There are two ways to use VPN on your Android device. The first and most commonly used way is to use an App that automates VPN implementation. The second way is to configure VPN in your Android device. Android users commonly prefer to download VPN apps by VPN service providers because they are designed to make the entire VPN implementation and management process as user friendly as possible.
The app tunnels all the data being sent/received from your Android device. It functions by providing you a set of features and then allowing you to take partial control over how they are exercised. But this is no ordinary scenario because you are entrusting your most private possession (your data!) to a third party to encrypt and tunnel. So choose wisely when you choose a VPN service provider.
Related Article: Two Setup Options make setting up iPad VPN Unbelievably Easy
Free Android VPN apps are as unpopular amongst VPN veterans as they are popular amongst new Android VPN users! That is because they are inadequate, insufficient and unreliable. When you use free Android Apps, you are always paying, in one way or the other, even when you don’t know it. So I recommend you pay with your cash instead of your personal information.
USING AN APP TO SETUP VPN ON ANDROID
GooglePlay is NOT the Way!
Android users tend to look up GooglePlay for every query they face – and it is only natural that they do so. However, VPNs are a different ball game altogether. When you search for VPNs on GooglePlay, the search list will bombard you with VPN apps. There will be VPNs, VPN guides and apps claiming to be VPN but actually just spyware under the cover of proxy programs. GooglePlay will definitely be a part of your process, but not the beginning of it.
The trick is not to use GooglePlay to kick off your search for a VPN app. Instead, start by looking up VPN service providers. Ask the VPN service provider to confirm the number of servers that will be accessible through the Android device Go through the VPN service provider’s website and double-check that 24/7 customer support is accessible
Ensure that the VPN service provider follows professional procedures. Read reviews on third party websites before you select a VPN service provider. Give regard to reviews by industry professional as well as disgruntled users because both will provide you with valuable opinions.
Free VPN Android Apps Are Trouble
When a VPN service provider launches an app, the app comes backed with an entire workforce and network. However, when a stand-alone app is launched on GooglePlay, it is usually an entrepreneurial attempt at starting up a VPN company.
Choosing the first option will save you a lot of trouble because you will have a corporate entity you can run to if you run into any problems with the product.
In comparison, the second option will leave you somewhat stranded with your problems and make you something of a guinea pig for the app developer. You may also find yourself in a situation where you will have to download and install the trail of updates that will follow as the developer tries to patch up bugs.
MANUALLY SETTING UP VPN ON ANDROID
Most Android users are addicted to apps and rarely go into their ‘Settings’ to fine-tune their Android devices. If you want to setup VPN on your Android device and the VPN service provider you fancy does not provide a VPN app for the Android platform, then you are left with no other option but to manually configure VPN for that VPN service provider on your device.
Remember, just because some VPN service providers don’t offer Android apps does not meant that they don’t offer their services for Android users. Just about every VPN service provider will provide you with VPN for your Android device. If the VPN service provider does not have an app for it, there is bound to be a setup-process that will enable you to use the VPN service provider’s services on your Android device.
Android devices are built to be user-friendly. I don’t know why more Android VPN app reviewers don’t admit that Android VPN apps usually work the same way as iPhone VPN apps. If you ever configured VPN on an iPhone then you will agree with me on this after you have gone through this post.
Also, the setup process is as easy as your VPN service provider is cooperative. Period!
Start by selecting the protocol you want to use when deploying VPN on your android device. Android Jellybean version 4.2.1 offers the following protocols:
Based on the protocol you want to use, ask your VPN Service provider to provide you with the respective following details:
Remember, it is not imperative that your VPN service provider provides you ALL of these elements. Not all VPN service providers are fully reliant on internal configuration. Nonetheless, make sure you ask for these elements so that your VPN service provider knows that you are an educated customer who must be treated with care and respect.
The actual begins now that you have acquired the necessary details.
