Even with multiple risks of free Wi-Fi, over 80% of the users still connect to it without using a VPN. Also, it’s easy for hackers to launch attacks on a Wi-Fi connection. In this case, man-in-the-middle attacks are super common. If you’re not careful at all, hackers can easily use the vulnerabilities of a Wi-Fi connection to their advantage and access your sensitive data, including email and passwords.
So, if you want to enjoy the convenience of a cable-less internet connection without taking any chances on your security, you must use a reliable VPN for Wi-Fi. To help you pick the top VPN service to use, I have compiled a list below just for you. However, ExpressVPN is my top choice for Wi-Fi.
5 Best VPNs for Wi-Fi [2022 In-Depth Analysis]
I tested 50+ VPN services based on security, encryption, servers, speeds, device compatibility, and more. Out of these, I shortlisted 5 VPNs that worked great on Wi-Fi:
1. The Best VPN for Wi-Fi – ExpressVPN
First up on my list is ExpressVPN, which is the best VPN for Wi-Fi. This VPN provider offers a large server network that operates at consistently fast speeds.
This VPN is packed with advanced security features. These include an AES 256-bit encryption, keeping all your sensitive data secure even if a cybercriminal compromises your Wi-Fi connection. Its no-logs policy itself ensures not to collect any user data.
Good quality encryption is essential for public Wi-Fi since these are notoriously vulnerable to hackers and security threats. So, ExpressVPN offers the best protocols, including IKEv2, OpenVPN, and Lightway. Since it’s headquartered in the British Virgin Islands, it won’t pry into your connection as it’s not a member of the 5 and 14 Eyes alliance.
The VPN comes with extremely user-friendly apps for all devices and works great on Wi-Fi networks. If you don’t want to download its app on all your devices, then you can always directly set up ExpressVPN on your router and connect all your devices to it.
The VPN connects up to 5 devices on a single subscription. It also comes with 24/7 live chat support in case you face any issues. It is available at a price of $6.67/mo (Save 49% and get 3 extra months FREE with 12-month plan) on its annual plan along with a 3-month free subscription to users. For more information, check out our ExpressVPN review.
2. Affordable VPN for Wi-Fi – Surfshark
Surfshark is the most affordable VPN for Wi-Fi. The VPN comes at a super-affordable price of $2.30/mo (82% Off on 2 Years + 2 Months Free Plan), and despite the price, offers a great service.
Headquartered in the British Virgin Islands just like ExpressVPN, Surfshark guarantees zero logs. This ensures that the VPN won’t collect any user data itself. Not only that, but Surfshark also offers industry benchmark protocols and security features like a kill Switch, AES 256-bit encryption, and even an ad-blocker to block trackers on public Wi-Fi networks.
The VPN also comes with a Whitelister feature that lets you decide which apps or websites you want to route through the VPN-enabled connection and otherwise. Let’s not forget that Surfshark is one of the few VPNs that come with the latest WireGuard protocol that offers fantastic speed and security.
In terms of performance, Surfshark offers unlimited bandwidth and works great on all devices. These include iOS, Android, Windows, macOS, Fire Stick, Linux, routers, and more.
The VPN is one affordable option to use which is backed up by a 30-day refund policy on all its plans. Find out more about the qualities of this service in our Surfshark review.
3. Secure VPN for Wi-Fi – NordVPN
NordVPN is, without a doubt, the most secure VPN for Wi-Fi. This VPN comes with a variety of advanced security features along with a massive server network of 5100+ servers, perfectly capable of securing users on Wi-Fi.
NordVPN’s security features include double encryption that protects your online security even when you are connected to public Wi-Fi. It further comes with obfuscation technology that doesn’t let your ISP know that you’re using a VPN on your connection.
It is also one of the best VPNs to deter snoopers and cyber-criminals thanks to its powerful 256-bit encryption. NordVPN’s kill switch and no logs are also pretty effective when it comes to privacy and online protection.
Unlike Surfshark, NordVPN offers 6 multi-logins. This way, you can either connect 6 of your devices or enjoy a router-enabled Wi-Fi connection on all your devices.
