Vpn Cellular

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Does VPN work on mobile data? How much data does it use?

A VPN is a programme that not only protects your personal information but also allows you to access the internet from anywhere. It is commonly used not only on laptops but also on mobile devices to search privately. Many VPN providers have developed applications for the Android and iOS platforms, and because mobile devices can use both Wi-Fi and cellular data, we’ll see how VPN works on both. If that’s the case, how much data does VPN consume?

Does VPN work on mobile data

A VPN will only function where the internet is available, whether you are connected to Wi-Fi or have built a mobile (cellular) data link. A VPN on mobile data encrypts and secures a link, protecting the wireless internet traffic from being intercepted by the mobile network provider or third parties.

How a VPN on mobile data functions is as follows:

A mobile data link connects to a Mobile Data Tower Station owned by your ISP via radio frequencies. The traffic is then routed through ISP servers until it reaches a VPN node. As you can see, your mobile link passes through quite a few points before arriving at its final destination. Using a VPN on a mobile data connection will encrypt and secure all of your internet traffic and data before it reached the VPN server. Your link then travels through the open seas of the internet to reach your final destination – whether it’s a website or a file.

Many VPN providers have apps for iOS and Android devices, and these apps operate for both Wi-Fi and cellular data. However, some of you might be wondering whether a VPN can use more data – does it increase your data usage?

Does a VPN use more data

Using a VPN will significantly increase your data use. It consumes more data because it is necessary to encrypt the internet traffic, which adds overhead. The VPN protocol used to bind to a VPN server determines how much more data a VPN can access.

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Safer protocols, such as OpenVPN, which uses a 256-bit encryption key, usually use more data than the most basic (and insecure) VPN protocol, PPTP.

I checked this by streaming an exact 5-minute Youtube video over a cellular network to see how much mobile data is consumed with and without a VPN. I used 3G Watchdog, a network monitoring app, and NordVPN to get the following results:

Test results for data use on mobile data with and without VPN

According to the findings, streaming a 5-minute Youtube video without a VPN consumes approximately 20,8 MB (megabytes) of mobile data, while streaming the same video with a VPN consumes approximately 30,5 MB (megabytes).

I just wanted to demonstrate some real numbers of what kind of overhead you should anticipate when using a Major VPN on cellular data with this general experiment. There are several factors that can contribute to increased mobile data use, and one of them is the use of a VPN protocol (in this case, OpenVPN with 256-bit key encryption was used).

Which VPN protocol uses the least data

VPN protocols differ in terms of how they’re implemented and what encryption standards they use. The VPN data overhead varies greatly depending on their level of protection. The least secure protocols, such as PPTP, use fewer data and have less sophisticated encryption algorithms, whereas those with 256-bit key encryption use the most.

To get around VPN bans and prohibitions, some VPN providers use an additional obfuscation protocol on top of standard OpenVPN to mask VPN traffic. The mobile data overhead is the highest when this function is enabled.

It’s also worth noting that an OpenVPN protocol has some compression features to minimise increased data consumption; however, routine browsing will hardly make use of this feature because there’s not much to compress on such a small amount of data. When large quantities of data are transferred, such as when uploading large files or watching an entire movie (which you certainly don’t want to do on a mobile data connection), compressing (imagine an analogy of “zipping”) takes place.

A general rule applies on how much data overhead a VPN protocol can generate: the more sophisticated and stable (256-bit key) protocols use more data than the less secure (128-bit key) protocols. Both protocols are available in both versions, but no VPN provider is likely to use anything less reliable than a 256-bit key encryption protocol.

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To address the question of which VPN protocol consumes the least amount of data, below is a list of the most popular VPN protocols in order of data consumption (from least to most):

    • PPTP – least secure, least data usage (this protocol should be avoided in general)
    • L2TP/IPSec – great security with average data usage
    • IKEv2/IPSec – great security with average data usage
    • OpenVPN – the most secure and the most data-consuming
    • OpenVPN with obfuscation feature – the most secure, the most data-consuming with even more overhead.

