We review VPNs independently, but we may earn commissions if you buy a VPN via our links.

The Best Free & Paid VPNs for Android

Podium Rankings for Best VPN

Simon Migliano 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 and more.

Fact-checked by JP JonesAdditional Testing by Alyx Morley

EXPERT ADVICE: Free Android VPNs are less effective than paid ones. ExpressVPN, the best Android VPN overall, delivers much higher levels of privacy, security, and unblocking. Try ExpressVPN risk-free for 30 days.

There are countless free Android VPN apps in the Google Play Store, but many are unsafe to install and use.

We have uncovered over 100 dangerous free VPNs with security flaws and intrusive permission requests. Some Android VPNs didn’t even hide our IP address, making them useless.

What Is the Best Free VPN for Android in 2024?

Based on our Android-specific tests, the best completely free (safe) Android VPNs are:

  1. Proton VPN Free: Best 100% Free VPN for Android
  2. Windscribe Free: Best Free Android VPN for Server Locations
  3. PrivadoVPN Free: Best Free VPN for Streaming on Android

The best completely free VPN for Android is Proton VPN. The free VPN delivered high levels of internet privacy and security in our tests, as well as excellent speeds connecting to its free servers. Unlike other safe free VPNs, Proton VPN allows unlimited bandwidth, and there is no requirement to submit payment details.

Sadly, even the best free Android VPNs are limited compared to subscription-based services. Paid VPNs typically deliver the fastest speeds, have unlimited data allowances, bypass streaming geo-blocks and let you download large files anonymously.

What Is the Overall Best VPN for Android?

The overall best VPN apps for Android are:

  1. ExpressVPN: Best VPN for Android Overall
  2. NordVPN: Best VPN for Streaming on Android
  3. Surfshark: Best Cheap VPN for Android

The overall best VPN for Android in 2024 is ExpressVPN with an Android-specific rating of 9.7/10. The VPN app is highly secure, doesn’t collect web logs, and has an integrated VPN kill switch. ExpressVPN also offers an apk file for added Android compatibility.

In this guide we’ll also explain how to use an Android VPN and which free Android VPNs to avoid.

Comparison of the Best Android VPNs

The table below compares the highest-rated free and paid Android VPNs for speed, privacy, device limit, monthly data cap, and more.

Our recommended Android VPNs have native apps for AndroidOS 14.0, 13.0 and older versions. They won’t leak your IP address, won’t log your internet activity, and won’t ask for unnecessary permissions.

Why Trust Us?

We’re fully independent and have been reviewing VPNs since 2016. Our ratings are based on our own testing results and are unaffected by financial incentives. Learn who we are and how we test VPNs.

Android VPNs Investigated150
Total Hours of Testing30,000+
Test DevicesPixel 7 Pro & Samsung Galaxy S9

Analysis of the Best Free Android VPNs

  1. 1. Proton VPN Free: Best Free VPN for Android

    Best free Android VPN with unlimited data, extremely fast speeds & no payment details needed.

    Ranked #1 Free VPN for Android
    Screenshot of Proton VPN's mobile app
     Rated 5 out of 5 
    3 reviews
    Visit Proton VPN

    • Unlimited internet data usage
    • No payment info on signup
    • 200 very fast free servers
    • Privacy-friendly logging policy & Swiss jurisdiction
    • Android kill switch
    • apk file available for sideloading

    • Only 3 VPN server locations
    • Doesn't unblock streaming services, like Netflix or Disney+
    • Torrenting not allowed

    Overall Android Rating: 7.4/10

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

    • 8.48.4/10
    • 9.49.4/10
    • 9.59.5/10
    • 99.0/10
    • 11.0/10
    • 00.0/10

    Proton VPN Free is the best free unlimited VPN for Android thanks to its extremely fast speeds, excellent technical features, and privacy-friendly logging policy.

    Its Android app is intuitive and has most of the same features as the desktop version, including a kill switch and malware blocking. Importantly, it doesn’t require any payment information on signup.

    Proton VPN's app for Android

    While it’s a great choice for security and privacy, it can’t unblock many streaming services or be used for P2P file sharing.

    Cheapest PriceFree
    Local Speed94Mbps
    Data CapUnlimited
    US NetflixNo
    Data LeaksNo
    Countries with Servers3
    Compatible with
    1. androidAndroid
    2. windowsWindows
    3. macosmacOS
    4. linuxLinux
    5. iosiOS

    Unlimited free data and access to three countries

    Proton VPN Free is the only free VPN we recommend with no data cap, meaning you can leave it on all the time. Most free VPNs implement a strict data limit, so you can only use it for a short period of time.

