The internet is full of threats from malware and hackers, that is true. However, there are also spying agencies that want to know what you do at all times as well. The NSA of US and GCHQ of UK are the main threats to their users’ privacy.
There are other threats as well. For example, earlier this year, the US government gave its permission to ISPs to sell users’ data without an approval of users themselves. The UK government, on the other hand, choose to enact one of the most extreme surveillance laws ever seen in the West. With things like this happening more and more, Android users have no choice but to start using VPN for Android.
Table of Contents
- 1 Which Are The Best VPNs For Android?
- 2 What Do VPNs Do?
- 3 Issue With Using VPN On Android
- 4 De-Googling Of Your Android
- 5 Encrypt Your Android
- 6 How To Set Up A VPN On Android?
- 7 Additional Privacy Options
- 8 Conclusion
Which Are The Best VPNs For Android?
As you can see, the situation is not good, and the regular Android users worry about their privacy. We would like to say that they worry without reason, but the truth is that the reason exists. Because of that, almost every VPN out there works with Android.
That means that you have over 850 different providers to choose from. However, that poses another problem – which one to go with. They are not all equally good, and there is nothing worse than having a false sense of security. Many VPNs are faulty, and you might think that you have protection, while in reality, information leaks wherever you look.
That is why you must choose your Android VPN carefully. Otherwise, you are just wasting your money. We can help you with that by recommending a few providers that came up as best after multiple tests. Those are:
Let’s take a closer look on each of them, and see what they have to offer.
This is one of the currently most popular providers. ExpressVPN offers a great customer service, and it is very easy to use. Because of that, it is the most favorite among Android users. It works with Windows, Mac, and iOS clients as well, and it aims to protect you as best as possible.
The customer service is available at all times in case you have a problem. It doesn’t offer a free version, but it does have a 30-day money back guarantee. That means that you have an entire month to decide whether you like it or not.
ExpressVPN has servers in 77 different countries, it uses strongest encryptions, and keeps no logs. You can choose from several different security protocols, and you also have no limit when it comes to speeds or bandwidth. It accepts payment from multiple credit and debit cards, as well as PayPal and Bitcoin.
30-Days Money Back Guarantee
In number two, we have IPVanish. This is one of the fastest VPNs around, which it owes to the fact that it owns the network it uses. You get to use over 850 servers in 60+ countries, which in total numbers around 40,000 IP addresses.
But speed and big network are not this provider’s only features. It offers cheap prices, multiple protocols, strong encryptions, and a free, easy-to-use software. You can use it on different devices and systems, including Android. Due to its speed, it is perfect for streaming or downloading. Also, it lets you use it on five different devices at once.
Another good thing is that it keeps no logs, which is great for achieving privacy. There is also a noteworthy customer service that will be there for you whenever you need some help. And finally, if you decide that you don’t like it, you have 7 days to use its money return guarantee. That is 7 days from the day you start using it on your Android. It is a more than decent provider, and it serves many happy customers.
7-day Money Back Guarantee
NordVPN offers a great number of features, many of which we already mentioned in previous two entries. That includes protocols, extremely great server network (980+ servers), as well as awesome software.
It also offers a 30-day money back guarantee, it keeps no logs, and it is well known for its support towards P2P file sharing. NordVPN features a kill switch as well, which will protect your data if the connection gets exposed. It does this by cutting your Android off of internet instantly and completely. It might come suddenly, but it is much better than to lose your data so spies or get a virus on your device.
NordVPN also has a unique feature that you won’t find often, which is a double encryption. Your data gets encrypted twice, which will make you safe at all times without question. Major encryptions that these VPNs use have never been broken, and just to stay safe, Nord uses two of them at once. This makes it one of the best Android VPNs if the safety of your data is your concern.
30-day Money Back Guarantee
hide.me VPN does a lot to prevent anyone from accessing your private data. It will help unlock any website under restriction, and it will do it with lightning speed. The problem with many VPNs is that they slow your connection down, since data first gets its encryption, and then has to travel to some far away server. With hide.me, you won’t even feel that something is different.
It keeps absolutely no logs and it is simple to use. It offers many different protocols that you can choose from, and that is followed by a 256-bit encryption. The majority of its servers are in Europe, but there is at least one on each continent except Antarctica.
Except for Android, it also works on iOS, Mac, and Windows. It has an excellent support, and it also offers a free package. Now, we do not recommend using it as a regular VPN, but it is great for a trial run.
VyprVPN opens up many possibilities for your Android device, just like the rest of them. Your streaming and speed will get a significant increase, and you will also find that you can bypass censorship and geo-restrictions. On top of that, it will also increase your privacy, security, and anonymity.
