Gov't locks down everything so the only way you can get to where you want to go is by VPN.
Pay for it and you say "Ha! I got around your firewall".
Govt supplies it for free and you say "WTF?! You're issuing internet licenses and spying on me!"
VPN's have useful purposes--getting past (some) firewalls, pretending you're somewhere you're not, protecting your privacy from a *casual* snoop.
As long as you don't *really* care about getting caught doing whatever it is you're doing, a VPN is just fine.
If what you're doing can get you put in the pokey for the next 20 years, you better find a different way to do it!
Don't assume the people running the VPN server have your interests in at heart and don't assume you know who they are (or aren't).
And you're helping pay for their operations!
BTW, I'm using a vpn right now for the second purpose--to pretend i'm in the UK.
For some reason, you can only get a website that sells certain bizzare chocolates (and bronze, glass, or silver items of the similar design) from within the UK. I showed it to my wife; she was NOT amused...