    Proton VPN Free Server List on Android

    Proton VPN Free offers servers in three countries: the US, the Netherlands, and Japan.

    Using Proton VPN Free on Android, you can use 200 servers in Japan, the Netherlands, and the US as much as you like.

    Secure, fast speeds & no identifying data retained

    Proton VPN Free takes privacy very seriously and doesn’t collect any information that could compromise your anonymity. Connections are secured with AES-256 encryption, and you have secure protocols (WireGuard and OpenVPN) to choose from. There’s also a kill switch in the Android device settings, called “Always-on”.

    Proton VPN Free is also one of the fastest free VPNs for Android. Using our 100Mbps baseline internet connections, we recorded speeds of 98Mbps while connected to a local Proton VPN Free server.

    Screenshot of Proton VPN Free on Android, connected to a server in the US.

    Proton VPN Free connected quickly to a server in the US.

    In comparison, Windscribe Free only reaches speeds of 90Mbps on a local connection.

    However, it doesn’t work for streaming. You can’t use Proton VPN Free on Android to unblock Netflix, Disney+, Hulu or any other popular streaming platforms.

  2. 2. Windscribe Free: Best Free Android VPN for Server Locations

    A safe and free VPN that offers servers in 11 countries & unblocks 6 Netflix libraries.

    The Windscribe VPN app running on two mobiles; one displaying connection options, the other connected to a New York server.
     Rated 5 out of 5 
    3 reviews
    Visit Windscribe

    • User-friendly Android application
    • No payment details required
    • Fast same-country speeds
    • Unblocks 6 Netflix regions and BBC iPlayer
    • Minimal web usage logs
    • Unlimited simultaneous connections

    • 10GB monthly data cap
    • No inbuilt kill switch on Android
    • Doesn't unblock US Netflix
    • No human live chat available

    Overall Android Rating: 6.8/10

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

    • 8.88.8/10
    • 8.88.8/10
    • 8.98.9/10
    • 8.18.1/10
    • 8.58.5/10
    • 7.47.4/10

    Windscribe is the best free VPN for Android for a large amount of server locations. Unlike other free VPNs that greatly limit your number of locations, Windscribe gives you access to servers in 11 countries.

    It’s a fast and safe free VPN that requires no payment details in order to use it. You also won’t experience any significant speed drops, even while streaming or downloading large files.

    Windscribe's free VPN app for Android

    Cheapest PriceFree
    Data Cap10GB
    US NetflixNo
    Data LeaksNo
    Countries with Servers11
    Compatible with
    1. androidAndroid
    2. windowsWindows
    3. macosmacOS
    4. linuxLinux
    5. iosiOS

    Streams 6 Netflix libraries, Disney+, Hulu & BBC iPlayer

    Windscribe Free’s standout feature is its ability to unblock 6 Netflix regions, including the UK, Germany and France.

    The ability to unblock streaming platforms, such as BBC iPlayer, Disney+ and Hulu, is incredibly rare among free VPNs, which shows just how good Windscribe is.

    Windscribe's Free Android app unblocking Netflix Germany

    In our tests, Windscribe Free unblocked the German Netflix library.

    Unsurprisingly, the free version of Windscribe is one of the most effective free VPNs for unblocking Netflix we’ve tested.

    Windscribe was also very reliable at unblocking US Netflix in the past. However, our latest tests reveal that the free VPN has stopped unblocking the American library.

    A very private free VPN

    The VPN service collects minimal activity logs, so you can use the internet privately on your Android smartphone or tablet.

    Although Windscribe is based in privacy-unfriendly Canada, this privacy-focused logging policy will protect you from Canada’s surveillance laws.

    Like all other VPNs in this list, Windscribe’s Android app has a kill switch in the Android device settings. The feature is called Always on VPN and Block connections without VPN.

    The VPN secures your web traffic with AES 256-bit encryption, and it doesn’t suffer from IP or DNS leaks.

    The free VPN also features extras such as a built-in ad and malware blocker.

    A 10GB monthly data allowance

    Sadly, Windscribe limits its use to 10GB of data each month. While 10GB may not seem a lot, it’s actually a very generous usage allowance among free Android VPNs.

    In comparison, Proton VPN Free allows its users unlimited free data.

