Are Free VPNs Safe?

Are Free VPNs Safe?
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Are Free VPNs Safe?

When looking for a new VPN, you may have come across a number of free options that seem quite tempting. But are free VPNs safe?

We all need VPNs from time to time: for example, when we want to hide our internet traffic in a public area or access a website that is not accessible from our country.

But how right is it to benefit from a free service in this environment where subscription fees are normally high? Or, to put it more accurately, should you trust these applications or services?

The short answer is no.

You can also check out our simplified guide to How VPN Works for more detailed information on this topic .

Are Free VPNs Safe?

No, free VPNs are often not secure because while they hide your traffic from the service provider or network operator, the operator of the VPN server can spy on your traffic.

VPN , which stands for Virtual Private Network , encrypts all traffic sent over the internet connection and sends it to a remote server.

 

As long as you are connected to a VPN network, everything you do on the internet goes through this remote server and your identity is hidden on this server.

Are Free VPNs Safe?
Are Free VPNs Safe?

For example, if a person living in Turkey connects to a VPN server located in the UK and logs into Geek, all search traffic will go through that server located in the UK.

This way, no local network operator, internet service provider, government agencies, businesses, cybercriminals or anyone else can see which sites you visit.

Instead, they’ll see an encrypted connection to an IP address in the UK, and Geek will also recognise you as a UK user.

Remember, complete privacy is not the case even when you use a VPN.

When using a VPN, you have to have a lot of trust in the VPN operator. Of course, using a VPN will hide your traffic from the ISP or network operator, but the operator of the VPN server can spy on your traffic.

The operator of the VPN server can view the websites you are accessing. If you are visiting websites with encrypted HTTP protocol, the VPN operator can keep this data and even sell it for advertising purposes.

Are Free VPNs Safe?
Are Free VPNs Safe?

A study conducted by CSIRO in 2016, examining 283 VPN applications on the Play Store, revealed that many VPN services did not meet expectations in terms of security.

According to the research, 67% of VPN apps had embedded at least one tracking library in their code to monitor users’ online activities.

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Additionally, 84% of apps did not properly encrypt users’ online data for various reasons.

To put it briefly, when you use a VPN, you are blocking the access point and service provider at the hotel or café from spying on you, but instead you are allowing the VPN provider to do so.

Why would you trust a free service that you know nothing about?

According to another study by Metric Labs, almost all free VPN apps have direct or indirect connections to China.

In addition, 86 percent of these apps have unsatisfactory privacy policies. Some of them openly state that user data is transferred to China.

If you use a VPN for privacy or to avoid internet censorship, you probably don’t want to use a VPN based in China.

Using a free VPN can also cause your device to become infected with malware and slow down your internet connection.

In our recent article titled Why Does a VPN Slow Down Your Internet Speed?, we took a more detailed look at the possible reasons for this.

Remember that not all free VPN services are created equal and some may offer a good experience with various restrictions, but for the best performance and optimum privacy, I recommend using a reliable VPN service.

Conclusion

The conclusion you should draw from all these details is that for ideal security, you should stay away from free VPN services.

It costs a company money to offer a VPN service, so why would they offer it to you for free?

If you want serious privacy and anonymity, you can use tools like Tor. Tor is free, but it’s not as fast as a VPN, and it may not be suitable for all your internet traffic.

If you are an advanced user, you should consider setting up your own VPN. Pay for hosting somewhere, on a server or cloud service, and set up and connect to the server.

You’re now your own VPN operator, but your hosting service can still potentially spy on you. There’s no way around it.

In this guide we have prepared for you, we have covered the important details about free VPNs. So, which VPN do you use?

Do not forget to share your opinions on the subject with us and our other readers in the comments section below.

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