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3 Best Android VPN Apps 2021: Tested Netflix, Safety + More

Dawn Teh Last Updated by Dawn Teh on April 19, 2021

There are over 200 Android VPNs for you to choose from – but not all of them can be trusted. Some simply don’t work (I learned this the hard way), and many could infect your device with dangerous malware or steal your private information. I also found that app ratings are unreliable. Many 5-star rated VPNs do not actually have the best features or performance, so I suspect if the ratings come from real users.

That’s why I decided to test over 39 top VPNs on my phone (running on Android 10) to find the 3 best Android VPNs. The recommended VPNs on this list have strong security features to safeguard your personal information, and fast speeds for mobile streaming, gaming, and torrenting. They also have native Android apps that work with all the latest Android versions, so it’s easy to set up on your phone.

Try ExpressVPN for Android today

If you want a quick answer – my testing showed that ExpressVPN is the top choice due to its winning combination of fastest speed, security features, and value for money. Also, you can try it on your Android risk-free for 30 days with its 30-day money-back guarantee. I tested it and was surprised at how easy it was to get my money back (after 5 days!).

Quick Guide: 3 Best VPNs for Android (Tested in 2021)

  1. ExpressVPN – Protects your Android with advanced security features.
  2. CyberGhost – Consistently unblocks content on Android with streaming-optimized servers, but slower for torrenting.
  3. PrivateVPN – Easily bypass VPN blocks on your Android, but has slow speeds.

Try ExpressVPN for Android today

3 Best Fast and Secure VPNs for Android in April 2021

1. ExpressVPN – Best Security Features on Android to Keep Your Information Safe

Key Features:

  • 3,000+ servers in 90+ countries with unlimited bandwidth and fast speeds for smooth streaming
  • All servers support torrenting
  • Kill switch, TrustedServer technology (no data stored on servers), AES 256-bit encryption, and no-logs policy to keep your Android data safe and private
  • Connect up to 5 devices simultaneously
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

When it comes to security and privacy, I fully trust ExpressVPN. It secures your online traffic with military-grade AES 256-bit encryption so everything you do online is protected. What stood out for me was ExpressVPN’s TrustedServer technology – this feature erases all data from their RAM-servers with every reboot so none of your information is ever stored (and there’s nothing there for hackers to steal). As an additional safeguard, its tried-and-tested no-logs policy ensures your data will never be released to anyone else – not even if your government requests for it. ExpressVPN also goes through independent audits (with reputable firms like PwC) and makes these reports public. The fact that it provides users with this level of transparency gives me full confidence to trust it.

Even though a VPN encrypts all your information, it is still possible for IP leaks to happen. Fortunately, ExpressVPN passed all DNS, WebRTC, and IPv4 leak tests. This reassured me that my location and other online activities won’t be revealed to hackers or government surveillance agencies.

Screenshot of ExpressVPN's leak test results while connected to a server in the UK

I didn’t find any IP address leaks with ExpressVPN, which means my location was kept private

The only minor disadvantage I found was that ExpressVPN doesn’t have an in-built ad-blocker. I’ve never needed this so it wasn’t an issue for me (I use a separate ad blocker).

In addition to providing strong security, my tests also revealed that ExpressVPN has fast server speeds for uninterrupted mobile streaming on Android. I only experienced a 14% decrease in speed after connecting to ExpressVPN compared to when I didn’t have a VPN connected. Furthermore, these fast speeds were maintained even when I connected to different servers around the world. This was important to me because I often access streaming websites from different countries. When I tested servers in the US, UK, and Japan, all speeds were between 18-22Mbps – more than enough for streaming in HD. It didn’t matter if I was watching Orange Is the New Black on US Netflix or EastEnders on BBC iPlayer. I always managed to stream my favorite shows in HD without lag or buffering.

ExpressVPN’s fast speeds aren’t just good for streaming, I also found it was good for quick torrenting. It only took me 2 minutes to download a 30-minute TED talk (500MB) while I continued to browse the web. It’s unlimited bandwidth also means you can download as much as you like without worrying about your speed slowing down. All of ExpressVPN’s servers are also optimized for torrenting, so you can select any of them and start downloading securely.

ExpressVPN offers a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can always test out its fast streaming speeds for free. Just contact their customer service and they will immediately process your request for a refund. I received my refund in just 5 days, which was very fast compared to some VPNs. Do note that the app does not support in-app sign up for subscriptions, so you will need to sign up through their website before downloading the app.

  • ExpressVPN works on: Android 5.0 and up, Android tablets, Amazon Fire TV, Kindle, Windows, macOS, iOS, Linux, routers, Chrome, Firefox, PlayStation, Xbox, Switch, Apple TV, and Smart TVs
  • ExpressVPN unblocks: Netflix, Disney+, YouTube TV, BBC iPlayer, Sling TV, Fubo TV, Hulu, HBO, ESPN, and more
  • P2P-optimized servers for Android: Yes
  • Ad and malware blocker: No
  • Android app kill switch: Yes

Try ExpressVPN free for 30 days

April 2021 Update! ExpressVPN has dropped prices for a limited time to a crazy $6.67 per month for the 1-year plan (you can save up to 49%) + 3 months free! This is a limited offer so be sure to grab it now before it's gone. See more information on this offer here.

2. CyberGhost – Consistently Unblocks Content on Android With Streaming-Optimized Servers

Key Features:

  • 6,500+ servers in 90 countries, with streaming-optimized servers that consistently unblock restricted content
  • All servers support torrenting
  • Kill switch, NoSpy servers for extra data privacy, malware and ad blocker, 256-bit AES encryption, and strict no-logs policy keeps your information safe
  • Connect up to 7 devices simultaneously
  • 45-day money-back guarantee

I was really excited when I saw that CyberGhost’s streaming-optimized servers are also available on its Android app. These servers are specially configured so you’ll be able to consistently unblock all your favorite content on sites like US Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Disney+, and more. I tried connecting to these various popular sites 12 times using different servers over 3 days on my Google Pixel. CyberGhost helped me to bypass restrictions every single time, and I happily caught up on my favorite shows from my phone.

Screenshot of CyberGhost's streaming-optimized servers

CyberGhost’s streaming-optimized servers were good at unblocking content for me to watch on my Android

In terms of speed, CyberGhost was slightly slower than ExpressVPN. Fortunately, this didn’t significantly affect my streaming experience. I was still able to watch Stranger Things on US Netflix in HD with less than 10 seconds of buffering, which wasn’t too long of a wait

CyberGhost usually has a P2P server tab that’s easy to locate on the desktop apps, but this is unfortunately not available on Android. To connect to their torrenting servers, I had to manually look through the server list on its website – which was slightly inconvenient. I also found that the download speeds were slower than ExpressVPN. For smaller sized files, it may not matter much as it took me about 7 minutes to download a 500MB video. However, if you’re planning on downloading full HD movies, ExpressVPN would be a better choice.

One of CyberGhost’s great security features is that its kill switch function is automatically enabled. So you won’t have to worry about remembering to turn on the kill switch while you’re torrenting. On top of that, it uses 256-bit AES encryption to secure your data and has a strict no-logs policy. This means you can be sure that all your online activities will be kept private from your ISP, hackers, or government surveillance.

You can try CyberGhost’s Android app features risk-free by taking advantage of its 45-day money-back guarantee. That’s a lot longer than many VPNs, and will give you plenty of time to watch your favorite Netflix shows on its streaming-optimized servers. If you’re not happy with the service, you can always ask for a refund.

  • CyberGhost also works on: Android 4.1 and up, Android tablets, Android TV, Amazon Fire TV, Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, Chrome, Firefox, and routers
  • CyberGhost unblocks: Netflix, HBO Now, Amazon Prime, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, YouTube TV, SlingTV, Fubo TV, and more
  • P2P-optimized servers for Android: Yes
  • Ad and malware blocker: Yes
  • Android app kill switch: Yes

Try CyberGhost free for 45 days

April 2021 Update: CyberGhost has dropped prices for a limited time to a crazy $2.25 per month for the 3-year plan (you can save up to 83%)! This is a limited offer so be sure to grab it now before it's gone. See more information on this offer here

3. PrivateVPN – Bypass Firewalls on Android in Countries That Restrict VPN Use

Key Features:

  • 150+ servers in 60 countries, with dedicated streaming servers that reliably unblock content
  • P2P-optimized servers for smooth torrenting
  • Stealth VPN, Military-grade encryption, and no logs policy keeps your online activities private
  • Connect up to 6 devices simultaneously
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

PrivateVPN is an ideal choice if you plan to use your Android in a country with strict VPN restrictions. When my team and I tested it in the UAE, I had no issues accessing blocked services like WhatsApp and Skype. Even when I tried it in China (which has one of the toughest firewalls in the world), I was impressed because it was one of the few VPNs to work there consistently. I easily accessed blocked websites like YouTube videos, Wikipedia, and Facebook with no problems. This is because it has special Stealth VPN technology that disguises your VPN traffic as regular internet traffic – which means your VPN usage is undetectable to third parties. The fact that it hid my VPN traffic gave me peace of mind knowing that local authorities couldn’t see that I was using a VPN (and helped me to avoid unnecessary troubles).

Screenshot of PrivateVPN Android app showing Stealth VPN feature which helps to bypass VPN blocks

PrivateVPN hides your VPN traffic so third parties won’t be able to see you’re using a VPN

Specialized streaming and torrenting servers are also available on PrivateVPN’s Android app. I found the average speed of 15.1Mbps to be on the slower side while connected to these servers. Downloading a 500MB file took me about 10 minutes, which I felt was slightly slow for a small file. Fortunately, this did not greatly impact my streaming experience. I was able to watch Stranger Things on US Netflix in standard definition with just a few seconds of buffering.

If you’re planning a short trip to a country where VPN use is blocked, you can try out PrivateVPN’s stealth features for free using its 30-day money-back guarantee. If you’re not satisfied, just contact customer service for a refund. This makes it a totally risk-free way to see if all the functions work for your needs.

  • PrivateVPN works on: Android 4.1 and higher, Windows, macOS, iOS, Kodi, Linux, and routers
  • PrivateVPN unblocks: Hulu, ESPN, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, BBC iPlayer, Netflix, and more
  • P2P-optimized servers for Android: Yes
  • Ad and malware blocker: No
  • Android app kill switch: Yes

Try PrivateVPN for free for 30 days

Quick Comparison of Android VPN Features

ExpressVPN CyberGhost PrivateVPN
Money-back guarantee period 30 days 30 days 30 days
Simultaneous connections 6 5 Unlimited
Streaming-optimized servers Yes Yes Yes (but some lag)
P2P-optimized servers Yes Yes Yes
Kill Switch Yes (only for Android 8.0 and up) Yes Yes
Ad and malware blocker Yes (only on .apk version) No Yes

How to Choose the Best VPN for Android

Knowing what to look out for in a good Android VPN can be difficult. I used the following selection criteria to narrow down the list of top 3 VPNs for Android:

  • Supports Android: The VPN must support your Android device (remember to check for version compatibility).
  • Fast speeds: So you don’t get frustrating slow downloads or buffering when streaming, gaming, or torrenting on mobile.
  • Strong core security features: Like kill switch, military-grade encryption, and a strict no-logs policy so that your data is kept secure from ISPs keeping track of your activities.
  • Sufficient Servers: To provide you with fast speeds and access to diverse geo-blocked content.
  • Offers a money-back guarantee: So that you can have a risk-free way to test it for yourself.

Try ExpressVPN for Android Today

Warning! Avoid These Android VPNs

1. Opera VPN

Opera may look enticing because it offers a free VPN with its web browser on its Android app. It claims to provide you with the safety and privacy of a traditional VPN. However, when you look at its privacy policy, you’ll see that it actually collects a lot of your private information (like what you read in the app’s news feed, and your general location). Worse still, it also sends you annoying target ads based on this information!

Also, Opera’s VPN service only works on its browser. So it won’t be able to secure your other online activities like torrenting on a P2P client.

Screenshot of Opera VPN privacy policy showing it logs users' personal information and sends targeted ads.

Your information is not private with Opera VPN, and it uses this data to send you ads

2. Hola VPN

Hola VPN is a free VPN that runs on a peer-to-peer network system. It works by routing traffic through the connections of other users, rather than through servers in different locations. This means that you’re actually allowing strangers to connect to your network and use your resources. There’s no way to know what other users are doing on your network, and you might even find your IP address linked to other user’s illegal activities. Also, your data also won’t be kept private with Hola VPN! It’s privacy policy states that it may log your IP address and even which websites you visit.

Screenshot of Hola VPN privacy policy showing it logs IP address

Hola VPN logs important information like your IP address and the website you visit

While these VPNs may be tempting because they’re free, it’s not worth sacrificing your online security to save money. Some free VPNs not only log your information, they may even infect your device with dangerous malware. It’s better to choose any of these 3 recommended VPNs that have strict no-logging policies – that means your data will be safe with them. Plus, they have money-back guarantee periods so you can also try them for free!

Try ExpressVPN for Android today

FAQs: VPNs and Android Devices

🎥 Which Android VPN is the best for watching Netflix?

