Free VPNs are always tempting. After all, why pay for the best premium Android VPNs when you can just get a VPN for free that’s just as good, right?
Well, that’s not exactly true. You’re actually getting a worse deal with free VPNs even though you’re not paying a cent. We’ll show you why in this article. Also, we’ll take a look at whether or not all free Android VPNs are bad.
The Main Reason to Avoid Free Android VPNs – They’re Not Safe!
When you use a VPN, you don’t think there’s a risk you might expose your device to malware. Why should you? That’s not a real danger, is it?
With free Android VPNs, it very well might be. Research from 2019 analyzed the top 150 free Android VPNs, and found that one in five providers was a potential source of malware.
It’s very likely that many hackers are taking advantage of how popular VPNs have become recently and their love for free things. By setting up a fake VPN and offering it for free on Google Play, they can entice people to download and install it. Once they do and give the app all sorts of permissions, their devices get infected with malware. That way, cybercriminals get their hands on sensitive data like important passwords and credit card details.
Your Privacy Isn’t Safe Either!
Dealing with malware isn’t the only concern. Free Android VPNs can also log your data and sell it to third parties. Recent research actually shows that the data of 21 million VPN users was found for sale on hacker forums. All those people used three VPNs that had a free and paid plan.
What kind of information could a free VPN log?
Well, if you give it enough permissions, it could log things like contact details, message contents, and more. If you don’t, it can still log what you do with the VPN – what sites you visit and what file you download.
Don’t forget – if you’re not paying for something, you’re probably the product. How do you expect a free VPN to make money? Sure, it can offer a paid plan. But if nobody gets it and only uses the free version, they need to do something to avoid going bankrupt.
Other Reasons to Avoid Free Android VPNs
The data logging and malware weren’t enough to scare you away from free Android VPNs? Here are five other good reasons to avoid them:
1. They’re Slow
Free VPNs don’t have enough money to rent servers with high speeds. What’s more, they often have a small server network. So, you’ll always have to use an overcrowded server.
Combined, those two things result in annoyingly slow speeds.
2. They Have Bandwidth Caps
Free Android VPNs can’t afford to provide users with unlimited bandwidth. How would they be able to regularly pay for it?
Because of that, free VPNs often limit how much data you can use per month. The limit is anywhere between 500 MB and 2 GB.
Is that good or bad?
Think of it this way – if you spend one hour watching HD videos on Netflix, you’ll consume around 3 GB of data. SD videos consume around 1 GB of data per hour.
That’s barely enough to watch a movie or a few episodes of your favorite series in HD! Sure, you can watch them in SD, but that’s not a great compromise. Also, what if you wanted to use the VPN to unblock a whole TV series like Breaking Bad or Supernatural? There are dozens of seasons and episodes. Even watching them in SD will take you a few months!
3. They Spam You with Ads
Besides logging and selling your data to advertisers, free VPN providers will also ruin your browsing experience by constantly exposing you to ads.
Basically, you should mentally prepare yourself for seeing ads in the VPN’s interface. And if that weren’t enough, there’s always a risk that some of the ads are malicious.
4. They Are Buggy
Free VPNs don’t have enough resources to invest in good development or hire people to test their software for bugs.
So, you should expect unresponsive Android apps – randomly dropped connections, servers not showing up in the app, settings not working or saving, etc.
5. They Lack Support
Paid VPNs usually provide 24/7 support. Most of them do it through live chat. Whenever you experience a problem, you’ll quickly get a solution.
Unfortunately, free VPNs can’t afford to provide round-the-clock support. You’ll often have to email them, and you might have to wait 72 hours or more to get a response (which is usually not helpful).
Are All Free Android VPNs Bad?
Not really. There are some good free VPNs on Google Play that don’t put your data at risk. They usually have a legitimate business model that’s sustainable, so they can financially back up their free VPN subscriptions without incurring a loss.
Unfortunately, even good free VPNs suffer from two problems: slow speeds and bandwidth caps. If they don’t have one issue, they have the other.
Take ProtonVPN, for example. It’s an excellent VPN provider – great privacy, strong security, and open-source software. Best of all – it’s one of the only free VPNs that offer unlimited bandwidth. Unfortunately, the speeds are much slower on their free plan than they are on their paid plan. We experience 40-50% slowdowns using a free subscription, and only 10-20% slowdowns with a paid account.
The Bottom Line
Stay away from free Android VPNs if you don’t want to deal with malware, data logging, buggy design, poor support, data caps, and slow speeds. Some free VPNs are trustworthy, but they’re still slow. It’s much better to get a paid VPN instead. Their long-term plans are usually cheap, and they have 30-day refunds (you have enough time to test them).
If you’d like to mention anything about free VPNs, please leave a comment.