Public Wi-Fi hotspots and networks are not encrypted at all and are prone to cyberattacks. Thus, they put users at great risk of getting their data stolen or worse. People who connect to insecure networks can also get infected with malware or lose money by falling prey to phishing and other scams.
Luckily, by using the best VPN for Wi-Fi, you can avoid all these problems and use the Internet safely. A VPN will encrypt your connection and ensure that third parties can’t steal your information. You’ll also be able to hide your IP address, as well as your online activity. Your privacy and security will remain fully protected.
In this article, we’ll share the top 5 VPNs for Wi-Fi with you and show you how to use a VPN on a public network. We’ll also explain why you need a VPN, tell you how to choose the right provider, answer some frequently asked questions, and more.
Best Wi-Fi VPNs - Our Shortlist
- NordVPN – Our #1-Rated Best VPN for Wi-Fi in 2023
- Surfshark – Best Wi-Fi VPN for Privacy and Security
- ExpressVPN – Excellent Solution for First-Time VPN Users
- CyberGhost VPN – Reliable VPN with a Large Server Network
- Private Internet Access – Inexpensive VPN with Unlimited Connections
How to Use a VPN on Public Wi-Fi
To use a VPN on public Wi-Fi, you must find a provider that offers powerful encryption and other security features and get a subscription. Here’s everything you need to do:
- Sign up for a VPN that works on public Wi-Fi (we recommend NordVPN).
- Download and install the VPN app on the device(s) you’ll use.
- Open the VPN app and log in to activate it.
- Connect to a VPN server in a country of your choosing.
- That’s it! Now, you’ll be able to use any network safely.
If you use a VPN on public Wi-Fi, you’ll be able to connect to networks in airports, hotels, restaurants, and other similar places without worrying about your safety. This means you can also shop safely online on such networks and engage in any activities you would normally do at home on your private network.
The Best VPNs for Public Wi-Fi in 2023
To find the best VPN for public Wi-Fi, you can use our article on choosing the best VPNs as a guide. First and foremost, you should look for strong privacy and security features, such as a no-logs policy, robust encryption, and secure VPN protocols. Next, find a VPN that offers obfuscated servers, which hide that you’re using a VPN.
Another important criterion is a kill switch—this prevents data leaks if something unexpected happens to your VPN connection. Split tunneling is also a necessity. Moreover, look for a provider that offers fast speeds, reliable performance, and multiple simultaneous connections. You should also make sure your VPN supports a wide range of devices.
Furthermore, look for a VPN that has a wide server network, along with the ability to unblock censored and geo-restricted content. Lastly, ensure that your chosen provider offers a money-back guarantee and reliable 24/7 customer support.
Based on the criteria mentioned above, we recommend these 5 best Wi-Fi VPNs:
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NordVPN is the best VPN for Wi-Fi and offers some of the best privacy and security features on the market. You’ll get an AES 256-bit encryption, secure VPN protocols, and an independently audited no-logs policy. You’ll also benefit from obfuscated servers, a reliable kill switch, and split tunneling.
But that’s not all. NordVPN also has an ad-blocker, anti-malware, data leak protection, a Double VPN feature that routes your traffic through 2 servers instead of 1, a dedicated IP address, Threat Protection, SmartDNS, Private DNS, and more.
NordVPN comes with medium-fast speeds and reliable performance, but the further away you are from your server, the slower your connections will be.
With NordVPN, you’ll get up to 6 simultaneous connections, which you’ll be able to use on a wide range of devices, such as phones, tablets, laptops, and more. Also, it has a large server network that contains more than 5,800 servers in 60 countries. Thus, this provider is also great for accessing censored and geo-blocked content.
All NordVPN plans are eligible for a 30-day money-back guarantee. In addition, you’ll get dedicated 24/7 customer support via their live chat feature.
- Superb privacy protection
- Wide range of security features
- Double VPN option available
- 30-day refund policy
- Compatible with many devices
- Slower speeds on remote servers
Surfshark is an easy-to-use VPN provider that offers strong security and privacy. You’ll be protected by features like a no-logs policy, secure VPN protocols, military-grade encryption, a capable kill switch, obfuscated servers, and split tunneling. But that’s not all.
