Free VPN vs. Paid VPN

Discover the key differences and pick the right VPN service for your needs

We all like getting things for free. And while we’re aware that those free products or services come with inevitable trade-offs, we rarely take a step back and truly think about them. VPN services make no exception.

The question is: are you ready to accept the trade-offs of a free Virtual Private Network?

How free VPN services make money

VPNs serve many online purposes, such as:

VPN providers must operate a global server network, continually update their apps, provide customer support, and so much more. But all this costs money. And if you’re getting it for free, what’s the catch?

Paid VPN services cover costs by charging users subscription fees. Free VPN services make their money off you, which defeats the whole purpose of using a VPN in the first place.

Think about it. You’re using a VPN to secure your data privacy. Yet these free VPNs often make money by selling your online preferences to advertising agencies, ad platforms, or data-gathering companies.

Free unlimited VPN vs. free limited VPN

Free VPN services are usually unlimited free or limited free. Unlimited VPNs claim to offer everything a paid service provides – which makes them extremely suspicious.

Free limited VPNs, on the other hand, are the free alternative of popular paid VPN services.

Here at CyberGhost VPN, for example, we give out a free VPN solution in the form of our Chrome and Firefox browser extensions. However, you only have access to a limited number of features compared to our paid product.

Free unlimited VPNs can be dangerous

1. Inviting malware to your device

According to a study of free VPN apps, nearly 4 out of 10 free VPN software have hidden malware inside. The risks associated with it are many, but the most concerning of all is the possibility of losing all your passwords and having your accounts hijacked.

2. Next to zero security

As if the risk of having malware installed on your device wasn’t enough, free VPNs use weak and fickle security. And this leaves you vulnerable to cybercriminals, hackers, and governmental spying agencies like the NSA.

3. Data in the hands of 3rd party companies

According to another study, 74% of free VPN apps contained tracking embedded in the source code. This means your data is getting collected and stored to be sold to advertising and analytics companies.

4. Unblocking streaming services doesn’t work

One of the main reasons why people use a VPN is for bypassing geo-restrictions and accessing content that is normally blocked in their region.

However, getting that with a free unlimited VPN is wishful thinking. Their limited infrastructure and the small number of VPN servers mean that free VPNs have almost zero chances of providing you access to geo-blocked content.

5. Significant speed drops

It’s not a secret that virtual private networks can negatively affect your connection speed. However, with premium VPN services, those speed drops are often insignificant.

The same cannot be said about free VPN apps. Their below-par server infrastructure causes so much slowdown that even regular browsing can give you a headache.

6. Pop-ups, pop-ups, and more pop-ups

To make money, free unlimited VPN services sell their in-app space to advertising agencies and other clients.

This is a double-edged sword for you. First, facing a screenful of advertising, time and time again, is bothersome. Plus, if you accidentally click one of those links, you can end up on malicious sites.

7. Redirecting traffic without your permission

Here’s a little less know money-making tactic free VPNs use: browser hijacking. This will redirect you to partnership websites without your permission.

Each visit that website gets earns the VPN service money and causes you unnecessary frustration.

CyberGhost VPN: Online privacy, state-of-the-art security & premium features

The truth is, there’s just no comparison between a paid VPN and its free counterpart. Let’s look at all the features CyberGhost VPN offers:

  • Access to 10300+ VPN servers located in 100+ countries
  • Dedicated servers for all the major streaming platform such as Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, HBO NOW, BBC iPlayer, and more
  • Special P2P torrenting servers for guaranteed anonymity and superior download speed
  • The possibility to secure up to 7 devices at the same time with just one CyberGhost VPN subscription
  • Total online anonymity guaranteed by our No Logs policy
  • Automatic Wi-Fi protection that kicks-in every time you join a new public network
  • 256 AES fail-proof data-encryption – the same type used by banks or military institutions
  • DNS and IPv6 leak-protection
  • Unlimited bandwidth
  • Built-in kill switch
  • Customization options so you can enjoy the best VPN experience for you
  • 24/7 Customer Support in 4 languages
  • 45-day money-back guarantee

CyberGhost VPN vs. free unlimited VPN services

Features Free unlimited VPN CyberGhost VPN
Number of VPN servers <20 4500+
Speed drops checked not checked
Unlimited bandwidth not checked checked
Wi-Fi protection not checked checked
256 AES data encryption not checked checked
Unblocks streaming services not checked checked
Kill switch not checked checked
Data anonymity not checked checked
24/7 Customer Support not checked checked
Multiple protocol support not checked checked
Stops online tracking not checked checked
Streaming & downloading server filter not checked checked
Accesses Flash content securely not checked checked

Our Ghosties can’t get enough of us

Choose the plan that works for you

1 Month, $12.99/mo
You chose: 1 Month plan at $12.99/mo
Billed $12.99 every month
Get 1 month plan 14-day money-back guarantee
The 26 MONTHS plan includes the biggest savings and is fully refundable for 45 days.
6 Months , $6.99/mo
You chose: 6 Months plan at $6.99/mo
Billed $41.94 every 6 months
Get 6 months plan 45-day money-back guarantee
The 26 MONTHS plan includes the biggest savings and is fully refundable for 45 days.
*All amounts shown are in US Dollars

All you need from a truly complete VPN solution

  • Over 10300 VPN servers worldwide
  • DNS and IP leak protection
  • Automatic kill switch
  • OpenVPN, IKEv2, WireGuard® protocols
  • Unlimited bandwidth and traffic
  • Up to 7 devices protected simultaneously

Disclaimer: Per our Terms and Conditions, using CyberGhost VPN for illegal purposes is not permitted or encouraged.