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When choosing the best VPN for Android, you want the perfect balance of speed, accuracy and robust security. We test the top mobile VPNs from NordVPN, ExpressVPN, Surfshark, CyberGhost and HMA.

Android users make up over 70 per cent of the global operating system market. In today’s hyper-connected world, many are concerned with maintaining their online privacy and employ virtual private networks or VPNs. 

The digital landscape is rife with potential threats, heightening the need for a robust shield. The best VPNs for Android are designed to deliver that much-needed layer of security with effective ad blockers and strong privacy protocols and allow Android users to hide their online activities. 

But which VPN is best for your Android device? 

There are reliable free VPN Android apps, but many lack the robust features paid-for apps deliver, so this article focuses on paid services. Our experts have tested Android VPN apps and analysed their security protocols, privacy features and overall performances, allowing you to choose the best one for your needs.

Our top three VPNs for Android

In our testing, each of these VPNs demonstrated excellent levels of security, along with fast download and streaming speeds. All ideal for you mobile VPN needs.

The best VPNs for Android compared

We understand that choosing a VPN provider can be a daunting task, especially if you’re not familiar with the technology. In this guide, we will examine some of the top providers out there, looking specifically at features such as encryption protocols, server network, connection speed and customer support, to help you make an informed decision on which is the best option for you. 

Specifically, we’ll be looking at NordVPN, ExpressVPN, Surfshark, CyberGhost, and HMA, all of which have robust, Android-compatible apps and a range of features that match our criteria for choosing the best VPN for Android devices. Each of these services has something to offer users with specific needs, so we’re confident you’ll find the best provider for your needs.

Price From £2.49/m From £6.77/m From £1.79/m From £1.78/m From £2.39/m
Free version No No No No No
Max number of connected devices 6 5 Unlimited 7 10
Number of servers 5500+ 3000+ 3200+ 9000+ 1090+
AES-256 encryption Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Audited no-log policy Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Where to buy Get Now Get Now Get Now Get Now Get Now

The best VPNs for Android reviewed

Here’s what our experts rate as the best VPNs for Android.

Editor’s Choice – NordVPN: Best overall

NordVPN logo featured thumbnail
  • Free version: No
  • Maximum number of connected devices: 6
  • Number of servers: 5577
  • Encryption: AES-256
  • VPN protocols: IKEv2/IPsec, OpenVPN and NordLynx
  • No-log policy: Yes
  • Audited: Yes
  • Headquarters: Panama
  • Pricing:
  • NordVPN 2 year
    £2.49
    /month
    NordVPN 1 year
    £3.59
    /month
    NordVPN 1 month
    £10.39
    /month

Pros

Exceptionally user-friendly app Robust range of features

Cons

More expensive than other options

If you’re looking for a VPN service that provides high-level security and privacy features along with a wide selection of servers, NordVPN is definitely worth considering. One of the most trusted names in the business, the company utilises powerful encryption protocols to safeguard your online activities and sensitive data from hackers and other online dangers. So security-conscious is NordVPN that it makes its headquarters in Panama, which isn’t party to any international surveillance alliances, and the company regularly invites independent auditors to verify its strict no-logs policy on storing user data. 

Cost

NordVPN offers three different subscription options: the Standard, Plus, and Complete plans. Regardless of which plan you select, you’ll be entitled to a 30-day money-back guarantee, and you can pay monthly, annually, or bi-annually. The longer the subscription period you choose, the lower your monthly cost will be. This is especially evident when looking at two-year plans. A current promotion sees an asking price of £2.49 per month, which works out to be a significant saving, while three extra months free is a decent added incentive if you’re on the fence.

Subscription Term Standard plan Plus plan Complete plan
Monthly £10.39 ($13.26) / month £11.19 ($14.28) / month £13.09 ($16.71) / month
12 months (+3 months free) £3.59 ($4.58) / month (£53.85/$68.74 up front for 15 months) £4.39 ($5.60) / month (£65.85/$84.06 up front for 15 months) £6.39 ($8.16) / month (£95.85/$122.36 up front for 15 months)
24 months (+3 months free) £2.49 ($3.18) / month (£67.23/$85.82 up front for 27 months) £3.19 ($4.07) / month (£86.13/$109.95 up front for 27 months) £5.19 ($6.63) / month (£140.13/$178.89 up front for 27 months)

Security

NordVPN adheres to a strict no-log policy and has opened its practices to independent auditors at PricewaterhouseCoopers for scrutiny as recently as January 2023.

NordVPN uses the AES encryption standard with 256-bit keys to keep your data safe and secure online. What’s more, it supports three different VPN protocols – IKEv2/IPsec, OpenVPN and the WireGuard-based NordLynx – to transmit your data to its more than 5,500 servers across 60 countries. 

