We live in a digital age where everything we do is linked and connected to the internet. We browse the latest news, update our social media accounts, shop for groceries, and more, often via our cell phones or tablets. Internet users have become increasingly aware of how important it is to protect their privacy when going online, which is one of the reasons for a massive surge in VPN usage.
VPN, or a Virtual Private Network to give it its full title, is software that essentially masks your internet connection from prying eyes. You connect to the VPN provider’s server, which then connects you to the websites you visit. The VPN provider’s server works like a filter, which encrypts your data, making it look like gibberish to anyone who has the ability to view it. The data would be useless to anyone who managed to get their hands on it; it would take them millions of years to decrypt the information.
There are dozens of reasons for using a VPN. Some companies require a VPN to access files and applications if you work from home, for example. Other uses include changing the location of your IP address so you can access websites unavailable in your country. For example, a VPN can make it look like you are located in the United Kingdom when you are physically in the United States. This makes it possible to access Netflix programs not available in the US, services such as the BBC iPlayer, or online sports betting sites with free bets for certain customers.
Dozens of VPN providers appear when you search for the term on the internet. Some are free, others require a monthly or annual fee. They all work in the same way, but they are not created equally; some are far faster and feature-rich than others. Which VPN should you use for your iPhone or iOS-powered device? You will not go far wrong with the following trio of excellent VPN providers.
NordVPN is one of the biggest and most popular VPN providers in the world. The company launched in February 2012 and is based in Panama, a country with no mandatory data retention laws. This means it is not part of the Five Eyes or Fourteen Eyes alliances, plus the company does not log any of your usages, making it perfect if you use your internet connection for services such as torrents and IPTV.
The company uses 256-bit encryption on par with financial institutions and boasts of more than 5,000 servers spread across 60 countries.
Expect to pay around $12 per month for NordVPN, although this drops to less than $2.20 per month if you pay for two years up front.
ExpressVPN launched in 2009, making it one of the longest-running VPN providers in the world. It has refined its product over the years to the point many consider ExpressVPN to be the best VPN money can buy.
Like NordVPN, ExpressVPN has masses of servers to choose from, which means you will always find somewhere to connect to. Download and upload speeds are excellent — speeds always suffer due to how VPNs work — are up there with the best.
The only downside to ExpressVPN is the lack of a kill switch on iPhone. A killswitch instantly disconnects you from the internet if, for whatever reason, your VPN fails. However, there is an auto-reconnect feature.
VPN provision is big business and a service that continues growing. Only 1.57% of Americans used a VPN in 2010; that number rose to 6.25% by 2019. This is one of the reasons new VPN companies continue popping up, including SurfShark.
SurfShark only entered the world in 2018, but it has already gained a reputation for cheap and effective VPN services. Sure, it lacks the overall speeds of ExpressVPN and NordVPN, but you have an unlimited number of connections, meaning you can install a VPN on every device you own. Furthermore, the SurfShark pricing is super cheap as it attempts to grab more market share. You can receive protection from less than $2.50 a month, less than a takeout coffee a month.