Editor’s note, February 9, 2022: The VPN industry has changed significantly over the past few monthscompany owned. In December, , a company that already owns several other VPNs and has raised privacy concerns in the past. In February, , although they will continue to work autonomously. We’re in the process of reevaluating all of our top picks in light of these changes. We will update our ratings and, where appropriate, our rankings to reflect this new competitive landscape.
We’ve all been through that. You’re at a coffee shop or in an airport and you desperately need to use public Wi-Fi to save your phone’s data plan, but you’re worried about compromising your privacy by connecting to a network that might not be completely secure. You’ve heard VPNs can help, but they seem expensive and complicated. What should I do?
No reason to worry. VPNs are easierthan you might think and most are less expensive than you might expect. Here’s how to set up a VPN or virtual private network on your or — and surf safely again on your mobile device – in less than 10 minutes.
CNET’s Best VPN Services in 2021
Why do I even need to use a VPN on my phone?
Are all the internet-connected apps on your phone up to date and running versions later than say 2017? What about your operating system – is it the latest version ofor ? If the answer to any of these questions is “I don’t know,” consider using a phone VPN if possible. It can be difficult for malicious actors to take advantage of everyday users on public WiFi, but outdated software can give them the opening they need to steal the passwords of your most sensitive accounts.
If you’re worried about the risks of using public WiFi to check sensitive business email accounts, bank account balances, or airline ticket and passport information, a VPN can offer some security. Some of our top rated options include, and .
How to Choose the Best Mobile VPN
Whether you’re using an iPhone or an Android smartphone, your first step is the same: find a VPN that you like and that’s compatible with your mobile device. Here’s how:
1. Search the CNET list ofor . If you just want to surf safely on public WiFi, look for a VPN service whose servers are located in your current country. As a rule of thumb, the closer the hardware, the faster the VPN connection.
2.. We love 30-day guarantees and seven-day trial periods (and ), but completely free VPNs are rarely secure and often just a way for rogue companies to get your data.
If you want to invest in a VPN for the long term, you will need more than 10 minutes of research. But if you’re ready to dive deeper, CNET has done itand a .
How to set up a VPN on an Android phone
Now that you’ve selected the VPN you want to use, follow these steps to get it working on your Android device:
1. open that Google play store app on your mobile phone and tap the search bar at the top of the screen.
2. Enter the name of the VPN you want to use and select it from the list of apps that appear. Take a look at the app creator to make sure you download the official app instead of a copycat. The name of the company and the app creator should match. click To install and wait for the app to download.
3. Once the VPN app is installed, exit the Google Play Store and return to your phone’s home screen to click and open the VPN app.
4. When you first open a paid VPN app, you’ll be asked to provide your credentials or sign up for the service. If you’re prompted to sign up with an email address (which almost all services do), check your email for a confirmation link from your new VPN provider.
For the apps listed in CNET’s VPN directory, the process is largely the same: you’ll be prompted to choose your preferred subscription level and pay. We always recommend choosing a service that has a 30-day refund policy so you can try the services until you find the one you like.
Android devices require additional steps to keep a VPN running in the background all the time. We don’t recommend this for most users – a VPN client running 24/7 will quickly drain your battery and can force you to hit your data limit too soon if you’ve chosen a VPN provider that exceeds their limit customers limited. Use of data.
That means almost every new VPN you use will only be up by default when you open the app and turn it on. Just remember to turn it off when you’re done browsing.
How to set up a VPN on an iPhone
Here’s how to get a VPN working on your Apple iPhone:
1. Go to your home screen on your iPhone and tap to open the app store.
2. Beat that Seek in the lower-right corner of the screen, and then tap Seek box at the top of the screen.
3. Enter the name of the selected VPN and select it from the list that appears. Then tap the Will Button that appears to the right of the app’s name. As with any other app, you need to confirm app installation with your passcode, Touch ID, or Face ID.
4. Once the installation is complete, close the App Store and return to your home Screen.
5. Just like using a VPN on Android for the first time, using a VPN on iPhone for the first time means you’ll be prompted to create a new account and choose your preferred subscription level. Check your email inbox for confirmation links your VPN company sends you when you signed up with an email address.
Almost all VPN apps will prompt you to connect to an automatically selected VPN server based on your location for the fastest browsing. From now on, every time you want to use your VPN, all you have to do is tap the VPN icon on your home screen before you start browsing the web, click the app’s button to connect, and then back go to the VPN app and turn it off when done.
Now there. Didn’t I tell you it’s easy?