Are Free VPNs Safe? Here's the Dark Side to Most Free VPNs

Many people use VPNs for a wide variety of reasons. Maybe you want to use a VPN while you're traveling to access Netflix while you're abroad. Maybe you want to keep your traffic private from websites and organizations. Perhaps you're trying to access blocked websites while at school or work. A great way to accomplish any or all of those things is by using a VPN.

VPNs are usually purchased for a monthly fee (~\$7/month), but if you're like me and want to save money, then you can try to look for a free VPN. While I'm a huge advocate of frugality, I don't like doing it at the risk of my privacy and security.

You may think that you're saving money by using a free VPN, the cost to you is actually greater when it comes to what you give in return. What do I mean by that? Most free VPNs actually do the opposite of what they say they do - protect your privacy - by logging your information and traffic.

Here are the dangers that come with using free VPNs:

The Dangers of Most Free VPNs

Free VPNs Log and Sell Your Data

Most VPNs have the ability to log and keep track of all of your content, traffic, IP address, sites you visit and more. This is the exact opposite of what VPNs are made for, and unfortunately, many free VPNs take advantage of user trust when they do this. Here is a list of well known VPNs that sell user data.

Free VPNs Can Make Your Online Experience Painful

Many free VPNs have outdated encryption, can slow down your browsing speed (forget about streaming Netflix), cause you to have an unstable connection, or limit/cap your data usage.

Closed Source Security Software = Dangerous

Virutally all free VPNs are closed source. This means you can't actually see what the VPN providers are doing with your information. Tracking software, logging software, and more may all be baked into the service -- you just have no way of knowing.

When it comes to security, you should only trust open source software -- security you can trust is security you can see.

Don't Even Bother Using Proxies

By using a proxy forwarding service, your internet traffic is simply forwarded without encryption, so that the proxy operator can read all of your personal data. If your private information is sent over an unsecure connection, you can count on your data being captured and kept by the operator. Some proxy operators will even maliciously sell this information to third parties or worse, steal your identity. This article lays out some ways that proxy operators can make money from your data! Read numbers 12-15. If it's that easy to make money from compromised personal data via proxies, you can be sure it's happening often.

While VPNs are generally faster, more stable, and safer than proxies, I would still think twice before using most free VPNs, because they're not as safe and private as they may claim to be.

FreePN: An Alternative Solution

We created FreePN to be a safer and better alternative to other free VPNs. Not only are we completely free and open-source, but we never throttle your speed or cap your bandwidth. Since FreePN is a peer-to-peer network, we couldn't even log your information if we wanted to -- it never passes through our servers!

See for yourself why your privacy is safe with FreePN by exploring our source code here.

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