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Best VPN for Android in 2021

Illustration of Android phone and tablet
Simon Migliano Head of Research at Top10VPN

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

Your Android smartphone holds vast amounts of personal data. This information can be easily stolen if you transfer it over an open WiFi network, particularly if the connection is not HTTPS.

A VPN encrypts your internet connection, making it much harder for hackers and snoopers to intercept your data transfers. A VPN is vital if you regularly use public WiFi.

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

Using our Samsung Galaxy test smartphone, we’ve run thousands of VPN tests and the five Android VPNs below are the very best we’ve tested.

The best VPN Apps for Android devices are:

  1. ExpressVPN: The overall best VPN for Android, especially smartphones and Smart TVs. Read summary.
  2. IPVanish: A fast VPN with .APK file for great compatibility with all Android devices. Read summary.
  3. NordVPN: Android VPN with excellent extra security features like a malware blocker. Read summary.
  4. CyberGhost: User-friendly VPN special streaming servers and a VPN kill switch. Read summary.
  5. PrivateVPN: Very cheap with advanced options like Stealth Mode on Android. Read summary.

The VPNs above are the fastest, safest and most private you’ll find for AndroidOS. They bypass geo-restrictions and unblock web content worldwide, including popular platforms like Netflix, Disney+ and BBC iPlayer.

They all have native VPN apps for Android 11, Android 10 and older AndroidOS versions, so they’re very easy to set up on Android devices. They also work on 4G, 3G and LTE connections, in addition to WiFi.

ExpressVPN and IPVanish even come with an official APK file, which makes the setup on Android boxes like Nvidia Shield TV, Xiami Mi Box S, and Skystream Pro 8K much smoother. Running a VPN on your Android streaming device is key to anonymize your IPTV and Kodi streams.

The Best Android VPN Apps of 2021

1. ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN is hands-down the best VPN for Android.

  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
  1. Could be cheaper on shorter VPN plans
  • Best Price

    $6.67/mo over 15 Months

    See all plans

  • Top Speedi

    88Mbps 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

Ranked #1 VPN for Android

ExpressVPN is our best-rated VPN for 2021, but it’s also our top choice for Android. Its custom VPN app for Android – not only for smartphones, but for tablets and TVs too – is very easy to install and use. And once the VPN is running, you’ll experience very fast and consistent speeds across the entire VPN server network.

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 a 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. It secures all VPN connections with AES-256 encryption and, while its Network Lock (kill switch) setting isn’t available on Android, it has a ‘Block internet when unable to connect or reconnect to VPN’ setting, which works very similarly.

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

Overall, ExpressVPN is slightly more expensive than our other top recommendations, but it is without a doubt the best VPN for Android. In our opinion, it’s worth the extra couple of dollars a month.

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

2. IPVanish VPN

The best VPN for Android to use with Kodi and IPTV apps.

  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
  1. No VPN kill switch on the Android app
  2. Doesn’t work with BBC iPlayer or Disney+
  3. Doesn't work in China
  • Best Price

    $2.62/mo for 12 months

    See all plans

  • Top Speedi

    84Mbps same city speed

    Based on a 100Mbps test connection

  • Servers

    57 countries, 1,400+ servers

  • Compatible with

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

The Bottom Line

Ranked #2 VPN for Android

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.

Speed-wide, we recorded fast download (and upload) speeds using IPVanish, particularly on same-country 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.

IPVanish is therefore an excellent choice for Kodi and IPTV fans, who may like the fact that IPVanish is currently our #1 VPN choice for Kodi and Firestick.

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+.

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.

On  the whole, IPVanish’s strong security and fast speeds will win over those who aren’t looking for a Netflix VPN.

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

3. NordVPN

Very fast and secure budget VPN for Android.

  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
  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
  • Best Price

    $3.71/mo over 24 Months

    See all plans

  • Top Speedi

    93Mbps same city speed

    Based on a 100Mbps test connection

  • Servers

    59 countries, 5,533 servers

  • Compatible with

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

The Bottom Line

Ranked #3 VPN for Android

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

It works with most popular streaming platforms like Netflix and Disney+, and it also comes with dedicated VPN servers for P2P/torrenting and Tor.

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.

However, NordVPN isn’t perfect. The Android app doesn’t have a built-in VPN kill switch (which is common), but you manually set up similar protection from within your Android device settings (see our FAQ section below). If you’re not willing to alter those settings, then be aware that if your VPN connection drops then your real IP address will be exposed.

Another 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.

Having said that, NordVPN is still a secure VPN that uses 256-bit AES encryption. Given it’s cheaper (on longer subscriptions) than both ExpressVPN and IPVanish, it’s a very good alternative.

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

4. CyberGhost VPN

Fast VPN for Android with the longest money-back guarantee.

  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
  1. Doesn't work in China
  2. Slower international speeds
  3. No APK file
  • Best Price

    $2.75/mo over 3 years

    See all plans

  • Top Speedi

    89Mbps same city speed

    Based on a 100Mbps test connection

  • Servers

    90 countries, 6,700+ servers

  • Compatible with

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

The Bottom Line

Ranked #4 VPN for Android

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.

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.

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

Unfortunately, CyberGhost is not as fast as ExpressVPN or NordVPN. It also won’t work in high censorship countries like China and Turkey, unlike it’s top two rivals.

Aside from that, CyberGhost is a great VPN for Android, and its custom Android app is the most visually pleasing. It also offers a 45-day money-back guarantee, which is more generous than the 30 days offered by the other VPN providers in this list.

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

5. PrivateVPN

Cheap VPN with impressive speeds on Android.

  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
  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
  • Best Price

    $1.98/mo over 24 months

    See all plans

  • Top Speedi

    94Mbps same city speed

    Based on a 100Mbps test connection

  • Servers

    60 countries, 150+ servers

  • Compatible with

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

The Bottom Line

Ranked #5 VPN for Android

PrivateVPN is 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.

Like CyberGhost, it 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.

However, PrivateVPN comes with a very small VPN server network of only 150 individual servers. This can lead to congestion at peak times and recently its speeds connecting to US servers has worsened.

While it’s not as high-performing as the other three recommendations above, 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.

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

Android VPN FAQ

What’s the Best VPN for Android?

The best VPN for Android is ExpressVPN, which is also our overall top-rated VPN. Its simple but powerful custom Android VPN app is the best we’ve seen.

Screenshot of ExpressVPN Android App

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

The ExpressVPN Android app works with AndroidOS 11.0, 10.0, Pie, Oreo and older. You can also download the VPN APK file to side load the VPN onto other Android devices.

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).

It’s not scaremongering or fear tactics, it’s just a fact.

In many countries, government agencies snoop on citizens’ online activities and some ISPs even sell customers’ location data and web browsing habits to advertisers – and it may not just be the countries you’re thinking of, either.

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.

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, too. They let you unlock restricted web content from all over the world, which means movies, TV shows, and videogames previously out of your reach are now accessible.

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.

Can I 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 right now. 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 Android VPNs Safe to Use?

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 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 and DNS 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. If you’re running low of mobile data, though, you should select WireGuard as it’s the most data efficient. Most importantly, avoid PPTP at all costs.

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.

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.

Screenshot of NordVPN Android TV app

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.

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 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