Users can also utilise its Threat Protection feature to protect against malware and Meshnet, which allows you to link directly with other devices to game together or share files securely.

User experience

NordVPN’s app provided one of the best user experiences in our quest to find the best VPN for Android. The app loads and immediately you see a large button to tap for a quick connection, meaning you can literally get up and running securely in one second. This will give you a quick connection to a server in your current location, eg the UK, but scrolling down the interface gives you access to the other locations around the world. Should you wish not to scroll, there’s a search bar beneath the quick connect button.

Everything is available on the main screen, including Meshnet and specialty servers. It’s so user-friendly that even your friends and family who may struggle with technology will find it intuitive to use. Customers on the whole love how fast and easy it is to use. The majority of negative comments seem to be complaints about Netflix making it harder to access geo-blocked content via VPNs.

Performance

In our recent speed tests, NordVPN demonstrated a robust performance on Android. Although the uploads slowed down with the distance to the VPN server used, the connection was fast enough to support most online activities typically performed on Android devices. Connecting to a UK server, it managed to maintain close to two-thirds of the baseline download speed, but uploads were lower at a third of the no-VPN level, which might affect upload-dependent tasks. 

Switching to a US VPN server, we registered consistent download performance, retaining the speed of the UK-to-UK scenario. However, uploads slowed down to a quarter of the reference speed, indicating some limitations for activities involving substantial data sharing. As expected, the connection to Australia showed a more significant speed drop in both downloads and uploads, decreasing to 39 and 11 per cent of the baseline speeds, respectively. 

Combined with considerable ping spikes, this performance degradation could impact real-time interactions and streaming quality, potentially raising considerations for users with excessive bandwidth needs. Despite the decrease in upload speeds and increased latency across longer distances, NordVPN offers dependable download speeds for most Android users. 

Speed test result without activating NordVPN. This is the baseline against which we measure the impact of the VPN on speed and latency. Below the readings of the download and the upload speeds are the ping (latency) in milliseconds and the amount of data downloaded (green) and uploaded (purple) during the test (in megabytes) (Independent Advisor)

Speed test results

Download speed (Mbps) Upload speed (Mbps) Latency (ping) Percentage of base download speed Percentage of base upload speed
No VPN 329 296 5
UK to UK 211 94.4 52 64% 32%
UK to US 209 75.8 123 64% 26%
UK to Aus 129 33.2 657 39% 11%

Date tested: 17/12/23

Customer service

NordVPN has a handy Help Center within the Profile section of the app. Within this you can contact customer support. This is always useful, and some companies make you wade through several rounds of troubleshooting guides before speaking to a human. Thankfully, not here. 

The NordVPN Android app works on all Android devices and enjoys a 4.4 rating on the Google Play Store. Customers praise the app’s ease of use and reliable performance, with many users reporting fast and stable internet speeds while using the service. Additionally, customer support is often cited as a positive aspect of the service, with many users praising the company’s responsive and helpful support team.

Verdict

NordVPN boasts an extensive range of features and robust security. Its Meshnet and Threat Protection tools block trackers and malware, meaning you can surf the web in peace. But its speed issues in this test are something to consider.

★★★★½

Read our full NordVPN review.

Today’s best NordVPN deals
NordVPN 2 year £2.49 /Month
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NordVPN 1 year £3.59 /Month
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NordVPN 1 month £10.39 /Month
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ExpressVPN: Best for downloading

  • Free version: No
  • Maximum number of connected devices: 5
  • Number of servers: 3,000+
  • Encryption: AES-256
  • VPN protocols: Lightway, L2TP/IPsec, OpenVPN, IKEv2, PPTP, WireGuard, SSTP
  • No-log policy: Yes
  • Audited: Yes
  • Headquarters: British Virgin Islands
  • Pricing:
  • ExpressVPN 12 month
    £6.77
    /month
    ExpressVPN 6 month
    £8.12
    /month
    ExpressVPN 1 month
    £10.53
    /month

Pros

Extensive range of VPN protocols Very accurate and reliable

Cons

The most expensive option

ExpressVPN is one of the more well-known mobile VPNs and all-round performer, offering a blend of features such as speed, accuracy, and strict privacy protections. Its no-log policy and automatic kill switch, along with its wide range of servers around the world, provide a strong layer of security to users. Users also benefit from uncapped bandwidth and simultaneous connections, making it a convenient choice for families who have multiple devices connected to the internet at any one time.

Cost

ExpressVPN is one of the best VPNs for Android, but it’s also one of the more expensive services you can buy. You can opt for monthly, six months, or annual subscriptions, the latter of which is the cheapest when broken down by monthly price. It’s worth noting that all three plans come with a 30-day money-back guarantee, and they offer the same set of features and support for all devices.

