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Free vs Paid VPN: An In-Depth Comparison

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Best for General anonymity on a budget
Proton VPN (free)
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No logs and no ads
Unlimited bandwidth
150 servers in 5 countries
Best for Minimal browsing and online activity
TunnelBear (free)
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2 GB data limit
User-friendly design
Access to all 5000 servers
Best for Solid option with no data limit (free)
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Unlimited data
No ads or trackers
Customer support available
Best for Overall security and speed
NordVPN (paid)
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No logs or tracking
High speeds with 6100+ servers
Advanced security features
Best for Households needing multiple connections
Surfshark (paid)
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Unlimited device connections
Ad and cookie pop-up blockers
3200+ servers in 100 countries

Free vs Paid VPN: An In-Depth Comparison

In a rush? Top Free VPNs like Proton VPN, TunnelBear, and cater to different needs: Proton VPN is best for its no-ads, unlimited data policy; TunnelBear appeals with its user-friendly design and 2GB data limit for minimal use; offers a strong privacy focus with unlimited data and no logs. For paid options, NordVPN excels in speed and security, Surfshark allows unlimited devices and features a clean interface, and Mullvad stands out for its commitment to anonymity and privacy.

As someone who values online privacy and security, finding the right VPN can be a tough decision. There are tons of free options out there promising ultimate online freedom and anonymity, but are they as good as the paid alternatives? In this head-to-head comparison, I’ll break down the major differences between free and premium VPN services. We’ll look at what you get with the free versions versus splurging on a subscription. And hopefully, by the end, you’ll know which type is the better value for keeping your online activities truly private and secure.

Key Takeaways (TLDR)

  • VPNs secure your internet connection, hiding your IP and online activities.
  • Rising cyber threats have increased VPN usage for digital privacy.
  • Free VPNs may risk privacy with ads and data harvesting, offering weaker encryption.
  • Paid VPNs provide strong security, better performance, and reliable streaming.
  • Paid vs. Free: Paid VPNs are superior in security, speed, and reliability.
  • Top Free VPNs: Proton VPN excels with no ads, no logs, and unlimited data.
  • Top Paid VPNs: NordVPN offers fast speeds and security; Surfshark allows unlimited devices; Mullvad prioritizes anonymity.
  • Conclusion: Paid VPNs are recommended for comprehensive online protection despite free VPNs’ appeal for budget users.

But first…

Quick Intro to VPNs

What is a VPN?

VPN stands for Virtual Private Network. It creates a secure, encrypted connection over the internet between your device and a remote server. When you connect to a VPN server, all your internet traffic gets rerouted through this protected tunnel, hiding your IP address and online activities from unwanted eyes like your internet service provider, hackers, or government surveillance agencies (or your boss).

For those interested in exploring more about how IP addresses can reveal location information, consider checking out IP Geolocation APIs.

VPNs essentially give you an anonymous online identity and location by masking your real IP. 

If you’re looking to verify the effectiveness of your VPN, consider using a IP address lookup tool with your VPN active.

The Rise of VPN Usage

As cyber threats and data breaches continue to escalate globally, more people are turning to VPNs as an accessible solution for protecting their digital privacy. A VPN’s ability to anonymize online activities and safeguard data from snoopers makes it an invaluable tool.

The Reality of Free VPN Services

How Free VPNs Operate

If you’re wary about using free VPNs, you should be. They often make their money primarily through advertising and data harvesting rather than subscription fees. Some might rely on injecting ads into your internet traffic or browser sessions and others will leverage tracking cookies and web beacons to monitor your online activities and browsing habits for targeted advertising purposes.

Free VPN Risks Associated

The biggest risk of using a free VPN is the potential for compromised privacy and security. Many free providers have been caught logging user data, browser histories, and internet connections – the exact activities they claim to protect. This user information is then monetized through advertising partnerships or potentially sold to third parties.

Free VPNs may also have weak or outdated encryption standards that can be vulnerable to attacks. Their limited server networks often result in overcrowding, throttled speeds, and dropped connections. Some free apps have even been found containing malware or leaking user data due to poor coding practices.

With that said, the free VPNs I mention in this article are reputable in the industry and claim to keep user data safe and encrypted.

The Advantages of Paid VPNs

Enhanced Security Features

When you pay for a VPN service, you’re getting a lot more robust security features than the free guys offer. Paid VPNs will often use top-tier encryption like AES-256, leak protection, kill switches, and advanced protocols like OpenVPN that encrypt your data multiple times. Some offer a multi-hop feature to route traffic through multiple servers and advanced security tools like split tunneling.

These kinds of reputable paid VPN providers get independent audits and have every financial incentive to ensure their service is locked down tight. No cutting corners on security.

Superior Performance and Reliability

Free VPNs are notoriously laggy and unreliable. They can be blazing fast one minute, then throttled to a crawl the next. Premium VPNs allow ultra-fast speeds thanks to massive global networks of optimized servers across many countries. No more overcrowded servers or data throttling since they have plenty of bandwidth.

Paid VPNs also use anti-DDoS protection, have backup systems in place for maximum uptime, and offer unlimited bandwidth for buffer-free streaming and downloading.

Comparing Free and Paid VPNs

Let’s dive into the big question: should you go for a free VPN or spend a few bucks for a paid one? It’s not just about saving money, it’s about what you get (or don’t get) for your zero or more dollars. We’re going to take a close look at the best of free and paid VPN services, breaking down their security, speed, and how well they keep your online life private. Hopefully, by comparing free vs paid services, you can see which is the best match for your needs.

Note: My Baseline Internet Speed

In this article, I’m going to be testing each service’s speeds, and to do that accurately, I’ll need to establish a baseline. As I write this article, I’ll be constantly testing my current internet speed using while disconnected from a VPN and comparing it to my internet speed while connected to the fastest server of each VPN provider. 

Top Free VPNs

1. Free: Proton VPN

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You’ll easily find Proton VPN on many “Best Free VPN” lists out there, and for good reason. This Swiss-based company has been around for a decade with a long track record of building a safer Internet and protecting civil liberties. Plus, it’s community-supported, which emphasizes its commitment to aligning its goals with the interests and values of its users, rather than prioritizing profit.

Proton VPN, like most free VPN services, does offer paid plans, but their free VPN is considered by many to be one of the best. So what does it offer?

With the free service, you get 1 device, no ads, no logs, and unlimited data. And if you want to upgrade to their paid plan, they have a 30-day money-back guarantee. You can use their free VPN on any device and on any major OS.

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Proton VPN has a nice user interface. As you can see from my screenshot above, you easily hit the Quick Connect button to connect to the faster server, which is encrypted. You can see your current IP, the usage level, and the dynamic upload/download speed.


When it comes to speed, I was pleasantly surprised at how fast Proton VPN was. Most free VPNs are painfully slow, but when I connected to Proton VPN, it showed a Download speed of 267.49 Mbps and a Upload speed of 21.85 Mbps, which you can see below. My current internet speed without the VPN turned on is 422.33 Download and 23.87 Upload. I was able to watch some YouTube videos and Netflix without any issues.

I did run into a couple of hiccups with connection speed now and then. It would drag very slowly for a bit, but a quick disconnect and reconnect usually did the trick and got things moving fast again. Overall for a free service, it’s pretty solid, performance-wise. 

  • 150 servers in 5 countries
  • No logs and no ads
  • 1 VPN connection on 1 device 
  • Unlimited bandwidth with no time limits
Overall Thoughts

Proton VPN has mostly positive reviews across the board, particularly when it comes to its free plan. After all, what’s not to love? Speeds are very decent, you get major servers in the US and other countries, and no data limits, making it especially a good option if you’re trying to stream. Best of all, there’s really no catch. They don’t nefariously sell your data and there are no ads whatsoever. They subsidize their free plan through paid users. You might get some captchas when browsing and the features are limited, but it’s a great option for general anonymity on a budget. 

2. Free: TunnelBear

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Cute growling bear logo aside, TunnelBear is another VPN provider we’re including in our list because of their popular free plan, which recently got a data limit boost from 500MB to 2GB bandwidth a month. Not a whole lot, I know, but it’s a good option if all you’re after is minimal VPN use or if you want to test out their services before upgrading to their paid (and affordable) plans.

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Right off the bat, what I love about TunnelBear is their adorable and very user-friendly design. You can easily connect to the fastest server, and from there click on any location you want to connect to. Best of all, free plan users get access to all 5000 servers in over 45 countries, which is a great perk.

So it’s cute, but is it safe?


TunnelBear comes with standard VPN protocols you’d expect from a reputable provider, like WireGuard, OpenVPN, and IKEv2 (which you can select or set to “auto”), so it’s safe to use, even the free version. I also like that they offer a TCP override in the settings. This makes TunnelBear switch to a more stable but slower protocol to improve your VPN connection’s reliability on unstable internet connections, which can be handy if you need it, though the feature is only for macOS and Windows desktop apps.

Performance and Speed

When connecting to their fastest server, the speed fluctuated a bit throughout my session, but overall I’d say it was fast and reliable, at 186.34 Download Mbps and 20.34 Upload Mbps. My baseline was 499.81 Download and 23.12 Upload. So that’s pretty fast. When I switched to more distant servers, they were a bit slower, especially for streaming, but overall not too sluggish. I didn’t have any major issues browsing the web or using streaming services like Netflix. 

  • 2 GB data
  • Access to all 5000 servers in 45+ countries
  • Advanced settings like TCP override
  • User-friendly design
  • No logs
Overall Thoughts

For a free VPN, TunnelBear works great and has good online reviews, but the data limit is low and I ran out pretty fast, especially when using streaming. So if you’re trying to stream content on a free service, this isn’t the best choice, but if you’re just trying to do some minimal browsing and online activity here and there, it’ll give you the anonymity you need. 

3. Free:

upovam8iXGkfSZo82iUwR9W 34 xQX f4zdp8QarYUhfmWxIV1kow9DBZ3qQPcxvd Anu9o7Yo5f5WgwqF3t8nfPPvaYDvBINGLzwgewXqtmJt4CfXYDfPBytzcVOAYfV7J00zMfXQKEvPL9s4nS5ho has been around since 2012 and is another VPN that’s a popular choice for those wanting anonymity on a budget. Their free VPN boasts unlimited data, no logs, no ads, and no trackers, and can be used on a wide range of OS and devices.

It was easy for me to get started. Like the others on this list, all you really need to do is click one button to connect to the fastest server available. In the Locations tab, you can find all available free locations, plus there are some other options you have in the free VPN plan, like Kill Switch, Auto-Connect options, Split Tunnel, and more.

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Their free version is safe to use. claims that they do not sell any user data whatsoever. The free plan automatically uses the best protocol, but you can select IKEv2, OpenVPN, or WireGuard. I also like that in the Support tab, you can easily send a message to their customer support. No need to dig around their website for contact information, you can submit a ticket right there in the VPN dialog box.

Performance and Speed

When automatically connected to their best server, the speed test came out to 49.40 Download Mbps and 4.71 Upload. My speed while disconnected was 401.19 Download and 20.98 Upload. After testing multiple times throughout my session, the results were always in the same ballpark, even for distant servers. So not quite as fast as the other free VPNs we reviewed, but it didn’t feel too sluggish. I was able to browse online and stream, it might just take a few seconds to load. I noticed some online reviewers say doesn’t allow for streaming on the free plan, but I didn’t have any issues streaming on Netflix. Hulu, however, I wasn’t able to use it.

  • 8 server locations
  • 1 device at a time
  • Unlimited data
  • No ads or trackers
  • No logs
  • 99.9% uptime
  • Customer support
  • Advanced options like Auto Connect, Split Tunnel, Kill Switch and more
Overall Thoughts

What I really appreciate about is what you get for this free VPN service. There’s no data limit (they used to have a 10GB limit), no annoying ads or trackers, they don’t sell your data, and they even extend customer support for non-paying users. It’s not as fast as other free VPNs and the number of servers to choose from is a bit limiting, but overall this is a solid option with great reviews from users wanting a free VPN.

Top Paid VPNs

1. Paid: NordVPN

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Now that we’re looking at paid VPN services, there are many more top-notch options that get you more in the way of speed, security, and features. The first I want to look at is NordVPN, one of the world’s leading VPN providers and one that has constantly been touted as the best VPN by Reddit for years. They’re known for their strong security, large network, and fast speeds.

In this review, I’m trying out their basic Standard Plan. After downloading the app, what a difference I can see already with a paid server. A ton more features and settings are available, like malware protection, tracker, and ad blocker. Plus thousands of servers all over the world are available on their RAM-only servers. You can see in my screenshot below that important features are all on their own separate tab, making for a nice, clean UI. 

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image 4

I also like a new feature of theirs called Presets. This basically streamlines setting up the VPN for different activities like streaming, browsing, or downloading, allowing for easy one-click access, which is certainly convenient.


Where NordVPN truly shines is its safety and security features. This VPN comes with what you expect, like secure encryption, kill switch, split tunneling, and threat detection, but it takes safety a step further with its Double VPN, which encrypts your traffic twice, and its Onion Over VPN feature that routes your encrypted traffic through the Tor network. 

