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7 Best Mobile VPNs in 2023 — Safe, Fast & Intuitive Apps

Raven Wu Raven Wu

Short on time? Here’s the best mobile VPN in 2023:

  • 🥇 ExpressVPN: Easy-to-use, ultra-fast, and highly secure VPN with a proven zero-logs policy. It works well with all major streaming sites, allows up to 5 simultaneous connections, and backs up all of its plans with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

I bank, browse, game, shop, and stream on my mobile phone, so it’s really important for me to know that all of the data that goes through my phone is anonymous and secure. I found the easiest way to do this is to use a virtual private network (VPN), which encrypts your traffic, ensuring that all of your data remains totally private.

This is why I spent a few weeks researching and testing all of the major Android and iOS VPN apps on the market to find the best ones in 2023.

It didn’t take long for me to realize that a lot of VPNs out there have poor mobile apps — they were missing essential security features, gave me slow speeds, or had confusing interfaces that made using them a chore.

But the 5 mobile VPNs on this list are different — they’re fast, have strong security features, and are very intuitive. They also come with the ability to access major streaming services (like Netflix, Disney+, and Amazon Prime Video) and cool extras, including an ad blocker and split-tunneling.

Quick summary of the best mobile VPNs: 

🥇1. ExpressVPN — Best Mobile VPN for Android and iOS in 2023

🥇1. ExpressVPN — Best Mobile VPN for Android and iOS in 2023
ExpressVPN is my favorite mobile VPN for browsing, streaming, and gaming (it’s also why ExpressVPN is our #1 pick for the best VPN for Android and iOS in 2023). It has great security features, it offers user-friendly Android and iOS apps, and it gave me the fastest speeds of all the VPNs on this list during my tests.

I was impressed by how little ExpressVPN impacted my speeds. Web pages loaded instantly, and I got no lag while playing an action-intensive mobile game. This can be credited to ExpressVPN’s unique Lightway protocol, which is faster than other VPN protocols, as well as its huge number of servers (3,000+ in over 90+ countries), which makes it easy to find a nearby server location to get the fastest speeds.

For security, ExpressVPN’s mobile apps have been subjected to multiple independent audits to test and confirm the privacy policies and security claims, and it has advanced features like:

  • Perfect forward secrecy — Generates a new encryption key for every session to foil potential hackers from accessing past or future keys.
  • RAM-only servers — Your data is never written to a hard drive, and all information on the server is wiped with every reboot.
  • Threat Manager — Stops tracker apps from collecting information on your online activity and sharing it with third-party companies, who may use it to serve you targeted ads or engage in malicious behavior. It also prevents you from visiting malicious websites (only available on iOS).
  • Password manager — This feature for Android and iOS users helps you maintain and secure your various account login credentials.

If you like streaming movies and TV shows on your phone, ExpressVPN has you covered, too. It works great with all major streaming services including Netflix, Disney+, and Amazon Prime Video, and it claims to work with 65+ other streaming apps.

Navigating ExpressVPNs mobile apps is very easy. Connecting to a server only takes a second with its Smart Location feature (which automatically connects you to the VPN server that will give you the best speeds) and the interface is clean and clear of clutter.

ExpressVPN provides extra features like split-tunneling on its Android app (choose which traffic goes through your VPN and which traffic goes through your local network) and obfuscation (hides the fact that you’re using a VPN and is good for getting around workplace or government internet restrictions.

ExpressVPN allows 5 device connections, which is on the lower end of the industry average (5-7 connections), and it’s on the more expensive side at $6.67 / month for its cheapest pricing plan. But I consider this a fair price because ExpressVPN offers the best value on the market. ExpressVPN comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee for all of its plans, so it’s risk-free to give it a try.

Bottom Line:

ExpressVPN is the best mobile VPN in 2023 — it has ultra-fast speeds ideal for browsing, streaming, and gaming, provides advanced security features like perfect forward secrecy and RAM-only servers, and works with all major streaming sites. It’s really easy to set up and use, has split-tunneling for Android, and offers a 30-day money-back guarantee on all plans.

