Back in 2008, Google decided to compete with Apple by releasing Android, a mobile operating system in direct competition with iOS. Though many die hard Apple fans thought their devices were superior, Android exploded in the mobile industry and seized the largest share of the market.
In fact, by 2010, Android became the market leader. One of the reasons that Android beat out iOS was the way they licensed their software.
iOS was kept as a proprietary OS only available on Apple devices while Android was available to smartphone manufacturers such as Samsung, Sony, and others. Though Apple devices are highly prized in the United States and a few other countries, Android is the clear winner globally.
As of 2015, they owned roughly 80% of the market while iOS, the next leading mobile software competitor, only owned approximately 14% of the market. But if you think that Android is perfectly secure because it was developed by Google, you may want to reconsider. Android is far more secure than other less popular alternatives, but they are constantly releasing new versions of their operating system.
And as we all know, software is inherently flawed.
Each new release charts new territory as software developers try to address new technologies to keep up with the latest trends, and Android has released a slew of different version over the years. The most recent version, Marshmallow, was just released, is sure to have some security problems.
The latest update was released to patch some past security problems, but you can expect others to surface. Such is the nature of software. Many users who haven’t had the chance to upgrade yet are still using Lollipop, which was riddled with bugs and performance problems, some of them impacting your device’s security.
Marshmallow patched and addressed many of these problems, but it has its fair share of issues as well.
Another problem that users frequently face is finding the best VPN client for Android. Being that it is the most popular mobile operating system in the world, more developers write applications on Android than any other platform.
Unfortunately, not all developers were created equally. Some applications are horrible, some are mediocre, and a rare few are spectacular. When you pay money for a VPN or other security services, you want to get your money’s worth.
Few things in life are more irritating than paying for a service only to discover that it doesn’t work as well as it was advertised.
To help expedite the process of helping you find the best VPN client for Android, we have put together a list of the top providers. But first let’s take a look at one of the top reasons users need security services on Android.
Most people don’t think twice when they use public Wi-Fi. For any of you that have phone plans with monthly data restrictions, a Wi-Fi hotspot is your best friend.
By using public Wi-Fi as opposed to your provider’s network, you can circumvent your monthly data limits, but doing so introduces security problems.
Whether you are using Wi-Fi in an airport, coffee shop, or other public location, you have no idea who else is connected to the network you are using. Public Wi-Fi networks such as those found in coffee shops are the perfect playground for hackers, because the average Internet user doesn’t understand the risks of being attacked.
When hackers try to penetrate other networks, their first challenge is gaining network access to provide them with a connection to their victims. However, with free Wi-Fi hotspots, they don’t need to crack the password since it is handed to them on a silver platter.
If you connect to a Wi-Fi hotspot that is shared with a hacker, you could easily become the victim of a man-in-the-middle attack, among many other types of hacks. You see, normally when you connect to a network your Android device will send all of its data directly to the wireless router.
But when a hacker initiates a man-in-the-middle attack, they trick your Android device into sending their computer all of the data before forwarding it off to the router. This attack makes all inbound and outbound data transmitted to and from your Android device travel through their computer first.
And if that data isn’t encrypted, they can easily read all of your messages. Whether it is an instant messaging application, unsecured login credentials, or image data, hackers can harvest all of your information without leaving a trace.
The sad part is that this type of attack is so sophisticated that it won’t raise any red flags in programs such as anti-virus or anti-malware apps, so users don’t know they have been the victim of an attack until it’s too late. And if you think that it’s a rare occurrence or that you need to be an incredibly gifted hacking genius to carry out these attacks, think again.
Hacking software has become more sophisticated and more easily accessible over the last fifteen years. Today hackers have the unprecedented opportunity to use tools that do all the hard work for them with alarming ease.
In fact, there are many young teenagers who have been able to exploit other computing systems with these tools. The lesson to be learned here is that you need to secure your mobile devices with encryption.
Do you really want to take the risk of letting a hacker access your private information, personal pictures, or even payment card information? Not a chance. You should also consider that there are other entities online that are looking to steal your data and eavesdrop on your communications.
Though we would like to think we can trust our government, the cold hard truth is that governmental agencies have been caught snooping and wiretapping domestic and foreign communications.
The US and the UK are notorious for implementing incredibly invasive surveillance programs that stored masses of citizens’’ data in giant, government-controlled databases. Hackers on a public Wi-Fi network merit your attention, but many would see the government as a much larger threat.
While it is true that some of these governments have harvested data by coercing and influencing domestic organizations such as Google, Yahoo, and others. You may want to choose one of the best VPNs for Android by factoring in the service’s global location.
Some of the most paranoid Android users don’t want to use a service based out of the US since there is the potential the government could ask them for log data. However, this is inconsequential if you are using a VPN to unlock blocked content.
With that said, let’s take a look at the best VPNs for Android and PC in 2016 since you will probably want to secure more than only your mobile device.
