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Last updated: 08/12/2018
David Balaban

David Balaban

David Balaban is a computer security researcher with over 15 years of experience in malware analysis and antivirus software evaluation. He has published his articles on such online media as Hackernoon, Tripwire, Infosecinstitute, and Cybrary.

Wi-Fi hotspot, which is also called WiFi or Wifi, has made WLAN easily accessible. Today, most devices use the IEEE 802.11 standards to share and receive wireless data.

But free WiFi hotspots are vulnerable to hacking attacks. Thus, once connected to one of them, a user’s device could be cracked. To prevent such downside, it is recommended to make use of a VPN for WiFi hotspots:

  1. ExpressVPN is a reputable VPN provider which will hide your traffic and prevent data leak through unsecured WiFi hotspots thanks to a military-grade ciphering.
  2. NordVPN will serve you well to protect your gadgets when using in public places. As a bonus, you’ll get access to the best content on the Internet.
  3. CyberGhost offers a great function of a malware blocker that checks the URLs a user is going to open and banns the ones that pose a threat to netizens.
  4. VYprVPN serves not only to protect you when accessing free WiFi but to hide your sensitive data from interested parties.
  5. IPVanish can help you forget about restrictions when being connected to WiFi at work or school. It protects your gadget against monitoring therewith.

It is difficult to imagine our life without WiFi. Every time we go somewhere with friends or travel to other countries the WiFi hotspot connection is supposed to be as a matter of course. While sitting at the café, we use WiFi hotspot to surf the Internet free. While waiting for a flight at the airport or a train departure we use a WiFi hotspot to fill the time. While staying at a hotel in another country we use a WiFi hotspot connection to communicate to our friends and relatives. There are too many reasons for our WiFi hotspots connection usage to enumerate them all.

WiFi hotspots give us freedom of the home Internet attachment. The development of WiFi has released us from many problems associated with equipment investments, in particular, without saying that this is definitely the most convenient way of accessing to the Internet and sharing different sorts of information. But as any other invention this one has led to some new challenges. But can we say this ‘freedom’ gives us secure networking?

Of course, it is not. Then stop being unprotected online.

Study the article and get to know how to use VPN on public WiFi.

What Problems a User Might Face Using an Unprotected Wi-Fi Hotspot?

You are right if you think that HTTPS protocol is strong enough to protect you from malicious interferences. But it’s also clear that the question hasn’t been thought through by you if you are sure the protocol will defense you against anything while networking. The fact is that not all websites use the protocol and also it can’t guarantee 100% protection, in very deed, no one can.

5 rules to follow before connecting to public WiFi networks?

Internet users wordwideThe Internet is a great invention of the mankind. As for the year of 2017, over 62% of world population  uses the Internet regularly. Thus, the people living in North America and Europe are the most active (over 80%) on the Internet. However, the share of Asian internet users is about 50% (it is achieved thanks to multitudinous population).

With the advent of portable devices with the access to the World Wide Web, the need to make WiFi hotspots widespread became essential. Such popularity of WiFi hotspots gets a free hand to adversaries willing to attack unprotected gadgets.

Before VPN service became wide-spread among modern users, some advice were necessary to follow while using free WiFi hotspots.

Here they are:

  •  Switch off access to the files and folders stored on the connected to WiFi hotspots devices.
  •  Change firewall configuration and block incoming traffic.
  •  Avoid unprotected connections with mail servers.
  •  Don’t take the use of bans, payment systems and online shops while being connected to free WiFi hotspots.
  •  Update antivirus software.

Unfortunately such precautions were not efficient to stay away from cyber-attacks.

So, what are the Wifi public security risks?

Connecting to a Wi-Fi hotspot, many users are provided with an opportunity to log on to the global networking system. At the same time, tech-savvy criminals have an easy time penetrating into your system for capturing relevant sensitive information. As practice shows, not every device is set to resist a goal-seeking cyberattack.


Usually, attackers make the following steps:

  • Interception of your logins and passwords with all that it implies.
  • Interception of files that you store on your device.
  • The usage of the intercepted data, which can be a very charged question.


Web services used by mobile phone holders

For example, while an unaware user checks its bank account balance, a stranger sitting close to him can actually get into the computer system without authorization in order to swipe all passwords.

Cybertheft may happen whenever and wherever you are. But a chance of being hacked while connecting to the public WiFi hotspots is high like anywhere else. So, you need to take precautions and all possible security measures while connecting to the public hotspots, otherwise you can lose:

  • personal digital files (including photos, videos and documents);

The cases of photos and videos theft are not rare phenomena nowadays. Computer crackers use stolen files with various purposes. For example, an Ohio man has spied Americans for 13 years.