Try ExpressVPN Now

Read our full ExpressVPN review here

🥈2. Private Internet Access (PIA) — Highly Customizable Mobile Apps With Strong Security

🥈2. Private Internet Access (PIA) — Highly Customizable Mobile Apps With Strong Security
Private Internet Access (PIA) is a secure and fast VPN for Android and iOS, but my favorite thing about it is how customizable it is. For example, it lets you choose between 256 and 128 AES encryption — the latter might be useful if you’re looking for a little extra speed. And using its Network Management Tool, you can also configure how the app behaves on different networks.

Security-wise, PIA has perfect forward secrecy and RAM-only servers, its apps are open source (this means the source code is publicly available and anyone can inspect it), and you can also trust its no-logs policy — it’s been verified through an independent audit and proven multiple times in court.

Speed-wise, PIA performed very well during my tests, though it wasn’t quite as fast as ExpressVPN. It allowed me to play various mobile games without lagging and stream shows on Disney+ without encountering any buffering. With servers in 80+ different countries, it also has great coverage (but I wish PIA was more transparent and published how many servers it has like other top VPNs).

PIA is an excellent VPN for streaming — it worked with every popular streaming service I tested, including Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, and more.

For bonus features, PIA comes with an ad, tracker, and malware blocker on Android (MACE) — though you have to sideload it from its website due to Google’s TOS (there’s a simple, 4-step guide on how to do this in the Help Center) — and on iOS (Safari Content Blocker). I tested both of them by visiting some sites known for serving obnoxious pop-up ads and am happy to report an ad-free experience. PIA’s Android app also includes split-tunneling.

Private Internet Access’s plans cost as low as $2.19 / month, allow 10 connections, and come with 30-day money-back guarantees.

Bottom Line:

Private Internet Access (PIA) gives you a lot of value with its mobile apps — it’s fast, feature-rich, and has more configuration options than most other mobile VPNs. It works great with a wide variety of popular streaming apps as well. All of PIA’s plans are covered by a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Try Private Internet Access Now

Read our full Private Internet Access review here

🥉3. Proton VPN — Flexible Plans + The Best Free Mobile VPN

🥉3. Proton VPN — Flexible Plans + The Best Free Mobile VPN
Proton VPN has a lot of advanced security features and offers a great free plan. I love how Proton VPN uses perfect forward secrecy and full-disk encryption (makes all of the data on the server unreadable) and has open source apps (and has conducted an external audit for each one and updated all of the issues that were found).

Plus, it offers Secure Core servers (they route your data through 2 VPN servers instead of 1 server) in all 60+ countries for even greater anonymity, and its no-logs policy has been independently verified — Proton VPN also publishes transparency reports, which prove it doesn’t share user data. It also comes with Netshield, an excellent ad and malware blocker and split-tunneling on its Android app.

All of Proton VPN’s plans utilize its unique VPN Accelerator technologies, which drastically increases the speed of VPN protocols. And I can say that browsing, gaming, and streaming were indeed very fast even while connected to distant servers — my speeds were about the same as Private Internet Access but slightly slower than ExpressVPN.

As for streaming support, I was able to reliably access all of the major streaming services (including Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, and more).

Proton VPN’s Free plan is one of the best on the market for Android and iOS devices — providing really good speeds, access to 160+ servers in 3 countries (Japan, the US, and the Netherlands), and unlimited data (which few free plans offer). However, you can only connect 1 device, NetShield is not included, and it has no streaming or torrenting support.

Upgrading to Proton VPN’s Plus plan (starting at $3.99 / month) gets you access to all features, all 1,700+ servers in 60+ countries, up to 10connections, and the fastest speeds. Proton VPN comes with a prorated 30-day money-back guarantee (unlike ExpressVPN and Private Internet Access, which have a full 30-day refund).

Bottom Line:

Proton VPN’s has the best free plan for all mobile VPNs, and it comes with high-end security features. It maintains fast speeds and includes advanced security features like perfect forward secrecy, full-disk encryption, and Secure Core servers. Every plan is covered by a prorated 30-day money-back guarantee.