I found that ExpressVPN is the best Android VPN for watching Netflix because it consistently bypassed its geo-blocking technology, and had fast streaming speeds. With thousands of servers worldwide, you’ll definitely be able to find a working server to unblock your preferred content. During my tests, I was able to access the US, UK, and Japan Netflix libraries. Streaming speed was also fast on ExpressVPN’s servers, and I’ve never experienced any lag or buffering while watching my favorite shows on different Netflix libraries.

Unblock Netflix on your Android today

🏆 Which is the fastest Android VPN?

I found that ExpressVPN had the fastest speeds on Android during my tests, which made it a great choice for streaming, downloading, and torrenting. My average speed without a VPN was 26.5Mbps, and with ExpressVPN it was 23.2Mbps. That’s only a 12% drop in speed, and I didn’t notice any change in streaming or gaming quality while connected. I managed to continue streaming Netflix in HD with zero buffer time and no lag.

Try ExpressVPN for Android today

💻 Which Android VPNs also work on PC?

If you’re looking for a VPN to work with your Windows PC and Android, all the recommended VPNs are compatible with both operating systems and more. You’ll also be able to connect multiple devices simultaneously with the services on this list. So with just 1 account, you can sign in on your Android, PC, and tablet at the same time and switch between them easily.

📺 Which VPNs work on Android TV?

All the VPNs on this list work with Android TV and even have native Android TV apps. This means that the set up is very easy. Just sign up for a VPN subscription with ExpressVPN, CyberGhost, or PrivateVPN before you download the app on your Android TV. Once you’ve logged in, select a server in your preferred location and you can securely watch content that’s usually blocked in your region.

💡 Do I need to download the OpenVPN client with these recommended VPNs?

No. Each of the recommended VPNs on this list has the OpenVPN protocol available on its native Android apps. To activate it, all you need to do is select it through the settings page of the app.

Other websites may suggest that you download third-party apps to set up the OpenVPN protocol – but I wouldn’t recommend this. You may only want to do this for VPN providers that do not have user-friendly apps and poor features. This is not necessary with the VPNs on this list because their native apps on this list have been optimized with its own network to give you the best speeds and security on the OpenVPN protocol.

🔧 How do I change my IP address on Android?

One of the easiest ways to change your IP address is to use a VPN. It encrypts all your online information (so that it’s unreadable to third parties), and provides you with an IP address from its own servers. For example, if you connect to a VPN server in the UK, it will appear to other websites that you are there.

Not only does it provide you with extra security and privacy, it also allows you to access content that would usually be blocked based on your location.

📍 Which Android VPNs work best in China?

Not many VPNs work well in China because its firewall technology is constantly being updated. During recent tests, my team and I only found ExpressVPN and PrivateVPN to work consistently in China. While PrivateVPN is more affordable, ExpressVPN has much better speeds for streaming. It also had no problems allowing me access to restricted websites like Wikipedia, YouTube, and Facebook.

If you’re unsure which to choose, you can try both VPNs for free using the 30-day money-back guarantee. I managed to get a refund from both VPN providers within a week after contacting customer service. Just remember to sign up and download the app before entering China as you won’t be able to download it once you’re there.

Try ExpressVPN for Android today

🚀 Will a VPN slow down my internet speed?

It depends on the type of VPN you use.

I’ve tested premium VPN services like ExpressVPN and found that they won’t significantly slow down your speed (unlike free VPNs). You might even get faster internet speeds in certain situations when using a quality VPN. For example, your ISP may reduce your bandwidth if it discovers you’re torrenting big files. On the other hand, connecting to a VPN means your ISP can’t see what you’re doing online and will have no reason to slow down your connection.

However, free VPNs will slow down your device’s internet connection. The majority cap data usage and have a limited number of servers that are overloaded with too many users.

Try ExpressVPN for Android today

📲 How do I set up a VPN on Android?

Don’t worry if you don’t know much about VPNs. It just takes a few simple steps to set it up on your Android device:

  1. Get a VPN subscription and note your username and password. You can try ExpressVPN risk-free for 30 days and see how simple it is to use it!
  2. Install the VPN app. You can download directly from your mobile browser (I always find this is easiest).
  3. Sign in to the app with your username and password. Start streaming and torrenting securely on your Android device!

To save you time, here are the Android app download pages for ExpressVPN, CyberGhost, and PrivateVPN.

✔️ Do the recommended VPNs on this list have native Android apps?

Yes. Every VPN on this list has a native Android app that’s available for download on its website. All you need to do is sign up for a subscription, download the app, and connect to your preferred server. You’ll be accessing blocked content and securely surfing the internet in minutes!

🔎 How do I download the APK version of a VPN?

