5 Best VPN apps for Android Devices | Fast, Secure VPN apps for Smartphones & Tablets

A Virtual Private Network (VPN) app for Android is primarily a privacy and security tool for your phone or tablet. It hides what you get up to on the internet, concealing your identity from your Internet Service Provider (ISP), the websites you visit, and others who try to peek at your internet activity.

VPNs make great anti-censorship tools, unblocking websites and services locked by your government, copyright enforcers, or your college WiFi admins. They will protect you from unreliable WiFi hosts, and even sometimes unblock streaming services that usually have regional restrictions.

In this guide, we'll show you the best VPNs to use on Android, whether it's on a smartphone or tablet.

What are the best VPN apps for Android phones and tablets?

If you need a quick answer, we summarise our Android VPN recommendations below. But, if you require additional information on any of the services listed, please keep scrolling.

  1. ExpressVPN - The best VPN for Android. Through the Android app you get lightning fast speeds, a seemless experience & 24/7 live chat support.
  2. NordVPN - An easy to use Android VPN app. The Android app is easy to navigate and the service is secure and fast, plus they accept bitcoin!
  3. Surfshark - The cheapest VPN app for Android on our list. Rated 4+ stars on the Play Store, for $1.94 you get good speeds & loads of features.
  4. VyprVPN - A VPN app that balances privacy and speed. The interface is straightforward to use and the service offers no logs and fast servers.
  5. IPVanish - An Android VPN that is stacked with features. You get proprietary servers, no logs & stealth technology built into the app.

As an avid user of Android devices, I'm fully aware that there are so many poor quality a downright dangerous VPN apps available on the Play Store. So, it's important to know what to look out for when choosing a VPN.

When picking our best VPN for Android list, we looked for:

Only if a VPN meets our above criteria can they be considered for our list.

Proceed with caution

It is worth noting that, thanks to Google's relaxed policing policy, there are a lot of unsafe VPN apps in the Play Store. So please only install safe VPN apps from respectable and trustworthy VPN services such as those listed below. If you want to avoid the app store, you can download these services via an APK file hosted on their website.

The Best VPN apps for Android Devices | In-depth analysis

ExpressVPN is our #1 best VPN for Android. Combining a well-rounded VPN app with fast speeds and good privacy - you're on to a real winner!

  • Pricing

    From  $6.67 - $12.95
  • Available on

    • Windows
    • macOS
    • iOS
    • Android
    • Linux
  • Unblocks

    • Netflix
    • iPlayer

ExpressVPN is one of the most respected names in the VPN industry. Along with the now industry-standard 30-day money-back guarantee and efficient 24/7 live chat support, ExpressVPN pioneered the idea of “one-click connect” in its mobile apps.


ExpressVPN Android app


Its Android app has a 4.1 star rating in the Play Store and is compatible with all Android 5.0+ devices. It can be downloaded from either the Play Store, or, for the more Google-phobic out there, as an APK file for sideloading onto your device. ExpressVPN provides L2TP/IPSec setup instructions for users of Android versions 2, 3, and 4.


The app is easy to use and offers split-tunneling, which allows you to decide which of your apps use the VPN tunnel and which don’t. It also features a kill switch (called “network protection”), which is something we wish more Android VPN apps would include.


ExpressVPN is a no-logs VPN service with servers in over 90 counties and a strong focus on privacy.

NordVPN is a great pick if you a VPN app chocked full of features that is easy to use. A superb VPN at a superb price point, a real solid choice.

  • Pricing

    From  $3.49 - $11.95
  • Available on

    • Windows
    • macOS
    • iOS
    • Android
  • Unblocks

    • Netflix
    • iPlayer

NordVPN is a no-logs VPN service is based in NSA-free Panama. Its Android app has a very respectable 4.3-star rating on the Google Play Store and is compatible with all Android 5.0+ devices.


