Although the best VPNs for Android and the best VPNs are the same, there are some nuances of their work. In this review, I’ll describe all the peculiarities you should know about.

Best VPN for Android review
How to find a VPN for Android?
Take advantage of the expert’s advice! I have many years of experience in the use of VPN apps for Android, and I’m ready to share my knowledge with you.

What VPN for Android is the best? Not all VPN services provide software for mobile devices. And not every app can be called a good one. The best VPNs should perform the same functions as the VPNs for desktops do:

  • hide your IP address and guarantee of confidentiality;
  • secure data encryption and safety while using public WiFi;
  • unblocking of Netflix, Hulu, HBO GO and other country-specific video services;
  • safe torrenting;
  • local censorship bypass;
  • making payments on the Internet.

And additionally:

  • provide VoIP communication support;
  • save battery power;
  • don’t request suspicious permissions during the setup.

I won’t describe common for all platforms VPN features which have been already defined in the review of the best VPNs. I’ll focus on mobile apps, in particular, for Android.

I know that VPN use on smartphones and tablets can be affordable and simple. The main thing is to choose the proper VPN provider.

But let’s start with the beginning. I’ll cite 5 VPN services that have the most multifunction and handy applications. I’ll report about their pluses and minuses if there are one after another. I’ll provide the screenshots for more visual perception and give expert guidance.


Five best VPN services that have apps for Android

To select the best VPNs for a certain platform, it’s necessary to surmise what is the purpose of VPN use on this platform. I judge from my experience of many years, and I have created brief reviews with tests of the most significant functions for Android.


1. NordVPN

Ranks #1 out of 5 best VPNs for Android

NordVPN for Android

  • Huge selection of servers: 5194 in 60 countries.
  • Unblocks the Internet in countries with censorship: UAE, China, Egypt, SA, Turkey, Iran, Russia.
  • Supports: Netflix, Hulu, HBO GO, Amazon Prime, torrents.
  • Ad Blocker: CyberSec technology.
  • Panama jurisdiction: outside of surveillance alliance’s affected area.

Tariffs and prices:

  • $2.99 per month ($107.55 every 3 years, a 7-day free trial);
  • $3.99 per month ($95.75 every 2 years, a 7-day free trial);
  • $6.99 per month ($83.88 annually, a 7-day free trial);
  • $11.95 per month.

Visit NordVPN

I find VPN software for Android by NordVPN the best of those I got to try firsthand.

An extremely user-friendly app along with the “awesome” services (the whole capability set of the service is available on Android) don’t give rivals a fighting chance!

Almost all the options of NordVPN except one are provided in an optimal way and don’t require user interference. Except for initial setup of the app when NordVPN offers to enable CyberSec function which blocks ads and protects against malware and phishing attacks.

Enable CyberSec in NordVPN for Android

I recommend you to agree because it will boost your security.

Why do I find NordVPN user-friendly? Due to the world map, integrated into the app, you won’t have to scroll the list of countries or servers, get in the settings and take a good look at the flags. You only have to select the country in a convenient visual representation.

For example, I’ve chosen Germany with single-click ease for tests:

NordVPN hides IP

I’ll use the whoer.net service to detect IP and parameters of the system here and elsewhere. For the VPN performance audit, I launch YouTube, as it is unavailable without a VPN in the place I have chosen to prepare this review.

All the locations I tried have masked my IP, and additional tests have proved the absence of its leak.

I’ve found only one location that doesn’t work properly. It’s in Hong Kong:

NordVPN offers inappropriate location

You can see on the photo that Hong Kong is chosen, but whoer.net has detected US IP somehow.

Additionally, if you need to go round state censorship whereby VPN traffic undergoes blocking, make use of obfuscation VPN feature to “hide” your traffic:

Obfuscated Servers on NordVPN for Android

Service whoer.net can detect signs of VPN use by means of some factors in the TCP/IP protocol. It failed to detect such traces for NordVPN:

TCP/IP parameter for NordVPN

Keep in mind this data to compare it with other VPNs.

