Best VPN for Android – Why I Recommend Only 5 Apps out of 180 Providers
Android exists as the predominant and most favorite OS in the world of smartphones. It offers excellent user-friendliness, an intuitive design, and convenient policies for third-party extensions.
The only problem: there are certain security vulnerabilities, which may put your privacy at risk! Since the OS allows third-party apps to access phone features, your data could be exposed.
This is why it is crucial to invest in Virtual Private Network apps. You can shift your location by masking your IP address with one from a different country and keep your identity anonymous.
To help my viewers out, I have created this comprehensive guide for assistance, which is the result of a deep-dive involving the analyzing and testing of over 187 providers.
The purpose is to help elaborate the importance of a VPN to our viewers, how to configure a VPN manually on Android, and what providers are the best choices for 2019:
Best VPN App for Android Phone
My Recommendations for the Best VPN for Android!
Judging by the security concerns and important factors mentioned above, it is only wise for Android users to opt for the Best VPN technologies.
To ease the search process, I have listed the top 5 services for Android in 2019, carefully selected after analyzing 187 providers and their Google Play Ratings.
NordVPN – Privacy-Focused Panamanian Provider
Pros: Supports Six simultaneous connections. Unblocks VoDs like US Netflix and BBC iPlayer. Consistent performance on Android. Offers a huge database of 5228 servers in 62 countries worldwide.
Offers apps for all platforms/devices, including Android TVs. P2P/File Sharing allowed with specialized torrenting servers available. Ad/Malware/Tracker blocker. Free trial available.
Cons: Monthly plan is expensive. Refunds can take an additional 30 days.
Final Verdict: NordVPN earns a rare 5-star rating from BestVPN.co for its remarkable Android application. The app is quite user-friendly, offers great configuration abilities, and easy-access to features.
Pricing is expensive, but for the best value, opt for the 3-year plan. It drops the monthly pricing down to $2.99! This totals to $107 for 36-months. Their app earns a remarkable 4.4 rating on Google Play Store.
What are Users Saying about NordVPN?
NordVPN earns quite a remarkable rating on the Google Play Store, despite having more reviews. An astonishing 101,400+ in total. Are all of them good though?
Nah, while most rate the app 5-stars, it is only when you analyze the negative do you realize what customers are actually saying about the product.
For the Panamanian-provider, there are rare instances of receiving 1 to 3 stars. Some include quite serious problems like the one below.
This user shares that she loves the service but her account is no longer active, despite having a working subscription. NordVPN immediately responded to the problem with a solution.
Other users rating 5-stars to the provider usually just have praises to swing regarding its support, reliability, performance, and ability to deliver what they promised.
However, some users giving 1-star ratings have also complained that the app slows down the internet (which could have lots of other reasons).
There are disconnection issues too and some people complaining about random bugs with their app version, all of which receive instant responses from NordVPN with solutions!
Read this 2019 NordVPN Review for more information!
CyberGhost – A Provider that Unblocks Everything!
Pros: Based in Romania (Safe location). 7-day Trial and 45-Day Refund Guarantee (USP of the provider). Huge collection of 3000 + Servers for unblocking websites and VoDs.
Automatic Kill Switch and DNS/IP Leak Protection. Mozilla and Chrome Browser Add-ons. Secure Wi-Fi Feature for Security in Public. Multi-Logins on five Devices.
Cons: No Port Forwarding Available. Leaks found in Mac client.
Final Verdict: CyberGhost offers great versatility to its users. It has different modes like surf anonymously, unblock streaming, secure Wi-Fi hotspot, torrent anonymously, and unblock basic websites.
The provider also offers great performance for streaming/torrenting activities on your Android. You even have a 45-day money back guarantee available for testing the service on smartphones. Their app earns a 4.3 rating on Google Play Store.
What are Users Saying about CyberGhost?
CyberGhost receives an average rating of 4.3 from 52,675 reviews in total. This is quite amazing to say the least, as most of the reviews I read were positive.
Then I found some that did give a good rating but had some reservations about the app. For instance, the user below claims that the Android version was not developed as he hoped for.
He insists that the application lacks features as available in the desktop version. CyberGhost has not yet replied to the user, which indicates they are kind of slow in responding.
Another user did give the VPN five stars but claimed it was too expensive of a product for him to use. Although CyberGhost does offer plans of varied subscriptions, they can use this advice.
