Best deals on VPNs this week
- ProtonVPN — $4.99 Per Month (57% Off 2-Year Plan)
- UltraVPN — $1.99 Per Month (83% Off 2-Year Plan)
- ExpressVPN — $6.67 Per Month + 3-Months Free + 1-Year Backblaze (49% Off 1-Year Plan)
- Private Internet Access VPN — $2.19 Per Month + 2-Months Free (82% Off 2-Year Plan)
- NordVPN — $3.19 Per Month + 3-Months Free (Up to 68% Off 2-Year Plan)
- Surfshark VPN — $2.30 Per Month + 2-Months Free (82% Off 2-Year Plan)
Slow WiFi and an exposed Google history are an avid internet user's worst nightmares, and the Obama-era rules that protect from these have been under attack since 2017. New FCC leaders could offer hope for a fairer internet, though undoing years of net neutrality bashing is an uphill battle.
Squashing these protections essentially gives internet service providers the green light to dish unfair treatment to certain web traffic — like throttling a Netflix connection or charging extra to use a certain social media platform. And don't get us started on how it could affect smaller sites with smaller budgets.
Discussions about the government's right to spy on your digital habits without a warrant don't exactly make anyone feel confident, either.
Whatever the reason, people are becoming more and more paranoid about the vulnerability of their internet usage (that, or they're just really tired of American Netflix). In turn, Google has become littered with VPN reviews and lists of the best VPNs according to experts, tech publishers, and regular consumers alike. But if you wanted a more raw take on the day-to-day VPN experience from normal people (with no filter), there's only one place to go: Reddit.
Are free VPNs the move?
Reddit has strong feelings about this. It's bluntly summed up here in response to an inquiry about the "best free VPN":
Reddit users will let you know that comparing free VPNs to paid VPNs just doesn't make sense. It's like comparing apples to oranges, and you'll almost definitely be skimping on some crucial features by taking the cheapest-possible route. The proof isn't always provided, but many Redditors are convinced that free VPNs don't follow a true no-log policy, or that they sell your data to third parties. "Free" is sometimes synonymous with "slow" due to fewer servers in fewer locations.
The general consensus seems to be to only use a free VPN to test the waters, then cough up the credit card info (or Paypal, or Bitcoin, or Visa gift cards from your grandma). Most times, this can be done through a trusted paid VPN that has a free tier to experiment with, or via a free trial, which many services offer. In a rare turn of events, Reddit backs Windscribe's free service hard. However, free VPNs can step up to the job for more temporary endeavors — like having access to your home country's streaming services while going abroad for a semester or keeping up with a certain sport for a season. Because paid VPNs only really get affordable when a one or two-year subscription is met, it may not make sense to pay $10 or $12 per month for the few months that you need a VPN.
One thing about researching on Reddit is that it requires a keen eye for real recommendations versus paid ones. The site that's supposed to be rooted in the thoughts and discussions of actual regular people has been plagued by a lot of promoted content as of late — promoted content that's well disguised to look like it's coming from a regular-degular registered user. You've probably noticed that it happens a lot in VPN threads if you've looked on your own. We've done the digging and differentiating for you — here are the VPNs that Reddit users recommend the most in 2023: