Download the Surfshark VPN app and be safe online

Contents

In the vast majority of the world, VPNs are indeed legal.

Best Mobile VPN of 2023

Protect your privacy on the go with these top mobile VPNs.

Attila Tomaschek

Attila is a Staff Writer for CNET, covering software, apps and services with a focus on virtual private networks. He is an advocate for digital privacy and has been quoted in online publications like Computer Weekly, The Guardian, BBC News, HuffPost, Wired and TechRepublic. When not tapping away on his laptop, Attila enjoys spending time with his family, reading and collecting guitars.

Expertise Attila has nearly a decade’s worth of experience with VPNs and has been covering them for CNET since 2021. As CNET’s VPN expert, Attila rigorously tests VPNs and offers readers advice on how they can use the technology to protect their privacy online and

Attila Tomaschek
Aug. 19, 2023 2:00 p.m. PT
13 min read
ExpressVPN
Best mobile VPN overall
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Best budget mobile VPN
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$2.49/mo + 2 months free at Surfshark
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Best mobile VPN for beginners
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Proton VPN
Best free mobile VPN
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Using a VPN, short for virtual private network, on your phone or tablet can offer more protection than you might think. A mobile VPN app encrypts your internet traffic while routing your connection through a secure server in a different location. This means your mobile carrier and internet service provider can’t see the sites or services you’re using on your mobile device. Not only that, but a mobile VPN can also help stop location-based ads from popping up all over the place as you browse the internet.

And the best VPNs for mobile will help you watch geographically restricted streaming content that might not be available in your region — since the VPN disguises your true IP address and replaces it with the IP address of the VPN server you’re connecting through.

A VPN for mobile devices is particularly useful for anyone who travels a lot or anyone whose work, location or online activities require heightened privacy. If you’re a journalist, doctor, attorney, dissident, activist or whistleblower, for example, you’d benefit from a mobile VPN to protect your online privacy while you’re on the go. If you’re in a location where the government censors the internet or engages in online surveillance, you can use a mobile VPN to circumvent the censorship efforts while keeping your online activity private. And a mobile VPN is a handy tool if you’re simply looking for a way to watch your Netflix shows while traveling abroad.

The best VPN providers all offer excellent mobile apps for both iOS and Android devices. And mobile VPN apps continue getting better and more useful as online services overall continue becoming increasingly mobile-first. It’s more important than ever to use a VPN on your mobile device, but if you’re an iOS user, you need to be aware of a vulnerability that can compromise your privacy while using a VPN on your iOS device.

Download the Surfshark VPN app and be safe online

* The 7-day free trial is only available when you download the app on the App Store or the Google Play Store.

Download the Surfshark VPN app and be safe online

How to download a VPN and start using it

Secure your digital life in 3 easy steps

1. Sign up for an account

Create a Surfshark account and pick the plan that suits you best.

2. Download the VPN app for your device

Download the Surfshark app on our website, the App Store, or the Google Play Store.

3. Sign in with your fresh account

Sign in, connect to any server, and enjoy safety and privacy online with a VPN!

Get Surfshark for all devices

Click any of the VPN download links to visit the dedicated page

Download a VPN for your smart TV (e.g., Apple TV , Android TV , Samsung TV ), try it o n Xbox or PlayStation , or set it up on your router to protect your home network.

Powerful Antivirus that works backstage
Enjoy peace of mind with 24/7 protection. Secure your device, files, & webcam in real-time
Guard all your devices with a 30-day money-back guarantee

Surfshark

Try Surfshark risk-free with a free VPN trial and a 30-day money-back guarantee

Afraid of commitment? We offer a 30-day money-back guarantee and a 7-day free trial to help you overcome your fears. Enjoy the benefits of a premium subscription without needing to commit. If you decide that Surfshark is not a good fit for you, you can cancel your subscription within the trial period or within 30 days of getting a subscription.

The 7-day free trial is only available if you download the Surfshark app from the Google Play Store or the App Store. Here’s how to get it:

  1. Download the Surfshark app for free on the Google Play Store or the App Store ;
  2. Open the app and choose Start free trial ;
  3. Create an account and select the 12-month option .

Enjoy the benefits of using a VPN

Hide your location

Your IP address reveals your general location. A VPN hides your IP address, so your location stays private.

Surf privately

You never know who is trying to snoop on your online activity. Encrypt your internet activity and protect your data with a VPN.

Avoid travel restrictions

Don’t sacrifice your digital freedom when traveling. Connect to a VPN server in your home country and access the same content you would at home.

Stay safe on public Wi-Fi

There are many risks associated with public Wi-Fi. Protect your devices on public networks with a VPN connection.

Protect your privacy

Surfshark doesn’t track your online activities. It means we don’t keep any data about what you do online while connected to our VPN.

Get real search results

Since a VPN hides your traffic and activity from search engine trackers, you’ll be able to get unbiased, real search results.

Use the internet uncensored

You deserve to enjoy the internet without the shackles of censorship. Connect to a VPN server and overcome oppressive restrictions.

Access content safely

Hackers, trackers, malware: any website can be unsafe. Don’t risk it. Access the internet safely and privately with a VPN.

Get the best prices online

Online services often change their pricing based on the information they have on you. Stay hidden behind a VPN to get the best deals.

Exploring the benefits of the Surfshark VPN app

Protect all your devices

Protect all your devices

Protect all your devices from the dangers of the internet. Surfshark offers unlimited simultaneous connections, which means that one account is enough to run the Surfshark VPN client on every device you own simultaneously. No need to count your devices or risk getting some of them infected.

Always stay safe with Kill Switch

The Kill Switch feature keeps your data secure at all times . It shuts down your internet if your VPN connection drops, which ensures that your sensitive information is never vulnerable online.

Always stay safe with Kill Switch

Connect to a vast network of servers

Connect to a vast network of servers

With 3200+ servers in 100 countries, you’re sure to find a server nearby. With thousands of servers available at any point, they’re unlikely to be crowded, which ensures a lightning-fast connection.

Don’t have a server location preference? No problem! Just tap the Quick-connect button, and Surfshark will automatically connect you to the fastest one.

Enjoy a smoother surfing experience

Surfshark does more than just protect your privacy online. It also enhances your surfing experience with CleanWeb . This feature blocks annoying ads on all devices, while the browser extensions also block cookie pop-ups and have data breach alert and malware alert features.

Enjoy a smoother surfing experience

Allow the VPN to bypass certain apps

Allow the VPN to bypass certain apps

Some data-heavy apps may slow down your VPN connection. Others may not function properly with a VPN, especially if you’re connected to a server outside your home country. Surfshark has a Bypasser feature that allows you to exclude certain apps from VPN use while keeping the rest of your internet traffic protected.

Surfshark VPN vs. free VPNs

Free VPN services can be tempting, but by saving money, you may be sacrificing your privacy. Free virtual private networks do not have the resources to provide top-notch service.

No-logs

Some free VPNs are known to collect user data and sell it to third parties. A premium VPN would never store your data in the first place.

Modern protocols

Modern protocols are optimized to deal with the newest threats and work with the latest systems. And you can only get them with premium VPNs.

Unlimited data

Free VPNs heavily limit your bandwidth and even connection time. A premium VPN always offers unlimited data, so you don’t have to worry about running out.

Prioritizing security

A paid VPN app has the resources to put your security first. Free VPNs simply don’t have the budget to keep up with the ever-evolving security and privacy technologies.

Thousands of servers

The more servers there are to choose from, the less likely they are to get crowded. Paid VPNs have significantly more servers than free ones, which results in faster connection speeds.

Lightning-fast speeds

Maintaining a fast connection requires a lot of resources, such as thousands of servers and industry-leading protocols. Resources that you’ll only get out of a premium VPN.

Should I download and install a free VPN?

You shouldn’t install free VPN apps on your devices. They tend to offer poor performance compared to their paid counterparts, but that’s the least of your worries. Some free VPNs can be infected with malware , while others may collect your personal data and sell it to third parties .

Needless to say, installing a free VPN isn’t a good idea if you don’t want to compromise your privacy or devices.

Experts recognize us

Independent’s Editor’s Choice Best Value VPN 2023

VPN Solution of the Year 2022

CNET’s Editor’s Choice for Best Value VPN 2022

Surfshark Antivirus AV-TEST Certification 2022

Audited security

Audited security

Just saying that you’re secure doesn’t mean much unless you can prove it. And we don’t like empty talk, so we have had some of the best independent auditors test our services .

Cure53 audited Surfshark’s server infrastructure in 2021 , which followed its audit of our browser extensions in 2018 . This was all topped off when Deloitte confirmed Surfshark’s no-logs statement in 2023. No major flaws were found in any of these audits, proving that Surfshark always provides a secure service to its customers.

FAQ

How can I download a VPN for PC?