    No live support chat is one major drawback

    Windscribe’s customer support needs improving. It doesn’t offer human live support, and instead relies on its chat-bot service ‘Garry,’ which is mediocre at best.

    Luckily, Windscribe’s online resources are useful and answer many troubleshooting queries.

    On the whole, the free version of Windscribe VPN is ideal for both VPN beginners and more experienced Android users. You can see it in action during our testing in the video below:

    Whether you want to unblock websites and apps, or use the internet more privately and safely, this free VPN doesn’t disappoint.

  3. 3. PrivadoVPN Free: Best Free Android VPN for Streaming

    The only top free Android VPN that works with US Netflix.

    PrivadoVPN
     Rated 0 out of 5 
    No user reviews
    Visit PrivadoVPN

    • Works with US Netflix, Disney+, HBO Max and Hulu
    • Fast free VPN servers
    • Privacy-friendly logging policy & Swiss jurisdiction
    • Built-in Android kill switch
    • All servers allow P2P traffic
    • 14 VPN servers in 11 countries

    • 10GB per month data cap
    • Email address required

    VPN for Android Rating: 5.9/10

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

    • 6.86.8/10
    • 9.39.3/10
    • 6.46.4/10
    • 6.96.9/10
    • 8.88.8/10
    • 6.26.2/10

    PrivadoVPN Free’s user-friendly app, range of servers, and generous 10GB data allowance makes it an excellent choice for VPN beginners.

    The key benefit of using PrivadoVPN is that unblocks many popular American streaming apps such as US Netflix, Disney+, and HBO Max.

    Despite it being a newer service, it has all the basics covered and performs very well in speed and bypassing firewalls. It allows torrenting on all of its free servers.

    PrivadoVPN Free's app for Android

    Cheapest PriceFree
    Data Cap10GB
    US NetflixYes
    Data LeaksNo
    Countries with Servers11
    Compatible with
    1. androidAndroid
    2. windowsWindows
    3. macosmacOS
    4. iosiOS

    Works with US Netflix, Disney+, HBO Max, and Hulu

    Screenshot of PrivadoVPN Free connected to a server in Chicago and Hulu with US content.

    Connected to a server in Chicago, we were able to unblock and play content on Hulu.

    PrivadoVPN Free is an excellent VPN for streaming. It unblocked US Netflix, Disney+, HBO Max, and Hulu in our tests.

    As the fastest free VPN on this page, you’ll be able to watch geo-blocked content without having to worry about video buffering or lagging.

    Plenty of server locations in the EU and US

    PrivadoVPN Free gives you access to servers in:

    • Argentina
    • Brazil
    • Canada
    • France
    • Germany
    • India
    • Mexico
    • Netherlands
    • New Zealand
    • UK
    • US

    However, a major downside is the lack of servers in Asia, Africa, and Oceania. Since the further away from the servers you are, the slower your internet will be once you connect.

    PrivadoVPN Free is also good for file sharing. It allows torrenting and P2P traffic on all of its free servers.

    Good selection of protocols

    PrivadoVPN Free offers AES-256 encryption and a great selection of protocols, including IKEv2, OpenVPN, and WireGuard.

    We also like that it has a kill switch – though this has to be enabled in Android device settings like with other Android VPNs.

    During our tests, we didn’t experience any webRTC, IP, or DNS leaks.

    10GB of free data and fast speeds

    PrivadoVPN Free is a very fast VPN free VPN for Android. We particularly like how fast its download speeds are for torrenting.

    Aside from P2P, you can also stream HD content with no lag when connected to a nearby server.

    PrivadoVPN Free is best suited to you if you’re a VPN beginner that wants an easy-to-use service with decent server coverage, and a reasonable free data allowance.

In-depth Look at the Overall Best Android VPNs

  1. 1. ExpressVPN: Overall Best Android VPN

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

    Ranked #1 out of 65 VPNs for Android
    ExpressVPN's new app on mobile devices
     Rated 4.8 out of 5 
    1,889 reviews
    Visit ExpressVPN

    • Very intuitive Android VPN application
    • Fast short & long distance connection speeds
    • Integrated VPN kill switch
    • No user logs & no IP address leaks
    • Unblocks Netflix & other popular streaming apps
    • apk file for increased device compatibility

    • Expensive on short subscription plans
    • Some servers trigger CAPTCHAs on search engines
    • Threat Manager doesn't block web trackers

    Overall Android Rating: 9.6/10

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

    • 9.79.7/10
    • 9.49.4/10
    • 8.98.9/10
    • 9.69.6/10
    • 9.99.9/10
    • 9.39.3/10

    ExpressVPN is the best all-round VPN we’ve tested on Android. It has a great mobile Android app that delivers fast speeds, unblocks many streaming platforms, and allows torrenting in all its server locations.