They can work on giving more discounts to make their product budget-friendly. Apart from these few concerns, most reviews about the application were positive.
Read this CyberGhost Review 2019 for more information!
ExpressVPN – All-Rounder with Great Router Compatibility
Pros: Based on the British Virgin Islands. Bypasses geo-restrictions on US Netflix and other VoDs. Offers a 2,000+ server’s network in 94 countries and 148 locations worldwide.
Six simultaneous connections. P2P/torrenting support. Users even have a 30-day refund available. Obfuscated servers for bypassing geo-restrictions in countries like Canada.
Cons: No Port Forwarding option. Overall expensive service.
Final Verdict: The BVI-based provider boasts a no logs policy that even shook the Turkish Authorities. It earns a 4.5-star rating from BestVPN.co, thanks to its strong user-base and router compatibilities.
Their Android application is quite easy-to-use. It boasts remarkable features and offers easy connectivity to different locations, minus buffering and poor speeds issues. Their app earns a 4.1-star rating from Google Play Store.
What are Users Saying about ExpressVPN?
ExpressVPN earns a 4.1-star rating on Google Play Store from 74,681 reviews in total. As an all-rounder VPN service, the rating does seem low, but poor experiences are quite rare.
I analyzed quite a lot of reviews and realized that most issues tend to revolve around app bug issues or just simple errors that have quick troubleshooting steps available.
You can see the users below praising the service too for its exceptional quality of service in a country where DPI techniques are used to ban VPNs, i.e. China.
Most users praise the VPN for having a consistent VPN connection. Although some do experience poor connectivity, most complain seem to be coming from expats living in China.
Considering how the Government is cracking down against VPNs, a little uncertainty from ExpressVPN is to be expected. Nevertheless, the service is a great option for leveraging anonymity.
Read this 2019 ExpressVPN Review for more information!
PureVPN – A Great Choice for Streaming
Pros: Based in Hong Kong (Safe Location). Automatic Kill Switch, Ad blocking, Split Tunneling, NAT Firewall, and DNS/IPv6 Leak Protection. Simultaneous connections on five devices.
300,000 + IPs & 2000 + servers in 140 countries. Optimized Dedicated Streaming Servers Available. Split Tunneling and SOCKS5 proxy for improved performance.
Cons: Rare connectivity issues on Windows. No free trial available.
Final Verdict: Operated by the GZ Systems and based in Hong Kong (one of the safest internet hubs in the world), PureVPN has its good days and bad days.
The VPN has some dissatisfied customers, but delivers great download and upload speeds consistently, with very minimal speed loss. Their app receives a 4.1 rating on Google Play Store.
What are Users Saying about PureVPN?
Similar to ExpressVPN, the Hong Kong-based provider, PureVPN earns a 4.1-star rating on Google Play Store. There are quite mixed responses regarding the Android application.
Quite a lot of users complain that the product is way better on Windows than on Android devices, while some state that recent updates have rectified irritating bugs.
Those who give 1-rating to the app usually have a problem with subscriptions or getting a refund back, which means the provider has to improve on its customer service.
One customer complained that he would constantly get the “waiting for server” response, hence why he stopped using the service.
I myself have used PureVPN and can safely say their product is good, but the brand lacks the seriousness to improve on its VPN. They should definitely take user reviews seriously!
Read this PureVPN Review 2019 for more information!
Surfshark – Best Cheap VPN Provider with Great Value
Pros: Based in British Virgin Islands (a VPN Friendly Jurisdiction). Budget-Friendly costs ($47.76 for 2 years). Legacy Simultaneous Connections (No Limits – USP of the provider)
Cons: MultiHop Feature for Boosting Anonymity. CleanWebTM (Ad/Tracker/Malware Blocker). Automatic Kill Switch and Wi-Fi Protection for keeping you anonymous in public.
Final Verdict: Surfshark is a newcomer that has quickly spread its wings in the marketplace of Cheapest VPN. Its performance, reliability, and privacy make it a good choice for Android users. Their app earns a good 4.1 rating on the Google Play Store.
What are Users Saying about Surfshark?
Despite making its way into the marketplace of VPNs in 2018, Surfshark has quickly grown into a remarkable service with a 4.1 rating on the Google Play Store.
If you read the reviews, a huge majority of them are positive. Most complaints and 1-star ratings are only given due to poor customer service response time.
Apart from that, most users are quite impressed with the amateur service and its performance. They respond as quickly as they can to customers seeking help.
You can find some phony reviews trying to bring the service down. For instance, one user claimed that the owner behind Surfshark is the same team behind ExpressVPN.
This information is quite false, as the provider has no business connections to the BVI based provider, only the location of headquarters is the same.
Read this 2019 Surfshark Review for more information!
Why I Do Not Recommend Best Free VPN App for Android?
Now, I hope my readers get a clear picture of the best paid VPN for Android devices. However, I still get many questions concerning, “Which free VPN is best for Android?”
Thing is, I strictly do not recommend the usage of free VPNs, only providers that offer FREE TRIALS. I find them to be dangerous, tricky, and even if they were the last resort, I would avoid them.
Bear in mind that managing a VPN service has tremendous costs. Owners need to pay for data centers, servers expansion, app development/updates, IP addresses, support, etc.
Usually, to cover these expenses free VPNs will adopt fishy practices, like overloading your connection with ads, creating a honeypot, and routing your connection as a bot.
Some even go as far as selling your private data to third-party services. So, I said it before and I’ll say it again, AVOID FREE VPNs. If you are still persistent on getting one though, here are some less risky options with an emphasis on LESS RISKIER!
Founded in 2011, the business is now a part of Opera Software. The service runs as a separate entity and offers the ability to indulge in secure torrenting and ad-free browsing.
Though the free trial only gives you 500 MB of data limit, you receive good protection and security for keeping your identity secure online. Monthly pricing starts at $9.99
It offers a well-designed and easy-to-use VPN product that boasts a strong focus on privacy and security. You can opt for the FREE version or pay for the premium at $7.50 per month.
Centered in Malaysia, Hide.me is a new service in the market of VPNs. It is popular for its astonishing anonymity, transparency, and security.
This free VPN service works for all platforms, including iOS, Android, Mac, and Windows. You can use it on two devices simultaneously, without even making an account.
Why Do I Need a VPN Service for My Android Device?
Many netizens still are not taking their privacy seriously. I blame the obsessive reliance on online apps/services for this. Most would not bother revealing private details, just to get a better deal on a product, or receive any other incentive.
Facebook and Google recording every ACTION of yours was not enough that now even small websites and ADVERTISEMENTS on pages are tracking your online activities. So, the need for a VPN is actually quite crucial, especially for privacy-conscious users on Android.
- Unblock websites that impose geo-restrictions, like Netflix, Amazon Prime, BBC iPlayer and other hit streaming platforms.
- Boost efficiency of your network to bypass throttling imposed by ISPs to enjoy a faster internet connection.
- Military-grade, 256-bit AES encryption to secure the internet and torrent traffic passing through your network.
- Gain access to the home or office networks from anywhere in the world via dedicated IP, used in large corporations.
- Help protect your digital identity when engaging in activities like streaming/downloading pirated movies via torrents.
- Bars/Cafés/Restaurants may provide you with the internet but they are not secure. VPNs protect you from hackers using public Wi-Fi connections.
What I Look for in an Android VPN!
Choosing a provider that offers a product in accordance with your budgetary needs and online protection requirements can sometimes be difficult. This is why I always tell my readers to be aware of certain factors and risks. Just make sure the VPN you choose offers:
- A no logging policy, as the last thing you need is paying for a service, only to find out it stores connection/session information.
- Advanced features like DNS/IPv6 Leak Protection, DoubleVPN, SOCKS5 Proxy, Split Tunneling, NAT Firewall, and Kill Switch.
- Strong privacy by location in a safe jurisdiction, away from the invasive 5/9/14 Eyes Alliances, also labeled as “Internet Enemies”.
- Support for a multitude of network protocols for connection, which includes OpenVPN, IPSec, L2TP, PPTP, SSL, TLS, and SSH.
- Variety of payment methods for subscription, which include Debit/Credit Cards, Wire Transfer, PayPal, and even Bitcoin.
- Huge lists of servers around countries from all over the world. Avoid providers that only offer 5/6 servers for connectivity.
Also, stay away from VPNs that boast fishy policies. Free VPNs typically pose many risks, rigging your computer, laptop, or smartphone with Malware and Viruses to make money off your data. They may even impose:
- Tracking – Yes phony VPNs in the marketplace are taking advantage of consumers. They collect data and sell them to third-parties.
- Browser Hijacking – This is also a way to make money. Shady VPNs can redirect your browser to partner with websites and advertisement companies.