  • account login data;

Would you like your account in social networks to operate without your knowledge. Definitely, you would not. That is why, it is extremely important to make it protected against hackers. Otherwise, you take a risk of losing them.

  • contact info;

Such data may be used to spam you with various ads. Necessary and not.

  • banking information, such as names and passwords, credit card data, etc.

According to Softlink statistics, about 14% of mobile phone users around the globe prefer paying for services via Net Banking. On the one hand it is really convenient, as it allows evading long queues in Banks. But on the other hand, it makes it possible to hack their accounts via WiFi hotspots while paying for something.

However, with the use of a VPN for WiFi, you will disappear from hacker’s radar screen without leaving a trace, and surf the net freely and securely with no fear of being compromised.

How to Enhance the Level of Protection?

The answer is — using a VPN for Wi-Fi.

What you can do is to protect the connections you make from the prying eyes of any potential malicious individual who has already accessed to the network. This is where a VPN comes in. A VPN encrypts all your connections. This way, any adversary trying to eavesdrop on your connections would be unable to glean any meaningful data because of the encryption. When you use a VPN, it doesn’t matter if you access a HTTPS site, such as Facebook or Gmail, or a regular HTTP site; none of your data would be visible to any third party.

Why do You Need a VPN for WiFi Hotspots?

If there is anything that is certain about WiFi security, it is that anyone with the knowledge and specialized software can hack any WiFi network. While home and office WiFi hotspots often employ security measures that make hacking and eavesdropping very difficult, WiFi hotspot connections stay unprotected.

Public hotspots can be found in airports, hotels, and restaurants they often do not apply stringent measures for various reasons. This makes public hotspots a veritable magnet for adversaries who can use accessible tools to intercept important information for bad purposes.

But everyone knows that a VPN can make the network less accessible even for an experienced Internet attacker. Thus, it is very important to protect yourself, especially on public WiFi hotspots.

Is it possible to use other technologies instead of VPNs?

A large number of the net society chooses SSL in order to preserve sensitive data on public networks. But for broader protection, many netizens use a VPN for Wi-Fi. Having subscribed for a VPN service, you connect your device to VPN servers routing all your internet traffic through an encrypted tunnel from the device to the server and in the reversed direction.

Subscribing for a VPN is better than relying on SSL for a number of reasons:

  1. Having connected to a VPN for Wi-Fi hotspot protection, all the traffic from your gadget is encrypted, thus hidden from prying eyes. Any party that is aimed at monitoring your web activity can’t even see the addresses of the sites you visit.
  2. You may configure your VPN for automatic launch while connecting to a public Wi-Fi hotspot. By doing so, you save time for more comfortable web surfing.
  3. Multiple VPN profiles can be configured on a single device locally or remotely. In such a manner, you can accommodate your VPN app with the strongest encryption protocols for securing Wi-Fi connection.

It’s recommended to avoid PPTP, which is recognized as the weakest VPN protocol for connecting to public hotspots. The reviewed VPN services provide you with effective protection when being connected to a free public Wi-Fi while adding most secure and reliable extra options.

In such a manner, a VPN is a trustworthy technology for protecting public Wi-Fi connection against possible cyber-arracks and data leakages. There are no doubts it secures your online communication making it inaccessible for malicious strangers and safe for exchanging sensitive info.

So, Using a VPN You Can Get Secure Connection to Wi-Fi Hotspot.

But there are quite many VPNs on the market today. How to make a right choice? Here is some information you need to know before selecting and subscribing to a VPN service.

Features that define the best VPN in order to stay safe on public WiFi networks:

1. Encryption and Security

The primary reason why you should use a VPN for WiFi hotspots is the encryption and security it offers. Therefore, the best VPNs for WiFi hotspots should offer numerous robust security features. First off, OpenVPN protocol should be available, as it is one of the most secure VPN protocols.

Other security features you should pay attention to include:

  • NAT Firewall: it blocks unrequested traffic;
  • Internet Kill Switch: it automatically stops all Internet connections when the VPN has temporarily lost a connection.
  • No IPv6 or WebRTC Leaks: the dangers of leaking IPv6 traffic, IPv6 DNS hijacking, and IP address spoofing resulting from WebRTC leaks are too grave to ignore. The best VPNs for WiFi hotspots should not have leaks or be susceptible to commonplace hacking tricks such as spoofing.
  • Unlimited Server Switching: you should be able to select matching servers.