As a Surfshark user, you’ll also get great data leak protection, a Multi-Hop feature, CleanWeb (which removes ads, trackers, malware, and phishing attempts), private DNS, its innovative Nexus technology that rotates your IP, Dynamic Multi-Hop, and more.
Surfshark is one of the fastest VPNs available on the market, providing you with super-fast speeds and reliable performance. Moreover, it allows you to have an unlimited number of simultaneous connections. So, you can use it on all your devices, including your phone, laptop, tablet, and more.
With Surfshark, you’ll get access to a wide server network of over 3,200 servers in 100 countries. This will allow you to unblock geo-restricted and censored content. Furthermore, you can try the service risk-free via its 30-day money-back guarantee, and you’ll receive excellent 24/7 customer support.
- Innovative Nexus technology rotates IPs
- Strong security and privacy features
- 30-day refund guarantee
- Multi-Hop feature available
- Ideal for beginners
- Initial connections can be slow
ExpressVPN is another VPN for Wi-Fi because it offers enterprise-level security to encrypt your public Wi-Fi connections and ensure your safety from any cyberattacks. Some of the security features it offers include an independently audited no-logs policy, military-grade AES 256-bit encryption, and secure VPN protocols like Lightway and OpenVPN.
This VPN also has obfuscated servers, which hide the fact that you’re using a VPN. It also comes with an automatic kill switch, data leak protection, a Threat Manager, and split tunneling. With one ExpressVPN subscription, you’ll be able to connect up to 8 devices simultaneously. You’ll get blazing-fast speeds and stable performance on top of that.
You can use ExpressVPN on a wide range of devices, including your phone, PC, laptop, tablet, and more. You can even use it at home by setting it up on your router, which will protect your entire network.
In addition, this VPN offers a wide server network of over 3,000 servers in 100+ countries, which contributes to its excellent content-unblocking capabilities. With it, you can access any censored or geo-blocked content.
All ExpressVPN users get reliable 24/7 customer support via live chat, available on the official website. Also, all plans come with a 30-day money-back guarantee, which you can use as a risk-free trial.
- Enterprise-grade security features
- Military-grade encryption
- Easily unblocks restricted content
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- Fastest service on the market
- Not all servers are obfuscated
CyberGhost has many security and privacy features that will protect you on public Wi-Fi like a no-logs policy, secure VPN protocols, and military-grade encryption. In addition, this VPN offers robust data leak protection, a kill switch mechanism, and split tunneling.
Some other security and privacy features that you’ll get with CyberGhost include NoSpy servers (which cost extra), dedicated IPs, RAM-only servers, and more. Also, certain servers are optimized for torrenting, streaming, and gaming. Unfortunately, you won’t get obfuscated servers.
Like NordVPN, CyberGhost also offers medium-fast speeds and reliable performance to all users. It allows up to 7 simultaneous connections and is compatible with a vast array of devices. So, you can use this VPN on gadgets like phones, tablets, laptops, and more.
CyberGhost has one of the largest server networks, boasting over 9,300 servers in 100 countries. It has excellent content-unblocking capabilities, allowing you to access geo-restricted and censored sites and services.
By getting a longer-term CyberGhost plan, you’ll be eligible for a 45-day money-back guarantee, while the monthly option has a 14-day policy. No matter which plan you get, you’ll enjoy reliable 24/7 customer support via live chat.
- Excellent protection and security
- Special optimized servers for entertainment
- Sizeable server infrastructure
- 45-day money-back guarantee
- Round-the-clock support
- Doesn’t offer obfuscated servers
Private Internet Access (PIA) is a reliable VPN for public Wi-Fi that has the largest server network on the market. With this VPN, you’ll be covered by a plethora of high-end security and privacy features, such as a no-logs policy, secure VPN protocols, military-grade encryption, obfuscation, a kill switch, and split tunneling.
By using PIA, you’ll be able to customize your VPN settings and decrease or increase your level of encryption. You can also get a dedicated IP address and use PIA MACE, which blocks unwanted elements like ads, trackers, and malware. Then there’s a Multi-Hop feature that routes your traffic through 2 VPN servers, DNS leak protection, and more.
