Every business should focus on cybersecurity. If your staff don’t use VPNs, there’s every chance you will fall victim to a damaging hack. When you’re providing VPNs to your staff, you’re going to need to get the best options with the most features available.
But what about your solo projects? Maybe you’re opening an ecommerce store to sell your crafts. Or maybe you’re planning to write a NanoWrimo novel in November. This project is incredibly important to you, but is probably not at that much risk. If someone did hack you, they might not even be able to do much with your data.
Since you’re only securing yourself, and you don’t need that high a level of security, are free VPNs good enough?
Let’s take a quick look at what’s available and whether it is worthwhile considering.
Totally Free VPNs
The one kind of free VPN you’ll find is totally free. In other words, you’re not using it on a trial basis and it’s not just a free version of a paid VPN. Any other tiers are ancillary rather than necessary.
This is the kind of free VPN you should stay away from. There’s a good reason VPNs charge for the service. A VPN provider should have no means of income from the service other than a subscription fee. If they are selling your data to advertisers, then they are clearly not doing their job. Most, if not all, online advertising is targeted these days, using the data the VPN is supposed to encrypt.
But there is another kind of free VPN that may be worth its weight.
Many premium VPN services offer a free tier. They do this to attract customers who are not yet willing to pay, in the knowledge that many users of the free option will eventually opt into their subscription service. This is the kind of free VPN that you can trust, with no need to worry that they are selling your data to ad services. If you eventually see the worth of an upgrade, you can easily switch to a paid tier.
The problem with free versions of premium VPNs is that they inevitably limit you in some way. There are two common limits: speed and bandwidth. Free VPNs that significantly slow you down are incredibly frustrating, and I don’t recommend them. On the other hand, VPNs that provide a limited amount of bandwidth are actually easy to use and effective.
This is only really an option if you are working on something that is not data heavy. For example, if you are writing content or even a novel, and are using Google Docs to back everything up, you may get more than enough use out of your limited bandwidth.
Keep in mind, though, that the most you’re going to get from a free VPN is 10GB a month from Windscribe. That may be enough for you, but unfortunately it does not serve most people. The 500MB that other services provide is laughable.
If you are starting a solo project, you should definitely consider using a free VPN. Free versions of premium VPNs are safe and user-friendly. However, you are probably going to need more than the limited bandwidth they provide. I recommend getting a basic subscription to ExpressVPN or NordVPN and paying by the year – you’ll get a big discount by doing so!