How we rate VPNs
Privacy and security
The most important consideration when choosing the best VPN for Android is how well it protects and hides your identity online. To start with, there’s the encryption – 128-bit is okay, but you really want 256-bit for maximum security. Even modern supercomputers would take millions of years going through the 78-digit possible pool of numbers to brute force a 256-bit encryption key. Then, there are the privacy features – does the VPN provider have a strict no-logging policy, and can you be sure that no one will keep tabs of your online activities? The best mobile VPNs can avoid censorship and online surveillance in countries such as China while helping keep your personal data secure.
When talking about privacy and security, there is a lot more to consider than just the encryption and logging features. Good VPNs will have an automatic kill switch, which ensures that you’re instantly booted from the internet until a VPN connection can be restored. This is a very handy feature for those worrying that they may get a data breach should a connection to their VPN falter at some point. Also, you should consider whether your VPN of choice has unlimited bandwidth or caps your speed (or even completely cuts off access) after a certain amount of data has gone through a VPN connection per month.
The top Android VPN providers also give you access to DNS leak protection, use double encryption, and have a variety of other complex security protocols aimed at keeping your privacy safe. They also allow for the unblocking of geo-blocked streaming sites, such as Hulu and Netflix, and are used to give access to regional prices for games on Steam and similar platforms (though that has been changed in recent years). Finally, paid VPN apps often offer ad-blocking services that can help you block annoying pop ups which slow down your internet browsing.
Strong security and privacy features are very important to any decent VPN app on the market, but most people get frustrated if their VPN isn’t fast as well. Even with the fastest Android VPN providers, you still have to connect to a server that’s often far from your actual location. There’s also the matter of encryption slowing down your connection as well. Still, unless you’re using free VPN software (which tends to be much slower and more feature-limited), you shouldn’t really feel too much of a performance hit with most mobile VPN providers. Some providers do put a cap on the speed after a certain amount of bandwidth has been spent, though. So be aware of that.
Although not as crucial as some of the other aspects that we’ve mentioned, general usability is still an important factor in choosing the best Android VPN client for your needs. What is the user interface like? Is the program quick to start? How many resources does it take, and does it slow your phone down significantly? All of these factors have to be taken into consideration when choosing between the various VPN Android apps on the market.
Price and value
Our final consideration is often one of the first things people look for when choosing a VPN service. While a lot of people look for free VPN download options, it pays to keep in mind that running a quality VPN service costs a lot of money. That means that the best VPNs for Android are never going to be free. The speed, security options, logging features etc. – as a rule of thumb – are going to be inferior if you opt for the free options and become better as you pay more for the more advanced plans. That being said, not all VPNs are equal nor do they provide the same value for your hard-earned buck. A lot of them also focus on different features at different price tiers. Therefore, it pays to know exactly what you want and how much you’re willing to pay for it.
Is VPN illegal?
No, of course not.
It is, however, a gateway for potentially illegal activities such as anonymously downloading pirated software. A lot of people who look for the best VPN for Android on Reddit and other similar networks have such uses in mind, but that doesn’t mean that using a VPN itself is an illegal activity.
Is using VPN dangerous?
Depends on the VPN.
A lot of people are on the lookout for the best free VPN for Android. The sad truth is even the fastest solutions are nowhere near as quick or feature-laden as the cheapest paid VPNs. Furthermore, remember: if the product is free, YOU are the product. With how expensive servers are to run and maintain and how easy the VPN’s owner could have access to your logs in theory, you have to ask yourself – is my data really safe if someone is doing this all for free?
How effective are VPNs?
Most are very effective.
Again, it depends on your provider, mostly. Picking the best VPN for Android such as Nord, Express, or PrivateVPN guarantees you not only great security and privacy but also speed, even though it uses a proxy connection in a server located in a country far away.
How do I setup a VPN on my Android?
You start by downloading a VPN app.
Specific instructions on how to use a VPN on Android from there will vary, but the basic idea is the same. You pick an app on your phone, you choose a server that matches your needs, decide what sort of VPN protocol you want to use to connect, and that’s it.