Black Friday

5 Best VPNs for Google Nexus 7

Douglas Crawford

Douglas Crawford

January 9, 2014

Until Google entered the fray in 2012 with its Nexus line of tablets, the tablet space was dominated almost completely by the iPad (many manufacturers had given Android based tablets a stab, but none had gained significant traction with the public).
The smaller Nexus 7 in particular caused a great deal of excitement because it finally delivered a high quality tablet experience (great build quality,  very nice 1280 x 800 IPS display, 1GB RAM, and snappy Quad-core 1.2 GHz Tegra 3 processor) at a very affordable price (less than $200). Not only that, but the 7 inch form factor (long derided by Apple) proved a hit, being lighter, easier to hold, and easier to slip into a pocket, while being just as capable as its larger brethren.

The Nexus 7 was not course the first 7 inch tablet, but it was the one which captured the public imagination (and wallets), and it is little surprise that Apple backtracked, and soon after released tablet with a similar form factor (the iPad Mini), if not the pocket-friendly price tag.

A year later, in July 2013, Google released the second iteration of the Nexus 7. Called variously (and rather confusingly it has to be said) the New Nexus 7, Nexus 7 2013, and Nexus 7 2nd Generation, it improved on its already excellent predecessor in every way, offering a 1900×1200 IPS screen (giving a staggering ‘retina class’ 323ppi display density), 1.5Ghz Snapdragon S4 Pro processor, and 2GB RAM (plus ma rather unnecessary 5MP camera), all in a package that was lighter and even better built than the original.

Not surprisingly, these sexy bits of technology have found their way under many a Christmas tree in the last few weeks, and those of you who are aware of the importance of protecting your privacy and internet connection in today’s age of ubiquitous government spying will no doubt want to know which VPN service to use with their shiny new toy, so let’s take a look…




  • PROS
  • Great Android app
  • Accepts Bitcoin
  • No logs
  • Blazingly fast
  • Client features port forwarding
  • VPN kill switch and DNS leak protection
  • 5 simultaneous connections
  • P2P: yes
  • CONS
  • No free trial
  • No server statistics
  • US company

Private Internet Access has a great regard for its customers privacy (absolutely no logs, uses shared IPs so individual users can’t be associated with any internet activity, and accepts anonymous payment using Bitcoins or pre-pay store cards), and it provides a fully featured desktop app for Windows and OSX.

The recently updated Android app however is the best that we have yet seen, incorporating the multiple encryption options (to up to 256-bit AES OpenVPN, with SHA-256 hash authentication and 4096-bit RSA handshake encryption), port forwarding and internet kill switch features found on its desktop client.

Throw in up to 5 simultaneous connections (great if you want to connect your PC, phone and tablet!), and it is clear that PIA is one of the best services a Nexus 7 owner can have. The only fly in the ointment is that PIA is a US based company, so if NSA spying concerns you, then you should look elsewhere.

2014-01-08 15.36.26The PIA app on a Nexus 7 2nd Gen., showing the impressive range of options available

2nd place



  • PROS
  • Funky Android app
  • With 3 day free VPN
  • No usage logs
  • Great speeds
  • 30 day money back guarantee
  • CONS
  • No simultaneous connections
  • US based

This US based provider offers a good (and fast) no (usage) logs service (but some connection logs are kept), and a simple but functional VPN client for Windows, OSX and Linux. It also has a simple but elegant Android app that keeps tabs on your data usage, and comes with 3 day free trial (in addition to the usual very generous 30 day money back guarantee that comes with the service). We particularly like the Widget which lets you toggle VPN on and off from your Home screen. Unfortunately only one device can be connected at once.

2014-01-08 15.43.51
ExpressVPN has lots of server locations to chose from…And we love the widget which lets you turn the service on and off with the flick of a finger

2014-01-08 15.46.01

» Visit ExpressVPN

3rd place


  • PROS
  • Good Android app
  • Fast
  • 160-bit and 256-bit OpenVPN encryption (Pro only)
  • 7 day money back guarantee
  • 3 simultaneous connections
  • Based in Hong Kong
  • P2P: yes
  • CONS
  • Based in the US
  • Keeps logs for 90 days

Avoid VyprVPN’s PPTP-only basic service, but the Pro service is prettygood, especially for Android users. In addition to using strong 160-bit and 256-bit OpenVPN encryption, offering a 7 day money-back guarantee, and having the advantage of being based in Hong Kong (Edward Snowden’s first choice of refuge), VyprVPN has an excellent Android app (with funky widgets).


» Visit VyprVPN

4th place


  • PROS
  • Accepts Bitcoin
  • No logs
  • 256-bit AES encryption
  • Dynamic port forwarding
  • Uses shared IPs
  • Real-time user and server statistics
  • Support for Tor over VPN and VPN through SSL and SSH tunnels
  • Good speeds
  • 3 day free trial
  • P2P: yes
  • Based in Italy (where DRD does not apply to VPNs)
  • CONS
  • 0 simultaneous connections by default (but more can be purchased)
  • Mainly North America and Europe servers (plus some in Singapore)

This Italian provider does not supply a dedicated Android app, but it does provide perfectly serviceable (if a little basic) instructions for setting up using OpenVPN for Android. More importantly, AirVPN was set up by hactivists and activists following a Pirate Party festival in Rome, and oozes a passion for net neutrality and privacy. It keeps no logs, uses shared IP addresses, accepts Bitcoins, and voluntarily abides by various EU privacy directives and codes of best practice (but not the evil Data Retention Directive which does not apply to VPN providers in Italy).

If privacy (including privacy from NSA snooping) is your top priority, then AirVPN is our go-to provider. It uses excellent 256-bit AES OpenVPN encryption, supports unusual privacy technologies such as VPN over Tor and VPN through SSL and SSH tunnels, and supports ‘network transparency’ with detailed server information. On the downside, and more important than not having an Android app, AirVPN only allows one device to be connected at once, but this can be corrected for $2 per device per month.

» Visit AirVPN

5th place


  • PROS
  • Accepts Bitcoin
  • No logs
  • Good speeds
  • Cheap
  • Client features internet kill switch and DNS leak protection
  • Uses shared IPs
  • P2P: yes
  • Based in Sweden (where DRD does not apply to VPNs)
  • CONS
  • Some complaints about potential security lapses and performance
  • Encryption could be better

Mullvad is another good choice if privacy and keeping the NSA’s mitts of your data is a high priority. It is a small company and is not as technically proficient as AirVPN (but is much cheaper), and is nowhere near as polished as the likes of PIA or ExpressVPN, but it has gained a good reputation thanks to its excellent attitude to user’s privacy.

In addition to having no dedicated Android client (but with adequate if basic OpenVPN for Android instructions), this can be seen in its use of basic 128-bit Blowfish OpenVPN encryption.  However, Mullvad keeps no logs at all, uses shared IPs, and acceptant not just Bitcoin payment but even cash sent by post (wow!). In addition to this, while its Windows OpenVPN client could be prettier, it supports DNS leak protection, IPv6 leak protection, port forwarding and an internet kill switch, up to three devices can be connected at once, and P2P downloading is not a problem. All this at a bargain price, which is why we like Mullvad so much.

» Visit Mullvad

Setting up VPN on your Nexus 7

The easiest way to up VPN on your Nexus 7 is to use the PPTP or L2TP/IPsec protocols, at least one of which is supported by most VPN providers. However as we explain in this article, PPTP is very insecure, and while L2TP/IPsec is much better, it has been compromised by the NSA. This may not matter if all you want to do access geo-restricted media services, but when OpenVPN is available (as is standard these days), we really don’t see the point in not using it.

Where available, custom VPN apps for Android are also a very easy way to connect your Nexus 7, only requiring that you download them and sign in /up. Most however do not provide any extra functionality (PIA’s app being a notable exception), although widgets to quickly turn the service on and off are useful. Unlike iOS apps, a definite advantage of Android apps is that they all support OpenVPN.

The last option is to use OpenVPN for Android, a Free and Open Source (FOSS) generic OpenVPN app (other generic OpenVPN apps are available, but we recommend this one). Although a little fiddly to set up (we will show you how in minute), OpenVPN for Android allows you to use standard OpenVPN setup files to establish an OpenVPN connection on your Android device.

This means that even if a provider does not explicitly support OpenVPN on an Android, you should be able to use it without any problems. Even when a provider supplies its own app, more paranoid users may prefer OpenVPN for Android thanks to its open source nature (which means that it can be peer-reviewed to ensure that no backdoors and the like have been inserted into the code).

