The Best VPN for Android Devices
VPNs are a staple for many users that browse and conduct business over the internet on computers and laptops. But for some time now, VPN applications for smartphones have become as in demand as their larger hardware counterparts. That was bound to happen, seeing as how mobile devices have basically turned into mini computers on their own.
Phones that run on the Android operating system are extremely popular, and so is software that privatizes consumer’s usage of the devices. Below are ten of the best VPNs that you’ll find on Android, most of which can be downloaded directly from Google’s Play Store. They were chosen for their reputation, speed, and ease of operation.
At the conclusion, the top three from the list will be announced.
What is a VPN?
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a network that allows a computer to connect with a public server, but in a way that makes the connection private. When this happens, the signal is read on the receiving end (the destination server) as a different IP address from the one that the users typically relies on. It does this through the use of different protocols to establish a tunnel link to the server. The best known and most used out of paid services is OpenVPN, but there are many others. Protocols will also come with encryption. The general level is Advanced Encryption Standard or AES.
Most VPNs can be categorized into two categories: those which are paid, and others that are free. Besides the price differential, a major distinction between them is the level of privacy and amount of logging they (meaning the VPN companies) take part in. Because free services must earn money in some fashion, they’re often the makers of software that consumers must be aware of when it comes to their personal info being used for malicious activity. Paid services should also be scrutinized carefully, which is why you should gather as much material regarding a company you’re interested in subscribing to before checking out. By doing so, you’ll know exactly what you’re getting and how it performs on your Android device. Plus, some VPNs have subscriptions that you can share with more than one device, so take a glance at every buying options you have.
Lastly, consider what you would like to do with the VPN. Are you planning on doing any torrenting over your smartphone? Maybe you travel a lot and like to watch movies while on the road, or in the airport terminal. Many VPNs will allow you to create accounts with streaming services that you wouldn’t otherwise be able to do. This is especially common among consumers that live outside of North America and Europe. Getting on American or European servers will help you enjoy websites and other applications without the expense of an airplane ticket.
Logging in for the First Time
Android VPNs are pretty much the same as any other VPN application on an alternative operating system. When you open a VPN application for the first time, you’ll usually see a window where you’ll be asked to type in your username and password for the subscription. When that’s done, the window will change to several options. Changing the country to the server you want to pick is the first choice. Some VPNs may automatically take you to the fastest server available in your area, by detecting your current IP address. You don’t have to pick this. Still, the best performing servers will be easiest to find and stay at the top. Your VPN may also feature their own exclusive streaming or torrenting servers, which you could also pick when ready for such activities.
This is a comparison chart of all the VPNs evaluated in the list further down. There’s more info on the websites of the companies as well, or you could search for their name in the Google Play Store.
- NordVPN: On Google Play Store: Yes; Location: Panama; Unblocks Video/Music Streaming:
- TunnelBear VPN: On Google Play Store: Yes; Location: Canada; Unblocks Video/Music Streaming:
- CyberGhost VPN: On Google Play Store: Yes; Location: Hungary; Unblocks Video/Music Streaming: Yes
- IPVanish: On Google Play Store: Yes; Location: USA; Unblocks Video/Music Streaming: Yes
- Private Internet Access: On Google Play Store: Yes; Location: USA; Unblocks Video/Music Streaming: Yes
- ExpressVPN: On Google Play Store: Yes; Location: British Virgin Islands; Unblocks Video/Music Streaming: Yes
- Proton VPN: On Google Play Store: Yes; Location: Switzerland; Unblocks Video/Music Streaming: Yes
- KeepSolid VPN: On Google Play Store: Yes; Location: USA; Unblocks Video/Music Streaming: Yes
- TorGuard: On Google Play Store: Yes; Location: Nevis (West Indies); Unblocks Video/Music Streaming: Yes
- VyprVPN: On Google Play Store: Yes; Location: Switzerland; Unblocks Video/Music Streaming: Yes
Top 10 Best VPNs for Android
Some of the better-known VPNs are scrutinized for their location alone. NordVPN isn’t one of those. Located in Panama, the company is one of the greats and has lots of fast remote servers in just about any region that you can think of. On Android, the VPN can be downloaded directly through the Play Store, or you could even buy it on your PC and use the VPN on your smartphone when you’re ready. Whichever you decide, you’ll be subscribing to a reputed service that keeps no logs of their customers. You may experience some long download time when placing it on your phone via Play Store, but there’s not much else with Nord on Android to complain about.