    The VPN is service is highly secure, too. The software secures all mobile connections with AES-256 encryption, and we never suffered an and IP or DNS leak in thousands of security tests.

    ExpressVPN's app for Android

    Cheapest Price$6.67/mo over 15 Months See all plans
    Android Top Speed92Mbps
    US NetflixYes
    Data LeaksNo
    Countries with Servers106
    Compatible with
    1. androidAndroid
    2. chromeosChromeOS
    3. windowsWindows
    4. macosmacOS
    5. linuxLinux
    6. iosiOS

    Unlocks mobile streaming apps

    ExpressVPN is a great choice if you want to stream Netflix. In addition to unlocking US and UK Netflix, it streams 18 international Netflix libraries, including Germany and Japan.

    On top of this, the VPN unblocks the majority of popular streaming services, including:

    • Amazon Prime Video
    • Disney+
    • BBC iPlayer
    • HBO Max
    • Hulu
    • US Netflix

    While there aren’t dedicated streaming servers, in our experience most VPN servers work to unblock video websites and apps.

    ExpressVPN Server List on iOS & Android

    ExpressVPN server list on iOS (left) and Android (right).

    Very fast on local and international connections

    One of the reasons ExpressVPN is so good for streaming is its extremely fast mobile speeds.

    It’s proprietary Lightway protocol is one of the fastest we’ve tested. In our local speed tests ExpressVPN achieved 93Mbps download speed on a 100Mbps connection, a drop of just 7%.

    ExpressVPN is fast on long-distance connections, too. We recorded an average download speed of 76Mbps on international connections, a drop of only 24%.

    Strong encryption and an effective kill switch

    ExpressVPN uses bank-grade AES-256 encryption, and trusted VPN protocols like OpenVPN and Lightway.

    The Android app also includes key security features like a VPN kill switch, which prevents your IP leaking if the VPN cuts out. This feature is rare even among top-tier VPN Android apps.

    It says a lot about ExpressVPN that in the decade it’s been operating, the service has never suffered a single security breach.

    Compact Android application

    ExpressVPN’s Android VPN app is very intuitive to use, with simple clean buttons and easy to access advanced settings.

    It comes with a full suite of advanced features, too, such as VPN split tunneling.

    ExpressVPN Settings on Android

    Moreover, the download size of the Android app is impressively small, at just 12MB. This is less than almost every other Android VPN we’ve tested.

    Such a small installation file is ideal for users with smartphones with little spare storage.

    And if you don’t have access to the Google Play Store, you can use the VPN service’s apk file on devices that don’t support native VPN applications.

  2. 2. NordVPN: Best Android VPN for Streaming

    Popular VPN that unblocks Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and BBC iPlayer.

    NordVPN Mobile App Screenshot
     Rated 4.7 out of 5 
    246 reviews
    Visit NordVPN

    • Very fast global VPN speeds
    • 5,754 VPN servers in 60 countries
    • Regular privacy policy & security audits
    • Kill switch plus ad & malware blocker
    • Works with Netflix & BBC iPlayer
    • apk file available for sideloading

    • PayPal unavailable as a payment method
    • Server breach in 2018
    • Renews at a more expensive price

    Overall Android Rating 9.4/10

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

    • 9.19.1/10
    • 9.79.7/10
    • 8.78.7/10
    • 9.99.9/10
    • 9.89.8/10
    • 99.0/10

    NordVPN is a premium VPN app that lets you stream buffer-free, torrent and protect your privacy on Android.

    The VPN has secure AES-256 encryption and features popular VPN protocols like OpenVPN and Wireguard.

    NordVPN's app for Android

    Cheapest Price$3.29/mo over 2 years See all plans
    Android Top Speed93Mbps
    US NetflixYes
    Data LeaksNo
    Countries with Servers60
    Compatible with
    1. androidAndroid
    2. chromeosChromeOS
    3. windowsWindows
    4. macosmacOS
    5. linuxLinux
    6. iosiOS

    Smooth mobile streaming

    Thanks to NordVPN’s consistent local speeds (an average drop in download speed of just 4% on local connections), it’s a great choice for buffer-free mobile streaming.

