Best vpn in 2021
19 Oct

This variety of deployments makes the Android implementation of the VPN client particularly interesting. If, for example, you want to run a VPN on your Chromebook, your best bet is to install the Android VPN client and let that client do all the heavy lifting. We discussed that in-depth in our best VPNs for Chrome and Chromebook 2021 guide.

Unfortunately, Android’s more open environment means there are many different implementations, versions aren’t updated regularly, and like this interesting piece by the NordVPN folks shows, malware is more prevalent. This makes malware scanning built-in within the VPN client particularly helpful.

In this overview, we look at the four most popular Android VPNs. Here’s what we think:

NordVPN

Ratings and Reviews

  • Family Sharing: Yes
  • Malware Scanner: Yes
  • Simultaneous Connections: 6
  • Kill Switch: Yes
  • Platforms: Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux, Android TV, Chrome, Firefox
  • Logging: None, except billing data
  • Countries: 59
  • Servers: 5517
  • Trial/MBG: 30 day

NordVPN is one of the most popular consumer VPNs out there. Last year, Nord announced that it had been breached. Unfortunately, the breach was active for more than 18 months. While there were failures at every level, NordVPN has made substantial efforts to remedy the breach. In our review, we liked that it offered capabilities beyond a basic VPN, including support for P2P sharing, a service called DoubleVPN that performs a second layer of encryption, Onion over VPN that supports its VPN. TOR capabilities, and even a dedicated IP if you’re trying to run a VPN that also doubles as a server. It also supports all the common platforms and a bunch of home network platforms. The company also offers the NordVPN team, which provides centralized management and billing for a mobile workforce. The performance test was adequate, although the ping speed was so slow that I didn’t want to play a Twitch video game over the VPN. To be fair, most VPNs have pretty terrible ping speeds, so this isn’t a weakness unique to Nord. Overall, a solid choice, and well worth a try, with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

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ExpressVPN

Ratings and Reviews

  • Family Sharing: Yes
  • Malware Scanner: No
  • Simultaneous Connections: 5 or unlimited with the router app
  • Kill Switch: Yes
  • Platforms: A whole lot
  • Logging: No browsing logs, some connection logs
  • Countries: 94
  • Locations: 160
  • Trial/MBG: 30 days

ExpressVPN has been making headlines with some very bad news. We chose to omit ExpressVPN in this recommendation, and I would not necessarily dismiss ExpressVPN out of hand because of these reports, but it is up to you to measure your level of risk. The best way to do that is by reading our in-depth analysis:
ExpressVPN is one of the most popular VPN providers, offering a wide variety of platforms and protocols. Platforms include Windows, Mac, Linux, Routers, iOS, Android, Chromebooks, Kindle Fire and even Nook devices. There are also browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox. Plus, ExpressVPN works with PlayStation, Apple TV, Xbox, Amazon Fire TV, and Nintendo Switch. There’s also a manual setup option for Chromecast, Roku, and Nvidia Switch.
With 160 server locations in 94 countries, ExpressVPN has quite the VPN network on the Internet. In CNET’s review of the service, staff writer Rae Hodge reported that ExpressVPN lost less than 2% performance with the VPN enabled and using the OpenVPN protocol versus a direct connection.

While the company does not log browsing history or traffic destinations, it does log the dates associated with the VPN service, the amount transferred, and the VPN server location. We want to give ExpressVPN kudos for making this information very clear and easily accessible.

IPVanish

Ratings and Reviews

  • Family Sharing: Yes
  • Malware Scanner: No
  • Simultaneous Connections: Unlimited
  • Kill Switch: Yes
  • Platforms: Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux, Chrome, plus routers, Fire Stick, and Kodi
  • Logging: None, except billing data
  • Servers: 1,500 
  • Locations: 75
  • Trial/MBG: 30 day

IPVanish is a deep and highly configurable product that presents itself as a click-and-go solution. I think the company is selling itself short by doing this. A quick visit to its website shows a relatively common VPN service, but this is not the whole truth.
Its UI offers a wide array of server selection options, including some great performance graphics. It also has a wide variety of protocols, so no matter what you’re connecting to, you can know what to expect. The company also provides an excellent server list with good current status information. There is also a raft of configuration options for the app.

In terms of performance, the connection speed was quite fast. Overall transfer performance was good. However, from a security standpoint, it wasn’t able to hide that I was connecting through a VPN – although the data transferred was secure. Overall, a solid product with a good user experience that’s fine for a home connection as long as you’re not trying to hide the fact that you’re on a VPN.

The company also has a partnership with SugarSync and offers 250GB of encrypted cloud storage with each plan.

SurfShark

Ratings and Reviews

  • Family Sharing: Yes
  • Malware Scanner: Yes
  • Simultaneous Connections: Unlimited
  • Kill Switch: Yes
  • Platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android, Fire TV, Firefox, Chrome
  • Logging: None, except billing data
  • Trial/MBG: 30 day

At two bucks a month for a two-year plan (billed in part), Surfshark offers a decent price for a solid offering. In CNET’s testing, no leaks were found (and given that there’s more name leaked connection information, that’s a huge win). The company has a very strong security focus, offering AES-256-GCM, RSA-2048, and Perfect Forward Secrecy encryption. To prevent WebRTC leaks, Surfshark offers a special purpose browser plugin specifically designed to combat those leaks. Surfshark’s performance was higher than NordVPN and Norton Secure VPN, but lower than ExpressVPN and IPVanish. That said, Surfshark also offers a multihop option that allows you to route connections through two VPN servers on the Surfshark private network. We also like that the company offers some affordable add-on features, including ad-blocking, anti-tracking, access to a non-logging search engine, and a tool that protects your email address against data breach lists. tracks.

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