Best VPN for Mobile

Phones are used online now more than ever, though little mind is paid to the security of that connection. Although virtual private networks are commonplace on desktops and laptops, they’re not as common on the often less secure LTE connection from your cellular provider. In this guide to the best VPN for mobile, we’re going to show you how to stay safe on the go. 

Picking from our best VPN guide, we chose five options that satisfied our standards for speed, security and usability. We’ll give a brief overview of why we like each pick for mobile, as well as why we like each one in general. 

If you’re in a rush, you can skip the hoopla and just download ExpressVPN. It’s fast, easy to use and has one of the largest server lists out there. From streaming to torrenting and everything in between, ExpressVPN just works, and works simply, at that.

Best VPN for Mobile 2019

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$ per month
top features
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    • PayPal, Credit card, Bitcoin
    • 5 Simultaneous connections
    • Unlimited bandwidth
    • Can access Netflix US
    • Allows torrenting
    • No-logging policy
  3. Visit ExpressVPNExpressVPN Review
  1. 2
  2. /month
    • Credit card
    • 6 Simultaneous connections
    • Unlimited bandwidth
    • Can access Netflix US
    • Allows torrenting
    • No-logging policy
  3. Visit NordVPNNordVPN Review
  1. 3
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    • PayPal, Credit card
    • 7 Simultaneous connections
    • Unlimited bandwidth
    • Can access Netflix US
    • Allows torrenting
    • No-logging policy
  3. Visit CyberghostCyberghost Review
  1. 4
  2. /month
    • PayPal, Credit card, UnionPay
    • 5 Simultaneous connections
    • Unlimited bandwidth
    • Can access Netflix US
    • Allows torrenting
    • No-logging policy
  3. Visit VyprVPNVyprVPN Review
  1. 5
  2. /month
    • PayPal, Credit card
    • 10 Simultaneous connections
    • Unlimited bandwidth
    • Can access Netflix US
    • Allows torrenting
    • No-logging policy
  3. Visit Private Internet AccessPrivate Internet Access Review

Choosing the Best VPN for Mobile

There’s a big difference between choosing a VPN for a desktop and a phone. Interface and screen size are significant factors. Apps built for small displays keep a user-friendly design in mind. Our top five picks, though, go beyond comfortable menus and simplicity.

If you’re interested in ease of use, for example, you should try ExpressVPN or CyberGhost. They’re simple and keep the extra bells and whistles to a minimum. With these, you select the recommended or streaming-friendly servers and hit “connect.” This is perfect for handheld devices, where a straightforward setup is better.

Outside of usability, connectivity is a major factor for mobile devices. The gold standard for most VPNs is the OpenVPN protocol, which you can learn about in our VPN protocol breakdown. However, it’s unsuitable for most mobile connections. Although OpenVPN will work, it will drop if you lose or change connections. 

That’s important for mobile, as most users will switch fluidly between LTE and WiFi at multiple points throughout the day. In that case, IKEv2 is the better protocol choice. It uses UDP packets and begins creating the security association after the first few packets are sent, meaning it can jump on and off connections very quickly. 

In short, when using a mobile device, it’s critical the VPN offer a IKEv2 option, as it can disconnect and reconnect when you change between LTE and WiFi without much downtime. 

The Best VPN for Mobile: ExpressVPN

best VPN for mobile

ExpressVPN is the fastest VPN we’ve come across, and that stays true for mobile devices. Whether you’re streaming your favorite TV show, downloading a movie or duking it out in a few matches of a competitive mobile game, ExpressVPN has you covered. In fact, we rate it as the best VPN for gaming.

There’s also a clean interface to enjoy, which is a must for smaller screens. All you need to do is tap the large “on” button in the middle of the app, and you’re set. When it comes to choosing a location, ExpressVPN boasts an expansive list of 160 servers in 94 countries.

ExpressVPN is one of the few VPNs that excels in every category. From streaming to torrenting to general browsing, it’s quick and seamless. You can set it up to connect automatically when you power on your device, too, meaning that you shouldn’t even know it’s active most of the time.

Other Reasons We Like ExpressVPN

The only downside to ExpressVPN is its price, though the rate is still worth paying. Other options, including some on this list, offer years of service for the one-year $100 fee that ExpressVPN asks. Even so, the 30-day money-back guarantee means you can try out the service risk free. 

ExpressVPN is set up to succeed, and if you give it a chance, you’ll be pleasantly surprised. Read our ExpressVPN review for more.

Pros:

  • Fast
  • Simple interface
  • Easy to use

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • No kill switch
Starts from $ 666 per month
Save 49 %

NordVPN

When you open NordVPN, you’ll see a few simple details. These include a settings button, a quick connect button and a swipe-to-open list of servers and options. It’s a clean interface with a unique map in the background that you can use to select specific regions. 

In the settings menu, you’ll find the usual configurations that come with a VPN, but also one that stands out. CyberSec, which is included for free, offers a boost to your security and shields you from malware, phishing attempts and other cyber threats. 

CyberSec is like a content blocker, but it runs on a system level, rather than as a browser extension. It also works as an ad-blocker, which is a big plus.

Pricewise, NordVPN is more accessible than ExpressVPN, with a three-year plan costing a bit more than $100. As it stands, the subscription gets you a three-day trial before charging you. Of course, you can cancel your service if you feel it isn’t right for you.

