The best VPN apps for Android

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Covering your online activity and device data with a virtual private network (VPN) is one way to keep your information and your digital identity private. VPNs mask your identity so it’s nearly impossible for anyone to track where you go and what you do. This is done by assigning a different IP address to your device each time you connect through the VPN service. Our top pick for the best VPN for Android devices is IPVanish for its overall ease of use, strong encryption capabilities and over 40,000 IP addresses to use.

Best Overall: IPVanish

IPVanish features solid encryption, unlimited bandwidth, and lets you connect several devices simultaneously. The Android app offers a clean dark theme and is easy to use for beginners, with features that advanced users will appreciate. Connecting to and switching between servers is quick and easy and makes the overall user experience pretty great. IPVanish has over 40,000 unique IP addresses and you are assigned a new one each time you log on.

The only real downside is that it’s all based out of the U.S., which means there’s a possibility of IPVanish being pressured to release user information to an outside agency with little to no advance notice to users. Another note to make is that you can have 10 devices connected to your account at once. If you try to connect any more without upgrading your account, IPVanish may restrict or even cancel your account altogether.

Pros:

  • Connect multiple devices at once
  • Easy to use
  • 40,000 IP addresses

Cons:

  • May collect and release user information
  • Strict termination policy

Best Overall

IPVanish

Best VPN for solid Android protection

IPVanish assigns one of its 40,000 IP address to your device each time you log on to help you from being tracked while online and protect your identity.

Best Value: TunnelBear

Don’t mistake the cartoony layout of the TunnelBear VPN Android app — it’s a simple-to-use app that offers serious VPN protection. You can create an account for free, which gives you 500MB of secure data a month, but we’d recommend checking out a paid subscription that lets you connect up to five different devices at a time to servers in 22 different countries.

The Android app is actually fun to use, and you’ve got to give TunnelBear credit for doubling down on its name and running with the concept. TunnelBear does not currently support torrenting, so if that’s an important feature you’re best to look elsewhere. If you’re only looking for a casual VPN for your phone, TunnelBear is a great free option with affordable pricing for upgrading to the premium service.

Pros:

  • Free option
  • Easy interface
  • Choose IP address location

Cons:

  • No torrent support
  • No automatic kill switch

Best Value

TunnelBear

A good place to start

This is a good app to get your feet wet using a VPN with its free service and easy-to-use interface. TunnelBear is limited in what it can do.

Most Server Locations: ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN is a highly rated premium VPN service that has been praised for its customer service and includes all the features you’d expect from a top-rated VPN such as unlimited bandwidth, unlimited speed, and strong encryption. You’re able to connect up to 10 devices simultaneously via ExpressVPN’s thousands of servers in more than 94 different countries, more locations than any of the VPN services we reviewed. You can also choose the router VPN option that lets you deploy VPN protection to all your devices from your internet router.

The app for Android is easy to use for beginners, with settings and features that heavy users will appreciate. Subscriptions are a bit pricier but ExpressVPN offers a no-hassle, 100% money-back guarantee for your first 30 days of service, so you can try it out for yourself.

Pros:

  • Servers in 94 countries
  • Router VPN
  • Fast
  • Easy to use

Cons:

  • Costs more than other VPNs

Most Server Locations

ExpressVPN

More places to originate from

ExpressVPN has more servers in more countries to help you tap into any information you need while keeping your online activity secure and private.

Automatic Connection: Hotspot Shield

Hotspot Shield is a quick way to disappear while connected to public Wi-Fi. Clicking the enable button assigns your device a different IP address and places your locations miles away from where you really are. One great feature is you can set this VPN to automatically enable every time to turn on your phone, connect to the internet, or open a browser. It uses military-grade encryption to ensure your information remains private and untraceable.

This VPN service doesn’t have as many servers as others we looked at, but its biggest drawback tends to be its customer support. Many users have complained that it is difficult to get a hold of representatives to help result issues. We, personally, have never had an issue, but it is important to note in case you need to reach out for help.

Pros:

  • Automatically connects
  • Secure encryption
  • Good for securing public Wi-Fi

Cons:

  • Reps hard to connect with

Automatic Connection

Hotspot Shield

No fuss connection

It doesn’t take much for Hotspot Shield to automatically enable its VPN protections and secure all your data with military-grade encryption.

Extra Encryption: NordVPN

NordVPN is a great option if you’re looking for an encrypted connection for several devices. Operated out of Panama, NordVPN has no legal obligation to record the activity of its users, so you can confidently connect to one of more than 1,000 servers in 57 different countries.

One of the best features of NordVPN is all your data is double encrypted before it is sent along. After it passes through one server, the encrypted data is then sent through a second server and encrypted again. It is nearly impossible for your online activity to be traced back to you.

One quirk about NordVPN is because it encrypts your data so well, it does tend to work more slowly compared to other VPN services. It’s an unfortunate tradeoff for extra protection.

Pros:

  • Dual encryption
  • No logging
  • 1,000 servers in 57 countries

Cons:

  • Expect a little slowdown

Extra Encryption

NordVPN

Double encryption for double the protection

NordVPN passes your info through one server then sends the encrypted data through a second server to ensure its really hard to decipher.

Unlimited Bandwidth: Private Internet Access VPN

For those who are new to using a VPN, one of the most important features will be an easy-to-use interface. You want something as easy as flipping a switch. Private Internet Access offers just that with an extremely simple Android app. Best of all, a yearly subscription is around $40, which is one of the lowest prices you’ll find for a premium VPN.

Private Internet Access uses over 3,000 servers in 32 different countries, which is fewer than several other VPN services we’ve reviewed, but Private Internet Access has still received numerous nominations as one of the best commercial VPNs you can use. They don’t log any of your online activity and the app is compatible not only with your Android devices, but also any computers running Windows, macOS or Linux. And since you’re not limited with a monthly bandwidth cap. you will experience fast connection and user speeds every time you use it.

Pros:

  • No shuttering service
  • Unlimited device connection
  • Easy to use
  • Low price

Cons:

  • Not many server locations

Unlimited Bandwidth

Private Internet Access

No shuttering or stopping

This VPN service will never throttle or stop your service because it doesn’t place usage restrictions on your VPN account.

Bottom line

Using a (VPN) when you’re online is becoming increasingly important these days. While the internet is a public space, a VPN acts like an invisibility cloak and makes your online activity virtually anonymous, making it hard for someone to track you when you’re online — whether you’re concerned about your internet service provider, the government, or malicious hackers.

We’ve previously looked at the best VPN services across all platforms, but IPVanish is our pick for the best VPN for Android. It strikes a nice balance between strong encryption and budget-friendly without being too complicated. Plus, it has over 40,000 IP addresses with servers in 75 countries which gets two big thumbs up from us.

Credits — The team that worked on this guide

Marc Lagace is the Apps and Games Editor at Android Central. He’s been a gamer for most of his life and actually took a university course on Video Game Theory — which he aced!

Nicole Johnston writes for multiple Mobile Nations brands, including Android Central, covering primarily internet security and privacy programs. She has over 12 years of research and writing experience in both the public and private sectors, including six years testing and reviewing consumer products and four evaluating antivirus software, parental controls, VPNs and identity theft services.



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