    There are plenty of options, too. The service unblocks many popular streaming apps, including 17 Netflix libraries, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, BBC iPlayer, and HBO Max.

    Fast international speeds

    Where NordVPN stands out most, though, is its exceptional fast global speeds. On average, our download speed dropped by only 17% on international connections.

    This means if you want to watch US Netflix from Europe, or Japanese Netflix from the US you can expect a much smoother service than from other VPN services, even when streaming in HD and 4K.

    User friendly Android app

    The NordVPN Android app itself is very intuitive, with an interactive map to show what server you are currently connected to.

    Servers are sorted by both location and use, which makes it super easy to find a P2P, obfuscation, or streaming option.

    Screenshot of NordVPN's Android app, showing the homepage and server list.

    NordVPN’s Android app is user-friendly.

    Robust security & technical features

    NordVPN doesn’t store any traffic logs whatsoever, and the Android app uses unbroken AES-256 encryption.

    The service also undergoes regular independent security and privacy audits, which is the best guarantee of network safety.

    NordVPN’s Android app used to be missing a kill switch, which protects your real IP address from leaking. However, we’re pleased to see it’s recently added one. It’s reassuring that NordVPN’s Android app is improving with each new iteration.

  3. 3. Surfshark: Best Cheap VPN for Android

    Very affordable premium Android VPN that unblocks many streaming apps.

    Surfshark app
     Rated 4.1 out of 5 
    131 reviews
    Visit Surfshark

    • Unblocks 9 Netflix libraries
    • Works with BBC iPlayer, Disney+ and more
    • Android GPS location spoofing tool
    • Integrated VPN kill switch
    • Doesn't log personal internet traffic
    • apk file for use on Android (TV) boxes

    • Delay in connecting to some servers
    • Kill switch not enabled by default
    • NoBorders mode not reliable in China

    Overall Android Rating: 9.2/10

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

    • 9.29.2/10
    • 9.19.1/10
    • 8.58.5/10
    • 9.89.8/10
    • 9.79.7/10
    • 8.68.6/10

    Surfshark is the most affordable premium VPN for Android. It also offers a 7-day free trial if you sign up via your Android smartphone.

    While it doesn’t unblock as many streaming services as NordVPN or ExpressVPN, Surfshark still unblocks an impressive 9 libraries.

    Surfshark’s Android app’s unique selling point is its Override GPS location function. This setting spoofs your GPS location, preventing apps using GPS location services from tracking you.

    Surfshark's VPN app for Android

    Cheapest Price$2.21/mo over 27 months See all plans
    Android Top Speed93Mbps
    US NetflixYes
    Data LeaksNo
    Countries with Servers100
    Compatible with
    1. androidAndroid
    2. windowsWindows
    3. macosmacOS
    4. linuxLinux
    5. iosiOS

    A very affordable VPN for streaming Netflix

    Surfshark only costs $2.21 per month on a two-year subscription. This is significantly less than ExpressVPN and NordVPN ($6.67 and $3.29 per month respectively).

    With its servers and fast speeds, you can watch content from 9 Netflix libraries, including:

    • Brazil
    • Canada
    • India
    • Italy
    • Mexico
    • Singapore
    • UK
    • US

    Also, the VPN can stream Disney Plus, BBC iPlayer, and Amazon Prime Video.

    Surfshark only collects anonymous server usage logs

    Surfshark has a safe logging policy that protects its customers’ internet privacy. The only data the service collects is:

    • Aggregated performance data
    • Unsuccessful connection attempts
    • Frequency of use

    None of this information affects your privacy while using the software. This privacy-focused policy ensures Surfshark never stores your activity or IP address.

    For security, Surfshark’s Android app has a kill switch and uses the AES-256 encryption cipher, just like ExpressVPN.

    A relatively lightweight Android app

    The Surfshark Android app is small, only 19MB, but doesn’t compromise on usability or functionalities.

    Surfsharks GPS Override feature

    The settings menu on Surfshark’s Android app.

    The app’s interface is very similar to Surfshark’s desktop client, with most of the same features. It includes split tunneling which lets you choose which apps to include or exclude in your VPN tunnel.

    The Surfshark app is available from the Google Play Store, or as an apk file to side load the VPN onto Android-based devices with no access to the Play Store.

Are Android VPNs Safe?

Hundreds of millions of people use potentially unsafe free VPNs, and Android may be the platform with the most dangerous free VPNs.

The truth is, you simply can’t trust most free VPN applications with your confidential personal data.

