5 Best VPNs for Android 2014

11 Apr 2014 |

With all the modern revolutions come the modern problems of privacy & security concerns, with leaks and problems appearing on a monthly basis. Not to mention that every major company – GCHQ, Google, Facebook, NSA, etc. – is tracking your online movement.

So it’s no surprise that the use of VPNs is becoming ever more popular even if it’s just to protect yourself from hackers while using the public WiFi in your favourite coffee joint.

In our ‘VPN Buying Guide’ we cover the full range of concerns to watch out for, here we have used the following criteria:

  • Speed of service
  • Quality of the software
  • Quality of customer service
  • Number of servers/ IPs
  • Price

Using these criteria here is our list of the best five for your Android device. After the rankings you can read more about each in depth and we also explain how to best set up your VPN connections. 


Summary

Rank Provider Starting price Review Link

1

vyprvpn_logo $6.67/mo 9.9
Read Review
Visit Site

2

ExpressVPN_Logo $8.32/mo 9.8
Read Review
Visit Site

3

logo $7/mo 9.3
Read Review
Visit Site

4

Mullvad logo $9 9.0
Read Review
Visit Site

5

 Screen Shot 2013-02-25 at 18.38.21 $9.95 8.9
Read Review
Visit Site
Editor’s Choice

Winner – VyprVPN

Positives: fast, great encryption service, Android app, iOS app, 3 day no risk free trial, up to 3 simultaneous connections, P2P: yes, free cloud storage

Negatives: based in the US, keeps logs for 30 days

Android_Vypr
VyprVPN is run by the Golden Frog ‘internet freedom’ consortium meaning that not only do they have their own dedicated data centres – meaning better speeds – but you also get a free online cloud storage account with Dump Truck. They run their own networks and are connected at the highest levels, meaning that wherever you are in the world, the speeds are excellent.

We have only reviewed the Pro and Premium accounts as the basic service only offers PPTP which is considered to be insecure. The company offers up to 256-bit OpenVPN encryption, P2P downloading, up-to 3 simultaneous connections and  has recently developed its own high-end encryption service code named Chameleon.

With a 3 day no risk free trial, and an excellent Android app, their offering is really the best out there

Try Out the Best VPN for Android Today!

» Visit VyprVPN

3 no risk day free trial

2. ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN_Logo

Positives: No usage logs, great speeds, 30 day money back guarantee, great Android support

Negatives: Medium Price

ExpressVPN provides the best all-round service. The company has an exceptionally outstanding Android app (maybe it sees that Android is the future) with a great set of features and dedicated 24/7 support. The speed test was constantly green across the board and with their 30-day money back guarantee you have a fantastic opportunity to experience it without risk.

When using the app, it’s clear that it was designed with convenience in mind. It includes a quick connect homescreen widget so you don’t have to open the app to connect and disconnect. It also comes with Recommended Locations, and makes your recently connected locations easily accessible.

Starting at $8.32/month it might not be the cheapest service but it is definitely worth it, so click the link below to begin experiencing it for yourself.

Visit ExpressVPN »


3. AirVPN

Positives: accepts Bitcoin, no logs, 256-bit AES encryption, dynamic port forwarding, 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, setup instructions for OpenVPN Connect

Negatives: 0 simultaneous connections

AirVPN is more advanced than most of the other VPN software out there, keeps no logs and accepts Bitcoin payment. It provides a high level 256-bit AES encryption, great monitoring services and support for further safety measures such as VPN over Tor and, VPN through SSL and SSH tunnels.

The let-down is that it only provides a text setup guide and the configuration files so you will need a small amount of tech savvy.

» Visit AirVPN


4. Mullvad

Positives: accepts Bitcoin, no logs, good speeds, cheap, client features internet kill switch and DNS leak protection, P2P: yes

Negatives: A number of things didn’t work.

Mullvad is a small start-up company which does mean that there are a few problems but do not let this put you off as they are constantly improving. They have a great set of features including; leak protection, kill switch, server load information and port forwarding. Unlike other companies it has a 100% no logs policy and requires absolutely no personal information. Even the payment is secure; Bitcoin, Cash in post or wire transfer!

As AirVPN it provides only the minimal but adequate set-up support.

» Visit Mullvad


5. IPVanish

Positives: fast, lots of server locations
Negatives: ‘no logs’ policy is bollocks, P2P: no

When using IP Vanish be very careful as even though they state a no logging policy within 48 hours of using it we received a ‘cease and desist for torrenting!

