What Is the Best VPN For Public Wi-Fi Hotspots in 2020?

Surfing the internet is becoming a basic need in this era. Everyone wants to stay connected throughout the day. You want to get current news, chat with friends, stream music and video, or run your online business. 

All the above aspects require an uninterrupted internet connection (internet data), which costs money. Luckily, public Wi-Fi hotspots are easing your burden.

Through the Public Wi-Fi hotspots, you can connect to the internet for free. Often, the hotspots are secured with passwords. This allows easy browsing without any handle.

The good thing is: there are over 360 million public Wi-Fi hotspots spread across the globe. And more, the number is expected to go up to over 500 million by 2022. This means, more people will have easy access to free internet. 

Here’s the catch: since these Wi-Fi connections are open, other people can view the information you share using the Wi-Fi. This means you’re likely to end up a cybercrime victim.

Hackers and online fraudsters can jump right into this opportunity to access your personal and business information. As such, to stay safe, avoid using public Wi-Fi. Really?

It’s possible to stay safe while using this type of hotspot. This is through the use of a Virtual Private Network (VPN).

A VPN allows you to block online web tracking. It hinders third parties from spying your online activities by encrypting your internet connections. This way, you protect your business and personal information from unauthorized recipients.

Nevertheless, the best service is one that meets your VPN needs. Here are the best 5 VPNs for public Wi-Fi Hotspots.

Best VPNs for Public Wi-Fi Hotspots

We performed extensive tests on our favorite VPN providers. The results confirmed that these 5 VPNs offer the best security and privacy protections for Public Wi-Fi Hotspots:

1. Express VPN: Our #1 choice for protecting your online travels on public Wi-Fi. The provider has amazingly fast, secure servers and uses military-grade encryption to prevent information leakage. Plus, ExpressVPN doesn’t keep any activity logs.

2. NordVPN: A perfect choice when there’s a need for speed. The provider hordes numerous servers spread across the globe, ensuring uninterrupted streaming and chatting. Its security and privacy are on a whole nother level, deterring snoopers from accessing your information.

3. CyberGhost: Affordability is the selling point of this provider, which doesn’t compromise on the quality of service. All the while, your public Wi-Fi hotspot connection is secured with government-class encryptions.

4. IPVanish: This provider operates self-owned servers, guaranteeing you an extra level of protection. Their robust encryption service keeps your information under lock and key. For a reason, your ISP, hackers, and unauthorized third parties can access your data.

5. PrivateVPN: Though new in the market, this provider lets you unblock a wide range of content. Their limited servers isn’t a deal-breaker for hotspot users who care about hiding their sensitive information and browsing anonymously.

These VPN providers are great options for public Wi-Fi users. They have some of the best in class security, and privacy protections to keep your data and communications under wraps. 

I analyzed and ranked the best VPNs for public Wi-Fi hotspots using these criteria:

  • Encryption services
  • Provider server coverage
  • Online privacy and protection
  • Connection speed
  • Multiple devices support

Here’s the list of 5 best VPNs for public Wi-Fi hotspots.

1. ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN is an honest guard when using public Wi-Fi, as users can connect the internet without worrying who’s watching over your shoulder. This includes protection from snoopers and cybercriminals. And thus, this VPN is our top choice.

This provider uses Advanced Encryption Standards (AES) with 256-bit keys. With such encryption, third parties can’t access the information shared between your device and the internet.

ExpressVPN has over 3000 servers spread across 94 countries. The distribution of secure VPN servers is equitable, meaning that the provider sufficiently covers the global audience. This way, users are sure of high-level data security no matter they’re using public Wi-Fi hotspots in a café, airport, restaurant, or public transport.

No doubt, users want to remain protected in these years of rising cybercrimes. The provider understands the risks users face when using public Wi-Fi such as packet sniffing, rogue Wi-Fi networks, and man-in-the-middle attacks.

ExpressVPN helps protect your internet activities by channeling your information through an encrypted tunnel. This ensures maximum personal and business information protection and keeps rogue hackers out of your way.

Speed is another factor that matters most in a VPN. ExpressVPN provides some of the fastest connection speeds, so you can easily stream, or download HD, and 4K videos.

Aside from that, the VPN is equipped with a speed test feature to help you connect to the fastest VPN server location.

