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Best VPN for Android

Simon Migliano
Simon MiglianoUpdated

It’s essential to use a VPN with Android devices as not only are they a rich source of personal data but they also suffer inherent security issues. Simply searching ‘VPN’ in the Google Play Store won’t do the trick, as there are so many providers of varying quality to choose from. We help you avoid rogue apps and instead find a VPN provider with a sleek, modern Android app that’s quick and easy to use without lacking in advanced features.

Our top picks for Android allow you to access your favorite sites and apps in private through an encrypted connection, without worrying about potential snoopers or hackers getting hold of your precious confidential data. Our proprietary speed testing technology is constantly testing VPN performance in several locations worldwide, meaning you can rely on our choices to be capable of buffer-free streaming and speedy downloads. To see which VPN we recommend for a specific purpose, tell us why you need one below, or read on for the best Android picks for 2018.

The 5 Best VPN Services for Android
  1. ExpressVPN
  2. NordVPN
  3. IPVanish
  4. CyberGhost
  5. HideMyAss!
Read on for our detailed analysis of each VPN.
Our pick for Android
ExpressVPN

Great performance and extra privacy features. Sleek, user-friendly Android app.

Best price
$6.67 per month
Special deal
49% off 15-month plan
Money-back guarantee
30 Days
Customer Support
24/7 live chat support
No. of Server Locations
94 Countries
Simultaneous Connections
3
What we like
  • Very fast speeds, average of 64Mbps globally
  • Works with popular apps including Netflix
  • Sleek custom app for Android devices
  • Very minimal logging policy
  • Connect securely to 94 countries
What we like less
  • Price could be lower on shorter plans
  • Three simultaneous connections only
  • Killswitch not available on Android
Bottom Line

ExpressVPN is the best VPN on the current market. It offers consistently quick, reliable speeds both on local and more distant connections, and is one of the few providers that still works with major streaming services, including Netflix and BBC iPlayer.

The custom Android app is sleek and user-friendly, and the overall list of supported devices is hard to beat. The three-device connection limit is a little stingy compared to other providers but is unlikely to be a problem for most people, so don’t let it put you off.

Express is just as good when it comes to privacy. The logging policy is sensible, collecting only anonymous usage stats in order to maintain a high level of server performance, but we miss the kill switch feature that is available on the desktop apps. Customer support is excellent with 24/7 live chat and loads of useful online resources. It isn’t a budget VPN by any means but you can bring the monthly cost down to $6.67 on a 15-month plan, which is very good value for such a great all-round performer.


Read our full ExpressVPN review

2
NordVPN

Speedy VPN with a sleek, easy-to-use Android app. Access to Netflix and iPlayer.

Best price
$2.99 per month
Special deal
75% off with 3-year plan
Money-back guarantee
30 Days
Customer Support
24/7 live chat support
No. of Server Locations
62 Countries
Simultaneous Connections
6
What we like
  • Fast speeds - 69Mbps global average
  • Works with sites such as Netflix and BBC iPlayer
  • Advanced privacy features including obfuscated servers
  • Android app offers a slick, user-friendly experience
  • Connect securely to 62 countries
What we like less
  • Extra protocols require manual config
  • Slow email support
  • No kill switch for Android
Bottom Line

NordVPN is a good all-round provider, even if it can’t quite compete with the premium package offered by ExpressVPN. Downloads of up to 292Mbps on local connections make it one of the fastest options on the current market, and it’s also one of the only services that still reliably works with both Netflix and BBC iPlayer.

The Android app is simple and user-friendly but the software is unfortunately limited to the more popular platforms, however a generous connection limit means you can protect six devices simultaneously. Nord offers a strict zero-logs policy, but we were disappointed to see that some of the essential privacy features (e.g. the VPN kill switch and DNS leak protection) included in its other apps are not currently available for Android.

The quality of customer support is fantastic but responses to email and live chat can be slow. A bargain price of $2.99 per month on the three-year plan means that even though it falls a little short of ExpressVPN it’s still fantastic value for money, so if you’re looking for core performance on a budget, look no further than NordVPN.


Read our full NordVPN review

3
IPVanish

Super fast and secure VPN with a sleek, powerful Android app.

