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Best VPN for Android

By Simon Migliano | Updated January 24, 2020

Illustration of Android phone and tablet

If you’re one of the two billion-plus people with an Android smartphone, you need to be using a VPN.

Why is a VPN so important on Android?

Google’s Android mobile operating system is powerful and complex, but it doesn’t protect against certain major security and privacy risks. Using a VPN does.

Without a VPN, your ISP, carrier, government, and even total strangers can monitor you online.

Hackers can also take advantage of weak public WiFi hotspots to steal your personal information.

But don’t worry. Whether you’re on Android 10.0, Pie, Oreo or even older AndroidOS, the best VPNs will keep you safe and private while browsing, messaging, gaming, and more.

The’ll also get past geo-blocks, so you can unlock all the web content you want without restrictions.

Don’t forget, you can also use these VPNs on Microsoft Windows, Apple MacOS, and iOS devices.

Android VPN Selection Criteria

  1. User-friendly Android VPN app available
  2. Fast & steady VPN connection speeds
  3. No user activity logs & no IP address leaks
  4. Best-in-class privacy & security features
  5. Works with Netflix & major streaming sites
  6. Wide range of VPN server locations

Wondering why you should trust our reviews?
See How We Review VPNs.

Best Android VPN Apps

1. ExpressVPN

Ranked #1 out of 72 Android VPNs

  1. Exceptionally fast VPN speeds
  2. Sleek custom VPN app for Android devices
  3. Works with Netflix & other popular streaming apps
  4. Privacy-friendly logging policy
  5. No IP, DNS, or WebRTC leaks
  6. VPN servers in 94 countries
  1. Price could be lower on shorter VPN plans
  • Best Price

    $6.67/mo over 15 Months

    See all plans

  • Top Speedi

    85Mbps same city speed

    Based on a 100Mbps test connection

  • Servers

    94 countries, 3,000+ servers

  • Compatible with

    • Windows logoWindows
    • Mac logoMac
    • iOS logoiOS
    • Android logoAndroid
    • Linux logoLinux

The Bottom Line

ExpressVPN is the best VPN on the current market, and it’s a fantastic choice for Android users, too.

Its custom VPN app for Android devices – not only for smartphones but for tablets and TVs too – is very easy to install and use.

Not only that, but ExpressVPN’s Android app provides consistently quick, reliable speeds.

Whether you connect to nearby VPN servers or those located further away, ExpressVPN’s speeds remain stable, which is ideal for HD streaming on Netflix.

ExpressVPN maintains a safe minimal-logs policy and the company is based in the British Virgin Islands, far away from the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing alliance.

While there isn’t a Network Lock setting (ExpressVPN’s term for a kill switch), there is a ‘Block internet when unable to connect or reconnect to VPN’ setting within the Android app, which works very similarly.

In addition to the Android app, there are also ExpressVPN apps for Microsoft Windows, Apple MacOS, iOS, Amazon Fire TV Stick, Linux, and routers.

ExpressVPN also comes with full-featured VPN browser extensions for Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox.

And you can use ExpressVPN on up to five devices at one time.

So, are there any flaws?

Well, it is a little more expensive than our other top picks but ExpressVPN is hands down the best VPN around, so it’s worth the extra couple of dollars a month.

For a more in-depth look, read our full ExpressVPN review.

2. NordVPN

Ranked #2 out of 72 Android VPNs

  1. Very fast VPN speeds
  2. User-friendly VPN app for Android phones
  3. Works with Netflix & BBC iPlayer
  4. Advanced privacy features including obfuscated servers
  5. VPN servers in 59 countries
  6. Strict zero-logs policy
  1. Extra VPN protocols require manual config
  2. No VPN kill switch for Android app
  • Best Price

    $3.49/mo over 36 Months

    See all plans

  • Top Speedi

    93Mbps same city speed

    Based on a 100Mbps test connection

  • Servers

    58 countries, 5,500+ servers

  • Compatible with

    • Windows logoWindows
    • Mac logoMac
    • iOS logoiOS
    • Android logoAndroid
    • Linux logoLinux

The Bottom Line

NordVPN is a very good VPN service for Android users, even if it can’t quite compete with the exceptional package offered by ExpressVPN.

It is cheaper, though.

NordVPN’s Android VPN app is simple and user-friendly, and it can be installed in a matter of minutes.

It comes with dedicated VPN servers for P2P/torrenting, Tor, and there are special obfuscated servers for high-censorship countries like China.

NordVPN is an incredibly quick VPN service – in fact it’s one of the fastest VPNs on the current market. You’ll experience the best speeds if you connect to a nearby VPN server.

However, NordVPN isn’t perfect.

