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5 Best VPNs for Public WiFi: Stay Secure & Anonymous

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There are approximately 540 million WiFi hotspots worldwide in 2023. If you frequent any of them, use CyberGhost to stay secure and anonymous.

CyberGhost is the best VPN for public WiFi, thanks to its public WiFi protection feature that works alongside industry-standard encryption to keep people out.

You also get reliable IP leak protection that protects your IP address. Furthermore, CyberGhost is stable and fast enough to plow through crowded public hotspots, and you can use it on a wide range of devices.

If CyberGhost isn’t your cup of tea, there are other alternatives. You can use IPVanish (Trusted Network feature), PureVPN (Secure WiFi feature), Surfshark (best for securing unlimited devices), and NordVPN (strong encryption).

Are you a regular public WiFi user? Then this is for you!

Top 3 VPNs for Using Public WiFi Anywhere

TRUSTED NETWORK
Surfshark
Surfshark Devices

Surfshark has a Trusted Wifi feature that works alongside encryption to keep devices safe on public WiFi networks. It’s also the fastest VPN for streaming and downloads and you can connect unlimited devices simultaneously.

4.6/5
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BEST OVERALL
CyberGhost
cyberghost multiple devices

CyberGhost has a public WiFi feature plus encryption that keeps your devices safe from hackers. The VPN is also fast enough for heavy streaming on public hotspots and is compatible with multiple devices.

4.8/5
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SECURE WIFI
PureVPN
PureVPN Top 2 Best VPNs

PureVPN’s Secure WiFi feature handles unauthorized access when using public hotspots. The VPN is also equipped with a kill switch for IP leak protection, fast and stable, and is compatible with multiple devices.

4.6/5
Read More

Login information, bank details, private photos, images, messages, and your home address may fall into the wrong hands if you use an unsecured public hotspot.

There’s also the danger of sophisticated hackers using Evil Twin, malware, and Man-in-the-middle attacks to take over your device. VPNs are the most reliable tools to counter all this, and I will show you how and why.

Keep Yourself Safe on Any Public WiFi Network With These Secure VPNs

There’s so much at stake when you connect to an unsecured public WiFi hotspot.

But you can use your devices securely and anonymously with these 5 VPNs.

  • CyberGhost – Best Public WiFi Protection Feature
  • Surfshark – Best for Securing Multiple Devices on Public WiFi
  • PureVPN – Secure WiFi for Public Network Connections
  • NordVPN – Robust Encryption for Public Hotspots
  • IPVanish – A Reliable Trusted Network Feature

I live in Los Angeles and used the WiFi Map feature to find the nearest public hotspot (Corner Bakery Cafe along the Pacific Coast Highway). It took a considerable time to test everything. So the information I’ll present is derived from real-time tests.

I used base internet speeds of 30 Mbps for all the speed tests.

5 Best VPNs for Staying Secure and Anonymous on Public Networks

I’ll show you how each of the 5 VPNs performed in all the key areas and how to set up a VPN for public WiFi protection on any device. Then, you can decide on the best VPN for public WiFi based on detailed comparisons.

BEST OVERALL

CyberGhost - Best Public WiFi Protection Feature

smart rules with cyberghost on france server
Location WiFi Protection Connections Average Speeds Best Deal
Romania WiFi Protection 7 26 Mbps Show Offer

CyberGhost is one of the few VPNs with a dedicated public WiFi protection feature on this list. I activated it on my Android, macOS, and Windows for the tests. It let me decide how I wanted the VPN to behave when my devices encountered a new WiFi connection.

Furthermore, the public WiFi protection feature works alongside military-grade encryption.

I passed my internet traffic through the Wireshark app to double-check, and my results were successful. This allowed me to log into my work email and check for new updates without compromising my credentials.

CyberGhost also comes with a reliable kill switch for when your VPN connection drops. To test this, I switched from the Cafe WiFi to my mobile data on my Android device. This triggered the kill switch, disabling the internet immediately.

As for speeds, I got 26 Mbps on average, slower than Surfshark but still enough for streaming videos on YouTube, TikTok, and Netflix without any buffering. Better yet, CyberGhost’s streaming and torrenting servers were super-fast despite the hotspot being used by many people.

