VPN connections give us an additional layer of security using encryption to all traffic coming out of our device until it reaches the server. Thus any downstream user can gain access to our data by MITM attacks and no company can register our activity on the network. Many users choose to use free servers, however, they can be much more expensive than we think.
Servers cost money
Servers are not free. A server costs money on hardware, electricity and maintenance. If a company offers a free VPN access it must be getting investment on the other hand and we run the risk that this money comes from the sale of private customer information.
There are many companies that pay in exchange for information about users,so although we protect our connections from MITM attacks, this will remain committed to businesses and large organizations.
Why is Tor free?
Tor protects connections similar to a VPN server, but it’s not the same. Tor network masks your IP address and the content of the packet forwarding through a series of routers or nodes that are distributed throughout the world.
Tor needs specific applications and configurations to run and the speed at which we browse which isn’t so fast. The free option is the best way to protect our privacy, but we will always be given more privacy and performance in a specialized server in which one has to pay.
Hola, a clear example of this
Hola was one of the most used free VPN servers on the network. This service is fully integrated with our web browser and allowed us to protect our connections.
Although everything seemed to work perfectly, we have seen how the company was taking advantage of the extension to provide “output nodes” to users of paid service so that the bandwidth of its free customers could be used to provide access to paying customers.
Hola became a botnet without users noticing.
What must a reliable VPN have?
To protect your privacy, we must pay for it. In this way we will ensure that the company has money to cover the costs (and make a profit, since it continues to be a business) and that it will not opt for selling information to get that investment.
We also need a server that does not keep records of our activity or connections in their databases and allows payment through secure and private systems like Bitcoin
Finally, it would be best if the company that we hired had its own DNS servers to avoid information of the DNS requests to be filtered in case our connection fails.
What servers can we trust?
Here is a complete list of paid VPN servers that take the privacy of the users seriously. We can choose the cheapest and which best suits our needs in terms of speed, location and services:
- Private Internet Access
- IPVanish VPN
- Pure VPN
- CyberGhost VPN