Finding the best Android VPN can be tough when every service out there claims to be the most secure, the most private, and the fastest. We looked past the marketing claims to find out exactly which VPN providers will give you the best experience for your Android device.
Like the service does for your computer at home or work, running a VPN on your Android hides your IP address, routing your traffic through remote servers and encrypting your data in transit. That’s important for those who use public WiFi and want to protect against hacking. It’s also useful for those who travel and want to access streaming content from their home country while abroad.
VPNs also hide your browsing activity, making it impossible for your internet service provider (ISP) and other third parties to see what you do online. All six services we recommend assure they keep no logs, so your activity is truly private. Check out our picks for the best Android VPNs below and stay secure wherever you go.
How We Picked the Best Android VPNs
The two most important things a VPN service offers are security and privacy. Looking at the vast landscape of VPN service providers, we quickly learned that some did this better than others. We eliminated any service that kept logs on its users’ activity, as well as any that limited bandwidth, or had fewer than 1,000 servers. All VPN services we chose also offered their own domain name system (DNS) directories to keep activity fully private.
These considerations eliminated all free VPN services from our recommendations, but our value pick gives great protection for less than a latte a month for a year. All of our picks also offer some form of free trial or a no-hassle 30-day (or in the case of CyberGhost, 45-day) money back guarantees.
Good VPN services are transparent about what sets their features apart, so we looked for evidence that backed up claims of faster speeds, better protection, no-logs, and so on. Since VPNs are new to some people, good customer service is critical. Nearly all of our picks offer 24/7 live chat support and the one that doesn’t, Proton VPN, makes up for it with their in-depth privacy protection and fast speeds.
Best Android VPNs: Reviews and Recommendations
Best Overall: Private Internet Access
— Jurisdiction: United States
— Number of Servers: 10,000+
— Number of Locations: 84 countries
— Bonus Features: Split tunneling, kill switch, ad and malware blocker, dedicated IP address option
— Android Compatibility: 5.1 and newer
— An intuitively designed Android interface
— Large number of servers for higher connection speeds
— Great price
— Fast, 24/7 live chat and email support
— Slower than the more expensive VPN services
Maybe they didn’t spend long hours coming up with a name, but Private Internet Access did put a lot of thought into one of the most important things a VPN service can do for your Android phone — or any device — which is to provide privacy. PIA has servers based in 84 countries, and while that number goes up, it also goes down, such as when a country implements data collection mandates, going against PIA’s strict no-log policy.
While nearly all VPN services use an open source VPN protocol (OpenVPN and/or WireGuard), Private Internet Access also offers up their own software for scrutiny by making their client source code publicly available. Whether or not you have the time or know-how to investigate their lines of code, knowing it’s there for anyone to look at may give peace of mind to those who are concerned how their VPN provider operates.
You can also pay for PIA’s VPN services anonymously. In addition to the standard credit card or PayPal, they’ll accept Bitcoin, Ethereum, and even gift cards from places like Starbucks or BestBuy. And you can get the Android APK from their website without having to use the Google Play Store.
PIA uses exclusively bare metal servers (ie, physical hardware that PIA doesn’t share with anyone else) and their no-logs policy has been tested in US courts, with all subpoenas and warrants returning zero information on PIA users.
So, yes they do a good job of keeping things private for their users, but they don’t ignore performance. Those 84 countries house 10,000 servers to make sure you’re never bogged down by crowds. The app for Android is clean and easy to use for beginners, with a big button front and center to put you into VPN mode. It also includes great features that more advanced users will appreciate, such as split tunneling, port forwarding, and encryption leveling. Features like a kill switch, automatic triggering, and built-in ad blocking are nice for everyone.
As with all VPN service providers, access to certain streaming services can be touch and go, as streaming services keep trying to crack down on providers that allow content from outside a given user’s home country. But PIA is actively working on maintaining access to services like Netflix and Hulu, and declares users will have full access to those services.