Meshnet is another of their core features that enables secure, private connections between devices, almost as if they were on the same local network. This is especially useful for securely accessing files on a home computer from anywhere, or for setting up a private gaming session with friends. LAN party, anyone?

Performance and Speed

Now let’s talk speed. After running a speed test while on their fastest local server, it clocked in with a Download speed of 337.17 Mbps and 21.93 Upload Mbps. My current internet speed while disconnected from the VPN is 532.12 Download Mbps and 23.81 Upload. Already we’re looking at faster speeds than the free VPNs. 

NordVPN’s proprietary NordLynx protocol (based on the WireGuard) plays a big role in delivering these high speeds, making it especially handy if you’re trying to stream or torrent.

image 3
  • RAM-only servers
  • No logs or tracking
  • Kill switch
  • Auto connect
  • 6 devices simultaneously
  • High speeds
  • Over 6100 servers in 67 countries
  • Smart ad-blocking
  • Unlimited bandwidth
  • Malware protection
  • 24/7 live chat customer support
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

*Pricing is based on a 1-year plan. Discounts are available on longer-term plans.

Standard Plan: $4.99 a month, offering a high-speed VPN and basic VPN features like malware protection, tracker, and ad blocker.

Plus Plan: $5.99 a month, this includes all Standard features, with the addition of a Cross-platform Password Manager and Data Breach Scanner.

Ultimate Plan: At $7.99 per month, this plan comes with all Plus Plan features along with 1 TB Encrypted Cloud Storage and Cyber Protection Benefits like Identity Theft Recovery ($1M coverage) and Cyber Extortion Protection ($100K coverage).

All plans come with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Overall Thoughts

NordVPN shines in almost every way. It has blazing-fast speeds, goes above and beyond when it comes to core features, even in its cheapest plan, and sets itself apart from competitors when it comes to safety and security. If you don’t believe me, believe the hordes of positive online reviews.

2. Paid: Surfshark

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Surfshark is another popular paid VPN solution known for its speed, security features, and overall excellent quality. They’ve been around since 2018 and have won numerous cybersecurity and VPN awards over the years.

After downloading and installing the app, I was able to connect quickly and easily. As you can see from my screenshots below, Surfshark has a nice, clean user interface with lots of features available, like Static IPs, Rotating IPs, and MultiHop. 

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When it comes to safety, Surfshark excels. Similar to NordVPN, they use RAM-only servers and offer advanced encryption protocols like OpenVPN, IKEv2, or WireGuard that use the AES-256 encryption algorithm. They also offer leak protection, Kill Switch, and other industry-leading features that put them ahead of many of their competitors.

Performance and Speed

When it comes to speed, Surfshark is fast. During my session, I ran a few speed tests, all of which landed roughly in the same ballpark, with the final test coming in with a Download speed of 185.90 Mbps and a Upload speed of 21.21. So while not quite as fast as NordVPN, I didn’t notice any slowdowns, even while streaming. My baseline speeds were 396.27 Download and 23.03 Upload.

While SurfShark doesn’t have as many servers as NordVPN, 3200 servers are still an impressive number, and they surpass them in the number of countries their servers are in. On top of that, the introduction of their Nexus System, which launched in 2022, sped up the connection time to their servers even more.

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  • RAM-only servers
  • 3200+ servers in 100 countries
  • Multiple devices with unlimited connections
  • Kill switch
  • Bypasser
  • CleanWeb
  • No logs or tracking
  • Rotating IPs
  • Dynamic MultiHop
  • Ad and cookie pop-up blockers
  • Identity protection features
  • 24/7 live support and visual guides
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

*Pricing is based on a 1-year plan. Discounts are available on longer-term plans.

Surfshark Starter: At $2.99 a month, this VPN plan includes ad and cookie pop-up blockers plus some additional identity protection features like a personal detail generator and masked email generator.

Surfshark One: At $3.49 a month, this plan includes all Surfshark Starter features, with the addition of extra identity protection features including real-time email credit card and breach alerts, security reports, private search engine, 24/7 antivirus protection, and more.

Surfshark One+: Priced at $5.49 a month, this plan comes with all Surfshark One features along with data removal from company databases and people search sites.

All plans come with a 30-day money-back guarantee and offer extra savings when compared to the monthly pricing.