When compared to all the other VPNs on our list, PIA emerges as the slowest, providing average Internet connection speeds and reliable performance. However, it’s still fast enough for you to browse, stream, and game with little to no interruptions.
PIA allows you to have an unlimited number of simultaneous connections, which you can use on devices like phones, tablets, laptops, and more. Also, it offers thousands of servers in 84 countries and comes with great content-unblocking capabilities.
You can try out PIA risk-free for 30 days before you make your final decision, and you’ll get reliable 24/7 customer support while you’re at it.
- Top-tier security and privacy
- Largest server network available
- Fully customizable VPN settings
- 30-day money-back policy
- Stellar customer support
- Slowest option on our list
Why Do You Need a VPN for Wi-Fi?
You need a VPN for Wi-Fi so that you can encrypt your connection and use public networks safely. Other reasons why you need a Wi-Fi VPN include the following:
- Safe Connections on Public Wi-Fi – Since public Wi-Fi networks are insecure and anyone using them is vulnerable to cyberattacks, it’s important to use a VPN to make your connection safe.
- Data Security – VPNs protect your data by encrypting your connection, hiding your real IP address and online activity.
- Identity Theft Protection – Hackers can easily access your private information while you’re using a public network. Then, they can use your information to buy things in your name and do things online that you wouldn’t do. A VPN can protect you from that by hiding your data.
- Malware and Cyber Attack Protection – Since public networks are vulnerable, hackers can use them to inject all kinds of malware and conduct many cyber attacks. However, a VPN can make a public network less dangerous by encrypting your connection to it.
- Geo-Blocked Service Access – VPNs have servers in multiple countries, which enables you to bypass geo-restrictions.
- Censorship Bypassing – Many countries censor certain content, but you can bypass such censorship by using a VPN and connecting to a server in a suitable country.
- School/Office Restrictions Bypassing – VPNs provide you with a new IP address, which will make it seem like you’re in an entirely different location. This can help you bypass any restrictions that your school and work have in place.
How to Choose the Best Wi-Fi VPN?
To choose the best Wi-Fi VPN, you need to find a provider that offers robust encryption. Other essential features that you need to look for in the best VPN for public Wi-Fi include the following:
- No-Logs Policy – Find a VPN that follows a no-logs policy to ensure that your data won’t be stored or shared with anyone.
- Strong Encryption – Encryption is essential as it makes your data unreadable to third parties. Just make sure that you find a VPN that offers robust and unbreakable encryption, like military-grady AES 256-bit.
- Security Features – Some of the most essential security features you need to look out for include a kill switch, split tunneling, obfuscation, robust protocols, and more.
- Speed and Performance – Ensure that your VPN offers fast speeds and reliable performance so that you can use it from anywhere without interruptions for any activities.
- Simultaneous Connections and Supported Devices – Look for a VPN that allows you to have at least a few simultaneous connections and supports a wide range of devices that you would use on a public network, such as smartphones, laptops, and tablets.
- Server Network Size – Find a VPN that has a wide server network so you can have your pick of locations to connect to.
- Ability to Unblock Censored/Geo-Restricted Content – Find a provider that offers strong content-unblocking capabilities so that you can access all the content you want from any country without limitations.
- Money-Back Guarantee – With a money-back guarantee, you’ll be able to try out the provider’s services risk-free before you commit to a plan.
- Customer Support – Reliable 24/7 customer support is a must and is ideally provided via live chat.
How to Stay Safe When Using Public Wi-Fi
To stay safe when using public Wi-Fi, you need to take other measures in addition to using a VPN. Below, you’ll find some useful tips to help you protect yourself:
- Turn Off Auto-Connect – By turning off the auto-connect option, you’ll ensure that your device doesn’t connect to public Wi-Fi automatically.
- Avoid Using Sensitive Information – Public networks aren’t safe and have weak security. Thus, you should avoid using sensitive information like passwords and banking details while you’re using them.
