3 Best Cheap VPNs for iPhone & OpenVPN Protocol Installation GuideLast Updated by Denise Sullivan on January 30, 2020
While iPhones have excellent malware protection, they can’t protect you entirely, so to keep your mobile data safe from prying and snooping when using public wifi; you should always use a VPN.
The other issue you may run into when using any VPN on your iPhone is that OpenVPN, widely considered the best security protocol is not built-in for iOS. With that being said, you can follow the step-by-step guidelines below and manually install OpenVPN.
- How to Install OpenVPN on iOS with NordVPN
- How to Install OpenVPN on iOS with CyberGhost
- How to Install OpenVPN on iOS with Surfshark
Best Cheap VPNs for iPhone
When it comes to affordable VPN service, there are many options. Most providers offer monthly, yearly, and multi-year contracts to allow you to select the best service for your budget.
- 5,000+ servers in over 60 countries
- Unlimited bandwidth
- Up to six simultaneous connections
- Kill Switch
- No-log policy
- Some slow server response at times
NordVPN is for both the novice and expert user, as you can install the software and begin using it without changing any settings; however, those who understand how the software works can configure it as they need. NordVPN also has parental controls, to restrict online access with your perimeters.
NordVPN keeps no logs of user activity to ensure customer privacy fully, and 256-bit AES encryption protects data. There is an optional kill switch which prohibits internet connection if you lose the VPN connection.
NordVPN offers a 3-day free trial if you sign up via the iPhone application, and, if you’re not fully satisfied with the service, you can request a full refund within 30-days of your subscription purchase.
- The added security of Malware Blockers
- Unlimited bandwidth
- Over 2,000 servers
- Servers in over 60 countries
- Military grade encryption
- Limited availability in Asia and Latin America
CyberGhost VPN uses 256-bit AES military-grade encryption to protect your data online, and they don’t log user activities, which is important as the company’s headquarters are in Romania and must adhere to strict EU internet privacy laws.
CyberGhost has an extensive server network, adequate for streaming without endless buffering and bypassing the geo-restrictions of services like Netflix and BBC iPlayer.
CyberGhost does have a 45-day money back guarantee, but to take advantage, you must notify CyberGhost’s customer service department in writing and request a refund, as canceling or deleting your account does not automatically authorize one.
- 1000+ servers in 60+ countries
- Automatic kill switch
- Strict no-logs policy
- Connect unlimited number of devices at the same time
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- Has a smaller server network than other VPNs
Surfshark offers many of the premium features you’ll find with top VPNs — all for a very affordable price. With 256-bit military-grade encryption, leak protection, and an automatic kill switch, your internet traffic will always be protected. Its CleanWeb technology even blocks annoying ads and trackers for added security.
Surfshark offers a 30-day money-back guarantee so you can test out the VPN for yourself risk-free.
How to Adjust your Settings for OpenVPN
OpenVPN is one of the more secure channels for VPN connections. While it is a free, open-source software application, the protocol is not built-in to iOS.
Most VPN service providers include an OpenVPN protocol in their programming, but for those that don’t, there is still a way to run OpenVPN on your iOS device. These are very general instruction, you can see specific instructions for our recommended VPNs below.
You now have the OpenVPN security protocol on your phone.
You will need to purchase a subscription to NordVPN in order to setup OpenVPN on your iPhone
- Download the free OpenVPN app on your iPhone
- Download the NordVPN OpenVPN configuration files
- Opt to open the configuration files in OpenVPN
- Tap on the green + button to add the file.
- Enter your NordVPN username and password to connect
You can add multiple servers in multiple countries if you choose, just repeat the above steps.
You will need to purchase a subscription to CyberGhost in order to setup OpenVPN on your iPhone
- Download the free OpenVPN app on your iPhone
- Login to your CyberGhost account
- Click on “My Devices“
- Click “Add a new device“
- It will ask you to select an OS you want to add – select Other (router, Linux, etc.)
- Click Create new credentials
- The screen will bring you back to your collection of devices, choose the one you just added. It will be called Linux, Router, etc
- Set the Device Name and then choose the settings you want to apply
- Under Login Credentials select OpenVPN, and the country that you want to connect to
- Click on the Show button to see your username and password (this is not the same as your account login info) and write them down.
- Download the configuration.
- Open the OpenVPN app on your iPhone and tap on the green + button to upload the configuration file.
- Enter the CyberGhost username and password you got in step 10 and connect
It should be noted that while speaking with CyberGhost customer support about these steps, they feel that with iOS, using IKEv2 is much better protocol in terms of connectivity and speed.
You will need to purchase a subscription to Surfshark in order to setup OpenVPN on your iPhone.
- Download the free OpenVPN Connect app from the Apple App Store.
- Log into your Surfshark account.
- Download one or more of the OpenVPN configuration files. Surfshark will suggest a recommended server which is closest to you, but you can choose any locations you like.
- Unzip the compressed configuration files you downloaded. You can use extractor apps to do this easily.
- Open the OpenVPN app on your iPhone. Select “OVPN Profile”.
- Click “Add” to import the file.
- Enter your username and password. To find your username and password, open the Surfshark Manual Connection Guide page and scroll to the bottom to “Service Credentials”.
- To save yourself time in the future, mark “Save Password” to store it. Then, click “Add”.
- Once you’ve successfully added the profile, click “Connect”.
Why Not Use a Free Service?
If you’re working within a budget, it’s tempting to use a free VPN service since some providers, like CyberGhost, offer both free and paid subscriptions. However, free VPN plans are not equal to paid subscriptions, even if it is the same company providing them.
Often, free software will have limitations, rendering it virtually useless after a few days if you heavily rely on the VPN. With a minimal monthly allowance, companies can reduce the number of free users utilizing the servers.
Companies that solely offer free VPN service may not keep your information protected, and, often, these providers make a profit selling data on to third parties and advertising networks.
This practice is predominantly used for targeted advertisement campaigns; however, it can also indicate that your information has been duplicated and is obtainable by others.
It is better to pay for a subscription to ensure you get the best coverage possible, and the longer you are willing to commit to a service, the lower your overall monthly cost.