Try Proton VPN Now

Read our full Proton VPN review here

4. NordVPN — Reliable With Great Security Features & Fast Speeds

4. NordVPN — Reliable With Great Security Features & Fast Speeds

NordVPN provides access to multiple security features that keep your data safe online — like Threat Protection, which is one of the best VPN ad blockers on the market and which also gets rid of malicious ads, blocks connections to shady sites, and protects your device from malware-infected downloads. Even better, Threat Protection remains active even if you’re not connected to a VPN server, which is really convenient.

In addition, there’s Dark Web Monitor, which scans the dark web and alerts you if the login associated with your NordVPN account has been leaked. I’m happy to see this, as this is one of the only VPNs on the market that comes with a dark web monitoring feature.

On top of that, NordVPN also comes with other great security features — it has double VPN servers, which add an extra layer of encryption, and it also comes with obfuscation. Plus, the VPN has its own protocol called NordLynx, which is designed to provide strong security and really fast speeds.

NordVPN also has advanced security features, including full leak protection, RAM-only servers, and perfect forward secrecy. Its strict no-logs policy has been independently audited, and it’s also been proven true when one of the data centers that housed one of its servers suffered a data breach and no user data was compromised.

The provider is also great for streaming and torrenting — it works with multiple popular streaming services like Netflix and BBC iPlayer, and has a whopping 4,500+ P2P servers. It also provides really good speeds for streaming, torrenting, and other online activities on all of its servers.

I also think NordVPN is a good gaming VPN thanks to its Meshnet feature, which lets you link up to 60 devices over encrypted VPN connections — this helps you host virtual LAN parties securely.

What’s more, this VPN has tons of other perks — it has 5,000+ servers in 55+ countries, comes with split-tunneling, and has really intuitive apps for all major platforms.

NordVPN has budget-friendly plans that start at $2.99 / month. All purchases are backed by a risk-free 30-day money-back guarantee.

Bottom Line:

NordVPN is highly secure, comes with a ton of features, and maintains good speeds for all online activities. In addition to advanced security features like RAM-only servers and perfect forward secrecy, it also has an ad blocker and dark web monitor. It also works with all streaming services, supports torrenting on more than 4,500 servers, and is also an excellent choice for gaming. NordVPN backs all purchases with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Try NordVPN Now

Read our full NordVPN review here

5. Surfshark — Great VPN for Large Families & Very Affordable

5. Surfshark — Great VPN for Large Families & Very Affordable

Surfshark allows unlimited connections, which means you can use it on as many devices as you want — so it’s a great option if everyone in your family needs a good VPN. I’m also happy to see this because very few VPNs support unlimited connections.

It comes with really good security features, including CleanWeb, which is one of the best VPN ad blockers out there. In addition, it provides obfuscation, double VPN connections for added security, and IP Rotator, which regularly changes your IP address to make it harder for someone to track your location. The provider also has advanced security features like RAM-only servers and perfect forward secrecy — however, it’s missing full leak protection (but I never experienced any leaks in my tests).

You also get pretty good streaming support, as the VPN can access top sites like Netflix, HBO Max, and BBC iPlayer — though it can’t access Disney+. It also supports P2P downloads across all of its servers.

There are 3,200+ servers in 90+ countries, which makes it simple to use nearby servers for fast speeds. Speaking of speeds, the provider has fast connections on most servers, but I did experience significant slowdowns on very distant servers.

Surfshark is also one of the most affordable VPNs on the market, with plans starting at only $2.30 / month — so it’s also a good pick if you’re on a tight budget. All plans come with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Bottom Line:

Surfshark is one of the rare VPNs to allow unlimited simultaneous connections, so it’s great for multi-device households and large families. It’s also secure, fast, and works with popular streaming services like Netflix. It has affordable plans and provides a 30-day money-back guarantee for all purchases.

Try Surfshark Now

Read our full Surfshark review here

6. CyberGhost VPN — Dedicated Streaming Servers & Easy-to-Use Apps

6. CyberGhost VPN — Dedicated Streaming Servers & Easy-to-Use Apps
CyberGhost VPN is a great mobile VPN for streaming because it has dedicated servers that are optimized for specific streaming sites (including Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and Amazon Prime). The servers are also frequently tested to ensure that they work.

