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Best phone VPN in 2022

VPN on Phone
(Image credit: Getty Images / Stock Photo)

Using a VPN on your phone is among the best security practices to keep yourself safe online. Not only are they effortless to use, but they also make sure all that data you’re sending out and sifting through is encrypted — leaving all kinds of malicious online threats asking “wait, who was I trying to attack again?”

Smartphones are the most widely used devices today. A majority of us keep them on our person 24/7, whether it be to send important messages to friends and family, jump on video calls for work, watch a show on a streaming service like Netflix, or, you know, scrolling through social media apps to procrastinate. With this in mind, it’s a good idea to keep all your personal and business activities on the down-low, and a VPN can do just that.

What’s more, a VPN service on a phone can do just as much as it does on other devices, like laptops or tablets. From Double VPNs and Kill Switches, you’ll be getting nearly all the advanced features to make the most of being anonymous.

Searching for the best VPN service to stay protected online can be done in a cinch. But for more mobile-specfic VPNs, this list of phone VPNs will do the trick. 

What is the best mobile VPN?  

First off, a little explainer. Formally known as a virtual private network, accessing the internet with a VPN means making a connection to a VPN server, which acts as a proxy when you’re accessing websites. So, instead of your real IP address — given to you by your internet service provider (ISP) to identify you on a website — the internet will only see the VPN server’s IP address and location. What’s more, the VPN server’s IP address changes regularly. For more, find out what a VPN is and why you should be using one.

Luckily, most of the best VPNs you may already know about work across multiple devices. That means all you need is one subscription. What’s more, the VPN services on this list have brilliant, easy-to-use apps on iOS and Android.

The best mobile VPN to use is ExpressVPN. Along with its inuitive iOS and Android apps, it boasts some of the best servers with breakneck speeds, multiple security protocols including OpenVPN, L2TP/IPsec, IKEv2 and its own Lightway protocol, and fantastic customer support.

While Express VPN is our top choice, it shouldn’t completely overshadow  NordVPN. The popular VPN service delivers the fastest VPN server speeds around, and has a huge number of servers around the world to choose from. It’s iOS and Android app interface may not be as fancy as other VPNs, but that doesn’t stop it from being a hugely reliable service to quickly bypass geo-restriced content and keep you safe with advanced security features.

Then there’s Surfshark, the VPN that lets you download and use its app on an unlimited number of devices — all at an affordable price. It’s user-friendly interface on phones make it a breeze to use, but it also manages to cram in a plentiful amount of security options and great connection speeds. 

 The best mobile VPN apps in 2022 

ExpressVPN (Image credit: ExpressVPN)
The best mobile VPN

Specifications

Works on: Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux, gaming consoles, routers
24/7 support: Yes
Trial period: 30 days
VPN servers: 3,000+
Server locations: 160
Countries: 94
Maximum devices supported: 5

Reasons to buy

+
Best servers with speedy connections 
+
Multiple VPN protocols
+
Incredibly helpful support
+
Lightway protocol 

Reasons to avoid

-
Limited devices for the price

When it comes to wicked fast connection speeds, multiple servers around the world, and fortified security protocols, ExpressVPN doesn’t disappoint. ExpressVPN offers multiple security protocols including OpenVPN, L2TP/IPsec, IKEv2, and its very own Lightway protocol. Even better, it uses 256-bit AES encryption which is nearly impossible to break. That, along with its no-log policy and Perfect Forward Secrecy so your encrypted data won’t be captured and deciphered later put any security fears at ease.

All that with lightning-fast speeds? Indeed, made even faster with its new Lightway security protocol. Even playing online multiplayer games isn’t a bother, and it’s all done with a one-click connection that links to the fastest server. Speaking of, user accessibility is the real star of the show, offering easy connections for those who simply want to be anonymous, along with DNS leak prevention, split tunneling, a kill switch, and then some. It also works on pretty much every device including laptops, web browsers, smart hubs, gaming consoles – you name it.

