Virtual Private Networks (VPN) are something that most people know as a method for connecting to their work network from another computer. But the “private network” piece goes way beyond that. And VPNs are the perfect solution to the lack of privacy on public Wi-Fi networks. This is especially useful when traveling. There are several different options for VPN services, but one of the easier solutions is Cloak. The weird thing about Cloak is that they have some tricky pricing structures, and knowing which plan to select for infrequent, short-term travel.
Cloak plans can be purchased both from the Cloak website and from the iOS app. These plans are different though. Here are the plans and where to buy them.
|Length||Price||Data||Where to Buy||Price Per Day|
|1 month||$2.99||5 GB||Web||$0.10|
The yearly plan obviously makes sense for anyone that needs a VPN all the time. That leaves the other three plans up for consideration.
The $2.99 monthly plan is limited to just 5 GB, but if someone is planning just some light use, mostly on a mobile device, or just some occasional email and social network check-ins, this probably sufficient. It would not likely be enough for a month of use, but for a typical vacation1 it likely would get the job done. It would presumably be renewable for an additional $2.99, so $6 would buy 10 GB if a little bit more is needed at the last minute, but that is not necessarily a cost effective purchase. This plan is best for either a really short trip, or a trip where public Wi-Fi usage will be fairly minimal.
The 7-day plan for $3.99 offers the worst cost per day, but is an overall cheaper option when data usage is going to exceed 5 GB, but the trip will be pretty typical in length. Although the $9.99 plan offers a better cost per day, there is no reason to spend the extra money if the VPN access is only needed for a couple of days. Even at the 14 day mark, two 7-day plans cost $7.98 vs. $9.99 for the 1-month plan.
It’s easy to think that Cloak offers the 7-day plan on iOS at a higher price to just take advantage of people wanting it quick and easy through the app, but the reality is that Apple takes a 30% cut of In-App Purchases, so Cloak is only seeing $2.79 of the 7-day price, meaning that they get more money from people buying the 5 GB one month plan on the website.
To recap, for any trip/vacation where public Wi-Fi usage will be minimal, or where almost all internet usage will be on a mobile device, the $2.99 (5 GB) plan is probably sufficient. For any trip where heavier usage is required, and the trip won’t exceed 14 days, the $3.99 7-day plan makes the most sense. IF the requirement exceeds 14 days, it’s the $9.99 plan that is the best deal.
- Assuming no more than 7 days [↩]