- NordVPN’s Android application functions on the app (interactivity) as if it was specifically made for the device
- Has a truckload of servers that work well with all apps with little slow down
- Users can contact the company directly through the application when opened
- Long download and installation times
2. TunnelBear VPN
TunnelBear is known among free and paid VPN users for their honesty, so you could try out either service or stay with the freeware before upgrading later. It’s another trusted VPN, so there’s no worry about your identity being sold off to third parties that you’re unaware of. The main screen is very nice and easy to navigate, so you should be able to get started immediately after the download is complete. Don’t bother wasting time with instructional manuals or anything of the sort. You can switch through different server very fast, and they often connect almost immediately depending on the speed of your cellular data plan. You might not want to run too many applications when you’re turning it on initially though, as doing so could make the VPN lag, or necessitate a restart of your Android device.
- Good user interface and easy to figure out controls
- Customers can try out a free version first to see if the paid one is good for them
- Switching in between servers is quick; doesn’t require a long wait
- Some applications may lag severely when the VPN is turned on, especially when too many programs are opened
3. CyberGhost VPN
CyberGhost’s major advantage in the number of payment options they have, and the VPN’s streaming capabilities. All your favorite music streaming apps can be used, or you could set up an account in a different location than where you currently live with the VPN. Doing this through an ordinary data plan is difficult, if not impossible. Video websites perform about the same. If you have the Netflix application on your Android phone, use it to watch any move in high definition and never concern yourself over annoying buffer times. Finding a good US server that’s faster than those provided remotely from the EU could take some time, but there shouldn’t be any major slowdowns for most users.
- Rudimentary sign up process
- Payment choices are plenty with the app, to which the service can be downloaded either by desktop or directly from the Google Play Store
- Streaming high definition videos over Android with the VPN opened shows no lag or buffering
- Some of the US servers aren’t as fast as those in the EU
IPVanish consistently has fast results on most speed tests that are performed by reviewers online. If you’re the type that likes to use a VPN for hours on end, or as a replacement to most activities that you partake in online, put it high on your list of probable future subscriptions. You can also customize it with different protocols if you want; it uses OpenVPN and LT2P. Privacy intrusion is zero, so the only thing that would give away your identification to the VPN would be how you pay. Its headquarters is in the United States, however. If you’re worried about the 14 Eyes jurisdiction that the VPN resides in, you could either pay discreetly (with crypto) or find one that’s not based in the US.
- Good speed and pings per milliseconds
- Lots of customization options and protocols to pick with the Android app
- Logging is kept only to generic content that won’t compromise the security of users
- Cheap monthly plans are given
- With US-based jurisdiction (the VPNs location), the risk of data gathering from the government is unpredictable
5. Private Internet Access
Private Internet Access is a major player among all VPNs. They maintain great server speed and perform well on Android phones with little lag. When you download and install before using, be sure that you’re not running too many programs all at once; the VPN could install poorly and require you do reinstall to prevent crashing. Once that’s over with, check out the number of servers that are available. There’s lots of everyone, and you will be able to find one that works pretty quickly. Some may go down sporadically and force you to find an alternate every once in a while. Yet this isn’t something that happens too frequently as to become a problem for many users.
- Servers have great response time and will never breach user’s DNS or IP addresses
- Regions cover areas that some VPNs have wholly avoided
- Fully supports music streaming service applications on Android phones; hide user’s real location during login
- Some servers may go down at times without warning
ExpressVPN’s red logo has become recognized as almost a household name. They’ve been in the news several times over the last decade, mostly for issues that reveal how well the company attempts to keep their user’s information where it belongs: to individuals only. If you’re big on personalization, it’s a godsend. Even on Android phones, you’ll still get quite a few options to finetune the VPN in a way that works best for you. And getting through to customer service will take only a matter of moments before you hear back from someone. The largest disadvantage is in the number of devices that you possible to link with one account; there’s only three per user. However, since you’re on an Android device, this might not be as great of an issue as it would be with PC users of the application. Regardless, it remains a highly recommended choice for all web users that seek more privacy.
