Android VPN Setup
Today’s interconnected world brings online privacy and security concerns to the fore more than ever, be it while at home or on-the-go. So would you rather live with and ignore the threat while censoring yourself, or do something to protect your sensitive information?
Android supports VPNs – if you have an phone or tablet, you can easily connect to it. VPNs on Android have a variety of uses, including downloading apps not available in your country, encrypting your browsing on public Wi-Fi, or just connecting to a company network on the road.
What is a VPN?
In short, a VPN allows you to connect your device up to a secure connection over the Internet. VPNs can do a lot of things, such as letting you access region-restricted websites, keep your data secure, hide your browsing activity on a public Wi-Fi network and more.
To answer the question more technically, when you connect your device up to a VPN your browsing is routed through servers across the world, which provide a proxy IP address. In example, let’s say there’s a server based in Japan that you connect up to. All your Internet traffic is routed to that server where you’ll be be provided with a proxy IP address. So, if you’re based in the United States and are surfing the web, websites won’t see a US-based IP address — they’ll see a Japanese one.
Android Integrated VPN Support
Android has integrated support for PPTP and L2TP VPNs. You can connect to these types of VPNs without installing any third-party apps. To connect to a compatible VPN, open the Settings app and tap More under Wireless & networks. On Android 2.3, tap Wireless & Networks.
The Android platform has an outstanding built-in PPTP VPN connection tool. For the PPTP connection, you’ll need to gather the following information before beginning the setup process:
- VPN address/hostname.
- VPN service credentials.
Once you have this information, you’re ready to begin the set up. VPN connections are created from within the Wireless And Network settings window.
Tap the VPN option on the Wireless & networks screen. (On Android 2.3, tap VPN Settings.)
Tap the + button and provide the VPN’s details. Enter a name to help you remember which VPN is which into the Name field, select the type of VPN server you’re connecting to, and enter the VPN server’s address (either an address like vpn.example.com or a numerical IP address).
Tap the VPN to connect once you have set it up. You can have multiple VPN servers configured and switch between them from the VPN screen. You will need the username and password your VPN requires when you connect. Enable Encryption: This is set by default, and should be left alone. However, you can save this account information for next time.
While connected to a VPN, you will see a persistent “VPN activated” notification in your notifications drawer. To disconnect, tap the notification and tap Disconnect.
Always-On VPN Mode
Android 4.2 includes the option to enable always-on VPN mode. When this option is enabled, Android will never allow data to be sent except over the VPN. This can be useful if you are using public Wi-Fi and want to ensure your VPN is always used.
To enable this option, you must first connect to a VPN and save your account information. You will then find the option under the menu button.
Again, this feature is only offered in Android 4.2, so you won’t see it if your smartphone or tablet uses an older version of Android.
Best Android VPN Apps
VPN client should have: nice service speed, high software quality, good customer service responsiveness, big amount of servers & IP addresses and... available price. Using the points above, here is a list of the five best VPN apps for Android devices. Keep reading beyond the ranking summary for more information about each provider, and details on how to set up your VPN.
- VyprVPN is an excellent choice for Android users, but why? For starters, the VPN service is run by the Golden Frog internet privacy group, who have been on the cutting edge of web security since 1994. What’s more, VyprVPN have their own data centers (additionally premiering their own encryption software called Chameleon), resulting in blazing fast performance.
- ExpressVPN are consistently excellent across the board. Simply stated, they offer a fine Android specific app (maybe they envision Android having a dominant future) with extensive features and 24/7 support. What’s more, speed tests are consistently above average to great on mobile. Meanwhile, the 30-day money back to guarantee gives you a safety blanket to try the client without risk.
- AirVPN is a bit more technical than other services, with no bespoke Android client. Don’t worry though, the setup guides and configuration files to get started with OpenVPN are easy enough to get through once, if a bit tedious. What’s more, upon completion of the setup you’ll be treated to robust security, a plethora of customizable options, and consistently strong speeds. You see, on account of those features, now might be the time to give AirVPN a try.
- Mullvad is a nascent start-up company, which can at times cause some minor hiccups, but don’t fret as they’re always improving and offer a pretty good app to begin with. Here’s why: DNS leak protections, killswitch, port forwarding are all included. Meanwhile, unlike many competitors, Mullvad has a total no logging policy and no personal info is necessary for signup, with Bitcoin payments a much-appreciated option to preserve anonymity.
- IPVanish offer servers in over 40 countries, at fast speeds, to boot! But that’s just part of the story. Sadly, p2p file sharing isn’t allowed, by extension calling into question whether IPVanish keep usage logs. They say they don’t. Meanwhile, there are instances of “cease and desist” letters from their service, so be wary of this. Regardless, IPVanish is great as a mobile solution and more than adequate for all users save those looking for the highest levels of anonymity.
As it turns out Android is better suited to using VPN technology than iOS, with comparatively more VPN providers offering dedicated support and bespoke Android clients, those yet to update to OpenVPN.