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The Best VPNs for Android

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Podium Rankings for Best VPN
Simon Migliano Head of Research at Top10VPN
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Simon is a recognized world expert in VPNs. He's tested hundreds of VPN services and his research has featured on the BBC, The New York Times, CNet and more. Read full bio

Every Android device holds vast amounts of personal data. This information can be easily stolen if sent over an open WiFi network, particularly if the connection is not HTTPS.

VPN software encrypts your internet connection, making it much harder for hackers to intercept your data transfers. A good VPN app is essential if you use insecure public WiFi on your smartphone.

There are hundreds of VPN apps on Google’s Play Store, but many have serious security flaws. Almost 75% of Android VPNs we tested are potentially unsafe.

We’ve tested hundreds of VPNs on our Samsung Galaxy test smartphone. The five VPNs for Android below are the very best we’ve tested.

Following our recent tests, the best VPN apps for Android devices are:

  1. ExpressVPN: The overall best VPN for Android. Read summary.
  2. NordVPN: The best Android VPN for extra features.
    Read summary
    .
  3. CyberGhost: The easiest to use Android VPN. Read summary.
  4. PrivateVPN: The best cheap Android VPN. Read summary.
  5. IPVanish: The best VPN for the entire Android ecosystem.
    Read summary
    .

The VPN apps above are the fastest, safest and most private we’ve tested for Android. Compare them side by side further below.

Moreover, they bypass content geo-restrictions worldwide, including streaming platforms like Netflix, HBO and BBC iPlayer.

The VPNs we recommend all have native VPN apps for Android 11, Android 10 and older AndroidOS versions. They also work on 4G, 3G and LTE connections, in addition to WiFi.

ExpressVPN and IPVanish even come with an official APK file, for easier setup on Android boxes like Nvidia Shield TV and Xiami Mi Box S. This is key to anonymize your IPTV and Kodi streams.

If you want to protect your Android device, but aren’t ready to pay for a subscription, read our list of the best free VPNs for Android.

Top VPNs for Android: Performance Ratings

In the table below you can see how the best Android VPNs perform in each testing category:

The Best Android VPN Apps in 2021

  1. 1. ExpressVPN: The Top VPN for Android

    The outright best Android VPN for speed, security, and streaming.

    Ranked #1 out of 68 VPNs for Android
    ExpressVPN's new app on mobile devices
     96% 
    (1,768 user reviews)
    Visit ExpressVPN

    Pros

    1. Fast speeds over short and long distances
    2. Sleek custom VPN app for Android devices
    3. Unblocks Netflix & other popular streaming apps
    4. No user logs & no IP address leaks
    5. APK file available (for Smart TVs)
    6. VPN servers in 94 countries
    Cons
    1. Expensive on short subscription plans

    Overall Android Rating: 9.6/10

    This rating is calculated based on the following subcategory ratings. To learn more, read our Android testing methodology.

    • 9.7
    • 9.4
    • 9.7
    • 9.7
    • 9.3

    ExpressVPN is the top-rated VPN for Android. Its custom VPN app for Android is very easy to install and use on smartphones, tablets and TVs. Once the VPN is running, you’ll experience very fast and consistent speeds across the entire VPN server network.

    Cheapest Price$6.67/mo over 15 Months See all plans
    Top Download Speedi

    Based on a 100Mbps test connection

    88Mbps
    Data CapNone
    Servers3,000
    Compatible with
    1. androidAndroid
    2. chromeosChromeos
    3. chromecastChromecast
    4. androidtvAndroid TV
    5. chromeChrome
    6. windowsWindows
    7. macosMacOS
    8. linuxLinux
    9. iosiOS
    10. amazon_firetvFire TV
    11. appletvApple TV
    12. rokuRoku
    13. playstationPlayStation
    14. xboxXbox
    15. firefoxFirefox
    16. edgeEdge
    17. routerRouter

    Excellent for streaming and super-secure

    In fact, whether you connect to nearby or distant VPN servers, ExpressVPN’s speeds are remarkably quick and stable, which is ideal for HD streaming. If streaming is why you want an Android VPN, then ExpressVPN unlocks 19 different Netflix libraries as well as Disney+, Hulu, BBC iPlayer and more.

    ExpressVPN also operates a privacy-first logs policy, which means it won’t collect any personally-identifiable user logs. Plus, the company is based in the privacy-focused British Virgin Islands, a country not required or expected to hand over data to outside governments.