- Server switching is one of the quickest out of any VPN company
- Has many options for personalizing the VPN for controlling how it functions alongside other Android apps
- Customer servers response time is quick, whereby most issues are settled on the same day
- Without a router, only three connections can be made with Express
- Not suitable for users that want a plan with the shortest duration for payment (monthly)
7. Proton VPN
If there were a winner for the most streamlined and attractive-looking VPN interfaces out now, Proton VPN would easily come out on top. It’s made by the same company that created ProtonMail, an email service that’s known for its end-to-end encryption. This same level of security has transferred over to Proton VPN as well. You’ll get the standard 256-AES, including several protocols to use for various online purposes with your smartphone. No logging takes place at all, so you can be safe that your info isn’t being taken for nefarious purposes. Music and video streaming work well most of the time, so feel free to renew or change your subscription to a different country if you live somewhere where the service is lacking or has fewer movies/songs. You might encounter problems when attempting to get in touch with someone that works with the company, as they don’t respond very fast. If talking to a customer representative isn’t too important in your buying choice, then definitely consider Proton VPN.
- Logging, even at the generic level, is nonexistent on all devices, including Android
- Video and music streaming on smartphones is possible, Netflix and Spotify both work on most servers
- Features the latest in 256-AES encryption (128 bits)
- Almost impossible to get in touch with customer support in a timely manner
- For users that plan to torrent over their Android phone, some clients may remain restricted with some of Proton’s servers
8. KeepSolid VPN
If you go to KeepSolid’s website, you would see on the first welcome screen how they market their VPN to users that want to stream music and video. Some VPNs are more vague about this, due to legal reasons. But KeepSolid has no for withholding such an advantage, so feel free to watch all your favorite series with the application on your Android. It performs at an outstanding speed and will never result in getting your accounts blacklisted from whatever site you visit, including Netflix. If you like modern-looking VPNs that update their interface often, KeepSolid could look somewhat dated to your in appearance. But overall, the app is great for general-purpose browsing and everything else most people wish to do with a VPN.
- Doesn’t lag when many applications are opened
- The free trial period is unrestricted
- Torrenting is fully supported on the Android (and desktop versions)
- The interface looks somewhat outdated and hasn’t changed much in a long time
TorGuard also has a VPN on Android, and it can be subscribed to right from the Play Store if you would like. The best thing about it is how the app doesn’t cause other open applications to experience lagging. You phone will also not overheat when more than three apps are open with the VPN in action. Crashes may happen at times though, so ensure that you’re doing a clean install without playing on the phone too much when it’s downloading. If you continue to experience crashes, just download the app from your computer (on the Play Store) and copy-paste it to your Android device from there.
- Firewalls do not restrict the VPNs functionality
- Fast connection time, even on slow mobile service plans
- Has OpenVPN and top-level military-grade encryption
- Updating applications on the Google Play Store is nearly impossible to do when the VPN is running
- The application may crash unexpectedly
VyprVPN is run by a company called Golden Frog, and used by hundreds of thousands of smartphone owners with an Android. On the phone, it runs only one protocol, called Chameleon. It’s strong enough to be used for accessing websites that would otherwise be impossible to do with a normal ISP. And when you’re in need of help from their customer support, you can expect a prompt reply and solution to your issue. As for the subscription plan, you should be careful to read what plan you’re getting prior to buying. Some users have complained about being charged twice on the same month. In any case, VyprVPN is quick to settle any problems with their user base and don’t let that stop you from trying out their lightning-speed servicer for yourself.
- When using specific protocols (Chameleon), the app can safely get through state-sponsored firewalls (such as those in China)
- Excellent and very informed customer support
- Has been audited and found to be truthful in their no logging policy by third parties
- Some users have reported that the application has charged them without authorization
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How to VPNs on Android-based Smartphones interact with Other Applications?
