Recently I started using a VPN (virtual private network) on my Android tablet. If you’re using your Android device (phone or tablet) on a public WiFi network, snoopers can glom onto your data so it’s important to protect yourself.
Especially if you’re using your tablet to connect to bank accounts, a VPN is a very good idea. You can review the most important reasons to use a VPN here.
As an expat, you’ve got another reason to use a VPN, even if you’re on a secure WiFi network at home.
Lots of websites — banks, ecommerce and others — only do business with people in their country. So your US bank might block you if they recognize you’re trying to log in from, say, Panama.
Or Amazon will tell you that you can’t order from them, or that the digital item you want isn’t available in your location.
A VPN creates a virtual tunnel between your computer and their server, so when you go to place that Amazon order, it looks to Amazon as though you’re in the US (or Canada, or the UK, or wherever your home country may be).
Now, if you never use your tablet or phone on a public WiFi network, never shop online with it and never try to connect with your bank, you may not need a VPN.
But the rest of us should be using one.
My current provider, VPN4All, was kind enough to give me an account to test with so I could tell you about it.
I’ve been using VPN4All on my regular computer and have been quite happy.
The Mobile version is $5.95/month, with discounts if you pay for three, six or 12 months at a time. You can also get special rates if you have multiple licenses (for your regular computer and for your mobile device, for example).
Installing it and getting it up and running was a bit tricky. As a fairly new tablet user when I installed it, there was a learning curve. Fortunately they provided a very detailed PDF user guide. (I downloaded it to my computer, rather than my tablet, as I found it easier to work with that way.)
The hardest part of the setup wasn’t actually the VPN4All itself, but setting up a “credential storage password” on my Android device. My tablet required me to do that first — your device may not.
Once set up, though, using it is very easy.
When I want to crank up my VPN, I just go to settings, then more and VPN. All my credentials are stored, so the connection is quick and easy. To disconnect, I just touch the key symbol in my taskbar and select disconnect.
As with any VPN, your speed is likely to be a bit slower because you’re going through a server that’s at a distance.
Other VPN Services for Mobile Devices
VPN Services that offer protection for Apple and Android mobile devices include:
Got questions or comments about using a VPN? Use the Comments below.