Why You Should Do a Free Trial Before Buying a VPN
VPNs have a big impact on our safety online as well as what content we can view. The extra protection they provide through encrypting our data and sending it through a secure tunnel is invaluable when we are imparting more and more sensitive data online.
Plus, by sending that data through a server with a new IP address, they allow users to unblock a great deal of content that has had restrictions placed on it due to censorship and copyright laws. By gaining a new IP address, users fool websites into thinking they are in a location where the content on that website is allowed to be viewed.
In this article, we look at why you should complete a free VPN trial period before buying a VPN subscription. We mention what it is you need to be on the lookout for during that trial period as well as the three VPNs we believe provide the best VPN free trial offers. Finally, we look at whether you should ever sign up to a free VPN service.
What You Need To Be Checking
There are a number of features that a VPN provider needs to offer as the standard for it to be a useful subscription to have paid for. While all our recommended VPNs in our recommendation section below provide the following features for us, a person’s computer, device, and location can have a huge bearing on the efficacy of a VPN and its capability.
This is perhaps one of the main reasons to complete a free trial period before buying a VPN subscription – your chosen provider may, with all the best technology and intentions in the world, not work for you.
Features to check during your free trial are:
- Stringent security – A VPN needs to have stringent security protocols and techniques in place so that you stay safe and anonymous online. Remaining anonymous is one of the biggest plus points to a VPN service as it keeps you secure from prying eyes and cybercriminals. We like to see 256 Bit AES encryption, though there are other methods of encrypting data that are also incredibly safe.
- Lightning Quick Connections – For a VPN to be usable, it has to have lightning quick connections. In short, a user should not be able to tell the difference between being connected to the internet with a VPN set up and being connected to the internet without one. We conduct too much of our time online for a slow connection, that is prone to freezing and buffering, to be worthwhile enduring. There are providers out there that manage to offer such a service, which is why it’s good to check this out during a free trial.
- Helpful and attentive customer service – We all run into problems sometimes. When it comes to a VPN it could be during installation and set up or further down the line during use. As such, it’s good to know that there is a helpful and attentive customer service department that is easily contactable to resolve any issues you have.
- Large and wide server network – To unblock as much restricted content as possible that is blocked for geographical reasons, a VPN provider needs to have a large and wide server network. This is because, by having servers in different locations, the amount of IP addresses within different countries that a VPN provider is able to offer is dramatically increased. In short, the more servers a provider has, the better.
- No logs policy – Logging is a contentious issue among VPN providers. Some do it, some don’t. Some do it, but only to a certain extent. While it shouldn’t affect the actual service you receive during a trial period, it’s good to check throughout a trial that your online activity isn’t being logged. While some reputable providers do keep connection logs, this is often simply to improve service issues and help with troubleshooting. Less admirable VPN providers will keep logs of a customers’ data and their information to either sell to a third party or use for their own means.
- Interface – Finally, you need to know that you can use a VPN comfortably for it to be worthwhile continuing with a subscription plan. While some VPN providers’ software will be straightforward to use for some, it may well be complicated for others. Using the free trial period to find out whether you specifically are compatible with a company’s product is good practice.
Top VPN Free Trial Companies
These are our top three recommended VPN companies that offer a free trial. They vary in length so it’s a good idea to keep an eye on your calendar if you are considering stopping a subscription when the trial period is over. Each of our recommendations runs a 30-day money back guarantee.
This means that while you do pay up front, you can get a full refund should you wish after 30 days.
We repeatedly name ExpressVPN as our top VPN provider across the board. It simply has so many high-quality features that result in excellent service and product. While some may complain that it is more expensive than many of its peers, not only do you get so many benefits with that price that you don’t get elsewhere, when you sign up to a longer term 2-year deal, the price is nothing more than a cup of coffee each month. The majority of users never make use of their money back guarantee given that ExpressVPN is so easy and straightforward to use.
We found the following advantages of using ExpressVPN:
- Lighting quick connection – Throughout our trials, we never found ExpressVPN’s connection speeds to be anything other than excellent. It meant that we could enjoy trouble free browsing and gaming sessions.
- Watertight encryption techniques – As we like to see in our best VPN providers, ExpressVPN uses our preferred method of 256 Bit AES encryption. The result is that it is incredibly safe and makes hacking into the tunnels the provider creates exceedingly difficult. Additionally, the company also provides a kill switch feature so that the internet connection is cut, should the VPN connection fall out first for any reason.
