By Meghna Deshraj

April 10, 2022

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A VPN is a great way to protect your data and privacy on the internet. It can go a long way to prevent data breaches and stop hackers from spying on your internet activities.

The effort to secure yourself and your device are crucial today. Even in 2021, cyber-attacks jumped by 151% as people around the world got online to work and play.

Several businesses, governments, and individuals were affected by these attacks. Even young people were on the list as they relied on the internet to study and watch movies.

Can a VPN Help?

Table of Contents

Alt – VPN-infographic

Description: A VPN may protect you from hackers and online threats

Many people are thinking to go for a free VPN install to protect their devices and data. However, free products are not always up to the mark. They don’t have any obligation to ensure your satisfaction as you are not paying for anything.

Therefore, free tools may put you in more danger if you are not careful. So, if you are wondering how to install free VPN, consider a few factors mentioned below to lower your risks.

What to Consider While Installing a Free VPN

1. Assess Legit Ownership

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Description: Find out who owns your free VPN

A range of companies offers free VPNs. Some of them are from well-known brands while you may not even hear about the rest.

As a result, you should research the ownership of a VPN before you install it. The task is more necessary for free VPNs as you can’t be too sure about something that costs zero dollars.

In addition, the owner of the VPN may be located in other countries. As per an investigation by Top10VPN, 10 of the most used VPNs in the US are supposedly owned by Chinese companies.

This should not be an issue but VPNs are banned in China. Therefore, a Chinese company that offers VPN services may be forced to share data with the authorities.

If that happens, the whole point of using a VPN goes for a toss.

Additionally, some free VPNs may be operated by shady companies. They might misuse your data or not provide results as per your expectations.

So, always check who owns a free VPN before installation.

2. Check Any Instances of Traffic Leaks

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Description – Even good VPNs may leak data and personal information

VPNs are like tunnels through which your mobile or computer exchanges data with websites or apps. It is this tunnel that protects your data from snooping eyes or hackers who try to intercept it.

A good VPN has a robust tunnel that doesn’t let your data out. However, free VPNs don’t have any obligation to provide you with good service.

As a result, the encryption VPNs use may be weak or inferior. Additionally, they may even leak your IP address that VPNs are supposed to hide. If that happens, someone with a bit of technical expertise can pick it up.

Moreover, they may even find out your location and compromise your accounts and information.

Worst of all, even paid VPNs are known to leak IP addresses. Therefore, you should find out if the free VPN you want to install has had any such incidents in the past.

You can read reviews, check links to news portals, and even research on YouTube to make an informed choice. Needless to say, you should stop installing any VPN that is known to leak IP addresses.

3. Find Out the Locations and Count of Servers

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Description: Check out the location of servers of your free VPN

The best thing about a VPN is the ability to change your browsing location. You can be in the US and choose a server in Russia with a different IP address to become anonymous.

In addition, changing your location gives you access to geo-restricted content. You may be able to watch movies, series, and programs blocked in your region.

Moreover, you may gain access to your favorite sports matches and tournaments just by changing your location.

As a result, top VPNs allow you to choose servers from multiple countries. You can sit on your couch and access content and information from around the world with a VPN.

Therefore, your free VPN should give you enough options to choose a location as per your preference. Additionally, it should have multiple servers so that you can switch between them if your speed is slow.

Stop the installation if you see the free VPN extension has only two or three servers or locations. They are not enough to provide you with a reliable service or experience.

4. Evaluate the Security of the Free VPN

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Description: Make sure your free VPN is secure

Building a secure VPN without cutting any corners needs significant investment. Businesses make this investment only to earn back returns from selling their products to customers.

However, you don’t have to pay anything for a free VPN. Therefore, the app makers don’t have a way to earn money from you directly.

As a result, you can’t expect them to make a proper investment or hire good developers. They are also more likely to take shortcuts or use open-source (free) technologies to develop their VPNs.

So, you can never be sure of your security. Additionally, these VPNs may require unwarranted permissions during installation, such as your camera or microphone.

However, a VPN shouldn’t be asking for permission to use your device’s hardware. As a result, be wary if your free VPN asks you to allow it to access your contacts or files.

Leading VPNs never ask for permissions they don’t require. Good free VPNs also follow this ethical practice, like free Chrome VPN.

Therefore, remember to assess if the free VPN extension you want to install is secure enough. Read unbiased reviews and check out industry publications to find out the truth of the product.

5. Check if there are Ads

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Description: Your free VPN may come with pesky ads

Nothing comes for free in this world. If you are getting something without paying, then you must be the product.

This holds true for things like social media. These services offer free features and functions but use your data and browsing habits to generate insights. Then they invite marketers to advertise on the platform and target free users.

Their ads are more relevant and align with your interests as they use your online habits to personalize their efforts. Most free VPNs, software, and apps come with ads. They may not only be irritating but also hinder the smooth functioning of the VPN.

Final Thoughts

VPNs are a great way to stay safe and protect your privacy. However, some free VPNs are not up to the mark and can lead to vulnerabilities and data leaks. You should think twice if your VPN asks for unwarranted permissions. 

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About the author 

Meghna Deshraj

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