    Additionally, ExpressVPN is very secure. Its Android app includes all top security features including AES-256 encryption and the ability to “block the internet when unable to connect or reconnect to VPN” – which works just like a kill switch.

    ExpressVPN homescreen on Android

    ExpressVPN on Android looks almost identical to its Windows counterpart.

    More expensive than rivals, but worth it

    You can use ExpressVPN on up to five devices at one time, so you’re not just restricted to your Android handset.

    ExpressVPN is slightly more expensive than our other top recommendations, but it is without a doubt the best VPN for Android. If you’re looking for quality and reliability, it’s worth the extra couple of dollars a month.

  2. 2. NordVPN: Best for Extra Features

    An extremely fast and secure VPN for Android – all for a low price.

    NordVPN Mobile App Screenshot
     94% 
    (246 user reviews)
    Visit NordVPN

    Pros

    1. Very fast VPN speeds
    2. User-friendly Android VPN app
    3. Works with Netflix & BBC iPlayer
    4. VPN servers in 59 countries
    5. Strict no-logs policy
    6. Advanced privacy features
    Cons
    1. Extra VPN protocols require manual configuration
    2. No VPN kill switch for Android app
    3. No PayPal as a payment method
    4. Unreliable in China
    5. No APK file

    Overall Android Rating: 9.5/10

    This rating is calculated based on the following subcategory ratings. To learn more, read our Android testing methodology.

    • 9.5
    • 9.8
    • 9.1
    • 9.8
    • 9.5

    NordVPN is a very good VPN service for Android devices, even if it can’t quite compete with ExpressVPN. Its Android VPN app is simple and user-friendly, and you can set it up in just a few minutes.

    Cheapest Price$3.30/mo over 27 Months See all plans
    Top Download Speedi

    Based on a 100Mbps test connection

    93Mbps
    Data CapUnlimited
    Servers5,343
    Compatible with
    1. androidAndroid
    2. chromecastChromecast
    3. chromeChrome
    4. windowsWindows
    5. macosMacOS
    6. linuxLinux
    7. iosiOS
    8. amazon_firetvFire TV
    9. appletvApple TV
    10. rokuRoku
    11. playstationPlayStation
    12. xboxXbox
    13. firefoxFirefox
    14. routerRouter

    Reliably fast speeds across thousands of global servers

    NordVPN works with most popular streaming platforms like Netflix and Disney+, and it also comes with dedicated VPN servers for P2P torrenting and Tor. Its total server count sits at over 5,000 worldwide.

    NordVPN is a very fast VPN service – in fact, it’s one of the fastest VPNs we’ve tested. You’ll experience the best speeds if you connect to a nearby VPN server, but it’s also very fast on longer distances.

    NordVPN homescreen on Android

    NordVPN’s presentation on Android might not please everyone, but the app is still easy to use.

    Secure encryption at an affordable price

    However, NordVPN isn’t perfect. The Android app doesn’t have a built-in VPN kill switch (which is common), but you can manually set up similar protection from within your Android device settings. If you’re not willing to alter those settings, you’re at risk of exposing your real IP address.

    Another drawback is the lack of VPN protocol choice within the Android app. If you want to use an alternative protocol you’ll have to manually configure it.

    NordVPN is still a secure VPN that uses 256-bit AES encryption. It’s cheaper than both ExpressVPN and IPVanish on long subscriptions, which makes it a very good alternative.

  3. 3. CyberGhost: Best Choice for Beginners

    A fast and simple VPN for Android that's great for streaming.

    CyberGhost app
     94% 
    (312 user reviews)
    Visit CyberGhost

    Pros

    1. Well-designed VPN app for Android
    2. Fast short-distance VPN speeds
    3. Works with Netflix & most popular streaming sites
    4. Android app has built-on VPN kill switch
    5. Strictly no-logs VPN service
    6. 45-day money-back guarantee
    Cons
    1. Doesn't work in China
    2. Slower international speeds
    3. No APK file

    Overall Android Rating: 9.4/10

    This rating is calculated based on the following subcategory ratings. To learn more, read our Android testing methodology.

    • 9.3
    • 9.5
    • 9.5
    • 9.3
    • 9.6

    CyberGhost is the ideal choice if you love to stream on your Android phone or tablet. Its custom app for Android is sleek and intuitive, and it comes with VPN servers dedicated to accessing content on popular streaming platforms.

