Public Wi-Fi has become a very important part of our lifestyle—so much so that it impacts our decision-making process regarding where to dine in and where to hang out with our friends. Our social instincts compel us to choose places where we can find free Wi-Fi so we can check in, take pictures for Instagram, and upload a status on Facebook right away, for everyone else to see.
This behavior is very risky. However, since everyone does it, its dangers are gradually fading away from the public eye. More and more people subject themselves to the risks of public Wi-Fi every day, without realizing its destructive potential for their privacy and security. Below is a list of 10 VPNs that have been tried and tested on multiple Wi-Fi Networks and have a good reputation when it comes to keeping users’ privacy and security intact at all times.
10 Best Wi-Fi VPN Providers in 2018 (Use Public Wi-fi Securely).
1. PureVPN *Editor’s Choice*
PureVPN keeps you protected on any and all public Wi-Fi hotspots. It provides you the ultimate mix of security and privacy features, along with 24/7 live support. It has more than 750 servers across 180 locations, which makes it a highly reliable VPN service. It is known for providing remarkable encryption for the data sent via its servers. It is available on multiple platforms and devices such as iOS, Android, mac OS, Windows, Amazon Fire TV, Kodi, Android TV and many other internet-enabled devices. Few users face connectivity issues, but those who do reach out to Customer Support for troubleshooting generally walk away satisfied. The dozens of features of PureVPN, combined with its reasonable pricing plans make it a top choice.
2. ExpressVPN *Runner Up*
ExpressVPN is a good VPN service that provides solid privacy and security. However, it is a bit expensive. Its annual subscription costs a whopping $99.95 per year. Like PureVPN, it also provides apps and support for all popular devices and platforms such as iOS and Android, as well as on Windows, Mac, and Linux.
3. VyprVPN **
Owned by Golden Frog, this VPN service has been providing users with multiple software, tools, and applications, since 1994. VyperVPN is known for providing great support for many platforms. With over 500 servers across the globe, VyperVPN gives its users a very secure and safe online experience. It is an excellent tool that allows users to keep their identity protected in case of VPN functionality service outages. There are a few downsides to it as well—it has very few licenses, and no ad-blocking features, which makes it an unreliable tool for ultimate privacy.
4. Ivacy VPN *Recommended*
This VPN service is known for its exceptional security features. It is reputed for keeping user data safe and secure when it is being sent or received over the internet. It also provides great protection to users who frequently use public Wi-Fi hotspots. Most people think of Ivacy as a small brand, as it was introduced not so long ago. Though it is pretty recent, Ivacy users claim that this VPN is as good as all the popular brands available in the market. According to some user reviews, Ivacy provides its users great privacy and security when connected to untrusted networks.
5. NordVPN *Nominated*
One of the simplest VPNs in terms of ease of downloading, installation and navigation. It provides great protection in all situations and is pre-configured for most network types. But if you are interested in setting up a secure network with unique protocols, you may have to go through a manual setup process. A downside that we noticed with NordVPN is that its servers are labelled against the countries and not the cities they are present in. This makes it slightly complicated and difficult to precisely choose a specific location a user wants to get connected to.
6. VPN Unlimited
With a responsive customer support department, and great many features bundled in the service, this VPN service provides the basics for streaming, privacy and protection over public Wi-Fi networks. It is relatively a cheap VPN service that covers most of the basic cybersecurity tools. However, it’s important to note that the privacy it provides is weak and is easy to bypass for most seasoned hackers and criminals phishing for data over public Wi-Fi. Furthermore, this VPN has been known to leak the original IP address of users at many times, and also keeps logs of user activities.
7. Buffered VPN
Buffered VPN makes it a point to mention on its website that it protects users from hackers and cyber criminals, even on public Wi-Fi. And we believe them – not just for their word but based on the tests we conducted. Buffer VPN turns out to be a reliable VPN service for users seeking privacy and security on public Wi-Fi networks. Moreover, the terms and conditions mentioned on its website were recently updated, and now this service is GDPR compliant, which makes it an even safer option for its users.