4. The Fastest VPN for Wi-Fi – IPVanish
IPVanish is the fastest VPN to use on your Wi-Fi connection. The VPN will guard your online privacy and activity when on public Wi-Fi while offering great speeds for you to enjoy browsing with this VPN. While testing its speeds, IPVanish delivered an average speed of 78.76 Mbps on my 100 Mbps connection.
IPVanish further comes with amazing security to stay away from all cybercriminals. It has the strongest 256-bit encryption to keep your online activity safe. It also offers you a dedicated IP and allows you to torrent anonymously.
This VPN also comes with split tunneling that lets you split your traffic between a VPN-enabled connection and your normal one. While being based in the US, a member of the 5 eyes, this VPN comes with a strict no-logs policy that ensures to not collect any user data.
IPVanish offers unlimited bandwidth as well as unlimited simultaneous connections to users, making it a great VPN to use on Wi-Fi. Aside from being affordable, IPVanish also offers a 30-days money-back guarantee. Check out our detailed IPVanish review for more information.
5. User-friendly VPN for Wi-Fi – CyberGhost
Next up, I have CyberGhost which is the most user-friendly VPN for Wi-Fi and its enabled devices. Browsing and streaming with CyberGhost is the easiest thing to do as it offers optimized servers for all online activities.
CyberGhost also offers 7000+ servers and powerful encryption to help you stay safe on public Wi-Fi. Not only that, but CyberGhost also offers powerful protocols like WireGuard, OpenVPN, SSTP, PPTP, IKEv2, and even L2TP.
It comes with a DNS leak protection feature that makes sure that your IP address doesn’t leak to any website or authority. It creates an encrypted tunnel between the connection and websites you visit so no third party can snoop in at any time. Furthermore, CyberGhost is based in Romania, a country safe from all data retention laws, which is a plus.
Best of all, CyberGhost works with all major operating systems and offers an extensive 45-day money-back guarantee. Another thing I really like about CyberGhost is the fact that it offers 7 simultaneous connections. Find out more about the qualities of this service in our CyberGhost review.
Top VPNs for Wi-Fi on Android
If you are a user of Android devices, you should always connect to the Wi-Fi through a VPN. Public Wi-Fis are especially vulnerable, as they usually have only basic encryption. As a result, any traffic that passes through the public Wi-Fi from your Android device is at risk of interception by authorities or hackers.
To ensure your safety online while using public Wi-Fi on an Android device, you should always use a VPN service. The VPN providers reviewed above are compatible with Android OS and also use the most advanced encryption protocols. Particularly, ExpressVPN is known for its state-of-the-art encryption standards.
Good encryption standards include protocols such as OpenVPN and IKEv2 (for mobile devices). On the other hand, encryption techniques like PPTP have become obsolete, as they are highly insecure forms of encryption. It is important to consider which encryption protocols are supported by a VPN provider before deciding to purchase one for your Android device.
Therefore, you should use ExpressVPN or other alternatives listed above to gain safe and secure access to public Wi-Fi on your Android. The kinds of malware and security threats that target Android devices are increasing with the passage of time. Purchasing a well-encrypted and reliable VPN is thus a worthwhile investment if you are want to protect y our Android device.
You can read our guide on the best encrypted VPN services to learn more about modern encryption algorithms that offer the best security.
Best Free WiFi VPNs in 2022
The VPN industry consists of a large number of VPN providers. However, there are only a few providers that offer VPN services for free. Those VPN companies that do offer free versions do so in the form of watered-down software with several limitations.
For instance, most free VPN services commonly offer only a few server options and limited bandwidth. In addition, they also have unsatisfactory logging policies and usually record user data. This information is then sold to advertisement companies for a profit. Since free VPN providers must make money to fund their operations somehow, they resort to these tactics for making revenue.
Therefore, it is generally a bad idea to use a free VPN service if you want to secure your Wi-Fi. We strongly recommend using paid VPN services to ensure your security and encrypt your data. Nonetheless, there are a select few free VPN providers that actually do offer good VPN features.