Subscription Term Price
Monthly £10.53 ($13.36) / month
6 months £8.12 ($10.30) / month (£48.75/$61.84 up front)
12 months £6.77 ($8.59) / month (£81.29/$103.11 up front)

Security

ExpressVPN boasts a suite of features designed to protect your data, including 256-bit AES encryption, DNS leak protection, and a strict no-logs policy. It also offers a kill switch for Android devices, which automatically disconnects you from the internet if your VPN connection drops, preventing your data from being exposed.

ExpressVPN’s dedication to privacy is evident in its mission statement, which places a high priority on safeguarding user data. The company further demonstrates its commitment to accountability and transparency by regularly inviting independent auditors to review its privacy policy and test its technology.

User experience

ExpressVPN is the easiest to use of the VPNs for Android being tested here. The app opens to a large power button, and a Smart Location feature identifies where you’re located and the nearest server with the best connection. Should you wish to change your location, tap the suggested location and it will present you with a menu of recommended locations, filtered for various purposes. Or you can view all and choose another location.

ExpressVPN receives almost overwhelmingly positive reviews from its users. Many praise its unlimited bandwidth and strong security features. Complaints tend to be around slower connection speeds, which is certainly an issue we found in our test. 

Performance

In our most recent tests on Android, ExpressVPN proved its strong focus on security and privacy despite the speed decrease, which was particularly noticeable over longer distances. Connecting to a UK server, the service experienced performance degradation, retaining just over a third of the baseline for both download and upload speeds. These bandwidths were still sufficient to cater to the needs of most Android users.

The connection to US VPN servers maintained the download speed of the UK-to-UK scenario. However, the uploads saw a significant drop to 15 per cent of the no-VPN speeds, potentially affecting online activities demanding high bandwidths. The performance further deteriorated when connecting to an Australian server, with download and upload speeds plummeting to 11 and 5 per cent of the baseline, accompanied by increased latency. 

Despite these limitations in speed, particularly for uploads, ExpressVPN’s extensive server network and commitment to privacy make it a solid option for Android users prioritising security over high-speed connections.

Speed test result without activating ExpressVPN. This is the baseline against which we measure the impact of the VPN on speed and latency. Below the readings of the download and the upload speeds are the ping (latency) in milliseconds and the amount of data downloaded (green) and uploaded (purple) during the test (in megabytes).

Speed test results

Download speed (Mbps) Upload speed (Mbps) Latency (ping) Percentage of base download speed Percentage of base upload speed
No VPN 337 280 4
UK to UK 120 98.2 55 36% 35%
UK to US 119 41.3 125 35% 15%
UK to Aus 36.9 13 428 11% 5%

Date tested: 17/12/23

Customer service

If we were grading the best VPN for Android on customer service alone, ExpressVPN would win hands down. In the footer menu of the app is a Help Center menu, within which you’ll find all sorts of helpful content, guides to all the common problems, a password manager and, crucially, a section titled Talk To A Human, via which you can email their team directly. Like with NordVPN, it’s so refreshing to see this offered here so early and prominently in the user journey.

ExpressVPN’s excellent customer support is really a standout feature, and many users note this, too, giving it rave reviews online. 

Verdict

In many ways, ExpressVPN is the most complete service, with outstanding privacy protocols and unlimited bandwidth. But its performance in our speed test lets it down slightly.

★★★★½

Read our full ExpressVPN review.

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ExpressVPN 12 month £6.77 /Month
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ExpressVPN 6 month £8.12 /Month
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ExpressVPN 1 month £10.53 /Month
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Surfshark: Best value

Surfshark VPN thumbnail
  • Free version: No
  • Maximum number of connected devices: Unlimited
  • Number of servers: 3,200
  • Encryption: AES-256
  • VPN protocols: WireGuard, IKEv2, OpenVPN
  • No-log policy: Yes
  • Audited: Yes
  • Headquarters: Netherlands
  • Pricing:
  • Surfshark 24 month
    £1.79
    /month
    Surfshark 12 month
    £2.29
    /month
    Surfshark 1 month
    £10.29
    /month

Pros

Unlimited number of connected devices Great value price

Cons

App not as intuitive as others

Surfshark is one of the more popular mobile VPNs owing to its expansive features and reliable performance. What really sets it apart, however, is that it allows for an unlimited number of connected devices at any time, which makes it excellent value considering it’s one of the cheapest VPNs on the market. It’s the only provider in this guide to offer this, which makes it the best Android VPN for families and businesses of all sizes. Among its features are AES 256-bit encryption, an independently verified no-log policy, multi-hop VPN, automatic kill switch and a vast network of over 3,200 servers in more than 63 countries.

