Not only is the use of virtual private networks (VPNs) more popular than ever before, but it’s also reported that some 52% of such users report regularly leveraging the technology on their iOS devices.
Of course, VPNs are more prevalent across both desktop and mobile devices, but it should be noted that smartphone usage is particularly prevalent as handsets become increasingly sophisticated and widely used.
In this post, we’ll answer why you need to use a VPN on your smartphone while appraising what you should look for in a client.
Why Do You Need a VPN on Your iPhone or Android Device?
Typically, when you use your smartphone, you’ll spend a portion of your time connected to an unsecured public network.
This creates a significant security risk, as these networks are magnates for potential hackers who may create rogue access points that trick you into connecting.
From here, all of your web traffic and personal data can be targeted by nefarious individuals, while it will also be visible to other network users (in some instances), managers and even Internet Service Providers (ISPs).
A VPN download can help in this respect, as this will create a secure network connection by establishing an encrypted tunnel between your device and a remote server of your choice.
All data and web traffic is subsequently routed through this tunnel, with this presented as an indecipherable string of code that’s invisible to hackers, network managers and ISPs.
If you also like streaming content through sites like Netflix on your mobile while on the move, then a VPN connection is also right up your street.
Remember, a VPN enables you to connect to a remote server in a global location of your choice, with some clients offering you access to hundreds of server locations throughout the world.
As a result, you may gain unrestricted access to sites like Hulu, while being able to access the international Netflix library of your choice.
How to Choose a VPN Provider
Now that you understand the benefits of using a VPN on your smartphone, the next step is to determine the key criteria when choosing one client over another. Here are the key considerations to keep in mind:
1. Is Your Connection Secure
Let’s start with the basics; as the best and market-leading VPN clients leverage 256-bit encryption that provides the highest level of protection against cyber-attacks and hacks.
While some clients may utilize 128-bit encryption (which is more than adequate in general terms), it’s better to opt for the highest level of protection where possible and create a layer of network security that can function while you’re on the move.
2. Check the Protocols Used:
On a similar note, VPNs will also use a combination of protocols to regulate its accessibility and how user data is stored.
Not all protocols have been created equal, however, with OpenVPN established as one of the strongest and most reliable options in the market.
This is particularly effective when used in conjunction with WireGuard, which is a newer protocol that also helps to optimize security and speed.
3. Is Your VPN Client Free or Paid
Typically, it’s paid VPNs that offer the highest levels of encryption and best protocol combinations, with so-called “free alternatives” often eschewing high quality safeguards that create vulnerabilities for hackers to exploit.
Similarly, free VPN clients may actively log your data and monetise this by selling it to third parties, in order to generate the income that they’ve lost by abandoning a subscription-based model for their service.
4. Speed and Functionality
We’ve already touched on the speed of your VPN, and it’s important to note that free or inadequate clients may well slow down your device and connection speed.
In contrast, the best paid subscriptions can actually increase your connection speed over time, as they offer access to multiple server locations and can share a large amount of bandwidth with their user base.
5. Are There Usage Caps
Finally, you should note that some free or poor standard VPNs use data caps to help manage their bandwidth.
In this respect, you’re paying for the client’s inability to operate the requisite servers, although some operators may offer you the opportunity to upgrade to a subscription package that offers unlimited use.
Try to avoid such packages where possible, and instead opt for transparent, paid VPN service providers.
How to Use a VPN on your Smartphone
After getting your VPN and you are ready to go anonymous on your smartphone; the following steps will walk you through the steps to take to start using your VPN right on your smartphone to protect yourself from a public IP address.
- Launch your VPN on your smartphone.
- Sign into your account. We advise you to go for a paid VPN as this will give you unrestricted access to all the VPN services.
- Choose the location IP address you want to connect to or change your location IP address to.
- Click on the “connect” button.
Wait for the VPN to connect to the IP address. Once you are connected you can minimize the VPN app and you are now save to surf the internet.
Note: You will likely see an indication on your phone that you are connected to a VPN service.
The Last Word
Once you’ve chosen your provider, the process of setting up a VPN on your smartphone is relatively simple.
There are multiple options in this regard too, although the best and most simple option is to purchase and download your chosen VPN before following the bespoke setup instructions and proceeding from there.
So, there you have it’ our brief guide to using a VPN on your mobile and what to look for in a particular client.
Hopefully, this will enable you to make an informed and rewarding decision, and one that optimizes your mobile browsing experience and security.