On the upside it provides a fast service with servers in 41 different countries.

» Visit IPVanish


How to set up VPN on Android

android-logo-white

Though initially the smartphone (and later the tablet) market was dominated by Apple, Android has come through stronger year-on-year. Googles OS definitely poses a large advantage for the security conscious due to its open source nature. The only downside with this is that there are so many various versions on so many different devices that it makes it near impossible for companies to develop software that works for everyone. However, all the latest high end devices (Galaxy S, HTC One, Google Nexus, etc) all run the latest version so you should not experience a problem with this.

VPN for Android

The number of recent security concerns that have arisen in the world (see NSA) clearly highlight the need for the use of VPN services for the ‘common folk’ and not just for the paranoid or safety conscious.

In addition it is always advisable to protect yourself against governments and companies when using common file sharing services such as torrents, as well as the risks posed by using public WiFi spots.

 uTorrent  aTorrent

µTorrent and aTorrent are great Androids apps – just another reason as to why you should use VPN on your device

Android’s built-in VPN client

Android automatically comes with built in PPTP and L2TP/IPsec VPN protocol support and newer versions also support OpenVPN. (Heavily modified systems such as the Kindle Fire are more difficult – see here).

This article discusses – in depth – all of the protocols but here is a brief summary:

  • PPTP – the easiest to set-up and most supported but also the least secure. We therefore do not recommend it as a stable solution but as a quick-fix for using a public WiFi spot it is acceptable.
  • L2TP/IPsec – a lot more secure but it is trickier to set up due to the need to input a pre-shared IPsec key, though most VPN providers provide detail guides or even an auto-configuration file to simplify this.
  • OpenVPN – One of the fastest and most secure with the use of the amalgamation of a number of security technologies but it is very fiddly to set-up and needs a third party software – which might lead to more battery drainage. Until recently it was only available for jailbroken phones but with 2012 release of OpenVPN all high end versions have this ability.

Setting up VPN using the native VPN client

1. Open the VPN setting by going Settings – More Networks – VPN (this varies between devices but usually very similar). Irritatingly you will have to set up a screen-lock to be able to access this so follow the prompts if you don’t already have one.

VPN_Settings

2. Touch ‘Add VPN Network’ or the ‘+’ sign on some devices.

VPN_Add

3. After giving a suitable name, enter all the details of your VPN.

PPTP L2TP

PPTP setup is ridiculously easy

L2TP/IPsec setup is still pretty easy, but needs you to enter a pre-shared key (which can be long & complex)

4. To start your VPN, go to VPN settings (step 1), touch the VPN connection you want, and enter your VPN username and password.
5. That’s it – you should be connected. A small key should appear in your taskbar indicating this.

Connected

 

OpenVPN for Android

As mentioned above with the release of the ‘OpenVPN Connect’ application, unrooted phones are able to use OpenVPN as long as a configuration file is provided and your phone is running Anroid 4 (Ice Cream Sandwich) or later.

Setting up VPN using OpenVPN for Android

1. Obtain your configuration file from your provider. Either directly download to your phone or you can do it through your computer. It might come in a .zip file in which case you’ll need to extract it (We recommend WinZip for your phone).

2. Download, install and run ‘OpenVPN Connect’ for Android. Then touch your functions button, select import and import from SD file.

OpenVPN_Import1 OpenVPN_Import2 OpenVPN_Import3
Touch your functions button and press import. Choose import from SD card and find the location you saved it to. Once you have selected your chosen profile the above screen should appear.

3. Enter your username and password

4. When first using the app you will need to accept the trust certificate (only once).

OpenVPN_Trust

5. You should now be connected (note the key in the taskbar as well as the OpenVPN logo)

OpenVPN_Connected

VPN provider custom apps

Since the possibility of OpenVPN has been enabled, some companies have created their own apps which pose benefits such as auto-reconnect and port forwarding as well as making the whole set-up process more streamlined. These are usually available for older devices too albeit using the slightly less secure L2TP/IPsec protocol while still enabling the same benefits. See the individual VPN provider reviews to find out more details.

Testing your VPN connection (all methods)

It is natural that you wish to check that you’re receiving the service that you are promised and there are two main ways of achieving this; IP check and Speedtest.

