured networks. Unsecured networks can be used by cybercriminals to “listen in” on your device as it sends and receives data through the internet. This digital eavesdropping allows hackers to steal critical data such as your login credentials, personal information, and even your banking details.

 

The second feature that a VPN has is the ability to change your device’s virtual location — this is the feature that has been the main contributor to the popularity of VPNs in recent years. VPNs allow you to spoof your device’s location as you can connect to a secure global server in another city or country around the world. When you do, your real IP address is hidden, and your device will instead adopt the IP address of the server that you have connected to.

 

For example, if you’re in Scotland and would like to browse the internet as if your device was in the United States, you simply need to launch your VPN and connect to a US server. Changing your device’s location by using a VPN can give you tons of advantages such as bypassing geo-blocking restrictions, internet censorship, and even finding cheaper subscription fees.

Main Drawbacks of Free VPNs

When installing a VPN on your device, it’s important to choose a premium VPN rather than a free one. That’s because a free VPN comes with several disadvantages that will affect your browsing or streaming experience. Let’s take a closer look at what you can expect when using a free VPN:

 

  • Slower connection speeds – Connection speeds are important to many people, especially when it comes to streaming and gaming. When you’re using a free VPN though, your connection speeds will likely be throttled as the VPN vendor will be tempting you into buying a subscription fee rather than using the VPN for free. This will mean slower loading times on your web pages, delays and poor image quality in streaming, and lag when gaming online.
  • More ads – No one likes ads right? Well, VPN vendors need to make money somehow, and if they’re offering their service free of charge the easiest way to generate profits is to sell advertising space. When you’re using a free VPN you’ll likely run into tons of pop-up ads that can be intrusive and simply annoying,
  • Less security – Free VPNs don’t always have the best encryption technology because they have less money to spend on developing and improving their VPN. This means that your device might not be as secure as you think it is when you’re using a free VPN.
  • Fewer global servers to choose from – The main features that make VPNs popular is their ability to change your device’s virtual location at the click of a button. Free VPNs will limit users by offering fewer global servers and you may find that the most popular servers such as the US and UK servers are not available unless you use a premium VPN.
  • Daily data limits – Free VPNs will often limit you from using them by implementing a data limit. Daily data usage is often capped at around 500 MB per day for free VPN users, which is not even enough to scroll through Instagram for more than an hour, let alone stream a movie on Netflix!
  • Privacy concerns – It’s not commonly known that you can build your VPN. It requires some technical knowledge, but the reality is that anyone can build a VPN if they have the know-how. That’s a scary thought, especially when you realize that cybercrime is on the rise. When you install a VPN that has been built by a cybercriminal, you will essentially be giving the hacker free reign over your device. They can use this access to install more malware on your device or steal important data from your device such as login credentials and personal information. Whichever VPN you decide to go with, make sure you can trust them!


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