What’s The Best VPN for Android?
Choosing the best virtual private network (VPN) is a tough and often an all too confusing process. It’s tough especially because there is no such thing as an absolute “best VPN for Android” – there is only the VPN that is right for you considering all the tradeoffs.
Based on my experience exploring different VPN providers, there are a few that are a good fit for most people*.
* And by “most people” – I mean people who are looking for a modicum of extra security and versatility due to business, travel, and frequenting of public WiFi areas. I do a lot of work at coffee shops, libraries, and airports. I also like to check in on CBC, the BBC, and remove geolocation from several apps. I’m not doing anything illegal or visiting Silk Road or the Dark Web. I’m not sending super-sensitive highly classified information. I just don’t want rando’s snooping on my Internet traffic when I’m away from my home network.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from companies mentioned on this site, including the ones mentioned in this quiz. My recommendations are based on my experiences as an independent paying customer.
Best VPN for Android Choices
|Name||Best if you want…||Plans!|
|ExpressVPN||…a well-known brand w/ great usability, performance & privacy.||Get Discount.|
|PureVPN||…full-featured, user-friendly w/ excellent pricing.||Get Discount.|
|NordVPN||…fast-growing brand w/ zero logging & user-friendly interface.||Get Discount.|
|AirVPN||…complex VPN offering total control & total privacy focus.||See Plans.|
Other VPNs Serving Android
There are a ton of VPNs on the market. Here’s a few other popular VPNs that I have personally used / reviewed.
What Does a VPN Do?
An Android VPN will serve to increase your security and anonymity while using an internet connection. Your VPN provider acts like a middleman between you and the Internet. Every Internet request routes from your computer to the VPN before routing to the Internet. If anyone snoops or tracks your connection – all they can see is your VPN connection.
A VPN will anonymize you and help to protect you against hackers on public wifi connections as well as any surveillance from internet service providers and governments**.
**Caveat – Note that no VPN is 100% secure. Your traffic is still routing through a company. Any company can go out of business or go rogue. If you are trying to avoid your American ISP – then you are simply replacing distrust of Comcast/Charter with the trust of your VPN. If you are a political activist where trust is a life or death situation, you need to be using something like Tor in addition to your VPN. This highlights this section of paid VPN’s unique features, but the point remains using a VPN does not instantly create security/privacy. That is something you do via aligning company incentives (ie, paying for companies who maintain security) & being proactive about your browsing habits.
Surveillance and the collection of personal data are getting much more common – even at the ISP level. Identity theft is also a big concern.
If you want to protect yourself and your privacy better, a VPN may be just what you need. A VPN can anonymize your connection and even make it seem as you are using your device in a different location.
In addition to the increased security and privacy that you can achieve through using a premium VPN, a VPN service can also allow you to access content that has been blocked in your geographic location.
A premium VPN will typically have a lot of advantages over a free VPN. While this won’t be true of all premium VPNs, you should only consider paying for a VPN if they have most of the qualities and features listed below. All VPNs will have differences, but when paying for a service, there are some things that a good premium VPN should have.
Use a VPN For Android?
Although Google has become a big part of many people’s lives and provides many services that I love, it’s not always entirely clear that they have our best interest at heart. Google has come under scrutiny for privacy issues in the past and has been known to collect data about its users.
Additionally, although Android phones come with some built-in security measures from third-parties, they aren’t completely secure. Vulnerabilities have been found from time to time and hackers have been known to exploit these.
If you ever connect to public wi-fi, you may be putting your data at more risk than you think. Other people on the network can access the data you’re sending and receiving fairly quickly, and can even exploit this to install malware on your device.
A VPN can help to ease the concern of some of these privacy and security issues when using an Android phone. A VPN will help to protect against third-parties, government interferences, and even snooping by Google and your mobile service provider. Android makes it super-simple to integrate a VPN service with your device.
What to Look for in a VPN
It can be hard knowing how to choose the best VPN for Android because there are simply so many options to choose from. The quick search on the Google Play Store brings up dozens of standalone VPN apps that you can choose, many of which have four stars or more.
So how can you choose a good VPN for your Android phone or device? There are a few features and service practices that you’ll want to keep in mind and make a note of when thumbing through the different options. We’ll take a look at these features below.
