There are lots of reasons why you might want a VPN, or Virtual Private Network, app. These services disguise your true IP address and location, as well as encrypt the data that you send and receive, giving you full privacy as you browse the increasingly treacherous landscape that is the internet.
A VPN creates an encrypted tunnel between you and a remote server managed by the VPN service. All your traffic is routed through this tunnel. This means that anyone looking at your end activity cannot associate it back to you, your Ip address and your location, but only to the VPN service. Similarly, anyone looking at the activity of your IP address will not have the details of your activity online. Further, all your data that passes along this tunnel is encrypted, offering an extra layer of security.
Originally VPNs were created to securely connect business networks over the internet, allowing workers to access sensitive data from a remote location. These days, there are a variety of reasons why an individual might wish to use a VPN.
- When engaging with public networks, as a VPN adds an extra layer of encryption that protects your data against hackers.
- Privacy! There are many reasons why you might not want your online activity connected with you by third parties.
- Location-based access. There are many reasons why you might wish to appear to be accessing the internet from somewhere else in the world. For example, if you want to access services that are only available in your own country while travelling overseas (c’mon, I say services, but we mean Netflix!).
You are most likely using your iPhone, iPad or MacBook when out and about and therefore need to use public networks or appear at your home location. For this reason, it is a great idea to have a VPN app on your iOS device for easy and secure access.
Check our list of the five best VPN apps currently available for iOS.
NordVPN is one of the most secure VPN services that you will find for iOS, using the latest IKEv2 security protocol to protect your data. This same protocol allows it to serve up internet access about 30 percent faster than older services.
Nord VPN also does not store any user information (beyond the obligatory email address and billing details), so there is no record of your data to be hacked or shared with third parties.
The service has over 5,000 servers in more than 60 countries, which means that it is always easy to find a relevant country server, or a server with low traffic to ensure that you get the highest speeds. Remember that the further a server is away from you geographically, and the more users that are accessing it, the slower speeds will be.
The app is pretty straightforward to use, and you can choose your server using either a map or list of countries, and then turn the service on and off with a single click. You can connect up to six devices at once on a single account.
The app is free to download, and subscriptions are around $12 a month or $84 annually (at time of writing). There are also frequent promotions that offer big discounts. Take advantage of the seven-day free trial to see how well the service works before you buy. Make sure you try out Netflix first! Netflix are pretty good at identifying and blocking VPN IP addresses, so if you are getting the service for Netflix, make sure it works for your chosen country.
This VPN service is pretty good. I also liked that Nord tries to protect their client’s security by leveraging a solution and they don’t keep logs.
I find NordVPN a great service. I researched long and hard to see if there were any definite winners… NordVPN seemed to come out at or near the top in most of the reviews.
Tunnel Bear has a more limited network that some of the other services on this list, boasting only 1,000 servers in only 20 countries (though all the most popular are well covered). However, Tunnel Bear also has a smaller user base, so you may find yourself getting faster speeds due to less demand.
What sets Tunnel Bear apart are their efforts to be completely transparent with their customers about how they run their service. For example, they recently completed an independent code audit and made the results public. This kind of activity helps reassure users that there is no funny business going on behind closed doors or undisclosed security breaches.
You can use up to five devices with a single account, which is fewer that some other services but is more than enough for most users. There is also no data logging, which protects your privacy.
Tunnel Bear offers a free VPN service, but this restricts you to just 500MB of data per month. The unlimited paid for service is $9.99 per month or $59.88 per year (at time of writing). You can pay by credit card, or in Bitcoin.
Some of the advanced features that are available in the Windows addition have not yet made their way to the iOS app, but we suspect that this is only a matter of time.
I used the free 500mb allotment for several months before buying a year-long membership. Very easy to use, lowest price I could find for a year-long VPN, passes all the DNS leak and IP tests I could find.
I absolutely love TunnelBear. After researching a ton of VPNs and their behaviors and perks, I decided upon TB. No logging. Excellent encryption. Auto connect. No speed loss that I’ve noticed.
With over 650 million users, HotSpot Shield is definitely one of the most popular and trusted VPN apps on the market. It has been around since 2005, giving it a significant period of time to establish itself as a market leader.
With over 3,000 servers in more than 70 countries, this service provides lots of options when it comes to getting online. If you choose the right server you will get some of the fastest VPN speeds available, though some of the more popular servers, which carry a lot of users, can run slow.
Hotspot Shield is also extremely user-friendly and even fist time VPN users should be able to figure it out intuitively. While there is no logging, Hotspot Shield do work with a number of third-party organisations, so you may find yourself being served with advertising.
While this is annoying, this is what enables the free version of HotSpot Shield, which provides capped monthly protected access to the internet. The premium service costs anywhere from $5.99 to $12.99 per month (at time of writing) depending on the subscription period.
I love it… I was a little sceptical at first when I used it but it actually works seamlessly, even without the membership!
Definitely the best hotspot app. Highly recommended!
CyberGhost’s VPN service has 3,700 servers in over 60 different countries, so you have a lot of flexibility in choosing your location.
You can connect up to seven devices simultaneously using a single account, so you can manage all of your devices in an easy and user-friendly way. It is easy to install and it is just one click to turn the all on and off once you are set up. There is also no logging of your personal data, ensuring maximum security and anonymity, and is under Romanian jurisdiction where data request laws are loose.
The CyberGhost app is free to download, and a subscription is then needed to use. While it is quite pricey to experiment with, at $5 per week, you can get a yearly subscription for as low as $50 (at time of writing).
Rapid and consistent.
A relatively new company, Surfshark have only about 800 servers, but still cover more than 50 countries. With a relatively small customer base, you will still find yourself with excellent speeds, despite the relatively small size of the service.
There is no bandwidth usage limit and no device limit, so Surfshark is ideal for managing all your devices. It is easy to setup and use, and also comes with a useful kill switch feature that automatically disconnects you from the internet if your VPN service drops out.
Importantly, at time of writing this service still unblocked Netflix in the US. As already stated above, Netflix is pretty good at identifying VPN IP addresses and blocking them, so just because an IP address will make you appear in a certain country does not mean that you will be able to access the service, and the VPN’s IP address may have been red flagged. VPNs regularly update their IPs to deal with this issue, but if you are getting a VPN for Netflix, always check this out.
There is no logging, and the company only collects the mandatory email address, billing information, and diagnostics such as crash reports. It is also located in the British Virgi Islands where there is no data logging and reporting requirements.
This service can be one of the cheapest on the market, priced at between $1.99 to $11.95 per month depending on your subscription period (at time of writing).
I consider surfshark as one of the precious software I ever had. It is fast enough, unlimited connections is simply wonderful.
I surely can say that Surfshark, above all is easy to use, safe and I think secure as well, and really really fast.