NordVPN Android App


The app is distinctive looking thanks to its dynamic map of server locations. It uses OpenVPN in UDP mode by default, although TCP (presumably using port 443) is an option. Besides this, the app allows you to connect to NordVPN’s special Obfuscated servers, which use XOR encryption to evade VPN blocks.


The app also sports a kill switch and NordVPN’s “CyberSec” feature. As with its desktop apps, this uses a DNS blocklist to protect users from malware, help prevent botnet control, and block many intrusive web ads.


As is increasingly common, its APK is also available to download directly from NordVPN website, which will auto-update when new versions become available. This is perfect for those who wish to avoid the Google Services Spyware Framework.

Surfshark is the cheapest VPN on our Android list. It offers great speeds, versatile unblocking, and strong privacy at a fantastic price point

  • Pricing

    From  $1.94 - $11.95
  • Available on

    • Windows
    • macOS
    • iOS
    • Android
    • Linux
  • Unblocks

    • Netflix
    • iPlayer

SurfShark is registered in the British Virgin Islands and offers an Android 5.0 app rated 4.3 stars in the Play Store. We are pleased to see that you can also download the .APK direct from the Surfshark website.


SurfShark Android App


Surfshark has always impressed us with the amount of bang it offers for your buck, and its Android app is no different. It includes a kill switch, split-tunneling (“Whitelister”) for apps you want to exclude from the VPN, a DNS adblocker, an incognito mode for web searches, and even a GPS override feature that ensures your browsers GPS location matches your VPN location. It is also has a fantastic privacy policy and keeps no logs.


The Surfshark Android app uses IKEv2 by default, but also offers OpenVPN (UDP and TCP, although port numbers are not specified). It also offers the Shadowsocks protocol for those who need to evade restrictions on VPN use.

VyprVPN is the value lovers choice. It's run on a private network of servers & access to Chameleon privacy technology - all at a great price point.

  • Pricing

    From  $2.50 - $12.95
  • Available on

    • Windows
    • macOS
    • iOS
    • Android
    • Linux
  • Unblocks

    • Netflix
    • iPlayer

VyprVPN is based in Switzerland and is notable for owning its own CDN and server network. It's great for the privacy conscious and keeps no logs. The app supports all versions of Android, although 4.0.3+ is recommended.


VyprVPN Android App


It has a somewhat modest 3.9-star rating in the PlayStore, but has always worked flawlessly for us and is a fully-featured app. Kill switch, DNS ad and malware blocking, and public WiFi protection are all present and correct.


The app uses OpenVPN, and you can configure the port, but not whether it uses UDP or TCP mode. We are pleased to see, however, that the Android App offers VyprVPN’s patent Chameleon encryption technology, which is widely reported to be great at defeating VPN censorship.


The app is available as an .APK download in addition to being featured in the Play Store.

IPVanish is a great all around Android VPN. It provides fast speeds, easy to use app that work seamlessly & is packed full of great features.

  • Pricing

    From  $3.70 - $10.00
  • Available on

    • Windows
    • macOS
    • iOS
    • Android
  • Unblocks

    • Netflix

IPVanish is a high-profile no logs US-based VPN service. Its Android 4.0.3+ app rates 3.9 stars in the Play Store, but, again, has always worked well for us and is packed with useful features.


IPVanish VPN App Android


The IPVanish app does not include a built-in kill switch per se., but on Android 8+ devices it provides instructions for enabling Android’s new build-in kill switch feature to work with the app.


The app features split tunneling, insecure network notification, and XOR Scramble obfuscation technology. It uses OpenVPN in either  UDP or TCP mode, and you can select which ports it uses.


And, as with all the Android apps on this list, you can download the .APK from IPVanish’s website for improved privacy.

Which is the fastest VPN for Android?

If you're looking to use your VPN while streaming or downloading, then speed is going to be an important factor in your buying decision. We run daily speed tests on all our recommended VPNs and display the results in the table below, to help you understand what sorts of speeds you can expect from your VPN.