Using OpenVPN for Android

1. Download and install OpenVPN for Android from the Google Play Store.

2014-01-09 10.29.37

2. Download the OpenVPN configuration files from your VPN provider. These almost always come in a Zip file which must be unzipped on your desktop PC and transferred using USB, or downloaded to your Nexus 7 directly, and opened with an app capable of dealing with zip files  and extracting them to a suitable folder on the device (we use the excellent ES File Explorer).

2014-01-09 10.37.09

3. Fire up OpenVPN for Android and select ‘Import’ (the folder icon).

2014-01-09 10.46.04

4. Navigate to the .ovpn file for the location you would to connect to (we had to enable ‘Display advanced devices’ in the settings menu to do this), and select it.

2014-01-09 10.59.12

5. Select Import.

import 1

6. You will be returned to the main screen, where you need to tap the little icon to the right of the profile name to edit the settings.

import 2You can import as many location profiles as you wish so that you quickly change between VPN servers

7. All sorts of settings can be edited from here…

2014-01-09 11.29.36

8. … but usually all you need do is select ‘Basic’, and fill in your VPN username and password.

2014-01-09 11.02.20

We found that OpenVPN had trouble finding our CA certificate (.crt file), and had to manually ‘Select’ its location (where we downloaded the rest of the setup files).

9. Go back to the connections page (Step 6), select the connection you want, confirm that you trust the application, and wait for the app to connect.

2014-01-09 11.16.40

You can see that you are connected by looking for the key icon in the Notification Bar (top right). If you drop down the Notification Bar you can find out more details.

2014-01-09 11.34.46

Testing your VPN connection

The best way to check that your connection is working as it should, and that the connection is fast enough, is to download’s free app from the Play Store.


Douglas Crawford

I am a freelance writer, technology enthusiast, and lover of life who enjoys spinning words and sharing knowledge for a living. You can now follow me on Twitter - @douglasjcrawf.

9 responses to “5 Best VPNs for Google Nexus 7

  1. BTW, are you sure that a VPN provider must respond to such a gag order that Lavabit received?
    According to this article(, an NSL seems to be “served on communications service providers like phone companies and ISPs”.
    But, is a VPN provider a “communication service provider” like ISPs?
    If so, what is a statutory ground for the “no logging” stuff?
    A VPN provider, which just rent (but doesn’t host) servers, is not classified as an “Internet Service Provider”(ISP), but as a online “Privacy Service Provider”(PSP), right?
    That’s why they are not required by law to log customer information in any country, including the US(, and also LEAs can’t raid them w/o a warrant), isn’t it?
    Also, it seems to me a demand for data on servers, which “no log” VPN provider should be capable of providing nothing about.
    Of course, I’m no lawyer and everybody, including PIA, seems to take it for granted. but I just wonder why…?

    PS: I’m having a hard time posting my comment(I can’t post it with my old alias). Am I been blacklisted?

    1. Hi OH / Ohana. No, you are not being blacklisted, but all comments need to be moderated before they show up as we get an awful lot of spam. As for gag orders, I am not a lawyer but as I understand it yes, VPNs do fall under the term ‘ communications service providers’. Even if they don’t, they are subject to the Patriot Act, which can demand something very similar. Regarding another comment, no of course you have not caused offence, and we welcome debate and alternative viewpoints (which is why I referenced your commments in the Best 10 VPNs for 2014 article).

