Let’s say you want to use a VPN to unblock streaming sites on your laptop, but the Wi-Fi at the hotel or airport is shabby at best. Does VPN work over hotspot? You know what a lifesaver those can be when there’s no free Wi-Fi around.
Well, you can get the benefits of a VPN while connected to a mobile hotspot. However, the process is probably different than what you imagined. Here’s what we mean.
What happens if your mobile hotspot is connected to VPN?
Questions like this one pop up fairly frequently. People incorrectly assume that turning their smartphone into a mobile hotspot and connecting to a VPN is all they need to do. Unfortunately, that’s not the case.
Yes, your VPN will encrypt all network traffic when you access the Internet through the smartphone-turned-hotspot. However, this doesn’t apply to the connection between your laptop (or other devices) and the mobile hotspot.
This leaves you exposed to cyberattacks, having your data sold off by your ISP, and surveillance from government agencies. So, what’s the correct way to get a VPN to work over hotspot? You’ll find the answer below.
Getting a VPN to work over hotspot, the right way
As mentioned, your smartphone’s VPN can only protect the phone itself, not other devices that use it to connect to the Internet. Fortunately, you don’t need to do much else after you connect your smartphone to a VPN.
Simply use a VPN on the device(s) you want to connect to the mobile hotspot, and you’re set.
Careful with your data usage. Browsing the Internet on a laptop tends to use up more data than using your phone directly, for example. Adding two VPN connections to the mix can also increase data usage.
Finally, make sure your VPN provider supports multiple connections on a single subscription. For example, ExpressVPN is a great all-around VPN solution that supports five different devices on the same account.
Looking for a provider that supports even more simultaneous connections? See our in-depth look at the best VPNs of 2020.
How do I secure all my devices without installing the VPN on each?
Looking for a way to secure every device in your home without having to deal with VPN setups every time? You don’t need to be a tech wiz to install a VPN app nowadays, but it can still be irritating if you have a lot of Internet-capable gadgets around.
Some devices (such as gaming consoles) don’t have VPN support by default, so that’s another headache to deal with. Whatever the case may be, you might be interested in setting up a VPN on a router instead. You’ll need:
- A VPN-compatible router – here’s a guide on how to buy a VPN router to secure all your devices.
- A great VPN to go along with it – here’s how to choose a VPN for your router. The guide includes eight features you need to look out for, as well as five of our own VPN recommendations. We’ve also linked to each provider’s router VPN setup guides – great if you already own a compatible router.
Does VPN work over hotspot through jailbreaking or rooting?
Yes, rooting your Android phone or jailbreaking your iPhone could technically allow you to share your hotspot’s VPN connection with other devices. However, neither of those is recommended – for various reasons.
The headache of rooting or jailbreaking your phone probably isn’t worth it, either. At least not if you have something simple in mind, like watching Netflix over a mobile hotspot. It’s much easier just to get a VPN that supports multiple connections and use the steps described above.