It finally happened. You are at an airport or coffee shop and you urgently need to use public WiFi and save your phone's data plan, but you are concerned about a secure connection. You have heard about VPNs, but they seem complicated and expensive. What to do?
No worries. VPNs are easier to use than you think and most are cheaper than you may have heard. Here's how to get a VPN on your iPhone ($ 699 with Apple) or Android device ̵
Why do I need a VPN on my phone?
Are all internet-connected apps on your phone up-to-date and active versions published later than, say, 2016? What about your operating system – is this the latest version of Android or iOS ? If the answer to one of these questions is "I don't know", you should use a VPN on your phone if possible. It may be difficult for malicious actors to take advantage of daily users on public Wi-Fi, but outdated software can give them the opening they need to steal the passwords to your most sensitive accounts.
If you are concerned about the risks of using public Wi-Fi to check sensitive business e-mail, bank account balances or airline ticket and passport information, a VPN can reassure you.
Read more:  NordVPN versus ExpressVPN: speed, security and price compared
Choose a VPN
Whether you use an iPhone or an Android device, your first step is the same: find a VPN that you like it compatible with your device. This is how:
1. Browse CNET & # 39; s list of the. If you only want to surf public Wi-Fi securely, find a VPN service with servers in your current country. The general rule of thumb is the closer the hardware, the faster the connection.
2.. We love 30-day warranties and 7-day trial periods, but completely free VPNs are rarely secure and are often only a way for improper companies to get your data.
If you want to invest in a VPN for the long term, you need more than 10 minutes of research time. But when you are ready to take a deeper dive, CNET & # 39; s.
On Android Phones
Now that you have chosen the VPN that you want to use, follow these steps to get it on your Android device:
1. Open the app Google Play store on your phone and tap the search bar at the top of the screen.
2. Type the name of the VPN that you want to use and select it from the list of apps that appears. View the creator of the app to make sure you are downloading the official app instead of a copycat. The name of the company and the creator of the app must match. Click on Install and wait until the app is downloaded.
3. After the VPN app has been installed, exit the Google Play Store and return to the home screen of your phone to click on the VPN app and open it.
4. The first time you open a paid VPN app, you will be asked to provide your login details or to sign up for the service. If you are asked to sign up with an email address (which is the case for almost all services), you should check your email for a confirmation link from your new VPN provider.
For all apps in the VPN directory of CNET, the process is largely the same: you will be asked to choose and pay for the desired plan. We always recommend that you choose a service with a 30-day refund policy so that you can test the services until you find the one you like.
Android devices require additional steps to keep a VPN permanently running in the background. We do not recommend this for most users – a VPN that continues to work 24 hours a day will drain your battery quickly and may force you to reach your data limit too quickly if you have chosen a VPN provider that will provide its customers' data limited use.
By default, that means that almost every new VPN that you use is only active when you open and enable the app. Do not forget to switch it off when you have finished browsing.
How to get a VPN that works on your Apple iPhone:
1. On your iPhone, go to your home screen and tap to open the App Store .
2. Tap the Search tab in the lower right corner of the screen and then tap the Search box at the top of the screen.
3. Type the name of the VPN you have chosen and select it from the list that appears. Then tap the Get button that appears to the right of the app's name. As with any other app, you must confirm the installation of the app with your access code, Touch ID or Face ID.
4. Once your installation is complete, close the App Store and return to your home screen .
5. As with the first use of a VPN on Android, the first use of a VPN on iPhone means that you will be asked to create a new account and select the desired subscription level. Make sure you check your e-mail inbox for any confirmation links that your VPN provider sends you if you have registered with an e-mail address.
Almost all VPN apps will ask you to connect to an automatically selected server based on your location to enable fast browsing. From now on, every time you want to use your VPN, just tap the VPN icon on your home screen before you surf the web, click the app button to go back, and then go back to the VPN app and switch it off when you are finished.
There, now. Didn't I tell you it was easy?
Originally published last year.