    Cheapest Price$2.25/mo over 3 years See all plans
    Top Download Speedi

    Based on a 100Mbps test connection

    89Mbps
    Data CapNone
    Servers6,900
    Compatible with
    1. androidAndroid
    2. chromecastChromecast
    3. chromeChrome
    4. windowsWindows
    5. macosMacOS
    6. linuxLinux
    7. iosiOS
    8. amazon_firetvFire TV
    9. appletvApple TV
    10. rokuRoku
    11. playstationPlayStation
    12. xboxXbox
    13. firefoxFirefox
    14. routerRouter

    Good for streaming on the go, with a no-logs policy

    You can watch Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, and more by tapping on the ‘Streaming friendly’ tab and connecting to your desired VPN server. With fast download speeds on local servers, CyberGhost will allow you to watch your favorite shows in HD with little buffering.

    CyberGhost’s no-logs policy and an always-on VPN kill switch make it one of the most secure Android VPNs on the market, too.

    CyberGhost VPN homescreen on Android

    CyberGhost’s Android VPN only has a dark mode interface.

    Won't work in China, but its app is very well designed

    Unfortunately, CyberGhost won’t work in high-censorship countries like China and Turkey, unlike its top two rivals.

    Aside from that,though, CyberGhost is a great VPN for Android, and its custom Android app is clearly laid-out and easy to use. It also offers a 45-day money-back guarantee, which is more generous than the 30 days offered by the other VPN services in this list.

  4. 4. PrivateVPN: The Cheapest Android VPN

    An extremely affordable VPN with impressive speeds on Android.

    Image of PrivateVPN's app on mobile
     98% 
    (1,736 user reviews)
    Visit PrivateVPN

    Pros

    1. Quick and reliable VPN speeds
    2. Simple & easy-to-use Android VPN app
    3. Works with Netflix & BBC iPlayer
    4. No user logs collected
    5. Advanced security features like Stealth mode
    6. VPN servers in 59 countries
    Cons
    1. Small number of individual VPN servers (150)
    2. No VPN kill switch for Android
    3. Live chat support is not always available
    4. No APK file

    Overall Android Rating: 9.3/10

    This rating is calculated based on the following subcategory ratings. To learn more, read our Android testing methodology.

    • 9.6
    • 9.8
    • 8.9
    • 9.1
    • 9

    PrivateVPN has a secure, fast, and feature-packed Android VPN app. The app is well-presented and easy to use, with a modern-looking and intuitive interface.

    Cheapest Price$1.98/mo over 24 months See all plans
    Top Download Speedi

    Based on a 100Mbps test connection

    94Mbps
    Data CapUnlimited
    Servers200
    Compatible with
    1. androidAndroid
    2. chromecastChromecast
    3. androidtvAndroid TV
    4. windowsWindows
    5. macosMacOS
    6. linuxLinux
    7. iosiOS
    8. amazon_firetvFire TV
    9. appletvApple TV
    10. rokuRoku
    11. playstationPlayStation
    12. xboxXbox
    13. routerRouter

    Great extra features & dedicated streaming servers

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

    Its stealth protocol feature (ideal for high-censorship countries like China), port connection options, and the ability to block IPv6 requests, make it a very safe VPN to use. It also doesn’t keep any user activity logs.

    PureVPN Android app homescreen

    The PrivateVPN Android app is very streamlined – OpenVPN is your only choice of protocol.

    The cheapest option, plus a risk-free trial period

    PrivateVPN comes with a true seven-day free trial. It doesn’t require any payment upfront, so you can try PrivateVPN at zero cost before buying it.

    If you do decide to subscribe, the lowest monthly rate is by far the cheapest on this list at less than $2.00 per month.

    Overall, PrivateVPN is a great Android VPN for speed, security, streaming, and torrenting – all for a low monthly subscription cost.

  5. 5. IPVanish: Best for Advanced Users

    The best Android VPN for Kodi, IPTV, and advanced configuration.

    IPVanish VPN
     96% 
    (175 user reviews)
    Visit IPVanish

    Pros

    1. Well-designed Android VPN app
    2. Consistently fast VPN speeds
    3. APK file for easy side-loading on all Android devices
    4. Strict no-logs policy
    5. Works with US Netflix
    6. Advanced settings like port selection
    Cons
    1. No VPN kill switch on the Android app
    2. Doesn’t work with BBC iPlayer or Disney+
    3. Doesn't work in China

    Overall Android Rating: 8.6/10

    This rating is calculated based on the following subcategory ratings. To learn more, read our Android testing methodology.

