Virtual private networks (VPN) are widely used by people and organizations all around the world. They are a great way to secure your online data, to protect your identity, access content that is geo-restricted, use torrents and more.
But while they used to only be popular on desktop computers and laptops, nowadays all VPN providers also develop apps so that you can use VPNs on your mobile devices, too, whether they are iOS or Android based.
Why should you use a VPN on your phone?
Nowadays, we rely on our phones for most of our online browsing. We no longer use just laptops and desktop computers to connect to the Internet. Almost every website and online service have been optimized for mobile phones, so pretty much anything you want is a swipe and finger touch away. We do our online socializing from our phones (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, WhatsApp and so on), we pay our bills from our phones, we perform financial transactions using our phones, we shop through our phones and so on.
But the problem with mobile phones is that they are, well…mobile. That is why we don’t always go online from the privacy of our secure home or office networks. Since our phones are capable of it, we connect to a lot of public WiFi networks, from various places, such as hotels, airports, malls, coffee shops and so on. All those networks are unsafe, because they are very susceptible to online threats, such as malware, spyware and so on. You can have your data hacked and stolen, your identity is exposed, you location can be easily found and so on.
A VPN makes sure all you data is encrypted and nearly impossible to be hacked, so that you can stay safe from anyone looking to snoop around and monitor your online activity.
Of course, while security is the number 1 reason why you should use a VPN on your phone, it is not the only one. The other VPN benefits mentioned at the beginning of this article apply to your phone, too.
Things to consider when choosing a VPN for your phone
While having a VPN installed on your mobile phone is definitely better than not having one, you still have to be careful when you choose a VPN provider, because they, too, can collect data about you and use them in their own interest. You have to go with a reputable provider that has a ‘no logging’ policy and commits to respect your privacy.
Another thing to consider when choosing a VPN for your phone is speed. VPNs are known to slow down the device they’re installed on, more or less, depending on the VPN. If you opt for a fast VPN service, that decrease in speed won’t be that noticeable. Other aspects to have in mind are the bandwidth (aim for a service that offers unlimited bandwidth), strong encryption, a large number of servers and locations to choose from. It is also useful to choose a provider that allows multiple simultaneous connections, in case you want to use the VPN or more than one device.
You should also go for a paid VPN, rather than a free one. Free VPNs are slower in speed, unreliable in connections, offer less servers and less features in general. Moreover, some of them may collect and sell your data to third-parties for advertising purposes, in order to earn some money, because they have to sustain themselves one way or another.
How to set up a VPN on your phone
All reputable VPN providers also offer mobile apps with their product. There are apps for your iOS device and apps for Android.
The best and easiest way to use a VPN on your phone is to download the app from the Play Store or Apple Store and install it on your smartphone. When you install the app, you have to create an account and provide some details, such as those required for payment. From there on, you simply open the app and connect to a server of your choice.
You can easily tell if the VPN app is running on your phone or not, by looking for the icon at the top of the screen. For Android, it will be a key icon and for iPhones, a VPN icon.
Like most apps, VPN apps are also easy to configure and you can customize them to meet your personal needs.
Best VPN providers for your phone
The best way to find a good VPN for your phone is to go with a good, reputable VPN provider in general. Among the best options on the market right now are NordVPN, TunnelBear, IPVanish, PureVPN, CyberGhost.