Finally, CyberGhost is compatible with Android, iOS, macOS, Windows, and Linux. You can connect up to 7 devices simultaneously.

cyberghost vpn subscription plans and pricing
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Are you sold on CyberGhost? Then grab these fantastic discounts!

Pros

Cons

TRUSTED NETWORK

Surfshark - Best for Securing Multiple Devices on Public WiFi

surfshark graphics
Location WiFi Protection Connections Average Speeds Best Deal
The Netherlands Trusted Wi-Fi Networks Unlimited 28 Mbps Show Offer

Surfshark has a Trusted Wi-Fi Networks feature similar to NordVPN available on Android, iOS, macOS and Windows. Once you add a Wi-Fi network to this Trusted Wi-Fi list, your device connects automatically anytime you’re near the network. This minimizes the risk of connecting to untrusted networks accidentally.

It comes with AES 256 GCM encryption that handles public WiFi threats like computer worms, WiFi pineapples, and cookie theft. My Wireshark tests confirmed this.

Surfshark also seals potential security loopholes with its kill switch.

I connected to a second hotspot (but had to buy another cup of coffee to get the password), and, as expected, my internet was disabled.

When it came to speeds, none could hold a candle to Surfshark.

It averaged 28 Mbps, perfect for gaming, streaming, and torrenting.

I could hear people from the next table complaining about slow internet speeds as I smiled through my buffer-free streaming.

Plus, like IPVanish, you can connect unlimited devices simultaneously with a single Surfshark subscription. This ensures your Android, iOS, macOS, Windows, and Linux devices are always protected whenever you connect to public networks.

Screenshot MS 1 1
Image for illustration only. Design, deals, and details may differ. Click on the image for current info.

Grab your Surfshark deal right now to enjoy its wide range of features.

Pros

Cons

SECURE WIFI

PureVPN - Secure WiFi for Public Network Connections

purevpn infographics on internet
Location WiFi Protection Connections Average Speeds Best Deal
British Virgin Islands Secure WiFi 10 25 Mbps Show Offer

Third on our list is PureVPN with a public hotspot protection feature called Secure WiFi.

However, unlike CyberGhost and IPVanish, there’s no dedicated button for controlling your public WiFi connections. It’s activated automatically.

On top of that, PureVPN has the industry standard encryption.

A quick look through Wireshark proved that PureVPN’s encryption works. 

Thus, I could confidently check my Binance account while in line at Starbucks.

There’s also a kill switch for IP and DNS leaks. If your VPN connection drops, this stands between you and a life of pain. You’ll never catch me opening sensitive apps like banking services on a public network if the kill switch isn’t activated.

PureVPN was also fast enough for live streaming and torrenting.

While waiting for an appointment, I started rewatching the 2022 World Cup final (Yes, Messi is the GOAT). I didn’t experience any buffering, even with everyone around me using the same network.

Like CyberGhost and NordVPN, PureVPN also comes with P2P servers that are optimized for speed. That’s what I used to get average speeds of 25 Mbps. That was slower than Surfshark but still impressive enough for bandwidth-heavy activities in crowded public hotspots.

purevpn pricing
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This public WiFi VPN has native Android, iOS, macOS, Windows, and Linux apps. You can also connect up to 10 devices simultaneously.

Moreover, PureVPN is one of the cheapest VPNs on this list, alongside Surfshark, and you can take advantage of our amazing deals right now!

Pros

Cons

NordVPN - Robust Encryption for Public Hotspots

nordvpn graphics
Location WiFi Protection Connections Average Speeds Best Deal
Panama Trusted Wi-Fi Network 6 26 Mbps Show Offer

Next up is NordVPN. It features a Trusted Wi-Fi Network feature on Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android. However, Android devices running on Android 10 and above don’t support this.

Meanwhile, on top of the regular AES 256-bit encryption, which passed my Wireshark test successfully, I used Double VPN servers to encrypt my traffic twice. Although my speeds took a hit, these secured servers came through for me when online shopping on SHEIN using my credit card.

There was no risk of man-in-the-middle attacks or WiFi sniffing.

