Review

5 Best VPN Apps


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Gone are the days when we were tied to desktop computers for our internet needs, and even laptops are no longer our primary window onto the online world that they once were when on the move.  Smartphone and tablets have become an integral part of our daily lives (both digital, and slightly scarily, otherwise), and we are consuming more and more of our internet content through these sleek and sexy marvels of technology.

Because of this, it is as vital for anyone who is concerned about personal privacy, online security, protection while using public WiFi hotspots, or who just wants to watch streamed TV from a different country, to use VPN as it is when using their desktop or laptop computers.

We are going to jump right in here and list our favourite mobile apps by VPN providers, but do check out the end of this article for a discussion on various issues relating to this subject.


Summary

Rank Provider Starting
Price
Review Link

1

logo $6.95/mo Read Review > Visit Site

2

ExpressVPN_Logo $8.32/mo Read Review > Visit Site

3

vyprvpn_logo $6.67/mo Read Review > Visit Site

4

logo $7.00/mo Read Review > Visit Site

5

logo $4.95/mo Read Review > Visit Site
Editor’s Choice

Winner – PIA

Positives: great Android app, accepts Bitcoin, no logs, blazingly fast, client features port forwarding, VPN kill switch and DNS leak protection, P2P: yes, 3 simultaneous connection

Negatives: No free trial, no server statistics, iOS support a bit basic

Private Internet Access not only has one of the best reputations for maintaining customer’s privacy in the VPN business (no logs, accepts anonymous payment using Bitcoins, and uses shared IP addresses to make it almost impossible to  identify an individual), but it is also one of the most fully featured services available. Excellent Windows and iOS apps are joined by a cracking Android app that, as is typical of PIA, offers more features than anything offered competition (although it doesn’t have Home screen Widget, which is a shame). Unfortunately there is no matching iOS app.

pia

There are loads more options than offered by the completion, but ‘Connect on boot’ is our favourite as it is easy to forget to turn VPN when you re-start your phone

» Visit PIA


2. ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN_Logo

Positives: Funky Android app, no usage logs, great speeds, 30 day money back guarantee, great iOS support

Negatives: No simultaneous connections

ExpressVPN keeps no logs (or at least usage logs, some connection and billing logs are kept), offers a 30 day money back guarantee, and has apps for both Android and iOS.  The Android app is definitely the superior piece of software as it supports OpenVPN and will keep tabs on your data usage. The only real downside is that ExpressVPN does not permit more than 1 connection at a time.

expressvpnThe Android app comes with 1 day free trial (in addition to the 30 day money back guarantee). We really like the Widget which lets you toggle VPN on and off from your Home screen

expressvpnios

There is also an iOS ‘app’ available, but this is really nothing more than a script that auto-configures iOS’s native PPTP and L2TP settings

» Visit ExpressVPN


3. VyprVPN

Positives: Good iOS  and Android app, fast, 160-bit and 256-bit OpenVPN encryption (Pro only),7 day money back guarantee, 3 simultaneous connections, P2P: yes

Negatives: based in the US, keeps logs for 90 days

Please note that it is only the more fully featured Pro service that recommend, not the very lightly featured PPTP only Standard package. This US based VPN provider offers a 7 day money back guarantee, allows P2P downloading, has servers in 27 different countries, and offers great 160-bit to 256-bit OpenVPN encryption. It also has apps for both iOS and Android.

vyprvpn bigThe iOS app (right) looks very flash, but we like the Android app’s (left and centre) Home screen Widgets. It is the Android app that secures VyprVPN third place here, but the iOS app deserves mention as it is pretty good, and there are not many fully fledged iOS apps around (even if it is L2TP only).

