Method 1: VPN App
Before you sign up for a VPN subscription check that the VPN service comes with a custom VPN app for Android.
If it does, you can download the VPN app from the Google Play Store. If you live in a country where you can’t access the Google Play Store, skip to ‘Method 4: APK File’.
We’ve used ExpressVPN for this guide because it has a very simple Android app, and it offers a 30-day money-back guarantee.
It’s also the best VPN around – you can read our full, independent ExpressVPN review here.
If you have chosen a different VPN provider, you will need to follow a slightly different process, but this guide will give you the basics.
Installing the VPN app provided by your VPN service is the easiest way to get up and running quickly.
In most cases, it’ll also provide convenient and user-friendly access to different servers, which is handy if you want to switch between VPN locations.
Getting set up with a custom VPN app for Android will take you less than five minutes. Here’s how to do it:
- Find your VPN provider’s custom Android app on the Google Play Store.
We recommend following the link to the Google Play Store through the VPN’s official website to avoid downloading potentially dangerous copycat software.
- Tap Install to download the VPN app. Once this step is complete, the green button will say Open.
- Tap Open to launch the VPN app and then tap Sign In.
- Enter your VPN subscription credentials into the relevant boxes – in this case your email address and password – and then tap Sign In.
- ExpressVPN asks new users if they would like to share crash reports, speed tests, and information about whether the VPN connection attempts succeed or not.While this information is not personally identifiable, we recommend tapping No Thanks.
- Tap OK to start the VPN connection set up process.
- Tap OK to accept the VPN connection request.
- Here is the ExpressVPN Android app main screen. It’s a fairly typical example of custom VPN apps for Android, with a large connect button in the center and the chosen server location below.To see the list of server locations tap the three horizontal dots to the right of the server location name.
- You can choose from any of the VPN server locations listed here. Just tap the one you want to connect to.
- Before you connect to the VPN it’s best to check the security settings. Usually you can find this by clicking on a cog symbol or, in ExpressVPN’s case, the burger menu (three horizontal lines).Be sure to enable the kill switch and leak protection if the app comes with those features.
Here is ExpressVPN’s settings menu. Tap on Network protection to enable ExpressVPN’s Android app version of a kill switch.
- Once you’ve taken a look at the VPN settings, it’s time to connect to the VPN. Tap the circular connect button in the middle of the main screen of the VPN app.ExpressVPN’s connect button turns green when the VPN is connected. Tap this button again to disconnect.
You should always test your VPN for any leaks. You can find out how to do this and how to resolve any issues in our IP, DNS, WebRTC leaks guide.
Now that your ExpressVPN connection is set up, it will stay connected in the background, and you can use your phone normally.Just glance at the status bar and look for the key to verify that your phone is connected.