Best Android VPN 2023

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A black smartphone with a VPN lock on the display sat next to a plant, AirPods, a pencil, and a pair of glasses.
Credit: Dan Nelson

The best Android VPN is the one that's going to keep you safe online, and the one that has useful additional features to match. It's not just about being able to watch Netflix from other countries, although we all know that helps. It's mostly about security, and keeping yourself free from prying eyes when you're browsing.

They do this by masking your IP address, covering what kind of traffic you've been generating via encryption, or just by adding extra layers of safety to your set-up. The good news is that if you already know all about the best VPN providers, you'll feel fairly comfortable here too.

The main thing you're going to be looking for in the best Android VPN is a good mobile app. While it is possible to get them working without one, it's definitely a lot simpler when you can just boot up from your phone as opposed to getting a laptop involved, for example.

When looking at how to sort out the best from the rest, we've decided to take into account the level of encryption and security. We've also counted how many places you can visit via servers, along with the speeds that those servers offer up as well. With all of that in mind, let's get into some of the top VPN providers out there.

Best Android VPN

  1. NordVPN
  2. Surfshark
  3. ExpressVPN
  4. Proton VPN
  5. Windscribe
NordVPN logo in black with an outline of a mountain in blue above.
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Credit: NordVPN

1. NordVPN

Best Android VPN

Servers: 5500 - Server Locations: 60 Countries - Speed: N/A - Protocol: OpenVPN, IKEv2/IPSec, NordLynx (WireGuard) - Encryption: AES-256 - Other Features: Kill Switch, Split Tunnelling, Quick Connect, Malware Protection, Phishing Protection

NordVPN is one of the most popular VPN services, with more downloads on Google's Play Store than any other - and for good reason. While there are others that are better at specific tasks, none are as well-rounded, acting like an affordable Swiss Army Knife of the virtual private network world.

For starters, NordVPN grants you access to over 5,000 servers across 60 countries. With this, you could access your home Netflix region from pretty much anywhere on the globe. And the lightning-fast NordLynx protocol ensures that you never slow down.

Connections are as sturdy as they come, but if it ever gets a little shaky, the kill switch is a feature that'll protect you. It's mutually assured destruction in the sense that it'll remove your device's connection to the internet if the VPN itself drops, restoring it the moment everything stabilises.

Split tunnelling is another handy option that lets you choose what apps route through VPN on a single device. The Quick Connect helps you switch it on with a tap, so it’s quite easy to use. The app also offers phishing protection as well as CyberSec malware, which are good add-ons to have.

NordVPN’s app on Android and iOS has a lot more to offer than its desktop counterpart. So if you’re planning to use a quality VPN that’s reasonably priced, then Nord is one of the best ones out there. And you also get a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you don’t have to commit too much.

Read More: Best iPhone VPN

Someone using a black phone with Surfshark loaded up on it.
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Credit: Surfshark

2. Surfshark

Best Android VPN with advanced tools

Servers: 3200 - Server Locations: 100 Countries - Protocol: OpenVPN, IKEv2/IPSec, WireGuard - Encryption: AES-256 - Other Features: Kill Switch, Split Tunnelling, Unlimited Connections

Surfshark is absolutely loaded with features, whether you're looking for robust encryption and advanced features, or something easy to use that covers every device you own.

With more than 3,200 servers across 100 countries, it has a wider global spread than most of its competitors. This particularly shines with the NoBorders feature, which detects if there are restrictions on the location you're connected to and presents you with a range of alternatives instead.

Its Camouflage Mode masks the fact that you’re using a VPN, making you look like a regular user without adding to any dodgy online profile companies make on you. And the Multi-Hop lets you double up the encryption for extra protection.

When it comes to streaming platforms, Surfshark can unblock most of the mainstream services. So if you’re always on the move, you can access your regional Netflix or Amazon Prime Video from anywhere. Plus, you get unlimited speedy connections, which looks promising - Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, all without restricting the amount of devices you can use at once.

With the ‘CleanWeb’ feature, Surfshark ensures that you experience zero ads and you’re protected against malware attacks. It also has handy features like a kill switch, split tunnelling, DNS leak protection, and more to further tweak your VPN experience.

You can sign up for Surfshark and give it a try for a few weeks. The VPN comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

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Express VPN logo in white on a red background.
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Credit: Express VPN

3. Express VPN

Best Android VPN for locations

Servers: 3,000 - Server Locations: 94 Countries - Speed: N/A - Protocol: OpenVPN, IKEv2/IPSec, Open source Lightway - Encryption: AES-256 - Other Features: Kill Switch, Split Tunnelling, Quick ON/OFF, Independent Audits

ExpressVPN is another popular option that we have on the list for Android VPNs. With a 4.3 out of 5.0 rating on the Google Play Store, this VPN promises a lot.

To begin with, Express VPN offers access to 3,000 servers across 94 countries, which is rather impressive. Also, the VPN has 100% RAM-only servers, which means it won’t compromise your data.

