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VPNs serve security, not to save money News & Opinion

Depending on where you are, you may be very limited in what you can see online. In addition to security, VPNs have become important modern tools to circumvent this limitation, for important reasons (dissidents in oppressive regimes) and perhaps somewhat nasty (streaming content for services in other countries).

But what about the use? a VPN to see something else? For example … big savings?

Theoretically, one could travel mainly on a big budget. Hotels, cars and flights are incredibly expensive – and it makes sense that the providers of such services try to look like they are offering bargains if they are still trying to get all the cash out of their digital pockets. [1

9659002] Many sites swear by VPNs for savings. Search a Google search. There you will find many nice diagrams showing the countries where you have registered to find the best discounts. Note, however, that many of these sites are only VPN sites. Your bread and butter sells you VPNs. Not that PCMag does not like the same delicious bread and butter, but I've remained skeptical.

There are a lot of other aspects that look like online window shopping not just in Italy but in the US rather than in the US. In some cases, there are fees for using credit cards abroad. That can quickly erode some savings, and I did not want to test that.

I've looked at this with an admittedly casual methodology: I've selected a flight, a rental car and a hotel as well as a hardcover book Amazon, a music streaming service and a video streaming service to help with the prices to check a few different servers and some different VPN services.

For testing, I used PCMag's two Editors' Choices for the best free VPN services: ProtonVPN and TunnelBear VPN. When it comes to saving money, why should you use a paid VPN?

 TunnelBear - Italy

That is, free VPNs have some serious limitations. Read this article above to see what may be missing if you are not paying for a full subscription. For example, with ProtonVPN you can only use the free version for a limited time. TunnelBear has a limited traffic of 500 MB per month. That's why I've verified this with my personal, paid VPN service, KeepSolid's VPN Unlimited .

I used everything on a Razer Blade Stealth Laptop with Windows 10 with 32 GB of RAM, so even the slowest tunnel on the internet does not work I do not feel too terrible.

And I found the following: Not much savings.

Comparison Shopping

Let's start with streaming . I went online as if I were in the UK with VPNs and found a Spotify Premium price of £ 9.99 a month (after three months for only £ 0.99). That sounds good compared to the US $ 9.99 a month, but this pound sterling price is $ 12.63. Obviously, people in the UK want the lower US price and save around £ 25.92 – as long as they're ready to log in to their VPN all the time, pretending to be based in the US. But what happens if you want to play Spotify on other devices without VPN access, such as an Amazon Alexa-based smart speaker?

The standard price of Netflix in the UK is £ 7.99 (ie with HD) and two simultaneous streams. The standard in the US is $ 10.99 (£ 8.62). Is it worth it to argue about these few cents and cents?

 Netflix Pricing UK vs US

This means you can log in to your Netflix account while logged in to another country's VPN to avoid geo-blocking. This will allow you to view shows that are not currently available in your home country (at least not on Netflix). I did it and found Poldark, Suits (because Meghan Markle), Doctor Who and other shows on UK Netflix, but not Netflix US. This is great on a PC or even a handheld device, but it makes no sense to display Netflix on a Smart TV or a game console without a VPN option.

I see most of my streaming TV on a 60-inch HDTV. Using an Xbox One as an overpriced streaming media hub. Using a VPN to pretend I'm streaming elsewhere is useless to me. (For more information, see The Best VPNs for Netflix.)

For Book Purchases I searched Amazon.com for the latest Stephen King novel Elevation which is now available in several formats , The price of the hardcover book in the US on Cyber ​​Monday dropped to $ 9.39 without even using a VPN. Guess what? Same price if I log in to any VPN, whether I searched the United States or Great Britain or Italy .

Let's try [travel] where things are particularly expensive and the dynamic prices between locations may change feeling monstrous.

I viewed flights from Sydney (Australia) to Los Angeles (LAX) for a return trip for adults, returning on January 7, 2019 and returning on January 11. Deleting cookies between searches. Did not pay much The base price without a VPN connection was $ 2,146.63 for the best flight without a stop over United. When I signed up to ProtonVPN as if I were in Italy, I lowered the price to $ 2,127 (not even $ 20). With TunnelBear over Italy, I got the price back at $ 2,141. But then I went to United.com and it dropped to $ 1,842. And when I signed up as a UK user of VPN Unlimited, I found another £ 1,975 nonstop flight from Virgin Australia – that's $ 2,533.94 at the time of this writing.

Things did not change very much for my car (from Hertz at Philadelphia Airport for a week in January). I wanted a 4WD and no VPN for $ 80.44 a day. With VPNs, I could not always score an SUV – no, I do not want a frisky Chevrolet Spark – including using the Milan server for KeepSolid VPN Unlimited. Argh.

Finally, I visited a hotel where I actually stayed in Venice, Italy (ie all Italian servers), the Grand Hotel Dei Dogi, a Marriott hotel. Without a VPN, the room I wanted was 157 euros. This has not changed in the two free VPNs; with VPN Unlimited, claiming that I was in Milan, the price rose by to 188 euros.

 Hotel Dei Dogi

Conclusions: Confusion

I can not conclusively state that, as claimed by TechRadar, you can not save thousands of dollars if you use a VPN. If you're ready to look around, change your virtual location, delete tracking cookies and cached pages in your browser with every counter, you can find all the bargains that can hopefully be purchased locally with your credit card, then go crazy. Getting to such technical extremes requires a very special buyer.

It has obviously worked in some stores. TheBestVPN indicates that switching virtual sites on a single ticket has saved more than $ 1,300. I tried to replicate its results by using a VPN that was used in the US and Poland for various searches for KUL flights to LAX. But BestVPN did not say on which websites the trip was booked. Expedia had the same prices on the same flights, regardless of whether I signed in from a server in Manhattan or Warsaw.

Of course, using a VPN should only be standard. It saves you money if you did not steal your identity, even though you should have tunnel access while using the internet. It is neither tangible nor touchable nor sexy, but it is wise to do something.

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