Using VPN with a Samsung Galaxy S3 -

Using VPN with a Samsung Galaxy S3

Douglas Crawford

Douglas Crawford

March 18, 2013

With its glorious 4.8 inch 720p Super AMOLED screen, 1.4 MHz ARM quad core processor, expandable Micro-SD memory capability, removable battery and raft of genuinely innovative features, since its release in 2012 Samsung’s Galaxy S3 has taken the mobile phone world by storm, and posed the first serious challenge to Apple’s monopoly of the high-end phone market.

The great news for GS3 owners who use VPN is that it is very easy to set up on your phone. The S3 now uses version Android version 4.1.2 Jelly Bean, so we will have a look at how to set things up on that (many VPN guides are for more outdated versions of the OS).

Probably the greatest advantage to using VPN on your phone is that that it protects you when using a public WiFi hotspot. These are notorious for attracting hackers who use packet snooping software to ‘listen in’ on unsecured connections, usually in the hope of stealing passwords and other valuable information. However, with the Android ecosystem providing a range of apps that when coupled with the sheer power of a Galaxy S3 allow you to do most things on your phone that you can do on a more traditional computer, VPN is also as useful for your phone as it is for your desktop or laptop computer.

Setting Up your Galaxy S3 for PPTP and L2TP/IPsec

Support for PPTP and L2TP/IP is baked into the Android operating system and is very easy to set up. Although Kepard has a fantastic Android app (see more about this later), they also provide instructions for setting up PPTP and L2TP/IPsec so we will use them as an example. The setup process for PPTP and L2TP/IPsec is more or less identical, although as we discuss in this article, we strongly recommend the use of L2TP/IPsec over PPTP for security reasons.

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1. Enter the settings menu

 L2TP 1

2. Click More settings

 L2TP 2

3. Then select VPN


4. If you do not have a screen lock set up for your phone you will be asked to do so as Android won’t allow you set up a PPTP or L2TRP connection without one. It’s a good precaution anyway, in case you lose your phone or have it stolen. If you already have a screen lock set up on your S3 then you can miss the next couple of steps.

 LT2TP 4

5. We went for a pretty screen unlock pattern.

 L2TP 5

6. But there is always a backup PIN number just in case.

 LT2P 6

7. Setting up the VPN is a simple matter of entering details provided by your VPN provider. This stage is a bit simpler with PPTP as you don’t need to enter a long case-sensitive IPsec pre-shared key. When you are finished select Save.

 LT2P 7

8. In the VPN screen select on the VPN connection you want.

 LT2P 8

9. Enter your VPN customer details.


10. And ta-da! You are connected! If you select the connection then some more details will appear. You can also always see whether you are connected via VPN by looking for the key icon in the Notification Bar (top left).

 L2TP 10


Until very recently using OpenVPN on an Android device was only possible if the device was rooted. While some tech-heads are happy to invalidate their guarantees and risk bricking their by doing this, the rest of us fainter souls have likely been put off. However, in around December 2012 the free app ‘OpenVPN for Android’was released, which brings generic support for OpenVPN on unrooted Android devices sporting version 4.03 (like the S3) or above of the OS. There has since also appeared OpenVPN Connect which needs Android 4.0 or above. These programs should work with any OpenVPN service as they use standard OpenVPN configuration files.

In addition to this, Kepard have created a great Android app which brings their OpenVPN service to any Android device.

OpenVPN for Android

1. Install OpenVPN for Android from Google Play

 2013-02-19 13.35.33

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. The folder with the unzipped config files then needs to be copied to you phone either by USB connection or Kies Air.

 android 1

3. Fire up OpenVPN for Android and select the folder icon.


4. Navigate to the folder you copied the config files to, chose which server you want to connect to, and tap Select.


5. Wait for OpenVON for Android to import and parse the config file.

 2013-03-15 17.27.40

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.


7. All sorts of settings can be edited from here, but usually all you need to do is select Basic…


8. …and fill in your VPN username and password.

 TorGuard 2

You can see that you are connected by looking for the key icon in the Notification Bar. If you drop down the Notification Bar you can find out more details by taping on the OpenVPN connection.

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The above methods for using VPN on your Galaxy S3 are not difficult to set up, but by far the simplest way we have yet found is to download the Kepard app from the Play Store. It comes with a 15 day free trial of Kepards’s VPN service, and once installed on your phone only needs you to enter your Kepard username and password to be up and running.

