Best VPN for Public WiFi – Secure Your Connection On The Go

vpn-public-wifi

If you're wondering "Does VPN protect you on public WiFi?" then the answer to that question is a yes! In fact, connecting to an unprotected public WiFi, let's say at an airport or a coffee shop is a very serious risk. And you should use a VPN to protect yourself.

By choosing the best VPN for public WiFi networks, you can significantly reduce your chances of data theft in public hotspot zones (and even in unsecured WiFi hotspots).

To help you out, I've done the research for you and narrowed the selection to 4 of the top choices available to help you find the right choice for you. Each of them has solid encryption and security protocols, as these are critical for safe use with public hotspots.

And here is my list of the best VPNs for public WiFi:

  • NordVPN (Affordable solution with extraordinary speeds)
  • ExpressVPN (Great security features)
  • ProtonVPN (A VPN with a free plan and impressive security arsenal)
  • IPVanish (Fast loading speeds and P2P support)

1. NordVPN

Prices start at: $2.99/month

NordVPN has emerged as one of the major players in the VPN industry. This Panama-based VPN provider offers a true no-log policy and an offshore jurisdiction in a country with loose data retention laws.

nord vpn main page

In terms of encryption, NordVPN uses some of the most advanced encryption mechanisms available. It uses military-grade encryption (AES with 256 bit-keys) to prevent outsides sources from accessing your data. So, you can feel quite safe when browsing on public WiFi. But NordVPN does much more than just encrypt your data.

nordvpn speedtestIt also provides some of the fastest connectivity speeds in the industry.

While public WiFI is often slow, using NordVPN will help you retain most of the internet speed (in my case - it retained 90% of my original internet speed, from 80Mbps to 71Mbps), all while securing your data. Better yet, you also benefit from a large range of servers (over 5200!)  and the most affordable price points on the market.

NordVPN's advanced security features

vpn public wifi nordvpn double vpnNordVPN goes the extra mile to keep your data secure.

Not only does NordVPN provide some awesome encryption and safety features, but it also offers a 'DoubleVPN' service that provides additional security.

With DoubleVPN, NordVPN encrypts your data twice to ensure that hackers and ISPs can't access your information. This may seem like overkill, but it's a much-needed layer of security in the world of modern data theft.

NordVPN also offers another security measure with its service. With a regular VPN service, when you connect to WiFi hotspots via a VPN, your data is encrypted to prevent hackers from accessing your information. While this safety measure is necessary, it can't protect you against everything.

vpn public wifi nordvpn cybersecVPN encryption alone can't protect you from additional viruses or malware when you're browsing the internet.

That's where another NordVPN's security feature shines - CyberSec automatically scans websites for suspicious material and helps prevent malware and phishing scams.

It's a very useful additional deterrent to harmful online activity. And an extra bonus: CyberSec helps automatically block annoying ads too!

NordVPN's pricing won't break your bank - the cheapest plan will cost you $2.99/month (if you sign a 3-year plan). In the long run, that's the cheapest VPN service on this list.

PROS

  • High-end encryption
  • Safe jurisdiction
  • No-log policy
  • DoubleVPN offers double encryption for additional safety
  • CyberSec provides additional security from malware and websites

CONS

  • Cheap prices only come with multi-year packages

2. ExpressVPN

Prices start at: $8.32/month

ExpressVPN is my next best choice for public WiFi VPNs. Like NordVPN, ExpressVPN is located in an offshore jurisdiction (British Virgin Islands) that helps protect your data from the prying eyes of Western governments.

expressvpn main page

With ExpressVPN, you'll find a solid no-log policy that ensures none of your browsing information is stored on its servers. If you want to use a VPN provider that doesn't retain your personal information or IP addresses, ExpressVPN is a reliable option.

Now, let's get to the most important part…encryption! You'll be pleased to know that ExpressVPN uses the same encryption protocols as NordVPN. It employs the AES-256 encryption standard. The same encryption standard was once used by the US military to secure highly-sensitive information.

expressvpn speedtestIn terms of performance, it's hard to beat service like ExpressVPN. This VPN provider was one of the fastest providers I've testedMy 80Mbps internet speed only fell to 61Mbps - that's a 76% speed retention rate.

So, if you're looking to retain internet speed while connected to public WiFi, ExpressVPN is certainly one of your best options.

You can also access overseas servers with ease - I tested its access to Netflix and was able to access overseas media catalogs.

It's safe to say that ExpressVPN is an excellent option if you want a VPN service that performs well and encrypts your data with industry-leading encryption standards.

