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What’s the best VPN for your mobile and desktop?

I’m asking for a friend. 😉

I’m really keen to discover what VPN you’re using – and really getting value from. This is where, in my view, the wisdom of the crowd is phenomenally valuable.

You see, for the longest time I have rejected VPNs as much as possible. I know that sounds silly. I know it sounds as though that means – effectively – insecurity built-in, but I’ve got a reason: Speed.

I simply can’t deal with slow internet connections. It’s a key wind-up for me. There is nothing worse than waiting for the Google home-page to load across 10-seconds – you and I both know that Google’s best engineers have spent millions of minutes and dollars making sure that this page, above all others, loads in the fastest-possible-time. And there I am… beautifully secure with my beautifully secure VPN… waiting for the flipping Google homepage to load over 10 seconds.

Look, I’m no idiot. I know the importance of securing your internet connection, especially in the usual places. Hotels. Coffee shops. Convention places. (I suppose this was back in ye olde poste-covid-reality). But you get my point.

But. It’s the overload that really irritates me. The fact that without the VPN switched on, you can use the internet at a decent speed. Switch it on and often (but not always) there is a seriously frustrating delay introduced.

There are ways around it, I know. Find the nearest access point. Look for the lowest latency connection. Yes, yes, yes. But invariably it’s simply a shocking speed differential.

In speaking with Ben Smith, my co-host on 361 Podcast, I was surprised to find he more or less always has a VPN connected. Other friends and colleagues do the same.

Discovering this left me feeling slightly ‘newbie‘. Really? Is this what we should be doing?

And so I tried a little experiment: blocked apps from tracking my iPhone for just one week. And during that time I was tracked 4,341 times by 33 tracking platforms.

Rob Sturgeon writing on Medium

Only this morning I was reading about one journalist’s experience using Jumbo’s recently released VPN service that actually shows the amount of user tracking metrics across a single week. It showed his iPhone was tracked 4,341 times by 33 different vendors – some of them obvious (and possibly helpful, depending on your viewpoint), some of them not.

I’m a regular user of Jumbo, by the way. I strongly recommend checking it out via your favourite App Store.

Ok, back to VPNs

But back to VPNs. I used to use Cloak a lot – which became a few years back, if memory serves. I found it convenient and useful – it was, originally, built for Apple users.

I rationalised my spend a little while ago and took advantage of my LibertyShield router service to also use their VPN services for my desktops and mobile devices.

I also am a regular user of GoldenFrog’s VyperVPN service.

Plus I’m also a subscriber over a variety of other services that ‘throw in‘ a VPN service on the side – for example, the password manager, Dashlane.

I also flirted with NordVPN too – which I found pretty smart – and which, by the way, is the number one VPN on the Apple App Store (at least via my UK-based account).

Now, I need your advice please

But, this said, I have two questions:

  1. What VPN services do you use? Why?
  2. How do you use them? On-demand (i.e. on an insecure connection?) or continually?
  3. Do you see a noticeable delay when you’re using them? (Or is it all in my head?)

Help me out. I’d really like to discover VPN services that you swear by.

I’ll list some here and possibly try them out myself.

Note: Price is, of course, an important factor. But for me I’m much more interested in prioritising the user experience – i.e. speed, reliability – and therefore if it’s a few dollars extra per month, I’m ok with that.

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