NordVPN doesn’t include a built-in VPN kill switch for Android users (which is fairly common). But you can set up a similar security feature manually from within your Android device settings (see below).

But if you’re not willing to alter those settings, you should reserve torrenting for your PC or Mac where NordVPN provides ample protection.

NordVPN does have an integrated kill switch for Windows, MacOS, and iOS, though.

There’s also VPN apps for Linux and Fire TV Stick, as well as browser extensions Chrome and Firefox.

Another slight drawback is the lack of VPN protocol choice within the Android (and Windows) app. If you want to use an alternative protocol you have to manually configure it.

We also feel it’s important to make you aware of a security incident involving NordVPN. In October 2019 it came to light that a NordVPN server had been breached by a hacker.

No user information was taken, no data was logged, and the VPN encrypted tunnel wasn’t compromised. That said, it exploited a worryingly simple vulnerability, and we were disappointed by NordVPN’s delayed response.

NordVPN is still a very good VPN, but it’s something to consider before you buy.

For a more in-depth look, read our full NordVPN review.

3. CyberGhost

Ranked #3 out of 72 Android VPNs

  1. Impressive VPN speeds
  2. Well-designed VPN app for Android
  3. Works with Netflix & other popular streaming sites
  4. Strictly no-logs VPN service
  5. Android app comes with in-built VPN kill switch
  6. VPN servers in 90 countries
  1. Torrenting clunky on Android
  2. No torrenting on Australian VPN servers
  • Best Price

    $2.75/mo over 3 years

    See all plans

  • Top Speedi

    87Mbps same city speed

    Based on a 100Mbps test connection

  • Servers

    90 countries, 7,100+ servers

  • Compatible with

    • Windows logoWindows
    • Mac logoMac
    • iOS logoiOS
    • Android logoAndroid
    • Linux logoLinux

The Bottom Line

CyberGhost is the ideal choice if you love to stream on your Android phone or tablet.

CyberGhost’s custom app for Android is sleek and intuitive, and it comes with VPN servers dedicated to accessing content on popular streaming platforms.

You can watch Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, and more by tapping on the ‘Streaming friendly’ tab and connecting to your desired VPN server.

With very fast VPN connection download speeds (on local servers), CyberGhost will allow you to watch your favorite shows in HD with little buffering.

There’s also custom VPN apps for Windows, MacOS, Linux, iOS, Amazon Fire TV Stick, and more.

CyberGhost maintains a strict no-logs policy, and an always-on integrated VPN kill switch for Android, keeping your online data safe and private.

So that must mean it’s great for torrenting, right?

Unfortunately, not. The Android app isn’t very torrent-friendly. While CyberGhost’s Windows and MacOS apps clearly label which VPN servers can be used for torrenting, the Android one doesn’t.

This leaves Android users to guess which of CyberGhost’s servers will work with P2P traffic, which isn’t ideal. Torrenting isn’t permitted on the Australian servers (and a host of others).

Aside from that, CyberGhost is a great VPN service for Android users, and its custom app for smartphones is more visually pleasing than our top picks, if that’s what you’re after.

For a more in-depth look, read our full CyberGhost review.

4. PrivateVPN

Ranked #4 out of 72 Android VPNs

  1. Quick and reliable VPN speeds
  2. Simple & easy-to-use Android VPN app
  3. Works with Netflix & iPlayer
  4. No user logs collected
  5. Advanced security features like Stealth mode
  6. VPN servers in 59 countries
  1. Small number of individual VPN servers (150)
  2. No VPN kill switch for Android
  • Best Price

    $1.89/mo over 2 years

    See all plans

  • Top Speedi

    86Mbps same city speed

    Based on a 100Mbps test connection

  • Servers

    59 countries, 150+ servers

  • Compatible with

    • Windows logoWindows
    • Mac logoMac
    • iOS logoiOS
    • Android logoAndroid
    • Linux logoLinux

The Bottom Line

PrivateVPN is our #4 VPN for Android thanks to its secure, super-fast, and feature-packed Android app.

Android users are treated to PrivateVPN’s stealth protocol (which is ideal for high-censorship countries like China), port connection options, and the choice to block IPv6 requests, making it a super safe VPN to use.

It also keeps absolutely no user VPN logs.

The Android app is sleek and easy to use, with a modern-looking, intuitive interface.

Like CyberGhost it comes with VPN servers dedicated to accessing streaming platforms like Netflix and BBC iPlayer.

But are there any cons?

Unfortunately, yes.

PrivateVPN comes with a very small VPN server network, which amounts to a total of 150 individual servers. This could lead to congestion at peak times.

However, it’s definitely still worth considering – we consistently experienced impressively fast download speeds. It’s one of the fastest VPNs out there.