That goes for Android and iOS, too. The app is incredibly easy to set up, and will give unfamiliar users a look at what each feature does. In fact, ExpressVPN’s app is more intuitive to use than its desktop counterpart. Simply want to connect to the best connection? Just a press of the button and you’re protected.  Need to switch connections without too much fuss? No problem.

While ExpressVPN isn’t the cheapest for the five devices it supports, it can also be used on a router thanks to the router app, meaning you can link all those devices and still be secure with one connection.

Read our full ExpressVPN review

NordVPN (Image credit: NordVPN)
The best mobile VPN for speed

Specifications

Works on: Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux
24/7 support: Yes
Trial period: 30 days
Number of servers: 5,500+
Server locations: 80+
Countries: 59
Maximum devices supported: 6

Reasons to buy

+
Fastest VPN servers
+
Fantastic price for features
+
Huge number of servers
+
NordLynx protocol

Reasons to avoid

-
Certain devices better optimized

It’s hard to find fault with NordVPN, as it goes above and beyond in nearly every aspect of its service. With exceptional internet speeds, brilliant pricing, a huge number of servers to connect to and multiple security features, what more could you want?

NordVPN combines the very best speeds with brilliant security. It has AES 256-bit encryption, perfect forward secrecy, and two security protocols including OpenVPN UDP/TCP and IKEv2/IPsec. However, users will most likely be using NordVPN’s very own VPN protocol based on WireGuard, called NordLynx. It also has CyberSec to avoid ads and protect you from malware, an app-specific kill switch, and split tunneling.

NordVPN has a few little quirks when it comes to using different devices, from iOS to Android, including presenting different security protocol options. It’s map-based location is also a little behind the times compared to other VPN app interfaces That said, this is a minor inconvenience to an otherwise useful VPN that flaunts a quick connect feature, which means lightning-fast VPN speeds at the click of a button.

See our full NordVPN review

Surfshark  (Image credit: Surfshark)
The best mobile VPN for affordability

Specifications

Works on: Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux
24/7 support: Yes
Trial period: 30 days
Number of servers: 1,700+
Server locations: 100+
Countries: 63
Maximum devices supported: Unlimited

Reasons to buy

+
Unlimited simultaneous connections
+
Bargain at price
+
Ease of use
+
Plentiful security options

Reasons to avoid

-
Some connection dips

Surfshark is without a doubt the best VPN service when it comes to cost, as the amount of different features it offers makes it a great value. Connecting to unlimited devices means your whole neighbourhood could technically be a part of one subscription (but probably don’t do that, we want them to stay in business). Lucky enough to have an iPhone and Android phone? Surfshark has no problem with letting you use the app on both.

If security, ease-of-use and plentiful privacy features are what you look for in a VPN, and you have more devices than you can handle, Surfshark will work out swimmingly. It uses unbreakable 256-bit encryption, along with DNS and IPv6 protection, to prevent anyone from trying to get your real IP address. As for its security protocols, every country supports OpenVPN UDP/TCP, WireGuard, IKEv2, WireGuard and Shadowsocks protocols. Each has its own advantages, whether it be connection speed or data encryption, so it’s brilliant to have the choice.

For those overwhelmed by the number of security features and tricks Surfshark has to offer, not to worry, as it also handily comes with a one-click fast connection found on an easy-to-navigate interface on Android. Plus, every feature is briefly explained on its interface so users know exactly what they do. More impressively, it features an “Override GPS location” switch, so users can match the GPS location of the VPN location.

See our full Surfshark VPN review

CyberGhost VPN (Image credit: CyberGhost)
A fast and reliable mobile VPN for streaming and gaming

Specifications

Works on: Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux, PS5, Xbox Series X, routers
24/7 support: Yes
Trial period: 45 days
Number of servers: 6,900+
Server locations: 110+
Countries: 90
Maximum devices supported: 7

Reasons to buy

+
Optimized servers for streaming
+
Brilliant selection of locations
+
Fast P2P for torrenting

Reasons to avoid

-
Limited streaming services
-
Inconsistent servers

CyberGhost VPN offers a premium service for streaming with tons of locations and fast P2P for torrenting. You get those benefits with fantastic server speeds and seven supported devices. That’s not bad seeing as you can get a three-year subscription for a fairly desirable price with three months included for free. Those paying for a monthly subscription, however, may not find it as affordable. 

