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Why you should avoid a lifetime VPN subscription

A lifetime VPN subscription only sounds like a good idea. But dig deeper, and you’ll see it’s actually a bad investment or even a scam. Learn about the risks you take with a lifetime service and discover the best alternatives.

Why you should avoid a lifetime VPN subscription

What is a lifetime VPN?

A lifetime VPN is a virtual private network subscription you purchase once and enjoy for the rest of your life without ever renewing it or paying any extra charges. The up-front fee might seem high, but it is still cheaper compared to a monthly VPN subscription in the long run. Sounds too good to be true? In most cases, it is.

Risks and trade-offs of a lifetime VPN

As tempting as a lifetime VPN plan sounds, it comes with a bunch of risks that might end up costing you more than you ever intended to pay:

  1. Limited features and functionality. Lifetime VPNs might have limited features and functionality compared to VPNs that operate on a monthly or yearly subscription model. For example, some lifetime VPN services might have a smaller server network, restricting your options for server locations and potentially affecting connection speed. VPNs meant to serve you for a lifetime also might not offer advanced features like a functional kill-switch, split-tunneling, or ad-blocking.
  2. Questionable security. Lifetime VPNs tend to be less secure. They might not offer regular updates or miss out on essential security patches. Regular updates address security vulnerabilities, so skipping them leaves user data and privacy at risk. The lack of advanced security features mentioned above also adds to the poor security of lifelong VPNs.
  3. Poor customer support. Some lifetime VPNs provide limited or inconsistent customer support. It can be difficult or even impossible to get help when you need it.
  4. Questionable provider reliability. If a VPN provider only offers lifetime services, it raises concerns about what they will do when the funds from one-time payments run out. Research before purchasing a lifetime service to avoid unreliable providers and scammers.
  5. It might turn out to be pricier in the long run. Don’t fall for the “lifetime” promise, and make sure to read the contract thoroughly — most lifetime VPN subscription deals are only available for a few years. And if the provider decides to end your lifetime contract, you might not even get a refund.
  6. Limited scalability. Lifelong VPNs may struggle to meet the changing needs of their customers and go hand in hand with evolving technologies. You might find it difficult to use the VPN on multiple devices or on upgraded ones. In contrast, premium VPNs have the funds to update and improve their technologies constantly.

Alternatives to a lifetime VPN

Don’t be tempted by the promise of lifetime subscriptions and opt for an alternative to keep your online activity and data truly private:

  1. Premium VPNs with monthly or yearly subscriptions. Most reputable VPN providers offer monthly and yearly subscription plans, as well as great VPN deals on special occasions. While these VPN plans may cost more in the long run, they typically offer additional features, better security, and more frequent updates than lifetime subscriptions. You can test most of them for free or opt out of a plan if unsatisfied. For example, NordVPN offers a 30-day money-back guarantee for all its subscription plans.
  2. Free VPNs. Multiple free VPN services are available, but these services often come with limitations on features, bandwidth, and server locations. Additionally, free VPN providers may collect and sell user data to third parties, which defies the purpose of using a VPN. So be extra careful when choosing between free and paid VPNs.
  3. Build your own VPN. For more tech-savvy users, building your own VPN could be an option. You can set up your own server or use a cloud hosting service to create your own VPN. While this option requires more technical know-how, it can offer greater control and customization over your VPN. You can follow our NordVPN guides on creating and configuring a self-hosted or cloud VPN server with DigitalOcean, Microsoft Azure, AWS, Google Cloud, Linode, or Hetzner with the free Meshnet feature.
  4. Browser proxy extensions. Some VPN providers offer VPN proxy browser extensions that can be installed on popular browsers. These VPN extensions are often free or offer affordable subscription plans and can provide basic VPN functionality like IP masking and encryption. However, browser VPN proxy extensions lack some of the features of standalone VPNs. For example, they only encrypt the traffic generated within the specific browser but do not provide comprehensive protection for other internet activities or applications on your device.
  5. Tor network. Tor is a free and open-source network that allows users to browse the web anonymously. While Tor is not a VPN, it offers similar privacy and anonymity.

How can you recognize if a lifetime VPN subscription is a scam?

You will not fall for a VPN scam if you pay attention to specific red flags. Here is a list of the main tell-tale signs that you should look out for in a VPN service offering a lifelong plan:

  1. Unrealistically low prices.
  2. Lack of information about the company or product.
  3. Poor reviews and feedback.
  4. Lack of security features.
  5. A small server network.
  6. No trial period or refund policy.
  7. Unsolicited emails or ads.
  8. Poor client support.
  9. Suspicious payment methods.

Unrealistically low prices

If the price for a lifetime VPN is extremely low compared to that of reputable VPN subscriptions, better stay away. The upkeep of a quality VPN service is costly, so offering it at a meager price is economically unfeasible.

Lack of information about the company

Incomplete or vague information about the company and the technologies it uses is a sign that you should not trust it. A reliable VPN service should provide complete information on the company, its privacy policy, terms of service, and contact details.

Poor reviews and feedback

Read what the users have to say about the service before subscribing. If most of the feedback is poor or outright negative, refrain from purchasing.

Lack of security features

Better avoid providers that do not offer security features found in reputable VPNs.

A small server network

Limited server locations restrict your ability to choose and could impact the connection speed. If the network is minimal or the company is vague about it — it’s probably a scam.

No trial period or refund policy

If a VPN provider does not offer a trial period or a refund policy, it could mean they want to pocket your money and avoid any responsibility if their services are subpar.

Unsolicited emails or ads

If you’ve subscribed to a service on a website that was flooding you with ads and pop-ups, and if you started receiving unsolicited marketing emails, it could mean you are dealing with scammers.

Poor client support

If you have to wait a long time for a reply from the customer service team or if the answer never comes, you are dealing with a scam VPN.

Suspicious payment methods

Scammers usually accept obscure or untraceable payment methods, while reputable providers accept widely recognizable ones.


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