A VPN, or a Virtual Private Network has multiple uses, depending on who you are. It is similar to a kitchen knife, a useful tool in the hands of a chef, a very bad one in the hands of a murderer. Anyways, in today’s world, where privacy is an issue of concern, a VPN is what many of us require in our daily lives. There are multiple VPN services out there, both free and paid. A new entrant on the scene is Bright VPN, a free VPN with “premium” features.
The free Bright VPN supports 120 countries, which is more than what even premium VPN services provide. We’ll talk about that later. So, basically, it’s a VPN service that provides premium features for free! Too good to be true, right? Well, you are both right and wrong. Right, because there’s a catch, as clear from the title. But, you could also be wrong, because the VPN does provide premium features at no cost! Before I forget, I recently talked about a way to make money on PS4, PC, or mobile for renting your internet.
Confused? I don’t blame you. But, let me try and clear the confusion right away. Keep reading to find out.
Download Bright VPN (Windows)
Everything about Bright VPN: the free of cost Premium VPN
Let’s begin with the first very basic questions.
Who owns Bright VPN?
This is a question that clarifies a lot of things for many. Obviously, you don’t want to be using a VPN developed by some agency with connections to criminal organisations, right? Fortunately, Bright VPN is owned by Bright Data, in turn owned by EMK, a private equity fund based in the UK. From my research, I couldn’t find any undesirable linkages with any unwanted entity. If you did, please leave it in the comments.
How is Bright VPN free? “The Catch”
Well, here’s the catch. When you use Bright VPN, the parent company Bright Data collects publicly available data, including product prices, flight information, online ads, etc.) In simpler terms, Bright Data’s clients pay them to use your PC (and internet) to do research on other websites. For a clearer answer, here’s what’s said in Bright VPN’s own FAQ:-
Bright Data (Bright VPN’s parent company) is paying. Bright Data collects publicly available web data (e.g. product prices, flight information, online ads). Bright Data’s customers are major banks, universities, social networks, e-commerce websites, and many brands you know. Your Internet connection is used only occasionally, not all the time!
The clients pay Bright Data and Bright Data pays for the VPN. Thus, you get to use their servers free of cost!
What type of data does Bright VPN collect?
The catch behind the free VPN would worry you. But, as per the FAQ, here are the types of data that the Bright VPN client collects when functioning on your PC:-
- The average rating score of a product on an e-commerce website
- The price of an airline ticket from London to New York on an airline’s website
- The text of an ad on a social network
- Search results for a specific query (e.g. “best pizza in town”)
A few other use cases have been given here. Anyways, throughout their FAQ, they swear that no private information will be used or transferred by the Bright VPN Client. “Private information” here could mean your search history, your personal data, etc. Clarifying that on the front page, here is what they say:-
No, free vpn does not mean you are the product. We don’t need or want your data, and we don’t show you ads. We don’t see, collect or send any personal data, ever!
What is Bright VPN’s Logging policy?
When it comes to a VPN, the logging policy is extremely important. If you are extremely careful about anonymity, say, you are James Bond, you would look for a no-log or 0-log VPN, which maintains no log of anything, neither your IP, nor your IP, connection time, or anything.
We do not track nor store logs of your browsing activity, including no logging of browsing history, traffic destination, data content, or DNS queries. We do store general technical details which help us with troubleshooting and improving BrightVPN. Such storage is for short periods of time only.
It continues to say:-
Log Data: Log data may include your outgoing VPN IP server address, connection timestamp, operating system, browser, version of VPN client installed and other technical details which help us with troubleshooting and improving BrightVPN. Such storage is for short periods of time only.
That seems harmless, since this is data that Bright VPN team requires to provide quality service. But, when we come back to the FAQ, we find this:-
Like other commercial networks, Bright VPN is a managed and supervised network and thus any illegal activity such as CP would be reported to the authorities with the user’s real IP.
This is where it gets confusing. On the one hand, they log only the outgoing VPN address. But, when an illegal act is committed, they will share the real IP of the user with the authorities. The question is, if the real IP is logged much earlier or only when their server is used for some criminal activity. If it’s the latter, then, that’s a very great policy. I contacted the team to clarify and received a reply which says:-
BrightVPN does not keep any logs of your connection neither asks you for any personal information as no login system is required as well. … Like every company, we need to comply with laws so yes you are correct, the user IP would only be accessed at authorities request if their were suspicious of any criminal activity.
Will Bright VPN slow my internet connection?
Bright VPN’s FAQ states that the client collects data only when the system is idle and is not busy performing other tasks. From that, it could be presumed that the VPN will not interfere with your system while you are busy, say uploading a huge video, or maybe, rendering a 4K video on your PC.
Does Bright VPN use a lot of data?
This is a question that bothers people who are on a limited data plan. On the same, here is what the FAQ says:-
… but in general, BrightData only downloads traffic that is equivalent to a few minutes of Netflix or YouTube viewing per day.
While the resolution of the imaginary Netflix or YouTube is not mentioned and a “few minutes” could be anything from a minute to much more, it again can be assumed that it could total a few 100MB per day. Anyways, if you are on a limited data plan, it would be wise to monitor Bright VPN’s data usage for the first few days and then decide for yourself.
