A mobile operating system as powerful, complex and open as Google Android needs a quality VPN to match.
Your ISP, carrier, government and total strangers can all be monitoring you, and public WiFi hotspots can be dangerous.
Our top VPN picks for Android are sure to keep you protected and private while browsing, messaging, gaming and more.
The Most Important Factors When We Review a VPN for Android
- Well-designed and easy to use Android apps
- Reliable and fast speeds
- Works with Netflix and other popular streaming sites
- Useful privacy features
- Transparent, fair, and privacy-focused logging policies
- High quality customer support
Wondering why you should trust our reviews? Take a look at How We Test VPNs
Read More Information on Our Top 5 Best VPN Services for Android
How We Picked the Best VPN for Android
Our best VPNs for Android all have a dedicated Android app that’s easy to use to ensure a streamlined, user-friendly experience.
They offer excellent speeds on both local and international connections along with the most reliable access to major streaming services, including Netflix and BBC iPlayer.
We also looked for transparent logging policies and advanced privacy features such as a VPN kill switch and DNS leak protection to ensure online privacy at all times.
We make sure we’re constantly testing every VPN on our site so our recommendations for Android users are always updated. Our independent speed tests give you the latest data for the most popular connections worldwide. We even check out the customer service on offer to make sure it’s up to scratch.
It’s important to be wary of dangerous free VPNs – particularly on your smartphone. Whatever platform you’re looking to protect you can count on the recommendations in our roundup of the Best Free VPNs of 2019.
How to Use a VPN for Android
When you’re using a VPN on your Android, make sure you choose a server as close as possible 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.
You then need to select which protocol you’re going to connect with – we recommend OpenVPN as it provides the best balance of performance and privacy, however most providers have other options to choose from.
Once you’re connected, the VPN app will run in the background, leaving you to carry on using your Android device as normal. Just be sure to activate the killswitch feature, which will block all internet activity should the VPN connection be interrupted for any reason. This saves you having to constantly check that your connection is still encrypted, and means there’s no possibility of your true IP address being leaked without you noticing.
Check out our guide to installing a VPN on Android for helpful hints and tips to get you started.
How to Choose a VPN for Android: 8 Tips
Most popular VPN providers offer dedicated Android apps, ensuring a user-friendly experience on mobile as well as desktop. Some of these are better than others however, so in our top picks we’ve tried to only include providers with simple, one-click apps that still pack in a good amount of advanced privacy features.
Make sure your chosen protocol (OpenVPN in most cases) is available on the Android app too, as it isn’t with every provider.
Speeds vary a great deal from provider to provider, so you want to make sure you choose one that isn’t going to massively affect your Android’s day-to-day performance.
If you’re going to be doing lots of streaming on your phone, choose a provider with super-fast download speeds, and low latency is an advantage if you’re a gamer. A general rule when it comes to VPNs is the faster, the better.
Do you enjoy watching Netflix or BBC iPlayer? Not every VPN will work with these apps. We are constantly testing whether each VPN is working with Netflix and other apps, and share these results in our VPN reviews.
Every VPN will tell you it is a “zero logs” VPN and does not store any of your personal information. In reality, delivering consistently good performance across a vast global server network isn’t possible unless you’re monitoring at least some connection details of your users.
Ideally you want a VPN that does not log your IP address and limits timestamp logging to just the date of your connection, or better still one that doesn’t collect any logs at all.
You could read a ton of privacy policies and terms of service to find out exactly what’s collected and for how long it’s stored or let us do that for you and just check the logging policy section of our review that explains this in plain English.
For the best possible performance you’ll need to connect to a VPN server close to your physical location.
The more servers a provider has, the lower the likelihood of server congestion, however this unfortunately isn’t always the case.
Look at the speed test results for individual locations in our reviews to get the best idea, especially if you’re looking to connect to a specific country.
The sheer amount of VPN jargon can be overwhelming, even if you are pretty tech-savvy.
Do look out for OpenVPN though, as this connection protocol offers the best overall blend of speed and security. Ignore talk of military or bank-grade encryption and just look for AES-256, as that’s the gold standard.
Unless you know your DNS from your IPv6, a VPN killswitch is the main thing to look out for among security features as it will protect you from exposing your real IP address should your connection drop unexpectedly.
There’s no point in finding the ‘perfect’ provider and then discovering that their apps are clunky and confusing. Look for a VPN with software that’s well-designed, user-friendly and powerful and you will be much more likely to use it all the time.
We share the results of our hands-on testing of each VPN app in the the Ease of Use part of its review.
Even the most expensive VPN plans can be made affordable by taking out a longer subscription.
Don’t bother with a one-month plan – 12-month plans typically offer the best value and you can reduce the risk of buyer’s remorse by choosing one with a long refund period.
We’d advise a 30-day no-questions-asked guarantee – they essentially act as a free trial period.
Make the right choice, though, and you hopefully won’t be thinking about a refund at all.