Mobile devices give you almost all the power and functionality of a computer on the go. Since they have become more affordable and they can be used to connect to internet and access a wide range of applications and services, many people have opted for getting a tablet, or a smartphone instead of a computer. Given that we are likely to use our mobile devices to connect to internet using public WiFi hotspots, it is especially important to take measures to protect your data in this scenario. This is why, we will go through a list of the best VPN services to enjoy security on the go. Before we start, let’s take a look at some important aspects to keep in mind when it comes to mobile security.
VPN on mobile platforms
Android and iOS, the most popular mobile platforms, have built-in clients that support PPTP, L2TP/IPsec and more recently, OpenVPN, although it should be noted that Apple dropped support for PPTP in the latest version of iOS. Additionally, most VPN providers offer guides that will allow you to set up different protocols in Android and iOS. While PPTP is easy to set up, it is the weakest protocol (which is why it is no longer supported on iOS or macOS), this is why it is advisable to opt for L2TP/IPsec or even better, OpenVPN. The latter is recognized for offering the best level of security and many VPN providers have useful tutorials to set it up on Android and iOS.
It is rare to find support for other mobile platforms such as Windows Mobile and Blackberry, but this is mainly due to the limitations of these operating systems. While Windows Phone 6 has a PPTP and L2TP/IPsec client built-in and a few providers offer instructions to configure the VPN on this platform, there is no VPN support available on WP7 or WP8. The same goes for Blackberry: older versions of this platform support PPTP, but the most recent ones don’t.
Even if your mobile device doesn’t offer support for VPN, there is an alternative that will allow you to enjoy the security of this technology. You can buy a router and flash it (modify its stock programming) with DD-WRT or Tomato firmware. This will expand the functionality of the device and will also allow you to configure it for VPN. A flashed router can be used with all mobile devices, as well as Smart TV and gaming consoles like PlayStation and Xbox. Any device that can connect to internet can be used with a flashed router and through it, you can enjoy the advantages of a VPN.
As previously mentioned, you can get a router and flash it on your own, but you need to be careful and follow the relevant instructions to the letter. If you prefer to avoid the hassle, you can buy a router that has been previously flashed. To make things even easier, it is possible to find pre-flashed routers that have been pre-configured to run a specific VPN service.
Sharing VPN WiFi
There is another way to get a VPN on your mobile device and that is to use your computer as a WiFi hotspot. Then you can share the VPN connection with all the devices in your network. Although it is a cheaper option than getting a flashed router, you will need to leave your computer running every time you want to use VPN on your mobile device.
Number of simultaneous connections
An important aspect that should be considering when choosing a VPN is the number of simultaneous connections supported. The majority of users will need at least two, one to protect their computer and one for the tablet or smartphone. However, if you have more internet enabled devices at home, it is advisable to look for a provider that allows a larger number of simultaneous connections.
Many VPN providers are realizing the importance of giving customers the chance to connect multiple devices at the same time. This is why it is becoming more and more common to see up to three or up to five simultaneous VPN connections being allowed. Alternatively, if you use a flashed router or set up your computer to work as a WiFi hotspot, this will only count as one connection and will allow you to cover all your devices for less.
VPN for WiFi Hotspots
Although it is advisable to always use a VPN to protect your online privacy, you are particularly vulnerable when you use your mobile device to connect to internet through public WiFi hotpots. These networks attract hackers and cyber fraudsters, who can intercept your connection and get access to important data such as your financial information.
There is a wide selection of BitTorrent clients for Android so you can download content on the go. One of the most popular options is uTorrent, but regardless of the one you choose, it is crucial to use a VPN when you are using these applications. This will keep your privacy protected and will prevent other from seeing what you are downloading.
VPN for Securing your Mobile
Thanks to the speed of the service and the high quality of its mobile apps, ExpressVPN stands as one of the best solutions to secure your internet connection on your tablet or smartphone. ExpressVPN offers easy to use clients and features like automatic protocol and server location recommendations, will make things simple when you are browsing, streaming or downloading. ExpressVPN has servers in 87 countries and their customer support is reliable and knowledgeable. ( Read Our Review )
NordVPN gives you high quality software and solid protection for your privacy. They don’t log your online activity or your connection details. Plus, being based in Panama keeps them away from the influence of privacy enemies like the NSA and the GCHQ. With high technology such as multi-hop double connection and Tor over VPN, you will be able to safeguard your data effectively. Their mobile apps will allow you to stay secure, no matter where you are connecting from. ( Read Our Review )
TorGuard offers a good variety of features and protects your connection with high level of encryption. Additionally, they don’t keep logs and accept Bitcoin as method of payment to help you to enhance your privacy online. DNS leak protection is available in their client and the speed of the service is quite good. They also offer good support for mobile platforms and detailed guides to set up the service on additional platforms. TorGuard is one of the providers that offers flashed routers that have been pre-configured with the service. ( Read Our Review )
Private Internet Access
PIA has become a leading provider in the industry, thanks to its strong commitment to privacy, security and the affordability of its plans. They don’t keep logs of your online activities, use shared IPs and accept Bitcoin as method of payment.n They have apps for iOS and Android, as well as instructions to set up different protocols on these platforms. With PIA you can get access to thousands of servers in 24 countries and they allow up to five simultaneous connections. ( Read Our Review )
IPVanish is one of the most reliable and recognized names in the VPN industry. They offer fantastic speeds and consistently good performance, thanks to the fact that they are in charge of their own network. The provider has servers in over 60 countries and its software is easy to use, making it ideal for users who are not familiar with VPNs. IPVanish also allows up to five simultaneous connections. ( Read Our Review )