The ease of streaming Netflix or other video services by dint of NordVPN is worth special noticing. I’ve unblocked content unavailable in my region with no trouble. Besides, I’ve done it in two clicks without searching for an appropriate server. I just chose the US region on the map and clicked on “QUICK CONNECT”.

More details you’ll find in my review of VPNs for Netflix.

The use of VoIP messengers like WhatsApp, Skype and others on Android hasn’t roused censure either. The connection was stable, and no breaks were observed while moving, even when connecting through 3G.

To protect your device and personal information (as of in public WiFi zones), apart from CyberSec technology, NordVPN encrypts data by means of the best AES-256 protocol and routes them through a protected VPN protocol OpenVPN (by default on Android).

Server speeds are generally fast (like on other NordVPN tests).

You can set up Nord on any gadget apart from Android and make use of up to 6 connections simultaneously.

NordVPN offers a 7-day free trial if you subscribe for 1, 2 or 3 years. Also, you’ll get your money back if you decline the VPN services within 30 days.

Well, NordVPN has created a superior application for Android, which serves to perform both basic and challenging tasks, has many positive reviews whereas the service subscription is one of the cheapest when choosing a 3-year plan.

Among shortcomings there are only:

  • lack of PayPal payment;
  • high price when purchasing a 1-month subscription.

You can acquaint yourself with the detailed NordVPN review and read user reviews about NordVPN.


2. CyberGhost

Ranks #2 out of 5 best VPNs for AndroidCyberGhost for Android

  • Servers: 3714 in 60 countries of the world (as of April 27, 2019).
  • Unblocks the Internet in countries with censorship: UAE, SA, Turkey, Russia, Iran, Iraq.
  • Dedicated servers for: Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, Crunchyroll, ZDF(DE), HBO Now, HBO GO, TF1(FR), Radio France, ORF, Digi Online, Amazon Prime, BBC Two(UK), Globo, Mediaset, Eurosport, Canal+(FR), 7TV(DE), Channel 4(UK), Comedy Central(US), ESPN(US), NBC, CBC(CA), Telegram.
  • Ad Block.
  • Block Online Tracking.

Tariffs and prices:

  • $2.75 per month ($99 every 3 years);
  • $3.69 per month ($88.56 every 2 years);
  • $5.99 per month ($71.88 annually);
  • $12.99 per month.

Visit CyberGhost

CyberGhost opens up fantastic opportunities in the sphere of media. None of VPN services offers so many dedicated servers tweaked for more than 25 different media resources.

At the same time, advanced security settings, “no logs” policy and Romanian jurisdiction (outside the “5 eyes” alliance) allow using CyberGhost for any anonymity related issues.

CyberGhost is one of the cheapest VPNs. A 3-year tariff plan costs only $2.75 monthly. It’s worth mentioning that CyberGhost offers maximum refund period in the VPN market – 45 days.

Version for Android has a bit constrained functional in comparison with the desktop version – no Smart Rules technology, which allows choosing apps to use without VPN.

As for the rest, CyberGhost offers to Android users a very handy tool for anonymous Internet use, fitted with the ad blocker, data compression, prevent online tracking, proteсtion against malicious websites.

How efficiently does CyberGhost for Android work? All the tests were passed successfully. IP masking, leak testing, websites unblocking and WiFi protection.

CyberGhost masks IP

IP is changed, and YouTube is unblocked.

CyberGhost hasn’t left traces in TCP/IP protocol, which is good for censorship bypassing:

TCP/IP parameter for CyberGhost

There’s no facility to change the encryption settings, and it might not be necessary – AES-256 ciphering is perfect for the most sensitive matters.