ProtonVPN is one free VPN service that is worth a try. This VPN provider is unique since it is the only VPN service that provides unlimited bandwidth with no caps. Moreover, it uses the most advanced robust security protocols such as OpenVPN to encrypt your data passing through the WiFi network. Thus, ProtonVPN is the best public Wi-Fi VPN you can acquire for free.
You can also protect your WiFi network through a VPN-based router. Read our guide on the VPN router for more information.
What is Publicly Available Wi-Fi?
Publicly available Wi-Fi is located in public places where people could gain easy access to the internet. You encounter public Wi-Fis in your daily life when visiting public places. Due to the nature of this Wi-Fi, many people access the internet.
Where are these Wi-Fi available?
The most common places where these Wi-Fis can be found include:
- Restaurants, café, coffee shops
- Airports, subways, trainsProtonVPN is one free VPN service that is worth a try. This VPN provider is unique since it is the only VPN service that provides unlimited bandwidth with no caps. Moreover, it uses the most advanced
- Hotels and hostels
- Tourist places
- Malls, etc.
Whenever any Wi-Fi is easily accessible to anyone and is located in a public place, it is said to be public Wi-Fi. The reason why the internet is available to the public for free is so that their customers would spend extra time at their restaurant or shop. Extra time means more sales for shops.
Why Public Wi-Fi is Insecure?
Public Wi-Fi networks are insecure because it doesn’t require you to enter a password for its access. These are unencrypted connections, which means snoopers and cybercriminals can gain access to anyone’s device who is using the Wi-Fi at the time. These snoopers can gain hold of your accounts, credit card information, pictures, and videos.
Other than your phone being hacked by snoopers, there is another possibility that you become a victim of a man-in-the-middle attack. Snoopers can intercept the data being transferred from one device to another and can eavesdrop on your communication.
Malware is easily injected by hackers onto your devices which means everything you do on your device is easily recorded. Lastly, fake hotspots or Wi-Fi are created to tempt users to access them. As a result, malware is injected and users are most likely to hack your phone.
What Information is at Stake?
As we have made you aware of why public Wi-Fi is insecure, there is another thing that you need to be aware of. You must know which information is likely to get affected when snoopers try to inject malware or get access to your device. These are listed below:
- Location of your home
- Bank account details
- Internet history
- Pictures and videos
- Files and apps
- List of phone contacts
- Communication with friends
- Passwords, etc.
All the above information is easy to access once a hacker gets hold of your device within public Wi-Fi. Many cases emerge in tourist attractions and when boarding airplanes. In both situations, you are desperate to use the internet and require a Wi-Fi connection.
Secure your Information from Being Stolen on a Public Wi-Fi
There are several ways to protect your online data and device while using a Wi-Fi network, but the one that stands at the top of the league is a Wi-Fi VPN. It encrypts your online data and so does your IP, which means none of the users on the particular Wi-Fi network will ever know you’re using the same network.
When connecting to a VPN, not only snoopers or hackers would be able to know that you exist over the Wi-Fi, but not even the business owner will be able to know your existence. Your privacy and security are protected at all times.
You can further take various precautionary measures before connecting to a Wi-Fi network. Some of these are listed below:
- Disable/Turn off sharing settings so no one access your mobile device
- Use HTTPS websites whenever you use the internet
- Use a Firewall
- 2-factor authentication on all login credentials
- Turn off Wi-Fi when not in use
- After using, select ‘Forget’ on particular Wi-Fi
Public WiFi VPN – The Ultimate Solution
The important most factor that protects your online activity and device is to get a Wi-Fi VPN. Nothing gives you the best online protection than a VPN because it completely hides you on the internet and none would ever know that you exist online.
Further, tourist is an easier target for cybercriminals because they’re constantly wanting to share updates on social media and therefore require an internet connection. As a result, tourists become frequent victims of this hack and all of their data is stolen. A recommended piece of advice, always to use a VPN when traveling abroad. ExpressVPN is my top recommendation.
How to Use a VPN on Public Wi-Fi?
Here are the steps on how to use a VPN on public Wi-Fi:
- Select a Wi-Fi VPN from my list (ExpressVPN is my #1 choice).
- Subscribe and download the VPN on your desktop or phone.
- Enter your username and password, then connect to any country’s server.
- Now connect to a public Wi-Fi VPN and now your online privacy and data are protected.
- Once you are done using Public Wi-Fi, select the ‘Forget’ option on the Wi-Fi.
Wi-fi VPNs to Bypass Blocked Websites in Schools
To prevent students to spend much time on the internet, schools normally block social media websites such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and similar others. These limitations are enforced by school administration so that students must focus on their studies.
However, a VPN for schools can easily bypass blocked websites in schools and let students access Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and many social media websites. A VPN provider will change your IP address and allow you to bypass geo-restrictions.
Sometimes school wi-fi blocks VPN; in that case, you have to confirm with the VPN provider that whether it could break the blockage or not.
Further, when you subscribe to a VPN for school, you can unblock streaming websites such as YouTube or Netflix, while also playing games by unblocking gaming websites. It makes torrenting and accessing WhatsApp easier.
The NSA’s Take on Wi-Fi Hotspots & VPNs
In a report published in June this year, the National Security Agency (NSA) recommends using a VPN service provider when connecting to publicly available WiFi hotspots. In the report, the NSA acknowledges the additional cost of subscribing to a VPN service but does not consider this to be a reason that outweighs the importance and benefits of a good VPN service.
In my experience, subscribing to a premium VPN provider that charges is much better and wiser, than putting your bank details, credit card number, and personal information on the line every time you decide to check your mail while connecting to a public Wi-Fi hotspot.
The report titled Best Practices for Keeping Your Home Network Safe, highlights that the underlying security infrastructure of most publicly available wireless hotspots is often weak. This is because hotspot providers seldom go beyond investing the speed and bandwidth of their Wi-Fi hotspots.
A Word on Wi-Fi VPNs from the Files of the FCC
An online report published by the Federal Communication Commission (FCC), titled The Cyber Security Planning Guide, recommends that businesses providing internet-based remote access to users should exercise caution. The FCC recommends the use of VPNs as a tried and tested method that can provide the security and access authentication required for corporate infrastructure.
The report gives special attention to the need to ensure adequate security and encryption when using/setting up Wi-Fi in business settings. Note that the FCC (established in 1934) is the US government’s response to the evolving threats that come forth with developments in communications technology.
In the same vein, a report by the Chief Information Officers Council this May asserts that the cryptographic strength that must be in place for a wireless network (Wi-Fi) to be secure can only be maintained through a VPN!
Protect Yourself with a VPN in the Wireless Future
The Wi-Fi wave is picking up momentum. Very soon all our connections will be wireless and the government recommendations quoted above confirm that a VPN is no longer a luxury – it is a necessity.
I often review VPNs; and while every time I find a few people who oppose the idea of a VPN provider, I also find groups of wise people who would rather go with a VPN than be robbed during a Wi-Fi session!
FAQs – Best VPN for Wi-Fi
Now let’s check out some of the frequently asked questions about Wi-Fi VPNs.
No, hotel Wi-Fi networks are not safe to use. Despite appearing harmless, hotel Wi-Fi networks are just as unsafe as any other public Wi-Fi network. If you wish to use the WiFi connection at your hotel, make sure to use a secure VPN on public WiFi. ExpressVPN is my top recommendation.
No, your ISP cannot determine if you’re using a VPN due to encryption. In fact, your ISP won’t be able to see the content of your internet traffic nor would it be able to detect the source or destination of your data packets.
No, as long as don’t do anything totally illegal that involves law enforcement agencies, national security, or even fraud, your ISP should have no reason to care whether you’re using a VPN or not.
My Final Advice
Don’t compromise on the security of your personal and financial information; because without a VPN, you are just a sitting duck for data snoopers. Your privacy is in your hands!
This is why I recommend you get a reliable VPN for your Wi-Fi connection. ExpressVPN is my most trusted choice for this. This VPN offers the ultimate security features that keep you secure on your Wi-Fi connection, thousands of servers across the globe, and multiple simultaneous connections, which makes this provider the best VPN for Wi-Fi.
Suggested services in this article work best as either school wifi, hotel wifi VPN, or a public Wifi VPN.