A single ExpressVPN account supports up to 5 devices at the same time. Besides, you can use the VPN on your smartphone or PC, as it supports different operating systems such as iOS, Android, Windows, and Mac.

Pros

  • Superfast connection speeds
  • Strong security and privacy protections
  • Global server coverage with evenly distributed VPN servers
  • Extensive app support

Cons

  • A bit pricey

2. NordVPN

NordVPN is our first runner-up. And here’s why: the VPN provider protects your internet browsing using military-grade encryption. There’s more.

This VPN creates an encrypted tunnel through which you share information, blinding third parties and other unauthorized audiences interested in your browsing history.

Although present in 59 countries, the provider has strategically positioned over 5200 VPN servers for easy, and faster connectivity. Besides, more servers mean less loading speed and a high possibility of finding a server near your location.

This provider also prioritizes your online privacy and protection. NordVPN adheres to an audited no logs policy, so you can be sure they don’t record or store your browsing history. This means you will be safe from unwelcomed parties.

The fact that NordVPN lets you pay anonymously via Bitcoin is proof of their prioritization to the users’ online protection.

Most importantly, the service assigns you a new IP address for every connection. Your online identity switches to this IP address, keeping you under cloak encryption hiding. This way, you protect your information against interested parties such as the government and cybercriminals.

Connecting to VPN can hurt your internet speed. This problem is worse when the VPN servers’ location is far from where your actual location.

NordVPN delivers seamless browsing speeds. Plus, the VPN app has a quick connect button that lets you connect to the best server, avoiding overcrowded ones. This way, you enjoy high-speed internet surfing.

What’s more, with one subscription, you’ll be able to protect up to 6 different devices simultaneously.

Pros             

  • Supports multiple devices and platforms
  • Outstanding security and privacy
  • Reasonably priced
  • Fast connections

Cons

  • Takes patience finding the best connections

3. CyberGhost VPN

CyberGhost occupied the third position in our ranking. This service is a VPN-beginner user-friendly as it prioritizes ease of use. Nevertheless, it also includes options that advanced users will find useful.

This provider secures your business and personal information with the hard-to-crack 256-AES encryption. The encryption boggles your data, so your online activities and browsing habits can’t be tracked by snoopers and advertisers. 

CyberGhost offers above-average global server coverage. With over 5700 VPN servers spread in 90 countries across the world, the service ranks as one of the VPN providers with comprehensive coverage. This means that more likely; there’s a VPN server near your location.

The provider has its users’ privacy at heart. With its no-logs policy and IP address hiding features, this VPN ensures you remain invisible and anonymous in your internet world.

CyberGhost doesn’t significantly lower your connection speeds. Thanks, partly, to the provider’s global network of servers that guarantee you the fastest possible internet speeds.

More good news: CyberGhost operates its self-owned servers, which adds extra protection to the pool of security features.

Moreover, they’ve total control of the number of users. This way, you can connect to a less crowded server, enhancing your surfing experience. 

A single subscription to this service supports up to 7 devices at a go.

Pros

  • Operates self-owned servers
  • Extensive server coverage
  • Beginner-friendly features
  • Superb data protection

Cons

  • Complicated free trials

4. IPVanish

IPVanish ranked fourth in this list. Thanks to its self-owned serves, enhanced browsing security, and fast connection speeds.

This provider has over 1300 self-owned servers located in more than 75 locations across the globe. That’s fewer compared to other giant VPN providers. But, there’s a thoughtful mix of locations, ensuring most of the world, including South America and Africa, are covered. The best thing is that the provider doesn’t use third-party servers. Also, they don’t use virtual servers.

Yes, using public Wi-Fi exposes you to a wide range of online risks. You become a prime target of hackers and online fraudsters sharing the same connections.

This means anything you share or use be it your passwords, usernames, bank information, or medical history can easily fall into the wrong hands. Thankfully, with an AES-256 encrypted VPN, such as IPVanish you can surf the web, without worrying who’s after your IP address, and personal data.

This provider creates an encrypted tunnel and channels all your online traffic through it. This way, it kicks out and block hackers and prying eyes on your online activities. In short, you get a secured territory on the public Wi-Fi.

The wrong VPN can hurt your browsing speeds. IPVanish ensures your speed remains intact. With their self-owned and operated servers, you can expect fast connections. Also, the VPN allows you to protect up to 10 devices at a go!

