Get the low-down on the fight back against cyber criminals with our look at the best VPN apps
Online privacy and security is something that we often take for granted – but what consequences could such a lax attitude towards surfing the internet have for our personal information? Cyber criminals and hackers are developing their dastardly talents almost as quickly as those who are working to prevent the sort of misdeeds they wreak, which is why you always need to be mindful of what you’re doing online.
Apologies for the didactic pessimism, but it’s an important issue – and it’s an issue that’s being tackled in part by Virtual Private Networks (VPNs), which have soared in popularity in recent times. Not only do they assist the security of your device’s data when connected to public Wi-Fi hotspots, they also carry a multitude of additional benefits: VPNs can be used to get around certain firewalls or regional restrictions – but we’ll leave you to investigate those options further.
Most companies will offer a corporate VPN, but what about smaller businesses or those simply wanting to protect their personal devices?
Here, then, are the pick of the 10 best VPN apps on the online market.
- TunnelBear VPN
A free VPN app is always a good place to start, so here’s TunnelBear, which, rather excellently, has a roaring bear as its official mascot. Its service is far from a grizzly affair, however: helping to protect your online privacy by providing safe browsing on Wi-Fi hotspots, the app (which brilliantly refers to itself in the product description as “beautiful”) also gives you 500MB of free data to play around with at your leisure. It also won’t secretly operate in the background: there’s an on/off switch, so you can choose when to don your VPN cloak.
- SurfEasy VPN
Available across iOS, Android and Windows phones, SurfEasy really does make securely surfing the internet simple. Its anonymous VPN service offers “a secure browsing experience with top-notch, no-log Internet security that protects your personal data and encrypts all of your transmissions” – that’s precisely what you want from your “browsing experience”, isn’t it? Available to use across five different devices, it could very well be the ultimate bodyguard for your mobile internet activity.
- Betternet Free VPN
Betternet’s free VPN app gets straight to the point: in the form of a one-tap ‘Connect’ button, to be precise. Claiming to offer free, unlimited service and the ability to access blocked content from work (by bypassing firewalls), it also promises to provide fast, anonymous and safe browsing whenever and wherever you choose to use the internet on your mobile device.
- Hotspot Shield VPN
Protecting your privacy online is the aim of the game with this VPN app: wherever you choose to access the internet, Hotspot Shield VPN works fastidiously to encrypt your personal information to ensure nothing goes awry when you connect. There are also options to browse anonymously, as well as unblock proxy sites – and with 400 million downloads in the bank, it’s evidently an app that people have put their trust in.
A subscription-based service is key to what ExpressVPN provides, which begs the question: what separates its paid-for platform from the other free VPN apps? It’s glad you asked: offering multiple servers across four different continents (not Antarctica – sorry, penguins), round-the-clock customer support and unlimited bandwidth, it also won’t throttle your internet connection when performing its duties. If you’re still not convinced to fork out, you can try the app out for free before you buy, while there’s also a 30-day money-back guarantee if it’s not for you.
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