We are never averse to a free ride. Even if we are not the most opportunistic people, we always like to get something for free, be it a donut, a cup of coffee, or a cinema ticket. Researches show that we enjoy freebies so much that we are often willing to spend time waiting for them in long, slow-moving lines.
However strange it may seem, people often have enough patience to wait for hours for a pancake which costs a dollar or two. The allure of a free item proves to be so strong that time wasted in waiting does not become an issue. What is even more surprising is that people would never wait for hours for the same item, if they had to pay for it. The pancake for which people need to pinch in would never motivate them to stand in line for hours to get it. But free of charge, the pancake immediately becomes worth waiting for.
If we are so eager to receive donuts for free that we do not mind to wait for them, we are willing to go into much greater lengths, when a free object is more valuable than donuts. To get a free computer program, for example, is infinitely more desirable than to be treated to a free ice-cream. Therefore, many people resort to pirated programs and movies. Or, when they can, they search for their legal free versions.
A Virtual Private Network is no exception. People prefer downloading completely free VPNs rather than buying them for money. There are valid reasons why free VPNs are more preferable. But there are also reasons why free versions of the Virtual Private Network might be less efficient. We are comparing the free and paid versions of the VPN in the paragraphs below, elaborating on merits and demerits of each and leaving for you to decide which to choose for yourself.
The Virtual Private Network is highly popular with people around the globe, because this software allows them to access the internet safely and privately by routing their connections through a server and hiding their online presence. Exactly this online invisibility that people get when using the software is what makes the VPN so appealing in their eyes.
How is this invisibility achieved? When people start their VPN software from their VPN services, it encrypts their data, moving faster than their Internet Service Providers. Because the VPN software moves ahead of the providers, the latter cannot track users down. The encrypted data goes to the VPN, after which it moves to the user’s online destination, be it their bank, a blocked website, Netflix, or HULU. Thanks to the VPN, the users’ online destinations see their data as arriving from their VPN server rather than from their computer and its location. Thus, if you are located, say, in Japan and want to access the American library of Netflix, your VPN server will provide the American IP address to you and, in so doing, will trick Netflix into thinking that you are accessing its library from the US.
The free VPN camouflages your online identity very efficiently. Yet paid VPNs still perform this function better. The problem is that free VPN services provide only PPTP VPNs (Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol) which utilizes MS-CHAP V2. MS-CHAP V2, however, can be easily hacked. PPTP VPNs are, therefore, not reliable. Paid VPNs are more secure, because, in addition to PPTP VPNs, they allow people to use L2TP/IPSEC, SSTR, SSH, and Open VPN, all of which secure users’ connections.
The speed with which the two versions of the VPN work is also different. Free VPNs are used by more people and are, therefore, slower. Their bandwidth is small, too, since providers giving free services understandably cannot invest in bandwidth. Providers who charge money for VPNs, in contrast, can invest in bandwidth, which makes their speed higher. Fast speed of paid VPNs also guarantees their availability. Paid VPNs have lesser disconnections than free Virtual Private Networks that are always in high demand and move slowly, causing frequent disconnections.
Free VPNs differ from their paid counterpart by the support their providers give to customers. Providers charging money for their VPNs can invest into customer support, which, like bandwidth, is expensive. Not taking money for their services, providers of free VPNs cannot maintain customer support staff. And logically, if one does not pay for services, one cannot really expect to be given support. When people pay for their VPN, its price includes customer support. If something goes wrong with their software, there will be people to take care of it. With free VPNs, you will have nobody to appeal to, if it malfunctions. When you buy it, however, you can rightly ask customer support staff to solve all problems that might occur to your VPN.
But there is one point at which free VPNs are better than their paid counterparts. Only free Virtual Private Networks allow complete anonymity to their users. People do not pay for their VPNs and, therefore, do not need to register and leave their personal details. To process payment for their VPNs, providers need to take credit or debit cards’ details from their users along with their names and addresses. Their anonymity is not preserved, which runs counter to the very idea of the Virtual Private Network, designed to hide people’s identity.
But whether it is more important for you to preserve your online anonymity or have high speed when web surfing is entirely up to you to decide. Both paid and free VPNs have their good and bad features. You just need to weigh them carefully and make an informed choice.
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