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4 things everyone should know about free VPN sites and extensions

Free VPNs don’t have as much money, which means that they cannot afford servers that will handle the traffic.

online shopping with a vpn
Image: Unsplash

Although we take it for granted, not even that long ago, the internet was something that existed only in fiction. Sure, science fiction writers have always fantasized about different concepts that are now a part of everyday life, but it took some time before science has caught up with the fiction.

Now, we can send our virtual money to people living in other countries without even leaving our bed or order groceries from the shop. Unfortunately, despite all of this convenience, we often don’t care enough about safety. By now, you have probably heard the term “VPN” at least several times. In a second, you’ll learn what it is and whether free VPNs are worth it. Let’s go!

What are VPNs?

VPNs or Virtual Private Networks increase security and privacy. How? If you have a VPN on your device, then when you browse the internet, the data isn’t sent from your computer or smartphone directly to the website. It has to go through a private network first, then it gets encrypted and finally sent to the website.

Okay, so why are VPNs so popular?

  • According to Security Gladiators, companies often use VPNs to avoid private data from leaking out. Though you might not even know it, if certain websites are banned at your workplace, then it is possible because your computer is connected to a Virtual Private Network. It is also often done to increase the productivity of the workers.
  • You shouldn’t connect to public Wi-Fi networks if you don’t have a VPN installed on your device. Why? Public Wi-Fi in places like hotels or airports is prone to hacker attacks. If you connect with a Wi-Fi network that is insecure, all your online accounts could become compromised. If you want to make it impossible for the hackers to gain access to your bank account, you should install a VPN. Not every public Wi-Fi is dangerous, but it’s better not to take your chances.
  • Bypassing geo-restrictions is another reason why VPNs are so useful. Companies like Amazon Prime or Netflix offer different content, depending on where you live. It means that if you visit your aunt in Belarus, it might be impossible for you to continue watching your favorite tv series. If you want to deal with this problem, you could install a VPN. Your IP address would change, and you would have access to the content once again.
  • If you live in a country where freedom of speech does not exist, then a VPN would make it safer for you to express your opinions online. Your real address would be hidden, which means that you should be safe. Remember, though, that although a VPN makes it harder for anyone to track you down, it is not impossible. If privacy is of utmost importance to you, then you should also start using TOR. If you combine a VPN and TOR, your safety will increase even further.

It doesn’t mean though that every VPN will do. You will undoubtedly come across some free VPNs. You should stay away from them. Why?

  • Your internet connection is going to be less than passable. The providers of free VPNs don’t have as much money, which means that they cannot afford servers that will handle the traffic with no issues.
  • Though you won’t have to pay subscription fees for free VPNs, their creators are not working pro bono. Most likely, your data will be collected and then sold to third parties. If you use VPNs to make financial transactions, you could be in a lot of trouble.
  • Even if your online history isn’t sold to any suspicious entities, the VPN might contain some malware that could damage your device.
  • Even if you are lucky, and the VPN that you choose doesn’t have any additional hidden programs, you will see a lot of ads. It won’t outright damage your device or your finances, but browsing the internet might be a little bit more difficult.

The cost of premium VPNs isn’t usually high. In this day and age, we are used to most programs being free, but in this case, it is better not to cut costs. If you download a VPN that isn’t safe, you’ll be risking losing your savings.

Better safe than sorry

Many things that even 20 years ago took hours, now can take several minutes. It doesn’t mean, though, that there are no downsides to it as well. If you are not careful, or, if you have bad luck, your private information could be stolen.

If you want to protect yourself from any third parties, you should install a VPN. This way, your data would be encrypted, which would help you to avoid losing all your money. Just, to be safe, stay away from free VPNs.

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Chris has been blogging since the early days of the internet. He primarily focuses on topics related to tech, business, marketing, and pretty much anything else that revolves around tech. When he's not writing, you can find him noodling around on a guitar or cooking up a mean storm for friends and family.

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