Cost

Surfshark offers a similar pricing structure to other providers on our list, with monthly, annual and two-year plans available. It’s also worth noting that each subscription plan includes a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Subscription Term Price
Monthly £12.23 ($15.45) / month
12 months £2.29 ($2.90) / month (£32.06/$40.66 up front)
24 months (+2 months free) £1.79 ($2.27) / month (£46.54/$59.03 up front for 26 months)

Security

To ensure your online safety, Surfshark provides several privacy and security functions. For instance, its Multihop feature enables you to browse with a double VPN mode that secures your connection with encryption. It also boasts AES-256-bit encryption, a no-logs policy and a kill switch that safeguards your data in case of connection loss. You’ll also find a wide range of VPN protocols, such as OpenVPN, IKEv2, and WireGuard, and the option to choose split tunnelling.

Surfshark’s no-logs policy has recently undergone its first independent audit, and its server infrastructure receives regular independent assessments to ensure user protection.

User experience

Surfshark’s app is easy enough to use, but it’s not as intuitive as some of the other Android VPNs we’ve tested. When you load the app, the home screen has the familiar quick-connect button to your nearest server, but should you wish to use an alternate location, you have to navigate to another tab in the footer menu. In this folder, you’re presented with a list of locations from Albania to Vietnam, which you must scroll through to find your desired country – or type in using the search bar. Most of the other Android VPN apps tested here bunched some of the more popular locations, like the US and Australia, at the top to save you having to scroll or type.

There were a few other niggles with the interface. For instance, when you press disconnect, it won’t disconnect right away. The app asks you if you want to pause, and when you tap disconnect it asks again, giving you options to pause for different lengths of time. 

There are, however, a fair number of controls in the My Account tab, which allow you to enable features such as CleanWeb, Auto Connect and the kill switch.

Performance

Testing Surfshark on Android, we registered a relatively strong performance, with the expected speed variations depending on server distance. With the UK-to-UK connection, the VPN delivered acceptable service, maintaining 38 per cent of the baseline download speed and a surprisingly high upload speed at 72 per cent of the no-VPN level. 

When connecting to a US server, both download and upload speeds experienced a reduction, maintaining just over a quarter of the baseline download and upload speeds, still catering to most online activities on Android. The performance degraded further with the UK-to-Australia connections, maintaining 20 and 13 per cent of the download and upload speeds, respectively, potentially impacting streaming and gaming experiences. 

Despite these speed fluctuations, Surfshark continues to offer strong security features and a user-friendly interface on Android. It remains a viable choice for users who value affordability and feature richness despite the trade-offs in speed over distant connections.

Speed test result without activating Surfshark (Independent Advisor)

Speed test results

Download speed (Mbps) Upload speed (Mbps) Latency (ping) Percentage of base download speed Percentage of base upload speed
No VPN 323 303 5
UK to UK 122 219 54 38% 72%
UK to US 87.5 88.7 126 27% 29%
UK to Aus 63.9 40.1 354 20% 13%

Date tested: 17/12/23

Customer service

Surfshark provides excellent in-app customer service. Like the other best VPN for Android providers, the company makes it easy to speak to human members of its customer support team. Not only can you email the team directly, but there’s a 24/7 live chat option to get quick answers to your urgent questions. What’s more, all of Surfshark’s numerous tutorials and troubleshooting guides are available in-app. With all of these options at your disposal, you should never get stuck.

In reviews, customers laud the team’s accessibility, patience, and problem-solving approach. In cases where refunds are necessary, the team is also swift to act. 

Verdict

Surfshark shines in most areas, from features to price and security, but the very slow upload speeds outside the UK servers were concerning.

★★★★½

Read our full SurfShark review.

Today’s best Surfshark deals
Surfshark 24 month £1.79 /Month
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Surfshark 12 month £2.29 /Month
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Surfshark 1 month £10.29 /Month
£10.29 /Month

CyberGhost Best for speed

CyberGhost review thumbnail
  • Free version: No
  • Maximum number of connected devices: 7
  • Number of servers: 7000
  • Encryption: AES-256
  • VPN protocols: OpenVPN, IKEv2, WireGuard
  • No-log policy: Yes
  • Audited: Yes
  • Headquarters: Romania
  • Pricing:
  • CyberGhost 2 year
    £1.78
    /month
    CyberGhost 6 month
    £6.19
    /month
    CyberGhost 1 month
    £10.89
    /month

Pros

Exceptional reliability Well-priced longer term plans

Cons

High-costing monthly plan

CyberGhost is one of the more affordable VPNs for Android, which makes it a popular choice among those who want a secure and unrestricted internet experience. The company boasts a huge fleet of 7,000 servers across nearly 100 countries, making its service stable and accurate. This should particularly appeal to those heavy users who need reliability at all times.

