5 Best Android VPNs 2017

Whether you want to protect yourself from the ridiculous surveillance laws all of the world, or you want an IP in a specific country, for unlocking content, a VPN solves both issues. A good VPN will hide everything you are doing from prying eyes, or it can give you an foreign IP that you need. If you want the TL;DR version, here’s a quick summary, but for more detailed analysis read on:

The Best VPNs for Android/Play Store

  1. ExpressVPN
  2. IPVanish
  3. NordVPN
  4. VyprVPN
  5. Private Internet Access

Android phones and tablets are powerful computers. It is therefore every bit as vital to protect yourself with a VPN when using one, as it is when using your desktop PC or laptop. In fact, given that you likely carry your Android phone around in your pocket or purse everywhere you go, it can be argued that it is even more important! In this look at the best Android VPNs, I will also discuss other security issues related to using an Android device.

When it comes to security and privacy, you should always remember that any mobile phone is a serious liability, whatever operating system it runs. On Android phones, ditching the default version of Android you bought it with and flashing a more privacy-friendly ROM can certainly improve the situation.

But even then, you should strictly manage your privacy expectations. Tablets without cellular functionality are better in this regard, as cell towers track mobile phones everywhere. GPS location awareness and Google Services, however, still present major threats.

Android VPN clients will, in general, provide all the usual benefits of running a VPN. An important caveat, however, is that apps often send all sorts of data directly back to their developers.

I will discuss the implications of this further, after we have looked at’s recommendations for the best Android VPN!

Best VPN for Android: Summary

Rank Company Score Price Link


ExpressVPN Logo
Read Review10/10
$8.32 / monthVisit Site


IPVanish Logo
Read Review8.8/10
$6.49 / monthVisit Site


NordVPN Logo
Read Review8.4/10
$5.75 / monthVisit Site


VyprVPN Logo
Read Review8/10
$6.67 / monthVisit Site


PrivateInternetAccess Logo
Read Review7.4/10
$3.33 / monthVisit Site

*All prices shown in US dollars

* Advertiser Disclosure
Editor's Choice Award




best Android VPNs

  • ProsPROS
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • No usage logs
  • Servers in 78 countries
  • Great customer service
  • P2P: yes
  • ConsCONS
  • Connection logs
  • A bit pricey

Great customer service and ease of use are the primary reasons that ExpressVPN remains such a popular choice for Android VPN users. As with its Windows, Mac and iOS clients, the ExpressVPN Android app strips things down to ensure that using it is simplicity itself. This focus on customer satisfaction is also amply demonstrated by ExpressVPN’s 24/7 customer support and industry-leading 30-day money-back guarantee.

Android VPNs expressvpn

ExpressVPN keeps no usage logs, but it does keep some connection (metadata) logs. It is based in the British Virgin Islands, but how this affects privacy is a little unclear. Users in China will appreciate ExpressVPN’s special “stealth” servers, however, which also work using its Android app.

Additional features include three simultaneous connections, “stealth” servers in Hong Kong, and free SmartDNS.

Get the best VPN app for Android now!

Visit ExpressVPN »

30-day money-back guarantee

2nd place



best VPN app for Android

  • ProsPROS
  • No logs at all
  • Five simultaneous connections
  • Smart DNS included
  • Accepts bitcoin
  • P2P allowed
  • ConsCONS
  • Based in the US
  • So-so support

Although based in the US (so not for the more NSA-phobic out there), this high-profile VPN company has good privacy credentials. It keeps no logs (at all), accepts payment in bitcoin, and permits torrenting. IPVanish also throws in a free Smart DNS service for all customers.


Much like its desktop client, IPVanish’s Android VPN app is a little basic. But it is easy to use, and works well, making it a great VPN for Android.

Additional features include apps for Android and iOS, and servers in 61 countries.

Visit IPVanish »

3rd place




  • ProsPROS
  • No logs at all
  • Six simultaneous devices
  • Servers in 47 countries
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • “Double-hop VPN”
  • ConsCONS
  • Speeds can be slow

Based in Panama, NordVPN is well outside the immediate reach of the NSA. It backs up this distinction by being very privacy-focused. NordVPN keeps no logs at all, uses strong encryption, and accepts payment via bitcoins. Some may appreciate NordVPN’s “double-hop” VPN chaining feature, although I am dubious about its value.


The encryption used by NordVPN is also very good. Speeds on many of NordVPN’s servers can be rather slow, but fast servers are available with a little trial and error. Android users are well-served with a dedicated Android VPN client, which in addition to OpenVPN provides the option to use the IKEv2 protocol.

Additional features: P2P permitted, DNS leak protection, per-app kill switch (desktop clients).

