Can you trust free VPN services? Yes, and here is why

Ruth C. | January 16, 2020

A free VPN service might seem like a gamble. The purpose of such applications is to protect users’ privacy and anonymity online. Thus, trusting a free VPN provider can require some convincing. 

After all, many free programs or services rely on users’ data and activities within the app for revenue. However, disregarding the entire free VPN market is unreasonable. Some providers emerge with freemium products, supplying free and paid VPN versions. 

Atlas VPN is one of these providers, discrediting people’s common assumptions about free VPNs. 

We strongly believe everyone should have the option to protect themselves online. However, it is understandable that users are bound to have doubts about free VPN providers. 

This article reveals the must-have components of a trusted free VPN. 

trusted free vpn

How can a free VPN service exist? 

Every service provider wishes and needs revenue to sustain their business. Since free services do not take your money, they need something else in return. It might be your data, including browsing habits or preferences, that they share with their partners. 

In other cases, free providers can show ads within their applications, meaning advertising is their main revenue channel.  

It is essential to establish that free VPN services are not inherently bad. The main concern is that maintaining VPN servers and supporting secure connections require resources. 

Without a clear-cut revenue like clients’ payments, they might take up some less favorable sources of income. 

Verify before you trust free VPN services

Trusting a new free VPN service provider can be risky. Like with any product, users should carefully analyze the product and its reputation. For instance, using a product with deep-rooted security issues is dangerous. 

In the case of VPNs, users grant them access to all activities they perform while connected. So, there should be built-in protections against the exploitation of such access. 

Questions to answer before using a free VPN 

You should use a checklist to determine whether a free VPN deserves your attention. Here are some of the most vital questions to answer before using it: 

  • Who owns the VPN service? What is their reputation online? 
  • What reviews can you find about the service online? 
  • What data does a VPN collect and store? 
  • If a free VPN gathers user data, what does it do with it? 
  • What is the source of revenue for the VPN?
  • What protection does a VPN offer? 
  • Has the VPN done any security audits? 

A no-logs policy is a must

A no-logs policy refers to guidelines a VPN company follows when it comes to clients’ data. It tells users that a provider does not collect IP addresses or information identifying their behavior. That means a VPN does not collect logs regarding what you do when connected to servers. 

However, such commitments go beyond free VPN services. Each provider, paid or free, should prioritize a no-logs policy. 

Atlas VPN has a no-logs policy. We oblige never to store information about our users’ activities or their IP addresses. It applies to both free and paid versions of our applications. 

Nevertheless, we emphasize that Atlas VPN performs basic analytics to guarantee the best experience for our users. Additionally, we need specific details, like billing information, to supply premium services. 

No hidden fees

A free VPN deal should be just that: free. Some suspicious free services can require banking information before you can start using them. Then, it secretly charges small fees to your account, likely hoping you won’t notice. In other cases, threats like fleeceware can charge significant sums for simple or low-quality services. 

If a free VPN service requires banking details to give access to free servers, it can be a red flag. 

Atlas VPN lets free users connect to our servers without providing financial information. It is only required if you choose to upgrade to our premium plans. Other than that, there are no hidden fees. We are transparent about our pricing policies. 

The source of revenue for a free VPN 

Any VPN needs resources to sustain its servers and software. Thus, a free VPN might not have a clear-cut revenue source. However, there are possible routes that free apps take: 

  • An ad-supported service, making most of its income from promotional content. 
  • A service that supports donations. 
  • A freemium model, meaning an app contains both free and paid versions/elements. 

Atlas VPN implements the freemium model. Our free version is available to anyone wishing they could safeguard their data. Thus, the premium plans are our main source of income. 

No ads 

Most free applications include ads. For instance, free smartphone games are the best example of this deal. After each match, you might notice an ad you cannot skip. The app can also offer game boosts in exchange for watching an ad. 

A VPN can integrate ads into their interfaces or show them during browsing. While this trade is not necessarily harmful, it can be unpleasant. Additionally, it does mean that an app will perform certain tracking to measure ad success.

Atlas VPN free version does not feature ads. We do not integrate them into our apps or inject them during browsing activities. 

Protocols and security

A free VPN should not take any shortcuts regarding internet traffic protection. It should use modern encryption and protocols to protect users. 

There might be cutbacks in other areas, like bandwidth or VPN servers. However, security is something that a free VPN should deliver unconditionally. You might consider looking the other way if a free VPN uses protocols like PPTP.  

Atlas VPN uses the same internet traffic protection routine for both free and paid versions. We embrace AES-256 or ChaCha20-Poly1305 to encrypt users’ traffic. Furthermore, you can set the VPN protocol suitable for you. We offer WireGuard and IKEv2/IPSec protocols. 

Additionally, VerSprite has completed a security audit of the Atlas VPN iOS application. We hope to perform more checks with leading cybersecurity consulting firms in the future. 

Data leak prevention

A VPN protects your online identity by masking your IP address and encrypting traffic. Once you connect to a VPN, your actual IP or DNS addresses should no longer be visible. 

Even with paid VPNs, you can run into data leakage issues, meaning online entities occasionally capture your real IP. You might notice it naturally or perform an IP address lookup. It will show you the locale of your IP address. 

Atlas VPN also hopes to prevent data leaks through a kill switch feature. It deals with moments when a VPN or internet connection becomes unstable. 

A free VPN can be great!

The assumption that all free VPN services are unreliable is outdated. Some free VPN providers can indeed be questionable, engaging in rather nefarious activities. However, Atlas VPN hopes to be the one to break these suppositions. 

Atlas VPN free version is an excellent starting point for anyone looking to try a VPN service. We offer three server locations, require no financial details, and use robust security measures. 

However, there are some limitations with the free version. For instance, Atlas VPN supports Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, Android TV, and Amazon Fire TV/FireStick devices. However, TV compatibility is only available to our premium users. Also, premium plans offer additional features like Data Breach Monitor, Tracker Blocker, SafeSwap servers, and others. 

Our subscription plans are also budget-friendly, so you won’t need to break the bank to get them. To make things even better, a 30-day money-back guarantee covers each purchase.

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Ruth C.

Ruth C.

Cybersecurity Researcher and Publisher at Atlas VPN. Interested in cybercrime, online security, and privacy-related topics.

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