As well as its affordability, CyberGhost also sets itself apart from the other mobile VPNs in this guide by offering a 45-day money-back guarantee when you take out one of its longer-term subscription plans.

Features-wise, you’ll benefit from AES 256-bit encryption, strict no-log policy, automatic kill switch, unlimited bandwidth and up to seven simultaneous connections.

Cost

Similar to other services in our best VPN for Android guide, CyberGhost dangles the carrot of a much-lower subscription rate for a longer commitment. Its monthly plan includes a 14-day refund policy. Interestingly, CyberGhost eschews the common one-year subscription plan and instead offers a six-month plan, as well as a two-year subscription, both of which come with a 45-day money-back guarantee.

It’s also worth noting that CyberGhost offers the unique option to add a dedicated IP to your plan in the UK, US, Australia and other select locations.

Subscription Term Price
Monthly £10.89 ($13.81) / month
6 months £6.19 ($7.85) / month (£37.14/$47.11 up front)
24 months (+2 months free) £1.78 ($2.26) / month (£49.92/$63.32 up front for 28 months)

Security

CyberGhost’s security measures include AES-256, anti-malware protection, IP leak protection, and a kill switch. In addition to these, the company implements a strict no-logs policy that has been independently audited by firms such as Deloitte.

User experience

CyberGhost is probably the best VPN for Android in terms of user-friendliness. Its app is incredibly simple and intuitive. When it loads, the home screen greets you with a large power button, and beneath it a quick-connect tool identifies your location and suggests a local server for the fastest connection. If you wish to change this, simply tap the suggested location and it brings up an alphabetical list of countries in which it has servers. A second tab contains servers optimised for streaming.

Performance

In our latest speed tests of CyberGhost on Android, the service showed consistent performance. Although we registered the noticeable impact of the VPN service on connection speeds, they were suitable for most Android users. The local UK connections maintained a decent 41 per cent of the no-VPN speed and robust three-quarters of the upload baseline speed in uploads, catering to a range of online activities like streaming and browsing. 

When connected to a US VPN server, download performance was slightly better than the UK-to-UK scenario, but uploads slowed down dramatically to a quarter of the base speed. Switching to an Australian server saw further moderate connection degradation, with download and upload speeds retaining 38 and 16 per cent of the baseline, which is reasonable for basic and moderate internet uses. 

Overall, CyberGhost continues to be a strong VPN option, offering a user-friendly interface and robust security features, making it suitable for Android users seeking a balance between performance and security.

Speed test result without activating CyberGhost (Independent Advisor)

Speed test results

Download speed (Mbps) Upload speed (Mbps) Latency (ping) Percentage of base download speed Percentage of base upload speed
No VPN 332 297 4
UK to UK 136 227 56 41% 76%
UK to US 149 68.1 125 45% 23%
UK to Aus 125 47.9 427 38% 16%

Date tested: 17/12/23

Customer service

Access to customer support isn’t as immediately clear in CyberGhost’s app as it is in the apps from other VPNs in this test, but you can still email the team directly. To do this, navigate to the settings menu (the cog icon at the top right of the screen) and select Report a Problem. You’ll also find an FAQ section with 13 articles that should also answer a fair number of your queries. 

CyberGhost posts overwhelmingly positive reviews from customers online. On Trustpilot, 85 per cent of its reviews are the full five stars, and another 9 per cent are four stars. This means that nearly everyone who uses CyberGhost gives it a positive review, and most of these cite its user-friendliness and reliability. 

Verdict

We loved the simplicity of the CyberGhost app’s design and the servers specifically optimised for different streaming services. Its 7,000 servers are the most of any Android VPN we tested, and it’s the most affordable of all. But it struggled with slow speeds and high latency in foreign servers.

★★★★

Read our full CyberGhost review.

Today’s best CyberGhost deals
CyberGhost 2 year £1.78 /Month
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CyberGhost 1 year £6.19 /Month
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CyberGhost 1 month £10.89 /Month
£10.89 /Month

HMA

hma-vpn-logo

  • Lowest price: £2.39 per month
  • Free version: 7-day free trial
  • Maximum number of connected devices: 10
  • Number of servers: 1090
  • Encryption: AES-256
  • VPN protocols: OpenVPN
  • No-log policy: Yes
  • Audited: Yes
  • Headquarters: UK

Pros

Fastest download and upload speeds of all the mobile VPNs on test

Cons

No monthly option

Formerly known as HideMyAss, the company has revamped its image in recent years, shortening its name to HMA and adopting a no-logs policy.

HMA’s servers operate at 20Gbps, and there are a host of interesting features like IP Shuffle, which randomises your IP address to avoid trackers, a kill switch (which blocks the internet if you lose your VPN connection) and Smart Kill Switch (which automatically launches HMA to protect your apps).

