5 Best VPNs for Android Devices in 2020

An Android VPN stops you being tracked by your ISP and the government. This means you can do anything online in privacy. A VPN for Android also stops businesses tracking you on public WiFi, and eliminates tracking by your employer at work. You can also access restricted websites at school, at work, or anywhere else. Android VPNs encrypt your data to let you access censored content in secret.  And a VPN conceals your real IP address so you can pretend to be in a different country to bypass geo-restricted services such as BBC iPlayer or Netflix US. A VPN for Android also protects you from hackers on public WiFi. 

Our experts have carefully analyzed the market to find the 5 best Android VPN apps below.

 

The best VPN for Android Apps

Want the best VPN for Android? Check out the in-depth list below. We have reviewed hundreds of VPNs in order to find the best service for your needs. If you need more information about any service, check out our VPN reviews.

1. ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN is a well-rounded VPN for Android that provides lightning fast speeds and privacy

  • Pricing

    From $6.67 / month
  • Available on

    • Android
    • iOS
    • Windows
    • MacOS
    • Linux
  • Unblocks

    • Netflix
    • iPlayer
    • Amazon Prime
    • Hulu

ExpressVPN has a well-deserved reputation for providing a popular and polished VPN service. Its Android app has had almost 70,000 downloads from the Play Store, and a solid rating that exceeds 4.0 stars.

An easy-to-use service, the ExpressVPN app pioneered the concept of the one-click connect. It uses the same highly secure OpenVPN encryption that its desktop versions use, making this ideal for Android users in China. It has 24/7 live chat support and a 30-day money-back guarantee.

With ExpressVPN, you can get 49% off if you buy a yearly account.

2. NordVPN

NordVPN has an excellent Android VPN app that is available at a superb price point

  • Pricing

    From $3.49 / month
  • Available on

    • MacOS
    • Android
    • iOS
    • Windows
  • Unblocks

    • Netflix
    • iPlayer
    • Amazon Prime
    • Hulu

NordVPN is an incredibly popular Android VPN, with over 80,000 installs from the Play Store and a 4.4-star average review rating, you can also download the app direct from the Nord website, which will auto-update when new versions become available.

A premium VPN for Android, NordVPN offers 24/7 support and it can unblock iPlayer, Netflix US, hulu, all while keeping your data private and secure both at home and on public WiFi. Try NordVPN today thanks to its 30-day money-back guarantee!


3. PrivateVPN

This popular VPN is a hit with consumers and it works perfectly on all Android devices

  • Pricing

    From $1.89 / month
  • Available on

    • Android
    • iOS
    • Windows
    • MacOS
    • Linux
  • Unblocks

    • Netflix
    • iPlayer
    • Amazon Prime
    • Hulu

As its name suggests this is a privacy-focused VPN service. It's an excellent choice as an Android VPN. You get a full-service VPN on your mobile device at an affordable price with super-fast server speed and great encryption.

PrivateVPN is a good choice if you want to watch different Netflix libraries on your Android device. It also offers six simultaneous connections, WiFi protection, and a 30-day money-back guarantee. Based in Sweden this easy-to-use app provides efficient 24/7 live chat support if you have any questions.

4. VyprVPN

If you want a VPN with servers in over 70 countries this is an excellent Andoid VPN option!

  • Pricing

    From $5.00 / month
  • Available on

    • Windows
    • Android
    • Linux
    • iOS
    • MacOS
  • Unblocks

    • Netflix
    • iPlayer
    • Amazon Prime
    • Hulu

This VPN service is based in Switzerland and has recently gone 100% no-logs. It has even been independently audited to confirm this, which is something that no other VPN company can claim. Its Android app has an impressive 43,500 downloads from the Play Store but can also be downloaded from the website. 

A 30-day money-back guarantee is available for Android users, which is great. VyprVPN's Android VPN app features a kill switch, making it ideal for users in privacy-sensitive regions such as China. It has super-fast connection speeds making it the perfect VPN for streaming and it can also unlock Netflix. 

5. IPVanish

This US provider provides fast speeds, excellent ease-of-use, and apps for Android that work seamlessly

  • Pricing

    From $4.12 / month
  • Available on

    • Windows
    • MacOS
    • Android
    • iOS

IPVanish keeps no logs, and although based in the US, it provides a robust VPN service. In addition to being available via the Play Store, you can also download it from the website. Automatic updates, however, are only available if you download the app via the Play Store.

The app offers a bunch of useful features and if you connect to an unknown WiFi network, the app will alert you to this and offer to turn itself on. Being a fast service, IPVanish is ideal for gaming and streaming. You can try it free for a week with its 7-day money-back guarantee.

Why should I use an Android VPN app?

A VPN app connects your Android device to a VPN server which gives you a different IP address. The connection between your device and the VPN server is securely encrypted, so your Android data is always private and secure both at home and on public WiFi.  

You can gain many advantages from using a VPN on Android, including:

  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 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, which has a much larger catalog of titles than paying Netflix customers living elsewhere can access (how fair is that?), or such as BBC iPlayer, which are only available in certain countries. 

With all that in mind - and how cheap a VPN for mobile is - we think everyone should use a VPN!

Is a VPN safe for Android?

A VPN for Android works just like a VPN for PC or a VPN for Mac. If you are new to VPNs, it is probably worth checking out our Beginner's Guide to Virtual Private Networks.

One thing worth considering, is that a VPN for Android phone cannot stop data being sent directly to developers from apps. Phones and tablets send a lot of data back to their developers, which is why it is important to monitor the permissions when you install them. A large criticism of Android is that by default Google almost encourages app developers to abuse the permissions system.

Data sent to app developers can include your phone's unique IMEI number, your GPS location data, your contact list, your Google Play/iTunes ID, and more. A VPN cannot stop apps from doing this.

One solution is to access services using your browser (preferably a privacy-friendly browser), rather than via these purpose-built apps. A VPN will fully shield your IP address from the websites you visit in your browser. Though we do also recommend using browser add-ons to prevent other forms of website tracking.

What features are Important for Android VPNs?

In general, what makes a good Android VPN is pretty much the same as what makes a good VPN for any platform.

  • Speed: a VPN app will slow down your internet connection, although if you connect to a server quite nearby (such as in the same or an adjacent country) then this speed reduction should be minimal. Please check out our always-running VPN Speed Testing Tool to find the fastest VPNs out there. 
  • No IP leaks: DNS leaks, WebRTC leaks, and IPv6 leaks are just as possible (and likely) on an Android device as they are on as on a desktop PC. A good VPN app will prevent them (or in the case of WebRTC mitigate against them). Please check out our Complete Guide to IP Leak Protection for more information.
  • No logs: a VPN that keeps logs of your activities is in no position to guarantee your privacy. All VPN services promise to keep no records of what you get up to online (usage logs), but connection (metadata) logs can be highly revealing. A good VPN service keeps no logs whatsoever.
  • Jurisdiction: whatever a VPN service says, many countries require VPNs to keep a detailed connection and even usage logs by law. And while countries such as the USA and Canada don’t,  government agencies such as the NSA perform extensive blanket surveillance where it would be naïve to believe they just allow VPN users to slip under the radar… For more information check out our five eyes guide.

Features that more specifically affect Android VPN users are:

  • Custom VPN apps: most providers these days offer custom Android VPN apps that are easy to use because they come pre-configured for that service. It should be said, though, that while it requires more initial configuration than custom VPN apps, the excellent OpenVPN for Android app is more fully featured than most such apps (and can be configured to act as a kill switch).
  • Kill switch: a kill switch is a very important feature as it prevents your IP address from being exposed when the VPN connection drops and during network switches, the second of which is likely to happen regularly on a mobile device you carry round in your pocket. Some Android VPN apps have a kill switch, but unfortunately, most do not. Good news for owners of newer Android devices, though, is that Android 7+ includes a built-in kill switch that works with any VPN app.
  • WiFi protection: is a feature we are seeing more and more in Android apps. When your device connects to an unknown WiFi network it auto-engages the VPN in order to protect you from malicious actors on a potentially insecure network.

How to set up a VPN on Android?

We now have an entire guide on how to set up a VPN on Android (although – really – it’s not rocket science!). In it, we also discuss things like how to sideload Android VPN APKs, how to enable a kill switch in Android, and more.

Can I use a VPN free on Android?

There are many free VPN apps on the Google Play store. However, a shocking amount of those services track and sell data, contain spyware, and lie about the data privacy (encryption) they provide. Frustratingly, many of those services have been reviewed well by consumers; who don't realize that these things are happening in the background.  

If you want a free VPN, follow our link above, which will show you some secure free VPNs you can use without concerns. And remember; no-one is going to run an expensive VPN service completely for free (it's simply not a sustainable business model unless you steal data from users).

There are some decent free apps for Android available, some of which come from established VPN services hoping the free app will tempt you into paying for a premium subscription. Just don’t expect a free VPN app for Android to offer an unlimited service. A trustworthy one will be download capped and have various other limitations. (server locations, bandwidth limits).

FAQs

Here are answers to some common questions we get asked.

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.

3 Comments

  1. N.A.

    on January 2, 2020
    Reply

    "Top recommended VPN" is not operating outside the USA or other Five Eyes countries, logging timestamps and bandwidth, not meeting Privacytool.io criteria, etc... So it must be a joke... I wonder how much ExpressVPN and NordVPN paid for these "reviews". When I first saw this site, I thought it was nice (just reading the headlines of some articles), but after a closer look some articles, like this, makes me think twice about this site authenticity. And I think if you really want to run a site about privacy, authenticity is everything. There are so many misleading privacy sites out there...

    1. Douglas Crawford replied to N.A.

      on January 3, 2020
      Reply

      Hi N.A. Um. None of the services listed above is based in the USA or a FVEY jurisdiction (NordVPN is based in Panama, while ExpressVPN is based in the BVI), and none of them log timestamps and bandwidth (or, indeed, the IP addresses of users).

    2. Douglas Crawford replied to N.A.

      on January 3, 2020
      Reply

      and always worth mentioning when people like this complain. We are a large independent privacy advocacy organization with many hundreds of thousands of visitors. While some smaller VPNs do exist that we like, those VPNs are not in a position to deal with massive numbers of new subscribers. NordVPN and ExpressVPN are reliable and they cater to massive subscriber bases and they are in a position to take on huge numbers of new subscribers without issues, this cannot be said for all VPNs. Some VPNs simply do not want to appear on lists like this - because they prefer to take on smaller numbers of subscribers organically. If you prefer to use a smaller VPN - be our guest, there are some great ones out there. However, the criticism made of ExpressVPN and NordVPN in your comment is completely unjustified. These are good VPNs that are capable of dealing with large numbers of subscribers successfully while providing excelent levels of digital privacy; ideal for 99% of users on the market seeking privacy.

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