*Content includes branded mentions of our sponsor, Norton Secure VPN.
It’s easy for internet service providers, government agencies and malicious actors to track your location and internet activity. Whether you use an Android device for web browsing, shopping or banking, or simply to update your socials, a virtual private network (VPN) can help enhance your privacy and safety.
To find the best VPN for Android, we evaluated some of the leading service providers on the market. Read on to learn more about their features, level of security, ease of use, speed and customer support.
Our Top Picks for Best VPN for Android
- Proton VPN - Best Free VPN for Android
- PureVPN - Best Android VPN for TV
- Surfshark - Best for Unlimited Android Devices
- NordVPN - Best Android VPN for Fast Connection Speeds
- ExpressVPN - Best for Non-Tech Savvy Android Users
Best VPN for Android Reviews
- No speed or data limits
- No ads on the free version
- P2P support, ad-blocker and streaming service support with paid plans
- Accepts payment in Bitcoin
- Free version only connects to servers in Japan, the U.S. and the Netherlands
Why we chose it: Proton VPN offers a forever free version of its software that comes with unlimited data — a rarity among free VPNs —, no speed limits and is free of advertising.
The free version of Swiss-based Proton VPN stands out for its performance and lack of restrictions. In addition to uncapped bandwidth, the free plan comes with two key features:
- VPN Accelerator: This feature boosts your internet speed by up to 400%, especially over unreliable connections
- Stealth VPN protocol: This undetectable protocol can bypass most VPN-blocking methods and firewalls. You can access censored sites even if a government tries to block access. Stealth protocol is available on both the free and paid plans.
For added VPN features, users can upgrade to the paid Proton VPN Plus plan, which grants access to 10Gbit servers, malware protection, BitTorrent support, NetShield ad-blocker and more. Paid users also have access to more than 1,900 servers in over 65 regions and can connect up to ten devices simultaneously. Unfortunately, free users can only connect one device at a time and access servers in just three countries: Japan, the Netherlands and the U.S.
Paid ProtonVPN plans start at $4.99 per month (billed as $119.76 every two years) and come with a 30-day money-back guarantee. You can pay for the VPN using cash, PayPal, credit or debit card, bank transfer or even Bitcoin.
- Reliable access to top streaming platforms
- Port forwarding, dedicated IP and DDoS protection
- Relatively affordable plans
- Accepts payment in Bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin
- No customer support over the phone
- Must purchase 2-year subscription for best price
Why we chose it: PureVPN service can easily access top streaming platforms like Netflix, Hulu, Max and Disney+ thanks to its large fleet of servers.
PureVPN boasts an extensive network of more than 6,500 servers in over 70 countries. The more servers a VPN has, the more reliable you can expect your connection to be — and the higher likelihood that it won’t be blocked by streaming platforms. Additionally, having more server locations increases your chances of finding the geo-blocked regional content you want to watch.
PureVPN has several standard and advanced features, including 256-bit encryption, a kill switch, DNS leak protection, P2P protection, WebRTC leak protection and IPv6 leak protection. It allows up to ten logins per household, which is especially useful if you have a large family and/or use multiple devices to stream video content. For an extra $2.99 per month, you can also add dedicated IPs with port forwarding to your plan.
Plans for PureVPN start at $2.29 per month (billed as $54.95 for the first 24 months) and come with a 31-day money-back guarantee. At $11.95 per month, the company’s monthly plan is also quite affordable compared to those of other popular VPNs. If you need advice or technical support, PureVPN has a learning center, live chat support and a ticketing system, but it does not offer support over the phone.
- Unlimited number of connected devices
- Numerous advanced security features
- Bundle with additional cybersecurity tools
- Lacks phone customer support
Why we chose it: A single Surfshark subscription allows you to connect an unlimited number of devices simultaneously.
Surfshark has over 3,200 servers in more than 100 countries and comes with a range of features. This includes Clean Web 2.0, a service that blocks ads, banners and popups and malware, Double VPN support, which allows users to connect two independent servers at once, and an IP rotator, which changes your IP address every once in a while without disconnecting you from the VPN network.
On top of these features, Surfshark also comes with an automatic kill switch, DNS leak protection and a cookie popup blocker. The VPN uses RAM-only servers, which do not store any data and are wiped occasionally, and conceals your data with military-grade encryption. Users may also choose between three major VPN protocols: WireGuard, OpenVPN and IKEv2.
Surfshark plans start at $2.49 per month (billed as $59.76 for 24 months) and come with a 30-day money-back guarantee. You can pay for the service with a credit card, Amazon Pay, Google Pay, Sofort or PayPal. Surfshark also offers the option of paying with cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum. Users can upgrade to the Surfshark One bundle for additional services, such as information monitoring, antivirus software and a private search engine.
Though Surfshark offers 24/7 customer support via live chat and email, there’s no option for support via phone call.
- High speeds with NordLynx protocol
- Extensive server network
- Dark web monitoring
- Browser proxy extension
- Expensive monthly plan
- Only six simultaneous connections
Why we chose it: Thanks to the NordLynx protocol, NordVPN offers some of the fastest connection speed without compromising privacy or security.
NordVPN offers one of the largest networks on our list, with over 5,000 servers located across 60 countries. In combination with the company’s proprietary NordLynx protocol, itself based on the very fast WireGuard protocol, this results in some of the highest speeds recorded in tests from independent IT organizations.
NordVPN features a number of powerful security tools, such as an automatic kill switch, DNS leak protection and DoubleVPN support. It also boasts the following features:
- Meshnet: This service allows you to set up and manage a virtual private network. You can share services and resources between different devices for business and personal purposes.
- Dark Web Monitor: This technology checks for any leaks associated with your NordVPN email address. Whenever such a leak is detected, you will receive a notification.
- Browser proxy extension: NordVPN has a lightweight browser extension that protects you from prying eyes. The extension enhances your browsing experience by blocking ads and protecting you from dangerous links.
- Onion over VPN: A unique feature that combines the security of a VPN tunnel with the benefits of The Onion Router (Tor). In the Onion network, your data is routed through a series servers and is encrypted at every point, providing a layer of anonymity.
Nord’s most affordable package is the standard plan for $3.99 per month over a two-year term, billed as $102.33. The company’s monthly plan is on the expensive side at $12.99 per month. Moreover, users can only connect up to six devices at a time, which may be more than enough for an individual, but pales in comparison to the number of connections offered by other popular competitors.
- Servers in almost 100 countries
- Multilingual support
- Several educational resources
- VPN speed test tool
- No customer support via phone
- Only five device connected at once
Why we chose it: ExpressVPN offers a wide variety of educational resources on topics, such as how to stream sports, improving your privacy online and public Wi-Fi safety. It also has a blog that covers security tips and internet privacy news.
ExpressVPN has thousands of servers across 94 countries, making it one of the most wide-ranging VPN networks on our list. To find the server with the fastest connection, you can measure download speed and latency using the VPN’s integrated speed test feature. If you can't find one in the country of your choice, you can just request a new location.
In addition to split tunneling, private DNS, an automatic kill switch and a web threat manager, ExpressVPN users also get:
- TrustedServer technology: ExpressVPN servers don't store data on hard drives. Instead, they run entirely on RAM or volatile memory. Every time they power on and off, their information is wiped.
- Lightway protocol: This proprietary protocol is designed to give you a quicker, more reliable and more secure VPN experience. It uses less battery, runs faster and is easier to maintain and audit.
Another advantage of ExpressVPN is that its app is available in 17 other languages. This is a notable benefit if English isn't your preferred language.
One downside of the VPN is that it only allows for up to five simultaneously connected devices — the lowest number on our list, free VPN plans aside. Moreover, while ExpressVPN features 24/7 support via live chat and email, it does not offer phone support.
Unlike many other VPN providers, ExpressVPN doesn't offer two-year contracts. Its starting monthly price of $8.32 is technically higher than average because of this, but its month-to-month plans are comparable to others on this list.
Other VPNs for Android we considered
- Free plan available
- Affordable premium services, starting from $1.83 per month
- Only 5GB on the free plan
- Limited servers locations and features for free plan
AtlasVPN offers split tunneling, a malware blocker, a data breach monitor and an automatic kill switch. Customers also get access to 24/7 support via live chat and email.
The free version of AtlasVPN grants access to servers in only three countries and has a limit of 5GB of data per month, which are the main reasons why the VPN didn’t make it into our top list.
