Cloudflare's Warp is a new, free, VPN service for your smartphone

Cloudflare's app (4 1s... April 1st... get it?) is getting an update that will hopefully make your mobile internet browsing faster and more private at the same time. Originally the app was a DNS resolver, which in practical terms means it helped speed up the connection between your device and the internet. The app first released on mobile Nov. 11 (11/11... 4 1s... again) and has since been downloaded by millions of users on both iOS (opens in new tab) and Android.

Today's update adds the Warp performance and security technology in addition to the original DNS resolver. Warp is a VPN, or virtual private network, but it doesn't act exactly the same way you'd expect a VPN to act. For example, many of the best VPNs have a ton of practical uses, and one of them is using the VPN to convince the internet you're accessing it from a different place than you actually are. That's not something Warp does. Instead, Warp takes all the traffic coming onto your phone from your web browser, apps, and anything else and automatically adds security and encryption while at the same time optimizing the traffic for a mobile device. Cloudflare's network is so good at compressing information and improving performance it could potentially decrease your data usage for the month.

Warp also uses Cloudflare's network and protocols built by the team at Neumob, a company acquired by Cloudflare two years ago, to increase your internet performance. While other VPNs might slow you down for the sake of security, Warp can actually speed you up while still maintaining the same level of privacy. Warp also uses the WireGuard VPN protocol, which can help reduce the drain on your battery.

Probably the best part of all of this is that the basic Warp upgrade is free. All you have to do is download the app to your mobile device. There will be a premium version with a low monthly fee that will use even more advanced technology for an even faster performance, but signing up for that is an option you'll have to consider at a later date.

Cloudflare promises Warp will not write any user-identifiable data log data to disk, they won't sell any of your information to advertisers, and the app won't even require any of your personal information to work. If that original functionality is all you wanted out of the app, and you're satisfied you don't need to upgrade, then you should know that will still be an option for you. You don't have to adapt the new Warp addition if you don't want it, but you might want it.

To get in on the new with Warp, download the app on iOS (opens in new tab) or Android and sign up to be on the waitlist. Cloudflare is anticipating a large number of users and wants to roll out the update slowly over time to ensure the best experience.

The app doesn't have a desktop version just yet, but there are plenty of great VPNs out there if you're interested. Check out the best VPN deals we've already found around the internet.

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John Levite

J.D. Levite has been in the deals game since 2012. He has posted daily deals at Gizmodo, The Wirecutter, The Sweethome, and now for Thrifter. He was there for the first Prime Day and has braved the full force of Black Friday. If you cut him, he bleeds savings. But don't try it for real. That's a metaphor.

1 Comment
  • A VPN from a company that surreptitiously decides it can break it's contracts, even though they did it with a site that is completely stupid? I wouldn't trust them with privacy since they've already proven they can't keep to legal contracts, I wouldn't trust them to keep to their "privacy" policy. They should've publicly said "we won't renew them, but can't break a contract, 1) because it's a contract, and 2) that's a bad precedent".