How to Set Up a VPN on Android: Quick Guide

Posted on May 31, 2024 by Naiyie Lamb

Setting up a VPN on Android sounds like a technical process, but it doesn’t have to be – especially if you use a VPN app. Once you’ve subscribed to a VPN provider, you can simply download its mobile app from the Google Play Store. 

Alternatively, Android 9.0 and above also lets you set up a VPN manually with a built-in VPN support feature. In this article, we’ll show you how to set up a VPN on Android, both with and without an app.

Spoiler alert: using a VPN app is much easier than setting up a VPN manually on your Android device. PIA VPN has an easy-to-use app for Android so you can stay protected on public Wi-Fi and keep accessing your favorite content safely on the go.  

How to Set Up a VPN on Android: Two Methods

Now that you know why you should install a VPN, let’s take a look at how. You have two options: using a VPN app, and configuring a VPN manually. 

How to Set Up a VPN on Your Android Phone with PIA VPN’s App

The easiest way to set up a VPN on Android is to download a VPN app from the Google Play Store and follow the setup instructions.

  1. Go to the Google Play Store.
  2. Search “PIA VPN” and install the Private Internet Access app.

  1. Get PIA VPN: you can choose from monthly, yearly, or longer subscriptions.
  2. Once you enter your payment information, you’ll get an email with your PIA VPN username and password. 
  3. Go back to the app and log in with your new credentials. 
  4. Once logged in, you can connect to a VPN server with a single tap.

You can also install the app directly from the internet by downloading the APK and installing the app that way. 

Here’s how: 

  1. Go to the VPN app download page and hit Or Download APK (advanced).

  1. On your Android, go to My Files → Downloads. You should see the downloaded APK file. 

  1. Tap on the file. You’ll then be asked Do you want to install this app? Tap Install. 

Downloading the APK directly from the internet isn’t that different from downloading the app from the Google Play Store. However, if for any reason you can’t access the Google Play Store, downloading the APK is a good alternative. You’ll end up with the same app on your phone.

How to Set Up a VPN on Android without a VPN App

You can set up a VPN on Android without a VPN app, but it’s a bit more complicated. The only real benefit is that you save a little storage space since you won’t have downloaded an app.

Android (version 9.0 and up) has built-in VPN support, so you don’t need to download an app. However, you still need credentials from a VPN provider, which means you need a VPN subscription. 

If you want to opt for a manual VPN setup on your Android, here’s how. 

  1. Go into your Android settings.
  2. Tap Network & Internet.
  3. Select Advanced.
  4. Choose VPN.
  5. Tap the + sign.
  6. Enter your VPN administrator’s information.
  7. Tap Save.

If you’re using Samsung VPN settings, this will look a bit different. 

  1. Tap on Connections.

  1. Tap on More connection settings.

  1. Select VPN.

  1. Tap the three dots in the upper right corner and tap Add VPN Profile.

  1. Enter the VPN information from your provider.

  1. Tap Save.

How to Change Your VPN Settings on Android

Most VPN providers let you configure your settings, giving you more control over your security. For example, on the PIA VPN app for Android, you can configure split tunneling, change VPN protocols, and opt to connect automatically on unknown Wi-Fi networks. It’s much easier to configure your settings if you use a VPN app instead of the manual setup option. 

Using the App

Here’s how to configure your settings in the PIA VPN app.

  1. Open the PIA VPN app. 
  2. Tap on the three lines in the top left-hand corner.

  1. Select Settings.

  1. You’ll then see a list of settings you can easily configure.

Through Android Network Settings 

For Samsung VPN settings and configurations:

  • Go to SettingsConnectionsMore connection settingsVPN
  • Select the settings option next to the VPN you want to edit. Choose your preferences and save them.

Configure the Always on setting: 

  • Toggle to choose whether you want your Android to connect to a VPN automatically.

That’s all there is to it! Now that your Android device is properly VPN secured, you can go out and explore the world and the internet with freedom and privacy. Safe travels!

Fortify your Android against intrusion and stay protected on public Wi-Fi with the PIA VPN app for Android. You’ll get access to a global network of high-speed servers, so you can access any content on your Android from anywhere.

Why You Should Set Up a VPN on Android

VPNs protect your online privacy and help you avoid surveillance on your Android. When you use the internet, your ISP can see your activity, and might even decide what you can and can’t access. According to recent statistics, the average person spends four and a half hours on their smartphones daily – so if you don’t protect your device, you’re likely sharing a ton of information. 

Using a VPN has many benefits for increasing both privacy and digital freedom. It encrypts your traffic, helping you browse the internet privately without the limitations of network restrictions. Let’s take a closer look at how using a VPN can enhance your Android.