Downloading the APK version from any of the recommended VPN’s websites is easy. To do this, you need to change the settings in your phone to allow apps from third-party developers to be downloaded. The exact instructions for this may be different for each device, but here are the general steps for most devices:

Non-Samsung devices:

  1. Sign up for a VPN and note your username and password. You can try ExpressVPN for your non-Samsung device (I found it fast and easy to use!).
  2. Go to Settings.
  3. Tap Security & Privacy > More Settings.
  4. Tap on Install apps from external sources/install unknown apps.
  5. Select the browser you want to download the APK file from. (e.g. Chrome)
  6. Toggle “allow app installs” ON.

Samsung devices:

  1. Sign up for a VPN and note your username and password. You can try ExpressVPN’s strong security features on your Samsung device.
  2. Go to Settings.
  3. Tap Biometrics and Security > Install unknown apps.
  4. Select the browser you want to download the APK file from. (e.g. Chrome)
  5. Toggle “allow app” installs ON.

Next, you can download the APK version of the VPN. For the recommended VPNs in this list, you can download ExpressVPN and PrivateVPN directly from the official websites. For CyberGhost, you’ll need to contact their customer service for links to their APK files.

Once you’ve downloaded it, there will be a prompt asking if you trust the app. Tap “confirm” and it will be installed to your device.

⚙️ How do I manually set up the kill switch function on my Android device?

Some VPNs will require some manual set up of the kill switch function – don’t worry, it’s not as complicated as you think. Each device will be a little different, but here are the general instructions:

  1. Disconnect your VPN.
  2. Go to your Android device’s Settings.
  3. Tap Wireless & Networks > Advanced > VPNs
  4. Tap on the gear icon next to your VPN
  5. Toggle “Always-on VPN” ON
  6. Toggle “Block connections without VPN” ON

❓ Why do I need a VPN for my Android device?

Any data that you send over the internet from your phone isn’t actually private. Hackers and your ISP can easily access all your information (and that includes emails, photos, and messages).

A Virtual Private Network (VPN) safeguards this information by encrypting it and redirecting your online traffic to a remote server. Your data becomes unreadable to anyone trying to intercept it, and even your IP address will be secret. This means a VPN will:

  • Protect your sensitive data so it can’t be stolen, which is particularly important on public WiFi networks.
  • Keep you anonymous online by hiding your IP address and location.
  • Allow you to bypass censorship and geo-blocks, whether you need to get past restrictions at work or bypass the Great Firewall of China.

Try ExpressVPN for Android today

💰 Why should I pay when I can get a free Android VPN?

You can find many free Android VPNs – but you’ll be exposing yourself to serious security risks.

Many free VPNs make their money by selling your information to third parties like advertising companies. Free VPNs can also infect your device with dangerous malware, use weak encryption, and display advertisements on your device.

Though there are some decent free Android VPNs, bear in mind that they don’t have the fastest speeds, the best security, or the most user-friendly platforms. Some also put limitations on what servers you can connect to or how much bandwidth you can use, while others only allow you to use one device at a time.

I have tested these 3 quality VPNs which have strong security standards. They have strict no-logs policies and will never share your information with advertisers, so you can be sure that your personal information will not be compromised.

🔎 Are VPNs legal?

VPNs are completely legal in most countries. However, countries like China, Turkey, Iraq, and Russia heavily censor content and ban the use of VPNs. If you’ll be using your VPN abroad, always check the local laws before you go to avoid trouble.

In the case of China, they have a specific list of approved VPNs which are usually monitored by the government. The use of any other VPN can result in a fine for China citizens. However, for foreigners, it’s a legal gray area and I’ve never heard of foreigners being fined for using non-approved VPNs.

Get a Fast and Secure VPN for Your Android

Don’t make the same mistake I did by following the Google Play Store ratings to find a VPN. Many don’t work, or worse – could infect your Android with malware. The VPNs on this list have been thoroughly tested, so you can be assured these are all legitimate services.

Of all the VPN’s I tested, ExpressVPN stood out to me as the best all-round VPN for Android with its strong security features and fast speeds. You can even try it using its 30-day money-back guarantee. It’s a great way to test out its fast servers for streaming, gaming, and torrenting.

Every VPN on this list also has a refund policy, so you can test every feature on your Android before you commit to a subscription. I’ve personally tested requesting refunds from these services and I never had an issue getting my money back. It’s a risk-free way to try a VPN on your Android device for yourself.

Try ExpressVPN for Android today

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Dawn Teh
Written By Dawn Teh
Dawn is a cybersecurity content writer. She enjoys updating readers about the latest trends in tech and online security.