Loyal readers of Cloudwards.net will know that we’re strong advocates for DIY privacy. Of all the ways to protect yourself online, using a VPN is without a doubt the best; since most people use their smartphones to access the Internet, we would be remiss if we didn’t do an article on the best VPN for Android.
When we went through our selection of best VPN providers, there were a few things we felt would make a VPN particularly good for use on an Android device. Fast speeds to keep you going, great security to provide users peace of mind and a zero logs policy to keep personal details away from hackers, marketers and suits.
With all this in mind, we feel that AirVPN is the very best VPN for Android as it delivers great speed, incredible VPN security and follows a zero logs policy. Not that AirVPN is perfect for everybody, we have four other strong contenders plus an honorable mention, but before we get to those, let’s take a closer look at our criteria.
Best VPN for Android 2018
What Makes a VPN Best for Android?
You may not realize it, but you access a lot of private information with your smartphone. Checking your bank account, logging into Facebook, going on Tinder; all these expose your private details to the world. By using a VPN, you can mask your presence on the web and using a no-log provider like IPVanish even erases the traces of that erasure.
Android devices are a constant companion throughout the day, keeping you connected to friends, family, and the wider world. To do this well, your VPN needs to be and stay fast: Private Internet Access, for example, is not just fast, but very stable.
With so many Android devices out there, it’s important that all our picks support a wide range of OS versions. ExpressVPN handles this best of all, with support going back all the way to Jelly Bean, an Android version originally released five years ago.
Most important of all, a VPN service needs to take security very seriously. With cybercriminals just waiting for you to access an unprotected hotspots, our picks have to use proven encryption methods and have a great stance on security. VyprVPN, for example, provides excellent security and, with it, peace of mind.
With all that out of the way, let’s take an in-depth look at our five favorites.
Founded by hackers and activists, AirVPN takes security very seriously. It boasts some of the best security we’ve seen from a VPN. By accepting Bitcoin and making use of 256-bit GCM-CBC encryption methods, AirVPN provides total Internet anonymity.
This incredibly clear and powerful approach to security is what earns AirVPN the top spot. Its speed keeps it there: AirVPN allows users to share, view and stream data with minimal lag. AirVPN also has DNS servers to get around geoblocked websites and provides built in speed testing for the Windows client, a handy little feature.
AirVPN supports a wide range of Android versions and can be used through the Android client, the OpenVPN Connect app, or the OpenVPN for Android app. AirVPN also provides step by step instructions on their support forums, allowing users to take the approach they’re most comfortable with to get connected and protected.
When it comes to logs, Android users can rest easy knowing AirVPN keeps no browsing data, ensuring that your private information stays secure. While free trials are only granted via request, AirVPN offers clear, affordable plans starting at just $1.19 a month. With all these pros and almost no cons, it’s definitely worth it to visit AirVPN and check it out.
Other Reasons We Like AirVPN
AirVPN’s customer support is strong, with fast response times, a busy forum and a FAQ page. The forum particularly impressed us, with a wide variety of problems quickly addressed and well handled. We would’ve liked to see a live chat option, but overall, AirVPN does a great job.
Another thing we liked about AirVPN is its transparency, providing detailed info that allows its users to pick the server that best fits their needs, along with stats that show the total server load.
Server coverage is also worth mentioning, as AirVPN provides over 60 servers in 14 countries. For more info on why AirVPN is our top pick, head over to AirVPN review and be sure to look into it for your Android needs.
- No logs
- Over 60 servers in 14 countries
- Very fast
- No open free trials
- Slightly limited support options
- Terrible Web UI
VyprVPN was built to provide easy plug-and-play protection. It uses strong 256-bit AES encryption methods which means that, along with a pool of temporary IP addresses, VyprVPN’s security is no joke. With its automatic WiFi connection protection, it instantly activates when users connect to hotspots, allowing you to connect securely without concern.
Speeds are very solid with VyprVPN, and users will be satisfied as this remains consistent during use. This is particularly great when using Netflix, and since VyprVPN can circumvent the Netflix VPN ban, users can watch their favorite shows on their Android device no matter where they are.
Users with older Android devices aren’t left out either, as VyprVPN supports OS versions dating back to 4.0, insuring that all your devices can be protected. You can also connect up to five devices simultaneously to one VyprVPN account.
Although VyprVPN provides great security, we gave it second place because it does keep some logs and has lower encryption on the basic package. While the service only keeps a select few bits of information for billing disputes, it’s still enough to raise a few privacy-related eyebrows.
Other Reasons We Like VyprVPN
With unlimited bandwidth and no throughput limits, VyprVPN allows its users to enjoy the maximum potential that their connection has to offer. If you enjoy streaming content, VyprVPN will provide speeds that grant you a smooth and protected experience.
VyprVPN is also based in Switzerland, a country known for its privacy laws, and belongs to Golden Frog, a company specializing in security. These facts play in favor of VyprVPN and make it a great choice for protecting your Android device.