AirVPN sports a great attitude towards privacy, and support for VPN through Tor. In terms of speed and reliability, no other provider rivals it, except perhaps for ExpressVPN.
First off, not only do they support Android operating systems, but they also have setup guides that will help you use their VPN client – but you also have the option of using OpenVPN.
However, they also have servers in other popular areas such as North America and Hong Kong. They use industry standard security protocols that are extremely strong such as AES-256 encryption with RSA keys 4096 bits long.
One of the great things about their service is that you can actually see how busy each server is on their website before you connect to it, so you don’t have to worry about server capacity bogging down your connection.
Other VPNs leave their customers in the dark, by not providing this information.
Why We Like It
AirVPN is our first choice for Android users for several reasons.
While they aren’t the cheapest service on the market, they aren’t the costliest, either.
Their service only costs €4.50 (about $4.86 USD currently), and they are one of the best options for users located in Europe since AirVPN has one of the strongest presences in this region.
VyprVPN is our second pick for the best VPNs for Android, and they have several how-to guides on their website to showing how to set things up on your Android device. Though some of their guides show you how to setup PPTP, we would recommend that you stick with the L2TP/IPsec guide because it is more secure.
Another perk of using VyprVPN is that they are based out of Switzerland – a country with extremely lax Internet laws and regulations and no governmental data surveillance.
Other notable features of their service include the ability to selectively choose which application data you want to route through the VPN tunnel as well as a kill switch that will stop downloads if the VPN disconnects.
Why We Like It
If you’ve never used a VPN or just want to try out their service before you buy it, you’ll love Vypr VPN’s absolutely free trial. However, be warned: the free trial has irritating monthly data limits.
But it will still give you an idea of how the service will work on your Android device. In addition, they have 700+ servers in 50 countries, so you won’t lack a multitude of global connection options.
One of the reasons so many people likeExpressVPN, apart from the quality of their service, is due to their customer support. Their customer support is better than most other companies’ and they offer it 24/7.
Their Android setup guide even has a video tutorial, which is something most other providers lack. ExpressVPN even has above average global coverage with servers placed in key locations around the globe in 78 countries.
However, there are a couple drawbacks to their service. First of all, because they are a high quality provider, as you would expect, their price is a little bit higher per month than many of their competitors.
Also, they are based out of the United States, which is unsettling to people who fear surveillance from the US government.
Why We Like It
ExpressVPN is our third pick for Android users.
They are well-known in the industry for providing an extremely well-rounded service with quick and reliable server connections.
Though ExpressVPN doesn’t log any data to hand over, there is always the fear that the government might somehow influence them in the future.
IPVanish VPN is our fourth pick for the best VPNs for Android, and they have handy setup guides that will show you how to setup their service on Android. They offer tutorials for L2TP/IPsec as well as PPTP, but again, we recommend that you stick with L2TP/IPsec since it is stronger.
Note that IPVanish does a tremendous job of providing a service on par with the toughest competitors in the industry. Their VPN servers provide high speed connections that are incredibly reliable without imposing bandwidth throttling or annoying monthly data limits.
Furthermore, they currently operate 400+ servers in 60 countries to help you make connections around the globe, and they are always expanding their network. While they don’t have a free trial, their service is moderately priced at $6.49 per month.
Why We Like It
IPVanish is among some of the most innovative and secure VPN providers int he market.
Which it compliments with five simultaneous connections and a very handy traffic visualizer.
The entire service rests on a bedrock of around 500 servers, spread around 60 nations, located on planet earth.
PIA VPN is our last alternative for Android users, and they offer a fantastic service for a nominal monthly cost. Most people are shocked to learn that they are one of the cheapest providers in the industry.
They keep up with the leaders in the industry, and even surpass them in some respects. For example, PIA VPN allows up to 5 concurrent connections per account, which is fantastic if you have more than 1 device to secure.
In addition, they operate more servers than the majority of other VPN providers. To date they operate approximately 3,100 servers in 24 countries, but they are always adding more VPN servers to their network.
Last but not least, they do provide a 7-day money back guarantee.
Why We Like It
Not only does Private Internet Access refuse to log browsing activity and collect meta-data, the service also offers several prized features, like DNS-leak protection and a kill-switch.
If you opt for an annual subscription, the monthly rate drops to only $3.33.
So subscribers can use SOCKS5 Proxy and an ad-blocking feature called PIA MACE.
By using one of these best VPNs for Android, you won’t have to worry about hackers stealing your information when you connect to local Wi-Fi or the government intruding on your personal life and wiretapping your communications. Just remember that even though PPTP is easier to setup, you should stick with L2TP/IPsec because it is more secure.
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Instead of taking the risk of leaving your personal data unsecured every time you browse the Internet from your Android device, you are much better off opting for an inexpensive VPN service. Most of them cost less per month than a meal at a fast food restaurant, and all it takes is one hacker to steal your identity to put you in a world of financial troubles.
Don’t let yourself become the victim of an attack by securing your personal information with a VPN tunnel! We always love hearing from our readers, so feel free to share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.