best mobile vpn

The Best Mobile VPN of 2022

Less than an hour ago, I was using the internet on the move, mindlessly scrolling through my social media feed while waiting for my orthodontist to torture my gums. Having access to the office’s public WiFi network cushioned the blow of my impending doom. Thankfully, I’d already found my best mobile VPN to use. It helped cushion my internet security too.

Whether you’re out grabbing coffee at your favorite Starbucks joint or stealing your unsuspecting neighbor’s WiFi, you want to make sure you’re being safe. 

coffee shop with friends
Good company, a hot cup of coffee and safe WiFi — does it get any better than that?

When connecting to a public WiFi, hackers could steal your sensitive deets like your bank account information or super top-secret passwords to your Twilight fanfic account (it’s OK, I accept you). This is where having a virtual private network comes in handy.

Virtual private networks encrypt your web traffic by replacing your actual IP address, keeping your online identity a secret. Even if the data’s intercepted, virtual private network services ensure your identity is safe. Keep reading to find out the best mobile VPNs you can use today to preserve your internet anonymity. 


Best Mobile VPN Comparison

VPN Name:Pros Cons Most affordable plan
ExpressVPN Incredible speeds,
5 simultaneous devices,
Super secure
Expensive$6.67 per month for one year
NordVPN Expansive server network,
Strict no-logging policy
Default UI is clunky on mobile $3.30 per month for two years
Surfshark Unlimited simultaneous devices,
Low costs with long-term plans,
Access to all streaming services
No split tunneling on iOS$2.49 per month for two years
HMAEasy-to-use interface,
5 simultaneous devices,
Good for streaming
Average speeds,
No split tunneling
$2.99 per month for three years
CyberGhost Dirt cheap,
7 simultaneous device,
Fast speeds
No split tunneling,
Customer support can be unresponsive
$2.17 per month for two years plus three months
Private Internet AccessStrict logging policy,
Dynamic IP addresses,
Choice of encryption offered
Not great for streaming,
No split tunneling
$2.69 per month for two years
VyprVPNFast speeds,
30 simultaneous devices,
Good prices
Not great for streaming,
iOS doesn’t support VyprDNS
$1.81 per month for three years

What Is the Best VPN for Android?

Right off the bat, I can tell you that the top Android VPN app is ExpressVPN. Here’s why.

ExpressVPN has a reputation as a top provider. It offers a dedicated Android app that is easy to use, with amazing privacy and security features and a support team you can easily reach no matter the device you’re using. Not all mobile VPN services offer these features. 

Plus, it’s also got extra features like an automatic kill switch and split tunneling. A kill switch makes sure that your internet connection is cut off when your VPN connection dips. With split tunneling, you can selectively choose which apps on your phone fall under the VPN’s protection. Both are great add-ons for secure internet access on your phone. 

What Is the Best VPN for iOS?

I’ll cut to the chase, guys. The answer is the same whether it’s iOS or Android phone, and it’s ExpressVPN. I don’t wanna beat a dead horse, so suffice it to say that everything I said about ExpressVPN on Android still stands for iPhones as well.


How Does a Mobile VPN Protect You?

So, you’re thinking of protecting your phone, but you’re not entirely sure what makes a VPN worthy enough to be wielded by your device (the Mjolnir of VPNs, if you will). 

Maybe the Guardians of the Galaxy went missing with a local Pikachu and only Doctor Strange can find them — if he gets that email on time. 

You head over to the Google Play Store and download the first VPN you see, but you face some obstacles. 

Maybe the app takes up too much space and battery consumption on your already lagging phone. Maybe it’s a pain to navigate through the interface on your device because there are too many darn buttons. Or maybe a VPN provider talks about some features that aren’t available on the mobile OS.

When we’re specifically talking about mobile devices, quality VPN providers will offer the following: 

  1. Amazing security — I’m talking about strong encryption, DNS and IP leak protection, and a no-logs policy. 
  2. Kill switch — Your VPN could lose its connection to the server when you’re going into an elevator or joining an unstable public WiFi network. A kill switch cuts your internet connection when this happens, so you don’t go unprotected for even a split second.
  3. Split tunneling — This helps you cherry-pick which apps you want to run through the VPN’s protection on your phone, allowing you to use VPN incompatible apps (like banking apps) unprotected while keeping your browser traffic private.
  4. User-friendly interface — Phone screens are limiting as it is. You want to make sure the app is well-designed and optimized.
  5. Fast speeds — You should have access to a fast and dependable VPN server for your needs, as well as lightweight protocols like IKEv2, WireGuard or Lightway. 
  6. Offers simultaneous connections — Should you choose to use the VPN beyond your mobile app too, such as on your laptop, tablet or other devices. Bonus points if it offers unlimited simultaneous connections.

7 Best VPNs For Mobile Devices

Now that I’ve talked about what makes a good mobile VPN, I’ll talk specifically about each VPN that made the list, starting with the best mobile VPN for iPhone and Android: ExpressVPN.

1. ExpressVPN

The fastest VPN in all the land, and the best VPN overall. 

expressvpn for android
Get started with the fastest VPN in the market!

With 160 server locations across 94 countries, ExpressVPN is a top premium provider you can use on your mobile device. The best part about ExpressVPN is its speed. Even on mobile, you can stream Ultra HD content and unlock access to many Netflix libraries. 

It has a strict no logs-policy, secure encryption and an automatic kill switch on mobile devices that will protect your information. The kill switch will send you a warning when the internet connection is suspended on your device. The mobile app also offers a split tunneling feature. 

In terms of security protocols, ExpressVPN offers OpenVPN, IKEv2 and its own Lightway protocol, which was specifically designed for mobile use. The Lightway protocol makes it much easier (and faster) to switch VPN servers without disconnecting, and it’s great for your device’s battery life. 

The only drawback with ExpressVPN is its price. The most affordable plan starts at $6.67 per month for the annual plan, plus three months free. But you can always try your hand at the 30-day money-back guarantee before making a long-term commitment with the VPN.

Check out ExpressVPN’s pricing here or read the full ExpressVPN review for more information.


2. NordVPN

A great VPN that’s more affordable than ExpressVPN.

nordvpn for android
The runner-up to ExpressVPN is NordVPN’s mobile app.

NordVPN’s mobile app is fairly easy to use. It’s jam-packed with features, like six simultaneous connections in case you want to share your VPN with your family or roommates, split tunneling to optimize your VPN usage, and a kill switch to protect your identity should the connection take an unexpected dip. 

As far as its available protocols go, NordLynx (NordVPN’s customized version of the WireGuard protocol) is the default for all OS types. iOS users get the option to switch to IKEv2 if they wish, but NordLynx has amazing speeds without skimping on security, so you might as well opt for it. 

However, there are a few disadvantages to NordVPN’s mobile app. The server map showing all the server locations can be a bit of a pain to navigate around manually on the screen. The app is a little cluttered compared to the likes of ExpressVPN’s minimalist mobile UI.

NordVPN’s most affordable pricing plan is $3.30 per month for two years. Before making a long-term commitment, you can always use the VPN’s 30-day money-back guarantee and see if it’s the right fit for you.

Check out NordVPN’s pricing here or read the full NordVPN review for more information.


3. Surfshark

The best value VPN with decent speeds, low pricing and unlimited devices. 

surfshark for android
Surf your internet waves with this speedy mobile VPN.

Surfshark’s VPN app is intuitive and easy to use for first-timers. The VPN has servers in over 65 locations and packs a punch with its features and affordable pricing. A handy feature for the security-conscious is its multi-hop connection option, which allows double the security by “hopping” your connection through several countries to keep you anonymous. 

Surfshark also offers several encryption protocols, including IKEv2, which is among the best you could have for your mobile phone. It’s fast on the mobile app and offers unlimited bandwidth, which pays off if you plan on taking advantage of the unlimited simultaneous connections. You can even cover your whole family. What’s more, Surfshark also has split tunneling for mobile devices.

This VPN offers strong encryption and privacy standards (the latter of which was even audited by a German security firm). It ticks all the boxes on the checklist for standard security features, like a kill switch and DNS leak protection. The downside is that compared to the other VPNs on this list, Surfshark has a smaller network size — but it is a newer VPN provider, after all. 

Surfshark’s pricing is also very affordable at $2.49 per month for the two-year plan. You can also try your hand at its 30-day money-back guarantee. 

Check out Surfshark’s pricing here or read the full Surfshark review for more information.


4. HMA (Hide My Ass)

A solid VPN with solid streaming and torrenting capabilities. 

HMA for android
Looking for some P2P-optimized servers? It’s time to hide your ass!

This cheekily named VPN offers over 290 locations across 210 countries. While the 1,080 server count may seem smaller in comparison to the other VPNs, HMA’s perks warrant it being on this list. 

HMA has a very clean and simple interface that’s aesthetically pleasing and doesn’t strain your eyes if you’re browsing in the dark (we all do it sometimes). Its VPN protocols include IPsec, OpenVPN and IKEv2, so it’s sorted there too. 

Security-wise, HMA does a good job of covering your tushy. Erm, sorry, I mean tracks. It offers a kill switch as well as DNS and IP leak protection. In addition to this, HMA also has IP shuffling, meaning your IP address changes every 30 minutes (or whatever span of time you choose), making sure your anonymous internet location is never tied to one place for too long. 

One of the cons with HMA is that it retains some user logs related to the duration of your connection, the connection times, and your bandwidth usage. While this isn’t damning, it’s certainly more than VPNs that take zero logs. It also doesn’t offer split tunneling, which is a major drawback for mobile users. 

HMA offers an affordable plan that starts at $2.99 per month for a three-year period. You can also try out the 30-day money-back guarantee before making a commitment to this VPN.

Check out HMA’s pricing here.


5. CyberGhost

A cheap VPN with great customization options.

cyberghost for android
CyberGhost offers great plans at dirt cheap prices.

