IceVPN

Easy, Reliable, Monetized: Competitive VPN Developed on Short Notice

IceVPN is an anonymizing app that provides access to the content not available in your country. Made with Kotlin Multiplatform Mobile. It runs on Android and iOS.

1 month to develop a turnkey app solution

Development budget $10,000

Задача

Task

We got a request from a customer from Turkey. They wanted us to develop a monetized VPN app on short notice.

Решение

Solution

We developed a VPN app with a free usage period and an option to get a subscription.

Users can get extra minutes of VPN use by watching ads.

Apart from removing limits on app use, the subscription provides access to new servers.

When the free time limit is exceeded, the app automatically restricts access to the servers.

If the connection is lost, the app automatically reconnects to the server.

Development Process

Turnkey VPN solution on short notice. There are plenty of such options in the market, but the customer wanted their own solution. The competition is fierce, so the development had to be done quickly and efficiently. In just a month we built an app from scratch with both the back-end and design well thought out.

Monetization. The primary monetization model is the paid subscription. The secondary option is sponsor ads implemented through Google AdMob. The customer sets ad criteria for the target audience of their product. After that Google services automatically select relevant ads. Watching ads gives the user extra usage time of the app.

Auto-disabling and reconnection. The app is automatically disabled when the subscription or free minutes end. The auto-disabling logic is written at the back-end. If the server connection is lost, the app automatically reconnects. If the user is in a no-signal area, they receive a corresponding notification.

Custom design. One of the customer’s requirements was an unconventional design. There were two options: a mascot or an animated country search on the globe. The latter option won more votes.

Using Kotlin Multiplatform Mobile. For now, the customer has ordered only an Android app. If they decide to market for the iOS audience, we will be able to deploy the iOS version of the app in no time since we have the shared code ready.

The Hardest Part

Working with protocols was quite challenging. We had never dealt with them before, so mastering them took some time.

The main issue was that the app could not be disabled when it is working in the background. This means that if the user turns on the app and never opens it, they will be able to use the VPN even after their subscription ends. We had to find a different solution.

How we solved these tasks

Since we could not access the app in the background, we turned to servers. Now, when the user subscription ends, the server simply restricts access to their IP.

When the free time runs out, the user configuration is removed from the database for good, which also prevents the user from accessing VPN servers — if there are no more free minutes left, the user will have to watch ads to get extra VPN time.

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Technology Stack

Swift
Kotlin
KMM (Kotlin Mobile Multiplatform)
MOKO libraries

Results

We developed a VPN app with a free usage period and an option to get a subscription. Users can opt-in for the free plan and get extra time by watching ads.

iOS
iOS

As soon as the user exceeds the free time limit or the subscription ends, the app is disabled, even in the background.

Auto-disabling

As soon as the user exceeds the free time limit or the subscription ends, the app is disabled, even in the background.

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