- Huge network – As stated before, the more servers in the more locations, the better when it comes to a capable VPN provider. ExpressVPN’s network is one of the largest with over 1700 servers in almost 100 countries. The result is that customers are guaranteed a connection to a country whose IP address they need when they need it.
If you end up loving ExpressVPN, the company offers a SPECIAL DEAL to Secure Thoughts readers: 3 months free (49% savings) on their annual subscription plan.
Read our full ExpressVPN review here
Surfshark is one of our preferred suppliers with which we are continually impressed by their pricing structures and low costs. It is incredibly cheap with a two-year subscription and yet it is still able to offer a great deal of advanced features.
- Zero Logging policy – As any reputable VPN provider should, Surfshark has a strict zero logging policy. Customers, therefore, know that their anonymity will never be compromised through a data leak at the company or if the company has its security networks breached.
- Vast and wide network – Like ExpressVPN, Surfshark has a huge network that results in uninterrupted connections. It has over 500 servers in over 50 countries so it is able to provide an encrypted VPN connection whenever a customer logs on.
- Unlimited amount of device connections – Many VPN providers are now having to offer multiple, simultaneous connections thanks to the growing use of mobile devices and tablets. Most of VPN customers will have more than one computer or device that they want to have a VPN connection for. However, Surfshark sets itself apart from offering more than just a handful of simultaneous connections – it allows users to connect an unlimited amount of devices at any time.
Click here to read our full Surfshark review.
NordVPN’s 30-day money back guarantee is the perfect opportunity to see whether the excellent performance that we experienced, works for you too. It has so many fantastic and advanced features that customers repeatedly sign up for their long term subscription plans that offer huge savings on the usual monthly price. We rated it for these reasons:
- Many layers of security – NordVPN is renowned within the industry for having one of the most robust approaches to customer security. For example, it has double hop VPN servers, CyberSec Ad blocking, leak protection settings – to name just a few. The result is a service dedicated to customer anonymity and privacy.
- No logs policy – As should be the case with all VPN providers, but not always the case, NordVPN does not keep logs of its customers’ online activity. This is another way that it further strengthens its security measures as it prevents any data leaks.
- Kill switch – Finally, and yet another excellent security feature, NordVPN offers customers an automatic kill switch so that their identity is secure even if the VPN drops out.
For our full NordVPN review, click here
Can I Just Use A Free VPN?
While you certainly can simply just have a rolling membership with a free VPN provider as opposed to signing up to subscription-based service with a free trial, we would never wholeheartedly recommend it. We would always choose one of the above providers instead of relying on the service of a free VPN provider.
That being said, there are a number that are better than others, it’s just that the paid for VPN services are so much better that they are worth the few dollars a month extra expenditure.
The reason being is that free VPNs simply cannot match up to companies that have paying customers. Free VPN providers just won’t have the capacity available in their servers to provide a reliable and consistent service.
This means customers often experience buffering or freezing. Additionally, free VPN providers may not have many server locations around the globe so that the amount of content they can unblock to circumvent geographical restrictions is limited.
Finally, the protection they provide is not as stringent as paid for VPN providers as they do not have the funds in place to employ the best encryption techniques or security protocols. Plus, free VPN providers are big offenders when it comes to keeping logs of customer online activity. Often, logs are kept so that they can be sold to the highest bidder in an effort to make more money.
The Bottom Line
Trying before you buy is always a good idea and never more so with a VPN provider. While some companies, like our preferred supplier ExpressVPN, are popular and well used for good reason, it does not necessarily follow that their product will work for each and every person in the market for a VPN provider.
The 30-day money back guarantee periods that the above three companies offer is plenty enough time for customers to figure out whether the service they are receiving is up to their standards or is even a product that they get along with.
There are a number of factors that come into play that will affect whether a VPN works for you or not and often that is down to where you are and your own proficiency with technology.
While all of the above suppliers have software that is mainly straightforward to use, there may be some reason that an individual user finds it complicated and fiddly to log in to each and every time they start up their computer.
With a 30 day money back guarantee, users have the opportunity to iron out any issues like that to ensure they have picked the right provider for them.