Overall Thoughts

If you’re looking for a VPN that’s fast and secure with an abundance of features, Surfshark is an excellent option. It’s top-rated, has won numerous awards in the industry, and is an example of what leading VPN services should look like. Another major advantage it has over its competitors is that you only need 1 account for unlimited devices. This can be especially useful for households needing connections on multiple devices (NordVPN has a limit of 6 devices, for instance).

3. Paid: Mullvad

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Mullvad VPN has been “freeing the internet” since its inception in 2009 and is a long-time people’s favorite VPN. They’ve grown quite a bit along the way, incorporating more advanced protocols like WireGuard and introducing new features like quantum-resistant VPN tunnels, automatic WireGuard key rotation, and much more. Mullvad is committed to privacy and anonymity, and unlike many other VPN providers, they don’t require any personal information during sign-up, and users can even pay anonymously using cash or cryptocurrency. 

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image 1
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Mullvad is a favorite because of its high standards of security. In fact, it’s one of the safest VPNs there is. You can quickly see that they take privacy to the next level. You don’t need an email or password to set up your account. Instead, you’re given a personalized account number to log in with, which is unique. Not to mention you can make private payments with cash, specialized Mullvad vouchers, or even Bitcoin. You can choose between CHACHA20 or AES-256 encryptions, two very solid options, and they offer some nice security features like killswitch, split tunneling, and shadow-socks protocol. 

Performance and Speed

While Mullvad falls short with only 654 servers in 41 countries (compared to top providers like NordVPN and Surfshark who have thousands of servers), I do appreciate the fact that Mullvad owns a portion of their server grid, which gives them more physical control, making them faster and more secure. 

Onto our speed tests. When connecting to their fastest local server, the speeds were 304.25 Download Mbps and 17.80 Upload. Throughout my session, speeds fluctuated but stayed fairly consistent around this range, which is fast. My current internet speed is 332.83 Download and 22.34 Upload.

image 2
  • No logs or tracking
  • 5 devices
  • 654 servers in 41 countries
  • Anonymous payments
  • Quantum-resistant VPN tunnels
  • Kill switch
  • In-house customer support
  • Split tunneling
  • Multi-Hop
  • Automatic WireGuard key rotation
  • Shadosocks proxy
  • Open-sourced code

Mullvad VPN offers a very straightforward and transparent pricing model. Unlike most VPN providers that have multiple plans with different pricing tiers and subscription lengths, Mullvad keeps it simple with a single pricing option.

Mullvad charges a flat rate of €5 per month, which is about $5.50 USD. There are no long-term commitments and you can cancel your subscription at any time.

What’s interesting about this pricing is that they don’t offer any discounts for longer subscriptions, which is a common practice. This means that you won’t feel pressured to commit to a longer subscription to get a better deal. It also reflects their commitment to privacy, as they don’t want to incentivize users to give more personal information than necessary.

Overall Thoughts

As you can tell, Mullvad has a strong focus on protecting user privacy. They go above and beyond by offering anonymous account creation and payment options, ensuring that no personal information is ever tied to your VPN usage. While their server network may be smaller compared to some other top VPN providers, their commitment to transparency, regular audits, and open-source code make them a trustworthy and reliable option for anyone looking for a secure and private online experience. 

Free vs Paid VPNs: A Closer Look at Key Factors

We’ve taken a closer look at some of the top free and paid VPN services out there, and by now, you probably have a clearer picture of how they stack up against each other. But let’s dive a little deeper and really break down the key differences between free and paid VPNs in terms of security, performance, and privacy.

Security Comparison

When it comes to keeping your online activities secure, paid VPNs like NordVPN and Surfshark definitely have the edge over free options. They use top-notch encryption protocols like AES-256 and offer advanced features like double VPN and automatic kill switches. You’ll find that free VPNs often skimp on these important security measures, leaving your data more vulnerable.

Performance and Speed

If you want lightning-fast speeds for streaming, gaming, or just browsing, paid VPNs are the way to go. With their optimized server networks and unlimited bandwidth, you can pretty much say goodbye to buffering and lag. Free VPNs, on the other hand, often struggle with slow speeds and limited data allowances. Even the best free options like ProtonVPN and can’t quite match the performance of their paid counterparts. I found this especially true when it came to reliability. The free options would be blazing fast one minute, and then tank the next. Not exactly a consistent experience.