- Stolen Bandwidth – Similar to P2P services, VPNs have the ability to boost/reducing speeds. A phony VPN may route other users through your connection to run their own service.
- Frauds – Some fake providers may steal your data and give access to third-parties, causing identity theft and financial fraud.
Android VPN Apps – Google Play Store Details
To give users a better idea about the best Android VPN apps, I decided to create a detailed table. One that involves miscellaneous details about varied applications available on the Google Play Store.
Insights include VPN app release date, last updated, total installs, average apk size, in-app purchases costs, version number, overall reviews, and user-ratings for a clearer picture regarding the popularity of each name.
These 10 providers in the listing below are in my opinion currently the best Android VPNs in the marketplace. I am not saying this just because of their high-ratings in comparison to other services.
Each VPN has been carefully tested/analyzed in our comparison guide, rated in terms of jurisdiction and logging policies too, which only guarantee that you receive the utmost level of security online:
Android VPNs and their App Permissions
As a VPN user, you would not want your provider to request access to dangerous permissions, not needed by an app to function or that can compromise your privacy.
In light of this, I conducted a comparative analysis on the 80+ providers, based on the permissions that they request. The goal is to give you a better idea about “Safe” choices.
If you look at the table below, you will learn about the permissions in total, custom permissions and suspicious permissions. All tested apps were downloaded from the Google Play Store with permissions lists extracted from their .apk files.
In theory, VPN apps should only need a few permissions to function. INTERNET and ACCESS_NETWORK_STATE should usually be enough. However, as an average, 11 permissions are asked per VPN app, proving a lot of providers do tend to engage in suspicious activities!
Configuring a VPN Manually on Android! (Best Android VPN Client)
Before giving users suggestions on the “Best VPN for Android”, I thought it would be better to offer more technical knowledge. This section is for those users, who are not comfortable downloading third-party VPN services, as they consider them unsafe.
I have mentioned three different methods: setting up a VPN on Android via PPTP, L2TP/IPSec, and OpenVPN. To ensure everything goes smoothly, I will explain each step in detail. Just follow the instructions, and you will face no problems.
How Can I Setup a PPTP VPN on My Android Device Manually?
- Head to the “Settings” menu of your Android device.
- Go to “Network” or “Connections” and find the “VPN” option.
- I am using a Samsung S5, so the VPN option is available in the “More Networks” category.
- Click on the “VPN” option to get started. You will typically have to enter connection details.
- A good website to receive free PPTP information is freevpnaccess.com.
- I simply visited the URL and entered all details for their US – Chicago Server.
- A screenshot is available for reference below. The password changes every few hours.
- Give the VPN a name. For instance, I used ItHurtsWhenIP (I just love this pun lol).
- Change the VPN Type to “PPTP”, since you are setting up a PPTP connection.
- Enter the server address from the details available in freevpnaccess.com.
- Tick the “PPP encryption (MPPE) option” and hit the “Save”.
- Click on the VPN connection you just created i.e. ItHurtsWhenIP.
- Enter the relevant password from freevpnaccess.com for the server you added.
- Now, hit the “Connect” button and wait for the VPN to do its work.
How Can I Setup a Manual L2TP/IPSec Connection on My Android?
This process is a little complicated than the above PPTP method. It offers more security and encryption. As such, I always tell users to sign up for a VPN service beforehand.
Once done, simply follow the steps below to successfully configure the L2TP/IPSec connection, and yeah you can always thank me later 😉
- When setting up an L2TP/IPSec connection, I use the details provided by ExpressVPN.
- Maybe you can sign up with the same provider too (not mandatory).
- Once done, log into your ExpressVPN account here.
- You will now be redirected to the subscriptions menu.
- Under the “Subscription ID” menu, click on “Set Up ExpressVPN”.
- To set up the VPN automatically, click on “Android” .
- Download the .apk file and launch it on your smartphone.
- For the tech-savvy, click on the “Manual Config” option.
- Click on the “L2TP/IPSec” option to receive all details for setting up the connection.
- You will find the server details below and the username and password to enter.
- Go the “VPN” configuration menu in your Android smartphone.
- Enter all the details from the ExpressVPN page above.
- Give the VPN a “Name” and change type to “L2TP/IPSec”.
- Enter a server address. I selected the nyc1-ubuntu-l2tp.expressprovider.com
- Leave the L2TP Secret and IPSec Identifier options blank.