- Only Visit Secure Websites – Make sure to only open websites that are safe, as hackers can use unsecured websites to conduct attacks. Safe websites are the ones that have the “https” prefix.
- Watch Out for Shoulder Surfing – Shoulder surfing happens when hackers physically peek at your device while you type sensitive information. So, when you’re in a public space, be aware of the people sitting around you.
- Create Better Passwords – If you create simple passwords so that you can easily remember them, they’ll be much easier to crack. Make sure you use strong passwords, which you can create with a strong password generator.
- Use Two-Factor Authentication – Two-factor authentication makes it harder for third parties and cybercriminals to access your accounts, as it requires logins from other devices to be approved by you. If the hackers don’t have access to those devices, they won’t be able to get into your accounts.
- Set Your Wi-Fi Network to “Public” – If you set the network that you’re using to “Public,” other devices won’t be able to see that you’re connected to it. You can also use the “Disable Device Discoverability” feature on Windows as an extra layer of security.
Can You Use a Free VPN for Public Wi-Fi?
Yes, you can use a free VPN for public Wi-Fi, but we don’t recommend you do so. That’s because if you use a free VPN for Wi-Fi, you won’t get the necessary encryption and security measures that will make public networks safer. Also, free VPN providers are severely limited and often sell their users’ data to third parties to make a profit.
Moreover, free VPNs come with small server networks and limited content-unblocking capabilities, meaning that you won’t be able to bypass censorship and geo-restrictions. In addition, most free providers come with low data caps, few connections, and poor security and privacy.
Thus, we recommend you use a premium VPN provider to access public networks. With the top VPN services, you’ll get the best-in-class encryption, robust security and privacy, and excellent content-unblocking capabilities. Only the best VPN providers can make your public connection safer.
Public Wi-Fi networks have extremely weak security and are quite risky to connect to without protection. Unfortunately, many of us need to use them, especially when we’re away from home. Luckily, you can make your public network safer by using a Wi-Fi VPN.
We recommend NordVPN as the best VPN for Wi-Fi because it offers military-grade encryption and top-notch security and privacy. Also, it offers lightning-fast speeds, reliable performance, and strong content-unblocking capabilities. With NordVPN, you can connect to any unsecured network without worrying about your online safety.
Which VPN Works Best with Wi-Fi?
NordVPN works best with Wi-Fi as it offers outstanding security features. Namely, it comes with military-grade encryption, robust data leak protection, a kill switch, split tunneling, and many other enterprise-grade features.
Can Someone See Your Internet History If You Use Their Wi-Fi with a VPN?
No, if you use someone’s Wi-Fi with a VPN, they won’t be able to see your Internet history. That’s because VPNs hide your browsing history from everyone but you.
Does a VPN Protect You on Public Wi-Fi?
Yes, a VPN protects you on public Wi-Fi. It can do so by encrypting your connection and preventing others from accessing your data.
Is It Safe to Use Public Wi-Fi with a VPN?
Yes, it’s safe to use public Wi-Fi with a VPN. The VPN will conceal all your personal information, give you a new IP address, and encrypt your connection.
Is Hotel Wi-Fi Safe with VPN?
Yes, hotel Wi-Fi is safe with a VPN because it makes the unsecured network safe to use. This is possible by encrypting your connection and preventing others from seeing what you’re doing while using the public network.
How Does a VPN Work with Wi-Fi?
A VPN works with Wi-Fi by redirecting your Internet connection through a private server and encrypting the connection. By doing so, it also hides your real IP and your activity.
Can a VPN Bypass Wi-Fi Restrictions?
Yes, a VPN can bypass Wi-Fi restrictions if certain websites or services are unavailable. However, not all VPN providers can do so. Fortunately, all the options on our list have excellent unblocking capabilities that allow them to easily bypass restrictions.
Does a VPN Hide History from Wi-Fi?
Yes, a VPN hides your history from Wi-Fi usage by encrypting your connection, which prevents others from seeing what you do online.
That’s all for our guide on choosing the best VPN for Wi-Fi. If you have any more questions or remarks, don’t hesitate to share them via the comments section below. Thanks for reading!