    ✅Bypass network restrictions. ISPs can impose restrictions on what you can access while connected to the internet. If you’re using Wi-Fi at school or work, you might be blocked from accessing streaming or gaming sites. If you have a long break and want to pass the time, VPNs let you bypass restrictions and unblock websites and platforms you want to visit.
    ✅ Stop your ISP from snooping. When you use your Android device on your home internet network, your ISP can see what websites you visit. A VPN encrypts your traffic and stops your ISP from snooping on you.
    ✅ Stay safe on public Wi-Fi. Sharing a Wi-Fi hotspot with strangers can be risky. It only takes one tech-savvy person with bad intentions to hack your Android and steal your private data. A VPN shields your traffic with encryption to keep you safe on public Wi-Fi.
    ✅ Game safely. Do you love gaming on your Android but want more security and freedom? You can use a VPN to change your location, hiding your real IP address and protecting yourself from DDoS attacks.
    ✅ Bypass bandwidth throttling. If your ISP notices you’re engaged in bandwidth-heavy activities like gaming on your Android device, it might throttle your connection. When you connect to a VPN, your traffic is encrypted and your ISP can’t see what you’re doing online, so it has no reason to throttle you. 
    ✅ Avoid surveillance and censorship. Governments worldwide are employing more stringent surveillance and censorship practices. A VPN helps you access the open internet freely on your Android device and avoid being monitored and blocked from content. This is especially relevant if you’re a journalist or an activist. 
    ✅ Access geo-restricted websites. A VPN comes in handy when you travel abroad. It lets you access sites and applications like your bank account and other essential services that may not be available in the region you’re traveling in. Simply connect to a server in your home country to access the web as you normally do. 
    ✅ Avoid region-based price discrimination. A VPN can mask your IP address with one from a location of your choice. This helps you avoid price discrimination when shopping on your Android. Websites use your IP address to track your location and may offer location-specific prices. For example, if you’re using the Skyscanner app on your Android, you may find flights between EU countries are cheaper within the EU than from the US. If so, you can use a VPN to connect to different servers worldwide and find the lowest prices. 
    ✅ Stream content from anywhere. When you travel, you may not have access to some shows from home. Connect to a VPN server from your home country to watch your favorite shows on your Android anywhere you go.

What to Look for When Choosing a VPN for Android

Searching for the best VPN for your Android can be overwhelming. VPN ads are all over the internet, and choosing the right one can be tough if you don’t know what to look for. Also, not all VPN providers offer native apps for Android. 

That’s why we’ve compiled a list of important features to consider when shopping for an Android VPN. 

  • Connection speeds: It’s important to choose a VPN with high-speed servers if you want to enjoy securely using the web without hiccups. PIA VPN’s 10-Gbps servers can transmit and receive data at up to 10 billion bits per second – that’s super fast!
  • Widespread access: Not all VPNs let you access blocked websites and platforms. This is because sites routinely block IP addresses associated with a VPN. PIA VPN invests resources to ensure our IP addresses work across all your favorite sites and platforms. You can also opt for a dedicated IP address to enjoy hassle-free access.
  • Server network: When picking a VPN, consider the size of the server network. It’s a good sign if the provider has servers in multiple locations. That way, you can virtually hop around the world on your Android anytime you like. 
  • Kill switch: If your connection suddenly drops, you could be temporarily exposed to threats. A VPN with a firewall-based kill switch quickly stops traffic to and from your Android until your VPN connection is safely restored. This way, your data won’t leak into the wrong hands.
  • No-logs policy: Android apps are notorious for invasive tracking practices. Some VPN apps are guilty, too – so much for privacy, right? To avoid this unwelcome intrusion, opt for a VPN provider with a strict no-logs policy. PIA VPN’s no-logs policy was independently audited, so you can be confident that we never track or record what you do online.
  • Split tunnel options: Split tunneling lets you select which traffic to encrypt and which to keep on your standard connection. It’s helpful if you want to access content from two regions on your Android at once. For example, you can order from local food delivery sites while keeping the rest of your traffic private, or routed through a different location. It also lets you use LAN devices (printers etc.) while staying protected. The PIA VPN app for Android has advanced split tunneling features, giving you more flexibility and control.
  • Powerful encryption: Encryption safeguards your internet traffic against snooping and interception. Choose a VPN provider that uses the strongest encryption available.

  • Device compatibility: Choose a VPN provider that covers all your devices. PIA VPN is also compatible with iOS, macOS, Windows PC, and Linux, so you’ll never need another VPN. 
  • Unlimited device connections: VPNs usually have device limits which means you can only connect a certain number of devices at once. PIA VPN is one of the only VPNs that lets you connect unlimited devices. That’s tough to beat!
  • Customer service: When you use a premium VPN, technical problems are rare, but they can happen. If you run into issues, you’ll want to know you can get assistance quickly. That’s why a service like PIA VPN with 24/7 live chat support is your best bet.
  • Security: Regular security audits are crucial for keeping digital products like VPNs safe for users. That’s why PIA VPN undergoes regular internal auditing and seeks independent unbiased audits by industry leaders like Deloitte and Google


Does Android have a built-in VPN?

No, Android doesn’t have a built-in VPN, but it does have built-in VPN support on Android 9.0 and up. This lets you manually set up a VPN in settings. To use it, you still need a subscription with a VPN provider. 

You can easily set up a VPN on your Android with PIA VPN. Download the app from the Google Play Store, or use your subscription credentials to set it up in Android’s built-in VPN support setting.

How do I set up a VPN location on Android?

To change your location with a VPN on Android, go to your VPN app and connect to a server in another location. This will mask your IP address with one from your choice location. When you visit websites, you’ll appear to be visiting from the location of the server you’re connected to. 

How do I set up a free VPN on my Android?

Free VPNs for Android are available in the Google Play Store, but using them is probably not a good idea, as they’re often more trouble than they’re worth. They may impose data caps or have outdated, overburdened infrastructure, which can result in a slow, jittery connection. Some may even infect your device with malware or bombard you with ads.

The PIA VPN app for Android is user-friendly and packed with advanced security features. You’ll have access to a global server network of ultra-fast servers and top-notch VPN protocols. You’ll also get unlimited device connections. Try PIA VPN risk-free with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Are VPNs safe?

Yes, VPNs are safe. It’s always safer to use a VPN than to not use one. When you connect to a VPN, it encrypts all traffic to and from your device. This safeguards your device and stops your private data from leaking into the wrong hands. Find out more about the benefits of using a VPN here.

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