2013-03-04 17.34.41

The interface is dead simple – just tap the big ‘power on’ button! It is also easy to choose different servers and whether you want to use a TCP (more reliable) or UDP (faster) OpenVPN connection.

 2013-03-04 17.35.17

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.


uTorrent for Android

Although securing your internet connection when connecting though a public WiFi hot spot is perhaps the greatest benefit to using VPN on your phone, there are other things it good for too… like torrents! The uTorrent app is downloadable from the Play Store and brings the classic BitTorrent client to your GS3.

 2013-03-18 13.49.48


Although it can take a couple of minutes to set up, once done VPN works seamlessly on a Samsung Galaxy S3, protecting you against hackers when connected to a public WiFi in addition to providing all the benefits that VPN brings when used on a desktop or laptop computer. As you will probably want to use VPN on your phone at the same time as you are running it on your ‘main’ computer, it is a good idea to check that your VPN provider allows more than one simultaneous connection.


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.

22 responses to “Using VPN with a Samsung Galaxy S3

  1. I i am still not aware about VPN.Is that free or It connect via our mobile network…In my college i have open connection but i can’t connect to there any way to connect the open wifi without rooting our device…

    1. Hi Sajid,

      To use Kep[ard (or any commercial VPN service), you need to sigh-up for it. Use the email and password you selected when registering.

  2. Hi dear,,,,, I have a doubt that I already installed open vpn & file from (.ovpn) but the problem is I have an active Internet plan with data balance so I can’t know that the Internet is working under vpn or main data balance but it shows “connected” via vpn 🙂 plz tell dear that my vpn is ready enough to use or not?????

    1. Hi Samee,

      If your phone tells you that it is connected via VPN, then you are connected by VPN (you should also see a key icon in the notification bar.) To double-check, visit in your browser and ensure that none of the IP addressees shown match your real IP (you should only IP addresses associated with your VPN provider, and not your ISP.)

    1. Hi Marlon,

      I am afraid that I will need a lot more information before I can help you. What exactly do you mean by “the 1st step”? Are you using the generic OpenVPN app? Have you signed up to a VPN service?

  3. I have openvpn installed on an Android tablet and an Android phone. It seems that the client won’t start when I turn on either device or after a reboot. The tablet is a Nabi 2 and I can manually start it when logged in as a Parent but when I exit to Nabi mode the client stops. On the Samsung GS4, I keep getting a window on bootup or reboot asking me if I want to allow the VPN connection even though I checked the box telling openvpn to auto re-connect. It would be nice if openvpn was a Settings->VPN option. That might solve the problem. Anyway, is there a workaround for this problem?

    1. Hi Lee,

      The warning window asking if you want to connect to OpenVPN is part of Android’s built-in security measures, and can only be bypassed by rooting your phone. As for ‘Nabi mode’, this is a special mode designed to give children a safe environment to play in, and provides only very limited permissions. The only thing I can suggest is to look at the settings, but you will probably be out of luck. I agree that it would be nice if OpenVPN clients began to be intergrated into OS’s.

  4. I wanted to set a new Vpn and it was asking me for password for credentials, but I don’t have an idea of which password. Because I don’t use one. Please help me out

    1. Hi hezy,

      I suspect that you are getting a little confused about VPN. With VPN your phone (or computer etc.) connects securely to a VPN server. This is typically run by a commercial third party provider (which is what BestVPN is primarily concerned with), but can also a VPN server run by your employer (useful for remote working), or set up by yourself (typically either on a home PC, or on a rented virtual server (VPS)).

      In all cases you will require a password (such as the one given to you by your provider). I suspect (and I could be wrong here) that you are attempting to setup your VPN client without having a VPN server to connect to. If this is not the case, then I will more details about your setup before I can be of assistance.

    1. Hi Graeme,

      I’m sorry, I would like to help, but you will need to describe the problem you having before I can be of any assistance.

  5. Hello Pete do I need to register with any open Vpn before I have my user name and password for the final stage on setting up a Vpn on my Samsung

  6. Thanks for this guide! I recently installed Gargoyle/OpenWRT on my router, and it came prebundled with OpenVPN. Well I finally decided I needed to be able to access my home network’s files while away from home, so I turned it on. Using your guide, and OpenVPN for Android, I was able to browse my home computer’s Windows/Samba/CIFS shares using ES File Explorer and their 192.168 IP addresses, while at a Tim Hortons! Hooray!

  7. Pete it is not as simple to find the correct openvpn download needed for my android device. Please advise – thanks!

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