You can expect the same level of interaction that you would on other smartphone applications, such as iOS. However, you might have a few more options for customization that aren’t available on the latter. Much of this is depending on the VPN itself and can change with every brand. But one of the primary functions that you will see on most VPN choices for Android is a Kill Switch for DNS and IP addresses. This will prevent your data plan from knowing that you were accessing content that you wish to keep from them. Torrents are the most likely example. Some phone plans also block torrent clients, knowing that they can be accessed on smartphones in almost the same fashion as their availability on PCs and laptops.
Can the VPN be downloaded from the Play Store via a source that’s not My Smartphone?
In most cases, yes. The Google Play Store can be accessed from your laptop or PC without issue. Just type in “Play Store” to access the website, searching for the name of the VPN that you’re interested in afterward. To install, you’ll need to have a USB port that connects to your phone from the computer. If you don’t, Bluetooth or even email transfer is possible. Cloud services may also allow you to place the VPN app on your Android device. But the fastest way would obviously be a USB. This is also a good way to download and install if you’ve experienced any problems with doing so on Android. And be sure that you don’t disconnect the cord when you’re in the middle of a transfer, to avoid corrupting the file.
If I Downloaded a VPN from the Play Store, will I also be able to Use It on Other Devices?
Most VPN applications can be used on more than one computer once a subscription is purchased, so yes. If you need more information regarding this, the VPNs reviewed will tell you so directly on the Play Store. You could also do it directly from your smartphone’s browser if you wish. As for the number of devices, you will also have to check with the VPN. Most of them will allow you to use several, so know the amount before you subscribe to the same plan twice. If you have a router, consider also placing the VPN on there’s to which you will be able to get even more devices on the same account. But remember that this is strictly for Wi-Fi, and you won’t be able to access the VPN anywhere other than the router source using this method for connecting.
What to do if I Experience Crashing or Lagging?
This is a common problem for smartphones in general and isn’t exclusive to just the Android operating system. The best way to prevent crashing and lags is to ensure a clean install. Turn off all of your applications once the download starts, and avoid making any phone calls. If you can. try downloading over a Wi-Fi connection, if possible. You would likely get a better signal that would prevent later problems with the app. Again, feel free to use your PC if you need to. Remember, your VPN will function as a firewall on your smartphone, prevent your ISP and other crucial apps that you use from knowing what you visit, or your real location.
Is it Recommended to try out VPN Apps through a Trial before They’re Purchased?
Absolutely. Whenever there’s a free trial given, you should always take it. The general time period for VPN trials is seven days, although some can go for as long as 30. This will allow you to see how well everything on the VPN works, without putting any money down. The best part is that such trials don’t go away on Android devices. The VPNs listed mostly use them and can be canceled at any time before the trial expires. But be ready to provide your payment information when this happens. You won’t be debited until the trial is over, but your VPN choice may still request your info prior starting a subscription. If there’s a free version of the VPN, don’t use it to compare the paid one. Free VPNs tend to work less efficiently than paid apps; don’t expect service to get better or worse with a subscription until you have a chance to test it out for yourself.
How to Avoid Server Speed Problems?
VPNs may slow down if you’re doing too much on your phone all at once. Remember, VPN applications must also use your mobile’s RAM, and straining your device with too many tasks may result in slower internet speed. Furthermore, your phone’s data plan should be adequate, and not too slow. If you’re using a prepaid plan that has a very slow networking speed such as 512 kilobits per second (Kbps), don’t expect your VPN to connect to server fast or give you music/video streaming without skipping. Anything data plan that’s at least 1 megabyte per second is usually good enough for a VPN to run smoothly.
Out of all the ten VPNs chosen from the list, each one of them would be great your Android device. They are sometimes different in pricing and plans, but will generally perform well and guarding your privacy online.
But if you had to settle on just three choices, try out NordVPN, TunnelBear, and CyberGhost first. They have outstanding customization, are easy for beginners to use, and house fast, abundant servers on their applications. But don’t settle for those if you’re interested in the others. Each brand evaluated has some advantage over the other, whereby you might find ExpressVPN or KeepSolid better for your browsing activity that the others.
But no matter which you pick from above, be prepared to access your mobile content with the highest degree of anonymity. And when the subscription starts, share with your family or friends!