Using a website such as 123myip.co.uk allows you to check that your IP is indeed in the country of the server you have selected and check that your identity is indeed disguised.
The free speedtest.net app (or alternatively their website) allows you to check your speeds and make sure you that you’re getting sufficient connection rates.

Connected to a server in Holland.

Speed test results


Conclusion

Android is clearly a more suitable platform for VPN compared to iOS with a number of providers providing great support for it (even their own apps!), though some are still yet to catch up with the OpenVPN update. Even if you have an older phone you’re still able to use the L2TP/IPsec protocol so we definitely recommend signing up to a VPN service today! See below for our summary of the ratings to help you chose:


Summary

Rank Provider Starting price Review Link

1

vyprvpn_logo $6.67/mo 9.9
Read Review
Visit Site

2

ExpressVPN_Logo $8.32/mo 9.8
Read Review
Visit Site

3

logo $7/mo 9.3
Read Review
Visit Site

4

Mullvad logo $9 9.0
Read Review
Visit Site

5

 Screen Shot 2013-02-25 at 18.38.21 $9.95 8.9
Read Review
Visit Site


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Peter Selmeczy Written by Peter Selmeczy
I am an engineer by trade and tech geek by night, who's passionate about sharing his knowledge with the people. Find me on Google+.

12 Responses to “5 Best VPNs for Android 2014”

  1. anonymous says:

    Airvpn should now be top on this list. They expanded their membership to allow upto 3 simultaneous connections.

    Other benefits: they are not based in the US and are ran by a privacy advocacy group from Europe.

  2. BestVPNService says:

    Nowadays, Android tables are extremely popular. People all over the world use tablet PC to be mobile and be connected to the Internet at the same time.Most of the time, we use public Wi-Fi on mobile devices and this can be very unsafe due to low security in such networks. If you want to safeguard your personal and business data you must care about your Internet safety and security.

  3. Hey!

    I’would say its really nice choice you guys made to picked up these VPN’s. These days its really difficult to find out which one is perfect! But thanks to you guys!

    Cheers

  4. Mark says:

    I find it odd that your top 5 for Android include 2 that are based in the US, one that has features that don’t work, and another that has a suspect no logs policy. Is that really the best that you can come up with? iVPN has great support, stable connections, works well on Android, supports both OpenVPN and L2TP/IPsec, and is based in Malta. I have no connection to them, btw, other than being a user.

    Nothing’s perfect, but surely iVPN deserves a mention. I’ve never heard a complaint against them.

  5. Reinier van Houten says:

    I’m using Privateinternetaccess on Windows and also on Android. On Windows I’m happy with the way it works. On Android, apparently, only browser traffic is allowed to go through the tunnel. My internet banking app doesn’t work when VPN is activated. According to PIA it’s working as designed. I would have expected all WiFi traffic to be VPN encrypted and go trough the tunnel. Not just the browser, but the mobile apps as well.

    Is PIA correct though?

    Thanks!

    • Douglas Crawford Douglas Crawford says:

      Hi Reinier,

      I have used the PIA Android extensively, and all traffic was routed through the VPN server, including all mobile apps (that’s the way VPN works). The fact that your banking app does not work may because the banking server detects that your are using a VPN (PIA’s IPs are fairly we known), or maybe i automatically refuses connections from outside your country (just guessing, but it may also be able to read your phone’s geoloction data and detect a discrepancy between that and your IP location, which may cause it to suspect fraud and refuse a connection). I would say that the fact the app does not work shows that its traffic is being routed through PIA, so it is your bank you be taking this up with, not PIA…

  6. John says:

    Have you guys tried SmartShield VPN? So far seems to be pretty good with fast speed and no limits on connection time or attempts to charge me for anything.

    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.magneticmediastudios.vpn&hl=en

    • Peter Selmeczy Peter Selmeczy says:

      Hi
      No we haven’t seeing as it was released just a day ago.
      We’re also reluctant to try it as we couldn’t find a website where we could find out more information about the product or the company.

  7. Joel says:

    So do I need to do anything to set up a vpn when using an app?

  8. Abhi Kumar says:

    Nice information on android.Thanks for sharing it with us…

  9. Peter Selmeczy Peter Selmeczy says:

    Hi Eric
    We have heard of hide.me and we have been in contact with them before. We’re just waiting for their updates before we review them.
    Peter

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