Isn’t it true that if you don’t pay for a thing, you are the product? What about VPNs that are completely free? How do they generate enough money to live comfortably? Because the majority of the most popular VPN services are paid, many consumers have naturally gravitated toward free VPN services. But how can these free suppliers generate money if they don’t charge any form of subscription fee? Here are a few examples of how VPNs earn money and how they influence you.
Free VPN providers, like other free services like YouTube or Twitch, can monetize their services through adverts. These might appear at any moment and can be a nuisance to deal with while attempting to utilize the internet. Furthermore, they are frequently unable to be closed, implying that you may be forced to spend time viewing whole advertising when you could be doing anything else. This can result in a disorienting internet experience.
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2. Tracking Pixels and Cookies
The inconvenient nature of adverts isn’t the only drawback of free VPN services. Cookies and tracking pixels can also be used to track your browsing habits so that businesses can better sell to you.
When you visit a website, you’ve undoubtedly heard the term “cookies.” These are little data files used to keep track of your surfing habits. Tracking pixels, on the other hand, are 1×1 pixel images that are concealed from view and may follow your online activities.
When you use a VPN, your surfing behavior should be completely secret to you, therefore these two marketing strategies should be avoided. Your data is viewed and utilized by both your VPN provider and third parties if your VPN uses tracking pixels and cookies.
3. A Freemium Business Model
You’ve probably heard the word “freemium” before, especially if you’ve used apps. A freemium programme or service provides consumers with a free version with restricted capabilities and features. As a result, there is always the option to upgrade to a premium version.
These freemium applications might be so limiting that users are forced to upgrade in order to access the most advanced features. This is sometimes the case with free VPN services. While you may never upgrade your free VPN subscription to a premium one, your provider may benefit handsomely from those who do.
4. Logs from VPNs
Isn’t it true that when you use a VPN, your data is entirely secured and private? No, not at all. While many VPN services protect your internet traffic, a handful of free (and even a few expensive) VPN services do not. VPN records are useful in this situation. VPN logs are databases that store information about the users of a certain service provider. This data can include browsing history, linked devices, bandwidth, and IP addresses. But why is it necessary for VPN companies to store these logs? Data, after all, is extremely useful…
Companies may have a better understanding of their customers and promote to them more effectively using this type of data. Third parties are prepared to pay large sums of money in exchange for this valuable user information. VPN companies are aware of this, and some choose to exploit it by selling data to the highest bidder.
5. Providing Login Information for Sale
Even if a VPN service does not store records, data such as your account email address is still available and can be sold to third parties. Companies and fraudsters alike can use this information to target you, allowing them to profit from your VPN provider’s actions. Spam mail, phishing emails, and other harmful messages may result, attempting to defraud you of important information or money.
Free VPNs aren’t all bad, but they do come with risks.
Even free VPN companies have to generate money somehow, so keep that in mind if you’re thinking about joining up for one. While there are free VPN services that provide a secure service, many seek to earn by abusing their customers. This is why it’s critical to research your potential VPN provider to ensure that your data is kept private and secure.