2. High Connection Speed

The use of VPNs is associated with a minor drawback — reduced speed. However, this reduced speed should not be significant. These days, the connection speeds are so high on premium VPNs that a user’s VPN and non-VPN speeds are roughly the same. Thus, you should find a premium VPN with unlimited connection speed that enables you to stream movies without hits.

3. Multiple VPN Clients

Most VPN services would offer dedicated VPN clients for popular PC platforms — Windows, Mac, and Linux, Android, iOS. So, don’t forget about your OS when choosing a VPN for multiple devices.

4. Support

online-securityThe Best VPNs for WiFi Hotspot should have a friendly interface concerning settings as well as. Furthermore, a responsive support team should be available for easy contact through multiple channels. E-mail, on-site contact forms are the primary communication channels. However, the availability of live chat is a big plus.

5. Guarantee

You should be able to use a trial of a service for a considerable period to verify that you are not paying for a dud service. Moreover, the industry standard for premium WiFi VPNs is a money-back guarantee.

So, if you have read all the presented information attentively that means you are ready to make a choice.

How to choose the best VPN for WiFi Hotspots?

When googling for a good VPN for WiFi protection, you may come across numerous VPN outputs. Nevertheless, not all of them are good for making your network 100%-protected. Moreover, if you look for 100%-defense, you’d better stay offline, as long as there is no such a tool, which is to make your connection one-hundred-percent defended. However, the best VPN for hotspots can make it 99% safe.

Therefore, you’d better take a fundamental approach when looking for the best ever service. So, the first thing you need to think about is a number of allowed locations.

The more servers are offered by a company, the better connection you will have, as long as you are to unblock any geo-restricted websites and change a low-operating server for another one.

Besides, you need to think over VPN protocols. There are numerous variants, but we have decided to speak about three of them:

OpenVPN is stated to be one of the best solutions in traffic encoding. Though, the protocol consumes bandwidth a lot, therefore, you need to make several tests on internet upload/download speed. Providing that the speed rate is low, you’d better choose another variant of traffic protection. Otherwise, you are to face buffering, lags and hits during heavy traffic transferring.

L2TP/IPSec is a combination of two best protocols for creating a secure tunneling passing through which all your data is to be thoroughly encoded. However, it seems to be weaker in security than OpenVPN and consumes a lot of bandwidth as well.

PPTP is considered by many security experts as out-of-dated protocol. Nevertheless, the service is irreplaceable in case your average internet speed is low. With the use of the protocol you will be able to stream heavy traffic without any lags or hits. 

Find a reliable VPN for public WiFi hotspots.

Then you need to check whether a service offers a money-back guarantee or a free trial. In case you are provided with a money-back guarantee, you will have a real chance to test the service before investing money to it. However, some VPN companies restrict their free trials not only in testing period, but also in main characteristics, such as servers and protocols.

That’s exactly why you will need a money-back guarantee. It will help you get your money back in case you are dissatisfied with the service.

Besides, you should pay attention to bandwidth and speed. If a VPN service you choose offers limited bandwidth and speed, you won’t be able to watch streaming services and play video games without any lags or buffering. Therefore, you’d better find a service, which is to provide you with no limitations in bandwidth and speed.

Do not ignore support service.

What is more, you should look for a service, which provides its customers with well-timed customer support and add-ons, such as kill switch and warrant canary. The extensions will secure you from data losses and exposure.

Also, it will be helpful to read all the customers comments for detecting possible problems coming from the service usage. 



Top 5 Tedious Traps Wi-Fi Networks Are Home To Unless VPN-Protected

Today when the internet is everywhere you are able to establish a connection through a public hotspot located in cafes, hotels, parks, airports and many other places. On the one side, the possibility simplifies our lives a lot. On the other side, it makes our devices more vulnerable as there are multiple threats posing your network under a risk of being hacked and attacked. Here are just 5 main dangers lying in wait on the internet:

#1 data leaks

As you know your unprotected confidential data can be easily leaked by eavesdroppers through a public Wi-Fi. Therefore, you need to be sure that the hotspot you are going to connect to is certified and almost protected, otherwise you risk losing some essential data on your bank account or business affairs.

#2 DoS

The term is known as denial on service and today is easily committed with the use of simple infected home gadgets like fridges, vacuum cleaners, toasters and etc. The attack makes the channel overloaded and inaccessible for potential visitors. Although the up-to-date solutions such as 802.11w management support is said to be protective, it’s better to take care of your own system rather than rely on the hotspot provider.

#3 malicious customers

Although many hotspot owners have already applied an additional protective support from AirTight or AirMagnet, which are able to identify malicious visitors of the wireless connection, the hotspots we happily use today are lack of such protection.

