Devices running Apple's iOS mobile operating system, such as the iPhone, can handle PPTP with shared secret, L2TP with IPSec and IPSec with XAUTH, a protocol that involves a user name, a password and either a certificate or a group name plus shared secret. For L2TP/IPsec and PPTP, it also supports RSA SecurID tokens instead of user passwords.
VPN connections can be configured in Settings / General / Network / VPN / Add VPN Configuration. The server name and access data are supplied by the service provider. The picture shows a sample configuration for a Hotspot Shield connection. Some VPN services offer special iPhone configuration instructions. Once a VPN is set up, a switch for enabling the VPN conveniently appears near the top of the main settings menu.
By default, Android supports PPTP with shared secret, L2TP and L2TP/IPsec – the latter either with certificates or with shared secrets. Various alternative ROMs such as CyanogenMod also offer certificate-based OpenVPN authentication. However, our Android OpenVPN didn't co-operate when tested with the Hotsplots OpenVPN provider. Most Android users are therefore restricted to PPTP.
VPNs can be configured under Menu / Settings / Wireless & Networks / VPN Settings / Add VPN. Our example shows the details required for Sofanet. It's slightly inconvenient in that establishing a VPN connection under Android requires users to work their way down to the VPN menu every time. On Android, the system will also ask for the VPN user name and password every time a PPTP connection is to be established; only the user name can be stored in memory permanently.
However, help for VPN users is at hand in the Android Market. The free 5 VPN app offers password storage and a widget that allows a connection to be established with five clicks; the commercial 1 VPN variant only requires a single click. The free VPN Show app takes users to the VPN menu with one click.
Overview of VPN providers
|AnchorFree||Hotspot Shield||IPSec (Cisco)||No||Ad-Supported||Free|
|Golden Frog||VyprVPN||PPTP||No||OpenVPN Surcharge||$14.99 / Month|
|Monzoon||SwissVPN||PPTP, OpenVPN||Yes||6 CHF / Month|
|Relakks||Safe Surf||PPTP||No||OpenVPN in beta testing||€15 / 3 Months, €45 / 12 Months|
|Sofanet||Pure Sofalink||PPTP||Yes||Volume Limits, German Language||€1 / 3 Days, €10 / 90 Days, €15 / 360 Days|
|tigersWelt||VPN Gateway||OpenVPN||No||Volume Limits, German Language||€3 to €10 / Month|
|PrivatVPN||PrivatVPN||OpenVPN||Yes||39 SEK / Month, 99 SEK / 3 Months|
|Banana VPN||Banana VPN||PPTP, L2TP/IPSEC||No||P2P / File sharing ports, protocols, sites blocked||$14.99 / Month, $60 / 6 Months|
|Black Logic||Android VPN / iPhone VPN||PPTP, IPSec, SSTP||No||$5 / Month|
|Hide My Ass||HMA Pro VPN||OpenVPN, PPTP,||No||$11.52 / Month, $50.66 / 6 Months, $76.66 / Year|
|StrongVPN.com||StrongVPN||PPTP, L2TP, SSTP, OpenVPN||No||7 day money back guarantee||From $7 / Month|
|IAPS Security Store||IAPS||PPTP, L2TP/IPSec, SSTP,||No||From $24.95|
|Overplay.net||Overplay VPN||OpenVPN, L2TP, PPTP, SSTP||No||48 hour money back guarantee||$9.95 / Month|
|HideIP VPN||HideIPVPN||OpenVPN, PPTP, L2TP/IPSec||Yes||From $5.99 / Month|
|ExpressVPN||ExpressVPN||OpenVPN, PPTP, L2TP/IPSec||No||$12.95 / Month, $59.95 / 6 Months, $99.95 / Year|