In fact, many free Android VPNs are dangerous because they log your IP address, web activity, and internet usage.

Some free Android VPNs even sell your personal information to advertisers, or report your activity to government agencies and regulators.

After conducting investigations on free Android VPNs, we uncovered an alarming amount with suspicious links to China. Even worse, some VPNs had extremely worryingly security flaws.

We’ve investigated 150 free Android VPN applications and discovered that:

  • 85% contained security and privacy flaws
  • 25% suffered from data leaks, including IP and DNS
  • 39% asked users to grant permission to personal device information
  • 52% had various network performance issues

The charts below highlight the extent of dangerous free VPNs currently in circulation:

The dangers of free VPNs.

Our free VPN investigations uncovered a number of common security flaws.

Free Android VPNs to Avoid

Below is a list of the worst Android VPNs we’ve tested and reviewed. We strongly advise you don’t use these VPNs.

Turbo VPN

What we don’t like: We can’t recommend Turbo VPN to Android users as a reliable privacy tool as it goes against everything the VPN industry stands for.

Turbo VPN has very strong links to mainland China. It has recently improved its logging policy – it no longer stores your IP address, just anonymous data – but we still recommend avoiding this VPN.

Snap VPN

What we don’t like: Using Snap VPN on your Android device could well be worse than not using a VPN service at all.

Snap VPN sends your personal data to China, logs too much user information, and it doesn’t disclose the type of encryption it uses.

Thunder VPN

What we don’t like: Thunder VPN is one of the least secure free VPNs for Android we’ve reviewed.

Thunder VPN logs personally-identifiable web data, uses a very outdated connection protocol, and just won’t improve your internet security.

Hola VPN

What we don’t like: Hola Free VPN is one of the worst free VPNs you can use on your Android device.

Hola’s free VPN monitors all your web activity, doesn’t encrypt your connections, and has been caught selling user data on to third-parties.

SuperVPN Free VPN

What we don’t like: You must not trust SuperVPN Free VPN Client to keep your Android internet connections safe.

This Android-only free VPN has a worrying logging policy, has suspicious links to China, and the application is infested with intrusive ads.

Avoid using the VPNs above, and instead consider using the safe free Android VPNs we recommend in this guide.

How to Use a VPN on Android

Setting up and using a free VPN on Android is quick and simple. Here’s a video showing you how to install and set up Windscribe on a Samsung Galaxy S9:

How to install Windscribe on your Android device.

Here’s how to install a VPN on Android:

  1. Visit your chosen VPN service’s website and download the Android app directly onto your device.
  2. Enable any security features such as ad block or leak protection. If possible, choose the OpenVPN or WireGuard protocol.
  3. Choose a VPN server location. The closer the server to your physical location, the faster your VPN speeds will be.
  4. Tap Connect and in a matter of seconds you’ll be connected to the VPN server.

If you opt for a free VPN that doesn’t come with a dedicated Android app, follow our VPN setup instructions for Android.

EXPERT ADVICE: Android has implemented its own built-in kill switch, called Always-on VPN and Block connections without VPN. Many Android VPNs do not have an in-app kill switch, and instead rely on Android. You can turn on Android’s kill switch by toggling on ‘Always-on VPN’ and ‘Block connections without VPN’ in your device’s settings menu.

Why You Need a VPN on Android

A man connected to public WiFi while traveling.

If you want to use the internet securely and privately on your Android, you need a VPN that safeguards your internet security and privacy.

If you don’t use a secure VPN, your ISP (Internet Service Provider) can monitor what websites and apps you use, and what files you download.

Moreover, without a VPN you’re vulnerable to hackers and snoopers, particularly when using free public WiFi networks.

Here are four reasons why you should use a secure VPN on Android:

1. Stay Secure on Public WiFi

With almost 550 million public WiFi hotspots globally, free public WiFi has become a staple for millions of people.

But according to a report by Norton, 87% of people admit to taking security risks on public WiFi, such as accessing personal emails and bank accounts.

Other security risks include logging into a work email, sending a work document, and entering credit card details when online shopping.

We recommend making sure that you’re accessing HTTPS websites and using a VPN to stay safe on public WiFi.

2. Protect Yourself from ISP Snooping

Without a VPN enabled, your ISP (internet service provider) can see the websites you visit, the information you enter online, and what you download.

Depending on where you live, it might be legal for your ISP to sell your data. If you’re in a country that’s part of the EU, Canada, or Australia, you don’t have to worry as it’s illegal.