It’s also very beginner-friendly, with a quick-connect tool and a display that tells you a server’s current load percentage (how many active users are connected to a server), so you can easily identify the fastest server for you.

When it comes to speeds, CyberGhost is quite fast. Downloading a 1 GB file took just under two minutes, which is comparable to Private Internet Access. But it’s a bit slower than downloading the same file with ExpressVPN, which took just over a minute and a half. For streaming, the differences were unnoticeable.

CyberGhost is also very secure. In addition to using perfect forward secrecy and RAM-only servers, all of its long-term plans include NoSpy servers (extra fast and secure servers located at CyberGhost’s headquarters in Romania) and ID Guard (alerts you if your email address or passwords have been compromised). Also, CyberGhost releases a transparency report every quarter.

For extra features, CyberGhost has an ad blocker (Content Blocker) — though I personally found it pretty weak compared to Private Internet Access’s and Proton VPN’s. It was unable to block ads on some of the same websites where I tested MACE and NetShield. It did let me know when I tried to visit a known malicious site though. Its Android app also supports split-tunneling.

CyberGhost VPN has one of the cheapest plans out there at just $2.19 / month, allows up to 7 connections, and offers a generous 45-day money-back guarantee for its yearly plans (the monthly plan has a 14-day money-back guarantee).

Bottom Line:

CyberGhost VPN is excellent for streaming, has speedy connections, and offers very good security tools — including perfect forward secrecy, RAM-only servers, NoSpy Servers, and ID Guard. You can take advantage of its 45-day money-back guarantee for its yearly plans to try it out risk-free.

Try CyberGhost VPN Now

Read our full CyberGhost VPN review here

7. PrivateVPN — Low Cost + Intuitive Android and iOS Apps

7. PrivateVPN — Low Cost + Intuitive Android and iOS Apps
PrivateVPN is a cheap mobile VPN with fair speeds, decent security, and a very simple interface that makes using it a breeze — this makes it a great choice if you’re new to VPNs. That said, it lacks many of the extra features available in other VPNs I recommend such as a built-in ad blocker and split-tunneling.

PrivateVPN has a smaller server network (200+ servers spread over 60+ countries) than many of the top VPNs — this creates concerns about potential overcrowding during peak hours, on the other hand, its servers have good coverage on key continents, so you’ll still be able to find a server that will give you speedy connections.

Speaking of speeds, PrivateVPN had the slowest speeds on this list (though they were still above average). Downloading a 1 GB file took me over two minutes when the same file took only a minute and a half using ExpressVPN. PrivateVPN accesses all of the popular streaming apps like Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Disney+, and I got quick load times and experienced no buffering during my tests.

For security, PrivateVPN includes all of the standard features plus obfuscation (called Stealth VPN), so it’ll work just fine in China, Iran, and other restrictive countries. But it doesn’t have advanced security features such as perfect forward secrecy like the other VPNs on this list.

PrivateVPN starts at just $2.00 / month and lets you connect up to 10 devices. All of its plans are covered by a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Bottom Line:

While not the most feature-rich VPN on this list, PrivateVPN is a good budget choice that’s very easy to use. It’s also great for streaming and bypassing censorship and firewalls in restrictive countries. PrivateVPN has a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Try PrivateVPN Now

Read our full PrivateVPN review here

Comparison of the Best Mobile VPNs in 2023

VPN Starting Price Works with Netflix? Servers (Number of Countries) Number of Devices Money-Back Guarantee
1.🥇ExpressVPN $6.67 / month 90+ 5 30 days
2.🥈Private Internet Access $2.19 / month 80+ 10 30 days
3.🥉Proton VPN $3.99 / month 60+ Up to 10 30 days
4. NordVPN $2.99 / month 55+ 6 30 days
5. Surfshark $2.30 / month 90+ Unlimited 30 days
6. CyberGhost $2.19 / month 90+ 7 45 days (14 on monthly plans)
7. PrivateVPN $2.00 / month 60+ 10 30 days