Step 1 - Tap ‘Settings’ on your Android Smartphone. This is how your phones settings will appear:
Step 2 - In case the VPN settings are not visible, access ‘More’ and the menu should expand to reveal ‘Wireless & Networks’ under settings.
Step 3 - The second option in this menu will be ‘VPN’. Tapping on ‘VPN’ will open out a new settings menu for ‘Wireless & Networks’.
Step 4 - Tap ‘VPN’ and the VPN configurations page will open out where you can activate, add, edit and delete VPN configurations.
Step 5 - The ‘+’ on the top right corner of the screen will allow you to add a new VPN configuration. The above screenshot shows a scenario in which no VPN configuration profiles are currently present.
If you see any VPN configuration profiles, you will be able to add new configurations by tapping ‘+’ nonetheless. That is, if you do not want to use one of the configuration profiles already visible.
Step 6 - The creation of a VPN configuration is a one-form process – and the advanced settings that the VPN configuration process asks for rely heavily on the protocol type you choose.
As I mentioned earlier, the Android Jelly Bean 4.2.1 offers 6 types of protocols. It is at this point in the setup process that you will be required to select the protocol of your choice and enter in the configurations with respect to it.
Step 7 - Consult the chart I placed at the beginning of the setup process to adequately understand the required details for each protocol.
Step 8 - After having entered in the details for your desired protocol, tapping ‘Save’ will bring you to the main VPN screen again. Your newly created VPN configuration profile will now be visible.
Step 9 - Tapping on the configuration profile of your choice will allow you to enter in the ‘Username’ and ‘Password’ to establish your VPN connection.
Once the VPN configuration profile has been created, you can either edit it or delete it by keeping your finer-tip pressed on the VPN configuration profile of your choice.
The small three dots on the top right corner of the screen (next to the ‘+’) will allow you to access the additional option of using Always-On VPN for a selected VPN configuration profile.
Evaluate VPN Service Providers Before You Evaluate Android VPN Apps
If you want to go the hard way and evaluate each VPN service provider individually, then you had better saddle up. The process of evaluating different VPN providers is the process of making sure that you get value for your money – so don’t be afraid of putting a few hours in it.
Look into the pricing plans to see if the VPN service provider has identified any plans for Android users separately. Some VPN service providers place limitations on their services if used for smart phone devices. You may find yourself facing restrictions on the number of servers you can access, the downloading you can engage in and other similar use-related factors.
Search for LiveChat support on VPN service providers’ websites and grill them for details, tutorials and free-trials. If you can’t find a LiveChat support option (or if the VPN service provider simply doesn’t provide one), then place a support ticket or send an email with queries relating to pricing, speed, server spread, and other service features that are available specifically for Android users.
VPN Service Provider Has No Android App
Once you have found a good VPN service provider, proceed to see if an app is available for Android users. If one is available, then it will most likely be free and also available for download from GooglePlay.
However, do not deny the possibility that the VPN service provider might not have an app for Android devices. If such is the case, then it will unquestionably entertain you by providing you specific instructions on how to configure VPN manually on your Android device.
Exactly How Badly Does Your Android Need VPN
Android users are in so much danger that cryptographers and mobile phone security pioneers from across the world were forced to put their heads together and developed the Blackphone. An Android based phone designed for the singular purpose of ensuring online security and privacy for smart phone users by taking VPNs to the limit. The Blackphone is expected to launch this February and much remains to be known about it.
The dream of secure telephony has been shattered thanks to the NSA. Had it not been for the Snowden revelations, we would have never realize the degree to which we need privacy and security in our lives. The development of the Blackphone proves that current commercially available technology needs to be pumped up if it is to stand up against the surveillance and spying campaigns of today’s so-called peace-keepers.
People like you and me don’t have the time, energy and finances to switch phones every month – but we can sure as hell upgrade them with a VPN. Our privacy is not a commodity that we can allow others to sell and purchase as they please. Take back control of your online privacy and security! Use a VPN before somebody uses your data!