Best price
$6.49 per month
Special deal
46% off with 12-month plan
Money-back guarantee
7 Days
Customer Support
24/7 live chat support
No. of Server Locations
61 Countries
Simultaneous Connections
10
What we like
  • Fast download speeds - 48Mbps global average
  • Unblocks popular sites including Netflix
  • Well-designed, powerful Android app
  • Very strict zero-logs policy
  • Connect securely to 61 countries
What we like less
  • Currently blocked by BBC iPlayer
  • Limited customer service options
  • Short refund period (7 days)
Bottom Line

IPVanish is a great choice for Kodi and torrenting due to fast speeds, a strict no-logs policy and a suite of advanced privacy tools. It’s incredibly quick on local connections, peaking at 345Mbps down and nearly 226Mbps up, but less consistent across longer distances. It does work with Netflix but fans of BBC iPlayer should look elsewhere.

The Android app is pretty slick in comparison to the desktop app, however there are more user-friendly options out there. IPVanish is a good shout if you like having lots of manual settings to fiddle with, and it’s pretty unusual to find a provider that’ll let you drill down to individual IP addresses. The VPN kill switch is missing on mobile, which is disappointing.

Customer support is improving and now has live chat. It’s fairly pricey but you can reduce the monthly cost by 46% to a reasonable $6.49 if you opt for the annual plan. The best VPN for Android-owners with a heavy P2P habit but also for those seeking privacy and excellent local performance.


Read our full IPVanish review

4
CyberGhost

Great speeds and HD streaming. Easy-to-use Android app with advanced privacy settings.

Best price
$3.50 per month
Special deal
73% off with 18-month plan
Money-back guarantee
45 Days
Customer Support
24/7 live chat support
No. of Server Locations
60 Countries
Simultaneous Connections
7
What we like
  • Fast download speeds - 64Mbps global average
  • Works with popular sites such as Netflix
  • Strictly zero-logs provider
  • Innovative, well-designed Android app
  • Connect securely to 60 countries
What we like less
  • Server network could be bigger
  • Torrenting restricted to US servers
Bottom Line

CyberGhost is the best budget VPN on the current market. It has recently stepped up its speed game to compete with more premium rivals such as ExpressVPN and is even nipping at its heels with downloads of up to 417Mbps on local connections. Access to Netflix and other popular services through dedicated servers is another bonus.

CyberGhost’s innovative approach to its Android app means you can optimize your experience based on what you want to do online, which is an interesting approach. You can also protect up to a generous seven devices at once. Privacy-wise it’s a safe choice, with a strict zero-logs policy and first-party DNS servers, as well as a VPN kill switch.

Customer support is really helpful with friendly, well-informed agents and rich online resources. CyberGhost’s ridiculously low price of $3.50 per month on the 18-month plan make it very easy to overlook minor shortfalls, as it really is excellent value for money.


Read our full CyberGhost review

5
HideMyAss!

Super-fast VPN with access to Netflix. Simple yet very slick Android app.

Best price
$2.99 per month
Special deal
75% off with 3-year plan
Money-back guarantee
30 Days
Customer Support
24/7 live chat support
No. of Server Locations
190+ Countries
Simultaneous Connections
5
What we like
  • Great speeds - 60Mbps global average
  • Easy access to Netflix and BBC iPlayer
  • Modern Android app that's a pleasure to use
  • Connect securely to over 190 countries
  • Fantastic customer support
What we like less
  • Based in the privacy-unfriendly UK
  • Collects detailed connection logs
Bottom Line

HideMyAss! offers a good level of performance over a huge global server network. Speeds are very quick indeed on local connections, peaking at over 306Mbps down and 211Mbps up, however internationally they’re less reliable. Access to Netflix and BBC iPlayer is possible through dedicated servers.

The Android app is sleek and modern, and great for those who want to just click-and-forget without fiddling with loads of settings. HMA! falls down when it comes to privacy however, with an intrusive logging policy where your connection details are stored for up to three months. It’ll do the job if you just want to hide your IP address though.

Customer support is incredibly quick and helpful with 24/7 live chat. You can save 75% by opting for the three-year plan, bringing the monthly cost down to $2.99, which is good value considering the vast server network and raw speed on offer.


Read our full HideMyAss! review

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 killswitch 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.

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

  • Does it have a dedicated Android app?

    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.

  • Does it offer a good level of performance?

    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.

  • Will it work with your favorite websites and apps?

    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.

  • What is their logging policy?

    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. 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. 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.

  • Does it have servers in the locations you need?

    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.

  • Check connection, encryption and security features

    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.

  • Are their client apps and software easy to use?

    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. We spend all day testing VPN apps, so hopefully we know a thing or two!

  • Finally, check the price and money-back guarantee

    Even the most expensive VPN plans are very affordable but you will likely have a budget in mind. 12-month plans typically offer the best value and you can reduce the risk of buyer’s remorse by choosing a VPN with a long refund period, preferably 30 days and with no questions asked. These guarantees are much more common than traditional free trials but are essentially the same thing.