It offers great speeds and over 700 servers for you to use. In total, it has 200,000 IP addresses. The app is very simple and easy to both set up as well as use. And, best of all, there are no third parties included. This provider’s network belongs to the company, while many other providers only rent the servers they use.
It also has a unique feature that it calls Chameleon. With this in its arsenal, it can defeat blocking, as well as throttling. You will get an open internet even from China, which has some of the greatest restriction laws in the world. It will definitely bring your Android to its full potential, and allow you to use it like never before.
3-Day Free Trial
What Do VPNs Do?
First of all, VPN is short for Virtual Private Network. And as the name suggests, it is a private network, that consists of its own private servers. By using them, as well as multiple security layers, it can prevent anyone from spying on your online activities. That way, you get to be safe, anonymous, and your actions will be your own business.
They do this by employing many different security features that keep your Android safe, as well as your data. However, not every VPN offers the same thing, and a bit of exploring might allow you to see what to expect.
The features that every VPN does have are protocols, encryption, and its own server network. With protocols, VPN creates a safe tunnel from your Android to the Internet. Your data flow travels through this tunnel, and by doing so, it gets protection from view.
Now, since this is not a perfect solution, just like any other by itself, there is a second layer of protection – encryption. Your hidden data is also encrypted. That way, even if someone does manage to get to it, they won’t know what they have. It is a perfect way to protect your privacy, even if your Android is under heavy surveillance.
Finally, there is a server network. When you connect to one of VPN’s private servers, it will hide your real IP and put another one in its place. Initially, providers were using this to assign your online actions to some other IP. You would simply lose all connection to what you do online. Soon enough, however, another thing became obvious, and that is bypassing geo-restrictions.
When you go to a website, it can see your IP address, read it, and extract a certain amount of data. One piece of that info includes your real world location. That way, when you try to access something that is under geo-restriction, you would get a message that the content is not available in your country. With a VPN, however, you would get an IP address from the same region where your chosen server is at.
When you go to the same website, it recognizes the IP address as the one from the region that has access to content it protects. So, by connecting to a server from a certain country, your Android will now give you access to all of that country’s content.
Issue With Using VPN On Android
Despite the fact that VPN works great for Android, there is still one issue that it can’t protect you from. And those would be apps.
A VPN can protect your connection in a sense that it can hide your actions from outside forces. However, the apps you download are on the inside. They can work against you by collecting a certain data (the one you allow on installation) and send it back to their developers.
Not even a VPN can protect you from that. The only solution here is to limit what apps have access to. This might cause malfunction of those apps, of course. For example, if you want to use the navigation on Google Maps, you can’t deny it access to your location information.
Some of the apps are very badly designed. Because of this, they can often leak information, which can lead to danger to your privacy as well as confident info. Many of the apps in question are Android games. Infamous Angry Birds is one particularly problematic when it comes to this.
Facebook app, on the other hand, won’t leak your info. It will, however, collect much, much more than it needs in order to properly operate. Not only does it want access to your location, but also to your SMS messages. And spy agencies like NSA can’t wait to get their hands on such data in order to improve their profiles on pretty much everyone.
You should definitely avoid using any apps from sources you don’t trust. But, apart from that, there is nothing more than you can do. Still, that doesn’t mean that VPNs for Android are useless. They can still help you a great deal when it comes to keeping privacy private. Only remember to check what do these apps have access to and act accordingly.
If you want to access online services with maximum privacy and security, you can use a direct approach through your browser. However, a choice of browser is important as well. For example, Firefox for Android is very privacy-friendly. It is an open-source one, and it will work in your favor.
And, if you want to limit what apps can gain access to, you can do it on any Android version from 6.0 and up. Once again, this will probably cause them to not work properly, but it is the price of privacy and safety.
De-Googling Of Your Android
Google is definitely one of the biggest threats when it comes to privacy invasion. Their entire service focuses on learning about you in order to provide more relevant content. Their surveillance is particularly expressed through their Google Play Services.
If this is something that bothers you, you can disable the default system apps. You do not even need a root access in order to do this. This will, however, prevent many other apps from working as they should.
Still, you can download a lot of apps without the need for Google Play Store by using F-Droid.
If you don’t mind rooting your Android, you can even take some extra measures. For instance, you can use Titanium Backup to completely remove pretty much any app on your phone. That includes every Google-related app as well.
There is even an option of replacing Android OS with a read-only memory that doesn’t rely on Google apps. Some more than decent examples of this are Copperhead and LineageOS.
Encrypt Your Android
Encryption is by far the best way to protect yourself. If you can’t prevent them from taking data, you can at least make it useless to everyone who does take it.
One of Google’s promises was that every Android device will get a complete disk encryption. Sadly, this is not the case, at least for now. Still, you can do it manually, and protect both your Android, as well as any SD card that you might use.
Doing so will cause about 10% of performance loss, which you would not really notice unless you are really aware of that sort of thing. However, booting up your Android will take a lot longer than you are used to, and there might be some additional issues if your device has a password as a means of protection.
On the plus side, your phone will have much more security. Not only that, but your data will finally have the best protection you can acquire.
How To Set Up A VPN On Android?
Now that you know which VPNs to use, it is time to learn how to set them up. Doing so is a very simple process, and you can finish it in only a couple of minutes. Just follow these steps:
- Go to the chosen VPN’s website and subscribe
- Download their app from Google Play Store
- Install it, and log into it with your VPN credentials
- Choose a server you wish to use
- And that is it. You now have a completely safe and secure network connection from your phone. Depending on your VPN choice, you may have the ability to connect other devices as well.
However, you must be extra careful about which apps you use. A lot of them are faulty, and even if they have a recommendation from other users, bear in mind that the majority of them do not have necessary qualifications to properly assess the quality or security of the app.
How To Set Up VPN On Your Android Manually (L2TP/IPsec)
If you want to make sure that your protection is proper, you can set VPN manually as well. The process is more complex than simply signing up and downloading the app, though. However, you can do it yourself fairly easily by simply following these next steps. Depending on your phone version, some things might be a bit different, but you should still be able to figure it out on spot.
- In your device’s Settings, find the option More Networks. In there, choose VPN. We should mention that you must have a lock screen working for this.
- Tap ‘+’ in order to add a VPN network. Enter your connection’s name, and add in the details from your VPN provider.
Do not bother with a PPTP setup. It is easy, but it is also not secure, so you can skip it. L2TP/IPsec is also very easy, but it is a much better option. You will have to enter a pre-shared key.
- Make sure that you have connected. You can tell by a key icon in your Android’s taskbar.
How To Set Up OpenVPN Manually
Now, if you want the best protection, you should go for OpenVPN. There is an app by the name of OpenVPN Connect, which is pretty good. However, we will use OpenVPN for Android in this guide.
Ever since the version 2.4.0, it offers IPv4, IPv6, as well as WebRTC for leak protection. You can even use it instead of a kill switch. Setting it up in a bit more difficult, and you can do it by following these instructions:
- Ask your VPN provider for configuration files for OpenVPN. Transfer them to your Android unzipped, or download them directly to the phone. If the file needs unzipping, use the ZArchiver app.
- Next thing that you should do is get OpenVPN for Android app. Install it and run it. Inside, you will find a ‘+’, which you should tap in order to Add Profile. Name the profile and tap Import.
- Now you need to go to the folder where configuration files for OpenVPN are. There, you should choose a server, which is a .ovpn file. Import it, and confirm with a check mark.
- If done correctly, a server name should appear in the Profiles tab. Simply touch it, and you will start the VPN. You can do this for as many servers you want by repeating the process, and they will appear in the list.
Nothing further needs doing, since a lot of providers will provide necessary account info and keys within the .ovpn files themselves. If you just so happen to choose a provider that doesn’t do this, you will need to enter account details manually as well. If that is the case, you should get specific instructions on what to do with the additional documents.
Additional Privacy Options
If you are using your Android for some important communication that must not leak, there are other options for you to use in addition to VPN. For example, you can use the messaging app by the name of Signal. It is perfect for confidential communication, and it has the strongest known encryptions. Even whistleblowers use this to communicate, which is a guarantee of quality by itself.
Next, you can use privacy extensions for your Android’s browser. HTTPS Everywhere, for example, is a perfect add-on for this purpose. It forces your browser to only use versions of websites under encryption. And, since Google insists that more and more websites use HTTPS version, you will have quite a lot of websites to visit.
There is also a Self-Destructing Cookies, which will delete cookies automatically. And since they can also be used for tracking your activities, you will get even more security this way.
And don’t forget to use some version of ad-blocking add-on, like uBlock Origin. This is a very light app that will help you deal with ads once and for all.
Internet privacy is dropping, and fast. All kinds of privacy breaches are happening all the time, and the user is often not even aware of them. Threats of hackers and malware are there as well, and all of this is keen on getting any sort of data from your Android.
What we tend to forget is that our phones are now mini-computers and that they deserve the same level of protection as your desktop. With VPN, you can increase your online safety. Of course, it is not the perfect solution, and threats will still remain there. However, at least you won’t stay completely exposed.
Besides, if you are not known for having access to top secrets, most threats won’t try too hard to infect you. They will try to use any chance they get, but they won’t exactly develop an obsession with your contact list. So get a VPN for your Android. Protect your data as much as you can, and don’t allow spies to keep stealing from you.