Place Provider Average Speed Max Speed Visit Site
1. 77.1 Mbit/s 151.87 Mbit/s Visit Site
2. 61.92 Mbit/s 110.2 Mbit/s Visit Site
3. 59.03 Mbit/s 134.78 Mbit/s Visit Site
4. 57.48 Mbit/s 107.48 Mbit/s Visit Site
5. 24.32 Mbit/s 29.32 Mbit/s Visit Site

How will a VPN improve your privacy and security?

A VPN connects your Android phone or tablet to a VPN server run by a commercial VPN service. This connection is secured using encryption. The VPN server then connects you to the internet.

This setup might sound simple, but it can supercharge your mobile internet experience:

  1. Preventing your ISP from knowing what you do on the internet because its “view” is blocked by the VPN server.
  2. Preventing governments from performing blanket mass surveillance on you because governments rely on ISPs to provide them with data. So if your ISP doesn’t know what you are doing, neither will your government.
  3. Preventing websites from knowing who you are because instead of seeing your real IP address they just see the IP of the VPN server, meaning you can stop annoying ads.
  4. Preventing public WiFi hotspot hackers from stealing your data, and hotspot operators from selling your browsing history.
  5. Helping to torrent on Android by preventing peers (which can include copyright enforcers) from seeing your real IP address.
  6. Preventing your government or ISP from censoring content, be it on political, social, moral, or copyright grounds. VPN services run servers from countries all over the planet, so just connect to one located somewhere that does not censor internet content!
  7. Allowing you to “spoof” your geographic location in order to watch streaming services such as the US version of Netflix on your phone or tablet, which has a much larger catalog of titles than paying Netflix customers living elsewhere can access (how fair is that?). You can also unblock other free services such as BBC iPlayer, which are only available in certain countries. You can also change your Google Play region with a VPN to unblock apps that were previously unavailable to you.

Using a VPN on an Android device isn’t really much different to using a VPN on any other platform, so if you want to know more about VPNs, in general, then please check out our Beginner's Guide to VPNs for more info on what they are and how they can make your life better.

Android users should be aware, however, that while a VPN app will do what a VPN app always does when using a mobile browser, it can’t stop Android apps from sending personal data back to their developers (and Google, via the Play Services Framework).

It's no longer always possible, but for maximum privacy when using a VPN you should therefore use a service’s web portal, rather than its Android app.

Can I get a free Android VPN App?

Yes, but before searching for a free service, it's important to know that there are a lot of scams on Google Play Store.

Running a VPN service requires hiring full-time technical staff and renting VPN servers around the world. In other words, it is a business: and no business works on charity.

There are a few reputable free VPN services out there that offer free plans, however, these services usually cap speeds, limit data usage, number of servers you can use, etc. These providers do this in the hope you will upgrade to paid-for premium offerings.

Most free Android VPN apps on the Play Store are actively dangerous, and should be avoided at all costs. The majority of free services log what you get up to online and sell this information to the highest bidder, meaning anyone could know what you get up to online. This usually results in you being the target of annoying creepy advertisements that follow you wherever you go online. 

Other services on Google Play just simply contain viruses, which can infect your phone or tablet and steal your personal information.

Remember, if you are not paying for the product then you are the product! Nobody is offering a “free” service simply out of the goodness of their hearts.

Want a Free VPN for Android? We Recommend Windscribe (Free Option)

Windscribe is a no-logs, privacy-friendly, Canadian VPN service that offers users 2GB data allowance per month completely free, or a very generous 10GB in exchange for your email address.

Windscribe free VPN android app

Speeds are decent for a free service. We achieved 55 Mbit/s download results using a server in our own country (UK), although this will depend on the speed of your raw broadband or 4G connection. It even unblocks US Netflix and BBC iPlayer!

Free users can only connect to servers in three countries, but as these are the UK, Canada, and the US, this may not be a problem for many. Windscribe funds this great free service by trailing it as an ad for its Premium plans.

Try an Android VPN without risk

Although the industry has slowly but surely moved away from free trials, it is standard for premium VPNs to offer a money-back guarantee with no risk to your money and no questions asked. This allows you to try out the VPN for yourself to ensure they do what they claim, but remember that this is a refund process and the money will leave your account initially.

VPN Provider Money-back Guarantee? Length of Money-back Guarantee
ExpressVPN Yes 30 days
NordVPN Yes 30 days
Surfshark Yes 30 days
VyprVPN Yes 30 days
IPVanish Yes 7 days

Android VPNs to avoid

There are just too many bad or dangerous VPN apps for Android to list here. The best advice we can give is to avoid all free services unless a reliable source (such as ourselves) actively recommends them.

Paid-for services that also have full desktop VPN support (so are not just otherwise no-name Android apps) are more likely to be trustworthy, but we still recommend hunting down reputable VPN reviews before trusting them with your privacy.

FAQs

Written by: Douglas Crawford

Has worked for almost six years as senior staff writer and resident tech and VPN industry expert at ProPrivacy.com. Widely quoted on issues relating cybersecurity and digital privacy in the UK national press (The Independent & Daily Mail Online) and international technology publications such as Ars Technica.

12 Comments

Danila93
on April 24, 2020
Reply
I wonder if you've checked Atlas VPN? I think it really is a good one, seems to do a good job when compared to other VPNs under the same criteria. Well except for the fact that it doesn't support OC, but I've been using it for almost a month now and I am very happy with it, I'd like to see a professional opinion on it
Mary
on April 14, 2020
Reply
Hey, Douglas. I'm completely clueless when it comes to all of this technical stuff. Seriously, I dont know what any of the terms you used in your ratings. I've never used a VPN so I really dont know how to select one. I dont have anyone to help me troubleshoot problems so if i download one, I'm on my on figuring it out. My time spent on my Android phone is mostly looking at news sites, fb, youtube, general browsing. I dont play games. I dont subscribe to Netflix but may in future. I need one that's easy to use and reasonably priced. I watched the video on Ghost. It looked pretty simple. Would you recommend that or a different one? Also I've been using duck duck go. Should I continue to use that with a VPN or should I use firefox or tor? Like I said at the beginning, I'm completely clueless. Thanks for any advise you offer me.
https://cdn.proprivacy.com/storage/images/proprivacy/02/member-dougjpg-avatar-image-default-1png-avatar-image-default-minpng-avatar_image-small.png
Douglas Crawford replied to Mary
on April 14, 2020
Reply
Hi Mary. If you hunt around this site then you will find articles that explain all the techier terms used here. All the VPNs recommended in this article are highly recommended, and all work with Netflix (if you mean CyberGhost, then yes, its a good service). For privacy, then yes: a VPN, Firefox, and Duckduckgop (all of them). Don't bother with Tor Browser (unless you really need true anonymity on the net). I'm currently in process of rewriting A Beginner's Guide to Online Security , but it still contains lots of good information on the subject (and watch out for the soon-to-land updated version!). Mission creep means that articles which once explained all our techie VPN terms in one place are now not as clear as I'd like, so this is something I will try to fix in the near future.
Mary replied to Douglas Crawford
on April 14, 2020
Reply
Thank you so much for the advice, Douglas. I'll go with the ghost VPN and Firefox and stick with DDG. Even if you have articles explaining the tech terms it would still be way over my head, lol. I'd need a kindergarten version. Glad I found your site and that you responded so quickly. Thanks.
Mei
on April 4, 2020
Reply
Mullvad, check it out. Wireguard beats OpenVPN any day. 3 times a day.
Patrick Allaire
on March 19, 2020
Reply
I'm kind of new to the internet world and have been recommended VPN Pro by brainlab for the best free VPN. What do you think? I'm surviving on a fix income and can't really afford those VPN deals Thanks
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Douglas Crawford replied to Patrick Allaire
on March 19, 2020
Reply
Hi Patrick. Please see our Best Free VPN List (all of which offer Android apps) for the free VPNs that we recommend. And we also recommend being very careful about using free Android VPN apps from unknown vendors.
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