CyberGhost possesses two handy features – when choosing a location, you see how many people are using a certain service at the moment, and you can mark the servers as favorites:

CyberGhost for Android shows how many people use the server

Minuses of CyberGhost for Android:

  • no obfuscated VPN protocols;
  • Smart Rules is unavailable for Android.

It’s not quite right to assess CyberGhost for a certain platform, as it is an excellent cross-functional VPN with the facility to connect up to 7 gadgets. And it works great on all platforms!

CyberGhost allows up to 7 devices

Instead of a short conclusion, I’ll say the following: I have purchased a 2-year CyberGhost VPN subscription not only for testing but for daily use as well. I possess many different devices, and therefore it’s convenient for me. Besides, I trust this service.

You can acquaint yourself with the detailed CyberGhost review and read user reviews about CyberGhost.


3. Surfshark

Ranks #3 out of 5 best VPNs for Android

Surfshark for Android

  • Servers: 800+ servers in 50 countries.
  • Unblocks the Internet in countries with censorship: UAE, SA, Turkey, Russia, Iran, Iraq.
  • Supports: Netflix, Hulu, HBO GO, Amazon Prime, torrents.
  • Ad Block: CleanWeb.
  • Whitelister: facility to enable VPN for the selected apps.
  • MultuHop: the chain of 2 VPNs.

Tariffs and prices:

  • $1.99 per month ($71.64 every 3 years, fully refundable for 30 days);
  • $2.49 per month ($59.76 annually);
  • $12.95 per month.

Visit Surfshark

SurfShark has created a great app for Android and managed to obtain high stability relatively with low power consumption. You’ll find both basic functions and advanced functions here.

Among the pluses of SurfShark it’s necessary to point out the facility to create VPN chains (13 variants of countries pairs are offered),

Double VPN by Surfshark

and Whitelister technology, which allows disabling the VPN for necessary URLs or apps.

When I installed the software, I saw the notification with information about a 7-day free trial, which have been missed on the official website:

Surfshark for Android offers a 7-day trial for free

It could be useful.

How efficiently does this app work? I’ve tested several servers, and all of them conform to the specified locations.

Surfshark unblocks YouTube

My YouTube works again!

I haven’t found elements of a VPN channel in TCP/IP protocol,

TCP/IP parameter Surfshark

This point is identical to the point with the disabled VPN

but the lack of Camouflage Mode function for the Android version disappointed me. With that in mind, I’m convinced that SurfShark will be as efficient for unblocking sites in China, Egypt and Turkmenistan as NordVPN.

SurfShark doesn’t possess dedicated VPN servers to bypass Netflix restrictions but copes with the task easily. I’ve checked 10 servers, and all of them have unblocked the content.

Minuses:

  • no obfuscated VPN protocols for Android version;
  • the server park is less diverse as compared with the rivals from the top 5.

Despite the fact the company is young, I reckon SurfShark to be one of the best VPNs. With the help of it, you can do anything a VPN technology allows and then some. Therein SurfShark is the cheapest among the professional VPNs (when paying for 3 years).

You can acquaint yourself with the detailed SurfShark review and read user reviews about SurfShark.


4. Private Internet Access

Ranks #4 out of 5 best VPNs for Android

Private Internet Access for Android»

  • Servers: 3300 in 32 countries.
  • Possesses advanced encryption settings: You can change the settings for maximum security.
  • Supports: Netflix, Hulu, HBO GO, Amazon Prime and etc.
  • Per App Settings: Facility to disable VPN for certain applications.
  • SOCKS connection.

Tariffs and prices:

  • $3.49 per month ($83.87 every 2 years);
  • $5.99 per month ($71.88 annually);
  • $9.95 per month.

Visit PIA

Choose Private Internet Access (PIA) for maximum safety or professional use. I haven’t seen so many custom settings of encryption, authentication, DNS, ports and proxies in other VPN apps for Android. At the same time, you can choose the basic settings for the usual tasks.