For a more in-depth look, read our full PrivateVPN review.

5. IPVanish

Ranked #5 out of 72 Android VPNs

  1. Well-designed Android VPN app
  2. Consistently fast VPN speeds
  3. Strict no-logs policy
  4. Works with Netflix
  5. Advanced settings like port selection
  6. APK file for easy side-loading
  1. No VPN kill switch for Android app
  2. Doesn’t work with BBC iPlayer
  3. Doesn't work with Disney+
  4. Doesn't work in China
  5. Short refund period (seven days)
  • Best Price

    $3.25/mo over 12 months

    See all plans

  • Top Speedi

    84Mbps same city speed

    Based on a 100Mbps test connection

  • Servers

    50 countries, 1,300 servers

  • Compatible with

    • Windows logoWindows
    • Mac logoMac
    • iOS logoiOS
    • Android logoAndroid
    • Linux logoLinux

The Bottom Line

IPVanish is a good choice for those who want lots of configurable options on their Android VPN, but don’t mind a lack of streaming support.

IPVanish’s Android app – while in great need of a makeover – comes with advanced settings like split-tunneling, OpenVPN scrambling, and port selection.

If your Android device doesn’t support VPN apps, you can download IPVanish’s APK file from your account and sideload the VPN into your device (as long as it has access to the Google Play store).

We recorded fast download (and upload) speeds on nearby VPN servers.

And from a privacy perspective, IPVanish operates a strict no-logs policy so web activity logs won’t be stored on its VPN servers.

This makes IPVanish an excellent choice for torrenters and Kodi fans (which you can use with IPVanish’s Fire TV Stick app, too).

The other custom VPN apps in IPVanish’s offering are: Windows, MacOS, and iOS. Unlike the other top VPN services, there isn’t a native Linux app.

Want to unlock video content? IPVanish does work with US and UK Netflix, but it’s a little fiddly to get it working. And, it doesn’t unlock BBC iPlayer or Disney+.

Like NordVPN, there’s no VPN kill switch on the Android app – but you can manually configure your Android device to provide the same protection.

Another drawback is that the refund period is quite short (seven days).

However, IPVanish’s strong security and fast speeds will win over those who aren’t fussed about one-click streaming.

For a more in-depth look, read our full IPVanish review.

Popular Questions

Do I Really Need a VPN on My Android?

Whether you’re casually web browsing or accessing sensitive information, it’s extremely important to use a trustworthy VPN on your Android phone (and all other internet-connected devices).

Why?

In many countries, government agencies snoop on citizens’ online activities and some ISPs even sell customers’ location data and web browsing habits to advertisers.

A VPN can protect you against this invasion of your privacy.

VPNs can also protect you against malicious hackers, who take advantage of the weak security of public WiFi hotspots to steal your valuable and private data.

And then there’s the less scary but equally important side of VPNs…

They let you unlock restricted web content all over the world.

Whether you’re in a country that highly censors the internet – if you are then read our guide to the best VPNs for China – or looking to stream US Netflix from abroad, a VPN will unlock that web content.

What’s the Best VPN for Android?

The best VPN for Android is ExpressVPN, which is also our overall top-rated VPN.

ExpressVPN is ideal for Android users because of its simple but powerful custom Android VPN app.

Screenshot of ExpressVPN Android App

It’s fast, secure, it works with streaming services like Netflix and it allows torrenting on all VPN servers.

But ExpressVPN isn’t the only great VPN for Android users – all of the VPNs we recommend in this guide are.

Even better, all the above VPN apps work with different versions of the Android OS: 10.0, Pie, Oreo, Nougat, Marshmallow, and more.

Can You Get a Free VPN for Android?

The VPNs we picked for this guide are all paid, so you might be wondering: are there any free VPNs for Android?

There are! Loads, in fact.

But not all of them are good (or safe). We investigated 150 free Android VPNs and discovered that 85% have privacy issues, and 25% don’t hide your IP address.

If you’re not ready to pay for a VPN just yet, make sure you read our guide to the best (and safest) free Android VPNs.

Spoiler: Windscribe is the top free VPN for Android. It’s safe, secure, and fast, but like many free VPNs it does come with a data cap.

Screenshot of Windscribe Free Android App

Are Free VPNs Safe to Use on Android?

Many free VPNs for mobile devices, including Android, aren’t safe. Some of them are downright dangerous.

Our independent research has shown that many free VPNs have secret Chinese ownership, while others have intrusive app permissions.

There are free VPNs that sell your personal data to targeted advertisers, and some could even damage your phone software by infecting it with malware.

However, there are a handful of secure free VPN apps that will protect your Android smartphone (as we talked about above).

What’s the Fastest VPN for Android?

