Disadvantages of a VPN

Last edited: June 21, 2019
Reading time: 5 minutes, 45 seconds

A VPN might seem like the perfect solution to all of our privacy problems. However, everything has its disadvantages. Below you can read what disadvantages a VPN can have. It depends on your VPN provider whether or not you experience any of these discomforts. Nevertheless, it is important to inform yourself before committing to a subscription. Finally, you can find information about the downsides of a free VPN service. As opposed to paid services, free services can limit your internet experience greatly.

Some Common Disadvantages of VPN Services

Below you can find some of the main disadvantages a VPN can have. We explain why you might experience a decrease in speed and how a VPN can cause you to get blocked. Moreover, you can read about the legality of a VPN in different countries. We’ll also try to help you with any difficulties you might encounter when assessing the safety of a VPN. With most of these problems, we can help you find a suitable provider that won’t cause you too much trouble. However, some might have a greater effect on your experiences with VPNs. Inform yourself before buying a VPN, so you won’t be disappointed.

You might experience other disadvantages with a specific provider. To make sure you won’t encounter any nasty surprises, read our review of the VPN you’re planning to buy.

1. A VPN may Decrease Your Speed

Because the connection to the internet with a VPN is rerouted through the VPN server, your internet connection might be slowed down slightly. This is why it is important to check the speed of a VPN when you are trying it out. You can find a large section on speed in all our reviews. Most premium VPN services won’t slow down your internet too much, but the speed rarely stays the same.

Most internet users won’t notice the difference. People that do things online that need a speedy connection can have some problems with the wrong VPN. For instance, gamers that want to play online multi-player games should look into the best VPNs for gaming, to be sure they won’t experience any lag.

2. You can Risk Being Blocked

Netflix logo

Some services discourage the use of a VPN. This usually means there is something that you aren’t supposed to have access to, but you do with a VPN. For instance, some governments block certain content for their citizens because they think it’s unfit or it threatens their values. You can use a VPN to bypass these restrictions and access the content anyway. For this reason, VPNs aren’t very popular with these governments. This can even result in a general ban of all VPNs. You can read more about this here, in the passage about the legality of a VPN.

VPNs are also blocked by streaming services like Netflix and Hulu. Because these companies have contracts with movie distributors that only allows them to show content in specific countries, they have started going after VPNs. With a VPN, people access the content of another country on these streaming services. Since Netflix might not have the rights to show that content in your country, they are fighting the use of a VPN. They do so by blocking IP addresses that access their service with large amounts of people at the same time. For instance, when you access them through a shared IP at the same time as other users. This can be very annoying if you just want to watch a movie. Luckily, there are some VPN providers that make sure there is always a server you can use to watch Netflix. If you want a premium VPN that allows you to use Netflix, take a look at ExpressVPN.

Even though it might be considered suspicious, the use of a VPN is legal in most countries. There are some exceptions though. Some countries want to have complete control over the things their citizens get to see on the internet. Because a VPN can be used to bypass government censorship it is illegal in some totalitarian countries.

In some countries, like Russia and China, you can only use government approved VPNs. The use of a VPN isn’t necessarily illegal there, but they want to keep control over it. In other countries like North Korea, the use of a VPN is completely banned, meaning you are not allowed to use a VPN.

This is only a problem if you live in one of the countries that restricts or bans the use of VPNs.

4. It is Difficult for Consumers to Check the Quality of a VPN

It can be difficult to find out if VPN providers really do what they promise. You often only find out that they don’t when it goes wrong. A company can promise to keep no logs whatsoever but there isn’t a way for consumers to test whether this is true or not. For this reason, reviews are quite important in this branch. Before you commit to a subscription with a VPN provider it is smart to read some (user-)reviews.

In our reviews you can find out what logs a provider says they keep and read more about the overall quality and safety of the VPN. You can find reviews of all the big VPN providers on our website. You might also want to take a look at our top recommendations.

Disadvantages of a Free VPN

Disadvantage free VPNWith free VPNs it is always good to think about how these services can be free. You might not pay for their service in money, but there is always another way you pay. For this reason, you might want to check what these free services do with your information. Do they protect it with their lives or sell it without hesitation? Moreover, a free VPN often doesn’t have the same advantages of paid VPN services. The provider can limit your data, speed, and safety to convince you to eventually buy their paid service. Read more about the free services on the market to see if it is something you want to avoid or not.

Final Thoughts

The main disadvantages of a VPN are a decrease in speed, being blocked by services, the question of legality, and the difficulty in quality control. Some of these disadvantages aren’t a problem with the top VPN providers or if you live in the right country. However, it is good took keep the pitfalls in mind when you are considering buying a VPN. Which VPN fits your needs, highly depends on where you are in the world and what your online preferences are. A free VPN might be music to your ears but often the list of cons outweighs the advantage of it being free. Informing yourself about the disadvantages of a VPN before buying can save you a lot of pain!

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