» Visit VyprVPN


4. Kepard

logo

Positives: great VPN client (especially for Android), logs only kept for 3 days, 15 day free trial, UK servers, P2P: yes

Negatives: logs kept for 3 days, not amazingly fast

This Moldovan VPN provider offers a good general service (although it is nothing to write home about), but stands out thanks to its excellent Android VPN app (which almost perfectly mimics their quite groovy Windows client). Kepard keeps logs for 3 days, although as a Moldovan (the Wild West of privacy laws) company this is unlikely too much of an issue. What we do like very much is the generous 15 day free trial that comes with the app.

kepardWe love the simple and intuitive interface

» Visit Kepard


5. ibVPN

Positives: Good iOS and Android apps, cheap, no logs (but many caveats), accepts payments via Bitcoins, P2P: yes, l

Negatives: painfully slow on a regular basis, many caveats to ‘no logs’ claim, 0 simultaneous connections

Despite a somewhat tawdry website, ibVPN initially impressed us with the wealth of features on offer, including apps for both Android and iOS. Unfortunately longer term use left us unimpressed with its often unusable connection speeds. Nevertheless, ibVPN is one of the few providers to supply its own fully fledged iOS VPN app (in addition to an Android app), and all accounts come with a 15 day free trial, so there is no harm in giving it a go. ibVPN keeps no usage logs, although it does keep more connection and account logs than we are happy with.

ibvpnThe Android app (left) is a very simple but effective OpenVPN affair. The iOS app shows remarkable visual consistency across platforms, and supports PPTP and L2TP. It is the iOS app that scores ibVPN a place here, mainly because it is one of the few dedicated iOS app available

» Visit ibVPN


VPN Apps

Despite the initial strong market position held by Blackberry, and a valiant (and surprisingly well received by critics, if not the buying public) last ditch effort to break into the market by Microsoft, mobile computing is now a two horse race between Apple, with its iDevice hardware running iOS software (now up to version 7), and Google, with it is Android software running on a plethora of handsets from different manufacturers.

iOS Apps

This has never more been true than in the VPN app space, where we have only ever seen support for iOS and Android, with Android coming out as the clear winner. This is in large part due the fact that Apple had a policy of refusing to allow OpenVPN apps in its store until January this year, insisting that the PPTP and L2TP protocols supported natively in iOS were sufficient.

Therefore, until this year the only way to use OpenVPN on an iOS device was with an app such GuizmOVPN, which requires a jailbroken device to run. With the arrival of OpenVPN connect, such apps have now become somewhat redundant.

In January (2013) OpenVPN Connect appeared in the App Store, an app that should let anyone connect to an OpenVPN server using standard OpenVPN CA certificates. This is great, but we are still perplexed as to why no VPN provider has released a custom iOS client that supports OpenVPN.

This is a particularly serious issue in light of the recent revelations that the NSA has almost certainly compromised the PPTP and L2TP/IPsec protocols (L2TP/IPsec may still be secure if properly implemented, but poor implementation is depressingly common).

See also our choice of 5 Best VPNs for iOS 7 for our latest views on the best providers for iOS devices.

Android Apps

The generic OpenVPN for Android app became available from the Play store in December last year, allowing any OpenVPN service to be configured on an Android device (like OpenVPN Connect does for iOS), and throughout this year many VPN providers have released Android apps (or updated old ones) that support OpenVPN.

Other Apps

While we are on the subject, we thought readers interested in VPN apps might also be interested in the Speedtest.net app (iOS and Android), which is great for checking your VPN connection performance (and is the software we here at BestVPN use), and the uTorrent app for Android, so you can download direct to your phone or tablet.

Summary

Rank Provider Starting
Price
Review Link

1

logo $6.95/mo Read Review > Visit Site

2

ExpressVPN_Logo $8.32/mo Read Review > Visit Site

3

vyprvpn_logo $6.67/mo Read Review > Visit Site

4

logo $7.00/mo Read Review > Visit Site

5

logo $4.95/mo Read Review > Visit Site

Douglas Crawford I am a freelance writer, technology enthusiast, and lover of life who enjoys spinning words and sharing knowledge for a living. Find me on Google+

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