Why paying for a VPN with lifetime subscription is wrong

Madalina Dinita
by Madalina Dinita
Former Managing Editor
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  • If a VPN provider is offering you a lifetime subscription for rock-bottom prices, then you should take that claim with a metric ton of salt.
  • Most reputable VPN providers, like Private Internet Access, offer monthly, yearly or at the very most 3-year plans.
  • For more information on which VPN providers you can trust, have a look at our thoroughly vetted lists on the VPN Page.
  • Want to keep your data safe and your browsing habits private? Look no further than our Online Security Section.
Best VPN for lifetime

The next time you come across the deal of a lifetime offering a lifetime subscription to a VPN service, keep in mind the old saying: if it seems too good to be true, then it probably is.

In order to understand why these bargains are at best a bad investment and a worst a scam from a dodgy reseller, all you have to do is consider these simple things:

What business model does the VPN provider have?

Creating and running a VPN is not cheap. It requires the company to first develop apps for multiple platforms, set up and maintain servers in multiple countries, keep their servers secure both physically and online and this is all before marketing costs, certifications and upkeep.

All these costs are not a one-time investment, so the company will need a steady influx of cash. If it starts offering lifetime subscriptions then they have an immediate influx of cash, but less flow afterwards.

Relying on always gaining more users isn’t an economically viable solution either, as it puts a strain on the servers, which means regular upgrades. This is a positive feedback loop which will eventually crash.


Why would the service be good if there’s no incentive?

All subscription services work on the same principle: customer retention. Keep your customers happy and they’ll keep paying for your service. When the service is bad, your customer will go over to your competitor and give them money. Simple, right?

If you pay upfront for a lifetime subscription, what’s the incentive for the VPN provider to keep their service running well? They already have your money and so, customer retention is not an issue anymore.

This opens the door for the VPN provider to offer sub-standard services to its customers. You’re free to complain but why would they change anything? Again, you’ve already paid, you cannot undo that and there is no threat to the company. Worst case scenario, you go to someone else, but you’ll be paying again for a new service.


How long will your lifetime VPN subscription last?

Just because the ad said lifetime subscription, it doesn’t mean that you’ll be able to use the service as long as you live. There’s no guarantee that the VPN provider will be around 5 or 10 years from now. As companies come and go, it’s more likely that the provider you’ve paid for a lifetime VPN subscription will not be active in the near future.

While still all sound cynical, always be wary of deals that promise you a lifetime of anything for a one-off payment. If you’re lucky, you will receive a sub-par service and in the worst-case scenario, the VPN provider will just disappear one day.

This is something that should always be in the back of your head, as over 20000 companies go bankrupt yearly. Whilst this doesn’t necessarily mean that your VPN provider will, one should always prepare for the worst.


A better service is always around the corner

In such a competitive industry, VPN providers are always trying to lower their prices or offer better services for their customers. This, once again, circles back to customer retention. If you lock yourself to a specific provider forever, then you will definitely miss out on new advances in technology.

The advantage of limited plans is that in the end you can leave and go for either a better deal or a service that offers features that are more important to you. Once your plan is up, you’re free to shop around.

If you are so very interested to get a lifetime VPN subscription, we must tell you that that’s usually a scammy business. A lot of small VPN service providers have used this scheme to get quick earnings in order to sustain themselves.

That’s why, if you are so very interested in legit one-time-payment options, you’ll hardly find them. The 3-years package is the most common and the closest you’ll get.

Your focus should be on 3 things:

  • Pricing. Even if the service shuts down after, say 3 or 4 years, the subscription would pay off.
  • The number of supported devices and platforms.
  • Reliability in usage. Lots of servers and fast bandwidth.

We made sure to provide you with the list of top VPNs that offer a good bang for the buck when it comes to long-term subscriptions. As you can see, most reputable VPN providers don’t have lifetime subscriptions, but they do offer longer-term plans. Consider a yearly plan or even a 3-year plan but never fall for the lifetime scams.

VPNs worth subscribing for the extended period

Private Internet Access (recommended)

protect your data with Private Internet Access

Private Internet Access, like all trusted VPN providers, does not offer a lifetime subscription plan. However, you are free to choose a monthly, 6-moth or yearly subscription. As always, you should only purchase a subscription to PIA via the official website.

Once you’ve signed up, you will enjoy safe and anonymous web browsing on all your devices. Moreover, you can bypass any geo-restrictions because you can easily connect to one of the thousands of servers available worldwide.