Does the VPN Keep Activity Logs?
One thing that you’ll want to find out about any VPN app that you consider using is whether the VPN takes logs of your activity, and to what extent it does so.
A VPN provider will have many legitimate reasons to take logs and monitor activity including billing needs and monitoring network operations.
If a VPN service does take logs, they will usually be anonymous. If privacy and anonymity are important to you, you’ll want to consider whether they take records. You’ll also want to discover to how long they keep these logs and how they are used.
Be careful, because some VPNs may take logs and sell them to the highest bidder. Be especially careful with free VPNS, as these are often less trustworthy than premium VPNs. They may be selling your logs to make money and cover costs.
Where is the VPN Service Based?
Consider the location that the VPN service is headquartered in. VPNs will be subject to the laws and practices of the country or region they are located, and different countries have different privacy and security requirements for VPN providers.
Some VPN services will be required to take logs depending on where they are located, while others will not.
Some governments may be able to require access to logs and personal information. If you’re concerned about your privacy, make sure to know what laws exist in the country where your VPN is located.
Where Are the VPN’s Servers?
If you’re using your VPN service to overcome content restrictions and geoblocking, you will want to know what locations the VPN has servers. Most VPNs will have multiple servers across a variety of countries.
If you want to access United States Netflix while abroad, for example, you’ll want to make sure that the VPN you choose has a server that is in the U.S. to gain access.
How is the Speed of the VPN?
When figuring out how to choose the best VPN for Android, you will want to take speed into consideration. Make sure that the service has the speed capabilities that you will need and that it has good upload and download capabilities.
Since your internet connection will be going through an additional VPN server when connecting to the web, you will need to find a service that is fast enough for your needs. Going through the additional servers can slow your connection down because the data is traveling an extra distance for the VPN protection.
If the VPN has servers that are closer to your geographic location, the speeds will usually be better than if you are accessing a server that is on the other side of the world.
Check customer reviews online to see what other customers have experienced with the speed of the VPN. Look at reviews on the Google Play Store to see what other Android users have experienced.
A free trial of a VPN that will also give you a good idea of how the VPN speed is. There are also diagnostic, and speed tests tool you can use to see the actual data and upload and download speeds that the VPN is providing.
What Protocols Are Used?
Another thing you’re going to want to consider with a VPN is what kind of protocols the VPN is compatible with and provides.
Many of the primary VPN providers will use a protocol known as OpenVPN which is open-source software that allows for peer-to-peer connections.
Some VPNs will have their own protocol which can be used and there will be certain ways to connect to the VPN.
You may want to avoid using the PPTP protocol, as it has become a bit outdated at this point.
How is the Customer Support?
Strong customer support can be helpful when using a VPN service. Unless you’re incredibly tech-savvy, you may run into problems from time to time. Knowing that a representative is available can be a huge help should you need assistance.
Consider how important customer support will be to you when using a VPN. What options does the VPN have for getting customer support? Do they have a phone number, chat, email and if so can they be reached 24/7?
While customer support may not be “make or break” for you, it is an important thing to consider when spending hard earned money on a VPN.
With a premium VPN especially, strong customer support should be expected. A free VPN will likely have less support available, so consider this when choosing an Android VPN.
Is There a Free Trial or Money Back Guarantee?
It’s great to be able to take a VPN for a test drive before going all in. Look for a VPN that provides a 7-day or more free trial, as this will give you a great chance to use the VPN and make sure it works well for you.
A company that offers a money back guarantee is also ideal. Some companies will allow you to get your money back within a certain time frame if you decide aren’t pleased with the service.
Money back guarantees and free trials are something that you should look for since it can sometimes be tough to know what you’re getting into with a VPN service.
So there you have it. Hopefully, you now know everything you need to know about how to choose the best VPN for Android. Even the good VPNs can be somewhat secretive in nature, but try to get to the bottom of the above features and things to look for.
Of course, everyone has different needs when choosing a VPN, so consider what your individual needs are when shopping around. If you’re mostly looking to access content in another region with the use of a VPN, you will have slightly different needs than someone who is worried about criminals and hackers.
While it can be difficult to determine if a VPN is the right choice for you, you now know the main qualities to look for that sets the best VPNs apart from the rest.