CyberGhost has 113 server locations across 90 countries, so you can access content from all around the world or while traveling. Its fast VPN servers are solid on mobile, so you can access the content you want in an uninterrupted flow while on the move. The app is straightforward with a one-click feature to connect to the servers you want, as well as a built-in malware blocker to keep your device safe.

Speaking of safety, CyberGhost has a strict no-logs policy. It offers AES 256-bit encryption, DNS leak protection and a kill switch. You also get to choose between the OpenVPN or Wireguard protocols, with the latter offering more speed (welcome news for mobile users). Also, you get the option to set up rules for automatic connections to unknown WiFi networks when you’re on the move, which comes in handy for mobile devices. 

The drawback is that CyberGhost’s speeds can be inconsistent in certain regions, and it also fails to regularly access all streaming services. It also doesn’t offer split tunneling on the mobile app.

The drawback is that CyberGhost’s speeds can be inconsistent in certain regions, and it also fails to regularly access all streaming services. It also doesn’t offer split tunneling on the mobile app.

Check out CyberGhost’s pricing here or read the full CyberGhost review.


6. Private Internet Access (PIA)

A mobile VPN with a “choose your own” encryption option.

private-internet access on mobile
Optimize your mobile VPN app to your heart’s content with PIA.

Private Internet Access has a whopping number of servers: 29,650 across 78 countries. It also offers great security features by letting you choose how you want to protect your device. If you want to kickstart your speeds, you can switch the encryption from 256-bit to 128-bit under the “connection preferences.” 

The interface is easy to use with a minimalist style (especially amazing in Android devices as there’s no sticky tray to deal with). PIA also offers all the standard security and privacy features such as a no-logs policy, a kill switch and DNS and IP leak protection. It offers WireGuard protocol for your mobile phone as well. It doesn’t offer split tunneling, though.

PIA offers amazing speeds on its servers, which grant unimpeded usage on your mobile device. However, it’s worth noting that the VPN doesn’t consistently grant access to Netflix, so it might not be the best VPN to stream Netflix content while on the go.

PIA’s most affordable plan is $2.69 per month for two years, and it also offers a 30-day money-back guarantee if you want to try it first. 

Check out PIA’s pricing here.


7. VyprVPN

An affordable VPN provider that owns its full server network. 

vyprvpn for android
At $1.81 per month, VyprVPN offers one of the most affordable plans in the market.

VyprVPN has a strict no-logs policy, and you also get access to its Chameleon protocol (in addition to IKEv2), which ensures your security while still keeping speeds light. Plus, the “block malicious sites” feature allows you to protect your Apple or Android device from shady websites. 

The VPN unblocks access to various streaming services, including Netflix, HBO Max, Hulu and Youtube TV. Additionally, the mobile app is easy to use. Although it has a small server count with only 700 servers, it still covers 70 countries and offers a whopping 30 simultaneous device connections — plus the entire network is owned by VyprVPN, which is a huge plus. 

However, the negative is that the speeds are a bit inconsistent across servers. You won’t face any lag if you’re connecting to the closest server, but its speed tests revealed erratic speeds on servers farther away.

VyprVPN’s most affordable plan gives a bang for your buck at $1.81 per month for three years. It also offers a standard 30-day money-back guarantee. 

Check out VyprVPN’s pricing here or read the full VyprVPN review for more information.


The Best Free Mobile VPN

A wise person once said that the good things in this world don’t come free or easy. That wise person is me. 

I’m joking, but for real, that’s a pearl of wisdom right there, and it also applies to VPNs. 

If you pop onto the Google Play Store or Apple App Store, you’ll see a lot of “totally” free VPN app options that “guarantee” your internet security. Those guarantees often come wrapped up in very ambiguous logging policies, and these VPNs may have untrustworthy reps. 

Sus, right? Besides, is it really “free” if you’re paying for it through the sacrifice of your internet anonymity? 

suspicious dog
It’s enough cause for even your dog to sense an imposter among the “free” VPNs.

However, there are a few VPNs that offer a free version that hold a strong reputation. My top recommendations for a free mobile VPN is Windscribe, which offers 10GB of data per month on 10 server locations for free, and TunnelBear, which offers 500MB per month on all server locations (enough for some light mobile browsing). Read the Windscribe review and TunnelBear review for more information.

You can also use the money-back guarantee with all the reputed VPN providers on this list; I’ve never had an issue getting my money back if I ask before the 30 or 45 days are up. But if you want a really secure experience with premium services, you’ll likely have to pay out of your pocket. 

I will leave you with another thing the aforementioned wise person once said. Look for the same qualities in a VPN that you would seek in a lover — safety, reliability and good support that lasts a long time. 


Conclusion

Choosing a VPN for your beloved device can be tough, especially if you have so many great options to pick from. 

My advice? Go with the best and try ExpressVPN. It’s packed with features while still keeping  your device protected. But if you want budget options, you should certainly check out the others on this list, like CyberGhost and VyprVPN. 

Did any particular VPN in this article catch your eye? Which VPN do you think is best for mobile phones? Which is the best Android VPN or iPhone VPN? Let me know in the comments, and thanks for reading.

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