How to Choose the Best Mobile VPN to Use
A while ago we explained that a VPN app is software that encrypts everything you do online. And it’s something most of use use to protect our online traffic. A mobile VPN, surprisingly is NOT a VPN running on a mobile phone.
Here’s the Wikipedia definition of a mobile VPN is a “VPN capable of persisting during sessions across changes in physical connectivity, point of network attachment, and IP address. The “mobile” in the name refers to the fact that the VPN can change points of network attachment, not necessarily that the mobile VPN client is a mobile phone or that it is running on a wireless network.”
So, a mobile VPN is a VPN that keeps you connected at all times, letting you change from one Internet connection to another while maintaining the same session and not interrupting all of your apps. This means you can switch from Wi-Fi to mobile data or between Wi-Fi hotspots without having your streaming music stop.
Keep reading to see how to choose the best mobile VPN.
Why and When Use a Mobile VPN?
A mobile VPN is a must in certain scenarios:
- when traveling or commuting – helps you address the spotty and variable Wi-Fi and mobile data performance
- when working remotely – you’ll be sure that your sensitive data is safe and your business VoIP call or screen sharing session will not be disconnected
- when streaming your favorite music or videos online – avoids buffering screens and interruptions.
Basically, you should consider using a mobile VPN anytime you’re connected to a wireless hotspot, be it Wi-Fi or a mobile data connection. This will keep you always online and protected.
True Mobile VPN vs. VPNs that Run on Mobile Devices
Many companies have gotten the older, conventional desktop VPN software (OpenVPN, IKEv2 or IPSec) to work on iPhone, Android smartphones and other mobile devices, claiming they have “mobile VPN services”. But these protocols aren’t made for mobile users and there’s a significant performance difference, as you’ll see in the test below.
To illustrate this, we took an iPhone 7 and tried both our own Speedify mobile VPN app and installed each of the 10 most popular other popular VPN apps from the App Store. Then we decided to test how well they handle it when the Wi-Fi stops working.
The Test: Why Using a Mobile VPN Is Better Than a VPN
- We joined a Wi-Fi hotspot,
- Connected the VPN,
- Ran a Speedtest.net speed test, and
- Pulled the Ethernet cable from the Wi-Fi router while the test was still going on.
This is a simple test, to see how where ideally the VPN would just switch to mobile data, or at least disconnect and reconnect on mobile data after a few moments pause.
There are two possible results for this test, that are summarized in the “Maintain Connections” column:
- Yes – Means it switched from WiFi to mobile data connection without needing to change IP addresses or stop a Speed Test in progress (Best!)
- No – Indicates that the VPN stopped working when the WiFi failed, and never recovered, without the user either quitting the Wi-Fi or going back into the VPN app to disconnect and reconnect (Bad)
If we know what protocol the VPN uses, we added it to the Protocol column, as well.
Test Results: Speedify Is the Only Mobile VPN
|VPN Top 10 App Store||Maintain Connection||Comments||Protocols|
|Speedify||Yes||Yanked the ethernet to the router so it was on a “dead hotspot” in the middle of the Speedtest and Speedify recovered almost immediately and successfully finished the speed test. See here a recent video of how it works in the context of live streaming.||VPN for Mobility|
|VPN Go – Yan Zhang||No||Turning Wi-Fi off Killed the VPN||IKEv2|
|X-VPN – TBU CO., Limited||No||Turning Wi-Fi off Killed the VPN|
|Free vpn proxy – Betternet||No||Manually Killing Wi-Fi allowed persistent connection, speeds decreased to <1MB||IKEv2|
|HotSpot Shield – AnchorFree Inc||No||Turning Wi-Fi off killed the VPN, it did reconnect||IPSec|
|Free VPN Proxy Master – ALL Connected Co,. Ltd||No||Turning Wi-Fi off killed the VPN, it did reconnect||IKEv2|
|Free VPN Hexatech – Betternet||No||Dead Hotspot killed the VPN. VPN was stuck in the connecting state unable to access internet and showed no Wi-Fi icon. Had to disconnect to get internet back|
|Security VPN – Yang Shi||No||Dead Hotspot killed the VPN. VPN was stuck in the connecting state unable to access internet and showed no Wi-Fi icon. Had to disconnect to get internet back|
|Free VPN Unlimited – Free VPN LLC||No||Did not notice Wi-Fi had been killed, had to manually disconnect to get internet back|
|Opera Free VPN – Opera Software||No||Killing Wi-Fi the VPN quickly reconnected||IPSec|
|SurfEasy||No||Turning Wi-Fi off Killed the VPN||IPSec|
There you have it: that’s the power of a true mobile VPN. All the conventional VPNs just stop working when they hit a bad Wi-Fi hotspot, and take you off the Internet. This might be tolerable on a desktop computer, but it’s certainly not acceptable for someone walking around with a mobile phone, roaming from a hotspot to another.
Only Speedify is a true next generation mobile VPN that can keep you online even when your Wi-Fi stops working.