Downloading a VPN for your PC is quite easy.

For example, with Surfshark, all you need to do is go to the download page for your operating systems, like Windows or Linux and press the “download” button.

Can I download a VPN for free?

Yes, you can try Surfshark for free for 7 days on Android, iOS, and macOS. If you’re using other platforms, the free trial isn’t available, but you can take advantage of the 30-day money-back policy. If you decide that Surfshark is not for you within the first 30 days, you’ll get your money back.

Can’t I just get a free VPN?

While you can get a free VPN, you definitely shouldn’t. A paid VPN funds itself through subscriptions. A free VPN also costs money to run and maintain, but since they don’t charge you anything, they’re likely to bombard you with ads or even collect and sell your data to third parties.

Are VPNs legal?

In the vast majority of the world, VPNs are indeed legal.

Only a few countries restrict or prohibit the usage of VPNs. If you’re in Europe, Australia, or any of the Americas, it’s a high chance that you’re in the clear! Only about 10 out of the world’s nearly two hundred countries have restrictive laws against VPNs.

How do I choose the best VPN software for 2023?

To choose the best VPN for 2023, check out:

  1. The pricing: a paid VPN will provide a better quality service than a free one ;
  2. The history: see if the company has been involved in any shady dealings;
  3. The servers: more servers are always better;
  4. The features: a Kill Switch and split tunneling are important;
  5. Platform support: make sure it works on your device;
  6. Free trial and/or money-back guarantee: you have to have options in case you don’t like the VPN.

Do I need a VPN on my iPhone?

You need a VPN on any device that has access to the internet. iPhones are considered to be more secure than Android phones. But your privacy and personal information are still at risk whenever you go online. A VPN just so happens to be the best tool for protecting any sensitive information on the internet.

Download the best VPN to protect your privacy

Try it risk-free with a 30-day money-back guarantee

The best mobile VPN apps in 2023

A mobile VPN app on a smartphone

Our mobile devices are absolutely indispensable. From entertainment to work, they provide us with just about everything, and go everywhere we do. So, it only makes sense to enhance the experience with a mobile VPN app.

A VPN for mobile will help you stay more anonymous when browsing, help avoid targeted advertising, and even get access to free streaming content from around the world. However, app stores are full to the brim with dodgy knock-offs alongside the best VPNs for mobile, so doing your research beforehand is essential.

We’ve reviewed dozens and dozens of mobile VPN apps, and here we’ve rounded up the very best 5 that will deliver a stellar experience, no matter what device you use or what you want to do with. All you need to do is take your pick.

What makes a great mobile VPN app?

Why you can trust Tom’s Guide

Our writers and editors spend hours analyzing and reviewing products, services, and apps to help find what’s best for you. Find out more about how we test, analyze, and rate.

The top VPN for phone users should come from a respected provider with a history of excellence. Our #1 pick ExpressVPN is one such provider, and has been leading the way for some time now with simple, powerful mobile VPN apps, excellent privacy, and great streaming support – not to mention a killer 5-star rating in our full ExpressVPN review.

For those who need them, extra features like a kill switch and split tunneling are super useful, and neat solutions like auto-connect can make using the service much easier.

It goes without saying that you should prioritize quality mobile apps. On desktop you can get away with aged apps, but mobile VPNs need to be optimized for touchscreens and perform as seamlessly as all your other apps. All of our top picks are quick, modern, and right up to date. So, with all that in mind, here are the best five mobile VPN services for you to choose from.

1. ExpressVPN – the best mobile VPN available
We’ve ranked ExpressVPN as the best mobile VPN thanks to its intuitive apps, great speeds and fantastic reliability – and to make sure it’s right for you, there’s a 30-day money-back guarantee. What’s more, you can also claim three months free with Tom’s Guide.

2. Surfshark – the best-value mobile VPN
If you want to save as much money as possible for your next handset upgrade, Surfshark offers a serious power for less than $2.50 a month. While not quite as brilliant all-round as Express, it’s a great alternative for an even greater price.

3. NordVPN – excellent privacy and powerful apps
Arguably the most famous VPN on the market, NordVPN is a powerful all-rounder. With intuitive apps on iOS and Android plus great connection speeds and streaming performance, it’s well worth considering – and it’s great value, too.

