Ah, the age-old question. Pretty much everyone wants to use a VPN nowadays, but they don’t all agree with the pricing. So this is the next logical step – wondering why all VPNs aren’t free.
Unfortunately, there aren’t many online articles talking about this. And it’s not like you can ask the providers themselves. Well, you can, but the support reps will probably be taken by surprise. They’re likely not trained to deal with these kinds of questions.
So we decided to take matters into our own hands. We’ll tell you exactly what stops VPNs from making their services free. Also, we’ll share one special tip with you that should help you get some really, really decent discounts.
So Why Aren’t All VPNs Free?
It’s the same answer you’d get from any business, really – because it’s not a sustainable business model. If VPN providers were to do that, they wouldn’t last very long on the market. And were’ talking about them offering all their services for free – not just a free plan that’s backed by legitimate paid plans.
How could the provider survive if they wouldn’t make any money? Not many people talk about this, but running a VPN isn’t cheap. Providers have to deal with tons of costs – here are just a few examples:
Staff Salaries – The people making the VPN a reality can’t live off of your gratitude.
Taxes – Like any business, VPNs have to pay income taxes. How much they have to pay depends on where their HQ is.
Server Costs – Large server networks don’t come cheap. Just one good server can cost anywhere between $100 and $500 (if not more) depending on its bandwidth, speeds, and location.
Maintenance – This does include staff salaries, but some providers might also pay the data centers they rent servers from extra maintenance fees.
Marketing & Branding – The VPN has to reach a wide audience on the Internet, and it needs money to do that (PR, ad campaigns, social media marketing, online marketing tools like MailChimp, etc.).
Rent – Some providers have physical offices where people work (especially if they run their own servers). If they don’t own the space, they have to pay rent.
Affiliate Deals – Many VPNs get new users from VPN review sites (or other VPN or tech-related websites). For every new user they get, they pay a commission.
Those are just some things we could think of. There are probably many other expenses, so if you know any, please let us know in the comments.
How Expensive Are VPNs?
Their prices aren’t as steep as some people make them out to be. Still, if you pick monthly plans, you can expect to pay anywhere around $10 to $13 per month. In the long run, that amounts to a pretty big yearly sum (anywhere between $120 and a little over $150).
With long-term plans, things get better, though. On average, you can expect to pay around $5 per month (so $60 per year). That’s still pretty steep for some people, however.
Well, that’s where our special tip comes into play – Black Friday deals!
Special Promo – Save Big During Black Friday!
VPN prices are downright dirt-cheap during this period. The find the best ones, we recommend checking out these cheap VPN deals from ProPrivacy. It’s almost a crime how low some of those prices can get!
And don’t worry – you can 110% trust ProPrivacy’s VPN recommendations. They’re one of the biggest VPN review sites on the web, and have been consistently stress-testing the biggest VPN providers on the market to find the best ones.
Oh, and we highly recommend using the links on their site instead of googling those deals yourself.
Because some of those Black Friday deals are exclusive to ProPrivacy, meaning you can’t get them anywhere else.
But There Are Free VPNs – What’s the Deal with Them?
Some VPNs claim to be completely free. So if they can do that, why can’t others?
It’s simple – because those VPNs come with a catch (or more, actually). Here’s what we mean:
Free VPNs Offer a Poor Experience
Unlike paid VPNs, you often have to put up with bandwidth caps when using a free service. That means you need to keep an eye on how much data you’re using so that you don’t go over the monthly limit. So no careless Netflix binging for you!
Also, free VPNs don’t offer reliable support. You shouldn’t expect live chat and 24/7 availability. How could they afford it, after all?
Plus, we have seen countless people complaining on Reddit about using a free VPN and never getting a response from support reps.
Free VPNs Put Your Privacy in Danger
Free VPNs actually have a way to make money – they log your data and sell it to advertisers. Kind of defeats the purpose of using a VPN in the first place, right?
Some of them might even go as far as selling your bandwidth to third parties if they operate on a peer-to-peer model. If you’re not sure what that means for you, think of it this way – your bandwidth could end up being part of large-scale DDoS attacks!
Free VPNs Can Be Malicious
Some free VPNs can actually expose you to malware – either through malicious code or ads. This seems to happen more on Android than any other operating system.
Nevertheless, you should never gamble with your data. The last thing you want is some hacker getting their greasy hands on your login credentials, credit card numbers, and any personal information they can use to commit identity theft.
The Bottom Line
There’s no way for a VPN to only run on a free business model. It’d go bankrupt pretty fast since VPNs come with pretty big expenses.
That doesn’t mean you have to settle for expensive VPNs, though. You can save lots of money by picking long-term plans or taking advantage of VPN deals (like the ones this Black Friday).
I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting (#MC) for RadioShack. I received a gift card to facilitate a shopping trip and promotional item as a thank you for participating. This...
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Stacie Connerty lives in Atlanta, Georgia with three teenagers. She has an insatiable love of travel, food and style & fashion. Stacie also loves all things tech, beauty, DIY, home decor, fitness, pet entertaining, and family.
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