Best VPN for Android

Android VPN

There are plenty of Android apps out there but choosing the best Android VPN is harder than you might think.

In this guide, we've identified the six best Android VPN apps for your mobile devices to help you stay secure, unblock website content, bypass geo-restrictions and more.

If you're an Android user, then you're in good company. According to Statcounter, over 72% of all smartphone and tablet devices are running some version of Android [1].

This means there are lots of VPNs in Android's Play Store and with less regulation than in the Apple App Store there are a lot of dodgy Android VPN apps too. In this guide, we will help you pick the best Android VPN.

Pushed for time?

ExpressVPN is the top Android VPN app we tested this year, but as you will see there are others out there too.

If you're ready to increase your security and unblock more content, let's dive in.

Top 6 Android VPNs

Keeping your Android phones secure is critical these days and unblocking streaming services like Netflix and BBC iPlayer is important too. A VPN will help you to do both.

Below are our experts round-up of the top six choices of VPN apps for Android for all purposes.

  1. ExpressVPN#1 recommendation!
  2. NordVPN
  3. CyberGhost VPN
  4. PrivateInternetAccess
  5. VyprVPN
  6. IPVanish

1. ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN Android app

Pros
  • Proven no-log claims
  • Lightweight Android app
  • Very fast download speeds
  • Registered off-shore
  • Multiple protocol choice
  • Quick connections
Cons
  • Monthly package expensive
  • Only 5 concurrent connections

Simplicity is key when using an Android VPN and ExpressVPN have certainly achieved this with their dedicated app which surpasses their Windows/Mac apps for us.

Settings are minimal on the easy-to-use app and being based in the British Virgin Islands means their no user logging policy is watertight and you can switch IP addresses with confidence.

A high-speed connection can be made right from the main screen of the app by simply tapping the connect button securing you with 256-bit AES encryption. The no user logs policy brings guaranteed and independently verified user privacy too.

There's also a couple of ‘Recent Location' options which allow you to connect to some of your favourites quickly. A new neat addition is the ability to customise ‘app-launch' buttons making your five favourite apps accessible straight from within the ExpressVPN app after connection.

ExpressVPN Android app features

You can select from ExpressVPN's network of VPN server locations in over 94 countries which are split into ‘Recent' and ‘Recommendation Locations' and also grouped by ‘Continent' if you need to select a specific country.

Connection speeds are excellent and there is unlimited bandwidth which means Android VPN users will be able to stream in full 4K UHD from online streaming services such as Netflix (Netflix US, Netflix UK, and Netflix Canada included), Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, and many others.

ExpressVPN have an integrated kill switch feature that cuts your internet access if you lose connection to your VPN provider. There is a split tunneling offering and port forwarding support too.

The service is covered by their 30-day money-back guarantee so you've got loads of time to test their service and you can connect up to five devices simultaneously too. Prices start from just $6.67 / £6.25 per month.

There is 24/7 customer support with live chat, to help with any questions the user might have too. It has a high satisfaction rating with users.

Sign up today with our exclusive offer and get three months free on an annual deal for the very best Android VPN.

Our #1 Recommended Android VPN

30-day money back guarantee

2. NordVPN

NordVPN Android app

Pros
  • Registered in Panama
  • Audited no-log policy
  • Decent download speed
  • Offers Wireguard protocol
  • 30-Day money back guarantee
Cons
  • Long subscriptions for best prices
  • Historical server problem

NordVPN's dedicated Android app is completely different to ExpressVPN's and provides a more feature-rich experience and great speeds. It is very similar to their Windows/Mac apps.

You can use one-click connection or the neat map view to choose your location from one of their 5,500+ VPN server network in multiple server locations around the world.

The number of servers offered by NordVPN is growing all the time.

Speciality servers have their own section including P2P, Double VPN servers, Dedicated IP and Obfuscated options. You can also neatly set your Favourites for quick connection.

There is a comprehensive no user logging policy to bring top user privacy and their nifty NordLynx tool too which all helps mask your actual IP Address.