#4 endpoint attacks

It has become clear that numerous exploits have taken advantage of Wi-Fi drivers. Therefore, it is especially unsafe to use unchecked hotspots.

#5 twin or mirror websites

As soon as you are a security concerned customer who visits only familiar websites and doesn’t buy anything while connecting to a Wi-Fi hotspot, you might have heard about mirror websites.

The websites are made to be 100% alike with your favorite website to get you hooked and gain your money illegally.

The problems seem to be serious and difficult to solve. Some customers may think that it will be easier not to establish an internet connection through a public spot.

Fortunately, there is a reliable solution called a VPN for Wi-Fi hotspots, which is able to make your network private by hiding your true address, free by giving you a possibility to change your virtual location, secured by encrypting all your traffic and anonymous by storing no logging or metadata on you.

Here are 5 best VPNs for Wi-Fi hotspots:

1 winner
/ 5.0

As the name of this provider suggests, this VPN service offers excellent internet speed servers with 99.9% uptime guarantee. This makes ExpressVPN one of the best VPNs for everyone in terms of server speed. Apart from tunneling speeds, ExpressVPN has a wide server network (1500+) that is located in 94+ countries. This VPN offers excellent customer support and strict no logging policy.

Some of the key features of ExpressVPN are:

  • unlimited server switch, data and bandwidth;
  • the option to choose from 5 tunneling encryption protocols;
  • reliable 256-bit encryption;
  • 3 devices simultaneous connection;
  • a 30-day money-back guarantee;
  • free apps for every popular OS and devices.

If you are in search of a good VPN provider, opt for ExpressVPN and surf the Internet securely.

Read full ExpressVPN review
2 place
/ 5.0

first vpnNordVPN is the best VPN for WiFi hotspots in 2018. Double encryption afforded by the service is to make your sensitive data effectively protected while being online. More than six hundred server locations in sixty two countries on all the continents, except Antarctic, are held and the number is being grown. Unlimited speed and bandwidth, which is to allow you watching any streaming services without hits or delays, are offered too. Known as one of the simplest in its installation and usage services, any of your data or metadata is not stored by the provider and a kill switch is built in for your convenience in operation.

The standard package is compatible with common OSES and multiple connections up to six devices together are allowed, which is of a high use for those who travel a lot. A professional online support is suggested to the customers and such anonymous payment methods as bitcoins are accepted.

Read full NordVPN review
3 place
/ 5.0

third vpnWhile looking for the best VPN for your needs, you should consider CyberGhost  VPN. Getting a lot of features for reasonable pricing monthly is what makes CyberGhost VPN one of the cheapest VPNs of all time. What is more prominent is that the VPN provider offers a 30-day money-back guarantee for those who want to check if it really works the way it should be. Boasting more than 1000 servers around the globe, this VPN provider ensures fast connections. Like many of its kind, this VPN provider uses double encryption system making it reliable and secured. CyberGhost is a respectable VPN service for keeping internet connecting secure, private and anonymous.

Read full CyberGhost review
4 place
/ 5.0

This VPN is the best for Morocco. It was launched in the wake of the NSA being busted doing surveillance on AT&T networks. The experts running VYPR VPN have been in the business since 1994. It is an ideal VPN for Morocco because it gives you access to all the Geo-restricted websites such as Netflix USA and BBC iPlayer. This is made possible by the effective tunneling protocol such as PTPP, OpenVPN, and L2TP. When buying items online, your personal data is protected by the unique Chameleon and 256-bit encryption. It is also a great VPN for iPad as well as other devices which operate on Windows, android, and iOS.

Read full VYprVPN review
5 place
/ 5.0

As a technologically advanced user, you stand to gain immensely by subscribing for this VPN service. With IPVanish you will access geo-restricted websites and channels. You will also be able to bypass all the government’s censorship hence giving you an opportunity of accessing the internet as the rest of the world is.

With IPVanish you can enjoy access to over 1000 high-speed servers located in over 60 countries. Your protection is assured by the SHA-256-bit authentication and the 256-bit AES encryption. In addition to this, there are zero logs and a 7-day money back guarantee. So, no data leaks can be experienced while using the service for being fully protected online. It seems that the best features of IPVanish are:

  • 1000+ ultra-high-speed servers all around the world;
  • Strong encryption protocols;
  • Multi-platform compatibility.

Try to be free on the Internet!

Read full IPVanish review

As a Conclusion Here Are Some Additional Tips to Protect You on Public Wi-Fi Networks:

On a public WiFi hotspot, there is no such thing as overprotection. A VPN does offer you an encryption and security. However, you should enact the following tips to increase your security and privacy.