One area where ExpressVPN shines is streaming your home content no matter where you are across the globe. With speeds up to 560Mbps to combat buffering and speed throttling, and refreshing its IP addresses more frequently than any other provider, you'll be able to watch movies and TV from the Netflix you're used to pretty much 100% of the time without fuss.

For Android users, the app is quite easy to set up and use. After installation, all you have to do is hit the big ON/OFF button and connect to one of the servers. You also get handy features like a kill switch and split tunnelling to make it easy for you.

Express VPN is big on privacy too. Alongside the RAM-only policy, it also has a logging policy which is audited independently to ensure that your data is not stored.

Express VPN offers connections on up to 5 devices, which might be limiting for some. But if you’re looking for a VPN that offers a vast spread of locations, then Express VPN is worth a shot. You can try it with the 30-day money-back offer and check if it’s right for you.

Read More: Best free VPN

Someone holding a black phone using Proton VPN to select their location.
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Credit: Proton

4. Proton VPN

Best free Android VPN

Servers: 100+ - Server Locations: 3 Countries (free) - Protocol: OpenVPN, IKEv2/IPSec, WireGuard - Encryption: AES-256, ChaCha20 - Other Features: Kill Switch, Split Tunnelling, Ad Blocker

Proton is another popular VPN service, and its mobile counterpart has a lot to offer. Interestingly, the Proton has steadily improved over the last few years and has ended up as one of the top VPNs on the market.

As a user, you gain access to over 1,900 servers in about 67 countries, which covers most regions and gives you a speedy connection. The free version offers more than 100 servers across 3 countries, which is okay for occasional users, although those looking for a deeper service should look into its paid-for model.

The Swiss VPN service is big on security and privacy too. You get secure AES-256-GCM encryption, along with DNS leak protection and Proton Secure Core (a feature that shields you against network attacks). Then, you get a kill switch and split tunnelling in the free package. If you want advanced features like an ad blocker and speed accelerator though, then you can consider switching to premium.

With free Proton, you can have a VPN on one device. But if you upgrade it, you can get up to 10 simultaneous connections. If you decide to switch to Proton Premium, you can also unlock streaming sites like Netflix and Amazon Prime. But if you’re sticking to the free version, do not expect it to work with these OTT platforms. Either way, it's a great VPN service to consider using.

Read More: Best NAS devices

Windscribe logo in white on a dark blue background.
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Credit: Windscribe

5. Windscribe

Best Android VPN for mobile-only users

Servers: 187 - Server Locations: 67 Countries - Protocol: OpenVPN, IKEv2/IPSec, WireGuard - Encryption: AES-256, ChaCha20 - Other Features: Kill Switch, Split Tunnelling, R.O.B.E.R.T, Decoy Mode, Double Hop

Windscribe may be a relatively new name on our list, but the VPN is loaded with features and specs that compete with the big names.

When you become a Windscribe user, you can access servers in over 67 countries, which is quite a decent spread. Even if you go for the free version, you can still access 10 servers from your Android phone.

The VPN is encrypted by robust AES-256 encryption, which ensures maximum protection, and you can double up your security with the Double Hop. It has a no-log policy too, which adds to its privacy and security, along with a Firewall feature, which switches off the internet traffic, in case the VPN drops.

Perhaps, Windscribe’s R.O.B.E.R.T is the highlight of this VPN. It’s a feature that obstructs malware, ads, and other trackers at a network level. For Android users, Windscribe also has a ‘Decoy Mode’, an advanced bit of tech that generates fake traffic to dodge VPN detection.

Windscribe gives its users unlimited bandwidth as well, so you can keep on browsing and streaming. The ad blocker ensures that your internet activity remains untraced, and no third parties interfere with it.

Along with this, you get split tunnelling, so you get to decide which apps and websites to use with a VPN connection. And with multiple simultaneous connections, all your devices will be safe, making it a great all-around VPN for Android users.

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Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

We've whipped up a quick FAQ section to answer the most popular questions about Android VPNs/

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Do I need an Android VPN?

VPNs protect your internet activity with a layer of encryption. And since most people use their phones to access the internet, it is advisable to have a VPN.

Virtual Private Network services ensure that your internet activities are not tracked, so you don't have to worry about your data getting leaked. VPNs also block annoying ads, shield your device against malware attacks, and much more.

With an Android VPN, you can also get past the geo-restrictions and access content in other regions. So, if you are someone who is concerned about privacy and your internet activity being tracked, then you should consider investing in an Android VPN.

Are Android VPNs safe?

In short, yes, Android VPNs are safe as long as the service is trustworthy. VPNs are meant to mask your internet ventures, shield your browsing habits from trackers, and secure your device against malware.

So, while VPNs are supposed to keep you safe, you should find a trustworthy, reputable service. This is why it's always safe to invest in a VPN rather than accepting free services from "too good to be true" shady websites.

In worst cases, when you download a suspicious VPN, the service may slow down your internet speed, sell your data to advertisers, or do something similar.

To conclude the point, VPNs are safe if you get the services from a reputable brand. And that's why do your homework before you sign up for anything.

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