The best mobile VPN apps today

1. ExpressVPN

The best mobile VPN on the market

Available on: Android, iOS, Windows, Mac, Linux | Number of servers: 3,000+ | Server locations: 160 | Zero-logging: Yes | Simultaneous connections: 5

+3 MONTHS FREE
ExpressVPN 12 month
ExpressVPN 6 month
ExpressVPN 1 month
Clean, attractive apps
Great connection speeds
Wide device support
Excellent security
Five-device limit

If you’re looking for the flat-out best mobile VPN, look no further than ExpressVPN. As soon as the app is launched it’s clear that it’s a professional bit of kit, but there’s more to it than just a pretty face.

First things first, you’re greeted by a big on/off switch, and a single tap will get you connected to the pre-selected best server. For many, this is all you’ll need to know – the suggested server is pretty much always the ‘right’ choice, and for day-to-day security that’s all you need.

If you want to access geo-blocked websites or streaming services, you’ll be able to choose from Express’s list of over 3,000 servers. You’ll get class-leading speeds on pretty much all of them, and you’ll also be able to access BBC iPlayer, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, Peacock and more. It also gains access to some Netflix libraries (Canada, Australia, and sometimes the US), though we have found Nord and Surfshark to be a more powerful Netflix VPN in more recent tests.

2. Surfshark

Unlimited connections for a bargain price

Available on: Android, iOS, Windows, Mac, Linux | Number of servers: 3,200+ | Server locations: 100+ | Zero-logging: Yes | Simultaneous connections: Unlimited

+3 months free
Surfshark 24 Months
Surfshark 12 Months
Surfshark 1 Month
Unlimited connections
Unbeatable price on long plans
Great speeds
Apps are pretty simple

While Surfshark isn’t as established as some of its rivals, after our Surfshark review it has quickly become a Tom’s Guide favorite thanks to its charming simplicity and aggressive pricing. It’s not going to be for tinkerers who like to adjust tons of settings, but if you’re looking for a cheap, reliable mobile VPN, it’s a great choice.

The app itself is nice and intuitive, and offers one-touch connection to the best server. And, while it’s not as in-depth as others, it’s got all the essential features like a kill switch, a selection of protocols and auto-connect. For most, that’s going to be plenty.

Surfshark’s a great choice for streaming fans, too, as it unblocks a host of Netflix libraries and other services, as well as maintaining great connection speeds on all but the farthest-flung servers. If you want to stay really secure you’ll also be able to use Double Hop, which connects you to two servers in tandem for extra privacy.

The biggest selling point, though, is Surfshark’s price – at around $2.50 a month, it’s one of the best-value VPNs out there, especially considering it has a brilliant unlimited connections policy so you really can cover all your devices.

While it can’t compete with ExpressVPN in terms of power and sheer speed, Surfshark offers a seriously tempting package of a useful mobile VPN, bargain pricing, and unlimited device support.

3. NordVPN

Security giant’s VPN apps are a good option

Available on: Android, iOS, Windows, Mac, Linux | Number of servers: 5,400+ | Server locations: 60 countries | Zero-logging: Yes | Simultaneous connections: 6

NordVPN 2 Year
NordVPN 1 Year
NordVPN 1 Month
Excellent privacy credentials
Great performance
Quite configurable
Not every server is P2P friendly
Map-based interface isn’t perfect

As a stalwart of the online security game, it’s no surprise NordVPN has developed an excellent mobile VPN to sit alongside its powerful desktop clients. Covered by the same great secure software as their PC brethren, the apps are super secure and offer users real privacy – check out our NordVPN review for more info.

Nord’s apps are a sound choice for those looking to stay secure on the go, and will make sure you’re safe when connecting to public Wi-Fi. Also, they offer some interesting features not often seen in mobile VPNs – namely Onion over VPN, and a Double VPN feature similar to Surfshark’s.

A big bonus for privacy seekers will be that NordVPN has very recently undertaken a second independent audit of its servers and privacy policy, which demonstrates a true commitment to the protection of its customers.

One minor downside to NordVPN’s apps, however, is the design. The mobile VPN shares the same map-based interface as the desktop clients, and while that works on a large screen, devices with smaller displays make the apps feel cramped and a little tricky to use.

That said, a swipe up will get you to a VPN server list, and in practice you’ll only be spending a minute or two using the app, while the rest of your time will be spent enjoying internet anonymity.

Other than that, Nord’s apps are extremely functional and simple to use, and will certainly appeal to those who seek maximum security in their VPN.

