A good VPN service can protect your privacy online, but a bad one can expose you to even more invasive tracking than going online unprotected. It’s sometimes hard to know which VPN services are trustworthy, but Mozilla hopes to leverage the trust of Firefox users to get people using its upcoming VPN. After small pilot testing, the Firefox Private Network VPN is now available as a free beta. However, Mozilla has instituted numerous limits on the free VPN.
A VPN, or virtual private network, acts as an encrypted tunnel for all your web traffic. To an outside observer like your ISP, it looks like you’re just sending a lot of web traffic to the VPN rather than Google, Facebook, or whatever other sites you’re visiting. On the flip side, the VPN sees all your online activity. Some shady free VPNs have leveraged that access to collect data on users, which they then sell. In general, you want to avoid free VPNs for this reason, but Mozilla’s pitch is somewhat distinct.
Running a VPN is expensive, so the free tier of the VPN will impose some restrictions. It only operates in the Firefox browser rather than at the device level. In addition, you only get 12 hours of VPN connectivity per month. This is the only way to try Firefox’s VPN right now — you’ll need to have a Firefox account and the Firefox Private Network extension in your browser.
Eventually, Firefox will launch a paid VPN tier for $4.99 per month. That makes Firefox Private Network the first service Firefox has sold directly to consumers. Firefox Private Network will support system-level VPN connections for Windows 10, Android, iOS, and more. Although, Windows 10 is the only one that will be ready at launch. Mozilla will have servers in more than 30 countries, and there won’t be any time limits on your VPN connection. However, it will only support five simultaneous device connections.
The company also pledges that it will run the VPN in accordance with its long-standing Personal Data Promise. That means it won’t monitor your traffic or sell data to third-parties. You can sign up to be notified when Mozilla launches the full Firefox Private Network service. If you’re worried about who to trust in the VPN world, Mozilla seems like a safe bet.
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