he importance of utilizing VPN services has intensified over the past few years. Today, firms all over the world are offering secure networks for internet users. Many of these companies have become prominent because of their free VPN services, while others are basking in their premium status by offering subscription rates.
As explained in DataProt’s educational and expository infographic below, VPNs primarily serve as an intermediary between users and the dynamic internet. They give us the opportunity to access the internet while protecting us from prying eyes.
The very moment we connect our devices to the internet we are at risk of becoming victims of data leaks or hacks. History has shown us that our internet activities and private details are constantly coveted by hackers, governments, and internet service providers. The best way to prevent this is by utilizing a VPN service.
However, there is an ongoing debate over the viability of the two categories of VPN services listed above. Could free versions offer quality protective features or are the paid VPN services overrated?
According to the infographic, some of the factors that confirm the quality of a VPN include:
- A good VPN must offer multi-platform services which give users unrestrictive access across their devices;
- Quality VPN services should offer unlimited bandwidth;
- A VPN service should have top-notch encryption protocols and features.
Nonetheless, many of the free VPN services we have today cannot offer these fundamental features. In particular, many of the VPN scandals we have witnessed recently are a result of substandard operations of free VPN providers.
One of the most striking examples of these scandals, as listed in the infographic, is the free Onavo VPN app which Facebook used as a front for its user data collection operations. Over 24 million users downloaded the app, which suggests the astounding amount of data that has leaked.
Utilizing free VPN services makes you susceptible to data leaks as it is common for service providers to log your internet activities and then sell this information to the highest bidder.
In addition, free VPN providers usually offer their users Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP) which is an outdated data encryption protocol. Unlike free VPN services, paid services usually offer their users a wide range of sophisticated data encryption protocols which include OpenVPN, Layer 2 Tunnel Protocol, and IPsec combination.
We crave fast internet speed when using VPN services. However, a majority of the free services put caps on their bandwidth. Therefore, the connection speeds of these VPN services are slow.
Probably the most annoying thing about utilizing free VPN services is the rate at which ads pop up, which raises more concerns if we consider that it is impossible to ascertain the sources of these ads. Yet, we should remember that these services are free and they must make money one way or another.
Utilizing paid services guarantees that your data will be fully encrypted. Nonetheless, like free services, it is possible that some paid services log and sell users’ online activities and details. This highlights the need for a critical review of VPN services, whether they are free or not.
Check out the useful infographic below to learn more!