  2. >>> That every major US tech company (Google, Apple, Microsoft, RSA, the list goes on) has been in cahoots and /or otherwise been compromised by the NSA is now a matter of record, ….
    I wonder if you don’t use any services and products from major US tech companies, including Windows, Mac, Gmail, Facebook, Twitter, iPhone, or PC with Intel or AMD inside? … Just kidding
    BTW, you seem to have the same mindset as NSA’s enemies.
    So, you should be able to see that they are more unlike to use non-US VPNs and, therefore,the NSA is more likely to monitor them, as I said earlier.
    >>> …it seems impossible to me that popular and well-known privacy services such as PIA have not been also been compromised. That PIA so strenuously denies what seems to me such a blatant fact, makes me distrust it further I’m afraid.
    If someone respond to the same thing differently than you would, s/he is not necessarily a liar, as we might have very different perspectives.
    In fact, I don’t see what made you think it is a a blatant fact.
    The most efficient way to fight US agencies back is to use US legal, US media and US voting powers(, and so you have to be US citizens, BTW) and PIA have all of them!
    Yes, PIA are a popular and well-known privacy service. Is it a bad thing for keeping the NSA away?
    The more popular and well-known they become, the more US media attention they get, and, if the NSA messes with them, consequently, the more Americans will be pissed off at them, which is, I’m sure, the last thing the NSA wants.
    Also, as I said in another post, they have donated/spent a substantial amount of money for legal support(Do you think EFF will ditch their biggest patrons, when the NSA raid them?) and they are one of the few VPN providers who currently have an ABA-certified and “REAL” company lawyer.
    BTW, such a US-based legal group as EFF cannot help non-US based citizens/companies as much as they can their own people.
    Also, there is far less that non-US lawyers can do than US ones, so as to keep US agencies away, or to fight them back.
    I wonder why it is so hard for you guys to see these?
    Besides, what Lavabit showed us is what US-based companies are capable of against US government intrusion into their business.
    PIA have already publicly stated that they would do the same.
    Thus, PIA is doing a pretty good job to prevent the NSA from targeting and I don’t see any other VPN provider, regardless US based or non US based, is doing better than PIA.
    I really understand why you always view them as a easier target for the NSA than non-US VPN providers.

  3. >>> At least VPN providers in some European counties (not the UK!), Hong Kong, Panama etc. have some legal protections against direct NSA bullying.
    Okay, but even if such laws exist, I doubt they could stop the US intelligences, as I said earlier.
    Also, according to this article(, not to speak of “FVEY” UK, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain” seem to have been compromised by the NSA.
    The rest of country should be vulnerable to the US, due to their current economic status or could be compromised by Russian counterparts, the FSB.
    Hong Kong might be safe from the NSA but they could be susceptible to being undermined by the more privacy-unfriendly CCP.
    Anyway, do you seriously think the HK govt will stand up against the US intelligence for a small 10-ish person company run by non HK residents?
    As for Panamanian VPN providers, if you are interested in them, I think you’d better do some research about Find Not and Banker.
    I’ve also put some links about the law firm, which Find Not was using, as below, in order to show what a “OFFSHORE” company is in general:

  4. Hi Doug.
    Thank you very much for responding!

    >>> …nothing to prevent US citizens being spied on.

    I agree, but does this make non-US VPN providers any safer?
    The US are the self-appointed world’s police and I don’t think their intelligences are care about laws or jurisdictions of any state, country, or territory other than the US.
    So, it doesn’t require the Patriot Act or something similar (or any laws at all) for the US Intels to shut non-US citizens up and force them to cooperate.
    Plus, how could the US’s so-called “NATIONAL SECURITY” agency prefer to monitor US companies than non-US counterparts.
    I mean, their original, and “SUPPOSEDLY” still primary, targets, anti-American foes, tend to avoid US services as much as they can and, instead, to use a a non-US vendors offering “OFFSHORE” services!
    Also, all VPN providers which we’ve recently seen sell out their users to the authorities are non-US based(, namely and EarthVPN); none are US-based!
    Remember that they were (and still are) spreading the anti-US VPN conspiracy theories or hysteria, mostly slurs targeting PIA, over VPN related blogs and forums like Reddit, which is why your anti-US mantra, which the rogue providers are also using, is getting to sound like FUD.
    After all, the NSA are funded by for US citizens, and should (or are supposed to) serve them.
    It is absurd to assume the US intelligences to work harder and spend more (of taxpayer) money to bug their own people!
    We should assume that,by the time the NSA spying began to spy on US citizens, non-US citizens’ privacies would have already been compromised (I’m sure you’ve heard of “XKeyscore”).
    I assume that, by the time we hear a US VPN provider being compromised, many well-known non-US VPN providers will have already been compromised by the NSA.

  5. Odd that you would rank VyprVPN so highly, when they are on record saying that they keep logs for 90 days.

    “The company policy says that logging data ‘is maintained for use with billing, troubleshooting, service offering evaluation, [Terms of Service] issues, [Acceptable Use Policy] issues, and for handling crimes performed over the service. We maintain this level of information on a per-session basis for at least 90 days.'”

    A good review of VPN providers that take anonymity seriously is available here:

    I use iVPN on my Nexus 7 and have found that OpenVPN connections are stable, fast, and they are committed to privacy, something that VyprVPN is not.

    Nexus 7 VPN recommendations should consider more than just ease of setup and speed, after all, the primary purpose of a good VPN is the guarantee of privacy/anonymity. I suggest you reconsider this list.

    1. Hi OldGrandDad114,

      Re. your last comment – that is why I included AirVPN and Mullvad on the list, but this is after all a Best VPN for Nexus 7 article, not a Best VPN period article! I think VyprVPN only keeps connection logs and not usage logs (i.e. what people actually get up to online), but I will investigate further on Monday and update the article if need be. Thanks.

  6. >> …PIA is a US based company, so if NSA spying concerns you, then you should look elsewhere.

    How come being “US-based” has to be classified as their “Con”?
    I don’t understand why you always assume that US VPN providers are more vulnerable to the NSA spying than non-US ones.
    IMO, US VPN providers are just as unsafe as or could be safer than non-US ones.
    You seem to believe the NSA abides by foreign laws and jurisdiction rules, but I don’t think any intelligence in the world would be care about them(…it might be the case with LEAs, though…)
    The NSA , supposedly, has to respect US citizens’ rights, while they don’t have to care about non-US citizens’ ones.
    The NSA is supposed to get some kind of warrant to spy on US citizens, while they are free to do on non-US citizens.
    That’s why Snowden revelations have been causing so much controversy.
    The NSA wouldn’t have had anything to worry about as long as they had sticked to their warrant-less spying on non-US citizens only.
    So, IMO, the NSA will be less likely to target a US VPN provider than a non-US one.
    PIA, in particular, has donated and supported many US privacy advocacy organizations and activities, and has a big presence in the US privacy advocacy community. as shown in the links below:
    If the NSA messes with this US based privacy company well-known among the US privacy advocacy community, it will piss off many US privacy advocates including US journalists and US attorneys(incidentally, PIA has has an ABA-certified company lawyer.: I wonder how many VPN providers have a legitimate company lawyer. I remember that the company lawyer of FindNot, probably most well known VPN provider at that time, maybe next to Relakks (aka iPredator, which Fausty, aka Doug Spink, used to insist,?), had insisted that a good anonymous privacy service provider work together with a law firm, turned out to be a scam artist! That’s why I tell you not tell offshore VPN providers are better than US ones!) and create more headaches for the NSA, such as further negative publicity toward them in US media and possible multiple lawsuits against them in US courts, and subsequently anger many average US citizens and voters, which is, I’m sure, the last thing the NSA wants.
    So, PIA seems, to me, that the last VPN provider the NSA wants to take on.
    I don’t think any non-US providers have such an effective way to prevent the NSA’s interference, since the NSA doesn’t care about non-US media(,as Americans care about foreign press), non-US laws, no-US constitutions, non-US jurisdictions, non-US courts, non-US judges, non-US presidents(Chancellor), non-US politicians, non-US voters, non-US citizens, and probably anything labeled beginning with “non-US”.
    If you want to deal with the NSA, you have to be American!
    Anyway, I usually respect your opinion but I think you are making a wrong assumption. I’m not telling you are wrong, as I could be wrong, but there is another way to look at US VPN providers.
    Anyway, it’s been getting to look, to me, more like you are hurting good (US) providers and the privacy advocacy community while supporting the FUD repeated by immature VPN providers like EarthVPN and to save their asses since I read so many outcries from fanboys of said stupid VPN providers and’s blog entries written after the incidents linked as below:

    1. Hi Ohana,

      Thank you for contributing your thoughts, although I am afraid that I respectfully disagree. The NSA cannot be everywhere, but in the US they have the Patriot Act, Pen Orders and a whole raft of legal (and extra-legal) resources with which to force US companies to comply with their wishes. The fact that in the US the debate purely concerns the rights of US citizens is a matter of huge frustration to the rest of the world (yes, it does exist), but as has been shown many times now, has done nothing to prevent US citizens being spied on.

      At least VPN providers in some European counties (not the UK!), Hong Kong, Panama etc. have some legal protections against direct NSA bullying. That every major US tech company (Google, Apple, Microsoft, RSA, the list goes on) has been in cahoots and /or otherwise been compromised by the NSA is now a matter of record, and if even small companies such as Lavabit are forced to shut down rather than hand over all its encryption keys then it seems impossible to me that popular and well-known privacy services such as PIA have not been also been compromised. That PIA so strenuously denies what seems to me such a blatant fact, makes me distrust it further I’m afraid.

      Everyone is entitled to their opinion, and I thank you for presenting the other side of the coin.

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