Why buy ProtonVPN Premium instead of their free plan?

Continuing the discussion from The Process of Improving One's Privacy is Overwhelming:

This is one of the most comprehensive answers thus far. Thank you. Curious, why do you say buy a VPN? I have Proton VPN, is it not free?

The free plan with Proton is basically the only “trustworthy” free VPN plan and comes with limits on speed and exit location (i.e., what the sites will see your IP as); to remove these restrictions you would need to pay for the premium plan with Proton (or use one of the other recommended paid options)


Seems to be no point in buying a premium plan then I presume.

If you’re doing fine and don’t have any complaints with the free plan then sure.


The only benefit would be speed correct?

Well that would be the main tangible benefit but there’s also the increased device limit (I think free only lets you use 3 devices at once?), and a built-in adblocker that’s DNS based iirc. The other features you get with the paid plan are probably not something most people care about

There are other benefits but for me in my location speed really isnt a selling point due to my slow internet baseline. The nice to have features is the streaming availability for when you want to watch shows with your paid Netflix/Hulu/Dysney+ and so on.

Also if you pay, you help provide free and trustworthy VPNs to people who needs it like you do.


I should have said “get a VPN” instead of “buy a VPN”, because as far as I know - there are no major benefits to paying for it. I have used both Proton (free) and Mullvad (paid), and found no difference in speed. I once got mullvad subscription as a present and am sticking with it because I don’t like how heavy the Proton marketing strategies are. There are also Proton mail alternatives, especially Tutanota which also has a free option. But as I said, it becomes overwhelming when you start comparing the options in depth instead of just picking one.


“Buy a VPN” is the phrasing I would use. It would seem that the majority of “free VPN” options are at best, selling your traffic to data brokers. The Proton VPN free plan is one of very few free VPN offerings which are legitimate.

If I were to make any vague recommendation, I’d say to avoid any VPN which markets itself as free, generally speaking. I think you can avoid most VPN scams by paying for it. Just my two cents.

In terms of Proton VPN, you can compare the free vs plus plans here: https://protonvpn.com/free-vpn/free-vs-paid

I would say it depends on your internet usage. If you don’t use Internet a lot (e.g. Browsing a couple emails and websites, let’s say 4 websites every day.). You won’t be limited by those caveats like less servers, etc. But if you have an extensive usage of the Internet and you are kind of a power user (e.g. Downloading a lot of files, browsing a lot of websites, etc.). Then buying a VPN would be interesting, in the case of ProtonVPN, you got things like NetShield or Secure Core, more devices, etc.

If you use the free or the paid version. I don’t think you can’t go wrong with either of those.

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In the case of free VPN, we are almost always referring to Proton’s free plan. Is there any evidence that they are selling your traffic to brokers? It seems the auditing it has received is evidence on the contrary.

No, I don’t think so. They are a very reputable privacy-respecting company. So there are very low chances of them selling your traffic.

Who’s we?

I just mean that in general, you can avoid a lot of VPN scams by avoiding any that markets itself as a free VPN. You know the saying, “if you’re not paying for a product, you are the product.” It’s not a blanket statement, just a generally-true rule of thumb, in my experience (and opinion).

Nothing wrong with Proton VPN, and yeah I highly doubt they would ever sell your data – imagine the uproar if that happened, lol. Other VPN providers have been caught doing that, though. Betternet is one that comes to mind.

Here’s an article I found with a list of VPNs that sell your data: Be cautious, free VPNs are selling your data to 3rd parties

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We are the privacy community. It is the only free option recommended by the website.

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