Visit NordVPN »

4th place




  • ProsPROS
  • Very fast due to own infrastructure
  • Servers in over 70 countries countries
  • Funky Android app
  • Port selection
  • “Chameleon” stealth servers
  • ConsCONS
  • Some connection logs
  • P2P: no

VyprVPN is notable for being one of the rare VPN services to own and control its entire network infrastructure. The result is fantastically fast connection speeds around the world. Features are excellent (as is encryption) and it includes a free Smart DNS service. Customer support is also great and the VPN keeps no usage logs. With a 30-day money back guarantee and a 3-day free trial, there is little reason not to give this service a go.


VyprVPN offers “Chameleon” stealth technology specifically designed to defeat the Great Firewall of China. And it uses UDP ports selection in its apps to help defeat port blocking and other throttling issues. Both of these features are available in its funky Android app. Do please note, though, that VyprVPN does not permit torrenting.

Additional features: no usage logs, uses UDP ports.

Visit VyprVPN »

5th place

Private Internet Access


PrivateInternet Access

  • ProsPROS
  • No logs
  • Accepts bitcoin
  • Great OpenVPN encryption
  • Client features kill switch and DNS leak protection
  • P2P: yes
  • ConsCONS
  • No free trial
  • US-based company

PIA keeps no logs and, although optional, its security can be first rate (up to 256-bit AES OpenVPN, SHA-256 hash authentication and 4096-bit RSA handshake). Its desktop software supports multiple security options, a VPN kill switch, DNS leak protection, and port forwarding. Up to five simultaneous connections are permitted and PIA boasts excellent connection speeds.


Unusually, PIA’s Android app is almost as fully featured as its desktop one. All advanced encryption options are available, as are kill switch, local and remote port forwarding. All in all, one of the best Android VPNs out there.

Additional features include five simultaneous connections.

Visit Private Internet Access »

Best Android VPN List: Considerations

Android VPN Apps

Android VPN apps come in two basic flavors – custom VPN apps from VPN providers, and generic OpenVPN apps that can be configured to work with any VPN service that supports OpenVPN. Custom VPN apps are much easier to set up, as they come preconfigured. And unlike iOS VPN apps, almost all custom VPN for Android apps support the OpenVPN protocol.

This is great, but it is also worth noting that the generic open source OpenVPN for Android app is much more fully featured than its open source desktop cousin.

Android DNS leak

Unlike many providers’ custom Android VPN apps, OpenVPN for Android provides  IPv4 and IPv6 leak protection, and WebRTC leak protection.  It can also be configured to act as a kill switch. Please check out A Complete Guide to IP Leaks for information on these features.

Understanding the Limitations of VPN Apps for Android

As with desktop computers, a VPN will encrypt your data and hide your IP address for all internet connections. When accessing websites through your browser for P2P downloading, therefore, you are fully protected when using a VPN. However…

Apps send data back directly to their publishers. Depending on the permissions you grant them, this can amount to a huge amount of personal information, including cellular network and registration details, GPS location data, and more.

In fact, have you ever wondered why that handy spirit level app you downloaded requires permission to access your location data, files, photos, microphone, and contacts? Many free apps monetize themselves by collecting personal information from users, and selling it to advertising and analytics companies.

And even when the app publisher is “legit,” Google makes it far too easy for them to “collect it all” anyway. This means that even the most innocuous app publishers usually know far too much about you. And app publishers such as Facebook are far from “innocuous!”

As if this wasn’t bad enough, the ads used in many apps as a way for developers to monetize their product are a whole privacy nightmare just by themselves!

To gain the full benefits of a VPN on a mobile device, you should therefore access websites and services via their web page or web interface using your browser (preferably the open source and privacy-friendly Firefox), rather than through dedicated apps.

Leaky Apps

This problem is compounded by the fact that mobile apps are often “leaky,” and allow organizations such as the NSA and GCHQ to spy on their users.

Indeed, according to documents obtained by Edward Snowden, leaky smartphone apps allow them to discover everything from “phone model and screen size to personal details such as age, gender and location,” to “users’ most sensitive information such as sexual orientation. And one app recorded in the material even sends specific sexual preferences such as whether or not the user may be a swinger.”

Leaky apps

For some reason, much of the publicity surrounding leaky apps focused on mobile games, and Angry Birds in particular. All kinds of apps collect too much information about you, however, with social media apps being among the worst offenders. The Facebook app, for example, collects detailed location data and asks permission to access your SMS messages.

Android Marshmallow (6.0)+ gives users much greater control over app permissions. But denying an app the permissions it requests often results in it simply not working. Basically, avoid using apps wherever possible (VPN apps excepted!).