- Easy to use
- Works with Netflix
- Free three-day trial
- No refund after three days
- Some logging
- No encryption on basic plan
ExpressVPN is a fantastic service that provides four different encryption protocols with 256-bit AES, ensuring that users’ data is safe and hidden. ExpressVPN also provides a killswitch and port forwarding support, making it a solid security choice for Android users.
When accessing the internet through your Android device, ExpressVPN will keep the connections steady. With fast speeds and unthrottled connections, speed demons are sure to be satisfied. Also, ExpressVPN is our best VPN for Netflix, meaning you’ll get your entertainment fix, too.
ExpressVPN is sure to work on your device, as it supports Android versions 4.1 onward: setup instructions are clearly laid out on the website, leaving no room for confusion. Note that only three devices can be connected, however. Despite this low device limit, it has a higher price than our other picks and we felt third place worked best, here.
Other Reasons We Like ExpressVPN
ExpressVPN has a massive amount of servers scattered throughout 94 countries and features built-in SmartDNS. The service also supports a huge amount of platforms, from Linux to DD-WRT routers. For more details, go over to our ExpressVPN review.
Android users will be sure to love the fast speeds and Netflix functionality, so we definitely recommend giving ExpressVPN a shot.
- Servers in 94 countries
- Works with Netflix
- Collects metadata
- Connects only three devices
- Rather expensive
IPVanishIPVanish brings several solid security features to the table, including three VPN protocols, AES 256-bit encryption, shared IP addresses and automated IP switching. The IP switching is handled particularly well, as IPVanish allows you to select between three time intervals, and even disconnects your Internet while switching IPs.
IPVanish’s speeds are where it falls short, as they are decent, but quite a bit slower than the competition. This might not be a big deal to some, but does wing IPVanish a little in our estimation.
IPVanish comes through strong for Android users, supporting OS versions 4.0 and later and even providing a video tutorial on setting up the app. IPVanish’s app for Android only supports OpenVPN, but there are tutorials and visual guides on setting up PPTP and L2TP on your device as well.
IPVanish was our fourth pick because of the slower speeds, lackluster customer support, and the fact that they do track some metadata, which we consider a con — especially for a U.S. based company. However, they do offer unlimited P2P traffic, and that’s a big plus for heavy torrent users.
Other Reasons We Like IPVanish
IPVanish has some really neat security features, such as the SOCKS5 web proxy, which reroutes your browsing activity to appear to originate from the server (at a slight cost of security), or LAN blocking, which prevents other devices on the local network from communicating to your device.
It’s small security implementations like these that make IPVanish a really attractive option. For more info on this service, be sure to hit up our IPVanish review and definitely take advantage of their 7-day money back guarantee to give it a try without risking your wallet.
- Supports Android 4.0 and later
- Traffic visualizer
- NAT firewall
- Based in the U.S.
- Slower than competition
- No live-chat support
Private Internet Access
Budget-strapped users won’t find a quicker or cheaper VPN service than PIA VPN, and it doesn’t skim out on security features, just because it’s lighter on the wallet compared to rivals. PIA VPN is our last alternative for Android users, and they offer a fantastic service at a nominal monthly cost. It is also one of the cheapest providers in the industry.
PIA keeps 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 one device to secure.
In addition, they operate more servers than the majority of other VPN providers. To date it operates approximately 3,100 servers in 24 countries, but new servers are constantly being added to the network.
Why We Like PIA VPN:
For users concerned about Android malware, like the CopyCat malware that affected devices last month, PIA has built in malware and adware protection, allowing you to browse at ease. PIA also supports a wide range of platforms, including router platforms and Linux, and provides plenty of tutorials for all of them.
PIA boasts over 3,000 servers in over 24 countries, and provides a service easy enough for new users with enough power to satisfy more advanced users. It’s a solid choice for any Android user looking for a great VPN. For more on what makes it worthy of this list, check out our PIA review. If you like the service, visit Private Internet Access and sign up; there is a seven-day money-back guarantee.
- Solid speeds
- Clients for all major platforms
- Supports Android 4.0.4 and later
- No trial version
- No Netflix support
- Can only select servers by region
Honorable Mention CactusVPN
Besides the five mentioned above, we would feel remiss if we didn’t also mention CactusVPN as a contender when it comes to best VPN for Android. Our CactusVPN review goes into more details, but the service provides an easy to use service with fast speeds, Netflix functionality, a detailed tutorial on setting it up on Android and great customer support. It didn’t make our top five because of its confusing price plans, low server count, poor multi-platform support and worrisome terms and conditions, which may give advanced users pause.
That’s it for our best VPN for Android: though not every one of the providers above may be the right fit for you, you’re bound to find something that allows you to browse the Internet securely from your smartphone. AirVPN is our favorite; do you have a different idea? Please let us know in the comments below. As always, thank you for reading and stay safe out there.