Primarily, this VPN is for anonymity. As the name suggests, IPVanish makes it possible to hide your original IP address like a pro and mask it with a pseudo IP address, thereby changing your location and identity. With IPVanish, it is possible to stay protected and secure over public Wi-Fi networks, as when your identity and location is changed, native threats won’t apply to you; you will always remain invisible to all such online malice that comes with a public Wi-Fi.
We consider PrivateVPN to be just an average VPN. The features provided by this VPN service are not extraordinary. They are just enough to keep you safe over public Wi-Fi networks. It’s comparatively cheap, but for that price, it’s not too customizable either. Surprisingly, it provides its users with the feasibility to connect to PrivateVPN on their smartphone via apps for Android and iOS apart from a client for Windows and Mac. It is important for streaming users to note that PrivateVPN does not unblock restricted streaming platforms, such as Netflix and Hulu.
As the name suggests, SaferVPN is safe to use in most situations. It protects users in an effective way over controlled networks such as those hosted by schools, universities and organizations, as well as those that are public and allow everyone to connect freely. SaferVPN claims to provide great service for streaming and unblocking the internet. However, the reviews found in the online community reflect its poor service when used to stream blocked content. It’s also worth noting that SaferVPN keeps logs, which defeats the purpose of online freedom and net neutrality. That being said, it effectively keeps you protected over public Wi-Fi by allowing you to change your IP address and encrypt your data.
Frequently Asked Questions about WiFi Security & VPNs
Why is a public Wi-Fi hotspot insecure?
Public Wi-Fi is a very dangerous network. Because it is available to anyone, you never know who else is connected to the same Wi-Fi network. What if there is a hacker or a cybercriminal connected to the same network? In that case, all the data present on your device, as well as all communication that you do while connected to that public Wi-Fi can be monitored by the cybercriminal.
It’s important to understand that markets, shopping malls, restaurants, and airports are favorite spots for hackers and cyber criminals. This is because such places generally offer free public Wi-Fi networks to which hundreds of people are connected at the same time. Attacking public Wi-Fi networks allows hackers to potentially monitor, control, and infect dozens of devices.
At some restaurants, the Wi-Fi network is password protected, and you have to ask the host or server for the password. Most people think that a password protected public Wi-Fi is secure, but it’s not. A password can only provide protection until nobody else shares it. If a password is distributed to anyone who asks for it, it loses its purpose.
Why do you need a VPN when browsing on public Wi-Fi?
A VPN makes you invisible on any network that you are connected to. The term itself—VPN—stands for Virtual Private Network, which means that it creates a specialized secret network within the public network. The secret network makes all your communication secure by encrypting it, and by changing the virtual location of your device. This effectively hides all of your online activity from anyone who wants to snoop on your data.
How do you use VPN for security on public Wi-Fi?
The process is simple. Just remember this order of steps and you shall remain protected on any public Wi-Fi network, no matter how compromised it is.
- Step 1: Clear your browser cache, and cookies. Close all apps that are running or minimized.
- Step 2: Connect to the public Wi-Fi network
- Step 3: Connect your VPN (Select from the list above)
- Step 4: Start browsing securely on the public Wi-Fi network.
How can you secure your information from being stolen on a public Wi-Fi?
Any information sent and received over a public network is insecure and susceptible to being stolen by hackers and snoopers. The only way to secure your information over a public Wi-Fi is by using a good VPN service. Without a VPN connected on your device, your data, communication logs, browsing history, banking information, credit card information and many other sensitive details are at a high risk of being stolen.
As a rule of thumb, you should always use a VPN when connected to a public Wi-Fi network. I shared my top 10 choices and recommendations above. Please share your thoughts on VPNs and which VPN tool you use in the comments below.