Is Quality Video Streaming Possible with a Free VPN?
Using a VPN for streaming videos is becoming more and more popular among internet users for various reasons. Some want to circumvent the regional restrictions of Netflix and similar services, while others are concerned with getting the best possible quality on the go. In any case, there is no shortage of options available on the VPN market right now. Choosing the right one can take some time if you’ve never had to buy a VPN before, and there are some implications that you might not haven’t heard about to consider.
You’ll find that there are plenty of providers on the market offering their services for free. And as with anything else, you might be wondering where the catch is. After all, free services and products often come with a few strings attached. When it comes to watching videos on the internet, are free VPNs an option worth considering?
The Current State of the VPN Market
The popularity of VPN services is through the roof at this point, and it looks like it will keep climbing in the near future. This has created a very competitive environment, full of service providers offering different rates and deals. As mentioned above, free VPN offers are not rare at all. You have to be careful though – make sure to examine the company you’re about to buy from in detail.
The competitive nature of the market has drawn a large number of companies to it in recent times. This means that it’s common to come across someone who doesn’t quite know what they’re doing. Free VPN services handled by an inexperienced provider are a recipe for disaster. Not just for the company either – you’ll be at risk yourself.
Connection Speed and Stability
Sometimes, a VPN will either speed up your internet or, in the worse case, slow it down significantly. If you decide to test a VPN, I’d suggest you also perform a quick speed test on https://www.speedcheck.org/ to see if that VPN is slowing down or increasing your speed.
Streaming quality will naturally be your main concern. While some free VPNs might be able to get the job done in a reasonable manner, this is a rare occurrence. In most cases, you’ll have to deal with severe rate limitations, which will lead to degraded quality of your video streams. Free VPNs might not live up to their promises about country availability as well. If you need a VPN to unlock extra content at your favorite streaming service like Netflix, you might be disappointed to find out that you’re still blocked.
When you pay for a premium VPN service, you often get a few guarantees. Most importantly, you’re usually guaranteed some percentage of uptime each month. This means that you’ll almost never have to go without a VPN, as the company is willing to back their promises with actual money. On the other hand, when you’re using a free VPN, you can’t complain when it suddenly goes down.
And this will happen – more often than you might be willing to deal with, in fact. Don’t underestimate the availability issues of free VPN services. The only exceptions are major companies with significant infrastructure who can afford to invest lots of resources into their free offers. But that’s usually because they benefit from that in the end – it’s advertising for their premium services.
This brings us to another important point. Free VPNs often come with a few strings attached regarding the convenience of using them. For example, you might have to deal with ads being injected in the sites you’re browsing. For some people, this is not only annoying but can be a privacy concern as well – more on that below.
The additional trackers that may get inserted into the websites you visit can also slow down your browsing. This is on top of the already limited connection speeds you’ll find yourself dealing with when using a free VPN. This might work fine for regular browsing, but when you want to stream video without any interruptions, it’s one of the worst deals you can get. That’s putting aside the privacy issues that this all creates.
Speaking of privacy, that’s another issue some people pay very little attention to. With a free VPN, you don’t know what’s going on with your data. Sure, the company might readily make various claims about how they’re handling your data and how much you should trust them. But can you really believe what they’re saying?
If it’s a small, unknown company that just appeared on the market a few months ago, chances are there might be something shady going on with their business. If they’re offering suspiciously good free VPN services, there’s a good chance that they’re harvesting your data on the backend. They have to benefit in some way from what they’re doing, after all.
The bottom line is, free VPNs can occasionally work for certain types of internet activity. But when it comes to video streaming, paid subscriptions are usually the only way to go. Between the quality issues and the privacy risks associated with free services, it’s just not worth it.