But in the US, it’s been legal for ISPs to sell customer data to third-parties since 2017, when Congress passed a resolution to terminate FCC privacy rules that would have banned the selling of customer data.

3. Unblock Streaming Services

Lots of content on streaming services such as Netflix, BBC iPlayer, HBO Max, and Disney+ is geo-restricted, which means you can’t access certain content based on your location.

For example, 30 Rock is currently available on US Netflix, but it’s unavailable for people in all other countries. If you use a VPN that specializes in unblocking Netflix content, you’ll be able to watch the program from any location at any time.

Depending on your location, you might need to use a VPN to unblock these apps or streaming content.

4. Bypass Online Censorship

In 2021, 48 government states pursued legal or administrative action against technology companies. Though some are legitimate attempts to mitigate online harms, a lot of these laws imposed online censorship and data-collection requirements for private technology companies.

You may have heard of the Great Firewall of China, or censorship in Russia. However, these are not the only countries in which censorship is an issue.

In 2021, Huawei surveillance middleboxes were found in 69 countries. They were being used to censor web content in 17 countries, including Germany, Oman, South Africa, Bangladesh, Nigeria, Italy, and Spain.

How We Test VPNs for Android

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

For Android VPNs specifically, we consider:

  1. How intuitive and easy to use the Android application is.
  2. How fast it is on Android, and whether or not it will slow down internet speeds.
  3. How trustworthy the logging policy is, and what data it retains.
  4. What encryption is in use, and if there are any useful security features.
  5. How many streaming libraries and services it can unblock, particularly Netflix.
  6. Whether P2P traffic is permitted and on how many servers.
  7. Just for free VPNs, whether there is a data usage limit per day or per month.

To make our recommendations, we test each VPN in six different categories, rating each category out of 10. We then combine these ratings to calculate an overall rating for Android.

Use the table below to see how the top free and paid VPNs for Android performed in our key testing categories:

VPNs with a data cap receive a reduction to their overall rating.

Read on for the specifics on how we assess these criteria, as well as our recommended standards for each one:

1. Android Application: 20%

Minimum Requirement: A bespoke, easy to use Android app.
We Recommend: The above, plus extra features like a kill switch.

Regardless of whether the VPN is free or not, we expect a VPN’s Android app to be functional and easy to use. It shouldn’t just be a lazy copy of the desktop app, and it shouldn’t be missing any important features.

Options and buttons should be clearly labeled, with a simple layout and intuitive menus. We consider a VPN kill switch essential. Without it, your IP address coule be exposed if your VPN connection drops.

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

You should always make sure that you have downloaded the correct, official version of any Android VPN. Both free and paid VPN apps have many clones on the Google Play Store.

Downloading these copies can result in malicious viruses, tapjacking, and URL spoofing. Make sure you find the official Play Store link or download the apk directly from the VPN service’s website.

2. Speed: 20%

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

Whether you’re on WiFi or using cellular data, a VPN will slow down your internet speeds. The best free VPNs for Android will only make a small difference to your speeds.

Our testing found many free VPNs offer speeds significantly slower than their paid app counterparts. That’s why we make sure to manually test VPNs using our Android testing device.

While free VPNs can be slower than the paid ones, our expectations remain the same. There’s no reason for a good VPN, free or paid, to slow down your internet by more than 40% on a nearby connection. The best VPNs for Android will slow your internet speeds less than 20%.

Something you should bear in mind, however, is the reduced server list of most free VPNs compared to paid VPNs. If your VPN does not offer a server in the country you live in, then you likely have slower speeds connecting to another country.

3. Privacy & Logging Policy: 20%

Minimum Requirement: Minimal aggregated or anonymous usage data collected.

We Recommend: No logs retained whatsoever.

Logging policy is one area where you absolutely do not have to compromise when choosing a free Android VPN. Most trustworthy VPN services use the same privacy policy for both their free and paid product, across all platforms.

One difference you should be aware of, though, is potential third party data sharing. Some free apps are subsidized via advertising and data sharing partnerships. Our VPN experts read through every privacy policy in full to make sure your data isn’t sneakily sold on to companies without your knowledge.

Almost every free mobile VPN without a paid version of the app will fail to meet our strict testing standard. Most free Android VPNs unfortunately can’t be trusted, and the reason usually lies within their privacy policy.

You should never download a VPN which stores identifiable, personal usage data. Your full IP address, browser timestamps, and DNS requests are always off limits – no good VPN will collect or store them.