    • 7.3
    • 9
    • 8.5
    • 9.6
    • 9.9

    IPVanish is an extremely good choice for those who want lots of configurable options with their Android VPN. In fact, the Android app comes with advanced settings like split tunneling, OpenVPN scrambling, and port selection.

    If your Android device doesn’t support VPN apps, you can download the VPN’s APK file from your IPVanish account and sideload the VPN into your device.

    Cheapest Price$3.75/mo for 12 months See all plans
    Top Download Speedi

    Based on a 100Mbps test connection

    84Mbps
    Data CapUnlimited
    Servers1,400
    Compatible with
    1. androidAndroid
    2. windowsWindows
    3. macosMacOS
    4. linuxLinux
    5. iosiOS
    6. routerRouter

    Fast speeds backed by a flawless logging policy

    We recorded fast download (and upload) speeds using IPVanish – just a 10% download speed loss on a local connection.

    IPVanish is also excellent from a privacy perspective, too. It’s one of the few VPNs available to be truly 100% zero-logs – absolutely no user data is retained.

    Android app homescreen for IPVanish VPN

    The Android app for IPVanish may look intimidating, but it’s a lot more simple than it looks.

    Accessing streaming sites is its one weakness

    The problem with IPVanish is that it doesn’t work that well with streaming platforms. While it unblocks US Netflix, it doesn’t work with many other services like BBC iPlayer or Disney+.

    There’s no VPN kill switch on the Android app either, but you can manually configure your Android device to provide the same protection.

    If you don’t stream on your Android handset, though, IPVanish’s strong security and fast speeds should be enough to win you over.

The 5 Best Android VPNs Compared

Simply want to know how the five VPNs on this page compare at a glance?

The table below features the five top-rated VPNs for Android alongside their most important attributes.

You can use it to compare each VPN by speed, server count, advanced security features, and more.

Why Do I Need a VPN on Android?

Whether you’re casually web browsing or accessing sensitive information, using a trustworthy VPN on your Android device can help protect your privacy and security online.

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

If you live in the US, the UK, Poland, Brazil, or any number of supposedly ‘free’ nations around the world, your privacy is at risk.

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

Installing and activating VPN software on Android will connect your device to a remote VPN server. This hides your IP address and replaces it with an IP address in a different location. All of the data sent from your Android device will be routed through an encrypted tunnel.

By encrypting your data, a VPN can 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, too. By hiding your IP address, a VPN can let you access restricted web content from all over the world, which means movies, TV shows, and video games previously out of your reach are now accessible on Android.

Whether you’re in a country that highly censors the internet or looking to stream US Netflix from abroad, a VPN will unlock that web content.

Can I Get a Free VPN for Android?

There are hundreds of free VPNs for Android, but not all of them are good.

Our free VPN safety investigations discovered that 85% on free Android VPNs have privacy issues, and 25% don’t hide your IP address.

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 device.

How We Test the Best VPNs for Android

When testing VPNs for Android we focus on the aspects of a VPN that are most relevant to Android users.

For Android VPNs specifically, we consider:

  • How easy it is to stream, and how many services it can access.
  • How fast the VPN is, both for upload and download speeds.
  • The features present in the Android app, and how easy it is to use.
  • How secure the VPN is and what level of encryption is used.
  • Whether you can trust the VPN logging policy, and how much data is retained.

Here’s how we test all of those criteria, along with the specifics that we look out for. You can also see the weightings of each category to better understand how we calculate the overall rating for Android:

1. Streaming: 30%

Minimum Requirement: Can access US Netflix.
We Recommend: Can access other streaming services and additional Netflix libraries.

Streaming is the most popular reason to use a VPN on Android.

We can’t just rely on our testing data from desktop platforms, though. Sometimes a VPN which streams a certain service on Windows won’t be able to on Android, or vice-versa.

We install a VPN on a Samsung Galaxy S9 test handset, connect to a server in the desired country, and try to watch a specific streaming service.

The ability to stream the United States Netflix library is a priority due to its popularity. Other Netflix libraries like Germany, Japan, and the UK are also desirable.

We also routinely test for other services like BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime Video, and Disney+.

2. Speed: 20%

Minimum Requirement: Less than 40% speed loss on local connections.
We Recommend: Less than 20% speed loss on local connections or 40% on distant ones.