The fastest Android VPN is ExpressVPN – it’s been the quickest and most consistent VPN that we’ve tested to date.

Don’t believe us?

The test results below speak for themselves.

Here’s our internet speed with no VPN:

Screenshot of speed test with no VPN

And here it is when we connected to a nearby ExpressVPN server:

Screenshot of speed test when ExpressVPN is connected

That’s a speed drop of just 17% (which isn’t much at all) – more than fast enough to do all the things you do online without a VPN, and you’ll be far safer with it.

Some VPNs may be at times faster than ExpressVPN, but ExpressVPN provides more reliability over short and long distance connections than any other VPN we’ve tested.

How to Set Up & Use a VPN On Your Android Phone

How exactly do you get a VPN onto your Android smartphone?

It’s super easy, just follow these simple steps:

1. Purchase a VPN subscription (if your VPN is a paid one).

2. Go to the Google Play Store on your device, search for the VPN you’ve subscribed to, and download the app.

Screenshot of ExpressVPN Android app on Google Play Store

3. Log in with your VPN credentials (provided by the VPN service you’ve picked).

If your VPN doesn’t have a native Android app, you can set it up manually. However, we recommend getting a VPN that has a custom Android app.

If you get stuck, read our guide to installing a VPN on Android or contact your VPN service’s customer support.

Once you’ve installed the VPN on your Android phone, there are a few settings you’ll need to play with to make your connection as safe as possible.

1. Enable the VPN kill switch and IP leak protection – if your VPN service has them.

2. VPN protocol: if your VPN gives you a choice of protocols, select OpenVPN – it gives you the best balance between speed and privacy. Crucially, avoid PPTP at all costs. See our guide to VPN protocols for more information.

3. Choose which VPN server location you want to connect to.

For the best speeds, choose the closest VPN server to your physical location.

Many VPNs have an automatic setting that does this for you, but if not, select a server in the nearest city or country.

This doesn’t apply if you want to access location-specific content, in which case pick the relevant country or city.

4. Your VPN is now set up and ready to go. But, how do you actually turn it on on your Android device?

Well, more often than not it’s as simple as tapping the button that says ‘Connect’.

You may be asked to accept a VPN connection request like this:

Screenshot of VPN connection request on Android

Tap ‘OK’.

Once connected, the VPN app will run in the background, leaving you to carry on using your Android device as normal.

Can I Use a VPN on Android TV?

VPNs aren’t just for your Android smartphone – you can install them on your Android TV, too!

Some VPNs come with a dedicated Android TV app – like ExpressVPN and NordVPN – while others work with Android TV by connecting the device to a configured router.

If your VPN comes with a custom Android TV VPN app, the setup process is much the same as the process for your phone.

Just download the app from the Google Play Store and set it up as you would on your phone.

Screenshot of NordVPN Android TV app

If your VPN doesn’t come with a dedicated app for Android TV, you can either:

How to Change Your Android’s IP Address

Changing your Android device’s IP address is really simple.

Just connect to a VPN server and voilà, your true IP address is hidden and a new one has taken its place.

If you want a geo-specific IP address just connect to a VPN server located in that country or city.

You can check that the VPN has successfully changed your IP address by running a leak test on browserleaks.com.

Screenshot of ExpressVPN leak test results on browserleaks.com while connected to a Sydney VPN server

ExpressVPN leak test results. We test from the UK.

There are also other ways to change your Android’s IP address – we looked at four in our ‘How to Hide Your IP Address’ guide.

How to Manually Set Up a VPN Kill Switch on Android

Not many VPN services include a built-in kill switch for their Android apps.

But, there is a way to enable a similar security feature within the Android device settings (you’ll need to be running Android Version 8 or higher).

First, you’ll need to accept the VPN connection request from your VPN app, whether that pops up during the initial setup or after you tap ‘Connect’.

Now, go into your phone’s connection settings and look for VPN settings (this may be within advanced settings).

Tap on the cog symbol next to the VPN name and logo, and toggle on ‘Always-on VPN’ and then ‘Block connections without VPN’.

Finally, tap ‘Turn On’ when the ‘Require VPN connection?’ message pops up.

Screenshot of manual NordVPN kill switch setup

This should block internet traffic when the VPN is not connected.

Remember, if you disconnect from the VPN, you won’t be able to access the internet until you disable the ‘Block connections without VPN setting’.

You also won’t be able to take advantage of your VPN’s split-tunneling feature when the above setting enabled.

About the Author


  • Simon Migliano Head of Research at Top10VPN

    Simon Migliano

    Simon is our Head of Research and has tested hundreds of VPNs since 2016. His research has been covered by the BBC, The New York Times, CNet, Wired, and more. Read full bio