We think it’s fine if a VPN stores some account or anonymized information. Monthly bandwidth usage or the total number of users connected to a single server can be necessary for running a seamless VPN. However, this information should be routinely deleted every month.

The perfect VPN records no account-tied logs of any kind. There are a few that genuinely offer this, and even less have a free tier available.

4. Security & Technical Features: 20%

Minimum Requirement: AES-128 encryption and the OpenVPN protocol.
We Recommend: AES-256 encryption, plus OpenVPN, WireGuard, or a bespoke protocol.

The Google Play Store is filled with hundreds of free apps which claim to be ‘VPNs’, but in reality only act as proxies.

In short, they change your IP address, butdo not encrypt your traffic and DNS requests. It’s important to make sure that your free VPN of choice specifies what encryption it uses.

AES-256 is the level of encryption to aim for, though AES-128 is safe as well. It has been the standard for years now and is virtually unbreakable.

So long as OpenVPN or WireGuard protocols are present, then it’s safe. In our speed tests, we found WireGuard to be the faster VPN protocol. Provider-specific protocols like NordLynx and Lightway are also good choices.

5. Streaming: 10%

Minimum Requirement: Can access at least one Netflix library – ideally US or UK.
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. 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, running the latest version of Android, connect to a server in the desired country, and try to watch a specific streaming service.

The ability to stream the US 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+.

6. Torrenting: 10%

Minimum Requirement: Permits P2P activity on a wide choice of servers.
We Recommend: Permits torrenting on all servers, with good P2P bitrate.

Torrenting is popular on Android, but lots of mobile VPNs fall short when compared to their PC alternatives. Data-caps and throttled speeds lead to bad experiences on mobile.

The best VPNs for torrenting on Android have a bitrate of over 8MiB/s on our 100Mbps connection. They also include a kill switch and never leak IP information.

We put every Android VPN through a torrenting benchmark test, using a test file on a fixed 100Mbps connection. All mobile torrenting tests are carried out with the LibreTorrent client on a Samsung Galaxy S9 test phone.

Ideally, a good mobile torrenting VPN should allow P2P traffic on all servers, or offer clearly marked P2P servers across their whole server network.

Data Cap Penalty: Up to 50% Reduction

Nearly all free VPN services implement a data cap. As with most limitations on free VPNs, this is used to encourage you to upgrade to a paid subscription.

The best free VPNs offer 10GB a month, or 500MB a day for free. This adds up to enough for light streaming throughout the month or a shorter high-intensity period of streaming.

We recommend paid Android VPNs that come with unlimited data. We also look for services that don’t throttle or limit certain types of traffic, such as P2P.

We apply a penalty to the VPN’s overall rating for Android based on its data cap:

  • Unlimited bandwidth: No deduction to the overall rating
  • 10GB per month: -20% to the overall rating
  • 500MB per day: -25% to the overall rating
  • 5GB per month: -30% to the overall rating
  • 1GB per month: -35% to the overall rating
  • 200MB per day: -40% to the overall rating
  • 500MB per month: -50% to the overall rating

FAQs

Is There a Free Android VPN Without Registration?

Hotspot Shield Free is the only free VPN we recommend with no registration. You can install the VPN from the Google Play Store and instantly start using it by tapping “Proceed with ads and limits” in the bottom-right corner.

Most free Android VPNs require you to create an account before using the app, including Proton VPN Free and Windscribe Free. Thankfully they don’t require any payment details at all, but you will need to enter an email, username, and password.

Can I Use a Paid Android VPN for Free?

If you want to use a paid VPN on your Android device for free, there are a few ways you can do this without spending a cent.

For example, ExpressVPN offers a seven-day free trial to new Android subscribers.

You can also take advantage of the risk-free money-back guarantees paid VPNs offer. You can use them without restrictions for up to 45 days, and then get your money back.

You will have to subscribe and provide payment details, but you will receive your refund within a few days. Remember to cancel before the refund period is up, though.

How Do Free VPNs Work on Android?

A free VPN works exactly the same on Android as it does on any other operating system.

Instead of your internet traffic being routed to a website via your ISP, it will instead be routed through a secure VPN server first, and then onto your destination website.

Using a free Android VPN will mask your true IP address (the unique identifier of your internet connection), replacing it with the IP address of the VPN server you’re connected to.

This means that as long as your Android VPN is running, and it doesn’t leak your real IP address, your web activity is hidden from your ISP and many other snoopers.