- Affordable annual plans
- 2,200+ servers in over 75 locations
- Connect an unlimited number of devices
- Money-back guarantee doesn't apply to monthly contracts
- Increased price upon renewal
IPVanish boasts advanced security features such as a kill switch, split tunneling, DNS leak protection, SOCKS5 proxy and multiple connection controls. Its plans are also quite affordable, starting at $3.33 per month on a two-year subscription term.
Unfortunately, its plans also have significantly higher renewal rates, and the company’s 30-day money-back guarantee does not apply to those who sign up for monthly plans.
- 60-day money-back guarantee
- Relatively affordable initial rates
- Bundle VPN and protection against ransomware, malware and viruses
- Much higher prices on plan renewal
Norton Secure VPN comes with a number of standard security features, such as a kill switch and split tunneling. Although it doesn’t offer a free version, its plans do have a 60-day money-back guarantee, which is almost twice as long as its competitors’ guarantees.
The reason Norton didn't make our top list is because the VPN’s prices increase by 40% upon renewal of your subscription.
VPN for Android Guide
What is a VPN for Android?
A virtual private network (VPN) for Android is a type of software that can be installed on your Android device to enhance your privacy and security when connected to the internet. Whether you're using Wi-Fi or a cellular connection, your device is vulnerable to a range of malicious cyber threats. For example, anyone accessing the same public network as you can potentially see data sent from your device.
VPNs encrypt any data you're sending from your device so that malicious parties cannot intercept it. This includes banking information, social media credentials and messages, video chats, passwords and emails with sensitive content.
What does a VPN do on Android?
If you're wondering whether you need a VPN, you can start by learning what a VPN does:
- Protection from ISP snooping and hackers: Your internet service provider (ISP) can see all your online queries and traffic. Cybercriminals on public Wi-FI can easily snoop on your online activities. A VPN encrypts your internet connection and can help prevent others from monitoring your online activities.
- Location privacy: VPNs conceal your internet protocol (IP) address from criminals, government agencies and corporations. This keeps your identity and location private, which is especially important when using public Wi-Fi or an unsecured shared network. The VPN safeguard your information by rerouting your traffic through a remote server.
- Access to geo-restricted content: Some websites and services have content that can only be accessed from specific regions of the world. A VPN allows you to bypass such restrictions by connecting to a server in an area where the content is available. This means you can access services like Netflix, BBC iPlayer, ESPN, Hulu and Super Sports from anywhere in the world.
- Fast and secure file downloads: Peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing is a technology that lets you share music, videos, software and books across the network. Engaging in P2P activities via your ISP may result in limited bandwidth, slow connection speeds or the inability to access file-sharing sites. The best VPN services allow you to use P2P quickly and safely.
- Speed up online gaming: Your ISP may slow down your internet connection if it recognizes you are engaging in an activity that uses a lot of bandwidth. This includes online gaming, torrenting and streaming. A VPN can help prevent ISP throttling and keep your connection stable.
- Avoid location-based price targeting: Many merchants offer different prices based on your location. Often, buyers located in low-income countries are offered a lower price. If you're considering buying a digital product, you can use a VPN to check prices in other parts of the world. This could end up saving you money.
- Avoid government censorship: Many people take internet freedom for granted. However, those living in certain countries, including Iran, China, Syria and the UAE, must endure government-imposed internet restrictions. For citizens of such countries, a VPN is a worthwhile solution for accessing Twitter, Wikipedia, Facebook, Google and non-state news sites. Business travelers, reporters and others visiting these countries may also find a VPN useful.
- Keep online chats private: Many popular messaging apps don't encrypt your chat messages. A VPN provides end-to-end encryption, ensuring that your messages are seen only by their intended recipient.
How to use a VPN on Android
Most Android VPNs are very easy to set up and use. Follow the steps below and you’ll be using your new Android VPN in no time.
1. Choose and download a VPN app from a trusted source.
Compare different VPN providers and choose the option that best fits your needs. Factors to consider include security features, speed, number and location of servers, customer service, compatibility and cost. Be sure to read customer reviews to get an idea of what to expect.
Once you've chosen, visit the Google Play Store to download the official Android VPN app. Watch out for fake apps which could infect your device with malware. Alternatively, you could download the app via the VPN's official website.
2. Install the VPN app on your Android device.
You might be asked to choose a username and password when installing your VPN app. Be sure to use a strong and unique password for your account.
3. Open the VPN app and sign in to your VPN account (if required).
Once you’ve opened the VPN app, go into its settings to make any necessary adjustments. For instance, you might want to find and activate the kill switch feature, which disables your internet activity whenever the VPN connection drops. Visit the provider’s website or contact customer support for further guidance on the VPN settings.
4. Select a server location from the available options and tap "connect" to establish a VPN connection.
Most VPN apps come with a prominent button that you tap to activate the software. When you hit this button, the VPN automatically chooses the server with the highest speed and lowest latency.
Some locations are more suitable for accessing certain streaming services or types of content. Depending on your needs, you might want to manually connect to a server in a specific region instead of using the automatic connection button. To do so, look for the country in the VPN’s list of server locations and click on one of the servers there.
How to turn off a VPN on Android
Disabling your VPN mid-connection could be hazardous for your security and privacy. However, there are situations when you might need to turn off your VPN service, such as when you:
- Set up a new internet connection
- Visit a country where VPN use is illegal
- Troubleshoot an issue with your network
- Experience a slower connection when using the VPN
You can turn off the VPN via your Android device’s settings:
- Go to Settings
- Select Network & Internet
- Tap VPN
- Tap the power button or toggle the switch to disconnect.
Not all Android devices have the same navigation settings. If your device doesn't share this configuration, you can find VPN set-up options by navigating to your internet connection settings.
Keep in mind that VPNs use data, so it still counts against any data limits on your Android smartphone. Your traffic must first travel through your mobile provider’s servers before it reaches the servers of your VPN provider.
VPN for Android FAQ
What is the best VPN for Android?
How to change IP address on Android without VPN
One way of changing your IP address without a VPN is by connecting your device to a proxy server. However, unlike VPNs, proxy servers don't provide added security or privacy, and some might even inject malware or steal your data.
An alternative solution for changing your IP address is The Onion Router (Tor), which allows you to remain anonymous when using the internet. However, Tor can be slow and is blocked by many networks and websites.
You could also choose to change your IP address manually by going to your settings' advanced options, change your IP settings from DHCP to Static and inserting an unused IP address.
How to check if VPN is working on Android
To check if your VPN is working, disconnect your device from the VPN and jot down the IP address. Then, connect your Android device to a server and check the IP address again. If you see a different IP address, it means your VPN is working correctly.
Another way of checking this is by using a VPN testing tool, which will conduct a domain name service (DNS) leak test. If the result displays your original ISP or country, then your VPN is probably leaking DNS. This means that your ISP will still be able to monitor your online activities.
Lastly, you could conduct a Web Real-Time Communication (WebRTC) test. If your VPN is working properly, the results of this test should not show the name of your ISP.
How We Chose the Best VPN for Android
We considered the following factors when selecting the best VPN services for Android:
- Number of servers: We looked for VPNs with a large number of servers around the globe. When a VPN has an extensive server network, the chances of overcrowding are minimized, which leads to higher speeds overall.
- Location of servers: The location of servers will determine what geo-restricted content you can access. We selected VPNs that have a wide distribution of servers across multiple countries. This should allow you to more easily access content from streaming services like HBO GO, Netflix, NBC Sports, Pandora, Hulu and Epix.
- Speed: We chose VPNs that are proven to have fast connections and minimal downtime.
- Security features: We favored VPNs with extensive security features, including an automatic kill switch, split tunneling, obfuscated servers, ad-blocking software and private DNS. Some VPNs also have an audited no-logs policy, ensuring that your data remains private.
- Value for money: We chose VPN options that provide a good value for money in terms of features.
- Compatibility: We selected VPNs with dedicated apps for desktop computers and mobile devices.
- Multiple device connections: A good VPN service should allow you to connect multiple devices simultaneously. The more simultaneous connections it allows, the better.
- Payment methods and money-back guarantee: We considered VPNs that accept payment methods like PayPal, credit cards and even cryptocurrency. We also took into account if they offer a money-back guarantee and how long it lasts.
- Customer support: We favored VPN companies that provide different customer support options, including email, phone and 24/7 live chat. Thos with in-depth articles or videos on how to set up and use the VPN got even better marks from us.