I have been using the VPN (Surfshark) for more than a year and I wasn’t aware of the disadvantages of using a VPN before I bought the subscription.
Overall I am happy with the service, and I use it sporadically.
But these are some issues that I would like to highlight so our readers are aware of them before paying for a VPN.
Everyone on the internet and their Granny broadcasted the benefits of using the VPN services, but hardly anyone shared the cons/issues of using it.
So, I think it is imperative to know the perils of buying a VPN service before spending money on it.
VPN services are projected to make your internet usage safer, prevent hacks, and protect your online privacy by limiting the information collected by tech giants like Google, Microsoft, and Zuckerberg’s bots.
Most VPNs are cheap only if you buy a three-year subscription.
Your money will get locked in. Some VPN service providers are notorious for not offering refunds even if you don’t find the service suitable.
So before you step into this lion’s den it is better to know what you’re getting into.
Why Everyone wants you to use a VPN?
You would have seen a trillion VPN ads on Youtube or websites, and rare to find influencers who have not collaborated with VPN providers to sell the service.
Also, major News websites, blogs, and other influencers on Instagram and Twitter promote VPN services.
Are they all doing an altruistic service of promoting VPNs to improve the safety of users, or is it more commercial?
The promotions are due to big affiliate commissions and promotional fees paid by VPN companies to influencers.
Let’s Look at the 5 Major Disadvantages that I have faced when using the VPN service:
1. Slower Internet
The first major issue that you will encounter when using the VPN service is a slower internet speed.
The VPN connects you to their server, and your internet traffic then passes through that server to access the world wide web.
This additional routing impacts your surfing speed by 20 to 30%, in my experience.
The speed decline can be more than that based on the server location and load on the server.
So, your download and even web surfing speed will have an impact when you are connected to the VPN.
2. Increased latency
The second major issue is increased latency. Some of the websites and apps will connect slowly, and you can feel that the internet has become sluggish.
I have a 100 MBPS Reliance JIO broadband connection, not because I need that much speed. I could easily work with a cheaper 30 MBPS connection. But the bigger bandwidth makes the internet experience snappy, even when multiple devices are connected, so I pay for it.
But once I connect to the internet using the VPN, it becomes it seems slower than the 30 MBPS plan. I spoke to the VPN support team, and according to them, this is normal.
VPN may not be the right choice if you are gaming or doing anything requiring lower latency.
Recently, the Indian government mandated VPN providers to have servers in India and store user information locally.
This led to the closing of Indian routing servers by the VPN providers like SurfShark, Express VPN, and several others.
Now we have virtual Indian servers but no physical servers in India for most VPN providers. This change is causing an increase in latency as the actual servers are far from our location.
3. Reduced Battery life on your Smartphone or Laptop
The impact on the battery life of smartphones when using the VPN service is a major issue, as per my observation. If I am connected to the VPN, the service continuously runs in the background on a smartphone or laptop and impacts the battery life.
It depends on your VPN app and how much additional energy it consumes. In my case, I observed about 15 to 20% less battery life on my devices if I am connected to VPN.
So to prevent battery drain, sometimes, I disconnect the VPN and use the phone.
4. Some Websites and Apps Won’t Work
Another disadvantage of using the VPN service is that some websites and Apps won’t work when connected to the VPN. I tried to use Netflix when connected to VPN, and it throws an error.
Also, some websites will not render properly if you are behind a VPN.
5. Additional Steps of Connecting to VPN
When you open your laptop or phone, connect to WIFI and then access your favorite App or website. It is simple and quick.
But with a VPN service, you will have to first open the VPN app and connect to the fastest server and then start your work.
Mostly it connects instantly, but sometimes there can be a delay, which is annoying.
You can automate the process, but for me, I sometimes use the internet without a VPN so it is hard to automate.
So these are some disadvantages you should be aware of before subscribing to a VPN service. If you observe any other disadvantages of using VPN service, please share them with everyone in the comments below.
Also, read more about my favorite VPN services and the most affordable VPN plans available in the market.