Sure, the majority of virtual private network (VPN) providers nowadays offer some kind of money-back guarantee (usually of the 30-day variety), but that means you’ll be actually paying full price for a subscription upfront, without knowing whether the particular service is the right one for your needs. And when virtually each and every single VPN provider on the market today claims, rather presumptuously, to be the best in the world, deciding which one to give your money to is definitely a tough call.
Then there’s the fact that not all money-back guarantees are as risk-free as some VPN providers may like to project on the surface. All too often, if you check the fine print, that boldly-declared money-back guarantee is not exactly unconditional. If you exceed certain arbitrary traffic or usage limits, for example, within the stated timeframe of the money-back guarantee, you may find that your refund eligibility has gone up in smoke and that you’re not entitled to getting any of your money back.
Now, I don’t know about you, but I appreciate it when a business is upfront and honest with me, and doesn’t employ sneaky tactics to make a quick buck by misleading me with inflated promises. I’m not saying that money-back guarantees are a bad thing – and I’m not accusing all VPN providers of being deceitful in their money-back claims – I’m just saying that you may run into a bit of an unpleasant surprise if you unknowingly eclipse any usage limits, so it’s important to check the refund policy before agreeing to sign up for a service with the intention of testing it based on its money-back claims.
Money-back guarantees can be great for testing a VPN service before fully committing, but they do require full payment upfront, and can often be loaded with certain restrictions that aren’t made readily apparent without digging deep into the nitty-gritty of the provider’s terms of service. Considering all that, I always prefer the free-trial format, where you don’t have to pay anything upfront, and your trial of the service is not bound by any arbitrary usage restrictions.
Yes, with a legitimate free trial, you’ll get the opportunity to test the full premium offering of a VPN service (with access to all the features and servers available to paying customers), without paying a dime. If you’re an expat on a budget and want to test a few services before committing, then a free trial is definitely the way to go. The only thing is that free trials are typically short in duration – usually anywhere from a day to a week – so you’ll need to make sure you sign up for the trial when you’ll have enough time over a couple of days to test the service sufficiently.
Something you’re probably already aware of – but worth pointing out here nonetheless – is that there are two types of free trials, one where your payment details are required to activate the trial and the other where you can start a free trial without having to provide any payment details. Even though you’re not charged immediately upon entering your payment details, it can be annoying to have to punch in your credit card number for something that’s supposed to be free.
Many free trial offers require your payment details upfront because the service aims to charge you automatically once the free trial period expires, so if you don’t plan on continuing with the service, it’s important to pay attention to when your free trial period expires and cancel before you’re automatically charged for something you don’t ultimately want to pay for. Free trials that don’t require payment information upfront are obviously the safer way to go, but not all free trial VPN services offer this.
If you’re not a fan of providing your credit card details when you sign up for a free trial, then I’d suggest checking out PrivateVPN or CyberGhost. They’re both top-notch providers and are definitely two of the very best in the business for both privacy and for unblocking geo-restricted content from all over the world. The difference is that with PrivateVPN, you’ll get a full week to test the service for free, whereas with CyberGhost you’ll get just a day. But if you don’t have to provide any payment details whatsoever to activate the free trial, then what’s there to complain about, right?
If you don’t mind having to provide payment details upfront for your VPN free trial, I’d really recommend giving Surfshark a shot. Surfshark’s a relatively newer provider on the scene, but it’s been one of my favorites for the past couple of years that I’ve been using it on a regular basis. It’s awesome for unblocking Netflix, and it has all kinds of neat security features that will help keep you safe and sound whenever you’re connected. The catch is that you’ll only be able to access Surfshark’s free trial from the Google Play Store or Apple’s App Store, so you’ll need either an Android device or an iOS or macOS device to take advantage of the trial. If you don’t want to continue with the service, then you can always cancel the trial at any time within the 7-day period. If you do happen to forget to cancel within seven days of activating your free trial and your payment method is charged, you can still contact Surfshark within 30 days to claim a refund of the payment. And no, Surfshark doesn’t bake any sneaky disqualifying usage limits into its 30-day money-back guarantee, so don’t worry about that.
When you’re living as an expat, your budget can sometimes be a bit tight, leading you to think twice about making certain purchases. But when you can try a service, even for a couple of days, without having to commit anything upfront, then it’s really a no-brainer. You need a VPN anyway as an expat; why not give a few of them a shot completely free of charge? That’s not something you have to think twice about. Alternatively, there are also some good free services. Head over to my blog about free VPNs for expats for a list of the best completely free services.