Android VPN experiences/suggestions?
January 1, 2014 2:16 PM   Subscribe

What VPN would you suggest using on an Android phone? My main motivation for using a VPN is to improve privacy/security while accessing the internet while away from home ( coffee shops, hotels, etc ).

For a couple days now, I've been using the free version of Hotspot Shield. I'll probably switch to a non-free VPN before long. So far Hotspot Shield seems fine but if there's a better choice, I would like to know. If you are an Android user with VPN experiences ( good or bad ) I would be interested in about those experiences.

Some of my concerns are: reliability, speed, ease of use, cost ( $5 / month seems reasonable but $25 / month would be excessive ). There may be other things that I *should* be taking in to consideration but am not.

One possibility would be to set up a home based VPN and access the net through it. That's probably more trouble than it's worth but if you've done that and are happy/unhappy with the results, please chime in.

Thank You
posted by metadave to Technology (9 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Lifehacker had a "Best Five" VPN Service Provider list from 2013, based on an informal reader survey; such is the nature of their "best five" articles. But they seem to have a pretty techy readership, so I've had good luck with their articles, even though I've never tried a VPN service.

If you have a computer at home you can repurpose towards this effort, you can make a pfSense firewall. pfSense is an Open Source linux firewall that supports PPTP VPN, is pretty feature-rich; plenty of companies use this. I think it's easy to use, but I'm a network technician and I shouldn't assume anything about your knowledge level. Using this arrangement, you'll have your home's internet access (with all its assets and deficits) whenever you use mobile internet. Plus then you'll have a great firewall.
posted by Sunburnt at 2:42 PM on January 1

I use Private Internet Access. It's reliable, works on most platforms (I use it on my nexus phone, nexus tablet, ancient macbook, and win7 desktop), and they're quite serious about not logging user activity. $40/year, and can be used on three (or maybe more) devices concurrently.
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 2:52 PM on January 1 [2 favorites]

Setting up home vpns can be pretty simple if you're willing to replace your router. The OpenWRT project has support for this by replacing firmware on several consumer routers.
posted by odinsdream at 3:09 PM on January 1 [1 favorite]

I use Witopia, setup was straightforward, cost is variable in which package you go for.
posted by arcticseal at 3:21 PM on January 1

I don't have any recommendations for VPN providers but would recommend you don't use anything that requires PPTP, as it's known to be insecure. Unfortunately it's easy to set up a PPTP server and pretty much every device has client support, so it's still in pretty wide use.

For VPN technology I'd suggest OpenVPN. There's an android client if you're up for making a home server, and they also provide a commercial VPN service with it's own android client if you want someone else to do the hard work (not a recommendation, I've never used them myself).
posted by russm at 3:45 PM on January 1

I second Private Internet Access. I've just signed up for my third year.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 3:46 PM on January 1

Oh, if you're really serious about privacy (whoever you choose to use), pay for the service with a prepaid credit card, and register with a throwaway email address.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 4:01 PM on January 1

I also use Private Internet Access. The service has been solid, it's inexpensive, and they don't log anything that you do. The logging issue is relevant because in the event that they are subpoenaed or raided or spied on or whatever, the question of them surrendering their logs doesn't even come up since the logs don't exist in the first place. I haven't tried any other VPN services, but I've never felt a need to. They have an Android app.
posted by Scientist at 8:14 PM on January 1

Thank you all. As of a few minutes ago I'm using Private Internet Access.
posted by metadave at 9:18 PM on January 1

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