Now, these were some basic questions and their that would have clarified a lot for you. But, before you actually decide whether you want to use Bright VPN or not, you should definitely read the Pros and Cons below. On the other hand, if you are satisfied, download Bright VPN right away.
Bright VPN: Pros and Cons
Pros of Bright VPN: Why you should use it?
1. Bright VPN has 1550 servers over 120 countries
Why is it such a huge thing, many of you might wonder. On the other hand, a few others who know the struggle of finding a free VPN with a server in their desired country would just jump up and download the VPN.
What makes it interesting is that some of the top VPN providers including even ExpressVPN and NordVPN support just 94 and 60 countries respectively. The only top paid VPN that beats Bright VPN here is HMA, which supports 210 countries. But, it loses to Bright VPN given the latter only has 1080 servers.
For your comparison, here’s a table that compares these VPNs:-
If you need the complete list of all the countries, here it is. As of today (9th December, 2022), while this page doesn’t show all the 120 countries, you do have the option to have your preferred country added to the list by e-mailing them at the link below on the page. They say, the requested country will be added in just 48 hours.
2. No e-mail or credit card required
You must have noticed from the image above that, among the 4 VPNs, Bright VPN is the only one that doesn’t require an e-mail for registration.
This is quite good given that e-mail for most people is something personal. And, while you are looking at securing yourself with a VPN, providing them your personal e-mail beats the purpose. You could always provide a temporary e-mail or a secondary one, but, with Bright VPN, you don’t have to bother at all!
Moreover, since it’s free, you don’t have to grab your credit card, or link any other payment mode when registering.
3. Bright VPN allows control over collected data, type and time
We already talked about the kind of data that Bright VPN collects with its client. That might have scared a few of you. But, the good news is that the VPN client also allows the user a good measure of control over that data.
Here are the features that the VPN client has, regarding data control:-
a. View sites accessed and block sites
On the app, you can go to the Menu > Data usage rules > Sites and it will list all the sites that were accessed by the app during the data collection process. In the list, you can also allow/block sites you don’t want the client to access.
b. Set time for data collection
Do you want the 100% potential of your PC when working from 10 to 3? Not an issue! Open Bright VPN app from the taskbar. Go to Menu > Data usage rules > Scheduling. Here, set the exception time. The app allows you set an exception for 6 hours in total every day as seen in the image below:-
c. Control type of data collected
Earlier, we listed a few use cases for which the data is collected by Bright VPN. The good news is that, Bright VPN’s Windows Client lets you decide what kind of data you would like to share. To set it, go to Menu > Data usage rules > Use cases. And, here is what you will find:-
As you can see, from the image, at all times, at least three types of use cases must be selected. So, if you were to select, Universities, Banks and Healthcare, the data collected will pertain to only these three client types.
4. IKEv2 Protocol for Security and Anonymity
Unlike many other VPNs out there, Bright VPN also uses the IKEv2 (Internet Key Exchange Version 2) security protocol. The protocol developed by Microsoft and Cisco handles request and response actions thus encrypting the VPN traffic and its other features. The encryption standards used are AES256, SHA1 or MODP2048.
This is great, as it provides truly anonymous browsing with Bright VPN.
5. Whitelisted by many antivirus engines
Bright VPN Team claims that the VPN has been whitelisted by the major Antivirus companies. And that they are working with the other antivirus engines to get it completely whitelisted. To reassure the user, they also claim to undergo external auditing every 3 months to ensure sterility of the VPN’s source code.
They have shared a Spreadsheet explaining in detail how they comply with the requirements of major security companies including Google, Clean Software Alliance, Avast, AVG, Kaspersky, ESET, Malwarebytes, etc. You can access the spreadsheet here.
Just to be safe, I decided to run a scan of the Bright VPN Windows app file (.exe) on Virustotal. As you can see in the image below, Virustotal finds Bright VPN clean with zero malicious code detection. Here is the link to the result.
6. Bright VPN Browser extensions
Bright VPN also provides browser extensions for Chrome, Edge, Firefox and Opera. The user can use it to change the location (IP) directly from the browser. But, unlike other VPNs, you cannot use the browser extension without running Bright VPN app on your computer first.
In a nutshell, the browser extension works like a remote to the VPN client running on your PC. And, I guess that’s a con too.
Those were some of the major advantages of Bright VPN. Now, it’s time to look into the disadvantages.
7. Bright VPN is free
If you are wondering, no, there isn’t a paid option that would let you use the VPN without having to share data. Bright VPN is completely free for everybody.
Cons of Bright VPN
1. Only available on Windows
Currently, Bright VPN is only available for Windows. But, they are also planning to release the Mac and mobile versions soon. When they do, I will be updating this article.
2. Torrenting (P2P) not supported
Bright VPN doesn’t support torrenting. This means, you cannot use it with BitTorrent, uTorrent, Vuze, etc. This has been done to make sure that Bright VPN is not used for illegal purposes like downloading movies or copyrighted material.
That’s it, guys! I will be updating this article as and when we have more information. In the meantime, you guys can try Bright VPN on Windows for free right now. Download it right now by clicking on the link below:-