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3 VPNs you can use to access TikTok and WeChat

Trump’s ban on downloading the video and mobile payment apps begins Sunday, but these workarounds let you bypass the restrictions.

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If you’ve been following the news in recent weeks, you’ve likely heard about the ongoing contention between the Trump administration and the owners of social media apps TikTok and WeChat.

Though the apps were scheduled to be removed from the US versions of Apple App Store and Google Play Store on September 20th, a judge granted TikTok’s request for a reprieve. This means that the app remains downloadable for now.

If President Donald Trump has his way, existing TikTokers and WeChatters in the US could lose access to these apps on November 12th. But a virtual private network (VPN) can allow you to install and use TikTok and WeChat without leaving the country.

Top VPN services for Android and Apple phones

There are dozens of VPN services on the market, though not all of them can be trusted with your data. These three services, however, are widely considered to be reputable VPNs.

ExpressVPN: Consistently ranks among the fastest, most trusted VPN providers on the market.
With more than 3,000 servers spread across 94 countries, ExpressVPN is arguably the world's most popular VPN provider. This service allows you to enjoy unlimited speeds and bandwidth, and it's considered among the most secure VPNs in the industry. Plans start at $12.95 per month, but the monthly cost drops to $8.32 when you sign up for a year of service.
NordVPN: NordVPN is incredibly powerful and costs significantly less than many of its competitors.
NordVPN has nearly 5,400 servers in 59 countries, making it among the most versatile VPNs available. This service offers 24/7 customer support and boasts military-grade encryption, ensuring your connections are speedy and secure. NordVPN is $11.95 per month, or $4.32 per month on annual plans.
Hotspot Shield logo

Hotspot Shield

With a history dating back to 2005, Hotspot Shield is among the most revered VPNs available.

Offering access to more than 3,200 servers in over 80 countries, Hotspot Shield stacks up against the industry’s biggest names — despite not having the same level of brand recognition. The service is owned by a company called Pango, which sells a full-featured subscription service that protects all of your online activity. Monthly plans are $12.99, but you can save with an annual subscription for $7.99 per month.

How to download a VPN on Android

In general, there are two ways to download and install a VPN on Android devices: through the Google Play Store or by installing an Android package (APK) file.

Installing a VPN via the Google Play Store

The easiest way to install a VPN on an Android device is through the Google Play store.

  1. Launch the Google Play app on your device.
  2. Type “VPN” in the search bar, or enter the name of a specific VPN service you wish to use.
  3. Tap Install and the program will be installed on your device.
  4. Once installed, launch the app by tapping its icon.
  5. Follow the prompts to create an account and enter your payment details if required.
Installing a VPN using an APK file

Not all Android devices have access to the Google Play store, so many VPN providers distribute their apps as a direct download. If you want to install a VPN using this method, a few extra steps are required.

  1. Navigate to the Settings menu on your Android device and tap Security.
  2. Tick the checkbox next to Unknown Sources.
  3. Tap OK to verify that you want to install apps from third parties.
  4. Download an APK file from a VPN provider you trust.
  5. Locate the file in your Downloads folder by using your device’s file manager.
  6. Tap the app and confirm you want to install it.
  7. Once installed, launch the app by tapping its icon.

Follow the prompts to create an account and enter your payment details if required.

How to download a VPN on iPhones on iPads

Unless you own a cracked/jailbroken iOS device, the only way to install an app is through the official App Store.

  1. Launch the App Store by tapping its icon.
  2. Search for VPN or the name of a specific VPN provider.
  3. Install the app of your choice, and launch it once the process is complete.
  4. Follow the on-screen prompts to create an account and enter your payment details if required.

Are there any free VPNs?

Yes, there are several free VPNs on the market, but many of them are untrustworthy and should be avoided. Notable exceptions are TunnelBear, Hotspot Shield and ProtonVPN, which are all legitimate VPN providers that offer limited free tiers before prompting users to upgrade.

Risks to using free VPNs

As the saying goes, “If you’re using a product but not paying for it, then you are the product.” This is especially true with free VPN services, which are expensive to operate. It’s safe to assume that if a VPN provider isn’t charging you to use its service, then the company is most likely selling your data to third parties.

Benefits of using a VPN

Here are a few of the advantages associated with using a VPN.

  • Privacy. VPNs mask your internet activity, so prying eyes can’t see what you’re up to online.
  • Access geo-restricted content. VPNs allow you to spoof your location, giving you access to content that’s exclusively available in other countries.
  • File sharing. With a VPN, you can use peer-to-peer (P2P) file-sharing programs, such as BitTorrent, which is blocked by many Internet service providers (ISPs) in the US.

Compare VPN services

Name Product Monthly Price Free Trial? Simultaneous Logins Crypto Payments Recommended Encryption
ExpressVPN
$12.95
Yes
5
Yes
256-bit AES
FastestVPN
FastestVPN
$10
No
10
No
256-bit AES
IBVPN
$3.08
Yes
5
Yes
256-bit Blowfish
NordVPN
$11.95
No
6
Yes
256-bit AES
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Compare up to 4 providers

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