VPN services require constant investment from the provider to function property. This money goes towards server infrastructure, support staff, development costs, and a range of other essential components.
In the absence of paying subscribers, many free VPN services fund their service through objectionable means. These methods include collecting and selling user data to advertisers, refusing to pay the costs involved to implement safe security practices, and some are simply scams.
Here are some popular free Mac VPNs that you should not use under any circumstances:
Despite its popularity, Hola is one of the very worst VPNs and does not attempt to protect its user’s privacy and security.
Our Hola VPN review found that it’s not a VPN at all, as it does not encrypt any of your internet traffic. Instead, it is a peer-to-peer network where the true IP address of each user is shared. This means that while using Hola, you will give your IP address to another user and will be accountable for any activity they perform.
To function in this way, Hola logs the websites you visit, your IP address, and a whole range of personally identifiable information. You should avoid Hola at all costs.
Opera VPN is a free service that’s built-in to the popular Opera web browser. However, it’s actually a proxy service and doesn’t come with the level of protection or anonymity as a fully-featured VPN service.
Opera VPN only routes traffic from within the browser through the VPN tunnel. This means that any other activity, like torrenting or iCloud photo syncing, is left unencrypted and vulnerable.
If you want to read more about its intrusive logging policy and security limitations, read our full guide on Opera VPN.
Although Betternet is positively rated on the Mac App Store, it tracks its users and is not very transparent about its ownership structure. Betternet is owned by Aura, the same company that’s behind Hotspot Shield.
Our Betternet review also found that the VPN suffers from DNS leaks if it is not properly configured. In all, Betternet fails as a tool for privacy and you should avoid it.