- The IPSec pre-shared key is usually 12345678.
- Click on the VPN connection you just created i.e. ItHurtsWhenIP
- Enter the relevant password from the ExpressVPN server you added.
- Now, hit the “Connect” button and enjoy using a VPN via the L2TP/IPSec method.
How Can I Configure an OpenVPN Manually using the SSL VPN Client?
For this option, you will have to rely on a third-party application. I have personally been using the Connect SSL VPN client for a long time, and it offers great configuration options.
You may not be able to dig deep into these configurations currently. However, after some time you may become an expert in loading and using your own settings for .ovpn configuration files.
- Download the “OpenVPN Connect” application from the Google Play Store.
- Wait for the installation to complete and then launch the application.
- Click the “Connect with .ovpn file” option to continue the process.
- Meanwhile, head to the “Manual Config” menu of ExpressVPN.
- Select the “OpenVPN” tab for complete information about a manual setup.
- Download the .ovpn file by clicking on any server. I selected the “USA, New York”.
- Load the .ovpn configuration file from the OpenVPN Connect application.
- It should be available for you to load in the downloads folder of your Android.
- Open the .ovpn configuration file to continue with the process.
- You will typically be required to enter the username for the configuration.
- This information will be available at ExpressVPN’s “Manual Config” page.
- Hit the “Add” button to load the username settings
- Click on the .ovpn file again and enter the password.
- You will receive prompt requesting access for the OpenVPN Connection.
- Hit the “Ok” button and enjoy using the OpenVPN method!
What Android VPN Should I Use for China?
The “Great Firewall of China” makes it impossible to explore the web, making life difficult for citizens and primarily expats. There are VPN apps that provide access to servers in China.
Then there are apps that WORK within China, while even providing Chinese specific IP addresses and servers for unblocking apps/services in the country.
The former sometimes works, sometimes does not. NordVPN is the only one to give you consistent performance, as of 2019!
I will keep on adding more providers in this listing, as I analyze and test their performance in China. Until then, avoid signing up with any service just CLAIMING to offer access to China.
Are There any Good VPNs for Downloading Torrents on Android?
For users who regularly engage in P2P/Torrenting activities, anonymity matters a great deal. You would not want your identity to be exposed to local ISPs, governmental agencies, or copyright infringement hunters. Why? Because you will have to pay hefty fines in DMCA notices.
When connecting to a VPN for torrenting, make sure to activate all advanced features, particularly dedicated IPs, SOCKS5 proxy, Split Tunneling, and DoubleVPN. For more information on the best choices for Android, read my guide on the best VPN for torrents.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How to Use VPN on Android for Free Internet?
Many rookie users have a misconception that VPNs grant access to a FREE internet. They have actually misunderstood what free means in the context of VPNs. You will still need Wi-Fi or Mobile Data to use to access an “unfiltered” internet.
Is Tor for Android as Good as VPNs?
In terms of security, both VPNs and Tor prove to be excellent in protecting user data. However, Tor may give trouble in performance, delivering poor speeds for streaming movies/TV shows online or engaging in P2P/Torrenting activity.
How Do I Enable VPN on Android?
There are plenty of methods to enable a VPN on Android. The simplest is to go to your settings, find the VPN option, choose PPTP type, and enter the relevant details from freevpnaccess.com. They have free PPTP servers available.
How to Torrent Fast on an Android VPN?
The suggestions above are all good providers for downloading torrents. However, if you are looking for specific names for Fastest VPN, try out NordVPN, PureVPN, and VyprVPN. Each provider even offers features like Split Tunneling and SOCKS5 proxy.
How to Secure My Android Phone without Using a VPN?
If you want to keep your digital identity anonymous and away from the prying eyes of governmental agencies and local ISPs, it is crucial to use a VPN. Without it, you cannot engage in P2P/Torrenting activities or stream pirated content.
Wrapping Things Up
The VPNs I have mentioned above are fantastic choices for Android users. These providers should meet all your requirements for privacy, performance, unblocking, and torrenting.
I have tested them personally for keeping your identity safe, getting around geo-restrictions, and cloaking your location successfully so that you disappear online.
Regardless, if you encounter any issues or have better suggestions, do not hesitate on dropping a comment below for any assistance at all.
I will reply personally to answer any queries. Also, help a brother out by sharing this guide. Hope you all have a lovely day. Enjoy staying anonymous on your Android smartphone!