Other Reasons We Like NordVPN

NordVPN also comes with a set of specialty servers. These include the double VPN, P2P, dedicated IP and obfuscated options. Although the standard servers are fine for most users, you can use the specialty options if you need more security or if you’re, say, torrenting. 

If NordVPN could keep up with the consistent speeds that come with ExpressVPN, it’d rank first. Even so, it’s a great pick, as you can see in our NordVPN review.

Pros:

  • Specialty servers
  • Inexpensive plans
  • Malware protection
  • Blocks ads

Cons:

  • Inconsistent speeds
  • No kill switch
Starts from $ 349 per month
Save 71 %

CyberGhost

CyberGhost looks like one of the most barren VPNs when you first open it, but there’s more going on under the hood. When you open it, there’s a slider to connect, a small button to choose a server and a settings button.

Once you’re in the configuration menu, the options open up. There’s an ad-blocker and a simplified version of a malware blocker, which protect against malicious websites. Split tunneling is also on the list, which is seldom seen from VPNs, much less mobile ones.

As far as speed is concerned, CyberGhost struggles to maintain a stable connection. You can expect peaks and valleys while you browse the web. Streaming is most affected, and pauses for buffering are prevalent. There’s a silver lining, though, because there are more than 5,000 servers in 90 countries around the world.

Other Reasons We Like CyberGhost

Although CyberGhost can’t go toe-to-toe with NordVPN and ExpressVPN when it comes to speed, it can when it comes to price. At $107 for three years, it’s one of the cheapest options around, and comes with a 45-day money-back guarantee, to boot. You can read more about that in our CyberGhost review.

Pros:

  • Blocks ads
  • High server count

Cons:

  • Limited options
  • Inconsistent speeds
Starts from $ 275 per month
Save 79 %

VyprVPN

Although other VPNs stand out with their simplicity, VyprVPN is the easiest to maneuver. Three buttons dominate the bottom of the screen. Here’s where you navigate between your settings, connection status and server list. It’s comfortable, easy on the eyes and feels perfect.

Although server choices are limited, with the option to manually choose one or automatically select the fastest available, it’s more than enough for the average user, especially when you consider the variety of settings you can change.

Among the adjustments available, there’s one that is unique to VyprVPN. You can use the proprietary Chameleon protocol, which is similar to OpenVPN (read our VPN protocol breakdown for more on that). However, Chameleon comes with additional privacy measures. 

Pricing is where VyprVPN falls apart a bit. You can pay $60 for the “standard” one-year plan or bump the price up to $80 per year for the “premium” account. The latter adds a cloud service and the Chameleon protocol to the basic plan. In both cases, there’s a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Other Reasons We Like VyprVPN

Streaming might not be its strong suit, but the download speeds are consistent with VyprVPN. Fast downloads are one reason why we had to include this app in our list of best VPNs for torrenting

There is also an option for automatic activation on public networks. This makes it evident that the version for mobile devices was well thought out and carefully put together. You can learn more about those features in our full VyprVPN review

Pros:

  • Multiple VPN protocols
  • Kill switch

Cons:

  • Low server count
Starts from $ 500 per month
Save 50 %

Private Internet Access

PIA has a small worldwide server coverage, though it’s still serviceable. It spans 32 countries and offers 3,375 servers in 50 locations, at the time of writing. 

It’s not all doom and gloom, though. Although streaming is subpar with PIA, it still finds a spot as one of the fastest VPNs out there. In fact, it tags right behind ExpressVPN in our list for the fastest VPN. That velocity stays true for mobile.

It also comes with an excellent list of features, including split tunneling and MACE, which functions similarly to CyberSec. PIA had a price increase in early 2019, but even after the hike, it keeps costs lower than ExpressVPN and NordVPN. 

Other Reasons We Like Private Internet Access

PIA boasts a simple interface. Just like ExpressVPN, it capitalizes on the giant connect button in the middle of the screen. It’s quick to establish a server connection and comes with a few useful configuration options. You can learn more about those in our Private Internet Access review, or you can try the service out yourself with a seven-day money-back guarantee

Pros:

  • Fast download speeds
  • Comfortable design

Cons:

  • Low server count
  • Expensive
Starts from $ 333 per month
Save 52 %

Free Android and iOS VPNs

The free VPNs advertised on most app stores may be tempting, but they’re more of a problem than a solution. They’re alluring, especially with no price tag, but their cons heavily outweigh their pros, as you can read in our piece on the worst free VPNs.

Most of these free alternatives don’t get the job done. DNS leaks are commonplace, and many free apps struggle to connect to a server in a reasonable amount of time. The limited country coverage and slow speeds just add insult to injury. 

Data mining is the next issue. When you use a VPN, your online security comes with complete anonymity. This means that the VPN you’re using should not collect or store any of your information. If a VPN collects or sells your information, the entire purpose is defeated.

It’s much better to stay on the safe side and lean toward paid options. Any of the VPNs listed above will do a far better job than any free alternative. If, however, money is a big issue for you, check out our Windscribe review for the best free VPN out there.

Final Thoughts

The five options above will protect your mobile device while staying fast and easy to use. Each VPN listed has its strengths, so don’t feel bad going with one that’s rated lower on the list. 

Our consistent winner is ExpressVPN, but you might think differently. Is there an alternative you feel should have made the list? Tell us in the comment section below and, as always, thanks for reading.

Starts from $ 666 per month
Save 49 %
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