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Best VPN for Android – Tom's Guide

If you’re looking for a VPN for your Android phone or tablet, you’ve probably got one of a few possible reasons.

You might be a frequent traveler who wants to be able to get secure connections for her phone on airport, hotel or cafe Wi-Fi. You could be a privacy fanatic who doesn’t want his internet service provider seeing what he’s doing online. Or you could be a TV junkie who wants to watch streaming videos from other countries.

For each of those cases, here are the best VPN services and apps for Android devices, based on our testing.

For the frequent traveler: Windscribe

Your best bet is Windscribe, a Canada-based VPN service that delivers fast, reliable speed coupled with a very generous free plan that delivers 10GB of data per month (if you provide your email address; otherwise, it’s just 2GB).

That’s more than enough for a casual traveler who just needs to check email and do some light web surfing. Itprobably will be enough to watch a movie or two per month. If you need unlimited data {or you’d like to use Windflix’s dedicated “Windflix” servers for offshore Netflix streaming) you can get it from Windscribe for $9 per month or $49 for a full year.

Another good option is Hotspot Shield, which has a pleasant, easy-to-use Android interface and a free tier that’s almost as generous as Windscribe’s. The Android app even scans your device for malware.

While Windscribe’s free plan offers a flat 10GB per month, Hotspot Shield offers a maximum of 500MB per day for free. That adds up to 15GB per month, but the daily allotment would really be fine only for checking email and a few websites.

Hotspot Shield may also show you ads, which might not bother many people. If you want unlimited data (and no ads), it’s $13 per month or $72 per year.

MORE: Best Free VPN Services and Apps

For the privacy fanatic: TunnelBear

Possibly the easiest Android VPN app to use is that of TunnelBear, another Canadian  company. The app has cute bear-based animations and even growls when you connect to TunnelBear’s servers. It also has VigilantBear, a kill switch that stops all internet activity if the connection to TunnelBear’s VPN service is lost.

The downside is that TunnelBear was recently bought by U.S. antivirus giant McAfee, which may make the service subject to U.S. search warrants. And TunnelBear’s free teaser plan is a meager 500MB a month, so you’d really just want to buy an unlimited-data subscription for $10 per month or $60 per year.

If you’re technically inclined, the privacy features of Mullvad can’t be beat. It’s a small VPN provider based in Sweden that doesn’t need your name or your credit card; you simply go to the company website and generate a random number, which becomes your username.

Aside from the usual payment options, you can pay for Mullvad service with Bitcoin, or you can even mail in cash with a note bearing your account number. There is a free trial available, but it lasts only 3 hours, so make the best of it.

The downside with this service is that there’s no Android app for Mullvad. But the company has detailed instructions for setting up the free OpenVPN for Android app and generating a Mullvad OpenVPN configuration file.

For the streaming junkie: CyberGhost

You might want to try CyberGhost, a VPN service provider based in Romania. This service has preset configurations for Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video and other streaming services. But as is the case with all VPNs and proxy services, some of the connections may not work and you may have to hop around from one server to the next.

CyberGhost also has a wide variety of configuration options, even for the Android app. You can compress data to reduce the erosion of your cellular data cap, and as with TunnelBear, there’s a kill switch.

CyberGhost offers a seven-day free trial; after that, it’s $12 per month or $60 per year.

Our second choice would be Windscribe, again. It has a dedicated service, called Windflix, that connects directly to Netflix’s U.S. and U.K. servers, as you might guess. There’s no guarantee that each Netflix connection will work, as Netflix plays a constant game of whack-a-mole with VPN and proxy services. Unfortunately, as Windflix isn’t available to Windscribe’s free customers, you’ll just have to see for yourself.

Image and screenshot credits: Tom’s Guide

 


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