VPN app: should you pay for it?

Ruth C. | February 7, 2020

There’s a common saying about free services: if you don’t pay for the product, you are the product. VPN app services are no exception – many people follow this rule when choosing their VPN. But, does paying for the service guarantee its reliability? In this article, you’ll find out whether paid equals trustworthy. You’ll also get tips on choosing the best service and instructions on setting up your first VPN connection.

Free vs. paid

To tell if paying for a VPN application is worth it, let’s find out what makes a VPN reliable. A VPN app can be used for various purposes  – one of them is increasing your online privacy. If you’re looking for a tool that helps you browse in anonymity, make sure your VPN provider guarantees a no-logging policy. Whether your VPN keeps any logs should be explicitly stated in their privacy policy.

There’s this stereotype about free VPN services: they make money by collecting your data. Or, they make even more money by selling it to advertising agencies. And yes, logging users’ data and handing it over to 3rd parties is one of the ways some free VPNs collect their coin. If privacy is what you look for in a VPN, you should go for a service that contains costs other ways. For example, by offering premium subscriptions. Moreover, not all paid VPN app services guarantee a no-log policy, which is the more reason to look into how your VPN makes money.

Whether it’s free or paid, your VPN app should use advanced and reliable technology solutions. Don’t worry, you don’t have to be a tech wizard to understand all the nuances. Just keep in mind that one of the key factors that define the quality of a VPN is the security protocol they use on their servers. The top VPN apps for Android, iPhone or desktop devices run on IKEv2/IPsec or OpenVPN protocols, which are the most advanced ones in the industry.

Some VPNs only support L2TP or PPTP protocols, which aren’t that security-friendly. Experts claim these protocols provide weak encryption, and that they’re obsolete, compared to IKEv2 or OpenVPN. What’s interesting, some paid and reputable VPN app services continue supporting obsolete protocols on some of their servers. At the same time, at least a few free VPNs allow connecting through safe and reliable security protocols.

So, does paying a hundred dollars for a VPN guarantee it will be trustworthy? No, not necessarily. Despite the stereotypes and myths, free VPNs can provide just as good of a service as paid ones do. So, if you’re on a tight budget or trying to save up, consider getting a free VPN app. Of course, it’s wise to thoroughly look up the service – after all, it’s your sensitive information that matters.

Setting up your first connection: the process of VPN app download

Now that you’ve chosen your VPN service, it’s time to set everything up. If you’re looking for a VPN for Android, go onto Google Play, find the app and download it. Once you do, create a new account or log in to your existing one. After that, you’ll be able to establish your first connection. To do so, pick one of the VPN servers from the list or let the VPN application pick a server for you. Most services have a smart algorithm which finds the least loaded server nearby so your speed is as best as it can be. That’s it: there should be a notification indicating establishing your VPN connection was a success. Hooray!

To set up a VPN for iPhone, find the service through the App Store. After that, repeat the same steps and start your browsing activities as you would usually do.

Ruth C.

Ruth C.

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



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