Private Internet Access allows for an impressive 10 devices per account, so once you set up your Android with VPN protection, your other devices can be next in line. They also have a 30-day money-back guarantee so you can try before you buy, and their overall price is lower than much of the competition.
Best Value: IPVanish
Why It Made The Cut: After promos end for other services, IPVanish maintains the best value with a low yearly rate, reliable security, and improved privacy.
— Jurisdiction: United States
— Number of Servers: 2,000
— Number of Locations: 75 countries
— Bonus Features: Kill switch, split tunneling, SOCKS5 proxy
— Android Compatibility: 5.1 and newer
— Best yearly base price
— Unlimited device connections
— Live 24/7 chat support
— Not highly configurable
If price is your motivating consideration, rather than going for a free VPN service, you’re far better off going for a low-cost option like IPVanish. With current promotions, your first year can cost less than $4 a month. After that, the standard $90-per-year price tag works out to $7.50 a month, which is lower than the non-promo price of nearly all reputable VPN services — and IPVanish is leaps and bounds more secure, private, and reliable than any free service you’ll find out there.
A few years ago, IPVanish met with backlash after they handed over a customer’s data to authorities, contradicting their stated no-log policy. The company has since changed hands and now declares they truly keep no logs, and underwent a third-party audit to prove it.
In addition to doing what a VPN service should — providing IP anonymity, data encryption, and lots of servers to choose from — IPVanish also offers helpful features like split tunneling and a kill switch. Offering four different VPN protocols that you can switch between is a great perk, as is the inclusion of a SOCKS proxy server option, which masks your IP address but doesn’t add encryption, allowing for faster speeds when data protection isn’t critical, such as working with trusted P2P networks.
IPVanish consistently ranks well in speed tests and their intuitive Android app is easy to use. Offering an unlimited number of devices per account and no bandwidth limits, IPVanish covers whatever you use to get online. The 30-day money-back guarantee (on the yearly option only) is a good way to see if their low-cost VPN service works for you.
Most Secure: NordVPN
Why It Made The Cut: With a slew of privacy and security features, the popular NordVPN offers robust protection for your Android — and five more devices.
— Jurisdiction: Panama
— Number of Servers: 5,500
— Number of Locations: 59 countries
— Bonus Features: Double VPN, obfuscated servers, Onion Over VPN, add-on dedicated IP, Threat Protection, split tunneling, kill switch
— Android Compatibility: 6 and newer
— Powerful standard and proprietary security features
— Fast connection speeds
— Meshnet connection for virtual LAN mobile gaming parties
— Live 24/7 chat support
— Limited to 6 devices per account
If you want some of the best protection a VPN service can offer, go with NordVPN. It’s among the more popular, paid VPN services with more than 14 million active users. In addition to offering all the VPN security measures you’ll get with any paid service, NordVPN layers on even stronger VPN extras, along with some of their own proprietary features.
Double VPN offers serious IP masking by routing traffic through two remote servers. Available obfuscated servers not only give you VPN anonymity, they hide the fact that you’re using a VPN at all. Multi-factor authentication secures your account, and their add-on dedicated IP address is great for remote workers who need that option.
The Android app is slick and streamlined for new users with a one-button quick connection. Nord-only features like their own VPN protocol, NordLynx, offer faster speeds, and their Threat Protection feature puts malware and tracking protection on your laptop or desktop, even when you’re not using the VPN. Their new Meshnet feature allows you to securely connect your Android to other NordVPN users for secure mobile LAN-style gaming parties.
Ample servers and their own protocol maintain fast speeds, plus their current promo gives you two years for $6 a month for the Standard Plan (which gives you most features mentioned above, but without cloud storage, dedicated IP, or password manager options included in the Plus package). There’s a 30-day money-back guarantee so you can decide for free if the security is all we say it is.
Best Customer Support: ExpressVPN
Why It Made The Cut: ExpressVPN does a great job of informing and supporting users and has help guides built into the Android app — something not all services do.
