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.

Warp is available in the latest Cloudflare apps for Android an iOS. But before you get started, you should probably take a moment to understand what Warp is… and what it is not.

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 rather than Warp, that’s because Warp is built into the latest versions of Cloudflare’s existing DNS app which launched last year.

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6 replies on “Cloudflare’s free Warp VPN is now available to all”

  1. “So it’s a VPN focused on security rather than privacy.”
    “VPN for people who don’t know what V.P.N. stands for.”
    For those who don’t know, it stands for virtual *private* network. From what I read above, it’s a… VSN? Virtual secure network?

    1. Private is always private relative to something/someone. In this case the connection is private relative to other users on and owner of the WIFI you’re using. As explained in the text.

      1. My comment was not based on a lack of reading and understanding the text, but rather on Brad’s interesting conclusion that a “virtual private network” is not focused on privacy. Maybe you object to that characterization, but I would say it is certainly less private than a VPN that hides your IP address. Cloudflare says, “From a technical perspective, WARP is a VPN”, but I am curious to know what the technical differences are, and how they are able to hide your traffic up to the point of reaching the target servers, and possibly still allowing corporate filters to work.

        1. WARP is characterized as a VPN because it still uses VPN protocols, basically. As for filtering, it works the same way you would configure something like a pi-hole or dnscrypt on our own VPN hosted on a VPS instance, or the same way a VPN provider like Perfect Privacy would implement it’s ad and tracker blocking.

  2. “Secure” if you trust that company and workers servers etc to not play MITM and if you trust encryption and assume unhackability. Secure is a marketing label, not a description of privacy anymore.

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