How to Choose the Best Mobile VPN in 2023

  • Security. All of the VPNs I recommend have industry-standard VPN security features, including 256-bit AES encryption, a strict no-logs policy (prevents the VPN from recording your session data), and DNS and WebRTC leak protection.
  • Speeds. All VPNs will slow your connection speeds to some extent because they encrypt your data. I only recommend VPNs that maintain fast speeds for browsing, streaming, and gaming on local and distant servers (ExpressVPN is the fastest).
  • User-friendly. I like mobile VPN apps with minimalistic interfaces and features that are quick and easy to use, even for less-experienced VPN users.
  • Streaming capabilities. Each of the VPNs on this list works with popular streaming apps such as Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, and more, so you can access all of your streaming entertainment on the go.
  • Good overall value. The VPNs listed all have lots of extra features like split-tunneling, ad blockers, offer competitive pricing, and come with a money-back guarantee.

Top Brands That Didn’t Make the Cut

  • IPVanish: IPVanish has good speeds and good security, but it can’t access a lot of major streaming sites like Disney+ and Amazon Prime Video. It also lacks DNS leak protection on its mobile apps.
  • PrivadoVPN: PrivadoVPN has easy-to-use Android and iOS apps, but it lacks perfect forward secrecy, RAM-only servers, extras like split-tunneling and an ad blocker, and it doesn’t work with Netflix, Disney+, and Hulu.
  • TorGuard: TorGuard’s mobile apps have excellent security features, but they aren’t intuitive, they have some annoying glitches, and the pricing plans are very expensive.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which VPN is the best for mobile phones?

In my opinion, ExpressVPN is the best VPN you can get for your Android or iOS phone in 2023. It works with all of the top streaming apps, and it was the fastest in all of my speed tests, making it great for browsing the internet, streaming, and gaming. It also has excellent security with 256-bit AES encryption, a proven no-logs policy, perfect forward secrecy, RAM-only servers, and a tracker and malware blocker.

But all of the VPNs listed have great apps for mobile devices. Private Internet Access is almost as fast and very customizable, and Proton VPN is ultra secure and has an excellent free plan. CyberGhost VPN has dedicated servers optimized for streaming, and PrivateVPN is cheap and great for beginners.

Should I use a VPN on mobile data?

Yes, I recommend that you use a VPN on your mobile phone. While using a VPN does cause some extra data usage, it’s an essential tool to help ensure your privacy and security.

VPNs encrypt all of your data (making it completely unreadable) and hide your IP address behind one belonging to your VPN provider — this conceals your online activity and your location from third parties such as advertisers. In addition, VPNs like ExpressVPN and Private Internet Access include advanced security features like perfect forward secrecy, RAM-only servers, and built-in ad blockers that will stop ads, trackers, and provide an extra layer of protection against visiting sites that may contain malware.

Finally, my top mobile VPNs all come with extra features such as the ability to access the top streaming sites and bypass internet censorship in restrictive countries like China, Iran, or Russia.

How do I use a mobile VPN?

Here are 3 easy steps you can follow to get a VPN up and running on your Android or iOS device in just a few minutes:

  1. Choose a VPN. You want one that’s fast, secure, and has great Android and iOS apps (I recommend ExpressVPN).
  2. Download and install the VPN app. This should only take a few minutes. Simply follow the instructions on the installer.
  3. Connect to a VPN server. Most VPN apps will have a quick-connect feature that chooses the fastest server for you based on your location, but you can also choose a server manually if you prefer.

Which VPN has the best speeds?

ExpressVPN had the fastest speeds in my tests, and this didn’t surprise me since it’s the fastest VPN out there. The slowdown was hardly noticeable on local or distant servers — web pages loaded instantly, I experienced no buffering while streaming HD videos, and I was able to play mobile games without any lag whatsoever.

That said, all the other mobile VPNs on this list are also very fast.

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About the Author

About the Author

Raven Wu is a freelance writer, editor, and translator. He is a strong advocate of internet freedom and is very passionate about technology, and he’s honed his craft by researching and writing about a variety of other topics including education, literature, health, pop culture, and games. Outside of work, he's an amateur novelist and history enthusiast who enjoys hard games, spicy food, and thinking way too hard about everything.