The app works well for unblocking services such as Netflix (including Netflix US), Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, iFollow and more. Plus there's a 30-day money-back guarantee letting you test the app risk-free.

Nord also offers a great user-friendly customer support with live chat, a built-in kill switch, split tunneling, 256-bit encryption, and prices as low as £2.74 per month for a 2 year plan which makes it one of the cheapest VPN services on the market too.

3. CyberGhost VPN

CyberGhost VPN Android app

Pros
  • 45-day money back guarantee
  • 7 concurrent connections
  • Good download speeds
  • Great for streaming
Cons
  • Not the fastest provider
  • App less user-friendly

CyberGhost VPN's Android app is one of the most user-friendly VPN apps available. You can just click the ‘On' switch to connect, although there are available server options just a further click away.

These are split into individual countries, favourites and ‘Streaming Friendly‘. If unblocking video streaming websites on your Android handset is a top priority, then you'll love this feature (great for Netflix users).

Each server is owned by CyberGhost, which means no third party businesses have access to your mobile traffic.

The application also has a kill switch, 256-bit encryption, a built-in ad-blocker, online tracking prevention and a data compression option which may allow you to squeeze a little more data out of your mobile internet service.

A no user logging policy is their standard policy too meaning great privacy protection.

You can have 7 simultaneous connections, unlimited network data, and there is a 45-day money-back guarantee available too. Prices start from just £1.99 per month. A cheap VPN letting you use the web anonymously.

4. Private Internet Access

PIA Android app

Pros
  • A lot of servers
  • Lots of Android options
  • Dedicated Android widget
Cons
  • Based in the US
  • Not the fastest

Private Internet Access's Android app is not one for beginners and would be classed as functional but it does still offer decent online security.

It is a good Android VPN app with lots of features lacking from some of its competitors. Settings allow you to select the remote port to connect to, which DNS servers and data encryption to use, what authentication, handshaking, unlimited bandwidth, and more. The privacy policy is decent too.

There is also a built-in kill switch, split tunneling, and many other features that help you to block certain types of Android-specific leaks.

If you like getting your hands dirty, know exactly what you're doing or need a higher level of customisation and options then the Private Internet Access Android VPN app is the one for you.

Prices start from just £2.19 per month – a small price compared to many VPN companies and for unlimited access to the web securely.

5. VyprVPN

VyprVPN Android app

Pros
  • 30-day money back guarantee
  • Very good download speeds
  • Audited no log policy
  • Lots of IP addresses
Cons
  • Stagnant location expansion
  • No more free trial

VyprVPN's Android app is one of the better ones we've seen that has a nice balance between simplicity and features. It is designed so you can access both advanced features and VPN server selection all from the main screen.

Servers are broken down into a country listing showing you the speed of each but unfortunately, you can't pick specific servers.

Protocol and DNS options are available but the standout feature for us has to be the split tunneling feature that lets you exclude certain apps from using the VPN connection to protect the internet traffic the matters without slowing other network traffic down. There's also a Kill Switch and the usual variety of automatic connection options.

VyprVPN offers a 30-day money-back guarantee and a 24/7 live chat customer support. Prices start from just $3.75 per month.

6. IPVanish

IPVanish Android app

Pros
  • Reliable connections
  • Good download speeds
  • Very cheap first year
Cons
  • Expensive second year
  • Not the fastest

IPVanish won't be winning any awards for its interface as it isn't the most pleasing on the eye. But IPVanish does a good job of securing your Android connection.

Quick network connection can be achieved through the IPVanish home screen of the application, or you can choose different Countries, Cities or even specific Servers.

You can switch between a UDP and TCP OpenVPN connection. Two other features we found extremely useful was the ability to select a specific port to connect through and the ‘Scramble‘ feature which lets you break through some restrictive networks by disguising the VPN connection from your internet service provider helping to unblock websites.

They offer 256-bit encryption, kill switch and IPVanish also has a split tunneling option. Throw in unlimited simultaneous connections with unlimited devices and you can protect all your devices with one subscription. There is great live chat support to help when you are using a VPN and get stuck.

