The fact is that Android is the world’s most popular mobile platform. On top of that, we all know who’s the creator of this amazing operating system – and that would be Google. It’s safe to say that this tech giant has the needed means to collect very personal information, including your calls, contacts, messages, and perhaps all your mobile data as well. Therefore, using a VPN on Android has become imperative. Let’s talk about how to setup VPN on Android devices.
How to Setup VPN on Android: 3 Methods Covered!
The good news is that Android is quite open in terms of third-party apps and services. Even though if you don’t find an official VPN app on the Play Store, you can easily ‘sideload it’. This makes the entire process of setting up a VPN on Android as simple as possible. Let’s dive right in.
Method #1: Install a Native VPN App
The easiest and certainly most recommended way to get a VPN on Android is to grab the official ExpressVPN app from the Google Play store. Most larger, premium and more reputable VPN providers develop and maintain native apps for the most popular mobile operating systems. Android is the most popular mobile OS, so you’re almost certain to see a native Android app for your phone, tablet or Android TV. There are other amazing VPN apps for Android, but we strongly recommend you to consider using ExpressVPN.
The following guide applies to any native VPN app found on the Play Store. However, for the sake of this example, we are going to show you how to install ExpressVPN.
- Before you proceed, you need to sign-up for a new VPN account. That’s because you’ll need to use your own credentials as soon as you install the app. Therefore, go ahead and sign-up for ExpressVPN.
- Open the Play Store on your Android device;
- Using the top-placed search bar to look for ‘ExpressVPN‘;
- Open the app’s overview and hit the Install button;
- You will have to give certain permissions to this app. As you’ll see, there’s nothing suspicious here. Express VPN offers in-app purchases, and it needs your permission to access your Wi-Fi;
- The VPN application will now download and install on your Android device;
- Next, run the application by tapping on ‘Open‘;
- Before you can use ExpressVPN, you need to give permission to the app to alter your Web connection. Also, you can opt-in/out from data collection (this is anonymous data, so it won’t record your online activity)
- Finally, you can connect to any of hundreds of available servers and your Web connection will be encrypted from this point.
The app will indicate whether you are now connected to the VPN service. No matter if you are using mobile data or a Wi-Fi, your information is now safely encrypted so no one can snoop on it. Your location and IP address are now also both obscured!
Alternative Method: Download Android APK File
As you probably know, Apple’s iOS is a closed platform. You can only download applications from the official Apple App Store unless you modify your iPhone or iPad by ‘jailbreaking’ your device. However, Android is another beast entirely. It was designed to be an open platform in the same way Windows or Linux systems are. This means that anyone can create software for it and every user can install software from outside the official app store.
By default, most Android phones are set not to allow you to easily install third-party apps. You’ll have to go to Settings > Security > Allow unknown sources. Some Android phones will let you enable this only for a single installation at a time, which is a good idea. Furthermore, Android apps are provided in a file format known as APK. You download the APK file directly and then run them on your Android device. This is necessary when, for some reason, VPN apps have been blocked from the Play Store in certain countries.
It’s very important to ensure that you get the APK from a trustworthy source. If you are going to install APK files to your Android device, you should also have an antivirus application, such as Malwarebytes, to prevent APKs with malicious code from infecting your device.
Method #2: Using OpenVPN Connect
While it’s pretty rare these days, some VPN providers may not have a native Android application for you to use. If they support the OpenVPN protocol (as most good VPNs do), you have one more app-based option. Here’s how to setup VPN on Android via OpenVPN.
- First, you need to select a VPN service. This means having an active subscription before proceeding. This means that you need to sign-up for ExpressVPN before you can proceed.
- Once you sign-up for the VPN service, you’ll get access to OpenVPN files. When it comes to ExpressVPN, you need to log in to your account (on your computer) and then click on ‘Set Up On More Devices’. Go to ‘Manual Configuration’ and this is where you’ll see the needed files;
- Pay attention to the following information. First of all, you’ll see your custom username and password – that you’ll need to use shortly. Then, you can download the needed OpenVPN files. Download a file for each server that you plan on accessing;
- Send those files to your Android device. You can use a cloud storage or send those files to your inbox.
- Next, download and install OpenVPN for Android;
- Tap on the ‘Import‘ icon to add a profile (top-left corner);
- Navigate to the OpenVPN file on your device. Once you import it, tap on the ‘Confirm‘ button in the top-right corner.
- That’s it. To connect securely, all you need is to tap on the profile you’ve previously added.
Method #3: Configure a VPN Manually
If everything else fails, you can manually configure your VPN directly in Android OS itself. To do this, you’ll need the configuration information for the VPN from your provider. They’ll usually have a manual setup page where you can copy the information from. Here’s how to setup VPN on Android manually.
- Open the Settings app on your Android device;
- Go to the ‘Internet’ or ‘Wireless & Networks’ section;
- In case your phone’s Settings app has a search option, search for ‘VPN‘;
- You can tap on the ‘+‘ icon to add a new VPN profile;
- Enter the name, server address, username, and your profile – all of which you can find on your VPN provider’s website;
- Hit ‘Save‘;
- You can connect to a secure network from this panel. Also, this is where you can disconnect from the VPN network.
There are many VPN services to choose from and you’ll find reviews for all the most notable ones here on TechNadu. However, we can point you to a great service right off the bat. ExpressVPN is our favorite VPN service for just about any device at the moment. It’s affordable, secure and runs on most platforms. Give it a go, you might as well start with one of the tried-and-tested solutions. This is also where we conclude our guide on how to setup VPN on Android.