Choosing a reliable service provider with a good work ethic is a challenging task. Due diligence is a must. There are a lot of criteria for selecting a decent free VPN. Some users need quick access to social media, and this requirement will determine their choice.
The factors mentioned in the article are just a short list of nuances you should consider before signing up for anything. Do not forget about such factors as the cost of the software product, the presence of an emergency button, and advanced tools. Everyone can choose the best free VPN specifically for themselves if they test several services personally. Let’s figure out the main criteria of the choice.
Confidentiality and Saving Logs
All VPNs promise privacy and anonymity. Having a log involves storing metadata about the connection, such as time, frequency of connection to the VPN network, connection duration, and total traffic. Usage logs store information about online activity, sites visited, and personal information entered into fields. Some providers keep connection logs for a limited time (from a few hours to three days), which is a reasonable practice for troubleshooting, and some keep logs for months or years and are happy to share them with anyone they want.
The service should explain the technology used to provide secure access via VPN. Some providers use their software, which is proprietary and has not been properly audited. It would be wise to check whether already proven technologies, such as OpenVPN or WireGuard, are supported.
Suppose you plan to use VPN on various devices, a personal computer, mobile phone, router, browser, etc.. In that case, you need to find out in advance whether the supplier has a suitable application for the devices on which you plan to use the VPN service. If the VPN provider does not have such applications, then does it allow you to use its services using open software that uses standard protocols?
Number of Simultaneous Connections
Do you need to estimate the number of devices you plan to connect to the VPN in advance simultaneously? Does your ISP allow multiple simultaneous connections, and if so, how many? These are two simultaneous connections if you run a VPN client on your computer and phone. And if one of your relatives uses a VPN connection, this is already 3+. Therefore, you need to clarify in advance the number of simultaneous connections allowed with the planned free VPN provider to avoid getting into an unpleasant situation later.
Speeds when using a VPN vary greatly and depend on many factors. These include the speed of your tariff with your provider, the location of remote servers, server ping, paid or free VPN service, and so on. If the supplier has a considerable number of clients, there may be problems with Internet access speed during the busiest hours of operation.
Availability of VPN Kill Switch
The VPN connection can sometimes be interrupted even with a reliable provider. When the connection is broken, there is a risk of revealing the real IP address. Many VPN providers build a kill switch into their software to prevent accidental connection drops that could expose data. It turns off your entire internet connection whenever it goes down and until the VPN connection is restored.
Is It Worth Choosing a Free VPN?
In operation, a VPN creates a secure tunnel for all network traffic. With the help of multiple intermediaries, data is isolated from public access as it travels to and from the main server. Unfortunately, the security provided by a VPN may come at the expense of reduced speed. Servers may not have sufficient bandwidth to support high-definition streaming. The quality of VPN services largely depends on the current software and protocols used. By the way, both software and protocols are constantly being improved.
The difference between a free and a paid VPN may be negligible. Typically, a paid VPN provides more traffic and connection speeds. As for security, paid services are not safe. It is important to remember that VPN applications can request various permissions on the mobile device, for example, access to calls/contacts/location and other data, and refuse to work without granting them. It may create a leakage hazard.
Free VPNs are relatively easy to find but don’t always offer free services. Many of them will have significant limitations or will only be free for a short period. If a customer only wants to use a VPN occasionally and doesn’t need much bandwidth or features, there are plenty of cheap or free VPNs to choose from. Many resources set the limit relatively low and require users to upgrade to a paid premium subscription to get more.
All this justifies users’ concerns regarding free services. However, it’s not all bad. There are excellent offers that will allow you to use the full potential without extra costs.
Using a VPN will allow you to secure your connection and give you access to many services. At the same time, you don’t have to spend much money on paid services because free solutions can be just as good. Use the listed factors to help you choose the most reliable tool.