IPVanish is one of the best Android VPN services with several features other VPN providers lack.

How we chose and ranked the VPNs

In order to determine which VPN providers are good and which are not, we assessed several criteria including:

1) Security Features

All the best VPNs should offer 256-bit AES encryption and security protocols such as OpenVPN and WireGuard as standard to help you establish a secure VPN tunnel for your internet connection.

We also looked for other useful security features such as a built-in kill switch that will help prevent any data leaks to phishing sites and hackers such as your IP address, split tunneling options, and TOR over VPN servers.

2) Usability

Naturally, you need a VPN on Android that does everything that users need it to do. That means offering fast enough speeds to stream content and access websites swiftly.

It also means having a user-friendly and free Android VPN app with a simple design, and ideally a single-click function to connect to the fastest available server.

We also ensured that all the VPNs are available on the Google Play Store for ease of downloading.

3) Accessibility

For a VPN to be considered good, it also needs to be accessible for users. This means being available in countries around the world so that anyone can use it, no matter where they live.

We generally recommend those that have a large number of servers, spread across a wide variety of countries, so you're not plagued by overcrowding and can get an IP address from many countries as well as secure web traffic.

How to choose an Android VPN?

VPN apps work across many devices but choosing one for an Android mobile device has specific considerations.

Look for the following features before choosing a virtual private network for your Android device to help you make the best choice.

  • Android app: Make sure the VPN service you sign up to has a dedicated app. This is far easier than trying to set your VPN up manually.
  • Limited clutter: While desktop clients are about features, apps should be minimal. Using a VPN can drain your battery so making sure the app has a small footprint will improve usability.
  • Widgets: If you love controlling your Android apps from your phone's home screen then a limited number of VPN applications have built-in widgets that allow you to turn the VPN on and off at the flick of a switch.
  • Money-back guarantee: Choose a provider that offers a money-back guarantee. VPN applications can vary in price depending on your location and usage. Having a money-back guarantee brings peace of mind allowing you to test the service without risk.

Which Android VPN is best for you?

Above, we've listed 6 of the best Android VPNs . You can use a VPN from this list on both phones and tablets.

The standout VPN providers for us is ExpressVPN. It has the best balance of simplicity and features. However, choosing a VPN for Android isn't an exact science and the ‘best' VPN for you will depend on your individual requirements

Simon Hill of Digital Trends findings confirmed our own [2] rating ExpressVPN in their top 5 choices.

To help you make a decision on which is the best Android VPN app for you we've listed some of the most common uses:

If you want excellent privacy protection, choose ExpressVPN. With servers in 94 countries, a tested and audited no-log policy and being registered off-shore there is no better service to keep your usage private while using your Android device.

If you want an app that's easy to use, get NordVPN. Their app is one of the best designed Android VPNs that we've seen. Even if you're a beginner, you'll be able to navigate your way around and with one-touch connections, it's impossible to get it wrong. Plus they have world-class customer support.

If you want a feature-rich Android app, take PrivateInternetAccess. This is definitely the expert's option, with features to select everything from encryption to authentication types, a kill switch, and split tunneling, you'll be in geek-heaven.

If you want to unblock & stream more TV content, choose CyberGhost VPN. With dedicated options to unblock services like Netflix (including Netflix US), Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, Sky, Hulu, YouTube and more, CyberGhost VPN will make your Android device the ultimate portable entertainment system and allow you to switch between multiple IP addresses as well as benefit from one of the fastest VPN services around.

If you want a risk-free experience, select ExpressVPN, NordVPN or CyberGhost. All three offer either a 30 or 45-day money-back guarantee respectively giving you plenty of time to try them out. With a free trial not common these days, this is as good as it gets.

What makes an Android VPN suitable?

A dedicated Android VPN like the ones we have recommended here will protect your phone regardless of whether you are using Wi-Fi or cellular data.It should also be able to work regardless of the network you're connected to and how many devices you want to connect.

It should be inconspicuous and allow you to connect and forget about it without slowing down or bloating your phone or tablet and work with any devices running Android OS.