Which VPN protocol is best for mobile data?

IKEv2/IPSec is a VPN protocol that is best to use while using mobile data. This is due to its lightning-fast reconnection to the VPN server while switching networks often during the day. This protocol is commonly used on mobile devices and allows for the rapid re-establishment of lost connections.

Can a VPN bypass Data Caps

A VPN can help you get around certain limits, but it can’t help you get around or raise your ISP’s data caps. This is because all VPN traffic is still routed via ISP servers, which monitor your mobile data use. In reality, it includes the overhead caused by using a VPN in the data cap calculation.

An ISP keeps track of not just how much data you use, but also what VPN services you use, such as Netflix or YouTube. When attempting to access those services, some mobile network providers could limit the internet speed. Since a VPN hides your location from your ISP when you try to communicate, it can get around some speed restrictions (or so-called throttling).

Should you use a VPN even when on cellular data

Using a VPN on cellular data is the same as using one on Wi-Fi; it protects your privacy by stopping your ISP from seeing which websites you visit. However, as previously mentioned, using a VPN on mobile data will marginally increase your data usage.

When travelling abroad, using a VPN on cellular data is particularly beneficial. Some websites or applications can be blocked even when using cellular data. When travelling to places where some websites are blocked, using a VPN will allow you to access some of the most common websites such as Facebook, Youtube, and Instagram.

When using mobile data, it’s debatable whether or not you can use a VPN. Most of the time, it would have the same benefits as using Wi-Fi – privacy, protection, unblocking content, and avoiding censorship and restrictions on the internet.

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Does a VPN make mobile 4G connections more secure

By encrypting internet connections, a VPN makes mobile 3G or 4G and other types of internet connections more reliable. When you use a VPN on mobile data, the internet service provider won’t be able to see what you’re doing online. It’s just as important to secure cellular connections as it is to secure public Wi-Fi.

Best VPNs for mobile devices


    • 5200+ global servers in 59+ countries
    • CyberSec malware and ad-blocking protection
    • Next-generation encryption with double VPN servers
    • Obfuscation technology that masks VPN traffic
    • Strict no-logs policy
    • Works with Netflix and good for streaming
    • Lightning fast with P2P support
    • 30-day money-back guarantee


    • 3200+ global servers in 60+ countries
    • CleanWeb ad-blocking feature
    • Secure and strong encryption with OpenVPN
    • Whitelister, Multi-hop VPN and kill switch
    • No-logs policy
    • Works with Netflix and good for streaming
    • Great speeds
    • 30-day money-back guarantee


    • 160+ locations and 3000+ servers
    • Strict No-Log policy
    • Unlimited streaming (Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer)
    • Strong military-grade AES 256-bit key encryption
    • Kill Switch, Split tunneling and RAM-disk servers
    • 30-day money-back guarantee
    • Windows, MacOS, iOS, Android and Linux support
    • Fast speeds and reliable connections

Private Internet Access

    • Block ads, trackers, and malware
    • Can be used with 10 devices simultaneously
    • Unlimited Bandwidth
    • 3200+ Servers in 29 Countries
    • No Traffic or Request logs
    • 7-day money-back guarantee


    • 140+ countries and 2000+ servers
    • 31-day money-back guarantee
    • Hides internet traffic and easily unblocks geo-restricted content
    • Internet Kill Switch and IP leak protection
    • Offers the cheapest Dedicated IP addresses
    • Windows, MacOS, iOS, Android and router support
    • Perfect for streaming Netflix, Hulu, BBC
    • Strict and audited no-log policy


If you want to search privately and access restricted websites when travelling abroad, you can use a VPN on mobile data. When using cellular data, however, since all of your internet traffic is encrypted with strong encryption, there is a data consumption overhead. If you have a small mobile data plan, this might not be the best option because data usage overhead counts as well. Unfortunately, a VPN cannot circumvent any data limits, but it is still a good idea to use one on a cellular connection for confidentiality, privacy, and censorship bypass.

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