Earlier this year Cloudflare launched an invite-only beta for a free VPN service called Warp. Now you don’t need an invite anymore.
Cloudflare is making Warp available for free, although there’s a Warp Plus subscription option for folks that want to pay for a speedier version. Warp Plus costs $4.99 or less, with prices varying by region.
Technically, Warp is a VPN, or virtual private network, because it sets up a secure connection between your mobile device and Cloudflare’s servers and then routes your internet traffic through that connection.
But unlike many other VPN services, Warp doesn’t hide your IP address from the websites you visit or allow you to get around geoblocking. You can’t use the service convince the BBC’s iPlayer that you’re in the UK if you’re not. You can’t view the Netflix catalog available in other countries this way. And I’m pretty sure you can’t use it to get around your workplace’s content blockers if you’re connected to your employer’s network.
What it does is ensure that your mobile connection is secure, even if you’re using an otherwise insecure network.
Want to connect to coffee shop WiFi? Warp will make sure that other users connected to the same network can’t easily access your data.
So it’s a VPN focused on security rather than privacy.
It’s also designed for ease of use. When Cloudflare first unveiled Warp, the company called it a “VPN for people who don’t know what V.P.N. stands for. It’s a lot simpler to set up than a typical VPN: just install the app, slide the Warp toggle, and you’re good to go. You can stop using Warp just as easily.
Oh, and if you’re wondering why the mobile app is called 188.8.131.52 rather than Warp, that’s because Warp is built into the latest versions of Cloudflare’s existing 184.108.40.206 DNS app which launched last year.