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Best VPN for Android

Simon Migliano
By Simon MiglianoUpdated
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 total strangers can all be monitoring you online.

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

But don’t worry. The best Android VPNs will keep you safe and private while browsing, messaging, gaming, and more.

They will also get past geo-blocks so you can access all the content you want without restrictions.

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

But before we jump into our in-depth look of the best VPNs for Android, here’s a sneak peek of the top three:

The Most Important Factors We Look for in a VPN for Android

  1. Easy to use Android VPN apps
  2. Reliable & fast VPN speeds
  3. Privacy-focused logging policies & no IP/DNS leaks
  4. Advanced privacy & security features
  5. Works with Netflix & other popular streaming sites
  6. Wide range of VPN server locations

Wondering why you should trust our reviews? Take a look at How We Test VPNs

See More Information on the 5 Best VPN Apps for Android

Ranked #1 out of 99 VPNs for Android

Works with

Netflix, BBC iPlayer, HBO, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, Sky, SlingTV, Torrenting, Kodi

Available on

  1. Windows
  2. Mac
  3. Ios
  4. Android
  5. Linux
  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
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.

Ranked #2 out of 99 VPNs for Android

Works with

Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Sky, HBO, Torrenting, Kodi

Available on

  1. Windows
  2. Mac
  3. Ios
  4. Android
  5. Linux
  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 60 countries
  6. Strict zero-logs policy
  1. Extra VPN protocols require manual config
  2. No VPN kill switch for Android app
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 apps. If you want to use an alternative protocol you have to manually configure it.

Nevertheless, NordVPN is the ideal VPN for Android users on a budget.

Ranked #3 out of 99 VPNs for Android

Works with

Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Sky, HBO, Torrenting, Kodi

Available on

  1. Windows
  2. Mac
  3. Ios
  4. Android
  5. Linux
  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 60 countries
  1. Torrenting clunky on Android
  2. No torrenting on US or Australian VPN servers
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 or US VPN 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.

 

Ranked #4 out of 99 VPNs for Android

Works with

Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Sky, HBO, Torrenting, Kodi

Available on

  1. Windows
  2. Mac
  3. Ios
  4. Android
  5. Linux
  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
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.

Ranked #5 out of 99 VPNs for Android

Works with

Netflix, HBO, Torrenting, Kodi

Available on

  1. Windows
  2. Mac
  3. Ios
  4. Android
  5. Linux
  1. Consistently fast VPN speeds
  2. Well-designed, powerful Android VPN app
  3. Works with Netflix
  4. Strict no-logs policy
  5. Advanced settings like port selection
  6. VPN servers in 50 countries
  1. Doesn’t work with BBC iPlayer
  2. No VPN kill switch for Android app
  3. Short refund period (seven days)
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 not very pretty and in great need of a makeover – comes with settings like split tunneling, OpenVPN scrambling, and port selection.

The VPN service provides very fast upload and download speeds on nearby VPN servers, as well as a strict no-logs policy to keep you safe online.

This makes IPVanish an excellent choice for torrenters and Kodi fans (which you can use on your Fire TV Stick, too).

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

IPVanish does work with Netflix, although it’s not as simple to watch as it is with our other top picks, but it doesn’t unlock BBC iPlayer.

Like NordVPN, there’s no VPN kill switch for the Android app – but you can manually configure your Android device to provide a similar feature – and the refund period is quite short (seven days).

However, IPVanish’s raw power and speed will win over those who aren’t fussed about one-click streaming.

What’s the Best VPN for Android?

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

ExpressVPN is a fantastic choice for Android users because of its simple but powerful custom VPN app for Android devices, which is sure to keep you safe online.

Screenshot of ExpressVPN Android App

It’s also fast, private, and works with both Netflix and torrenting.

But ExpressVPN isn’t the only great VPN for Android users – all of our top picks are.

Even better, all of our VPN recommendations above will work with various versions of the Android OS: Pie, Oreo, Nougat, Marshmallow, and more.

Can You Get a Free VPN for Android?

All of the above VPNs come at a cost, so you might be asking: are there any free VPNs for Android?

There are! Loads, in fact.

But not all of them are good (or safe).

If you’re not ready to pay for a VPN and want to try one out, you can take a look at our top recommended free VPNs for Android here.

Windscribe is the best free VPN for Android – it’s safe, secure, and fast. Like many free VPNs it does come with a data cap, though.

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 on your personal data to targeted advertisers, and some might even harm or damage your phone software due to being infested with malware.

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

Stick with our VPN recommendations and your personal data will remain private and secure.

What’s the Fastest VPN for Android?

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

Don’t believe us?

The test results speak for themselves.

Here’s our internet speeds with no VPN:

Screenshot of speed test with no VPN

And here they are when we connect to the nearest ExpressVPN server:

Screenshot of speed test when ExpressVPN is connected

That’s a speed drop of just 17% – 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 faster than ExpressVPN on some VPN servers but ExpressVPN provides more reliability – over both long and short distance connections – than any other VPN we’ve seen.

Do I Really Need a VPN on My Android?

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

Why?

In many countries the government snoops on its citizens’ online activities and some ISPs sell on information about users’ browsing habits to advertisers.

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

Even if you don’t care about that, we still recommend using a VPN.

VPNs can protect you against malicious hackers who take advantage of the weak security used by public WiFi hotspots in order to steal your valuable and private information.

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

They let you unlock restricted content all over the world.

Whether you’re in a country that highly censors the internet – if you are then you should read our guide to the best VPNs for China – or looking to watch the latest shows on US Netflix, a VPN can help you to access that content.

In short, using a VPN on your Android smartphone is not only useful but essential.

How to Install, Set Up and Use a VPN On Your Android Phone

You’ve decided which VPN service you like the look of (thanks to our recommendations), so how exactly do you get this VPN onto your Android smartphone?

It’s super easy.

1. Purchase a VPN subscription.

2. Go onto 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.

If your VPN doesn’t have a custom app for Android you can set it up manually, but we’d recommend getting a VPN that includes a native Android app – all of our recommendations above do.

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

Once you’ve installed 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. Be sure to enable the VPN kill switch and IP leak protection – if your VPN service offers it – as these features will keep your personal data secure and private.

2. Take a look at the VPN protocol. If your VPN provides a choice select OpenVPN as it provides the best balance of performance and privacy, however most providers have other options to choose from. Avoid PPTP.

3.  Now you need to choose which VPN server location you want to connect to.

Make sure to choose the closest possible VPN server to your physical location in order to get the best speeds you can.

Many providers have an automatic setting that does this for you, but if not, simply select one in the nearest city or same country.

Alternatively, if you want to view location-specific content, select the appropriate country or city VPN server.

Your VPN is now set up and ready to go, so 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 – and others work with Android TV by connecting the device to a configured router.

If your VPN comes with a custom VPN app for Android TV the installation 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 still protect your device by configuring a supported router.

Once you’ve set up your VPN on the router all internet-connected devices in your home – including your Android TV – will benefit from VPN encryption and your IP address will stay hidden.

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.

How to Set Up a VPN Kill Switch Manually 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 for your chosen VPN service, whether that pops up during 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 service 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.

Beware, though, even if you choose to 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 any split tunneling features that your VPN app may have when this setting is enabled.

About the Author


  • Simon Migliano Head of Research at Top10VPN

    Simon Migliano

    Simon leads our investigations into VPN safety and internet freedom research. His work has been featured on the BBC, CNet, Wired and The Financial Times. Read full bio