What beginners need to know about running a VPN on Android

May 8, 2013
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    VPN

    If you’ve ever gone to Starbucks or Tim Hortons to use their public network on your smartphone or tablet, you should know that this could potentially be a bad idea. A public network isn’t very secure, thus it is easy for hackers to steal your data. While it is very uncommon. it’d be a terrible thing if they got their hands on your bank account credentials, personal information, and worse of all, your array of cute kitten GIFs.

    So, how do you keep your data away from hackers? You can use something called a VPN or a Virtual Private Network to keep your information encrypted from prying eyes.

    What is a VPN?

    In short, a VPN allows you to connect your device up to a secure connection over the Internet. VPNs can do a lot of things, such as letting you access region-restricted websites, keep your data secure, hide your browsing activity on a public Wi-Fi network and more.

    To answer the question more technically, when you connect your device up to a VPN your browsing is routed through servers across the world, which provide a proxy I.P. address. In example, let’s say there’s a server based in Japan that you connect up to. All your Internet traffic is routed to that server where you’ll be be provided with a proxy I.P. address. So, if you’re based in the United States and are surfing the web, websites won’t see a U.S.-based I.P. address — they’ll see a Japanese one.

    Just to be as clear as possible, let’s use YouTube as an example. Without a VPN, pointing your browser towards www.youtube.com would show that you have a United States I.P. address. After connecting up to a VPN, you will longer appear to be connecting from the U.S., but from Japan.

    Why would I want to use VPN?

    As mentioned above, data simply isn’t secure over a public network. So, if you’re doing banking, sending private documents via email or just anything you don’t want other people to see, a VPN will keep all of that data secure, which is one reason why you would want to use one.

    Secondly, maybe you want to access a region-restricted website, such as the BBC iPlayer. Say you’re in the United States and you can’t access the BBC iPlayer because of the region lock. By connecting to a Wi-Fi network, firing up a VPN like Hideman, you’ll be able to trick the website into thinking you’re connecting from the United Kingdom. At that point, you’ll be able to access the BBC iPlayer all you want.

    Those two reasons aside, the video below gives you a few additional reasons as to why you should use a VPN.

    A word of caution

    VPNs are great, and while free solutions may look even better, it would be wise to either stay away from those or avoid transmitting sensitive data through them. Most free VPNs do employ a little bit of security, just not as much as a paid- or subscription-based service. Free solutions are great for general browsing, but it’d be wise to avoid looking at important information that needs your Social Security number and etc.

    On another note, a VPN, in some cases, can also slow your connection down drastically. If you’re on broadband connection, you should barely notice a difference in speed, but if you’re using a mobile network, a VPN may prove to have a negative effect rather than a positive.

    Be sure to hit the next page to see a list of our favorite VPN apps along with a video!

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    Comments

    • Graf

      What about orbot?

    • Alex

      I hope everyone will understand how urgent this is. Using public wi-fi can mean disaster for your personal identity.

      This probably won’t be popular (ha ha) but I personally use “Norton 360™ Multi-Device” which is good for up to 5 devices (laptop, phone, tablet, etc)

    • Alex

      I hope everyone will understand how urgent this is. Using public wi-fi can mean disaster for your personal identity.

      This probably won’t be popular (ha ha) but I personally use “Norton 360™ Multi-Device” which is good for up to 5 devices (laptop, phone, tablet, etc)

    • districtjack

      Thank you. Thank you! Thank you Brad Ward. I’m old and have always wondered what a VPN really is and how to set one up. Finally someone has explained it to me. For us dinosaurs that can remember the first party line *phone being installed on our street, technological terms can be intimidating. *(And that’s rotary dial phone btw)

    • districtjack

      Thank you. Thank you! Thank you Brad Ward. I’m old and have always wondered what a VPN really is and how to set one up. Finally someone has explained it to me. For us dinosaurs that can remember the first party line *phone being installed on our street, technological terms can be intimidating. *(And that’s rotary dial phone btw)

    • Allen Themba

      Thank you a million Brad, thank you! Being in Africa, its hard to get such information.

    • http://www.facebook.com/harisaltaf21 Haris Altaf

      Nice article you share for beginner VPN users i am using Btguard on my android device its HTC desire S and i also share the tutorial andList Of Free VPN For AndroidProvider list i hope this list helps your subscribers

    • http://www.facebook.com/odinforce Faizan Ali

      Bravo!.. VPNs are not only used to unblock websites but are a better source of protecting yourself and your data online. These days Cyber crimes are at a all time high and we need VPNs to protect ourselves from them. There are many more other ways you can use a VPN (source: http://bit.ly/Yw1Zw9).

    • Sudeepto Dutta

      Very Good Article sir .. I always wanted to know about this technology but whenever I searched for it I always saw intimidating terms right from the start …

      This one … very easy from start till the end…. :)

    • http://twitter.com/mysteryshopclub MysteryShoppersClub

      Cool write-up, thanks. I’ve been using a service from http://hidemyiponline.com/hmvpn for a few years now, but was keen to have access also from my Android devices (a 7-inch tablet and a Samsung Galaxy phone), so this article is great. I can use my same subscription now also when on the move! I mainly use it to access TV from the UK, as I don’t currently live in the UK, but it’s great also to remain secure and protected when using wifi hotspots away from home.

    • Adam Outler

      you totally missed the point of VPN. It makes you part of a different network. You can be at work but still access your computer with 192.168.1.11 and get all the resources you have at home along with Internet.

    • http://www.facebook.com/aidan.roberts.182 Aidan Roberts

      There aren’t a lot of good VPN providers that work well on Android. I use ExpressVPN (expressvpn.biz). It works the best so far that I’ve tried. Can’t take chances with security, not ever.

    • sheena

      I had already installed vpn on my android phone and I’m now using mobile network i wanted to subscribe the data plan but is it necessary to used credit cards for the payments? Or is there any other option? thanks

    • Aidan Roberts

      I went to ExpressVPN.biz for my Android devices. Never disappointed me on security like other popular VPNs did.

    • Pavel Pravdin

      Nideninja great application, use it for a long times for free and got them 5 stars!

    • Ammar

      Great Source for beginners. Apart of this useful guidelines, i believe there is much more that should be know regarding Android and VPN importance in it. Specially relates to top Android VPN providers. One must look at the source to make final decision before choosing VPN for your Android (Source: http://goo.gl/ExfdxQ )

    • http://www.icncontractor.webs.com/ Greywolf

      Great Article and very informative but my daunting dilemma is trying to allow my Android 4.1 jellybean OS obtain internet on the go using my Blackberry as the client and android the host device and I have tried the tethering apps both Google play and blackberry app world with road block communication acceptance of each other but my android tablet has the VPN manager installed but my blackberry ISP service is by Boost Mobile riding Sprint. Is there hope for me to manually enter protocol language to achieve the results I need.

    • Jessica Liu

      I got a VPN from vpnexpress.net that works really well on Android. The security is excellent and the privacy policy guarantees that data won’t be misused or sold.

    • BrettyDaren

      Android have some built in flaws in VPN. I have setup 3rd party VPN on my android to get easy access to all geo restricted sites and keep my data secure from wrong hands. Recommend others to find out only top VPN apps for Android here http://www.vpnranks.com/android-vpn/

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