7 Reasons Why You Should Avoid ‘Lifetime’ VPNs
When it comes to VPNs, going for a longer subscription typically means getting more value for your money. This is used as a price anchoring strategy since a longer-term plan usually means a cheaper monthly cost. However, the competition in the VPN industry also brought about the ill-advised ‘lifetime subscriptions’.
These are subscriptions that promise you an active subscription to the VPN as long as you want it. This can be quite tempting, especially if you've found a VPN that works for you, whether that is in terms of privacy, security, speed, streaming, or something else.
However, these deals are something that you should avoid as ‘lifetime’ comes with lots of uncertainties, including what ‘lifetime’ really means. The deals are also on the decline due to their unsustainability, with one major VPN that dropped the plan being NordVPN. So, before you decide the deal is too good to ignore, this guide gives you several reasons why you should avoid lifetime VPN deals.
We’ll also look at:
- Why top VPNs don’t offer a ‘lifetime’ deal.
- How to get the best value for your money.
1. Technology is Ever Evolving
The VPN you are eying may sport the latest technology, but that may not be the case in a few years’ time. Not long ago, PPTP was considered a good protocol, but now it’s pretty much dead. OpenVPN is now the gold standard, but VPNs are currently rushing to offer the new WireGuard protocol, which is super-fast and simple.
However, only VPNs that are bringing the money can afford to carry out such changes. When a VPN sells too many lifetime plans, they tend to focus on sustaining the VPN service or improving core functionalities rather than upgrading their technology. This can leave you with a VPN that features an outdated interface or whose features and functionalities never evolve with the times.
2. Prepare for Unreliable Service
Running a VPN is quite expensive; you have to take care of server costs, keep adding new servers, and have lots of technical employees and customer service representatives. All these are necessary to keep the VPN working properly and stay in the competition. To do this, a VPN relies on incoming subscriptions and renewals, and that way, it can offer superior services to retain existing customers and attract new ones.
Unfortunately, this may not be the case with lifetime VPNs, as they have already taken your money upfront. They don’t have the incentive to expand their bills, and in most cases, they end up slashing the bills to keep their VPN running. This can easily be seen with some services such as customer support turning from live chat to email support. Some of these VPNs only reply to emails after more than a day as the resources are minimal. In contrast, top VPN services usually connect you to a live agent within 30 seconds.
3. Your Needs & Their Priorities Can Change
The VPN that seems like a perfect fit for you today may not be in a few years. This has been true because VPNs have evolved from regular privacy and security tools to multi-functional products, with one of the major new uses being streaming. A few years ago, streaming services were not blocking VPNs, but now they do. This means that you now need a VPN that can access the streaming service you use, whether that is Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, iPlayer, or any other. Not many VPNs can keep up the cat and mouse game that VPNs play with streaming services.
Apart from that, a VPN can stop prioritizing some functionalities that it offers today. This can be bypassing censorships, unlocking streaming services, or even basic functionalities like prioritizing speeds.
4. ‘Lifetime’ May Not Be Really Lifetime
What ‘lifetime’ means may vary from one provider to another, and it may not even be what you think it means. Some providers use it to mean that the subscription remains active as long as the VPN is operational, while others may use it to mean as long as your account is being used. In other cases, lifetime may be used as a marketing term for a long-term VPN, say 5 or 7 years. For example, some VPNs that allow ‘unlimited connections’ cap the connection at just 10 or some other number citing ‘fair use.’
And even if the VPN really means lifetime, the plan may soon disappear. From what we have seen in the market, these VPNs do not even retain existing ‘lifetime’ subscriptions. For example, in 2017, BlackLogic/ VPNLand simply converted all lifetime subscriptions to recurring premium subscriptions. The VPN further added that they are “not going to issue any refunds” and that “all threats and arguments will be discarded.” Not something you’d like to hear after giving them your hard-earned money.
5. The VPN Could Do a Lord Lucan
Just like any other company, a VPN can go under. The chances of this happening are multiple times higher if a VPN offers a lifetime subscription, as this is not a sustainable business model. It is much like a Ponzi scheme requiring an ever-growing number of subscriptions to remain financially solvent. When the subscriptions slow down, and the VPN shuts, you will not get the value for your money.
Apart from that, the VPN could be a scam. Lifetime packages are very enticing, and scammers know that too. Since most lifetime subscriptions are offered by third parties, what they advertise may not be what you get. And if you get a non-recurring subscription, the VPN itself may as well disappear after a few months or years. This is what happened to users of Dissemble VPN, which was offering lifetime subscriptions for just $13!
6. The VPN Can Be Sold
When you get a lifetime subscription, you can't foresee any significant changes in a VPN's structure or ownership. However, we have seen many VPNs being bought out by bigger companies, and this almost always leads to a shake-up in how the VPN operates. For example, if it was based offshore and is bought by a US company, it most likely changes its jurisdiction to the US and comes under the region's invasive privacy laws.
7. You Will Miss Out on New Superior Options
Getting a lifetime subscription is a huge commitment, and it means sticking with the VPN regardless of whether the technology becomes outdated, various functionalities stop working, or the VPN’s overall performance declines over time. This will mean that you are already not getting value for your money, and you will also miss out on newer or newly improved VPNs that offer far superior services.
There Are Better Long-Term VPN Deals You Can Get
The lifetime subscription isn't the only plan that can give you value for your money, and in fact, it rarely does. Instead of going for a deal that seems too good to be true, you can get your money’s worth by purchasing a long-term subscription from a trustworthy VPN service.
One of the best VPNs that can give you excellent value for your money is Surfshark VPN, and the VPN service offers a 2-year plan at just $2.21 a month.
After the subscription, here's what you stand to gain with the VPN:
- Access to streaming services such as Netflix, iPlayer, Disney+, etc.
- Smart DNS for streaming on devices such as Smart TVs and consoles.
- Excellent speeds for streaming and downloading.
- Solid privacy and security – the VPN has been independently audited (pdf), and their claims verified.
- Advanced features such as an ad-blocker, split tunneling, and Tor Over VPN.
- Unlimited simultaneous connections.
“Lifetime VPN” is usually designed as a marketing strategy, and you won’t find a top VPN offering such a plan. This is because the strategy is not sustainable for a VPN service, and you will most definitely end up being dissatisfied with the service you’ll get.
To get the most value for your money, we suggest that you choose a long-term plan with a reliable VPN service. The performance and the functionalities you'll get will be worth every penny.