While it has plenty of features, the highlight of this service is its optimized servers for streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu. It’s a shame that when we tried Amazon Prime, it remained blocked. Still, two out of three isn’t bad when getting wicked speeds while streaming our favorite shows around the globe.

In terms of numbers, CyberGhost blasts the competition away. The number of devices it works on? Everything. That includes gaming consoles. Amount of servers? A whopping 6,900 (and growing). The countries available? A nice 90. It even has a 45-day trial period for annual subscriptions, which is a smidgen longer than ExpressVPN’s and NordVPN’s 30-day money-back guarantee.

Its iOS and Android apps are also incredibly simple to use. Pick the best location from its incredible number of servers and you’re connected in no time. Don’t care where you are? It’ll find the best location for you. It’s simplicity to a fault, though, as some of its more advanced security features are a little trickier to get to, and it doesn’t boast the number of security features in its app like other VPNs on this list. Still, the ability to easily navigate through its thousands of servers means if one isn’t offering consistent speeds, the next one definitely could.

Read our full CyberGhost VPN review

ProtonVPN (Image credit: ProtonVPN)
The best mobile VPN for security

Specifications

Works on: Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux
24/7 support: No
Trial period: 30 days
Number of servers: 1,000+
Server locations: 50+
Countries: 50
Maximum devices supported: 5

Reasons to buy

+
Puts main focus on security
+
Simple to use on multiple devices
+
Free service with unlimited bandwidth

Reasons to avoid

-
Few servers with slow speeds

ProtonVPN is the VPN service that should come to mind when thinking about security, as it completely excels in this area. That, and it can be completely free to use. Its pricey plans and limited servers compared to other VPNs is where it falls behind, but it still boasts one of the best user interfaces around, whether it be on Windows 10, iOS, or Android. That’s what counts for a mobile VPN.

It uses its own Secure Core network, meaning your traffic first goes through privacy-friendly countries such as Switzerland, Sweden and Iceland to prevent compromised VPN servers (unfortunately, that happens) so your IP address is never revealed. This is only available through the Plus subscription plan.

When using ProtonVPN, network traffic is encrypted with AES-256, which is the best you can get when it comes to data protection. It also comes with a Kill Switch feature — which is not available on iOS for some reason — along with a DNS leak prevention. Security protocols include OpenVPN and IKEv2/IPsec connections. Not as many as other VPN services, but you can’t go wrong with them.

ProtonVPN has also has its NetShield adblocker feature, which can actively block malware, along with ads and trackers. It allowed me to breeze past any annoying pop-up ads.

Even better, it uses Perfect Forward Secrecy so your encrypted data won’t be captured and deciphered later. Along with its no-log policy, Tor connections, and being based in Switzerland (a country known for its privacy laws), you can rest assured your data is safe with ProtonVPN.

See our full ProtonVPN review

Darragh Murphy is fascinated by all things bizarre, which usually leads to assorted coverage varying from washing machines designed for AirPods to the mischievous world of cyberattacks. Whether it's connecting Scar from The Lion King to two-factor authentication or turning his love for gadgets into a fabricated rap battle from 8 Mile, he believes there’s always a quirky spin to be made. With a Master’s degree in Magazine Journalism from The University of Sheffield, along with short stints at Kerrang! and Exposed Magazine, Darragh started his career writing about the tech industry at Time Out Dubai and ShortList Dubai, covering everything from the latest iPhone models and Huawei laptops to massive Esports events in the Middle East. Now, he can be found proudly diving into gaming, gadgets, and letting readers know the joys of docking stations for Laptop Mag.