So, you’ve heard about VPNs, their cybersecurity benefits, and what they can do. Before you get one, though, you’ll probably consider the price.
VPN costs: How much should you pay?
Although a VPN can be free or may charge only a few dollars for a month, a high-quality VPN will cost 8 USD to 10 USD a month.
To provide private and secure traffic, a VPN must connect to an extensive internet backbone. The bandwidth required to service hundreds of thousands of users is massive and costs a lot of money.
Not only that, but a VPN also has other costs to consider, such as maintenance, office expenses, staff salaries, and additional other operational overhead. How could anyone offer all this for free?
Premium VPNs, those that zealously guard your privacy and make it their utmost priority, need to spend money to do so. Only then can they hire the best and brightest, invest in the most secure infrastructure, and have a stellar customer support team to address your concerns. This is why it’s worth paying more for a premium VPN provider.
See the full breakdown of ExpressVPN’s plans.
A good, privacy-focused VPN service should include the following things:
- A transparent policy toward logs
- Registration in a country without data retention laws
- Leak protection and an internet kill switch
- Use of superior VPN protocols
- Customer support team
At the end of the day, a VPN can be an essential tool in your arsenal if you wish to enhance your privacy on the web and remain secure.
What should I look for in a safe VPN?
If you are already using a VPN or considering doing so, you’re probably familiar with its benefits. Such benefits include ensuring your privacy on unfamiliar networks, preventing outsiders from logging your browsing history, keeping your internet service provider from monitoring your activity, and opening up censored content.
A VPN confers these benefits by acting as a middleman between your device and the websites and apps you visit. VPNs set up an encrypted tunnel and route all your internet traffic through it, making it impenetrable for hackers, snoops, your ISP, or other pesky entities.
When you’re connected to a VPN, websites and services see the VPN’s IP address instead of your actual one, enhancing your privacy, anonymity, and security. Here’s what to look for:
Policy on logs
Whenever you connect to a VPN server, you’re trusting the company with your digital footprint. With all your internet traffic now routed through that VPN server, it has the potential to track and monitor what you do online unless the company takes pains to make this impossible.
A VPN should never record your online activity or keep tabs on when you connect. It should be fully transparent about precisely what data it collects and why. And you may also want to consider a VPN based in a jurisdiction that does not have data retention laws so that it cannot be compelled to keep records of customers’ online activity.
Choice of protocol and additional security measures
When discussing the encrypted protocol that VPNs set up, it’s essential to understand the technical specifications.
VPN protocols define how two devices talk to each other. The choice of protocol will determine the underlying encryption standard, resulting in differing speed and security levels . One widely used protocol is OpenVPN, which is open-source—making it subject to oversight and scrutiny by cybersecurity experts. Similarly, the core codebase of the Lightway protocol has also been made open-source.
Additional security measures such as an internet kill switch are also crucial. A kill switch keeps your data safe even if your VPN connection drops, preventing leakage of internet traffic outside the encrypted tunnel until protection is restored.
Are cheap VPNs worth it?
You might ask “can I get a VPN for free?“. Yes, you can get VPNs for free, but their services might be extremely limited. With free VPN services, you’re more likely to experience slow connections, little or no customer support, and fewer VPN server locations.
How about the security of free VPNs? Cheaper VPN services could be secure, but they’re unlikely to match what a premium VPN has to offer in terms of service quality.
As mentioned above, premium VPN providers invest in the most secure infrastructure, talented engineers, and quality support staff to ensure the best service for users. It’s hard for low-cost or free VPN service providers to match the features and services of a quality paid provider.
FAQ: About VPN cost
How much does a VPN cost for a company?
If you’re a small business and would like your employees to use ExpressVPN, we do offer volume licensing subscriptions.
Is it illegal to have a VPN?
VPNs are legal, and they are used by both individuals and companies around the world to protect their private information and online activity.
Even where VPNs are seen as discouraged, many governments tacitly endorse their use by officials, academics, or business leaders as a necessary measure to stay competitive in an interconnected world. It is not practical for any country to ban all VPNs.
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