5 Best Android VPN for 2021

Almost every VPN we reviewed works with Android. But five of them stand head and shoulders above the rest.

In this piece, we’ll:

  • Shed light on the strengths and weaknesses of our top picks.
  • Explain various ways to set up the best Android VPN apps.
  • Talk about the key factors you should consider when comparing Android VPN clients.
  • Answer popular questions like what is the best VPN for Android?

Let’s get going!

Show more

Top 5 Android VPN for 2021

1. CyberGhost

In a nutshell, it’s hard to match CyberGhost’s streaming wizardry. But don’t just take our word for it - have a look at its server network, and tell us if we’re lying. Plus, it’s one of the most competitively priced premium VPN services out there. Full Review

  • Streaming-optimized servers
  • Content Blocker
  • Router support
Visit Website

Show More

In a nutshell, it’s hard to match CyberGhost’s streaming wizardry. But don’t just take our word for it - have a look at its server network, and tell us if we’re lying. Plus, it’s one of the most competitively priced premium VPN services out there. Full Review

HQ

Romania

Zero-Log Policy

Adequate

Number of Locations

110+

Number of Protocols

2

Kill Switch

Supported

Malware Protection

Supported

Ad Blocker

Supported

Free Trial

3 days

2. ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN’s unparalleled speed has become a cliché. But minimal speed loss isn’t its only selling point. Its unsurpassed global reach makes a compelling argument for it to be the best VPN for Android. It offers more locations than any other elite VPN service provider. Full Review

  • 160 locations
  • RAM-only servers
  • Lightway protocol
Visit Website

Show More

ExpressVPN’s unparalleled speed has become a cliché. But minimal speed loss isn’t its only selling point. Its unsurpassed global reach makes a compelling argument for it to be the best VPN for Android. It offers more locations than any other elite VPN service provider. Full Review

HQ

British Virgin Islands

Zero-Log Policy

Adequate

Number of Locations

160

Number of Protocols

2

Kill Switch

Supported

Malware Protection

Unsupported

Ad Blocker

Unsupported

Free Trial

7 days

3. NordVPN

In terms of security, NordVPN is hands down the top Android VPN. Its impregnable defenses against malware are second to none. It isn’t a perfect antivirus substitute, however, nor does it claim to be. But it’s an apt companion to the mobile operating system. Full Review

  • CyberSec
  • Tapjacking protection
  • Dark Web monitoring
Visit Website

Show More

In terms of security, NordVPN is hands down the top Android VPN. Its impregnable defenses against malware are second to none. It isn’t a perfect antivirus substitute, however, nor does it claim to be. But it’s an apt companion to the mobile operating system. Full Review

HQ

Panama

Zero-Log Policy

Adequate

Number of Locations

80+

Number of Protocols

2

Kill Switch

Supported

Malware Protection

Supported

Ad Blocker

Supported

Free Trial

7 days

4. PIA

To say that PIA is a good VPN for Android is an understatement. It has an outstanding “no data logging” policy. If pressure makes diamonds, then this VPN is a real gem. Full Review

  • Confirmed zero-log policy
  • Adjustable encryption setting
  • Open-source software
Visit Website

Show More

To say that PIA is a good VPN for Android is an understatement. It has an outstanding “no data logging” policy. If pressure makes diamonds, then this VPN is a real gem. Full Review

HQ

USA

Zero-Log Policy

Proven

Number of Locations

100

Number of Protocols

2

Kill Switch

Supported

Malware Protection

Supported

Ad Blocker

Supported

Free Trial

7 days

5. Surfshark

Surfshark’s functionality alone makes a solid case for being the best mobile VPN for Android. But its immense versatility is what separates it from the bunch. You can make it work with any Android-powered device. Most importantly, you can connect it to as many gadgets and secure as much traffic as you want. Full Review

  • Router and hotspot support
  • Unlimited simultaneous device connections
  • CleanWeb
Visit Website

Show More

Surfshark’s functionality alone makes a solid case for being the best mobile VPN for Android. But its immense versatility is what separates it from the bunch. You can make it work with any Android-powered device. Most importantly, you can connect it to as many gadgets and secure as much traffic as you want. Full Review

HQ

British Virgin Islands

Zero-Log Policy

Adequate

Number of Locations

100+

Number of Protocols

3

Kill Switch

Supported

Malware Protection

Supported

Ad Blocker

Supported

Free Trial

7 days

Best VPNs for Android in 2021

In a nutshell, the strengths of our top picks are:

  • CyberGhost – Best for streaming
  • ExpressVPN – Best for location spoofing
  • NordVPN – Best for malware defense
  • PIA – Best for privacy protection
  • Surfshark – Best for installation versatility

Detailed Reviews

CyberGhost
CyberGhost
CyberGhost

BEST FOR

Streaming

Visit Website
  • Streaming-optimized servers
  • Content Blocker
  • Router support
  • 45-day refund policy

CyberGhost is the best VPN software for Android for streaming aficionados and penny pinchers.

Overview

CyberGhost has apps for Android and Android TV. So, if you can access Google Play on your device, you can download it.

But if you have Android-powered electronics that CyberGhost doesn’t natively support, you can encrypt their internet traffic via your router.

This VPN (virtual private network) is only compatible with TomatoUSB, TomatoUSB Merlin Build, and Flashed DD-WRT, though. The company doesn’t guarantee its tech will work with any other router firmware.

If you can install CyberGhost on your router, you’ll be able to exceed this vendor’s connection limit of seven devices. With no data cap, you’ll be able to secure more pieces of technology using one subscription.

Unfortunately, you can’t connect to any of its VPN servers for Android using a mobile hotspot set up yet.

CyberGhost is perfect for streaming. Other than unblocking geo-restricted content, it can also keep your ISP (internet service provider) from throttling your speed.

This VPN vendor has more than 6,900 servers and provides IP (Internet Protocol) addresses from 114 cities. It has hardware optimized for dozens of streaming platforms and housed in 13 countries.

So. if you’re looking for dedicated servers for streaming, CyberGhost is the best VPN app for Android for you.

Moreover, CyberGhost has split tunneling. You can enjoy your normal internet speed while running specified Android apps.

However, it would be wise to keep CyberGhost on when torrenting, browsing, and gaming. After all, it supports both OpenVPN and WireGuard.

OpenVPN comes in UDP (User Datagram Protocol) and TCP (Transmission Control Protocol) modes. The flexibility of this VPN protocol makes it suitable for varying usage needs.

CyberGhost has a kill switch to safeguard your identity in case your VPN connection drops. And, its Content Blocker (which blocks domains used for ads and malware) is available on Android.

Furthermore, you can leverage its Wi-Fi Protection to level up your device’s security in public hotspots. CyberGhost can remember the networks you connect to and lets you define how to react to them.

CyberGhost is the best VPN for mobile devices based in Romania. Therefore, it’s away from countries that like to snoop into people’s personal business.

It’s worth noting that it has 36 virtual server locations. The real jurisdictions they’re under are confidential, which is something you have to live with.

It shouldn’t be a cause for concern, though. After all, CyberGhost keeps zero connection logs. Still, it would’ve been better if it doesn’t keep a record of any personally identifiable data at all.

What’s unique about this VPN service provider’s privacy protection capability were random port connection and domain fronting.

CyberGhost can route your traffic over the vendor’s private network using randomly selected ports. So, in the face of online censorship, you can use it to browse restricted domains while appearing to visit acceptable sites.

Pricing

Despite what Google Play and CyberGhost’s site might say, this VPN’s free trial is good for three days only.

Seventy-two hours will fly by before you know it. At least it does carry a hefty price tag for being the best Android VPN app for streaming.

Here are CyberGhost’s plans:

  • 1 month: $12.99
  • 1 year: $3.99/month
  • 2 years: $3.49/month
  • 3 years: $2.44/month ($2.25/month introductory rate)

CyberGhost offers a 45-day money-back guarantee on its annual and multi-year plans. Its monthly plan, however, is fully refundable for 14 days.

You can buy any of its subscriptions with your credit card, PayPal, or bitcoin.

Verdict

In theory, you could use CyberGhost for up to 48 days at no cost. So, if you want the best free VPN for Android and streaming, it’s the closest premium product you can find.

ExpressVPN
ExpressVPN
ExpressVPN

BEST FOR

Location spoofing

Visit Website
  • 160 locations
  • RAM-only servers
  • Lightway protocol
  • Router and hotspot support

ExpressVPN is known for its exceptional speed. But it’s not the only reason why many consider it as the best VPN for Android.

Overview

ExpressVPN isn’t just the fastest VPN on this list. It’s also one of the most versatile. It has downloadable apps for Android and Android TV on Google Play.

Through your VPN-protected desktop, you can share your ExpressVPN connection with your Chromecast, Nvidia Shield, and other Android-powered devices. Windows 10 and Windows 8 mobile hotspot setups are at your disposal, too.

Likewise, this BVI-based VPN vendor supports the following routers:

  • Asus
  • D-Link
  • DD-WRT
  • Linksys
  • Netduma
  • Sabai
  • Tomato
  • TP-LINK

If you have IoT (Internet of Things) devices, your ExpressVPN-protected Android device will securely interact with them.

This VPN service has no usage limit. So, you can use it to your heart’s delight. You may only connect five devices to this mobile VPN app all at once, though.

Further, it calls its kill switch as Network Lock. And you can secure your preferred apps only with its split tunneling.

ExpressVPN has no less than 3,000 servers across 160 cities. But 27.50% of the countries and territories on its selection are virtual locations. It provides IPs from 44 jurisdictions via:

  • Brazil
  • Hong Kong
  • Singapore
  • The Netherlands
  • The UK
  • The US

Unlike the other competitor for the Best Android VPN award, ExpressVPN is transparent about the sites of its virtual server locations. Clearly, it doesn’t consider this a major security vulnerability.

A good explanation for that is its TrustedServer technology. It ensures that any data it collects gets wiped whenever its servers reboot.

Although its Android client lacks an ad and malware blocker, plausible deniability is ExpressVPN’s defense. Nobody could catch it keeping connection and user activity logs.

For an app that has no dedicated servers for streaming, it can surprisingly unblock Netflix, Disney+, Spotify, and many other platforms.

In terms of tunneling protocols, you can switch between OpenVPN (in TCP and UDP modes) and Lightway. Either can prevent man-in-the-middle attacks.

ExpressVPN’s proprietary protocol, Lightway supports both AES 256-bit encryption and ChaCha20. It decides which cipher to use based on the device you use and its sophistication.

Pricing

This VPN is good for any Android phone and tablet but is on the expensive side. And it doesn’t offer any multi-year plan yet.

  • 1 month: $12.95
  • 6 months: $9.99/month
  • 1 year: $8.32/month

Fortunately, you can test-drive this VPN service for Android. Its seven-day free trial requires just an email address.

When you decide to buy, you can choose from 19 payment options, including cryptocurrency. Whatever subscription you sign up for, you can enjoy a money-back guarantee for 30 days.

Verdict

If you’re bent on connecting to as many locations as possible, ExpressVPN will be worth the expense.

NordVPN
NordVPN
NordVPN

BEST FOR

Malware defense

Visit Website
  • CyberSec
  • Tapjacking protection
  • Dark Web monitoring
  • NordLynx protocol

Do you have malware anxiety? NordVPN is the best mobile VPN for Android that can allay your fear.

Overview

NordVPN’s mobile client is downloadable on any Android device with Google Play. Those without can install this VPN via a router or a Windows mobile hotspot.

In terms of simultaneous connections, you can use NordVPN on up to six devices per subscription.

You won’t be encumbered by any bandwidth limit. But if you’re particular about your data usage, activate this VPN’s Metered Connection.

Like any app among the best VPN software for Android, NordVPN has split tunneling and a system-wide kill switch. Unfortunately, some Android devices (Huawei phones, for example) don’t support its network lock.

In addition, CyberSec is this VPN’s built-in ad and malware blocker. But unlike some of the best Android VPN vendors, it won’t work if you download the app from Google Play.

You need to set up NordVPN’s APK (Android Package Kit) version instead. Its installation procedure doesn’t require technical knowledge. But it involves modifying some of your device’s default settings.

Good thing Google Play doesn’t block many of this VPN’s native security features, including Tapjacking Protection and Dark Web Monitor.

Using its local network discovery tool, your NordVPN-protected device can talk with your printer, TV, and other pieces of technology.

When it comes to global reach, this vendor offers IP addresses from over 80 locations. It has hardware in multiple cities in: 

  • Australia 
  • Canada 
  • France 
  • Germany 
  • India 
  • the US.

What’s more, 100% of NordVPN’s fleet of more than 5,200 VPN servers are not in their advertised regions. This vendor wouldn’t disclose their whereabouts for security reasons. 

Although we couldn’t tell where NordVPN’s servers are, we’re fully aware of the variety of things they do.

Powered by SmartPlay technology, all NordVPN servers can unblock the geo-restricted regional content libraries of popular streaming platforms.

In addition, this vendor has obfuscated VPN servers in 19 locations. These computers can disguise your encrypted traffic so that it stays under the radar of censors. So, they can also be helpful if your ISP punishes VPN usage.

For maximum privacy, you can use NordVPN’s Onion Over VPN in two locations.

It supports double VPN too. Its specialty servers will appear only when your app is on OpenVPN (UDP or TCP).

If you run VPN on Android, you can choose NordLynx. Built around WireGuard, it promises a better combination of speed and privacy.

Strategically based in Central America, NordVPN has been able to distance itself from the Fourteen Eyes Alliance.

Despite the secrecy surrounding the details of its virtual server locations, NordVPN has a trustworthy privacy policy.

This vendor capitalizes on internet freedom in Panama. This republic doesn’t force it to record users’ personally identifiable information like IP addresses, connection timestamps, and browsing histories.

Pricing

NordVPN for Android comes with a seven-day free trial. Two of its subscriptions are deeply discounted. And all three of them are refundable within 30 days.

So, let’s take a look at NordVPN’s pricing.

  • 1 month: $11.95
  • 1 year: $4.92/month (introductory price)
  • 2 years: $3.30/month (introductory price)

NordVPN subscriptions are subject to auto-renewal. After the initial term, the cost of the annual plan and the biennial plan becomes $8.25 a month.

This VPN vendor accepts major credit cards and digital wallets like Google Pay. You can also make a purchase with bitcoin, ether, or XRP.

Verdict

The developers of NordVPN take security to heart. The remarkable anti-malware prowess of this top VPN for Android is proof of that.

PIA
PIA
PIA

BEST FOR

Privacy protection

Visit Website
  • Confirmed zero-log policy
  • Adjustable encryption setting
  • Open-source software
  • Free email breach monitoring

PIA’s name isn’t a marketing ploy. It has proven itself to be what a textbook VPN for an Android phone and tablet should be.

Overview

PIA is on Google Play, but downloading its native Android client will deprive you of having MACE. To block ads, trackers, and malware with PIA, you have to install its APK version instead.

You may be able to install PIA on your router if it’s impossible to do it on your Android device. At the moment, mobile hotspot support is unavailable.

PIA for Android has no split tunneling. With the release of its latest version, it has also lost its native kill switch. But this mobile app lets you activate your device’s own kill switch: Block Connections Without VPN.

As far as server quantity is concerned, PIA is the top Android VPN.

It has about 30,000 VPN servers spread across 100 locations. Its so-called next-gen servers are optimized for 10Gbps and use private DNS (Domain Name System).

When it comes to usage, it imposes no bandwidth limitation too. With a PIA license, you can connect up to 10 devices at the same time.

PIA has made a conscious effort to focus on the US. Most of its hardware is in the States. But it can defeat IP blockers from places it doesn’t operate in.

The infrastructures that power its 30 virtual server locations are in the following countries:

  • Estonia
  • Lithuania
  • The Netherlands
  • Romania
  • Singapore
  • The US

PIA has no proprietary tunneling protocols. This VPN for Android phones supports OpenVPN and WireGuard only.

Be it in UDP or TCP mode, OpenVPN gives you access to more connection settings. You’ll be able to do port forwarding and specify local and/or remote ports.

If you have no clue what these are for, leave them alone to avoid creating vulnerabilities cyber criminals can exploit.

This VPN Android vendor has random local port connections and local network blocking tools too.

With this VPN’s advanced encryption setting, you can switch between AES-128 (default) and AES-256. The former can speed up your VPN connection without putting your identity and traffic data vulnerable.

PIA’s HQ is in the US. This means it’s in the heart of Fourteen Eyes territory.

But its zero-log policy has proven resistant to Uncle Sam’s prying eyes. The Federal Bureau of Investigation has failed to get a copy of its records not once, but twice.

PIA runs exclusively on IPv4. It provides protection against aggressive IPv6 leaks.

As an open-source VPN, its code is available for public consumption. White hat hackers can look for bugs in PIA all they want.

Pricing

You don’t have to spend money on this VPN app for Android right away. Sign up for its free trial to get your first seven days free. Afterward, you can upgrade to any of these plans:

  • 1 month: $9.95
  • 1 year: $3.33/month
  • 3 years: $2.19/month

PIA accepts cash and credit. Apart from major credit cards, PayPal, and Amazon Pay, it takes more cryptos than its peers.

Free email breach monitoring also comes with a PIA subscription.

If you have a change of mind, you may request a refund within 30 days from the purchase date.

Verdict

Undoubtedly, PIA is the obvious choice if you want to reclaim your anonymity when using your Android device.

Surfshark
Surfshark
Surfshark

BEST FOR

Installation versatility

Visit Website
  • Router and hotspot support
  • Unlimited simultaneous device connections
  • CleanWeb
  • Diskless infrastructure

The more Android devices you have, the more you’ll appreciate the value of a Surfshark subscription.

Overview

This top VPN for Android has the most desirable standard features and then some.

It has a built-in kill switch and supports Android’s similar native functionality. You can use the latter alongside or as an alternative to the former.

If you enable Always on VPN and Block connections without VPN, it’ll apply to all apps. Same goes for the ones you pick using Whitelister, Surfshark’s split tunneling feature.

If your family loves streaming media, you’re in luck. Surfshark permits unlimited simultaneous device connections and unlimited bandwidth.

You can use 100% of its global network of 3,200+ servers across 108 locations to unlock regional content libraries. It has no hardware optimized for any streaming platforms, though.

Nevertheless, its entire fleet uses private DNS. It offers static IP addresses too.

If you’re a fan of bigger screens, you’d be glad that there’s a native Surfshark Android TV app. It can make installation painless if your smart TV has Google Play. But if you can’t download it, you can use this VPN’s Smart DNS instead.

Arguably the best VPN for the Android TV box, you may be able to install Surfshark on your router. It’s your primary option if you wish to connect your Chromecast or Nvidia Shield to this VPN.

If you can’t hook Surfshark into your router, you can secure your Android TV devices through a Windows mobile hotspot.

In terms of internet privacy, Surfshark is practically unassailable. It operates in the BVI, which is why it isn’t in the clutches of the Fourteen Eyes Alliance.

This mobile VPN for Android has five virtual server locations. But Surfshark wouldn’t tell us the actual cities or countries behind them.

Fortunately, its zero-log policy is believable because of its diskless server network. It saves the little data it may collect on RAM, so it only stays there temporarily.

The company tracks usage and crash data anonymously by default. But you may disable both reporting functions if you wish.

Moreover, Surfshark has a selection of 14 Multihop country pairs. It lets you override your GPS location so that your apps can surely detect your spoofed location.

Plus, it supports Shadowsocks, an encryption proxy originally designed to fool the Great Firewall of China.

Security-wise, Surfshark isn’t slacking off. It supports OpenVPN (UDP/TCP), WireGuard, and IKEv2 (Internet Key Exchange v2). The third option lets you choose from two ciphers: AES-256-GCM or Chacha20Poly1305.

AES-256-GCM is more secure without a doubt. But Chacha20Poly1305 promises faster speed, especially on old devices.

With this VPN’s device invisibility, you can hide your device on your LAN (local area network). This feature can keep the chances of IoT attacks to a minimum.

Lastly, CleanWeb, Surfshark’s ad tracker, and malware blocker are available in the native VPN Android app. No need to set up a separate APK file.

For less than a dollar per month, you can get Surfshark Alert and Surfshark Search. The first one sends real-time potential email and password breach alerts while the second offers absolute incognito browsing.

Pricing

Surfshark offers a taste of this VPN for Android at no cost for a week. The only caveat is that you have to provide your payment credentials beforehand. You can choose from the following:

  • PayPal
  • Google Pay
  • Amazon Pay
  • bitcoin
  • altcoins

This VPN vendor won’t be charged if you discontinue its 7-day free trial at least 24 hours before it expires.

If you want to keep the service beyond the “honeymoon” period, here are your subscription options:

  • 1 month: $12.95
  • 6 months: $6.49/month
  • 2 years: $2.49/month

Only the two-year plan comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Verdict

Surfshark has very few technical limitations. So, we highly recommend this VPN for Android phones, tablets, and digital media players if you have more than 10 devices.

How to Use a VPN for Android

Obviously, you need to install a VPN on your Android device to benefit from it. But did you know that you don’t always need a mobile client to pull it off?

Here, let’s explore five ways to harness the benefits of using a VPN on Android.

Download the Native Mobile VPN App

Let’s begin with direct native app installation. The procedure below should be familiar to you if you’ve set up an Android or Android TV app before. There are just some extra steps to take note of:

  1. Search the Android app on Google Play.
  2. Open the app after downloading it.
  3. Give permission to the VPN’s connection request.
  4. Create an account or sign in.
  5. Adjust the settings as you see fit.
  6. Connect a location.
  7. Check for any IP and DNS leakage. If your original IP and DNS addresses don’t show up, proceed to the next step.
  8. Test the kill switch (we briefly explained how to do this below). If it works, start using the internet.

Install the APK File

An APK file is a file with an APK extension saved in the ZIP format. It offers an alternative means of installing an Android VPN app if Google Play restricts some of its functionalities.

The VPN vendors that provide a downloadable APK version of their Android app on their site. The installation method varies by device.

If your smartphone or tablet prevents straightforward APK file installation, you’ll have to tweak some Android settings.

To install unofficial APK files, search for Install unknown apps or unknown sources.

Sometimes, you may have to use a file manager to open the VPN APK version.

Fortunately, VPN vendors prepare their own APK file setup guide. Following their instructions is your best bet. If you have any problem, consult customer support.

Set Up the VPN on Your Router

Consider this option if you want to install a VPN on your Android device without a native app or an APK file.

A VPN-router setup presents a neat solution to any simultaneous connection limit. Usually, a router (regardless of the number of pieces of technology hooked up into it) takes just one device slot.

Not all routers are compatible with VPNs, however. And not all VPNs can work with any router’s firmware. Reach out to customer support to explore if this setup is feasible.

Create a Mobile Hotspot

If router installation is out of the question, link your Android device to your VPN via a Windows mobile hotspot.

Not all VPN Android service providers extend support for this setup. Ask your prospective vendor about it to know whether it’s an option. 

Enable Mirroring or Casting From a VPN-Protected Device

Use either screen mirroring or casting to play content from a VPN-protected Android device on an unsafe Android TV – powered device.

Technically, this isn’t an installation method. But it lets you enjoy otherwise restricted content on your smart TV with no Android TV app.

How to Choose the Best VPN for Android

It’s not hard to look for a mobile VPN for Android. But finding one that can complement the merits of and address the downsides to the operating system is another story.

So, what is the best VPN for Android? Consider the following factors:

Compatibility

Android can power a wide range of smartphones, tablets, media players, and IoT devices. So, it makes sense to use a VPN that can match its versatility. 

Most VPNs natively support Android. In other words, you can download them from Google Play and set them up with a few clicks.

Not every device or platform developed by Google supports direct VPN installation, however. When this is the case, you need a VPN service that allows workarounds. Encrypting the traffic of a smartphone or tablet wirelessly connected to Android devices is an excellent case in point.

Furthermore, keep in mind that Google launches new Android versions frequently. Reliable VPN apps for Android are able to keep up with these changes.

Ease of Use

Usability is one of the draws of Android. So, it’s only fitting to go with a VPN that’s just as easy to use.

What makes a good VPN for Android?

Its user interface should be clear, concise, efficient, responsive, and forgiving. Its design should also be familiar even to new users and consistent across all apps. Both qualities are the key to intuitiveness.

An attractive user interface is a bonus, but it’s not a requirement. What’s non-negotiable is a healthy balance between being powerful and being complicated.

Many feature-packed VPNs require technical knowledge. That’s why they tend to be intimidating to casual Android users.

If you’re not tech-savvy, you’ll find it difficult to maximize the functionality of an app designed for power users.

VPN Company Location

Legitimate VPN vendors are beholden to the government of the country they operate in. Otherwise, the authorities will consider them illegal and banish them.

You should pay attention to where your prospective Android VPN service provider is headquartered. It tells you how likely the vendor’s database (if available) is going to leak into the Fourteen Eyes Alliance.

Edward Snowden has exposed this international network of intelligence-sharing democracies for spying on internet users and invading their citizens’ privacy.

Here are its members:

  • The US
  • Canada
  • The UK
  • Australia
  • New Zealand
  • France
  • The Netherlands
  • Denmark
  • Norway
  • Germany
  • Belgium
  • Italy
  • Spain
  • Sweden

In addition, rumor has it that Japan, South Korea, Singapore, and Israel cooperate with Fourteen Eyes countries.

Unfortunately, the companies behind some of the best Android VPNs operate under the jurisdiction of said alliance. While it’s not a deal-breaker in and of itself, but it’s worth remembering.

But how do VPN service providers decide where to set up shop?

Vendors have varying levels of risk tolerance. But most stay away from places that are not politically welcoming. Some continue to have physical hardware in countries ruled by authoritarian leaders, though.

Is it safe to use a company with a VPN server for Android in a country infamous for internet censorship?

Maybe, maybe not.

It would depend on one’s privacy policy. If a VPN vendor stores no personal data, no dictator could strong-arm it into unmasking its users.

Zero-Log Policy

We’ve reviewed dozens of Android-compatible VPNs. And they all claim that they don’t do data logging.

On the surface, zero-log pronouncements can appear sincere. But many of them aren’t what they seem.

Of course, VPN service providers have to save data to some extent. Normally, they’d ask for your information to communicate with you. Some even accept masked email addresses from Blur, which can help prevent identity theft.

But a trustworthy vendor shouldn’t store any information that may help identify a person.

Genuine zero-log policies bar the collection and/or storage of users’ original IP addresses and traffic data. Without these pieces of information, nobody should be able to know your online activity.

How can you tell sincere and dubious zero-log claims apart? Read them from top to bottom.

The zero-log pledge of every VPN for mobile devices we analyze is subject to scrutiny. And we publish our discoveries objectively.

But vendors can amend their policies between our follow-up reviews without warning.

Although we’re confident in the accuracy of our findings, it doesn’t hurt to see for yourself. This way, you can catch any changes to a VPN’s policy we haven’t sniffed yet and make an informed decision.

Server Network

However you want to use a VPN service on Android, you ought to choose one with a wide global network of servers.

Plus, you should pick a vendor with a high hardware concentration in popular locations. Good server distribution helps mitigate any performance issue that can arise from overcrowding.

It’s worth highlighting that the best mobile VPN service providers don’t necessarily have physical infrastructure in the locations they advertise. All of the virtual server locations to get around unfriendly VPN legislation in certain jurisdictions.

Without virtual server locations, your IP options will be limited and you’ll be able to bypass geo-restrictions in fewer areas.

Connecting to one, however, may pose some privacy risks. It can be a concern when you’re trying to avoid snooping governments.

Not all of the best mobile VPN vendors that observe this practice proactively say that they have virtual server locations. But before you cry foul at the lack of transparency, it shouldn’t be that big a deal.

A company’s zero-log policy also applies to servers whose actual locations are unknown. If you can’t trust a particular vendor, you shouldn’t use it even if 100% of its servers are physical.

Streaming Servers

If you have streaming subscriptions (or intend to buy some), pick a VPN for mobile devices with optimized servers.

Streaming giants (like Netflix and Disney+) and VPN vendors are in a tug-of-war over unrestricted content. The former would try to neutralize the latter at every turn to keep their copyrighted material away from unauthorized users.

Streaming service providers may use different anti-VPN technologies. That’s why you’re unlikely to unlock the geo-restricted content libraries of media companies with basic VPN servers.

So, to boost your chances of defeating IP blockers, use a VPN service provider with optimized hardware for specific streaming platforms.

Malware Protection

Compared to iOS, Android is less secure. 

One of its strengths may also be one of its weaknesses: openness. Google provides considerable leeway in downloading VPN apps for Android. In case you didn’t know, you have the liberty to install unvetted apps from third-party sources.

Although your Android device has Google Play Protect, a built-in malware scanner, it’s imperfect. Some malicious apps can slip through the cracks and infect your smartphone or tablet.

To be fair, Android is more secure than what the media gives it credit for. But if you have quite “adventurous” browsing habits, it pays to use a mobile VPN with decent security features.

Tracker and Ad Blocking

Android is notorious for ads. It shouldn’t surprise you since advertising is Google’s bread and butter.

It takes more than just a VPN with powerful blockers to stop Google from harvesting your data for profit. But it’s definitely a must-have.

Encryption

It’s not a coincidence that the leading VPNs support AES-256. Widely regarded as the most secure cryptographic algorithm, AES is still immune to brute force attacks.

If you encrypt your traffic data with a 256-bit key, it’ll be as confidential as the secrets of the US military.

Increased security comes at a price, however – speed loss. If you opt for double-layer security (if available), the consequence will even be worse.

That’s why even some of the best Android VPNs use AES-128 by default. This strategy can help noticeably minimize speed loss without necessarily compromising security.

A growing number of vendors are beginning to support ChaCha20 for encryption. It has been billed as a suitable cryptographic solution for Android.

ChaCha20 can decrypt data with less computational power and in less time. Therefore, it can load pages faster and consume less battery. The improved performance is particularly apparent in less powerful Android devices.

Many security experts, however, are not yet sold on ChaCha20. Its track record is thin compared to AES. ChaCha20’s novelty breeds skepticism. So, it’ll take a while before it earns the respect the internet has for AES.

Choice of Tunneling Protocols

A.k.a VPN protocols, they’re made up of rules on how to package and send traffic data over a private network. They tell Android VPN clients how to build encrypted tunnels and isolate their connections from the public internet.

Tunneling protocols are not the same. Some natively support major desktop and mobile OSes, while others need configuration files. Likewise, there are interesting contrasts between the cryptographic algorithms they use.

Due to these differences, common protocols offer unique combinations of installability, speed, security, and efficiency.

By and large, IKEv2 is hailed as the best Android VPN protocol.

IKEv2’s not without drawbacks. But its open-source nature enables paranoid cybersecurity experts to dissect it as they please. For this reason, all of its few vulnerabilities are public knowledge. It can support either AES or ChaCha20 too.

Other than IKEv2, OpenVPN and WireGuard are also stellar options for Android.

OpenVPN is more reliable for streaming, whereas WireGuard delivers better performance for gaming. Lauded for their security and privacy, either is workable for torrenting and browsing restricted sites.

Another common VPN protocol with plenty of advocates is L2TP/IPSec. Though considered secure, its code isn’t as transparent as the others. Plus, its link to the US National Security Agency causes more controversy than inspires peace of mind.

And then there are proprietary tunneling protocols.

They’ve come from the labs of the best Android VPN app developers. Usually, they’re modified iterations of common protocols. But nobody really knows what exactly goes under their hood. 

Nevertheless, they have enhanced qualities and can outperform their generic counterparts in tеrms of speed, firewall circumvention, and security.

Kill Switch

Any VPN app for Android worth its salt has a functional kill switch. It’s your insurance against VPN disconnection. It can go by the term network lock or automatic kill switch.

Usually, VPN kill switches protect the entire device. But some vendors engineer them to be applicable to specified Android apps only.

Don’t expect a kill switch to be available in a VPN’s mobile client, however, just because it’s supported in another. If available, it may not be activated by default or may not even work at all.

Don’t take every service provider’s kill switch claim at face value. Checking this feature’s availability in a VPN Android app and testing its effectiveness is paramount.

Follow these simple steps:

  1. Make sure the kill switch is enabled.
  2. Turn your VPN on.
  3. Start using the internet.
  4. Disconnect from the VPN server without closing the client.
  5. Try to use the internet again.

If the kill switch works, it should force your device to stay offline until you reconnect to the VPN service. If you’re able to go online without connecting to a VPN server, then the kill switch is faulty.

Split Tunneling

This VPN functionality divides your device’s outgoing internet traffic. It sends some through a safe tunnel and transmits the other as normal.

In other words, it enables you to select which Android apps to connect to the VPN. Or, it lets you pick which ones not to.

In general, split tunneling is a luxury, not a necessity. But it’s nice to have if you only need to spoof your location and/or obscure your online activity occasionally.

For instance, you can use it to secure your Kodi traffic and run other apps normally to avoid speed loss.

Price

Only you can determine the fair price for a VPN service. You may even feel that you don’t need to pay a dime一and you’re not alone.

Free Android VPN apps have tremendous appeal. And there’s a huge market for them.

But you have to wonder, how do free VPN vendors stay in business?

Well, advertising and bandwidth theft are two valid hypotheses. Point is, pure altruism doesn’t motivate VPN service providers. They wouldn’t be able to pay the bills without generating any revenue, right?

Some companies behind free Android VPN apps may admit that they have sponsors or sell user data. Either source of income doesn’t feel right when VPN vendors benefit from it. But at least you can respect their honesty.

Many, however, feel uncomfortable disclosing their nefarious business practices. These companies hope that Android users will download their apps and connect to their private networks without asking questions.

If the prospect of getting your data or bandwidth sold to third parties doesn’t bother you, use a free VPN. If it does (as it should), go with a premium service.

Actually, the best free VPN for Android is a premium one.

Here’s why:

Freemium VPN vendors offer a free version with limited functionality and paid licenses that unlock more features.

Signing up for a subscription is optional. So, you can use any non-premium mobile VPN for Android for as long as you like.

If what you think is the best VPN app for Android isn’t freemium, it may have a free trial. A good free VPN trial doesn’t ask for any email address and/or payment information.

If there’s a credit card requirement, you shouldn’t get billed when you opt-out before the trial’s expiration.

Money-back guarantees are different from free trials.

An honest-to-goodness money-back guarantee grants a full refund if you end your subscription within a specified period. A not-so-good one is conditional. With it, you may get your money back only when your reason for cancellation is acceptable to the vendor.

A money-back guarantee can masquerade as a trial. So, read a VPN service provider’s refund policy first to know whether an advertised trial is legit.

Wrap Up

Ninety-nine percent of VPNs support Android. But only the best of breed can tick all the right boxes.

Hopefully, we’re able to help you narrow down your options with this piece. If you can’t make up your mind, just pick out any (even with your eyes closed).

With our stamp of approval for these VPNs, none of them will disappoint you. That’s a guarantee!

FAQ

Which is best VPN app for Android?

In our book, the ones you should strongly consider are:

  • CyberGhost
  • ExpressVPN
  • NordVPN
  • PIA
  • Surfshark

Out of the countless VPNs we’ve reviewed, these ones have the most robust features designed to neutralize Android’s biggest weaknesses.

Which is the best free VPN for Android?

The best free VPN for Android shouldn’t be totally free. Paid VPN service providers don’t have to resort to dubious practices to stay in business.

In our minds, CyberGhost is probably the best kind of free VPN app for Android on the market.

Technically, it’s a premium product. But it offers a 3-day free trial and a money-back guarantee of up to 45 days.

What is the best premium VPN for Android?

No VPN is good at everything. To compare products accordingly, think of how you use your Android device(s).

For starters, CyberGhost offers unmatched features for streaming.

ExpressVPN is the most capable of masking IP addresses and circumventing geo-restrictions.

When it comes to defense against Android malware infection, NordVPN is peerless.

PIA delivers privacy protection better than the rest.

In terms of installability, Surfshark is the best Android VPN. But its lack of limit to simultaneous connections on multiple devices makes it special.