VPN Services for wi-fi1. Choose Your Network Wisely

When your device gives you a note of the availability of a hotspot with the SSID “Free Wi-Fi,” your response may be to connect quickly. However, you should hold off that thought, until you verify the name of the network. If you fail to do so, there is a chance that you may be connected to a hotpot setup by a hacker so he or she will be able to intercept your data.

2. Turn Off Sharing

On your personal network, sharing files and printers is convenient. On a public Wi-Fi hotspot, it is a ban for you if you want to be safer.

3. Use HTTPS and SSL Whenever Possible

Most sites today still use the unsecured HTTP exchange. However, many widely visited sites, such as Facebook and Gmail use HTTPS. If a site supports both protocols, use the HTTPS protocol always while you are on a public Wi-Fi network.

4. Use two-factor Authentication

Join the two-factor authentication. Two-factor authentication gives you an extra layer of security in that after logging in with the right username and password combination, you would receive an additional code on your phone, which you have to enter before you finally gain access to your account. Therefore, even if an attacker is able to intercept your data and get your login details, he or she would still need access to your phone before they will be able to access your account.

5. Turn off WiFi when it’s not in use

Set up a reliable provider on your device! Don’t forget to turn off the WiFi connection every time you leaving the place and never safe your username or password for any website or source.

So, we wish you luck! Keep on reading us and feel free to leave comments.

Average: 5 (1 vote)
David Balaban
David Balaban
Dainan Gilmore
Dainan Gilmore
November 15, 2017 4 

Good afternoon, Van. Your question is very interesting. But the answer to it is trivial. Having subscribed for one of security services presented in the article, secure VPN is guaranteed. But you are to be steer clear of free WiFi VPN software, as it may be specially worked out by crackers with the aim to steal your data. Wish you all the best.

November 24, 2017 2 

hi, folk! who knows, does vpn make public wifi safe?

Dainan Gilmore
Dainan Gilmore
November 24, 2017 2 

Ali, creative IT specialists have not yet developed tools that would make WiFi SAFE. The point is that VPN services make not WiFi, but the device you connect to it safe. In such a way, if you, Ali, have subscribed for one of the VPN services (for instance, from the list presented here), you may not be afraid of the data you share and receive via WiFi.

November 15, 2017 2 

I beg your pardon, Mr. Gilmore. But I want to ask you a question that makes me worried about my security and privacy. I suggest you are competent enough to answer the following question. Do adversaries know how to hack VPN connection? I dare surmise that Wi-Fi connection via VPN service may be hacked. And in this case, the data will be stolen.

Dainan Gilmore
Dainan Gilmore
November 15, 2017 4 

Good afternoon, Van. Your question is very interesting. But the answer to it is trivial. Having subscribed for one of security services presented in the article, secure VPN is guaranteed. But you are to be steer clear of free WiFi VPN software, as it may be specially worked out by crackers with the aim to steal your data. Wish you all the best.

November 01, 2017 2 

Hi! I’m in China now and can’t listen to Pandora radio. Also, I found some streaming services I got used to unavailable here. Not all VPNs work here, as I’ve read. Would you recommend me what to do when VPN is blocked? Many thanks.

 Dainan Gilmore
Dainan Gilmore
November 02, 2017 3 

China is in the list of the countries with severe VPN restrictions. But it is not time to panic. First, check whether the websites of these VPNs are available. If they are, choose one of them and subscribe for it. If such measures will not help you, leave a comment and we will instruct you via our customer support service.

September 22, 2017 1 

Hi there!
Does VPN encrypt all traffic or only IP or alike? It’s important for me, as I don’t want nothing to be stolen from my iPhone!

Dainan Gilmore
Dainan Gilmore
September 23, 2017 1 

Hello. Alex. As far as you could noticed, we recommend you to use one of 7 VPN services: Express VPN, NordVPN, CyberGhost Pro, IPVanish, Buffered VPN, VyprVPN and Private VPN. These ones are really the BEST VPN services for WiFi protection. The services mentioned above cipher not only the data one sends and receives, but, all pages opened, search history, IP and what not. In simple words, you will be almost 100% safe while using them.

September 01, 2017 1 

How to share vpn connection over wifi Android? I want to buy ExpressVPN.

Dainan Gilmore
Dainan Gilmore
September 01, 2017 1 

Unfortunately, it is impossible to share VPN connection over WiFi. However, in case you have chosen Express VPN service, you will protect 3 devices with only one account, which is quite convenient. If this number does not satisfy you, it is possible to show the preference to IPVanish VPN and protect up to 5 devices.