What are the peculiarities of using PIA on a tablet? It certainly gives a sense of the product worked out by real professionals. 19 different technical settings from encryption protocol to the launch when turning on the system afford an opportunity to make the VPN an impenetrable vault.

With the purpose to make the test results more objective, I’ve reset settings to default.

Well, does PIA cope with the main tasks?

Private Internet Access masks IP

YouTube is unblocked

Certainly! IP spoofing occurs without interruption. Besides, there are not IP (it’s necessary to mention the facility to block IPv6 on Android versions < 5.0), WebRTC or DNS leaks.

PIA does not have dedicated VPN servers for Netflix, but my tests are positive for 7 out of 10 servers located in US, CA, UK and NL.

The quality of VoIP communication is expectedly perfect because of the fast speed VPN servers. I’ve carried out tests on WiFi and 3G.

As for the security settings, I’ve run a set of tests using different Data encryption, Data authentication and Handshake settings. I’ve found the combination of settings to provide utmost technical security:

PIA settings for Android for maximum security

Handshake RSA-4096 – “paranoic” mode which slows down the connection speed. RSA-2048 is fair enough.

Don’t forget to reconnect after changing the settings. PIA doesn’t do it automatically.

At the same time, whoer.net hasn’t detected VPN traces. When choosing other Data encryption settings, you can see the following:

TCP/IP parameter for Private Internet Access

Whoer.net has detected VPN with UDP protocol and SHA1 authentication type. Use AES-256-GCM for more privacy.

I have also carried out additional testing when using public WiFi. Does the firewall by Private Internet Access protect against possible security breaches on a device running on Android? I’ve equipped my tablet with a program that provides access to the file system through WiFi. Then I’ve launched PIA app and tried to connect to the tablet using another device. Access was denied. That’s incredible! So many facilities within one app!

The service prices herewith are moderate, whereas a 1-month plan cost is the cheapest among the top 5 VPNs.

Minuses:

  • not all servers support Netflix;
  • no obfuscated tunneling protocol for better censorship bypassing. That’s why PIA is not so good for the countries which block VPN connections.

Private Internet Access is an American VPN service, ruled by the company which holds many well-known brands in the sphere of Internet Technologies. PIA is also a sponsor for many Internet projects. For example, LinusTechTips. It’s not a day-fly site, and it can be trusted. Verified “no-logs” policy, specially protected servers in Switzerland, high speed, second-to-none number of security and privacy settings make this VPN one of the best for Android and other platforms.

Have a look at Private Internet Access user reviews and the detailed Private Internet Access review.


5. IPVanish

Ranks #5 out of 5 best VPNs for Android

IPVanish for Android

  • Servers: 1300+ in 48 countries.
  • High speed.
  • Supports: Netflix, Hulu, HBO GO, Amazon Prime and others.
  • Scramble: OpenVPN obfuscation to go round censors which detect and block VPN traffic.
  • Split Tunneling: facility to choose the apps to work without VPN tunnel.

Tariffs and prices:

  • $3.24 per month ($77.99 annually);
  • $8.99 per month ($26.99 every 3 months);
  • $10.00 per month.

Visit IPVanish

If you don’t need incredible advanced settings of VPN connection, if you just want to set up and run Virtual Private Network on your smartphone or tablet, then pay attention to IPVanish. It’s a large-scale, experienced VPN provider under US jurisdiction, one of the best.

The key features of this VPN are high speed and a minimal set of features. You just turn on the VPN when you need.

I have found only two functions which can make you open the “Settings”:

  • scramble;
  • Split Tunneling.

Scramble – obfuscation (masking) of OpenVPN protocol which is used to route your traffic to VPN server. It complicates to detect VPN traffic in the countries where they undergo blocking.

Split Tunneling allows choosing apps that you are going to use without IP changing.

IPVanish states they control the whole network of VPN servers themselves. Other VPNs lease VPN servers or use gateways without physical servers. It’s an ambitious statement.

IPVanish states it controls its VPN server network

Notification on the official IPVanish website

I’ve tested many servers and faced discordant information. IPVanish is defined as a host in the majority of locations:

Testament to the fact that IPVanish owns the network

 

But I was surprised when I made it up to Melbourne in Australia. Here’s what I’ve found out (look at the following two screenshots):

IPVanish for Android is on and shows the IP

The network owner in Melbourne is not IPVanish but StrongVPN

IP addresses used by IPVanish in Melbourne actually belong to another VPN! It’s very strange for the service that states it controls its servers.

Besides, the IP detected by the app and the real one mismatch.

I’ll study these issues more carefully and highlight the results of my “investigation” in the next article or in the new IPVanish review.

IPVanish app for Android has a remarkable thing. You can observe the visualization of traffic routing through VPN in real-time mode.

How does IPVanish cope with the main tasks? IP masking and websites unblocking work without complaint.

IPVanish hides my IP

Checked in the context of YouTube

IP leaks haven’t been detected while using the app on Android through WiFi and 3G.

I faced some troubles when trying to unblock Netflix. First, I thought that there are no servers which would work with this streaming service, but a bit later I found them. 4 out of 10 servers have unblocked Netflix.

IPVanish goes round the restrictions for VoIP communication perfectly (Skype, WhatsApp and others).

The service prices are average in this sphere, and there is an unusual 3-month package which is unique and uncontested among the rivals.

Minuses:

  • not all servers work with Netflix;
  • unconfirmed statement about total control of its VPN network.

You can use up to 10 devices with one IPVanish account. For this reason, there is merit in installing it not only on Android but on other available platforms as well.

Look through the detailed IPVanish review and get to know about IPVanish user reviews.


What are the peculiarities of VPN to use on Android?

Every platform has its unique features, but in general, they are barely noticeable when using VPN software.

I would emphasize 2 key features:

  • When VPN app crashes on Android, all functions of the VPN including Kill Switch stop working, whereas it should serve to prevent IP leak when VPN connection is lost. For example, sometimes I experienced it with all VPN services when I launched the app for remote access to files and turned off the screen for a while.
  • energy consumption increases.

In such a way, you should be attentive and monitor the presence of a special sign on the screen:

Sign on Android screen, indicating that VPN is on

To save the battery, disable VPN when you don’t use the Internet.

As for the rest, the VPN use on Android doesn’t differ from its use on PC, Mac or iOS.


What about free Android-compatible VPNs?

Only if you fond of adventure.

Free VPNs earn money on ads and selling logs of your online activity to the interested parties. Quality and reliability of VPN connection are secondary for them.

I cannot recommend these VPNs to you despite they have more downloads on Google Play Market.

In case Android VPN:

  • doesn’t provide confidentiality;
  • uses secondary access permission to the system;
  • makes your internet connection artificially slow and ensures that all the issues will be solved by means of a paid plan;
  • states to be free but actually has only one limited free package;

then such VPN service cannot be on the list of the best ones.

Besides, I haven’t found a free package that could be used to watch Netflix.

It’s profitable for paid VPNs for Android to make the service of high quality to retain existing customers and attract new clients. Whereas free VPNs attract a big number of people to use “Free VPN” and later make them upgrade to the “Premium” plan, which is not cheaper than paid VPNs.


How was I choosing Android-compatible VPNs?

First of all, I’ve selected the VPNs which created apps for Android. Then I took into consideration my experience and user reviews on Reddit and Google Play Market. At this stage, the VPNs with numerous negative reviews were excluded.

The rest VPN providers have undergone extensive testing and capability analysis.

The best of them are on the top 5.


User reviews about VPNs for Android on Reddit

In conclusion, I’ll provide reviews from Reddit that I found using search request “VPN for Android”.

Best mobile VPN for Android? Nord VPN

aiphos_25 recommends to use NordVPN in China:

NordVPN works in China

NordVPN and CyberGhost for Android I use Nord