This being said, this is the priciest VPN provider on the list - even the annual packages are on the higher end of the price spectrum ($8.32/month, billed annually). And if you don't like the idea of signing up for the whole year, a 6-month subscription will cost you $9.99/month. 

PROS

  • Industry leading encryption standards
  • Large server list
  • Extremely fast servers
  • A true 'no-log' policy
  • Safe jurisdiction

CONS

  • Expensive compared to the other VPNs on my list

3. ProtonVPN

Prices start at: free!

ProtonVPN is another excellent VPN if you want to keep your online data secure. If you the ProtonVPN name sounds familiar to you - it should! This VPN service is brought to you by the same cybersecurity team that developed ProtonMail - one of the world's most popular encrypted email services.

protonvpn main page

It is currently headquartered in Switzerland - a much safer jurisdiction than many other VPN providers. No points lost there.

As with all top VPN services, ProtonVPN doesn't log any of your data. Its strict 'no-log' policy ensures none of your data remains on its servers. In similar fashion to ExpressVPN and NordVPN, ProtonVPN uses industry-leading encryption standards to help protect your data. AES-256 is the standard encryption method at ProtonVPN.

protonvpn speedtestCoupled with world-class encryption are special encryption cipher suites to ensure your information can't be decrypted at a later date. It never uses the same key twice - this helps to protect you against future exposure.

The reason ProtonVPN ranks slightly below ExpressVPN and NordVPN is that its performance can't keep up all the time.

While ProtonVPN's speeds are reasonably good (it retains around 73% of the internet speed), it doesn't have many servers to choose from - you can choose from only 30 countries. Compared to NordVPN's 62 country option, that's not an ideal result.

Regardless, with great security features and solid privacy policy, ProtonVPN is a bargain from $4.00 per month! It also includes a free plan, however, not very functional. So, it's terrific value - with some shortcomings, compared to the business leaders.

PROS

  • Military-grade encryption
  • Special encryption cipher suites
  • No-log policy
  •  Free plan is available

CONS

  • Not as many servers offered (when compared to leading VPNs)
  • Not as fast as NordVPN or ExpressVPN

4. IPVanish

Prices start at: $4.12/month

The last of my favorite VPNs for public WiFi is IPVanish. The American provider has great encryption features built into its platform. And like all good VPN services, IPVanish also comes with a solid 'no-log' policy.

In terms of encryption, IPVanish uses the famed AES 256-bit encryption.

It also creates an encrypted tunnel that transports your data when you connect to public WiFi hotspots. So, it's definitely a solid option if you want strong safety protocols.

And when it comes to servers and their performance, IPVanish isn't lacking behind either.

It offers 1,100+ VPN servers in 60+ countries, unlimited P2P traffic, unlimited bandwidth, 24/7 customer support, 10 simultaneous connections on multiple devices and more.

ipvanish_speedWhen it comes to speed, IPVanish retains around 65% of your internet speed. 

As my test shows, the top 3 providers on this list have better speeds, but IPVanish also doesn't slack on the number.

For personal use - that's enough to browse comfortably and efficiently.

The pricing isn't that high either - if you sign up for full 2 years, you'll only pay $4.12/month. That's a small price to pay for your cybersecurity.

PROS

  • Military-grade encryption
  • No-log policy
  • Large server list
  • P2P support
  • Fast speeds

CONS

  • Located in the United States - lack of internet privacy laws
  • There are cheaper VPNs on my list

VPN for Public WiFi: Which VPN is Best For You?

To answer this question - below I have provided a list of the best VPN for each type of user:

  • NordVPN is perfect for VPN users who want great speeds for an awesome price. 
  • ExpressVPN is perfect for VPN users who want strong security and fast speeds. 
  • ProtonVPN is perfect for VPN users who want a VPN run by experts in the data security field.
  • IPVanish is perfect for VPN users who want fast speeds, strong security, and P2P support. 

You should always connect to a VPN when you're using public WiFi. Every public network is a target for hackers looking to get sensitive data from the people using them. Just a few seconds of your time could save you from important data loss.

And on that note, I would avoid using a free WiFi VPN - they don't typically provide the same encryption standards. Also, they could be potentially very insecure and using your data for all the wrong reasons.

After all, why would anyone give you a service and not ask for anything in return? When using free products, you are not the customer - you are the product.

So, when trying to make sure you're safe online, use the products you can trust - and you will be secure. Happy browsing!

An experienced content professional with a creative mind. If I'm not writing, you can probably find me in the backyard playing with dogs or at some weird art show.

Leave a Comment

Get new blog posts by email: