How to set up a VPN on an Android smartphone

With cybercrime increasing, more and more people are turning to VPNs to protect their privacy and security while they are online. This blog provides a step-by-step guide on how to install a VPN on an Android smartphone.

Do not sideload

Sideloading refers to the installation of an application on a mobile device without using the official app distribution channel. For Android devices, the official channel is the Google Play Store.

Sideloading provides mobile device users with a way to access more apps than are available at the Play Store. To enable sideloading on Android devices, you simply check a box in the operating system settings. Once enabled, you can download and install applications from any website or third-party app store. But it is important to understand that sideloading poses risks.

The Google Play Store screens for malware and other threats. It also protects the digital rights of software producers. Software that has been sideloaded may not have been screened for malware and may be pirated. In short, we recommend downloading your chosen VPN from the Google Play Store.

Choose a VPN

There is no shortage of VPNs. You will find tens of branded alternatives and each has its strengths and weaknesses. For the purposes of this blog, we have arbitrarily chosen NordVPN to make the discussion concrete. However, this guide will apply to almost all VPNs with little or no modification.

Launch the Google Play store and install your VPN

The first step is to launch the Google Play store and search for your chosen VPN, which in this case is NordVPN. When you find it and read the product description, you will be informed that more than 10 million copies of the app have been downloaded by users seeking to enjoy private internet and online security. Tap ‘Install’. It will take about a minute or less to download.

Open VPN and establish an account

Once the app has downloaded, tap ‘Open’. You will be asked to establish a Nordaccount by entering your email address and password.

Start a free trial

Once you have set up an account, you will land on a page offering a 7-day free trial. After that period, an annual subscription fee will be applied unless you cancel. Tap ‘Start Free Trial’ and enter your credit card details.

Enter your password and tap ‘Verify’

You will then be asked to re-enter your password and tap ‘Verify’. You will then be asked if you want to approve each subsequent in-app purchase individually. Once you have selected your preference, you will be invited to ‘Manage Settings’. There is an option to decline, but we recommend you go through the process of selecting each setting.

Manage settings

You will be asked to supply a backup payment method in case your nominated credit card fails. You can choose not to supply these details by tapping the back button. That will take you to a ‘Welcome to NordVPN’ landing page. Tap ‘Let’s Go’.


You will be asked if you want NordVPN to automatically select the fastest server for you. Tap ‘Quick Connect’. You will need to reconfirm this decision by tapping ‘OK’.

Process complete

That’s it! The installation is done. If you go to the notifications page on your smartphone, there will be a message informing you of the server to which you are connected. For example, the message may read: ‘Connected to Australia #606’. If at any time this message disappears, it means your connection has been interrupted and you will need to reconnect through the VPN app.

If you go to your email inbox, there will be a welcome email reminding you to remain connected to a VPN server to ensure maintain privacy and security.

To learn more, please feel welcome to contact us at The Answers.


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