HMA has been trading for more than 15 years, making it one of the oldest VPN services on the market.

Cost

HMA’s pricing structure differs from all the other Android VPNs tested here. The company splits its plans into subscriptions for up to five connections and those for 10 connections. The former starts with a seven-day free trial and then you have the choice of 12 months or 36 months. The 10-connection subscriptions are divided into 12-, 24- and 36-month plans.

It’s worth noting that every plan includes all of HMA’s features and server access. There is also a 30-day money-back guarantee for all subscriptions.

Subscription term 5 connections 10 connections
Monthly £7.99 ($10.15) / month N/A
6 months £6.39 ($8.12) / month (£38.34/$48.72 up front) N/A
12 months £3.29 ($4.18) / month (£39.48/$50.17 up front) £5.99 ($7.61) / month (£71.88/$91.33 up front)
24 months £3.39 ($4.31) / month (£81.36/$103.38 up front) £4.99 ($6.34) / month (£119.76/$152.18 up front)
36 months £2.39 ($3.04) / month (£86.04/$109.33 up front) £4.59 ($5.83) / month (£165.24/$209.97 up front)

Security

When you look at user reviews online, many in the past have raised concerns about HMA’s data-logging policy and its relationship with law enforcement agencies. It should be noted that HMA addressed this in 2020 and now says it follows a strict no-logs policy. What’s more, the company hired veteran cyber-risk consultancy VerSprite to audit its practice and independently verify its privacy claims.

User experience

HMA’s Android app opens to a home screen with a donkey wearing sunglasses and a large quick connect button. Slide the button to On and it will connect you to your nearest server. The Settings and Advanced menus are very clearly marked at the bottom; however, we were a little uncertain as to the difference between these and, indeed, some of the same controls, such as Auto Connect and Kill Switch, are available in both menus. 

We also found the Locations menu a little odd. On the home screen, it shows your default location (your nearest server when first logging in). You need to tap this to enter the Locations menu. Inside, there are three sub-menus: Quick Access, All and Favourites. Favourites is self-explanatory, and Quick Access gives you the Lightning Connect option, where you’re automatically paired with the fastest server based on your location. You’ll also find optimised streaming servers here. In the All section, rather than bunching the most popular options at the top, locations are grouped by continent, starting with North America at the top. So it can involve a lot of scrolling or typing out your intended location in the search bar. 

In reviews, some customers have praised the service for its ease of use, fast speeds and reliable connection. Other customers have criticised the service for frequent disconnections and poor customer support. 

Performance

The results of our recent speed tests of HMA VPN on Android indicated relatively strong performance, with reasonable speeds, particularly in downloads. When connected to a UK server, the service managed to retain around half of the baseline download and upload speeds, catering to most online activities using Android devices. 

However, when switching to a US server, both download and upload speeds dropped further and levelled at 36 per cent, indicating potential limitations for more data-heavy activities. The connection to an Australian server mirrored the US in download speeds but saw a decline in uploads to 15 per cent, along with increased latency. 

These results suggest that HMA VPN provides a decent suite of features for Android users, prioritising privacy and user-friendliness. Its impact on speed and latency could be a consideration for users who require consistently high-speed internet access over longer distances.

Speed test result without activating HMA (Independent Advisor)

Speed test results

Download speed (Mbps) Upload speed (Mbps) Latency (ping) Percentage of base download speed Percentage of base upload speed
No VPN 332 268 5
UK to UK 169 125 57 51% 47%
UK to US 121 97.7 123 36% 36%
UK to Aus 121 39.6 295 36% 15%

Date tested: 17/12/23

Customer service

HMA’s customer service has received mixed feedback from customers. Some customers have praised its support teams for being helpful and responsive, but the majority appear to criticise it for being slow and unresponsive. In particular, some customers have highlighted difficulty in cancelling their subscription or getting refunds. 

And while it’s always important to take some of these claims with grains of salt because, for instance, people have different ideas on what qualifies as slow, HMA does score the worst in consumer reviews of all the VPNs in this guide. On Trustpilot, it has a meagre 1.7 out of five rating, and the company appears to be inactive in responding to these negative reviews. However, the provider fares better on Google Play, earning four out of five stars from Android customers.

Verdict

While the myriad negative consumer reviews are a little worrying, our experience with HMA was an easy-to-use, fast service that provided a stable and anonymous internet experience – everything you want from a VPN.

★★★★

Read our full HMA VPN review.

Today’s best HMA deal
HMA 3 year £2.39 /Month
£2.39 /Month

Are Android VPNs safe?

