Do you actually need a VPN?
A VPN is a powerful cybersecurity tool, and we strongly recommend using one. VPNs encrypt your data while in transit, hide your IP address, and lower the risks of you becoming the victim of cybercrimes. But which VPN should you be using?
The VPN market is very saturated right now, and you might be tempted by some of the many free options that are currently available. Cheap or free VPNs can seem like a safe, affordable option, but some offers are just too good to be true. There’s always a catch — or, in the case of non-paid VPNs, quite a few catches.
NordVPN alternatives: What are the risks?
Let’s take a closer look at the risks associated with free VPNs and examine how NordVPN compares to alternative VPN options.
NordVPN operates on a subscription model with a variety of pricing options. This allows NordVPN to pay for better infrastructure and a wider server network, and to prioritize the privacy and security of users above all else. By contrast, free VPNs don’t charge their users anything, but provide less reliable connections, with fewer servers to choose from.
They need to make their money in other ways, so free VPNs are likely to sell your data to other companies, further compromising your privacy. That’s why VPN providers with a premium business model are usually more reliable: they make their money by providing a good service, not by monetizing their users’ data.
Free VPNs know that they don’t have to provide a high quality of service since they’re not charging you. Even if they’re selling your data, they probably won’t be making enough money to provide a great service anyway.
A premium VPN invests the money its users give it into maintaining a global server network with multiple IP locations, strong encryption protocols, and responsive tech support. It knows that its users expect fast internet speeds and a stable connection, so it makes sure to provide that.
NordVPN can provide more server locations than a free alternative because the subscription business model funds a global network of more than 5700 servers. With NordVPN, you can connect to locations in 60 different countries, making it a great option for both expats and anyone working from their home country but wishing to use an overseas IP address. This just wouldn’t be possible with a free VPN. While an alternative provider could have multiple server locations, building a network on this scale takes a major investment that would never be possible through a non-premium model.
NordVPN is the fastest VPN in the world, according to multiple VPN speedtests, compared to both alternative free and premium options. This is due to a number of factors. For one thing, the NordVPN server network includes powerful 10Gbps servers, and with so many servers available, the chances of a connection being overloaded with traffic are very low. NordVPN also offers NordLynx, a lightning-fast VPN protocol developed from the WireGuard protocol.
All VPNs use VPN protocols to encrypt data in transit, but NordVPN is leagues ahead of free alternatives when it comes to fast, secure protocols. A protocol’s implementation determines how secure your data is while traveling between your network and the VPN server, but it also impacts the speed at which your data moves. With the NordLynx protocol, NordVPN is able to offer unrivaled speeds without compromising on security.
NordVPN offers 24-hour customer support, seven days a week. If a NordVPN user has any problems with their service, they can seek help directly from a trained professional. By contrast, free services rarely offer this kind of support, in part because they can’t afford to. While a free VPN may seem like a good option financially, you’re likely to encounter poor performance issues with it, and will then struggle to get reliable (if any) support. Premium services like NordVPN are always worth investing in for this reason.
While free VPNs almost never undergo independent auditing processes, NordVPN regularly submits to in-depth audits. In recent years, NordVPN engaged in three major audits and passed all of them with flying colors. For NordVPN, the auditing process is extremely valuable, as it confirms our commitment to transparency and accountability — essential features for any privacy-focused company.
When compared to most free alternatives, NordVPN wins on privacy. Free VPN services usually want to make money in other ways, and this might involve gathering data from their users and selling that information to other companies. Your harvested data can then be used for targeted advertising, among other purposes. That’s the opposite of privacy.
NordVPN is fully funded by its users, so it has no incentive to do anything with your data other than protect it. While using NordVPN, your privacy will be strengthened, and neither NordVPN or your internet service provider will view your browsing activity.
NordVPN users enjoy a level of security that just isn’t available from most free NordVPN alternatives. Thanks to NordVPN’s powerful encryption protocols, your data can move between your network and a NordVPN server safely. Our servers are carefully secured against intrusions, and with our Kill Switch feature, your data won’t be exposed even if the VPN connection drops momentarily. NordVPN also has an experienced team of security experts who continually test and monitor the service to maximize its security.
Free VPNs, on the other hand, won’t necessarily use the safest VPN protocols and could be housing servers in insecure locations. If your goal is to keep your data safe, getting NordVPN is always a good idea.
NordVPN alternatives usually can’t compete when it comes to additional features and security measures. Again, they have little motivation to do so, since their one and only selling point is their lack of fees.
While some free VPNs provide basic levels of online security and limited location-changing options, NordVPN comes with built-in Threat Protection, a powerful feature that can limit your exposure to malware, shield you from online trackers, and block ads. NordVPN also offers a completely free feature called Meshnet, which allows you to create your own private VPN between your devices and those of your friends and coworkers.
A free NordVPN alternative just doesn’t have the resources or the incentive to go the extra mile for its consumers. Of course, not all free VPNs sell your data or offer low-quality services, but we would always recommend a premium option for maximum privacy and security.
Why choose NordVPN instead of its alternatives?
Simply put, a paid VPN is better than a free VPN. Even the best NordVPN alternatives will struggle to match NordVPN, for several reasons. Here are three key strengths that set NordVPN apart.
- Security and privacy. NordVPN offers a level of online security and privacy that free VPNs simply can’t match. Because of our business model, NordVPN has the means to protect your data from both cybercriminals and the many companies that want to monitor your online activity.
- A wealth of extra features. While the VPN is the core of our service, we always go the extra mile. NordVPN users can also enjoy enhanced security and data privacy thanks to our Threat Protection feature, as well as our Kill Switch, which ensures that your data is never exposed accidentally.
- A faster, more stable experience. NordVPN is the fastest VPN on the market. From our superfast NordLynx protocol to the 10Gbps servers our users enjoy around the world, our infrastructure provides levels of speed and stability that you just won’t find with low-quality alternatives. We don’t believe that you should have to sacrifice internet speed for security. That’s why we provide both.
NordVPN is the best VPN if you’re looking for speed, security, and useful extra features. If you’re not convinced yet, check out these NordVPN reviews to see what major publications and review sites have to say about our services.