The best VPN app for smartphones

Best VPN APP  – Installing a VPN (Virtual Private Network) is key to keeping your brand-new Android device and installed apps from giving away your location data and IP address through your internet connection. This means hackers or other malicious parties can’t see where you are when it’s active, including organizations like Google and your ISP (Internet Service Provider). While using a VPN is vital for increasing your security, they won’t provide effective antivirus software to protect you from malware. In the end, sensible browsing is the best way to secure your online activity.

These VPNs are subscription services. While free VPNs exist, we cannot guarantee they are genuine. We recommend taking advantage of each app’s free trial to find the one you want, as the free version offers the same features as the paid. These are the best Android VPNs with solid track records and a suite of security features. They’ve also all been extensively tested by third parties. No matter your choice, you can feel comfortable knowing your browsing activity is secure.

If you’re unfamiliar with how VPNs work, we recommend reading our VPNs for beginners guide. This guide tells you everything you need to know, explains terms like split tunneling and kill switches, and provides a breakdown of the VPN protocols, including OpenVPN, WireGuard, and ikev2.

The Best VPN APP For Smartphones

Below is a list of the best VPN applications that you can use:

NordVPN: Best value for a VPN

For those who want the best value VPN for their mobile device, NordVPN is your port of call. At $3.49 a month for their two-year plan, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better-value VPN. But even though there are plenty of cheaper VPNs, NordVPN provides the best balance between features and cost.

NordVPN offers users a Double VPN service. This routes your traffic through two VPN servers, adding an extra layer of security to your browsing. It has a great auto-connect feature, so you’ll be protected when you connect to a new network. It also offers additional benefits. Dark Web Monitor alerts you if your credentials are exposed online, and 24/7 customer support is accessible through the app.

NordVPN is based and operated in Panama. Panama has no data retention laws, so NordVPN is not required to maintain data logs. The company states it does not store any of your data.

  • Servers: 5,300+
  • Server locations: 94 countries
  • Free trial: 30 days
  • Devices allowed: Six
  • Jurisdiction: Panama

Surfshark: A fantastic budget VPN

The best VPN app on this list, Surfshark doesn’t slack regarding features. It’s the only one on this list that doesn’t limit the maximum number of connected devices for an account, meaning your entire family can be protected.

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Surfshark integrates a kill switch like its big brothers and has over 3,200 servers. Beyond its VPN service, Surfshark offers a host of add-ons. These include an ad-blocker, a private search engine, and a web monitor to check if you’ve been affected by a data breach.

It’s worth noting that Surfshark recently merged with Nord Security (the owner of NordVPN). While these services remain functionally independent for now, there are no guarantees this will hold for the future​​.

  • Servers: 3,200+
  • Server locations: 65 countries
  • Free trial: 30 days
  • Devices allowed: Unlimited
  • Jurisdiction: British Virgin Islands

ExpressVPN: For those who don’t want to compromise on speed

ExpressVPN is an excellent choice if you value speed above all else. While it has a relatively small number of servers, they’re located in more countries than any other service on this list, giving you excellent connection speeds wherever you go. ExpressVPN is available on phones, tablets, desktop computers, and gaming consoles, and it’s a great pick if you’re looking to expand your protection to all your devices.

With a built-in kill switch for sudden VPN disconnects and the ability to connect automatically to a new network, ExpressVPN has all the tools you need to browse securely on the go.

All of its servers have P2P support, and when coupled with its top-notch security features, this is the best choice for torrenting.

ExpressVPN is based in the British Virgin Islands (BVI). Similar to Panama, the BVI has no data retention laws. While it is a United Kingdom territory, it is an entirely separate legal jurisdiction.

  • Servers: 3,000+
  • Server locations: 60 countries
  • Free trial: 30 days
  • Devices allowed: Five
  • Jurisdiction: British Virgin Islands

Google One: Best for those integrated with the Google ecosystem

Google One offers a free VPN for people who subscribe to its 5TB and higher monthly plans and for Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro owners. It’s quick and easy to use, and we have a guide on how to set up a VPN through the Google One app. There’s just one catch: All your data goes through Google. You’ll have to put your trust in Google (a company whose revenue relies partially on advertising) not to look at and share your data. However, according to an independent audit, Google follows the rules.

Google One’s VPN provides a minimal set of features. There’s no way to set your VPN server location and a few extra privacy tools. However, a kill switch for sudden disconnects and integration with Android’s Quick Settings toolbar makes it a simple way to secure your browsing. It’s an ideal choice if you want a no-frills VPN that works.

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Google is based in the United States. Some believe Google One’s VPN cannot be entirely trustworthy since laws like the Patriot Act allow the government to collect web history and browsing data.

  • Servers: Unknown
  • Server locations: Unknown
  • Free trial: None
  • Devices allowed: Five Google accounts
  • Jurisdiction: United States

ProtonVPN: The best open-source VPN

ProtonVPN grew from the team behind ProtonMail, a crowdfunded project dedicated to widespread online privacy. It’s also the only option on this list with a free tier, which provides a fantastic starting point if you’re new to VPNs.

While the selling point for ProtonVPN might be its free tier, it’s probably not the best bet if you value speed and reliability. With only 24 servers in three countries, it won’t be breaking any connection speed records. However, looking at the $8 a month tier, we see a substantial number of servers and a max bandwidth of 10GB/s, enough to give you decent speed around the globe.

If you care about security and privacy above all and are willing to pay a little extra, ProtonVPN should be your go-to VPN.

ProtonVPN is based in Switzerland. Switzerland is an ideal choice for VPNs, as it has some of the world’s most strict data privacy and retention laws.

  • Servers: 1,669
  • Server locations: 63 countries
  • Free trial: None, unlimited free tier available
  • Devices allowed: 10
  • Jurisdiction: Switzerland

Choose the VPN that’s right for you

If none of these options work for you, you can create your own VPN. If you want to give it a try, you can build the best self-hosted VPN app in under 30 minutes. If not, it’s probably better to stick with one of the options above.