Worst VPNs in cybersecurity history

Mikaela Bray
Mikaela Bray | Contributing Writer
Last updated: January 11, 2023
Worst VPN services
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The VPN sector has some outstanding services, and users can rely on them to keep their browsing safe and sound. However, some providers want to take advantage of your trust and profit from your data. So, we thought we’d offer our guide to the worst VPN providers ever that you should avoid at all costs.

The most unsafe VPNs will collect your information and sell it to the highest bidder. Moreover, they offer abysmal features that don’t work. Plus, the worst VPN providers will slow you down and, in most cases, won’t give you access to geo-blocked content.

But if you want to avoid the worst the VPN world has to offer we suggest grabbing reliable premium VPNs that will certainly keep you safe.

Avoid the Worst VPNs with NordVPN

If you want the smoothest online experience, choose NordVPN. It’s an amazing tool that will keep you safe while on the web Plus, as it’s the best VPN in 2023, it’s an excellent choice whether you want to game, stream, or torrent.

9.6 /10
Extremely secure
Insanely fast
Great for all online activities

What makes a VPN bad?

Before we get into our list, let’s talk about why these VPNs are so bad – and dangerous. Most services offer uncompromised safety, geo-block bypassing abilities, and opportunities to circumvent hardcore firewalls.

But unlike the best VPN providers, the services below do the opposite of protecting you and letting you bypass restrictions. So, before choosing a VPN, look out for the red flags that are listed below.

Unsafe VPNs keep logs and disclose your data

One of the main reasons why you should get a VPN is to protect your privacy. However, unlike no-logs VPNs, the worst services gather loads of information about you, such as assigned IP address, connection & disconnection times, traffic data, DNS queries, etc. The reason why they do it is that these VPNs can make a profit by selling the data to advertisers and other third parties.

Additionally, we suggest avoiding virtual private networks that are based in Fourteen Eyes alliance countries. VPNs in these nations are required to hand over any data to law enforcement or surveillance agencies when asked. So, if something goes awry, you might get in trouble if your VPN is based in the US or the UK, for example.

Unreliable VPNs simply don’t work

You might stumble across VPNs that might seem legit, but they might actually be a scam. People who want to make money illegally might steal a discontinued VPN website and make it seem like a real deal. After that, they run away with the raked-in first-time subscriptions and avoid refund requests.

To avoid such scams, be sure to check out their social media accounts to see when was the last time they were active. Moreover, you can message their customer support to find out if they are legit about their business.

Worst VPNs riddle your devices with malware

This is the worst-case scenario. These services can actually be malware-injecting machines ready to wreak havoc the second you install them. That way they will be able to crack weak passwords, slow down your devices, disrupt daily operations, and so on. That might lead to loss of important data, financial troubles, and even identity theft.

Worst VPNs in 2023

While the most secure VPNs will safeguard you while browsing the web, the following worst VPNs are notorious for their terrible practices. They will collect your data, compromise your security, and may even riddle your devices with malware. In most cases, they will slow you down and won’t unblock the content you desire.

Thus, let’s see which VPNs are the best at being the worst.

1. Hola! VPN – the worst VPN ever

Number of countries covered
Number of countries covered:
190
Number of servers
Number of servers:
1500
Support
Support:
24/7 email
  • Easy to use (but should you?)
  • Actually based on P2P connections
  • Full of vulnerabilities
  • Slow speeds

Hola! Is the worst VPN that you can choose. Based on P2P connections, it promised to beat geo-blockers by routing your traffic through other users’ links worldwide.

However, each user on the network essentially functions as a “bot,” boosting the profits of the Luminati (Hola’s sister company) hosting service but sapping users’ bandwidth. Moreover, activists in the Adios Hola! network highlighted fatal weaknesses in the service’s code, as well as routine tracking on Android platforms.

And when users started peering into the Hola privacy policy, they found a nightmarish range of tracking features. The service has become much less popular as a result, but for a few years, Hola was a sponge, soaking up data and compromising user security.

For a deeper investigation of Hola VPN, read our Hola VPN review.

2. VPNBook – claims to be free but isn’t

Number of countries covered
Number of countries covered:
6
Number of servers
Number of servers:
11
Support
Support:
24/7 live chat
  • Unlimited bandwidth (but is it worth it?)
  • Bombards you with ads
  • No kill switch
  • Weak OpenVPN encryption

Many VPNs offer free services in an attempt to entice unsuspecting users. But when they only offer free coverage, alarm bells should ring. And that was definitely the case with the notorious free provider VPNBook.

Researchers have found strong signs that VPNBook sells user data to third parties – an impression that has been backed up by their shady address information. Nobody can find out where the company is actually based or who is behind it.

The likelihood is that VPNBook, like so many other free VPNs in the past, is a revenue stream masquerading as a security tool. And that’s before we even talk about the snail-like speeds that users experience. Put together, it definitely adds up to being one of the worst VPN providers around.

For a deeper investigation of VPNBook, read our VPNBook review.

3. Hoxx VPN – horrible VPN with weak security

Number of countries covered
Number of countries covered:
50
Number of servers
Number of servers:
600
Support
Support:
24/7 live chat
  • Good speeds (but you'll be unsafe)
  • Doesn’t unblock streaming services
  • Terrible security features
  • Shady logging practices

Hoxx VPN? More like Hoax VPN! While it claims to be a strong and reliable VPN, we highly advise avoiding it. Most of the features the provider offers are shabby and outdated, so they won’t improve your digital experience.

First of all, it operates from the US, a member of Five Eyes alliance. That means that Hoxx has to give all of the information to the authorities if they ask. Moreover, it gets even worse, as the provider collects most of your information, so you can kiss your privacy goodbye. And the cherry on top is that the security features are abysmal, so there’s basically no protection whatsoever.

Not to mention, with all of these terrible things, you can’t even get a proper Netflix session, as it can’t bypass beefed-up security measures. And one of the worst things you could do is to use this VPN for torrenting. All of your information will be on display, so anyone can see what you’re up to. That, of course, can lead to security breaches and financial losses due to torrenting fines.

For a deeper investigation of Hoxx VPN, read our Hoxx VPN review.

How to choose a safe VPN?

Now that you know about the worst providers that the VPN world has to offer, it’s time to talk about different matters. You’ll need an all-around phenomenal VPN if you want to stay secure, private, and unrestricted. So, here’s what you should look for in a perfect virtual private network:

  • Top-tier safety features. At the very least, a VPN should offer AES-256 encryption, a robust kill switch, and reliable IP & DNS leak protection. Moreover, things like Multi-hop or malware blockers will further boost your security.
  • Unparalleled confidentiality. A VPN should have an independently-audited zero-logs policy. Moreover, it should be based outside Fourteen Eyes countries.
  • Stable and fast connectivity. Things like tunneling protocols have a major influence on your speeds. Therefore, if you want your VPN to perform well, pick a service with WireGuard or NordLynx.
  • Amazing coverage. The more pieces of hardware you get, the better. That way, you’ll avoid unwanted server congestion and slow speeds. And if you want more streaming options, pick a VPN that has servers in plenty of countries.
  • Excellent compatibility. You should protect all of your smart gadgets. Thus, you’ll want a VPN that offers multiple or infinite connections. Moreover, choose a service that has apps for the most popular OS.
  • Additional features. Lastly, a top-tier VPN should offer loads of features that will make your digital life a lot easier. For example, look for Smart DNS if you want to stream on smart TVs and consoles. Or consider VPNs that offer antivirus software if you want to feel safer online.

Why should you choose a premium paid VPN?

