How to Set Up a VPN on Android

How to Set Up a VPN on Android in 2024: VPN App Setup Guide

Arthur Sabayi
Last update: June 3, 2024

Quick Summary: How to Set Up a VPN on Android

You can quickly set up a VPN on Android by downloading it from the Google Play store and installing it on your device. ExpressVPN is a reliable Android VPN app that’s user-friendly and comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

  1. Purchase a VPN subscription.
  2. Find the VPN in the Google Play store.
  3. Install the VPN.
  4. Launch the VPN and sign in.
  5. Grant the VPN permissions.
  6. Connect to a server.
  7. Change servers as needed.

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You can download the best VPNs from the Google Play store and install them on your Android device; the process isn’t complicated. I’ll show you how to set up a VPN on Android with detailed instructions that apply to any virtual private network compatible with Android OS.

There are multiple reasons for having a VPN on your Android device. It encrypts your online traffic to stop anyone from snooping in on you. You can also unblock geo-restricted content by connecting to servers that change your IP address to a location of your choice.

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Step by Step: How to Set Up a VPN on Android

I own a smartphone, tablet and TV that run on Android, and the setup process is the same for all of them. For demonstration purposes, I’ll use my Android phone and ExpressVPN because it’s the best VPN for Android. Here are the instructions you can follow.

1. Purchase a VPN Subscription

First, go to the VPN’s website and purchase a VPN subscription package that is within your price range. ExpressVPN has three price plans, and all are covered by a 30-day money-back guarantee with a full refund.

expressvpn android

2. Find the VPN in the Google Play Store

Launch the Google Play store and type the name of your chosen VPN. Some VPNs, including ExpressVPN, have a safe and identical alternative APK you can download if you don’t use the official Google Play store.

google play store

3. Install the VPN

Tap the “install” button to download and install the VPN app on your device. Wait for the download and installation processes to complete.

install vpn

4. Launch the VPN and Sign In

Locate the installed VPN app on your device, launch it and sign in with the credentials you created on the provider’s website.


5. Grant the VPN Permissions

You will see screen prompts asking for connection permissions that allow the VPN to monitor certain elements of your network activity. Tap “OK” to confirm.

app permissions

6. Connect to a Server

With all the basic configurations in place, touch the “tap to connect” button to quickly connect to the best VPN server available.


7. Change Servers as Needed

To connect to a different server, tap the three dots on the “smart location” tab to open the server address list. You can scroll through the list or use the search bar.

find server

With that, your Android device is now encrypted, and you can access anything you want online without worrying about being snooped on or hacked.

How to Disconnect the Android VPN Service

You can disconnect your Android VPN anytime by tapping the “connection” button within the app. Alternatively, you can do this through the Android device settings using the following steps.

1. Open the Device Settings

Go to the general settings of your Android device.

device settings

2. Open Your VPN Connections

In the settings, you should be able to access your VPN connections. Some newer versions of Android have a “VPN” option in the list. Tap that to open your VPN connections.

vpn list

3. Disconnect the VPN

At the top of your screen, you’ll see an “active” button next to the “VPN” toggle switch. Toggle it off to disconnect all VPN services.

deactivate vpn

How to Set Up a VPN on Android Manually

Here’s how to configure the basic default settings of your new Android VPN manually.

1. Activate the Kill Switch

Open the “options” menu in the bottom-right corner of your screen and select the app settings. Then tap “network protection” and toggle the button next to the “block internet when unable to connect or reconnect to VPN” option to activate the VPN kill switch. It’s usually activated by default, but always check just to be sure.

kill switch

2. Select a Protocol

Different VPN protocols serve different functions. For instance, IKEv2 consumes less data than other protocols, while OpenVPN over TCP minimizes unexpected slowdowns. You can change them through the VPN app settings as demonstrated in the ExpressVPN example below.

vpn protocols

3. Activate Ad/Malware/Tracker Blockers

Some VPNs come with ad, malware and tracker blockers to prevent you from being stalked by advertisers or opening unsafe websites. For ExpressVPN, you can access this feature through the “advanced protection” option.

advanced protection

4. Activate Split Tunneling

Split tunneling lets you choose what apps to include or exclude from your encrypted connection. Activate it if you need to connect to a website or service that blocks all VPNs, or if you want slightly faster speeds when doing tasks you don’t need to protect.

split tunneling

5. Change the Android DNS Settings

You can make your Android device use a private DNS server of your choice to completely avoid those provided by your internet service provider (ISP). To do this, open settings > network & internet (or connection & sharing) > private DNS > private DNS provider hostname. Enter a new DNS hostname, like, and tap “save” to complete the process.

advanced protection

OpenVPN Setup on Android

If your VPN connection isn’t working on your Android device, you can manually configure OpenVPN. Here’s how you do it if you’re using ExpressVPN.

1. Install the OpenVPN Connect App

Open the Google Play store and install the OpenVPN Connect app.

install app

2. Launch the App

Once it’s downloaded and installed, launch the OpenVPN Connect app.

launch app

3. Import a Connection Profile

A connection profile contains the parameters, directives and certificates necessary to establish the client-server VPN connection. Import the connection profile from the OpenVPN Access Server by tapping the upload file tab and importing the OpenVPN profile provided by your VPN provider. Alternatively, you can use the URL tab to add the client web URL specified on the OpenVPN Access Server.

Once you add the connection profile, you must enter your user credentials and any multi-factor authentication if prompted. Choose a VPN region and hit “connect” — that’s all it takes.

import file

Android VPN Settings Explained

Different Android VPN apps come with unique settings that help you achieve what you need with the VPN. 

Why Use a VPN on Your Android Device?

You need to use a VPN on your Android device to encrypt your online traffic and stop external parties, including your ISP, from seeing the websites and apps you open. This encryption also keeps you safe when you use unsecured public networks where hackers might seek to intercept your traffic and steal sensitive information.

Additionally, a VPN is the most effective way to bypass restrictions that stop you from accessing some platforms. For instance, you can bypass school and work networks that have blocked social media sites, or use a VPN to access region-blocked streaming sites like Hulu, Prime Video or Peacock TV.

How to Choose a Trusted VPN Provider for Android

Many VPNs offer Android support; choosing the right one from the many capable options can be challenging for anyone. Here are some tips to help you make the right choice.

For additional guidance, see our roundup of the best VPNs for mobile.

Top Android VPN Apps

You now know how to choose the best VPNs for your Android devices, but to make your life even easier, here’s a compilation of the top Android VPN apps you should seriously consider.


Setting up a VPN on Android is easy. First, you must subscribe to a VPN of your choice, install it from the Google Play store and configure it to your liking. You can then protect your online sessions from unauthorized eyes, unblock any content you want and bypass any sneaky speed throttling from your ISP.

Choosing the right VPN for your Android isn’t rocket science either, and ExpressVPN is the best option on our list. Other alternatives that are just as capable include NordVPN, Surfshark, CyberGhost, VyprVPN and Proton VPN.

Do you frequently use a VPN on your device? Which VPN do you use, and how usable is it? Drop your comments below. Thank you for always reading our content.

FAQ: Android Virtual Private Network Setup

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