Pros

  • Supports up to 10 devices
  • Operates self-owned server
  • Strong encryptions
  • Reputable geographic diversity of servers

Cons

  • Apps can be challenging to use

5. PrivateVPN

This new entrant to the VPN market closes our list of the best 5 VPNs for public Wi-Fi hotspots. PrivateVPN has over 150 servers located in 60 countries across the globe. What this VPN misses in the global coverage, it makes up by providing efficient services.

PrivateVPN protects public Wi-Fi users with the same level of encryption used to secure government files. The provider uses AES 254-bit encryption with 2048-bit DH key, keeping your online activities secure and private.

The encryption also transforms your data into ciphertext, ensuring it’s unreadable for third parties. Plus, the VPN creates an encrypted tunnel between your device and servers, locking out uninvited guests.

While it has few servers and military-level encryption, it does not limit you from a fast connection and loading speed. This service provider offers low latency, so you can surf the internet smoothly, and at great speeds.

Besides, the provider uses a High-Quality Network (HQN) obtained from IP transit providers. This way, they skip intermediaries that may affect loading speeds. For a reason, it stands out as the fastest connection speed provider in this list.

One account supports a maximum of 6 devices at the same time. Also, it’s compatible with numerous operating systems.

Pros

  • Strong privacy and security protections
  • Uses HQN for fast speeds
  • Advanced configuration settings    

Cons

  • Relatively small server network

What Is a Public Wi-Fi Hotspot?

Without a doubt, you’ve heard about public Wi-Fi hotspots. A hotspot is an area where one can access the internet. The access can be wireless through Wi-Fi or WLAN via a router connected to an internet provider. 

Public Wi-Fi hotspots are not much different from regular hotspots. The only difference (maybe) is that it is available to the public. The term refers to Wi-Fi access points in public areas such as café, coffee shops, airports, and hotels.

Why You Need a VPN for Public Wi-Fi Hotspots?

The simple answer to this is; for your online privacy and protection. Public Wi-Fi hotspots fall in the category of open connections. This means anyone can see or track your online activities.

As such, it offers hackers and authorized third parties to access your sensitive information such as credit card information, passwords, usernames, and other confidential records. What if this info gets into the wrong hands?

A VPN allows you to lock out any unauthorized persons from accessing the information shared through a public Wi-Fi hotspot. It does this by encrypting your data so no one, except you, can read them. This way, your information remains private and protected.

From the above perspective, a VPN is crucial for public Wi-Fi users who want to secure their data and online identity. Still, you must select the ideal VPN for this purpose.

Choosing the Best VPN for Public Wi-Fi Hotspots

With a large number of VPN providers claiming to be the best, it can be daunting finding one that best fits.

As seen, a good VPN should protect you from any online threats while using a public Wi-Fi hotspot. To help you find one that sufficiently meets this purpose, here are some things to consider:

       I.            Type of Encryption Protocol

Encryption is the first line of security in the virtual space. A protocol creates a safe data transfer tunnel dubbed encrypted tunnel. The ideal VPN for Public Wi-Fi should provide military-level encryption. Particularly, consider VPNs using AES 254-bit encryption protocol.

    II.            Connection and Surfing Speeds

Indeed, a VPN impacts your connection speeds. Some VPNs significantly hurt your internet speeds leading to slow downloads and connection. When choosing a VPN for public Wi-Fi hotspots go for one that has unnoticeable to near-zero impact on the connection and surfing speed.

 III.            VPN Servers’ Coverage

VPN servers hugely determine your connection speeds. And more. A VPN provider with a vast network of servers and extensive global coverage will more likely outperform a service with limited servers.

Also, providers with self-owned servers have control of their usage for better quality service. Hence, always opt for providers with global server coverage for a seamless (browsing, downloading, streaming) experience and connectivity.

Conclusion

Any public Wi-Fi hotspot user will consider VPN as the extra tool they need to shield them from hackers and other intruders.

A VPN keeps your data under a lock and key as you enjoy all your online activities. It creates an encrypted platform that bars unauthorized people from accessing your online territory.

As a Public Wi-Fi hotspot user, I recommend using Express VPN to keep all your online travels under wraps. Besides, it’s one of the fastest, most secure VPN in the market today.

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