Use Your Mobile Browser Instead!

VPNs for Android are of limited help when using apps, as apps can access IP and location data directly from your phone, thereby sidestepping the VPN. If you access services via their web portals, however, you gain all the usual benefits of using a VPN.

Great Firefox Privacy Extensions

In addition to using an Android VPN, I strongly recommend using the Firefox for Android browser. Not only is it 100% open source, but it supports some fantastic browser extensions that will improve your privacy:

  • uBlock Origin – is a lightweight FOSS ad-blocker that does double duty as an anti-tracking add-on.
  • HTTPS Everywhere – was developed by EFF, and tries to ensure that you always connect to a website using a secure HTTPS connection if one is available.
  • Self-Destructing Cookies – automatically deletes cookies when you close the browser tab that set them. This provides a high level of protection from tracking via cookies, without “breaking” websites. It also provides protection against Flash/zombie cookies and Etags, and cleans DOM storage.

Do be aware, however, that using any browser add-on makes you more susceptible to being tracked by browser fingerprinting.

Encrypting Your Android Phone

In addition to using an Android VPN and browser add-ons, you can improve the security of your Android device by encrypting its contents. This includes the contents of any SD cards.

There are definitely pros and cons to doing this. Personally, I consider the added security a more than acceptable trade-off for the approximately 9% performance hit this incurs (which in real-life use I don’t notice anyway).

Android phone encryption

A bigger problem is having to use the same master password used to secure the phone in order to disable the lock screen. This is a real pain if you use a strong password (as you should). If your phone features a fingerprint scanner, however, this is much less of a problem.

Please see How to Encrypt your Android Phone (a Complete Guide) for more details.

Use Signal

Regular phone calls and text messages sent on your Android phone are not secure. At all. And they cannot be made so. It’s not the just the NSA and GCHQ; governments everywhere (where they have not already done so) are keen on collecting all phone calls and text messages, in metadata form at least.

Signal by Whisper Systems is widely regarded as the most secure VoIP and messaging app available. It is open source, and securely end-to-end encrypts your voice and text conversations. This means that no-one – hackers, your ISP, or the NSA, can listen in on your conversations.

Signal 1

It is also easy enough to use that you might actually convince your friends and family to give it a try!

Flash Your Device with a More Secure Custom ROM

Android is developed by Google, a company whose business model is to invade your privacy in order to directly target ads at you. The biggest privacy-invasive culprits in Android are Google Apps (Gapps). These are the proprietary Google-branded applications that come pre-installed with most Android devices, such as the Play Store, Gmail, Maps, and so forth.

Fortunately, Google developed Android as a (largely) open source platform. Independent developers have therefore modified the base Android source code to create alternative versions of the OS, known as custom ROMs.

These are often much more secure than standard versions of Android and, thanks to licensing restrictions, do not come with Gapps pre-installed. Gapps can usually be downloaded and installed by users who value their convenience, but using a version of Android without any Google Apps installed will greatly improve your privacy.

CyanogenMod custom ROM

CyanogenMod is easily the most popular custom Android ROM. It comes with a ton of security and privacy enhancements over “regular” Android. Those looking for a very hardened Android setup might want to consider CopperheadOS (Nexus 9, Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P only).

Edit. CyanogenMod has been discontinued. Cyanogen Apps gives users of CyanogenMod access to apps previously only available on Cyanogen OS.

How to setup a VPN connection in Android

Using custom VPN apps

Many VPN providers now offer custom VPN apps. These can usually be downloaded and installed from the Play Store, as per any regular Android app. Privacy-heads who prefer to avoid Gapps can usually request the raw .apk file from their provider.

Setting up a VPN manually (PPTP and L2TP/IPsec)

1. Open the VPN settings. This varies a bit by Android version, but in general, go to Settings –> More networks -> VPN. Note that you are required to setup a lock screen for this if you have not already done so. Just follow the prompts.

2. Touch + to Add VPN network. Enter a name for your VPN connection, choose Type, and enter the details given by your VPN provider

Android PPTP

PPTP setup is ridiculously easy, but is horribly insecure. So don’t bother

Android L2TP 1

L2TP/IPsec setup is still pretty easy, but is much more secure. It usually requires you to enter a long pre-shared keTo start the VPN, go to VPN settings (step 1), touch the VPN connection you want, and enter your VPN username and password

3. To start the VPN, go to VPN settings (step 1), touch the VPN connection you want, and enter your VPN username and password.

Android VPN connected

Et voila! You are connected

 Notice the key icon in the taskbar. This lets you know that you are connected to a VPN server.

Setting up OpenVPN manually

OpenVPN Connect is a perfectly good app, but in this tutorial I shall use the more fully featured open source OpenVPN for Android. As of version 2.4.0 this features full IPv4 and IPv6 leak protection, and WebRTC leak protection. And as noted above, it can be configured to act as a kill switch.

1. Download the OpenVPN configuration files from your VPN provider’s website. You can then unzip them (if required) and transfer to a folder on your Android device.

Or you can download them directly to your Android device and unzip them with an app such as ZArchiver if needed.

2. Download, install and run OpenVPN for Android (if you haven’t already). Touch the + icon to the top right of the screen to Add Profile. Give the profile a suitable name, and hit “Import”.

Android ovpn 1

3. Navigate to the folder where you saved the unzipped OpenVPN config file(s), and chose a server (if more than one .ovpn file downloaded). Once imported, touch the tick ✔ icon to continue.

Android ovpn 2

4. Once done you will see the server name in under the Profiles tab. To start the VPN, just touch the server name you want to connect to.

Android ovpn 3

Many providers include all necessary keys and account information in customized .ovpn files, so no further configuration is needed.  Others may require that you enter your account information and other details. Please see your provider’s documentation for specific instructions.


As always when it comes to internet privacy and security, VPNs for Android should be considered vital tools in your privacy and security toolkit. As long as you access services via your browser, they provide all the advantages of using a VPN on your desktop.

Equally, as always there is no magic bullet solution to privacy and security problems. This is especially true for mobile devices, which should always be regarded as inherently insecure. As discussed above, however, there are things you can do to improve the situation (which includes using VPNs for Android). Just please be aware of their limitations, and act accordingly.

Best Android VPNs: Summary

Rank Company Score Price Link


ExpressVPN Logo
Read Review10/10
$8.32 / monthVisit Site


IPVanish Logo
Read Review8.8/10
$6.49 / monthVisit Site


NordVPN Logo
Read Review8.4/10
$5.75 / monthVisit Site


VyprVPN Logo
Read Review8/10
$6.67 / monthVisit Site


PrivateInternetAccess Logo
Read Review7.4/10
$3.33 / monthVisit Site

*All prices shown in US dollars

* Advertiser Disclosure

Douglas Crawford I am a freelance writer, technology enthusiast, and lover of life who enjoys spinning words and sharing knowledge for a living. Find me on Google+

Related Coverage

18 responses to “5 Best Android VPNs 2017

    1. Hi Ernest,

      Thanks to its closed eco-system, iOS devices are very secure. But they are not in any way private, as they tell Apple a great deal of information about you. Windows is neither secure nor private and neither is Android by default. You can make Android more private, however, by flahing it with an open source ROM that does not use Google Apps (e.g. Copperhead).

    1. Hi E.Keen,

      Thanks. I am aware that CyanogenMod has been discontinued. Thanks for the link (added to the article).

    1. Hi again Nicolaï,

      In my view HMA is one of the worst VPN services on the market. I finds its software clunky, its encryption to be meh, and connections slow. Even more damning, this UK company keeps details logs and has quite the track record for handing over them over to the authorities.

  1. Thanks Douglas dor article and others for comments. As a total newbie, I am curious as to why you Douglas emphasize so strongly your opposition to GooglApps but then sign off from Google+ ? Contradiction of terms ?
    Thanks. Peace!

    1. Hi Nicolaï,

      To some extent I must admit this is a case of “Do what I say, not what I do.” That said, although I work as an editor here at, I am also a freelance writer. Many clients prefer me to have a G+ plus page as this is great for providing a cross-publication Author’s profile. If you actually visit my G+ page, though, you will see that I do not take much care over its upkeep.

  2. You’re stup I’d if you think being based in US is not safe and outside US in places like Panama keepa you out of the reach of certain agencies. You have rights as a citizen in anerica. Dumbasaws

    1. Hi Tay,

      As Snowden proved, the NSA and its ilk do not give a rat’s ass about the constitutional rights of US citizens. At least places such as Panama are outside its ability to directly come and subpoena the VPN company and force it log users’ activity and hand that data over to US authorities.

  3. How is it possible to make a best VPN list without AirVPN? Seriously. ExpressVPN has “connection logs” as one of its cons in your list. But in all other lists, AirVPNs main (and often only) con is “too techy”. What’s most important in a VPN? Too techy or having connection logs? You know the answer.

    1. Hi Peter,

      If you have read any of my stuff, you will know that I am a big AirVPN fan (in fact I use it as my personal VPN). The reason it is not on this Android-specific list is easy – AirVPN does not offer a dedicated Android client. As I also discuss in this article, this is not a major problem, as the OpenVPN for Android app is rather excellent, but it does mean that it does not qualify for this category.

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