PIA has a strict no-logs policy, so your browsing habits will remain private. In addition, there are no limits placed on the amount of bandwidth you use.

Just to show you how confident PIA is of your satisfaction with the services provided, you have a 30-day money-back guarantee if for any reason you are not happy with the service. Additionally, the friendly support staff is at your disposal with any queries you might have.

Here are some of the features you can look forward to when you start using PIA:

  •  Unlimited bandwidth
  • Over 3000 servers in more than 45 countries
  • Protection for up to 10 devices at once
  • Military-grade data encryption
  • P2P support
  • SOCKS5 Proxy Included
  • And many more…
Private Internet Access

Private Internet Access

Private Internet Access offers short and long-term subscription plans so you can find the one that's right for you. Enjoy a major discount right away!
$2.85/mo. Buy it now

CyberGhost

CyberGhost Best VPN for lifetime

CyberGhost takes the best of everything and makes for a valid choice when it comes to price/reliability ratio. The number of servers is right there at the top, with CyberGhost relying on 3600+ servers in 60+ countries all around the globe.

The location is Romania so you wouldn’t need to worry about the 5 Eyes countries where your privacy might be undermined. Certain servers support Netflix streaming, while all of them support torrenting.

The server speeds, in comparison to the other two entries on this list, are rather comparable. At least on some servers.

Features-wise, CyberGhost is probably the best-known for its simplicity. UI is quite intuitive and, most of the time, two clicks are all you need to get to a server you prefer. It supports all major platforms and allows for 7 devices to be connected at the same time on one account.

At this time, it’s priced at $100 for 3 years, which makes it less affordable than Surfshark but a tad cheaper than NordVPN.

 Download CyberGhost now

NordVPN

NordVPN Best VPN for lifetime

NordVPN slowly but steadily got to the top of the food chain when it comes to VPN services. Just, instead of relying on aggressive advertising, it actually offers a good service for the invested money.

The record number of servers and the fact that it’s stationed in Panama (not any of 5 eyes countries) made it quite enticing option for so many users. Along with that, the NordVPN service is built on strict privacy, so you don’t have to fear of IP/DNS leaks or secret logs kept by the provider behind your back.

It supports up to 6 devices on one account, fully allows for torrenting and streaming geo-restricted content (including Netflix). NordVPN works on all platforms you can think of, so your PCs and handheld devices are covered.

The lifetime subscription is, in Nord’s case, a 3-year subscription for around $107. When divided monthly, this is a great option. A single month will cost you around $3 which is quite a bargain.

Check out NordVPN now and try it out. The 3-year subscription option comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee. You can ask for a refund if not satisfied with the service it provides.

 Download NordVPN now

Surfshark

Surfshark Best VPN for lifetime

Surfshark is seemingly a jack of all trades and master of none. It comes with the 800+ servers in 50+ countries and it offers all the usual jazz when it comes to encryption protocols.

It fully supports torrenting/P2P and Netflix and other streaming services work great with it. In comparison to its competition, it allows for the unlimited number of devices on all the platforms you can think of.

In addition, the Camouflage mode hides your IP so successfully that even your ISP will have a hard time tracking it. Besides the unlimited-devices support, it comes with a built-in ad blocker and quite strict no-logs policy.

In regards to pricing, Surfshark’s 36-month plan is probably the most affordable you can find. For the $70, you’ll get a worthy VPN service for 3 years.

 Download Surfshark now

What option out of these 3 do you find to be the best? Tell us in the comments section below.


FAQ: Signing up for a lifetime VPN subscription

  • Are lifetime VPN worth it?

Generally speaking, no. If you lock yourself to one VPN provider for a lifetime, then you might miss out on technology improvements, better deals, or features which might be better suited for your needs, offered by other companies. We strongly recommend longer-term plans as an alternative (1-2 years).

  • What does lifetime subscription mean?

A lifetime subscription means that you pay once and you can use the service for the rest of your life. However, you should not always trust these claims, as sometimes the companies can go bankrupt and you’ll be left hanging.


Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in July 2019 and has been since revamped and updated in April 2020 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

Editor's Note: This article was originally published in July 2019 and was revamped and updated in October 2020 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.
  • Hello,

    There is no tricky part, it’s just that: how long the services will work – you will be able to use them with that one-time payment. However, their plans are constantly evolving and we’ll keep this article updated in case some company changes something in their lifetime subscription plan. Until then, come back on our website for more news and awesome lists.

    Cheers!