Now, VPNs aren’t glitch-free, and the secure connection may occasionally drop, like when I switched from WiFi to mobile data, and my internet was disconnected. Windows users get two kill switches for extra IP and DNS leak protection.

Privacy was also guaranteed by NordVPN. I could stream and open dating apps without worrying about network administrators looking at my traffic.

NordVPN was the second fastest VPN during my tests, averaging 26 Mbps with regular servers combined with the NordLynx protocol.

The VPN works on Android, iOS, macOS, Windows, and Linux, with up to 6 simultaneous connections.

NordVPN pricing
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If this meets your public WiFi protection needs, grab these exclusive deals while they last.

Pros

Cons

IPVanish - A Reliable Trust WiFi Network Feature

locating trusted network on mac
Location WiFi Protection Connections Average Speeds Best Deal
The US Trust Network Unlimited 23 Mbps Show Offer

Like CyberGhost and PureVPN, IPVanish has a dedicated WiFi feature called Trust Network that can be activated in the settings. It’s available on Android, macOS, and Windows. It allows you to add trusted networks while offering protection against hackers.

However, remember to always disable automatic WiFi connections.

It may be cumbersome to manually connect to a new hotspot every time, but it beats getting hacked.

In the same breath, the VPN is equipped with AES 256-bit encryption.

Next time you’re on vacation in the Caribbean and need to pay for your meal through PayPal, this encryption will keep your logins safe.

In fact,  IPVanish aced my Wireshark test.

Furthermore, IPVanish offers a kill switch that terminates your internet traffic when your VPN isn’t connected. This was useful on my recent vacation since the hotel WiFi kept trying to block the VPN, causing it to disconnect.

That said, IPVanish was the slowest VPN on this list, with an average speed of 23 Mbps. But that was still enough for torrenting and streaming live games on all my devices.

The VPN also comes with user-friendly native apps for Android, iOS, macOS, Windows, and Linux, and you can connect unlimited devices simultaneously.

Check out our exclusive IPVanish deals before they run out.

Pros

Cons

How to Set up a VPN for Public WiFi Protection?

Setting up a VPN for use on an unsecured WiFi connection is easy.

Here are the steps:

  1. Download and install CyberGhost VPN on your preferred device.
download cyberghost on mac
  1. Go to Smart Rules and activate WiFi Protection by changing the rules to “Ask me what to do” when encountering a new network.
smart rules with cyberghost on france server
  1. Connect to a server of your choice and start enjoying secure and anonymous browsing.

How Else to Stay Safe on Public WiFi?

Besides using a VPN, there are things you can do to protect your sensitive data anytime you join a public WiFi network.

  • Deactivate automatic connections: if you’re a regular public WiFi user, ensure you set your VPN to always ask before joining an unsecured network. This applies even to public hotspots you regularly connect to.
  • Ask for the exact name of the network you want to join: You’ll likely see more than one public hotspot when you go to a cafe or any public space. Make it a habit to ask the staff for the exact name of the WiFi connection. Hackers can clone a WiFi name and grab your details when you connect.
  • Avoid using sensitive apps on public networks: Never open your banking apps or anything with sensitive information. If you don’t have a VPN, I recommend switching to mobile data if you have to use your banking apps.
  • Don’t open unsecured websites: Check if the URL has an HTTPS address before opening any website. This is usually represented by a padlock icon next to the address bar. Websites without this are unsafe; the data your device transmits can be intercepted.
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FAQ

Most free VPNs have limited features, but they at least provide AES 256-bit encryption, which protects your device from unauthorized access when on public WiFi connections. However, most may lack extra security features like dedicated public WiFi protection features, which are common in premium VPNs.

The person who owns and controls public WiFi has full access to the admin panel. This means they can see the browsing data that comes in and out on devices using their WiFi network. This is why a VPN is recommended, as it encrypts the transmitted data, turning it into illegible text that can’t be useful to anyone with access.

Are You Confident in Using Public Hotspots Now?

Free is not always good, which applies to public hotspots and VPNs.

Too many vulnerabilities are involved, and using a VPN like CyberGhost is your best shot at keeping all threats at bay.

It’s fast, has encryption and a WiFi protection feature, and you can install it on most portable devices. So grab your CyberGhost subscription today and enjoy stress-free browsing on public networks.

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