There is no better way to safeguard your online activity and conceal your location than using a virtual private network (VPN). VPNs are widely used for accessing streaming services, video games, and geo-blocked websites. The latest statistics on VPN usage reveal that over 31% of all internet users rely on VPNs. Initially popular on PCs, mobile VPN usage now constitutes 62% of all VPN users. This shift is unsurprising considering the rise in media consumption on mobile phones.
Many Android users are unaware that they can set up and use a VPN on their devices without spending a dime. We will help you install a free VPN on Android in different ways.
Table of Contents
How to install and use a VPN on a smartphone?
1: Google One VPN
To utilize the Google One VPN at no cost, ensure your Android device is running the updated Android 13 version. Additionally, make sure you have the latest security patch applied.
Please note that the Pixel 7, Pixel 7 Pro, Pixel 7a, and Pixel Fold are the only devices where Google One VPN is “free” of charge. For other Android devices, a Google One plan starts at $1.99 per month. While Google One memberships include additional benefits such as expanded storage and enhanced editing features, access to the VPN is only granted on the aforementioned Pixel devices.
You can freely use an Android VPN because the operating system comes with built-in VPN support. However, it’s important to note that free built-in VPN support does not necessarily mean the VPN service itself is free. The actual cost will depend on the chosen VPN provider.
For commercial Android VPN users, access the provider’s website and log into your account. Usually, the configuration data can be found under options like “Manual Setup” or “Connect to More Devices”.
3: Using a mobile application
It’s easy to get confused with manual settings. There is a much simpler way, how to set up a VPN on Android – using an application. The main condition is to choose the right service. This can be a hassle, but if you want a quick fix, here it is. You just need to install the VeePN for Android application and it will set the necessary settings on its own. You can download a free VPN directly from Play Market. You’ll only interact with the VeePN interface, where you can change security settings, enable or disable features, and switch between servers. By the way, it has a free trial version.
4: Manually deploy the VPN client
Here’s how you can manually configure a VPN on a Huawei device using Android’s built-in VPN settings (Android 12):
- Sign up for a VPN service. I recommend PrivateVPN due to its fast servers and convenient manual configuration for Android devices.
- Access your Android settings and select “More Connections.” Then, click on “VPN” followed by “Add VPN Network.”
- Fill in the required fields. Give your VPN a name, such as PrivateVPN + LA, to easily identify it. Use the following settings:
- Type: L2TP/IPSec PSK
- Server address: Obtain this from your VPN provider’s website
- L2TP secret: Leave this field blank
- IPSec identifier: Leave this field blank
- IPSec pre-shared key: You will find this information in the setup instructions provided by your VPN service. Once done, tap Save.
- Enter your VPN login credentials, including your username and password. Click on “Connect” to establish the connection.
- Now, you can browse, stream, and torrent with enhanced safety. Upon successful connection, a key symbol will appear in the status bar Your data and activities are now safeguarded with robust security features, including military-grade 256-bit encryption.
5: Use browser extensions
The truth is, that many mobile browsers don’t support extensions. I have personally verified that despite this, they work. You can go to your browser’s extension store and download a free extension by simply closing the warning window that the version is not supported. This definitely works on PCs, on smartphones the chance of working is 70-80%. It all depends on the VPN provider.
Most top-tier VPNs support OpenVPN, an open-source protocol known for its exceptional blend of security and speed. However, native support for OpenVPN servers is lacking on Android. To overcome this limitation, you’ll need to download a third-party app like “OpenVPN” or “OpenVPN Connect” from your app store.
Regrettably, these third-party apps, such as OpenVPN Connect, often face scrutiny due to security vulnerabilities, connectivity problems, and occasionally, sluggish speeds when connected to distant servers.
If you still insist on utilizing the OpenVPN protocol, I recommend subscribing to a premium VPN service that provides highly secure OpenVPN servers. PrivateVPN, for instance, not only offers support for OpenVPN (TCP and UDP) within its dedicated Android app, but it also boasts fast server speeds and robust security features.
8: Via router
This is an alternative approach, the essence of which is to set up a VPN on the router. When you connect to it, your smartphone will automatically use the VPN. However, the VPN will not be active on the smartphone itself. In other words, if you connect to another network, the connection will not be secure.
On Android, there are different ways to connect to a VPN. However, if you are looking for the easiest way, this is the app. From the moment of making a decision to connect to a remote server, only 30-60 seconds will pass. A lot depends on your Internet connection.