Secure your Android phone at public Wi-Fi hotspots by adding a VPN app. They encrypt the internet connection and make it safe.

Your home Wi-Fi is secure because only you and your family or friends know the password to access it, but public Wi-Fi is not and you need a VPN to protect your phone. Here are two.

Public Wi-Fi is insecure, after all, it lets anyone connect to it, so you could be sharing a free hotspot with a hacker or someone snooping on your internet activity. It is even possible to set up fake Wi-Fi hotspots in public places to deliberately capture internet traffic and spy on it.

A VPN on your phone creates an encrypted internet connection between the device and the internet through a remote server. It makes it almost impossible for someone to spy on you at a public Wi-Fi hotspot, which means browsing the webu is safer and more secure.

There are lots of VPN services in the Google Play Store and in the past there have even been some bad ones that offered poor security. They basically did little.

Here are two that by all accounts provide good security and privacy for your Android phone or tablet in public. You can use them at home too, if you don’t want your ISP to see what you are doing on the internet.

SurfEasy

Price: Free/paid plans | By: SurfEasy Inc. | Size: 36MB installed | Android: 4.03 and up

SurfEasy is an Opera company - the same one that produces the well known Opera web browser. There are free and paid plans and for people with light internet usage, a free plan may be all they need.

When the app is run, it connects you to the nearest VPN server based on your location. I’m in Europe, so I am connected to a European server. However, open the menu and there is an option to change the region and there are around 16 to choose from around the world. Tap a region and the connection is switched.

SurfEasy is a simple app for increasing your privacy and security. There is a useful option to automatically enable protection whenever an insecure Wi-Fi hotspot is detected, so you are immediately protected without having to manually start the app.

 SurfEasy VPN app for Android SurfEasy VPN app for Android

A free account provides 500MB of data a month, which is not much and it soon goes. However, there are ways to earn more free data, such as another 500MB by inviting a friend, 250MB by adding a second device, 100MB for using it for 5 days, another 100MB for confirming your email, 50MB for following on Twitter, and so on.

Paid plans vary in price depending on whether you pay monthly or yearly, whether you want to protect just your phone or any five devices you choose, such as a phone, tablet and computer.

NordVPN - Best VPN security

Price: Various paid plans | By: NordVPN | Size: 41MB installed | Android: Varies with device

I must declare that I am a NordVNP affiliate, but I am also a customer and bought a two-year deal out of my own pocket. It is a great VPN service that I recommend it. Go to NordVPN to get an account that works across multiple devices and computers.

The Map button in the bottom left corner shows a map of the world that can be zoomed in and out. Pins on the map show the VPN server locations and tapping a pin enables you to connect to a server at that location (there can be dozens to choose from). It means you can pretend to be in another country if you want.

NordVPN has over 1,000 servers to choose from around the globe and with each one you can see the percentage load, which is a measure of how busy it is. Connecting to a VPN server is a quick tap and a heart button enables it to be added to your favourites.

There are also lists of special servers, such as Onion over VPN, Double VPN, Anti DDoS and others. These are designed to provide extra security and privacy above and beyond normal VPNs. There are also obfuscated servers - ones that hide their identity.

 NordVPN VPN app for Android NordVPN VPN app for Android

A feature called CyberSec avoids adverts and provides protection against malware and phishing. I would rely solely on it, but it is useful as an extra layer of protection.

Extra options include Auto Connect to automatically connect to your favourite server when the app starts, and an option to use TCP, which is slightly slower, but often more reliable.

NordVPN is not free and prices vary depending on the number of months or years you sign up for. Browse the website and you will find some good deals. Sign up and then you can install apps for Android, Windows, Apple Mac and iOS - up to six devices with unlimited data.

Summing up

SurfEasy is the simpler app and has a free plan. Earn all the extras and you could have over 1GB of bandwidth each month. Paid plans are reasonably priced too.

NordVPN has many more servers, more security options and more features, but only paid plans are available. However, you can get a good deal on the website for 6 devices/computers and unlimited data.