How to Set Up a VPN on Android

Here's how to use a VPN on Android if the provider doesn't offer an Android app. Configuring a VPN manually is often done in one of two ways, both easy to do.

All of the best VPNs work on Android, so most people shouldn't need to set one up manually. But if you're using a different VPN or you have another reason to avoid the company's official app, there are two ways to get it working: use OpenVPN Connect or enter the server's connection details into your device's settings.

Option #1: OpenVPN App

This is the preferred method, if possible. Not all VPNs provide OpenVPN configuration files, but if yours does, setup is made quick and easy by having you import a file into the OpenVPN Connect app. It works on Android 4.4 and newer.

  1. Download and install OpenVPN Connect.
  2. Download the OpenVPN file from the provider. If while doing so, you're prompted to import the profile into the app, you can do that and then skip down to step 5.
  3. Open the app and go into the FILE menu.
  4. Locate the file you downloaded and then tap IMPORT.
  5. Enter your username, check the box next to Save password, and then enter the password.
  6. Select Add at the top.
OpenVPN setup on Android via the OpenVPN Connect app
  1. You might have to confirm the request by selecting OK.

The main screen in OpenVPN Connect is where all of your servers are listed. Use the button next to a server to turn it on and off.

Option #2: Android's VPN Settings

Don't have an OpenVPN file? Some VPNs only support PPTP, L2TP, IKEv2, or another protocol. Get those details from the provider and then follow these steps:

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Tap Network & internet, expand the Advanced menu at the bottom and then choose VPN.

If you're using Android 9 or older, try Connections > More networks > VPN.

  1. Tap the plus button at the top right and then fill in the fields with the VPN's information.
Android settings, network and internet, and VPN profile screens
Android VPN setup screens
  1. Optionally check the box for Always-on VPN, if applicable, and then tap Save.

To use the VPN or turn it off, return to step 2, tap the connection, and choose Connect or Disconnect.