What is a cracked VPN, and are they safe to use?

What is a cracked VPN, and are they safe to use?

March 28, 2024 privacy 0

Looking for a cracked VPN? Chill a minute and think about the risks. 

I know premium VPNs can seem expensive, and cheap VPNs mostly suck. 

But do you really want to download a broken piece of software that will have access to everything you do online? A piece of software that’s been broken by hackers who like to play with malware, viruses, and spyware – all of which they can easily slip into your device courtesy of the cracked VPN you’ve chosen to install. 


Instead, I’ll quickly break down all the reasons you should avoid cracked VPNs, and offer some alternatives. If you’re in a rush, check out our top free VPNs and the best cheap VPNs. They’ll keep you safe without spending too much on a subscription. 

What is a cracked VPN?

A cracked VPN is a pirated version of a legitimate VPN. Hackers modify these VPNs to remove licensing restrictions, allowing free access to premium features. These cracked VPNs, often hiding malicious code within, are distributed through unreliable websites and social media.

While the promise of free access to premium features might seem appealing, cracked VPNs come with a hefty price tag – your security and privacy. 

Are cracked VPNs safe?

The answer is a resounding no. 

Unlike reputable premium VPNs that prioritize user protection and undergo strict, independent audits, cracked VPNs operate with no transparency or oversight. This leaves you exposed to several dangers:

Why else should I avoid cracked VPN apps?

Yes, there’s more!

Beyond the immediate security risks, there are compelling reasons to steer clear of cracked VPNs.

Top alternatives to cracked VPNs 

So, now we get to the part you knew was coming – I’m going to recommend some cracked VPN alternatives. 

If you’re still unconvinced it’s worth paying $2-3 per month for a premium VPN, stick to a free VPN instead. But if you value a good experience, safe connections, access to the top streamers, and super-fast speeds… keep reading. 

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Methodology: how we tested the best alternatives to cracked VPNs

We use strict criteria to test every VPN we recommend – and the ones we don’t! 

When trying to convince you against a cracked version of ExpressVPN, NordVPN, or another popular provider, we focus on value, performance, and how many devices they protect. But that’s not all we looked at. 

Here’s a quick rundown of the complete process: 

Look at our complete VPN review process to see the full list and use it to guide you when choosing a VPN. 

Free VPN vs cracked VPN: Which is better? 

In theory, a free VPN should be better than a cracked VPN. At least you’re not using deliberately broken and hacked software.

Sadly, free VPNs are often as dangerous. Because they don’t charge a subscription fee, most free VPNs use shadier tactics to make money from you. We’ve seen some really crazy tactics over the years, but the most common can be grouped into the following:

Plenty of cheap VPNs offer fantastic experiences, airtight security, and fast speeds. Surfshark is our favorite, and you don’t need a cracked version to save money on a subscription. 

Cracked VPN FAQs

[[post-object type=”accordion” question=”Are cracked VPNs free?” answer=”

Is anything in this life really free?

Cracked VPNs lure you in with the promise of free access, but there’s a catch. Here’s how they can cost you more in the long run:

  • Hidden malware: Imagine getting ‘free’ software that secretly installs a virus on your device. Cracked VPNs can be riddled with malware designed to steal your passwords, financial details, or even take control of your device. Repairing this damage can be far more expensive than a secure VPN subscription.
  • Limited features: Think of a ‘free’ ride that only takes you part of the way. Cracked VPNs often have restricted server locations, hindering your access to geo-blocked content. They might also lack crucial features like kill-switches (protecting against accidental leaks) or data caps, compromising your online experience.
  • Privacy nightmares: Imagine a ‘free’ service that spies on you! Cracked VPNs might not offer proper encryption, exposing your data on the internet. Your IP address, location, and browsing history could be vulnerable, potentially leading to targeted ads, identity theft, or even legal trouble.
  • ​​Legal trouble: Downloading cracked software is often illegal. By using a cracked VPN, you risk not only your online safety but also potential legal consequences.

The best premium VPNs offer robust security and a variety of features for a reasonable price – and haven’t been broken into by hackers! It’s like paying for a reliable and comfortable journey that takes you exactly where you want to go, with complete peace of mind. 

Don’t be fooled by the illusion of ‘free.’ Choose a secure VPN and safeguard your online experience.

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[[post-object type=”accordion” question=”How can I tell if a VPN is cracked?” answer=”

Simple – only download it from the VPN’s website, like ‘ExpresssVPN.com’.

Okay, that will only guarantee it’s not cracked. So, here’s how to identify cracked VPNs out in the wilds of the internet. 

  • Shady source: Cracked VPNs lurk in the shadows, often distributed through shady websites, forums, or social media (cough, cough, Reddit). Legitimate VPNs have a clear home: their official website. Download only from there.
  • Price point: Quality comes at a cost. If a VPN seems unbelievably cheap or free, it’s likely a cracked version. Legitimate VPNs need resources to maintain a secure service, so rock-bottom prices are a red flag for cracked versions.
  • Missing features: Cracked VPNs might skimp on features. Look out for limited server locations, lack of essential security protocols like kill-switches or leak protection, or data caps on usage.
  • Reviewing reviews: Independent reviews can be a goldmine of information. Cracked VPNs often have few reviews or negative ones highlighting security concerns or lack of functionality. Do your research and see what others are saying.
  • Payment methods: Reputable VPNs offer secure and trusted payment options. If a VPN only accepts unconventional payment methods, it’s a red flag.

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[[post-object type=”accordion” question=”Why are cracked VPNs so risky?” answer=”

Cracked VPNs seem tempting, offering a quick way to bypass restrictions. But like other shortcuts, they come with hidden dangers:

  • Hidden malware: Cracked VPNs are a breeding ground for malicious software. Hackers can embed malware that steals sensitive data (passwords, credit card info, browsing history) or even take control of your device.
  • Unreliable security: A secure VPN encrypts your data, creating a private tunnel for your online activity. Cracked VPNs often lack this encryption, exposing your information on the internet.
  • Privacy leaks: Using a VPN is like wearing a mask online to protect your identity. Cracked VPNs might not offer this protection, potentially exposing your IP address, location, and browsing activity. This can lead to targeted advertising, identity theft, or legal repercussions.
  • Limited functionality: While you might access blocked content for free with a cracked VPN, essential features might be missing. Limited server locations, lack of a kill-switch (that automatically disconnects if the VPN drops), and data caps can hinder your online experience and compromise your security.

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Using cracked VPNs poses significant security risks, endangering your online safety and privacy.

Opting for a legitimate VPN provides lasting benefits. It guarantees encryption and anonymity for online activities, empowering you to navigate the digital realm confidently.

It’s essential to prioritize a secure online experience, as the dangers of cracked VPNs are not worth the risk. Instead, consider reputable VPNs to safeguard your online journey effectively.

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