There’s no point in arguing why you should choose a premium VPN. They are simply superior compared to their free counterparts. Plus, you won’t have to worry about malware, money scams, or other digital nonsense. And if you need more convincing, here’s a side-by-side comparison of free and paid VPNs:

Pros and consFree VPNsPremium paid VPNs
Doesn’t cost a thing✔️
No long-term commitment✔️
Fast connection✔️
Global server fleet✔️
Unblocks Netflix✔️
Allows torrenting✔️
No data caps✔️
24/7 customer support✔️
No-logs policy✔️

Pick the best premium VPN

Unsafe VPN services according to Reddit

If you want more opinions on the worst VPN services, here are some (dis)honorable mentions from Reddit:

  • EarthVPN. User was arrested based on logs provided to the Dutch Police because of a bomb hoax.
  • Hola! VPN. Known as a free VPN, but in reality it operates like a poorly secured botnet – with serious consequences.
  • HideMyAss VPN. User was de-anonymized, and logs were provided to the FBI in a labeled “LulzSec fiasco”.
  • DoubleVPN. Servers, logs, and account info seized by law enforcement.
  • Betternet VPN. Collects your device ID. And there were cases where their apps contained malware and tracking libraries.

In addition, there are a few services that are not horrible but have serious issues. Redditors suggest avoiding VPNs owned by Kape Technologies (ExpressVPN, PIA, CyberGhost, ZenMate). That’s because the company is formerly known as a malware distributor. Not to mention, they have a pretty shady past overall.

If you want to avoid digital calamities and shady VPN owners, we recommend checking out our list of the best VPNs according to Reddit.

Wrap up

The internet is crawling with shady VPN providers that want to take advantage of you and your information. The worst service that you should avoid at all costs is Hola! VPN, as it’s not even an actual virtual private network.

And if you’re looking for the best safe alternative, choose NordVPN. It offers top-tier security and privacy features that will keep you safe and sound. Additionally, it’s great for gaming, torrenting, streaming, or simply browsing, so it’s a versatile tool that will certainly improve your digital experience.

We hope that this guide will help you avoid the worst VPNs and help you choose the best possible virtual private network service.

In your opinion, which VPN is the worst? Have you used it before? Let us know by leaving a comment!


You may also like to read:
How to change location with a VPN?
Are VPNs legal in your country?
Best VPN for travel
Best VPN for crypto trading
Is torrenting legal in your country?
How to unblock websites with a VPN?


FAQ

Are there unsafe VPNs?

Yes, unfortunately, there are plenty of unreliable VPNs. Hola! VPN, Hoxx VPN, VPNBook are just a few services that we recommend avoiding. If you can’t spare any money and want to use a premium VPN, we suggest checking out the top free trial VPNs.

What are the most trusted VPNs?

The most secure and confidential VPN is NordVPN. It has a great reputation, excellent security & privacy practices, and amazing features. Not to mention, unlike the worst VPNs, it offers phenomenal speed and global coverage.

Which free VPN is trustworthy?

The best, completely free VPNs are Atlas VPN and Proton VPN. While they have their limitations, they will keep you safe and almost completely anonymous online.

What is the worst VPN service?

The worst VPN is Hola! VPN. That’s because it poses as a virtual private network, but it’s actually based on P2P connections. Plus, there are no reliable safety features, the speeds are terrible, and it doesn’t unblock geo-restricted content.

4 comments
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  1. Dan Cooper

    hola! VPN has no privacy features at all – no basic encryption that ensures secure web traffic. The way it’s set up, there is no VPN protocol. According to its own privacy policy, what you do online is monitored (every bit of it from pages you visit the amount of time you’re on those pages). On top of that, it’s already have been caught selling the bandwidth of its users, and it’s more than willing to work with corporations.


  2. CelloPlayer

    This list just goes to show why your reviews are so important—we’ve got to make informed decisions instead of jumping at brand recognition or cheap prices!


  3. Hooriya Takiyah Shamoun

    This list of the worst VPNs sounds like a rogues’ gallery of scams! I liken using one of these to someone taking sugar pills for birth control. These disasters use VPN, but they’re VINOs (VPNs in Name Only). I’ll make a note of these defective programs in case someone asks me if they’re any good.


  4. Carl J

    I completely agree with you on Opera VPN, their browser was already a scam honestly, it wasn’t good at all, when I heard they also had a VPN for opera I almost laughed. I mean this is so obvious that they’re trying to save their browser.

Top category VPN providers
1. NordVPN
9.6 / 10
2. Surfshark VPN
9.4 / 10
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