Your phone stores tons of private information about you and what you do online. And if you didn’t already know, many of the apps you use can and do access your data and – worse yet – sell it at will. How can you protect yourself? A Virtual Private Network (VPN) makes it easy to protect your browsing data and other private information.
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While Apple is very focused on protecting user privacy and will include a VPN in iOS 15, there’s not much you can do. You can’t control criminals snooping on unencrypted web traffic, apps exfiltrating user data, rogue Wi-Fi networks, or carriers selling your data. Only a VPN can protect your data from prying eyes and mask your true location, and the ones below are the best.
Surfshark VPN removes the astronomical weather element from managing your privacy and security. The app protects your online identity with a no-logging policy, hides your IP address, encrypts all traffic, protects your true location, and makes sure public Wi-Fi is secure, all in one fast and powerful package. It can connect to 3,200 servers in over 65 countries to send your sensitive files, protect against DDoS or doxxing, bank online, or anything else you need to do online. It costs $11 per month or $48 per year.
NordVPN is one of the most popular VPNs for Windows and MacOS, and is also available for iOS. NordVPN uses the IKEv2 security protocol, which is 30 percent faster than the last generation. The application allows you to browse the servers through a map or a list of specific countries; Currently, there are more than 5,200 servers available in 60 countries.
You can connect up to six devices with a single account and bypass blocked websites and regional restrictions with no lag. NordVPN does not store any information about the user, so your privacy is protected at all times. The app supports a large number of security protocols, including OpenVPN, IKEV2, and L2TP, and your real IP address will be displayed as the IP address of the NordVPN server, thus ensuring your browsing experience anywhere. Subscriptions range from $12 a month to $84 a year, but Nord often runs promotions, like a three-year plan for just $108, which works out to $3 a month.
NordVPN even offers a unique double encryption system that applies military-grade AES-256-CBC encryption to incoming and outgoing data twice. With these features, NordVPN should be on the shortlist of anyone looking for a robust VPN solution.
CyberGhost is a solid VPN service that offers good connection speeds. You can select from over 3,700 servers in over 60 countries and can connect up to seven devices simultaneously. It is available for Android, Windows and MacOS.
CyberGhost VPN has a premium subscription plan that costs $5/week, $10/month, or $50/year, but it’s worth keeping an eye out for deals as there are limited time deals quite often that can reduce the monthly cost.
The Private Internet Access (PIA) anonymous VPN service remains a very popular option on iOS. It offers a considerable number of locations around the world with more than 3,300 servers in 32 countries. Speeds are generally fast, and the service supports 256-bit encryption and OpenVPN, though it recommends 128-bit encryption for speed. It is based in the United States and promises not to store any traffic or VPN usage on its servers.
Desktop clients offer all sorts of configuration options, but the iOS app is dead simple. Simply log in, choose a node from the list, and you’re good to go. It’s missing some speed information, and it sometimes gets disconnected, and unfortunately, there’s no free trial on PIA, but the service does offer a seven-day money-back guarantee. It costs $10 a month or $75 a year, but there are often cheaper promotions and offers if you’re willing to subscribe longer. The subscriptions include support for up to 10 devices that can connect simultaneously, which makes it really interesting.
With ExpressVPN you can connect to more than 3,000 servers in 94 countries around the world and the connection has support for 256-bit encryption and OpenVPN. There are no restrictions on logging, so you can be sure that the service will not track your online activities. It is generally fast and reliable, with good customer support in case of need.
The iOS app displays nodes in a list or on the map, and you just tap to connect. There are over 160 regions to choose from, with the option to set your favorite for later. Express VPN is available in apps for Windows, MacOS, Android, Linux, and routers. It is also compatible with devices such as Apple TV, Fire TV and Android TV.
You can try ExpressVPN for free for one day, after which subscriptions are $13 per month, $60 for six months, or $100 per year. You’ll get a 30-day money-back guarantee, but the bad news is that you can only connect three different devices simultaneously.
With over 700 servers in over 60 countries, you should have no problem connecting with IPVanish. It promises zero logging of your activity while still offering support for OpenVPN and 256-bit encryption. It also allows P2P traffic, which some services block.
You will find the iOS app quite easy to use and you can navigate using the most popular location and countries. In some countries, such as the United States, the list allows you to connect by city.
It has a wide range of subscription plans: $10 per month, $27 per three months, or $75 per year. It provides unlimited bandwidth and you can have up to 10 simultaneous connections on multiple devices.