The prime reason users download an Android VPN is to protect their online identity and encrypt their data. Not all VPNs available on the Google Play Store are trustworthy. Google has introduced badges to highlight whether a VPN service is safe and has been independently audited by a security firm. 

Google’s App Defense Alliance (ADA) – launched in 2019 to protect Android and Google Play Store users from potentially harmful apps – has introduced the Mobile Security Assessment (MASA) to test apps against robust security standards. 

Android users can now look out for the ‘Independent Security Review’ badge in the data security section for Android VPNs. This lets you know it has been verified by Google. 

Is Android any more or less secure than iOS as an operating system?

Dr Phil LeggDr Phil Legg, Professor of Cyber Security at UWE

Android offers more control and customisation for users, which can be seen as both good and bad if inexperienced. Android devices can install apps from third-party sources, using the “Developer Mode”, meaning that users can install apps from other sources beyond the traditional app store. Of course, this can open up issues if installing untrustworthy software, but can also allow greater user control and customisation of the device. iOS, on the other hand, only allows users to install apps that Apple have approved via their App Store. Arguably, Apple has a much tighter control over what can be installed on iOS devices, whereas Android devices offer greater freedom to their users.

Why do you need a VPN for your Android phone?

Using a VPN on your Android phone has several benefits. First and foremost, it provides security and ensures privacy when using unsecured public wifi networks, such as those in coffee shops, airports and hotels, which can be easily hacked. By using a VPN, you can encrypt your data and keep your personal information and activities safe from prying eyes.

In addition, some apps, such as banking apps, are best used with a VPN to hide your identity online. This can help prevent hackers from gaining access to your personal and financial information.

How to set up a VPN on Android

Setting up a VPN on your Android phone is very straightforward. First, you’ll need to choose the best one for your needs, then download the app from the Google Play Store. Once you’ve installed the app, you’ll need to create an account and log in. If it’s a paid account, you’ll likely need to enter your payment details before you can get started.

Once your account is sorted, all you need to do to get up and running is select a server location and tap to connect. The whole process should only take a minute or two.

What to look for when buying a VPN for Android

When choosing the best VPN for Android devices, there are several factors to consider. Firstly, you should look for a provider that offers fast connection speeds, as slower download and upload speeds can make it difficult to do certain activities, such as download files or stream video content. 

You should also choose a provider with a large fleet of servers in numerous locations around the world. More server options increases the stability, reliability and accuracy of a VPN.

Another consideration is how many people (and devices) will be using your VPN. Some providers cap bandwidth or restrict the number of devices that can connect to the VPN, so if you’re a business or family of heavy internet users, you’ll want a plan that ensures everyone on your network is covered. What’s more, some VPN providers offer a split tunnelling feature that allows you to route some devices on your network through the VPN and others as normal.

Finally, you should choose a provider that offers robust security features. In particular, look for a VPN that uses AES-256 encryption and has an independently audited no-logs policy, to ensure your online activity remains private.

Why you shouldn’t get a free VPN for Android from the Google Play Store

While there are many free VPN for Android apps available on the Google Play Store, you should exercise caution when using them. Many free VPNs fail to offer the same level of security and privacy as paid versions. Some free services also make their money by selling your data to third-party advertisers, which can compromise your privacy. 

There’s also servers and connection quality to consider, as well. Free VPNs typically don’t have a large fleet of servers, so connections can be slow and unstable. It’s generally recommended to choose a paid VPN provider.

If you do still want to try one, then our testers say that the best free VPN for Android is the free version of ProtonVPN. ProtonVPN is a reputable company, so your data should be safe.

How a VPN for Android can save you money when shopping online

Using a VPN for Android can also help you save money when shopping online by allowing you to change your IP address to a location where the product you’re interested in is cheaper. For example, if you’re shopping for a flight, sometimes flights are cheaper if you purchase them in the destination country. With a VPN, you can change your location to try to find cheaper fares. This can help you save money on your purchases and get access to better deals in other markets.

Best VPN for Android Q&A

A VPN on a phone works just the same as it does on a computer by creating a secure and encrypted connection to a server in another location. When you use your Android phone to connect to the internet, your data traffic is routed through this encrypted tunnel, effectively hiding your internet activity from your internet service provider or any third parties who might be trying to monitor or intercept your data. This process also masks your IP address, making your online actions appear as if they’re originating from the location of the VPN server, not your actual location. To use a VPN on your Android phone, you’ll need to download the provider’s app from the Google Play Store and sign in to your account on your device.

The decision whether to use a VPN on your Android phone depends on your specific needs and concerns. If you regularly connect to public wifi networks, a VPN can provide an added layer of security by protecting your data from potential hackers on the same network. If you’re concerned about privacy and wish to prevent your internet service provider or websites from tracking your online activities, a VPN can help obscure your online footprint. However, keep in mind that a VPN can sometimes slow down your internet speed, and not all services are created equal —some may not adequately protect your data, so it’s crucial to choose a reliable provider that’s best suited to your needs.