Even the very best VPNs slow down internet connections. The difference between a good one and a bad one is in just how great the slowdown is.

This statement is true on mobile, too. Whether you’re using cellular data or a WiFi connection, you need a VPN which alters your download speeds as little as possible.

When testing speeds on Android we follow the same manual process as outlined on our ‘How We Review VPNs’ page.

As a rough guideline, if you connect to a server near your real-world location, a good VPN will slow your internet by less than 20%. If you’re connecting to one further away (to watch Netflix from that region, for example) then less than 40% slowdown to your download speeds is very good.

Those figures should be good enough to keep your app store downloads quick and your streams buffer-free.

3. Android App: 20%

Minimum Requirement: A bespoke Android app with a VPN kill switch.
We Recommend: The above, plus extra usability features like split tunneling.

The bare minimum we expect from a VPN provider is a proper Android app, built specifically for the platform. It shouldn’t just be a lazy copy of the desktop app and it shouldn’t be missing too many features.

Good Android VPNs are intuitive and easy to use on a small touchscreen. The kill switch is the most essential feature, which prevents your IP address from being exposed should the connection drop.

Split tunneling is less common, but equally useful. With it, you can choose which apps are rerouted by the VPN and which operate outside of it.

4. Security & Encryption: 15%

Minimum Requirement: AES-128 encryption and a reliable default protocol like IKEv2.
We Recommend: AES-256 encryption and either OpenVPN or a bespoke protocol.

One area which can see the biggest difference between desktop VPNs and mobile VPNs is the actual encryption technology used.

Even the most popular VPNs tend to offer different standards of encryption on Android compared to the Windows program. AES-256 is still the super-secure level to aim for, and is commonplace in most good Android VPNs.

It’s rare to see a broad selection of VPN protocols on Android, too. You don’t necessarily need a wide choice, though. So long as OpenVPN, WireGuard, or IKEv2 are present then it’s safe. Provider-specific protocols like NordLynx and Lightway are also good choices.

5. Logging Policy: 15%

Minimum Requirement: Minimal aggregated or anonymous usage data collected.
We Recommend: No logs retained whatsoever.

VPN logging policies can actually vary by platform. If you use a VPN on Android there’s a chance that there may be trackers, analytics, and third-party data sharing that doesn’t happen on a desktop version of the app.

We make sure to fully explore all the ways your personal data is tracked and retained when you use a VPN on Android. We read through lengthy privacy policies, check the accuracy of app store labels, and read all the terms and conditions of any third parties.

You shouldn’t use a VPN which logs anything that can be used to identify you. This includes your IP address, DNS requests, and browser timestamps.

The ideal VPN collects no information whatsoever. There are a few that genuinely offer this, although the collection of anonymized metadata and top-level server statistics is also acceptable.

Additional research by Liam Mullally

Android VPN FAQs

What’s the Fastest VPN for Android?

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

The test results speak for themselves. We measured the difference in our internet speeds before and after connecting to a nearby ExpressVPN server on Android.

We measured a speed drop of just 17%, from 50.6Mbps to 41.8Mbps (which isn’t much at all). This is 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 faster than ExpressVPN at certain times, but ExpressVPN provides more reliability over short and long distance connections than any other VPN we’ve tested. For details of the overall best-performing VPN software, read our list of the fastest VPNs we’ve tested.

What's the Best VPN for Android TV Box?

Android VPNs aren’t just for your Android smartphone. You can also use them on your Android TV box. The best VPN for Android TV boxes is ExpressVPN.

Some VPNs, like ExpressVPN and NordVPN, come with a dedicated Android TV app. If your VPN comes with one, the setup process is much the same as the process for your phone. Download the VPN app from the Google Play Store, and set it up as you would on your smartphone.

If your VPN service doesn’t have an Android TV app, either set the VPN up on your home router, or side load it onto your Android device using its APK file.

You can find details on how to do this in our guide to installing a VPN on Android.

How to Change IP Address on Android

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

Just connect to a VPN server and your true IP address will be hidden and replaced with a new one.

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 using our What Is My IP Address tool.

About the Author


  • Simon Migliano Head of Research at Top10VPN

    Simon Migliano

    Simon is a recognized world expert in VPNs. He's tested hundreds of VPN services and his research has featured on the BBC, The New York Times, CNet and more. Read full bio