Do you need help knowing how to use a VPN on Android? The process is not as complicated as you might think and can be quickly accomplished by anyone with a remote interest in VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) and what they offer.
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Why Use a VPN on Your Android Device?
First things first; why do you need to run a VPN on your Android device in the first place? According to a Q1 2018 study by Statista (a statistics and studies portal) on VPN usage worldwide, more than 26% of internet users around the world use a VPN. That’s roughly 1.144 billion people. Among them, 57% are mobile users, a market dominated by Android devices, including smartphones, tablets, and even smart TVs.
If you’re thinking that the millions of Android users out there must have a good reason for wanting to run a VPN on their devices, then you’d be right! The truth is that there are plenty of good reasons to use a VPN on Android, some of which you may not have considered.
Use a VPN for Entertainment
According to a related study by GlobalWebIndex (a market research company), 49% of users get a VPN to access entertainment and take advantage of their ability to bypass geo-restrictions. This means unlocking content that is normally not available in your region, including YouTube videos, Hulu or Netflix shows, and music and podcasts.
List of The Best VPN's for Netflix:
Use a VPN for Android Mobile Security
Of course, the true value of running an Android VPN client lies in its ability to keep personal data safe by hiding the IP address and online activity of its users. As a result, people can surf the web and use any internet-based services on their Android device anonymously without having to worry about their sensitive data being collected. Such a benefit has become nothing short of crucial nowadays as there were more than 150 million cybersecurity attacks on mobile devices during the first half of 2018 alone. LexisNexis (a market research and risk management company) analyzed these attacks and found that 24 million of those cases targeted financial transactions (mobile online banking or shopping).
Use a VPN for Privacy
Another significant factor that has contributed to the demand for VPN services around the world is that people are growing more concerned about their privacy. In the highly interconnected digital age, have you ever had an inkling that there are eyes all over the internet watching your every move?
Unfortunately, it’s not your imagination. Your ISP (Internet Service Provider), internet advertising agencies and tech companies, the government, and even Google itself all collect information about your online activities on your Android device in one way or another, often without your consent. Such situations can be effectively mitigated by the use of a VPN.
Are you starting to think that we’re getting too paranoid? We can’t be serious about all this spying, right? Well, you don’t have to take our word for it. You simply need to read about the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica data scandal to see what we’re talking about. In a nutshell, the controversy revolved around Cambridge Analytica (a political consulting firm) harvesting personal data from millions of Facebook accounts without their consent and using that data to further the political agenda of its clients. As you might imagine, the revelation of the scandal caused a huge public backlash, especially against Facebook, and prompted millions of people to start taking a good hard look at their privacy online.
List of The Best VPN's:
Set Up a VPN from the Android Settings
Note that the settings layout on Android devices can vary, so the process might be a bit different in your case. Nevertheless, the following steps should give you a good idea of what to do:
- Unlock your Android device.
- Select Settings and look for “Wireless Networks.”
- Tap on “VPN.” If you don’t see it right away, you may have to click on “More” until the option shows up.
- Select the + symbol usually located at the top-right corner of the VPN menu.
- Supply your VPN information. Your VPN service provider should be able to provide you with all the details.
- Save your settings, and your Android device will automatically connect to the VPN. Don’t forget to switch the connection off once you are done, especially if you are on a limited VPN service plan.
Note that you can always reconnect to the VPN by going back to the VPN settings menu, then selecting your network of choice (if you have multiple VPN networks). You may be asked to re-enter your username and password.
Set Up a VPN Using an Android App
An easier and more preferable way of setting up a VPN for Android is to simply run the app for it. The process is similar to downloading and running any Android application. Simply open the Google Play Store and download your preferred VPN client. Run the app, and you’re done!
However, keep in mind that not all VPN service providers have an Android client, so you might not be able to use this second method depending on which VPN you choose to use.
How Secure is a VPN on Android?
The answer mostly depends on your choice of a VPN service provider. Some VPN service providers do a better job than others by offering the following features:
- Bank or military-grade encryption that keeps your personal and financial data safe when traveling and using unsecured WiFi networks.
- No logging of online activity. This keeps the government and other third-party organizations from monitoring your internet traffic.
- Ad and malware blocking features that stop fraudulent links and apps from stealing sensitive user information.
VPNs are not fool-proof, but the same can be said about anti-virus software and other digital security solutions on the market. The one thing that is certain is that using a VPN makes it a heck of a lot harder for unscrupulous individuals and organizations to intercept and steal sensitive data.
Free vs. Paid VPNs on Android
When browsing for a VPN on your Android device, you will find that you have a choice between free and paid VPN services. As you might imagine, there is a world of difference between the two, and users will do well to know exactly what to expect.
While a free Android VPN service may not cost you a cent to use, the developers typically make up for it by bombarding their users with ads or, worse, logging your information and selling to interested parties. Free VPN services also often have slow performance and limit the amount of data that you can use over the network. Perhaps the most troubling aspect is the lack of decent data encryption, which often results in a lot of DNS leaks.
Paid VPN services, on the other hand, do charge a monthly or yearly fee. In return, you can use all the data that you need through the VPN network and can expect better service. This includes faster connection speeds and top-level encryption that is all but impossible for hardened cyber criminals to break into.
In conclusion, VPNs are a must-have, especially for Android users who regularly send or receive sensitive data and input financial information on their smartphone device. As you may have already realized, running a VPN is such a simple thing to do, but it pays enormous dividends in digital security and personal privacy.
VPNs offer an additional layer of protection that not too many people can afford to go without, whether they realize it or not. When you consider the current threats to one’s privacy and digital security, you’ll probably agree that VPNs are well worth having if only as a preventive measure against anyone looking to dig up sensitive information to sell or use against you.
Of course, the details of VPN protection do matter, and Android users would do well to seek the peace of mind that only a paid VPN service offers. Only then can you be certain that you are entrusting your needs to a VPN company that has the technology and expertise to keep your information safe in an increasingly interconnected and precarious world.