What Is The Best VPN for Android in 2018?
NordVPN is the best VPN available to protect your always-connected Android device. The provider’s speedy connections, comprehensive global server coverage and top-notch customer support make it a great way for Android users to protect their personal and business information, as well as hide their online activities.
Security-conscious Android users who spend a lot of time on the road will appreciate NordVPN’s ability to protect their device and its data from hackers when connected to open Wi-Fi hotspots.
About the Android Operating System
Android is a mobile operating system created by search engine giant Google. The operating system, based on a modified Linux kernel and other open source software, is designed for use with smartphones and tablet devices. The OS is also used, in modified formats, for Android TV-based televisions, Android Auto for vehicles and Android Wear for smartwatches.
Android was first unveiled in 2007, with the first Android device, as shown below, hitting shelves in September 2008. The operating system has gone through several versions since its initial release. The current version is 8.1, codenamed “Oreo,” which was released in December 2017.
Android’s original format used both a touchscreen and a physical keyboard. However, the 2007 Apple announcement of the iPhone changed everything, and Android developers knew they had to “go back to the drawing board.” While early Android devices did offer a physical keyboard, most recent Android devices are fully touchscreen devices.
Top 5 VPNs for Android
Why Do You Need a VPN for Your Android Device?
As what is arguably the most popular mobile operating system available today, Android is an enticing target for hackers and crooks looking to steal your personal, business and other valuable information.
Android device users are particularly attractive targets for the bad guys due to the use of their devices while on the move, connecting to unprotected Wi-Fi hotspots in coffee shops, hotels and other public areas. Android users are victims of phishing attempts, man-in-the-middle attacks and more.
In addition to hackers, device users are also subject to monitoring by law enforcement, federal government agencies, and even their own wireless provider or Internet Service Provider.
By using a Virtual Private Network (VPN), an Android user can protect their internet connection and its associated online activities. A VPN provides an encrypted tunnel of protection for the user’s connection, which keeps all of a user’s online activities, such as banking, shopping and bill-paying, and their related information, safe from access and misuse
A VPN also provides an optimal way to access geographically-blocked content, such as that provided by video and music streaming services like Netflix, Spotify and Hulu. A VPN can “spoof” a user’s IP address, making them appear to be in another location. That location can be on the other side of town or the other side of the world, enabling access to content that might normally be blocked to the user’s actual location.
Choosing the Best VPN for Android
Android users shopping for a VPN to protect their devices are presented with a dazzling array of options. Sure, you could spend the next few months trying each provider one by one, but there’s an easier way.
Instead, I’ve written this article to make your decisions easier. In this section, I’ll be listing the features any Android user should research before making a VPN subscription decision. I’ll list each category and why it’s important. I’ll then list my top 10 VPNs for each category, ranked according to how well they perform in that particular category.
In the next section, I will share my top 5 VPN providers for use with Android, which should aid you in making a decision from a smaller pool of possibilities.
No matter what online activities you plan to use your VPN-protected internet connect for, faster is always better. While you most certainly will have to take at least a small speed hit when using a VPN, a quality provider will offer you connection speeds that are comparable to those provided by your Internet Service Provider.
In today’s always-connected world, users need a connection that provides enough bandwidth for cloud storage, online apps, sharing apps, video conferencing, content streaming, gaming and much more.
The table below lists my top 10 VPN providers. They are listed in order of their connection speeds, ranked best to worst. I calculated the ranking by first testing my usual ISP-connection speeds. I then connected to the VPN provider and tested the connection speed again. The speed percentage was calculated by comparing the two speed readings.
Tests were performed using the Speedtest.net website.
Global Server Coverage
Global server coverage is arguably the 2nd-most-important consideration when deciding on a VPN provider. To allow for maximum flexibility when accessing content from around the free world, look for a provider that has a large number of servers strategically positioned in as many countries as possible.
A VPN’s ability to make it appear that a user is located almost anywhere in the free world makes it a valuable tool to unblock geographically-blocked content. The feature opens up video and audio streaming content, gaming servers and other services that can be blocked due to geographical restrictions. The screenshot below shows an excellent example of what comprehensive global server coverage looks like.
If at all possible, don’t settle for a VPN service that provides less-than-optimal privacy protection for your account and your online activities.
When I say “privacy,” I’m not referring to the encryption a provider uses to protect your connection, but instead to how well it protects your billing information and any evidence of your online antics.
Always consider which country a VPN provider is located in. Is the country known to be privacy-friendly? Research to find out if the provider keeps logs of your online activities. If they keep logs, what type of information do they retain? Last but not least, does the provider accept privacy-friendly subscription payment methods, such as Bitcoin or merchant gift cards?
While I hope none of my readers will ever need to contact their VPN provider’s customer support department, chances are better than good that you’ll have a connection or billing issue, or even just a question about a feature or two. When that happens, you’ll want to feel secure that support will be there when you need it.
VPN providers usually offer multiple types of customer support. Support types include live support text chat, a trouble ticket support system and a searchable support library. The table below lists my top 10 VPN providers, ranked from best support to worst, according to which types of support they offer, and how quickly and accurately they reply.
Note: None of the VPN providers listed below offer phone support.
Other Factors to Consider
Wouldn’t it be great if money were no object, and we could spend as much as we want for premium VPN service? Sadly, that is likely not the case for most of us reading this sentence. Luckily, it’s possible to find a top-notch VPN provider that won’t break the bank.
When considering how much you want to pay for VPN service, don’t fall into the trap of thinking that the cheapest deal is the best deal. Always make sure the provider isn’t cutting corners in important categories such as global server coverage, customer support or connection speed in order to save a few dollars.
While researching price, keep in mind that many, if not most, VPN providers regularly run special deals on subscriptions, which can greatly reduce your costs. However, you may need to commit to a provider for an extended period of time, such as an extra year or two in order to reap the savings. Always visit a provider’s website for information on current deals.
If you’re on a tight monthly budget and can’t quite swing for an annual or longer subscription, be advised that most providers also offer month-to-month subscription offers. While this reduces your upfront cash outlay, selecting this option will cost you more in the long run.
*The prices in the table reflect the monthly cost when paying for an annual subscription. (Annual Subscription Price / 12 Months.)
If you are connected to a VPN provider and you lose your connection to their servers, your internet connection could be laid bare, making it easy for bad actors such as hackers to monitor your connection and steal your valuable personal and business information.
Luckily, most VPN providers offer an automatic “kill switch” that prevents the above from happening. A kill switch disconnects your device from the internet if the device loses its connection to the VPN’s servers.
This is a “yes/no” type of question, so the providers in the table below are simply listed alphabetically.