Are free VPNs worth it?

In the age of technological advancement and government monitoring, many Australians are using Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) to protect their privacy and identities online.

A VPN is basically another computer elsewhere in the world which will redirect internet data to you.

When you use a VPN and then visit a website, the data from this website will be sent to the VPN first and then on to you. This means that the website will only see the IP address of the VPN computer, rather than yours. 

Another common use for VPNs is to access online content which is unavailable to certain countries, e.g. watching BBC online from Australia by using a British VPN.

So, for a VPN to operate, several specified computers with high speed internet connections must be serviced and running at all times. This is, of course, expensive to set up; a large scale VPN could have hundreds of computers running throughout different countries.

When a VPN is offering services for free, they have to be making money in some other way. Usually it is either: (a) the free service is a limited trial of the paid version or, (b) they are making money by advertising to you or selling your private data.

For example, popular free VPN, Hola, was discovered to be selling the use of users’ computers which were then used in online hacking, without owners realisation.

If privacy is what you’re looking for in a VPN, then a free one is probably not the right option, as your privacy might be more violated than it would have been without the VPN.

If you’re looking for a VPN to access overseas content, a free VPN will be unlikely to perform fast enough to satisfy you.

A free VPN might be a suitable short term solution, but if you’re planning on using it for the long term, it’s probably worth looking into a premium option. I’d recommend using a free trial first so you know what quality of service you can expect.

Have you ever used a VPN?

Related articles:
Using your smartphone to navigate
Your technology glossary
Police drop investigation over welfare recipient’s data

YourLifeChoices Writers
YourLifeChoices Writers
YourLifeChoices' team of writers specialise in content that helps Australian over-50s make better decisions about wealth, health, travel and life. It's all in the name. For 22 years, we've been helping older Australians live their best lives.
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