Privacy and Data Protection

Paid VPNs take your privacy seriously. They have strict no-logging policies and use RAM-only servers that wipe your data after each session. Some, like Mullvad, even let you sign up anonymously. Many paid VPNs also undergo regular independent audits to verify their no-logging claims and privacy practices. These audits, conducted by reputable third-party firms, provide an extra layer of transparency and trust for users.

Free VPNs? Not so much. Many have been caught red-handed selling user data to advertisers or worse. While there are a few trustworthy free VPNs out there, they simply can’t offer the same level of privacy protection as the major players in the paid arena.

Making the Right Choice for Your Needs

Assessing Your VPN Requirements

Think about how you’ll want to use a VPN. Is it just for basic WiFi security or do you need heavy-duty protection for torrenting, banking, etc? Paid VPNs are worth the cost for high-risk activities. Frequent travelers should also prioritize a provider with a huge global server network.

Cost vs. Benefit Analysis

Free VPNs are tempting if you’re on a budget, but paid options start around $3-5 per month. Well worth it for robust encryption and privacy. Check VPN user reviews and take advantage of free VPN trial offers to see which one fits your needs best.

In short, reputable paid services will put your security first and offer the best overall value, especially when you sign up for annual subscription pricing (almost always cheaper than paying monthly). It’s an affordable investment for comprehensive online protection compared to the risks of entrusting your data to a sketchy freebie.

Free vs Paid VPN Side-By-Side Comparison

Proton VPN (FREE)267.49 Download21.85 Upload-No logs and no ads-1 VPN connection on 1 device -Unlimited bandwidth with no time limits150 servers in 5 countries
TunnelBear (FREE)186.34 Download20.34 Upload-2 GB data-Advanced settings like TCP override-Cute, user-friendly design-No logsAccess to all 5000 servers in 45+ countries (FREE)49.40 Download4.71 Upload-1 device at a time-Unlimited data-No ads or trackers-No logs-99.9% uptime-Customer support-Advanced options like Auto Connect, Split Tunnel, Kill Switch and more8 server locations
NordVPN (PAID)337.17 Download21.93 Upload-No logs or tracking-Kill switch-Auto connect-6 devices simultaneously-High speeds-Smart ad-blocking-Unlimited bandwidth-Malware protection-24/7 live chat -customer support-30-day money-back guaranteeOver 6100 servers in 67 countries
SurfShark185.90 Download21.21 Upload-RAM-only servers-Multiple devices with unlimited connections-Kill switch-Bypasser-CleanWeb-No logs or tracking-Rotating IPs-Dynamic MultiHop-Ad and cookie pop-up blockers-Identity protection features-24/7 live support and visual guides-30-day money-back guarantee3200+ servers in 100 countries
Mullvad304.25 Download17.80 UPload-No logs or tracking-5 devices-Anonymous payments-Quantum-resistant -VPN tunnels-Kill switch-In-house customer support-Split tunneling-Multi-Hop-Automatic WireGuard key rotation-Shadosocks proxy-Open-sourced code654 servers in 41 countries


While free VPNs might seem like an attractive option for those on a tight budget, just know that they often come with significant limitations and even potential security risks. Paid VPNs offer superior performance, robust security features, and a wider range of server locations. When comparing the free and paid options side-by-side, it’s pretty clear that investing in a reputable paid VPN service like NordVPN, Surfshark, or Mullvad is the better choice for anyone serious about protecting their online privacy and security. 

Most services offer some form of free trial or money-back guarantee, or in the case of Mullvad, have a very low monthly flat rate fee, making it easy and affordable to try out the services to see if it’s a good fit.


What is the main difference between a free VPN and a paid VPN?

The biggest difference is that paid VPNs offer far better security, faster speeds, and more server locations thanks to their larger infrastructure and encryption standards. Free VPNs are usually ad-supported, may log data, have bandwidth limits, and can’t match premium services’ privacy protections.

Are free VPNs safe to use?

While there are certainly some reputable free options out there, most free VPNs carry privacy risks. Many have been caught logging user data and internet activities that they then monetize through ads or by selling to third parties. Free VPNs also frequently use weaker encryption that can be vulnerable.

How does a VPN protect my online privacy?

A VPN works by routing your internet connection through a private server and secure encrypted tunnel, which hides your IP address and online activities. The encryption prevents anyone from seeing your browsing data and web traffic.

Are there any trustworthy free VPNs available?

Yes, a few free VPN providers like ProtonVPN, TunnelBear and offer decent free tiers that don’t log user activity and provide basic encryption. Just keep in mind that even these come with much greater limitations compared to premium services.

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