Getting a VPN service for your Android phone and/or tablet shouldn’t be hard. And you should demand only the best — after all, those will be your web whereabouts that could be screened by prying eyes. So you don’t want to save on a service that keeps you and your privacy protected.
All services in our list of best 5 VPNs for Android have millions of users and you can hardly go wrong by picking any one of them. But for the best overall experience, get the top service and forget about it. Let it do its magic in the background while you safely and securely browse the web, access streaming services, download files and so on.
So without further ado, here are the best 5 VPNs for Android you can buy today:
- 5,000+ servers in the network
- Easy to use - install it and forget it
- One license is good for up to 6 devices
- Strict zero-logs policy
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- Chrome extension is just a proxy
- You can't pay with PayPal
The company's Android app is easy to use, delivering one of the fastest download rates on the market. Once started, you won't even notice that NordVPN is running on your smartphone (or tablet).
Also working in NordVPN's favor are its zero-logs policy and protection against WebRTC leaks, as well as advanced privacy features that put you, the user, in control — rather than major tech giants like Google and Facebook.
- Feature-rich yet easy to use
- One of the best VPNs around
- Strong no-logging policy
- Reliable support you can reach 24/7
- Limited number of servers in Africa and the Middle East
- Kinda pricey
On the downside though, ExpressVPN for Android doesn't have all security features found on desktop apps, such as a kill switch. Something's gotta give on the small screen, I guess.
Nonetheless, we still highly recommend ExpressVPN for Android users.
- It's super fast!
- Works with Netflix, BBC and others
- Easy to use apps, browser extensions
- You can try it for free!
- Some advanced features are not configurable
- Not the best for high-censorship countries
Your privacy is equally well protected, with the software only collecting some anonymized that to continually improve its service.
There is one caveat though - it won't work that good in high-censorship countries like China. If you don't need that in the first place, we can highly recommend Hotspot Shield to you.
As that's typically the case with most VPN services out there, the longer you commit - the better deal you get. However, what makes Hotspot Shield even better is the fact that it offers a 7-day free trial of its service. A few other top VPN providers do the same. Plus, its money-back guarantee lasts for 45 days, making for a risk-free purchase. Cause, you can always get your money back. Sweet and just the way we like it.
- Reliable download and upload speeds
- Works with Netflix and BBC iPlayer
- Strict zero-logs policy
- Lets you use it on unlimited number of devices
- Low number of servers in Africa and Australia
You can rely on it for streaming and torrenting, with included extra features like CleanWeb and MultiHop, delivering a that much better — and more secure — experience.
Surfshark, the company, is based in the British Virgin Islands and with its zero-logs policy makes for a powerful combo to anyone looking to keep its web whereabouts under the radar.
The service is easy to use and comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
- One the best VPNs for torrenting
- Works well with Netflix
- Simple setup on all popular devices
- Strict zero-logs policy
- Doesn't work with BBC iPlayer
- Doesn't work in China
Also, chances are you are not using a VPN service exclusively on your smartphone and/or tablet, so we need to look at the bigger picture. IPVanish will keep your identity protected no matter which device you use, offering fast download and upload speeds, dedicated P2P resources and so much more.
It works with Netflix though there are better options out there. However, when it comes to torrenting - only a few services come close to what IPVanish is offering.
Android is a free and open-source mobile operating system based on a modified version of the Linux kernel and other open-source software, designed primarily for smartphones and tablets. It was unveiled in November 2007, with the first commercial Android device launching in September 2008. Android is developed by a consortium of developers known as the Open Handset Alliance and commercially sponsored by Google.
While Android is free and open, most Android devices ship with additional proprietary software pre-installed — most notably Google Mobile Services (GMS) which includes core apps such as Google Chrome, the digital distribution platform Google Play and associated Google Play Services development platform.
Android’s source code has been used to develop variants of Android on a range of other electronics, such as game consoles, digital cameras, portable media players, PCs and others — each with a specialized user interface. Some well-known derivatives include Android TV for televisions and Wear OS for wearables, both developed by Google. Software packages on Android, which use the APK format, are generally distributed through proprietary application stores like Google Play Store, Samsung Galaxy Store, and Huawei AppGallery, or open-source platforms like Aptoide or F-Droid.
Android has been the best-selling OS worldwide on smartphones since 2011 and on tablets since 2013. As of May 2017, it has over two billion monthly active users, the largest installed base of any operating system, and as of August 2020, the Google Play Store features over 3 million apps.
Key dates in Android’s development
There are a few dates worth knowing:
- In October 2003, Android Inc. was founded in Palo Alto, California by Andy Rubin, Rich Miner, Nick Sears, and Chris White. Initially, the company wanted to use it for development of smart digital cameras and has later switched to smartphones.
- In July 2005, Google acquired Android Inc. for at least $50 million, with its key employees — including Rubin, Miner and White — joining Google as part of the acquisition.
- On November 5, 2007, the Open Handset Alliance, a consortium of technology companies including Google, device manufacturers such as HTC, Motorola and Samsung, wireless carriers such as Sprint and T-Mobile, and chipset makers such as Qualcomm and Texas Instruments, unveiled itself, with a goal to develop “the first truly open and comprehensive platform for mobile devices”.
- The first commercially available smartphone running Android was announced on September 23, 2008 – it was the HTC Dream, also known as T-Mobile G1.
- Since 2008, Android has seen numerous updates with each release getting a name in alphabetical order after a dessert or sugary treat. The first few Android versions being called “Cupcake”, “Donut”, “Eclair”, and “Froyo”, in that order.
- In 2010, Google launched its Nexus series of devices, a lineup in which Google partnered with different device manufacturers to produce new devices and introduce new Android versions.
- In June 2014, Google announced Android One, a set of “hardware reference models” that would “allow [device makers] to easily create high-quality phones at low costs”, designed for consumers in developing countries.
- Google introduced the Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones in October 2016, marketed as being the first phones made by Google, and exclusively featured certain software features, such as the Google Assistant, before a wider rollout. The Pixel phones effectively replaced the Nexus series.
- In May 2019, Android became entangled in the trade war between China and the United States involving Huawei which like many other tech firms have become dependent on access to Google’s mobile platform.
- On August 22, 2019, it was announced that Android “Q” would officially be branded as Android 10, ending the historic practice of naming major versions after desserts.
Why use a VPN with Android?
It is kinda obvious why would you want to hide your whereabouts from Google which effectively controls the platform no matter which company made the handset you’re using.
Google already knows a lot about us and is using that data to serve us more relevant ads — something that advertisers pay a premium for. These advertisers don’t get to know your personal information, but nevertheless – Google knows “what you did last summer” and then some.
In that sense, we not only advise people who don’t want to be followed online to use a VPN, but also to rely on some other search engine like DuckDuckGo which doesn’t have that much information about its users as Google does.
Beyond Android, you should…
Get a VPN for all your devices and needs
You (all of us, really) need a VPN for many things, not just Android. A good VPN will:
- Protect your privacy from the government and big corporations
- Bypass restrictions imposed by the government or various organizations
- Change your IP address so you get unrestricted access to Netflix, Disney+, iPlayer, HULU, and other video streaming services
- Encrypt and protect private data from cybercriminals
- Download files with BitTorrent anonymously
The top contenders that check all these boxes — while also working on Android devices — include the following: