I used to be a “free VPNs only” guy. Why pay when free alternatives exist, right? But after I did some research, I concluded that paid VPNs are well worth the money. Some even cost less than the price of one coffee per month yet provide way more value than that.
I’m currently on a two-year prepaid plan with Private internet Access that I snagged on sale, but we highly recommend going with ExpressVPN or NordVPN. Both of them are reputable, trustworthy, and provide all of the paid VPN benefits that we’re about to explore in this post.
Without further ado, here’s why paid VPNs always beat free VPNs.
1. Paid VPNs Have Clearer Motives
Put yourself in the shoes of a VPN host. Why would they commit the time, resources, and energy needed to run such a finicky and controversial service? To make money. It’s not the kind of easygoing service that anyone can pitch out of sheer altruism. VPNs are nightmarish to run.
But here’s the good news: paid VPNs are clear and upfront about this. They admit that they’re in it for the money, and better yet, they’re clear about how they intend to make said money: they’re going to charge you to use their service. It’s a simple, transparent business transaction.
Not so with free VPNs — to generate revenue, free VPNs need to get creative. On the least evil end of the spectrum, you have free VPNs that inject unblockable ads. Others log your user details and internet activity to be sold later to third-party data firms. And the truly evil may even hijack your devices for use as part of an illegal botnet.
If anything, paying for a VPN gives you a certain peace of mind.
2. Paid VPNs Have Fewer Restrictions
Back when I compared the speeds of free VPN services, I noticed that all of them restricted usage in some way, likely to prevent user abuse. The most common restrictions are data limits, speed limits, connection limits, poor regional availability, and login queues.
For example, Windscribe can be used on multiple devices but only one device can be connected at a time. Other examples include Hide.me only granting access to three server locations, Spotflux kicking users off after three straight hours, and Private Tunnel’s 200 MB limit (to expand that limit, you need to refer others to the service).
Paid VPNs don’t subject you to these kinds of hassle. Some are better than others — for example, one host may have servers around the world while another only in North America — but the important thing is that they won’t artificially restrict you. If you pay, you get full access.
3. Paid VPNs Have Better Service
As a paid VPN user, you are a direct source of revenue for the service. It’s in their best interest to keep you as a customer otherwise they lose money. This is good for you in two ways: one, they have incentive to outperform their competitors, and two, they have incentive to keep you happy.
These two benefits play out in many ways. Paid VPNs usually have a wider selection of servers around the world. Paid VPN servers tend to be faster and have more reliable uptime. Paid VPN clients and apps are often of higher quality. And most of all, if something goes wrong, paid VPNs have customer support whereas free VPNs rarely have customer support at all.
4. Paid VPNs Have Greater Longevity
Because paid VPNs have users who pay on a monthly or annual basis, they’re better equipped for long-term operations. They can estimate future revenues and plan accordingly, so they tend to have better success rates compared to free VPNs.
Whereas free VPN services come and go in the blink of an eye, paid VPNs that make it past the first year or two are significantly more likely to stick around.
So when you sign up with a reputable paid VPN that’s been around the block a few times, you can rest assured that they most likely won’t pack up shop and disappear overnight. Of course paid VPNs can go out of business — it’s just a lot rarer. Free VPN users, on the other hand, often have to hop from service to service, which can be a huge hassle.
Paid VPNs Are Thriving for a Reason
Just five years ago, paid VPNs were only used by tech-savvy folks, privacy freaks, and certain business types. Now, people are waking up to the benefits of a paid VPN every day, and the industry is only going to keep growing thanks to recent laws that legalized the violation of your web privacy.
I know I sound like a broken record but please heed this advice: start using a VPN as soon as you can! Even if you don’t care much about privacy, there are other ways for VPNs to come in handy. But whatever you do, skip the free options. The risks simply aren’t worth it.
Need a recommendation? You can’t go wrong with ExpressVPN or NordVPN. We trust both services and believe you’ll be more than happy with either one. But if neither fit you, check out our list of best VPN services and go with whichever one appeals most to you.
What’s your stance on VPNs? Are you okay with free or are you convinced that paid options are the only real way to go? What’s your favorite service? Let us know in a comment below!