It is good practice to avoid free VPNs. Free VPNs usually contains malware that will infect your phone or tablet with third-party apps and leave you vulnerable. A free VPN app might also harvest your data, share it with China, or plague you with ads.

We are often asked, are free VPNs safe? The short answer is no and the best advice for a free VPN is to leave well alone. There is no such thing as a best free VPN.

Do these Android apps work on tablet or phone?

All 6 apps ranked above work on just about every Android tablets and phones.

You can install the app on both types of devices and all of the services detailed above allow you to have at least 5 unlimited simultaneous connections.

This allows you to keep your tablet and phone secure at the same time, even while you are using a public Wi-Fi network.

How can I sign up for an Android VPN app?

Most VPN apps don't allow you to sign up directly in the app itself although some like NordVPN and VyprVPN do.

The most reliable way to get a VPN service for your Android device is first to visit the VPN service's website directly using a web browser on your tablet or phone. Just click through one of the links on this page.

Android phone

Sign up for their service online and then visit the Google Play store or your VPN's official website. Download their app in a couple of clicks and you're away.

You can quickly open the app and login with the username and password you created when signing up.

Can I use an Android VPN on mobile data or Wi-Fi?

One of the best features of an Android VPN is they can protect your internet connection or unblock content regardless of what type of network you're connected to.

Using both mobile data or connecting to a Wi-Fi network is possible with any of the recommended apps above. They even work on public Wi-Fi to make those networks secure.

Most of the VPN apps will automatically connect when changing network. Still, it's worth double-checking if you're automatically logged into a Wi-Fi network when it moves between mobile data and Wi-Fi connections to ensure you're still connected to the VPN.

You can do this by opening the VPN app and checking the connection status, then opening a regular web browser and testing you can access any website.

What can't a VPN do?

While a VPN can do a lot, there are some things that even this technology cannot offer. For example, no VPN can:

1) Stop Google from tracking you

If you are logged into Google, use the Google Chrome browser, use Gmail, or any of their myriad other services, Google will track everything that you are doing, cookies, preferences, you name it.

A VPN cannot protect you from this.

The only way to get rid of Google completely is to stop using their tools and services.

2) Act as an antivirus

A VPN is not antivirus software, and you should not treat it as such.

The best that the VPN can do is collect a list of malicious websites and possibly prevent you from accessing them. Not all VPNs offer this.

Viruses can affect you with or without a VPN, so make sure you are using reliable anti-virus software alongside your VPN.

3) Allow access to the dark web

You also cannot usually access the darknet just because you have a VPN. To do that, you need a special kind of browser, such as Tor.

A VPN can let you access content that is censored or geo-blocked and prevents others from seeing your traffic. It can also prevent your data from being recorded on your ISP's servers, and it can stabilise your speed in certain circumstances.

For any ‘special' activity, such as visiting the dark web, you will need an additional tool to do so.

In Summary

Choosing a VPN for Android is hard because there are so many in the Google Play store to choose from.

In our tests, we found ExpressVPN to offer the best combination of features and simplicity. It is suitable for a beginner and has strong privacy protection keeping you secure regardless of your skill level, providing a better user experience.

Couple that with being able to unblock most TV streaming services and it's the all-round best Android VPNs.

If you have the time it's worth checking out the other 5 Android VPN apps because you may find a specific feature that suits your usage. Each one can be found on your devices' Google Play Store, or via the VPN's website.

You really can't go wrong no matter which app you end up choosing because they're all great services for all Android users.

 

Ready to get a VPN? Try our #1 Recommended choice!

  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Beginner-friendly
  • Easy to use on Android devices

Sources

  1. Statcounter | Mobile & Tablet Operating System Market Share Worldwide
  2. DigitalTrends | The best VPNs for Android

Illustration © Seeni Vasagam & Muhammad Zafar | Dreamstime.com

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Author: Christopher Seward

After 25 years of using the internet, Christopher launched one of the very first VPN comparison websites in 2013. An expert in the field his reviews, testing and knowledge have helped thousands of users get the correct VPN for their needs.

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