The global VPN market continues to evolve at a pace every single day, with the rise of mobile usage across both major platforms one of the sector’s most obvious trends.
According to recent research, some 52% of VPN users operate this technology on one or more iOS devices, with 37% accessing a virtual private network on an Android smartphone.
The question that remains, of course, is do you actually need to operate a VPN on your Android device? We’ll explore this in the article below, while appraising the benefits of enabling a VPN on your smartphone.
Android VPNs – Why Would You Use Them?
In truth, there are two main reasons why you may want to install a mobile VPN client on your Android smartphone.
Network security is the most important and universally applicable of these, particularly if you’re someone who regularly logs onto public Wi-Fi networks when you’re out and about.
The same principle applies when connecting Android devices such the Acer Chromebook 15 or Lenovo M10 tablet to a public network, particularly those accessible through coffee shops and local libraries.
The issue here is that these networks are widely accessible but unsecured, creating a magnet for hackers and cyberthieves whose goal is to intercept valuable personal datasets.
In simple terms, a hacker can create a familiar sounding but rogue access point on their target public network, which may encourage you to connect by mistake. At this stage, they’ll be able to monitor your web traffic and collect sensitive personal information, while potentially accessing additional metadata stored on your device.
But how can the best Android VPN clients help in this respect? Well, VPNs provide a virtual tunnel between connected servers, encrypting your data as it’s routed from one point to another.
This makes information appear as an indecipherable string of code to hackers and others active on the network, creating a further layer of network security in the process.
What’s more, a VPN will mask your device’s IP address and physical location, offering direct protection against the threat of malware attacks and doxxing.
The second reason to install a VPN on your Android device is if you’re an avid streamer of content through services such as Netflix. According to the market leading streaming service, half of all its users watch video content on their smartphones during the average month, although just 10% of the company’s total streaming load is accessed through mobile devices.
If you are someone who regularly streams content through your Android device, your experience could be greatly improved by the use of a VPN.
But why is this the case? Well, it’s well known that Netflix’s content library changes markedly from one jurisdiction to another, thanks largely to licensing terms and the enforcement of individual copyright and royalty laws.
Outside of Netflix originals, this restricts precisely where individual shows can be broadcast, while ensuring that the content library is in some jurisdictions (such as Spain) than others (the US).
However, a reputable VPN client will be able to overcome this, primarily by operating multiple server locations in jurisdictions around the world. As a result, you can connect to a server in your region of choice, tricking Netflix with regards to your physical location and accessing the content library in your preferred country.
This rule also applies to other streaming services like BBC iPlayer and Hulu, while it enables you to continue watching your favourite programs or access new content while travelling.
Are There Any Other Drawbacks to Installing a VPN for Your Android?
These factors make a compelling case to install a VPN, while you should also note that this technology will prevent Internet Service Providers (ISPs) from tracking your web activity.
ISPs can actually collate potentially large amounts of data pertaining to your online activity over time, creating an increased security risk and creating a scenario where they may throttle your bandwidth to minimise wider network congestion.
But are there any drawbacks to installing a VPN client on your Android device? The short answer is no, but there are a couple of considerations to keep in mind before making your decision.
For example, the best VPNs are available through paid subscriptions, so you’ll have to make a financial commitment to access the advantages provided by virtual private networks.
However, the very best VPNs for Android offer flexible pricing and subscription, while charging as little as £2 per month to access the client. Overall, the average cost of a VPN subscription is just £3 per month, so this is a relatively small price to pay if you regularly access public networks or stream content on a frequent basis.
It’s also important to note that not all VPN clients have been created equal, particularly in terms of their coverage and the amount of international server locations operated.
So, you’ll need to compare different clients in detail before making an informed decision, depending on how you use your Android devices and what you’re looking for from a VPN service.
The Last Word
Clearly, the case for installing a VPN device on your Android smartphone or tablet is considerably stronger than the one against, particularly as it creates an additional layer of network security and enhances the experience of streaming content through a mobile device.
Even if you only occasionally browse websites through a public network, a VPN helps to safeguard and encrypt your data while shielding your web traffic from both hackers and ISPs.
What’s more, the best VPN clients are affordable and easy to install, so it’s also an accessible step that can deliver exceptional value for money.