— Jurisdiction: British Virgin Islands
— Number of Servers: 3,000
— Number of Locations: 94 countries
— Bonus Features: Kill switch, split tunneling, speed testing, tracker and malware blocking
— Android Compatibility: 5 and newer
— 24/7 live chat support (website)
— Help guides in the Android app
— The highest number of country locations on our list
— Extensive library of information about VPNs and online safety
— More expensive
— Limited to 5 devices per account
Picking a VPN service ideally starts with research (that’s why you’re here, after all) and ExpressVPN has built up an impressive amount of articles, tutorials, and videos to teach you all you need to know about VPNs and general online security. If you don’t get your questions answered that way, they also offer instant, round-the-clock help with live chat through their website, as well as via email.
With servers based in 94 countries, Express lets you switch between servers as often as you like, with no limit in the amount of data you download or upload. They’ve set up their servers to run only on RAM memory, which means it’s not stored and gets wiped whenever the server turns off.
Like all of our other recommended services, ExpressVPN offers helpful secondary security features like a kill switch and customizable split tunneling so you can pick and choose which apps go through your VPN tunnel.
The Android app is easy to set up and use, benefiting from ExpressVPN’s friendly and helpful design aesthetic. Recently, they added troubleshooting and support guides to the Android app, walking you through any snags you may hit along the way. With the 30-day trial period you can feel free to play with the service as you learn all there is to know about VPN security.
Fastest Speed: Proton VPN
Why It Made The Cut: While they excel at security and privacy, thanks to their VPN Accelerator, Proton VPN can operate up to four times faster than others, especially over spotty connections.
— Jurisdiction: Switzerland
— Number of Servers: 1,700
— Number of Locations: 63
— Bonus Features: Kill switch, split tunneling, always on feature, double VPN, Tor Over VPN
— Android Compatibility: 6 and newer
— Uses proprietary tech to boost VPN connection and browsing speeds
— Double VPN process doubles down on privacy
— Open source and audited app code
— Connect up to 10 devices
— No live customer support
If you already know Proton, it’s probably through their encrypted email service, ProtonMail. A favorite of journalists and activists, Proton is even based in Switzerland, a place with a track record of neutrality and some of the strongest privacy protection laws around. While the service easily gives NordVPN a run for their money in the security department, we were most impressed by the ability of Proton’s Accelerator to bump up typical VPN speeds.
Using a series of proprietary technologies, their VPN Accelerator delivers little tweaks to things like CPU performance, congestion control algorithms, and reducing inefficiencies in VPN protocol codes. The feature comes built-in and runs automatically for all Proton VPN accounts. You can disable it if you want, but there don’t seem to be any drawbacks, and it has the ability to make browsing speeds up to four times faster while improving connection stability.
As mentioned, Proton does not slack in the security department (and almost made our cut for most secure). They use double VPN for all traffic, a feature they call Secure Core, routing everything through servers housed in hardened (physically fortified) data centers in Switzerland, Iceland, and Sweden, as well as through your chosen end-point VPN server.
Like Private Internet Access, Proton VPN’s app code is open source, but they go one step beyond by hiring third-party auditors and publishing the results. Proton also offers a truly free plan (not just a free trial period), though the number of servers you have access to is limited. You’re still protected by their strict no-log policy and won’t get bombarded with ads like in most free options.
They have the lowest month-by-month cost at just $10. Their promo pricing for the first two years brings the cost down to about $5 per month and if you want to get a feel for the service, it’s easy to upgrade from the free version to the fully-featured paid option.
Best with Unlimited Bandwidth: CyberGhost
Why It Made The Cut: While nearly all paid VPN services offer unlimited bandwidth, CyberGhost sets itself apart with their dedicated servers for streaming, torrenting, and other services.
— Jurisdiction: Romania
— Number of Servers: 7,800
— Number of Locations: 91
— Bonus Features: Kill switch, split tunneling, dedicated streaming servers
— Android Compatibility: 5 and newer
— 24/7 live customer support
— 45-day money-back guarantee (2-year plan and above)
— Optimized servers for streaming
— Connect up to 7 devices
— Limited bonus features
We’re not judging services by their vibe, but CyberGhost does manage to make the rather technical process of VPN protection feel almost fun. Signing up is called becoming a Ghostie, and once you do that, you’re protected in the way a good VPN should, with powerful IP privacy, data encryption, and no-logs policy. They were actually the first VPN company to publish reports on user data that government agencies had requested from them — and the zero results they were able to return.