4. Proton VPN

Fast, private, and powerful

Available on: Android, iOS, Windows, Mac | Number of servers: 1,900+ | Server locations: 64 countries | Zero-logging: Yes | Simultaneous connections: 10

Proton VPN 24 months
Proton VPN 12 months
Proton VPN 1 Month
Excellent privacy credentials
Plenty of features
Consistent design across all devices
Swift connections
A little expensive

Fancy a mobile VPN with unbeatable privacy credentials and features? Look no further. Proton VPN offers hugely powerful apps on all mobile operating systems, and you’ll even be able to test it out by using the free version. In our full Proton VPN review, we found it one of the very best free VPNs on the market.

Beyond privacy, though, Proton VPN is also capable of unblocking Netflix, and with it you’ll get access to a number of regional libraries – not just the US. Combine that with great support for other streaming sites like BBC iPlayer, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video and more, and you’re onto a winner.

If you’re a bit of a VPN newbie, there’s a chance that you might find the apps a little complex, but in truth they still feel thoroughly modern in practice, and we wouldn’t let that put you off. Definitely worth considering.

5. CyberGhost

Good-value provider with decent mobile VPN apps

Available on: Android, iOS, Windows, Mac, Linux | Number of servers: 7,000+ | Server locations: 90 countries | Zero-logging: Yes | Simultaneous connections: 7

+2 months free
CyberGhost 24 Month
CyberGhost 1 Month
Good value
Specialised for streaming
Loads of servers
No kill switch
Lacks polish

CyberGhost is a good choice of VPN for those who love torrenting and streaming. While the mobile VPN is pretty simple, CyberGhost is priced keenly and can do pretty much all most users will need – read more in our CyberGhost VPN review.

A neat feature is split tunneling which is available on mobile, and CyberGhost also switches ports regularly to maintain your security. However, if your connection fails, you haven’t got a kill switch to keep you protected, and you won’t be able to change protocol either (the apps only use OpenVPN).

If you go for the longest plan it’s an affordable option – but our #2 choice Surfshark is even cheaper and is the more well-rounded service. However, CyberGhost has a huge number of servers and millions of people who use them, so they must be doing something right.

If all you need is a mobile VPN to keep you safe on the go and stream content, then CyberGhost is a great choice. However, for most people, there are probably better options further up the page.

Best mobile VPN app FAQ

What is the best mobile VPN?

As soon as you open the app, it’s clear it’s a professional bit of kit. It’s simply laid out, but in just a couple of taps you can access in-depth features and settings like a kill switch, different protocols, split tunneling, and auto-connect.

With 3,000+ servers in 94 countries, there’s a huge range of locations to choose from, and almost every one delivers great speeds – plus, these should only increase with the introduction of the upcoming Lightway protocol.

And, even if none of that interests you, ExpressVPN is the best mobile VPN for accessing Netflix and other streaming services, so whatever you want it for, we reckon it’s the best choice.

What can I use a mobile VPN for?

A mobile VPN is a great way to maintain your privacy when outside the house, and it’s especially important to be careful when connecting to unsecured public Wi-Fi. While incredibly convenient, it’s a perfect place for hackers to perform man-in-the-middle attacks and compromise your data.

A VPN makes sure this won’t happen by encrypting everything you send over that network, rendering it useless even if it is intercepted.

Another neat use of VPNs is the ability to stream content from other countries. If you’re on holiday and want to access Netflix, you might notice your favorite shows aren’t available. By using a VPN to virtually relocate yourself, you’ll be able to watch the content you know and love – check out the best streaming VPN for more info.

What features should a mobile VPN have?

It’s good to ensure your provider has a no-logs policy, which means it will never record any identifying data about you or your VPN uses. Even if it’s forced to give evidence, it won’t have anything about you to disclose.

Having reliable, fast connections is always useful. If you’re out and about you might be in a rush, so it’s important that you’re not waiting around just because of your VPN.

Finally, it should be easy to use. Small screens are more fiddly than a huge monitor and mouse, so having a simple, clean interface is usually considered a benefit.

Can you use a free mobile VPN?

While it’s possible to get a free VPN, they never come close to the usability of a paid-for service. They often come with data caps ranging from 500MB a day to 500MB a month, and you’d be surprised at how much data a quick scroll on Facebook, a few YouTube videos, and emailing some attachments uses.

On top of that, they’re not as fast as a premium services – and it’s worth being aware of how free VPNs make money from you, even if it isn’t directly. For example, they might inject extra ads into your browser, or even sell your data to advertisers for a profit.

We think a paid-for VPN – even if it’s Surfshark at less than $2.50 a month – is absolutely worth the investment.

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