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
I’ve reviewed VPNs previously here and here.
VPN Services that offer protection for Apple and Android mobile devices include:
Got questions or comments about using a VPN? Use the Comments below.
Great tips! I was just wondering about online ordering the other day and how it would work from outside the US.
How are freight services (UPS, FedEx) for items you’ve ordered online? For example, can you still get 2-day shipping, or do items ordered from the US take weeks to arrive?
That’s a good question, Misty. First of all, unless you’re using a VPN you probably won’t be able to order from your favorite online retailers. Fortunately that’s easily solved. You can read more about VPNs. . . See this article or just do a search for VPN on the site.
Once you’ve got that sorted, you can place orders just as if you were in your home country. However, they probably won’t ship overseas. So you’ll need a home-country address and someone to forward your items. We use a service provided by Mailboxes, Etc. They give us an address in Miami and they take care of getting everything to us in Panama. Here’s more on forwarding.
Don’t expect fast delivery, though. Even if you’re in a country with good mail service — I’m not — your package has to go through customs, which takes time, and go on international flights. We usually figure 10 days to 2 weeks, but we waited until mid-January to get some mail that had been sent from FL on December 13. . .
A Virtual private network acts like a tunnel and generates a secure network connection over every network. I have “Hotspot Shield” VPN on my Galaxy android phone and i am using it for last 5 months. It is always advice able to be careful for your online identity and system security. To keep my identity safe and secure i use Hotspot Shield VPN on every public or free wifi hotspots. Check it here – http://www.hotspotshield.com/free-proxy
Glad you’ve found a VPN you like. I used Hotspot Shield for a while, but have found that I like VPN4All better. Depending on where you are, your internet speed may be more or less affected. Here in Panama, Hotspot Shield took our already slow connectios and slowed them even more.
Hello, so if I order things using vpn can the online retail suggest to me to turn off my vpn? is that illegal? I mean I guess they dont have to accept my order but illegal? I saw some where that said retailer can not suggest to you to turn off vpn when placing an order. However, if they say ” we can not accept orders due to the usage of VPN” that kind of suggest I need to turn it of or dont order from them ie amazon etc. I am just unclear on this area
Richard, retailers can have any policies they want. If you’re using a good VPN, it’s likely not something they can detect. If they do, well, maybe you should consider a different VPN. I ordered online regularly from US retailers from Panama. As long as I was having them ship to a US address, I never had a problem.
Thank you for your answer.
Have a nice day