Many people looking for unlimited bandwidth are also concerned with throttling from their ISP. This can happen when an ISP tries to limit the amount of bandwidth an account uses by intentionally slowing your connection to certain sites (typically streaming and gaming sites). Using a VPN prevents that from happening, since the ISP has no idea which sites you are accessing. CyberGhost goes one step further by offering many servers dedicated to streaming. In a bonus for mobile streamers, there’s a streaming tab on the Android app, where you’ll see servers optimized for different streaming services and regions.
The free 7-day trial and 45-day, no-questions-asked refund policy means you can download, upload, and stream all you want while you decide whether you like being a Ghostie.
Things to Consider Before Buying an Android VPN Service
People generally want a VPN service on their Android for three reasons: maintaining online anonymity, protection while using public WiFi, and accessing geo-restricted content. While there are other reasons and other protections a VPN service can provide, those are the base-level services a quality VPN service will cover.
Keeping Your IP Address Private
A VPN service hides your IP address by funneling your online activity through a remote server. That means the website you visit or app you interact with won’t see your IP address, they’ll see an IP address from Romania, Canada, Sweden, or wherever the server resides. Your ISP won’t see what you’re doing either. People who are even more concerned with privacy will want a VPN service that adheres to a “no-log policy.” Meaning they keep no records of users’ activity. All six services we recommend have no-log policies in place, and many go out of their way to prove they’re actually following through on the promise.
Security, Staying Safe With Unfamiliar WiFi Access
Many public WiFi services are not secured, making them an easy target for hackers. Because a VPN connects you to a private network of servers and encrypts your data, it’s far more difficult for anyone to access your data over an unsecured WiFi network. A VPN also protects you if you try to access a fake or “evil twin” WiFi network — one that looks legit, but isn’t.
Streaming, Accessing Geo-Restricted Content
License agreements and copyright laws make it so a service like Netflix, for example, can only show certain content in a given region. That means if you’re from the US and visit the UK, you may not find all the shows you’re used to. A VPN service allows you to pick a server based in the country where your content is allowed so you can watch it anywhere. While many streaming services try to fight this practice, many VPN services pride themselves on keeping one step ahead so you can always access geo-restricted content from anywhere.
Q: Can I get in trouble for using a VPN?
You can get in trouble for using VPN in certain restrictive countries like China, Iraq, and Russia. In most countries in the world, including places like the US, Canada, and the UK, VPNs are perfectly legal, provided you use them for legal purposes like maintaining privacy and enhancing security.
Q: What does my ISP see when I'm connected to my VPN?
Your ISP will only see that you are connected to a VPN. They can’t see what you are doing, which sites you are visiting, or otherwise monitor your activity. Some VPN services (such as NordVPN) offer obfuscated servers, which hide the fact that you’re using a VPN in the first place.
Q: What devices can I use an Android VPN on?
You can use an Android VPN on any device running the correct version of the Android operating system, this includes Android smartphones and tablets. The VPN services for Android we recommend all support devices running Android 6 and above, with a few also supporting Android 5.
Q: Will a VPN log or store my data?
Some VPNs will log or store your data. This is particularly the case with free VPN services. All of the VPN services we recommended have strict no-log policies in place. That means if they were ever subpoenaed by authorities or had their servers hacked, there would be no user data to access because these VPN services do not log your activity or when/where you accessed the service.
Final Thoughts on Android VPNs
We chose Private Internet Access because they are uniquely committed to keeping their own services transparent, while keeping their users fully protected and anonymous, as proven by their open source code, cryptocurrency payment options, and published transparency reports.
This post was created by a non-news editorial team at Recurrent Media, Futurism’s owner. Futurism may receive a portion of sales on products linked within this post.