Yes, using a VPN can affect your mobile data usage. A VPN encrypts your data, which can increase the total amount used. This is because encryption requires additional data to encapsulate your original data, potentially increasing your usage by around 5 to 15 per cent. In addition, the speed of your mobile data connection might be slightly slower when you’re connected to a VPN due to the extra steps your data has to go through. However, this effect on speed largely depends on the quality of your VPN service and the distance between you and your chosen server.

Some of the commonly recommended, best free Android VPNs include:

1. ProtonVPN: Known for its strong privacy policy and no data limit, making it unique among free VPNs. It’s the best free unlimited VPN for Android.
2. Windscribe: Offers a good balance of speed and security, and has a generous data cap for free users.
3. Hotspot Shield: Provides a daily data allowance and decent speeds.
4. TunnelBear: It’s user-friendly with a fun interface, though it does have a monthly data limit.

However, it’s worth bearing in mind that free VPNs often come with limitations such as data caps, fewer server locations, or slower speeds, and they may not have the same level of privacy policies as their paid counterparts. It’s always important to research and choose a VPN that best meets your specific needs and to understand the potential trade-offs when using a free service.

Windscribe is probably the best free VPN for Android without registration. It has a decent data cap and can be used without registration, although if you do register, you’ll unlock more data. Windscribe can be downloaded as an apk or from the Google Play Store.

Round up of today’s best VPN deals
NordVPN 2 year £2.49 /Month
£2.49 /Month
Surfshark 24 month £1.79 /Month
£1.79 /Month
ExpressVPN 12 month £6.77 /Month
£6.77 /Month
CyberGhost 2 year £1.78 /Month
£1.78 /Month
Proton 2 year £4.27 /Month
£4.27 /Month
PIA 2 year £1.57 /Month
£1.57 /Month
Atlas 2 year £1.34 /Month
£1.34 /Month
PrivadoVPN 2 year £1.99 /Month
£1.99 /Month
Windscribe 12 month £4.53 /Month
£4.53 /Month
IPVanish 2 year £3.58 /Month
£3.58 /Month

The data in this review is reported from a neutral stance and should be used for informational purposes only. We review free VPN services from the perspective of:

  • The quality of the product based on the security it affords the user
  • User experience of the application(s)
  • Level and quality of customer service

Independent Advisor does not endorse the streaming of content from regions other than where the subscription is held, nor does it endorse the downloading or consumption of illegally pirated content.

Overall Score: 4.5/5
Overall Score: 4.5/5

Our award for the best overall Android VPN goes to NordVPN. If you’re looking to protect your privacy over everything else, then NordVPN is the best option, bar none, with its best-in-class security. It’s one of the longest-running VPN providers around and has great experience in the market. Its double VPN encryption adds more privacy to your browsing, while private DNS protection means no threat of hijacking and no logging of your online activities. Performance is top-notch too, and it boasts a huge number of servers located in pretty much any country you’d need.

Surfshark: Best value
Overall Score: 4.5/5
Surfshark: Best value
Overall Score: 4.5/5

Our choice of the best VPN for value also has a slight but notable advantage over the competition in terms of performance – in our tests it demonstrated the lowest level of degradation for download and upload speeds when locating your IP abroad. Surfshark’s security is also top-notch with AES 256-bit encryption, an audited no-log policy, and automatic kill switch. The price is hard to beat too.

ExpressVPN: Best for downloading
Overall Score: 4.5/5
ExpressVPN: Best for downloading
Overall Score: 4.5/5

If you’re looking for a great all-round option, which is very easy to use, then this is the VPN for you. ExpressVPN has all the market-leading features you could want: top security, a fast, stable connection, and it’s a great option for streaming from the internet. It also has some great, user-friendly apps, for every platform you could wish for. The only real downside is that ExpressVPN is more expensive than its rivals, so better value can be found elsewhere.

Jeff Meyer

Writer

Jeff is a highly experienced editor and journalist with extensive experience in the tech industry, as well as for the automotive and DIY sectors, writing for both B2C and B2B brands.

Jeff has tested all manner of tech, from cameras to phones to EVs and home appliances. In his 23 years as a writer and editor, Jeff has written for global tech titles like TechRadar and Digital Camera World, as well as brands such as eBay, Canon, Panasonic, Eero, and many more.

His expertise extends to topics such as solar panels and VPN, a topic where he is a regular contributor.

In addition to editorial, Jeff also has many years experience producing video and podcasts. He is also passionate about renewable energy and green living, and explaining this technology to new audiences.