In this article, we are going to highlight some of the best premium VPNs for Android in 2020, although most of these VPNs also have Windows and iOS clients available. As a final tip, you can discover how much a VPN actually impacts your data speed and if you’re getting what you pay for using a Speedcheck website.
As far as VPN services go, it’s really tough to beat what NordVPN offers. It offers a list of 62 countries, the majority of which are in the US and UK. NordVPN has some of the strongest privacy and security practices, and the clients are easy to navigate for users.
It has a 5-star award from PCMag Editors’ Choice, which is rare in the VPN world. NordVPN’s pricing has four separate tiers, categorized by length of the subscription. It starts at $11.95 per month, $83.88 annually, $95.75 every two years, or $107.55 for three years.
NordVPN supports OpenVPN and IKEv2/IPSec protocols, on all the available platforms. The company is also developing compatibility for WireGuard technology, having introduced their NordLynx beta which is built around WireGuard. Currently, though, NordLynx seems to be only available for the Linux platform. As for privacy and security, NordVPN is one of the very few VPN companies that has agreed to undergo third-party audits of its no-log policy.
A strong alternative to NordVPN, ExpressVPN offers plenty of rich features. It holds 5-star reviews from websites like FindReviews, TechRadar, and 4 ½ stars on TomsGuide. It’s a very tough pick between ExpressVPN and NordVPN as the top VPN services available, but we’re not making this a comparison article, just giving some background info.
As far as pricing goes, ExpressVPN offers 1 month at $12.95, 6 months at $9.99 (per month), and 15 months at $6.67 per month. This is a bit pricier than NordVPN, but ExpressVPN offers a lot of features that make it worth it. ExpressVPN uses high-end encryption technology, with the company claiming to use 4096-bit SHA-512 RSA certificates, and AES-256-CBC control channel encryption, and HMAC (Hash Message Authentication Code) which protects regular data from being manipulated in real-time.
A split-tunnelling system which allows you to control exactly which apps can use the VPN, and which apps will go through your regular internet connection. This is great if you only need to use the VPN for accessing blocked apps and websites, but don’t want the rest of your traffic to go through a VPN. Another awesome ExpressVPN feature is that there is absolutely no bandwidth or transfer-related catches. Many VPN companies actually limit or throttle your torrenting speeds, if you read the fine print. ExpressVPN does no such thing.
Surfshark is a relatively new VPN company that offers around 800 servers in over 50 countries, unlimited torrenting bandwidth, and tunnelling protocols like OpenVPN and IKEv2. It also passes all leak tests, so the users’ info such as DNS and IP address are really sealed tightly.
Surfshark’s HQ is located on the British Virgin Islands, along with other VPN companies that really care about their users’ privacy. The British Virgin Islands has no data retention laws. Surfshark claims that they do not monitor, log, or store your online data, and their warrant canary is easily located on their website.
As of writing, they claim to have received 0 National Security letters, 0 gag orders, and 0 warrants from a government organization. As for pricing, Surfshark charges $72 annually, which is actually a bit pricey, but you do get unlimited simultaneous device connections. Surfshark uses virtual servers, which means that some of its country locations are not actually physically located in those countries, but they do clearly mark those locations in their app. Overall, Surfshark is a good choice for casual browsing and streaming, and will definitely get around Netflix or other geo-restricted content.
TunnelBear is a popular VPN that offers a free tier, but it is limited to 500MB of data per month. However, it is not a bad way to try TunnelBear for yourself before deciding if you’d like to subscribe to a premium plan. Their premium plans start at $9.99 per month, or $59.95 per year.
Your network traffic will be encrypted with AES 256-bit encryption, it has the OpenVPN protocol on the Android app, and it uses SHA-256 hash function for data authentication. You are limited to 5 simultaneous connections, however. There are 20 different locations worldwide to choose servers from. However, TunnelBear does not offer servers in some restrictive countries such as Africa, Cuba, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Tyria, Turkey, Vietnam, and Russia. Their servers are comprised of around 50/50 physical and virtual servers, and TunnelBear doesn’t actually maintain physical servers in all of their locations.
One cool thing about the TunnelBear app is that you can configure it to auto-connect when you are connecting to public Wi-Fi networks. It also has options to make encrypted data appear as regular HTTPS traffic, disable all internet traffic if your VPN connection is disabled (a kill switch, basically), and selecting which apps will actually tunnel through the VPN or not.
If a big range of server locations is important to you, CyberGhost VPN has over 3,700 servers across 55+ countries. You’ll need to figure out which servers are best for your needs, however, as some servers allow torrents while others do not.
CyberGhost VPN’s monthly pricing is a bit on the high-end, coming in at $12.99 per month, though that drops to a generous $5.99/month on the annual subscription, $3.69 for a two-year plan, and $2.50 for a 3-year plan. That is actually a far more generous discount than many other VPN providers.
Some of the best features found in this VPN are the ability to automatically connect to your preferred connection type when you launch a torrent client and a malicious URL filter. The Android app has the ability to compress data and block trackers.
HMA! (Hide My Ass)
HMA! was featured on XDA as one of the better VPNs for Android users, but this was some time ago, so let’s examine if HMA! is still a worthy contender. There is currently no free trial of HMA Pro, but a single month subscription gives you a seven-day trial period, or a year’s subscription gives you a 30 day trial. The pricing is 1 month – $11.52 prepaid once per month. 6 months – $49.99 prepaid once every 6 months ($8.33 per month) 12 months – $78.66 prepaid once per year ($6.56 per month). Subscriptions can also be handled via Google Pay.
As for servers, HMA has around 760 servers in 190 locations, though its strongest presence is in Europe and the USA. But there are definitely more than enough servers located in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and South America. There are also plenty of virtual locations in the US, Canada, UK, Singapore, Netherlands, and Germany. These allow you to spoof your location easily, so you can get around region locks without any of the lag that typically comes with actually tunnelling your traffic to a distant server.
However, your mileage will vary when actually trying to stream geo-restricted content, such as Netflix, so for that purpose, it may be better to actually open a real VPN connection. As for privacy, HMA Is based in the UK, so the company is, in fact, subject to British legislation and data-sharing agreements with other countries. The company does not attempt to hide this and informs users that they do collect usernames, IP addresses, timestamps, and other information.
So if you need an ultra-private VPN, you may not consider HMA!, but if you only want to get around geo-restriction blocks, HMA is a fairly good option. Another mark against HMA in our opinion is that the company does not condone file-sharing or torrenting, and has cooperated with local law enforcement in the past to prosecute their own users.
Another VPN company that offers a large number of servers, IPVanish offers around 1,100 server locations in 60 countries. IPVanish does collect some data, such as sites accessed, services, and website cookies, and their website also collects analytic data including browser type. However, the company claims they do not track user activities outside of their own website, and they only really collect email and payment information for processing, and statistical data that helps them troubleshoot app crashes.
The app is fairly easy to use, and if you just tap the green “Connect” button, it automatically chooses the best available server in closest proximity to you. But you can alter the quick-connect settings, setting your own preferred country, city, and server.
Some of IPVanish VPN’s additional features include Scramble and Split Tunneling. The Scramble feature basically obfuscates your data and should allow you to connect to IPVanish despite any network sensors that would otherwise attempt to block VPN traffic, and Split Tunneling is basically choosing which apps will actually tunnel through the VPN itself. Pricing is $10 per month, $26.99 for 3 months, or $77.99 for a year.