Last Updated on September 1, 2021 by Admin
This is a quick tutorial showing you how to set a VPN in Android. I recommend that you use a trusted VPN so that your don’t put your privacy and security at risk.
Although there may be variations here and there, the basic steps in getting a VPN up and running on your Android device are the same.
This guide shields you from falling victim to copycats (read this article by Forbes) who put similar apps on Play Store, in most cases with malicious intentions.
I will use NordVPN to illustrate the process of configuring a VPN on your Android device because it is the overall best VPN and the one I recommend. Scroll to the end to see other VPNs that I also consider to be safe and effective.
To begin, read the steps outlined below and if anything is not clear send me a message.
Tip: Tap to open instructions
Step 1: Select a risk-free VPN plan
As I have highlighted above, I’m going to use NordVPN as an example and the steps outlined below are similar for other VPNs.
1. Visit NordVPN website and choose a risk-free plan. If you want the best deal, proceed to click the button that is displayed on the landing page.
In some cases, there may be a promotion running, so the landing page changes from time to time. An example is as follows:
Note: If you want to opt for a different plan, look for the Pricing option in the Menu section:
You are then presented with more plans and you select the one appropriate for you. Remember, you get a risk-free period of one month, where you can test all the features.
2. Once you have selected your plan, proceed to create an acccount and note down your login credentials. If you are tired of memorizing passwords, you can always use NordPass to do the password creation for you.
Remember, one of the benefits of a VPN is online security, so take advantage of tools like NordPass to generate highly secure passwords that are hard to guess.
Step 2: Download and install a VPN app
Note: Due to Google’s policies, the NordVPN app on Play Store has no ad-block feature. Therefore there are two ways to download NordVPN.
1. From the Play Store. (Ad-block functionality not available)
- Go to Play Store
- Enter NordVPN in the Search Bar
- Tap to install the download and install the app on your device
2. From official NordVPN website. (Ad-block functionality available)
This is called “side-loading” the NordVPN app.
- First, allow installation of unknown apps on your device. You do this by following these steps on your device: Settings > Security and Privacy > More Settings > Enable Install unknown apps. In earlier Android versions, the options slightly differ.
- Download the NordVPN .apk file and install it on your device.
- Let the installation complete and move to the next step.
Step 3: Set up a VPN app on your Android device
1. Once you successfully download NordVPN, launch it from your app tray and sign in using the credentials you created in the first section.
2. Alternatively, NordPass can autofill the details for you and the app is activated.
Step 4: Choose a VPN server
1. Most VPNs have a Quick Connect feature where at the tap of one button, the VPN automatically connects to the nearest VPN server for maximum performance.
2. In some cases, you want to connect to a server in a specific country. To do that, you view all servers and select one country that is on the list.
Note: Android devices may display a warning message concerning VPN connections. When that happens, check the box to trust the application and click OK to continue.
3. Once you select a country, there is also an option to choose a specific city in that country. To do that, tap 3 dots next to a country to reveal all the cities.
4. Specialty servers are also available to give you a more granular experience.
For example, if you want a dedicated IP address, you choose a country with Specialty servers and select Dedicated IP option.
You find more details about these servers in the full NordVPN review.
Step 5: Explore more options
You can modify settings for NordVPN inorder to maximize all features.
1. Tap the gear icon on top left corner of the maps screen to open My Account & Settings.
2. Here you find more options that you can toggle on and off. In addition, details of your subscription, including expiry of your plans are found here.
3. Rundown of features that you find under My Account & Settings:
CyberSec blocks ads and malware. Remember, you only use this feature when you install NordVPN via the official website, not via Play Store.
When it is disabled, Allow local network discovery ensures that your device is invisible to other devices in your local network.
With Split tunneling, traffic for selected apps does not pass through a VPN tunnel.
Auto-connect gives you more options to manage auto-connection
Use TCP switches from the default UDP protocol to TCP protocol. Although TCP protocol is more reliable, it is slower, so for streaming and downloading choose the UDP protocol.
Custom DNS allows you to set a custom DNS server address for the NordVPN app.
Kill switch is available only for Android 7.0 and later version. This feature terminates a internet connection when there is disruption of a VPN tunnel. Note that once it is enabled, split-tunneling is automatically disabled.
Tapjacking protection prevents unintentional disconnection by requiring 2 steps to disable the VPN connection.
4. Autoconnect Settings allows you to decide when a VPN can connect automatically and you have these options:
- Cellular network
- Always (here a VPN connection is always established in any network)
Here you choose which server a VPN connects to automatically and this server can be one of the following:
- Fastest available server
- Recent connection
- Specialty server
- Server in a specific country
Alternative VPN services for Android
Although I strongly recommend you to use NordVPN, there are alternative providers that are also secure and provide an excellent service.
You get a full risk-free period to test out all the VPN features before you commit to a plan. These other two VPNs that I consider to be the next best alternatives are Surfshark VPN and CyberGhost VPN.
- Low-cost VPN
- 83% off a 2-year plan
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- Unblocks Netflix & streaming sites
- Fast and secure
- User friendly and wide coverage
- 83% off a 3-year plan
- 45-day money-back guarantee
- Unblocks Netflix & streaming sites
- Fast and secure
You can create an account using the links provided and follow the above steps to set up the any of these VPNs on your Android phone or tablet.
NB: Discounts are already included in all our links and you get THE BEST deal in all cases.
These are the steps to install and set up a VPN on your Android device. Make sure you use a VPN every time you are working with private data online.
Other areas of cyber hygiene you should be aware of include the use of a password manager. It’s free and you can read more about NordPass password manager here.
If you use a VPN to unblock streaming sites check out the weekly top 10 Netflix shows so that you don’t miss the best content.
Any thoughts on the use of a VPN on Android? Leave comments below and share the article with your friends on social media.