A couple of years ago, a man named Edward Snowden made clear that the US government had been spying on most internet users throughout the world with the help of surveillance software operated by their National Security Agency. Soon after, a lot of people started to look for ways to strengthen their privacy online and avoid this surveillance in any way they could. Thanks to this, VPN services started to become really popular among regular internet users, expanding their market from mostly computer science adapts to a wide base of mainstream media consumers.
If you’re not familiar with them, you should know that Virtual Private Networks, or VPNs, are a pretty good, if not the best, tool to protect your privacy while you are online. They take your internet traffic and route it through a network of servers that encrypt your data.
A normal VPN service provider will let you connect from many servers distributed in several countries, allowing you to disguise your traffic and make websites think your connection is coming from said countries. This is perfect to lift blockages in many countries where access to certain content is restricted as well as media products restricted by companies based on the location of the access.
Don’t use “free VPNs” as seen here in this article, free vs paid VPNs.
As you may expect, VPNs are a paid service in most cases. These networks are always provided by private companies that need to monetize their products in order to exist so that shouldn’t surprise you. Still, many of them have the particularity of offering a free trial period to potential users to let them experience the quality of their service and help them see the benefits of using a Virtual Private Network before making any commitments.
Free trial VPNs are not uncommon, so it may not be easy to decide which ones are actually worth your time. Even if these are free trials we’re talking about, the tedious process of installation and the risk of exposing your personal information by downloading the wrong software are enough of a reason to pick carefully. Fortunately, we’ve already tried many free trial VPNs and tested their boundaries so you don’t have to.
Here are some of the best ones we found:
An affordable option. SaferVPN offers several hundreds of servers distributed in about 30 countries, giving users a real variety to choose from. They support several encryption protocols that ensure your data is protected at all times and the speed of their servers is pretty good. They offer a 24-hour trial, which might be too little to some, but more than enough to those looking for a simple privacy solution.
There are two downsides to this service, though. They do not allow torrenting over their network, making it a poor choice for those who are heavy downloaders. The other bad thing about Safer is that they do keep logs about their users’ activity. If a law enforcement agency were to seize their servers for whatever reason, then a good lot of information could be leaked.
Full SaferVPN Review here.
Like SaferVPN, this one lets you try their service for 24 hours without the need of registering a credit card. They accept Bitcoin as a payment method, which is nice because it adds an extra layer of anonymity to their users.
Cactus is a proficient VPN that supports every major security protocol, has very fast servers, keeps no logs about your activity and allows torrenting. The only downside might be the low amount of servers available. They only count with 16 of them distributed in four countries.
Full CactusVPN Review here.
Even though ExpressVPN does not technically feature a free trial, they do have a 30-day money back guarantee that could be considered as a longer trial period than all the others on this list. Their network features strong encryption protocols and it is optimized for fast connections. This comes handy when using bit torrents, which is also allowed on their network.
They are the VPN service with more servers on this list. Featuring over one thousand of them, distributed throughout 94 countries. This VPN is a bit more expensive than others, so this added on top of its lack of a free trial doesn’t make it a good option if you’re looking to reduce costs while testing different providers
Full ExpressVPN Review here.
This sophisticated VPN is famous for being used to bypass China’s strict controls over internet connections. They offer a 3-day trial to their potential users, which lets them run a more robust test on their servers, although you do have to provide credit card info in advance.
Like SaferVPN, they do not allow torrenting over their servers, which is a downer. They also keep some logs about user activity, but placing their headquarters in Switzerland might make it harder for any authorities to gain access to their servers. Vypr also has no limitation of bandwidth or speed and supports a wide variety of platforms, making it a versatile option for power users.
Full VyprVPN review here.
Perhaps the best free trial VPNs, NordVPN provides a really long list of countries to connect from. They’re based in Panama, so like Vypr they’re not in the reach of most law enforcement agencies, but this is pretty much irrelevant because unlike all the other VPNs mentioned, Nord does not keep any logs about their users’ activity.
Another quality they share with VyprVPN is that their trial period lasts 3 days, so you can be sure their service is of good quality. Like the others, Nord supports many security protocols and has no speed limitations. They do allow P2P connections and torrenting and their support extends to Android, iOS, Windows and Mac OS.
Full NordVPN Review here.
Avoid Free VPNs
While it is true there are some free VPN services available out there, we strongly recommend you to avoid them. You should know that no good service is ever free, and VPNs are no exception. Many VPN providers that offered their services for free have been caught monitoring their users’ data and selling it to advertisers. This means that even if you think you’re not paying for the service, the truth is that you’re doing it with a much more valuable asset: your privacy. Which is actually what VPNs are supposed to protect.
More extreme cases of deceiving free VPN services have been recorded for spreading malware and selling their users’ bandwidth. These go beyond simply sniffing on your traffic, so think twice before installing software from a VPN service provider that advertises itself as free. It’s even more recommendable that you go through the trials of other VPNs if you really want to extend your service for free.
Free Trials Are a Limitation
Free trials are meant to illustrate you about the potential of a VPN software, yet most of them won’t let you access a whole list of functionalities unless you hire the real service. Free trial VPNs are a great way of experimenting and having a first approach into the world of Virtual Private Networks, but if you want quality, then you absolutely have to pay for a VPN service subscription.
The best paid providers like TorGuard, let you choose from dozens of countries in which they’ve deployed hundreds of servers even if they do not count with a free trial period. The key about good services like theirs are the details like allowing P2P connections, ad-blocking, multi-platform support and support for scripting, which are features not everyone can offer and most free trials won’t include.
Remember that privacy is a valuable asset and, therefore, it should not be taken lightly. Take advantage of this list and choose the right tool to keep your important data away from the hands from hackers and surveillance agencies from all over the world.