VPNs are important cybersecurity tools that you must make use of. They are incredibly helpful when it comes to protecting your privacy and security while you’re online. This is especially important when you are using an unsecured network, such as the public WiFi hotspots found at airports, hotels, and restaurants.
There are many VPNs out there that you can choose from. You may even come across some free ones, which might be tempting to use. However, you should seriously consider using a premium VPN as opposed to a free one. This is because free VPNs have some restrictions.
If you’re looking for a good VPN and you’re wondering whether a free VPN is worth it, read on to find out.
What is a VPN?
A VPN or virtual private network is a cybersecurity tool that is able to mask your location and what you do while you’re online. This is helpful when it comes to your security and privacy as it means that cybercriminals are not able to monitor your internet traffic or pinpoint your physical location.
A VPN can mask what you do online by encrypting your internet connection, which will prevent anyone from snooping around your internet history or keeping track of your internet traffic.
Not even your internet service provider will be able to keep a record of your browser history, which they can do if you’re not using a VPN. Your ISP can even track your internet traffic if you’re using incognito mode, which does not provide the privacy and security that a VPN does.
You can mask your physical location as well by connecting to one of several global servers in a different country or city around the world. Your location is determined by your IP address.
An IP address is a unique string of numbers that identifies your device on the internet, and one of its main jobs is to pinpoint your physical location. This is mainly used by websites to target you with adverts from your local area or to determine whether you are in the correct geographical region to access their content.
For example, you would need to be in the UK to access Sky Sports content. Any device outside of this region will be geo-blocked which will prevent the device from accessing the content on the website.
Once you are connected to a global server on your VPN your real IP address will be masked and you will be using a different IP address based on the server you are connected to. This will trick the website into thinking that you are accessing it from somewhere else.
For example, if you are in Egypt, you can connect to a server in the United States. This would allow you to access the internet as if you were in the U.S. For example, you would be able to access content that is only available in the U.S as well as content that has been blocked in Egypt. You would even see adverts from the United States as well.
Free VPNs Have restrictions
Premium VPNs can sometimes be expensive, however, you should consider avoiding a free VPN if you’re looking for the best privacy and security while browsing the internet. This is because free VPNs have some restrictions that could compromise your device. Below is a list of the restrictions you may find on a free VPN;
- Free VPNs often have speed limits. This means that you will have a frustrating browsing experience, especially when it comes to social media and video content. You could still experience slow internet speeds while using a free VPN even if your normal internet connection is fast.
- Free VPNs have limited global servers to choose from. The majority of free VPNs do not have a wide variety of global servers for you to use. This means that you may not find the country or city that you were looking for in the first place. Furthermore, you may also find that the servers are heavily populated with other users which would slow your connection down even further.
- Free VPNs have a daily data cap. These daily limits are usually set at 500 MB. This is normally not enough bandwidth to browse the internet for the entire day. If you’re using social media apps or streaming videos you will find that the bandwidth limit will be reached within an hour. Once the bandwidth limit has been reached you will be left without the privacy and security of a VPN for the rest of the day.
Free VPNs Could be Rogue Software
Another reason why you should avoid free VPNs is that some of them could be rogue software. Rogue software is built by cybercriminals as a way to breach people’s cybersecurity measures and install malicious software on their devices.
Cybercriminals use rogue software as a way to infiltrate people’s devices because it is an easy way for them to trick their victims into trusting them. People will be installing the rogue software on their devices believing that they are keeping their devices secure, when in fact they are putting themselves more at risk than before.