How to create, configure and use a VPN connection in Android

Whether you use Virtual Private Networks to encrypt your network traffic when you connect to public WiFi networks or to access your company’s network while travelling, VPNs are definitely useful. Chances are that, besides your Windows devices, you will want to use VPN connections on your Android smartphone or tablet too. If this is what you want to do, this tutorial will guide you through all the steps you have to make in order to create, configure and use a VPN connection in Android. There’s plenty of ground to cover, so let’s get started:

What you need in order to connect to a VPN

To be able to connect and use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) on your Android smartphone or tablet, you will have to know a few details before making the connection:

  • The IP address or the URL of the VPN server to which you want to connect.
  • Your VPN authentication credentials, usually in the form of a username and password.
  • Other special configuration options related to the VPN connection you are about to set up. These include things like the VPN server type, encryption type or specific DNS servers that the VPN connection must use.

Once you’re sure that you have all the information that is needed by the VPN connection that you’re going to set up, go ahead and follow the steps from the next section.

If you want to know more about Virtual Private Networks and how they work, check this article: Simple questions: What is VPN? What does it do?.

How to create and configure a VPN connection in Android

In order to create this guide, we used a Motorola Nexus 6 smartphone running the stock Android 6 Marshmallow operating system. Certain screens and options may look different on your Android device.

In order to create a VPN connection on your Android smartphone or tablet, start by opening the Settings. There are many ways to do this, but one that works on any Android flavor is to open the All apps list and then tap the Settings icon.

The first section from the Android Settings screen should be Wireless & networks. The last option from this list is called More. Tap on it.

In the More screen, find and tap the option named VPN.

Your Android smartphone or tablet will open a screen where you can see all the VPN connections that are configured on your device. Unless you or one of the apps you have used on your Android device created VPN connections in the past, this screen should be empty. To create a new VPN connection, tap the + (plus) button from the top right corner of the screen.

Android opens a dialog called “Edit VPN profile” , in which you must enter all the details of the VPN connection that you want to create. The basic configuration options are:

  • Name - enter a name that will help you identify this VPN connection.
  • Type - the type of the VPN connection that you’re setting up. Select it from the list.
  • Server address - the address of the VPN server which you’ll connect to. This can be either a URL like vpn.digitalcitizen.life or a numerical IP address like 40.84.48.70.
  • PPP encryption (MPPE) - specifies whether the VPN server to which you want to connect requires that the connection be encrypted. This option should be ticked by default.

If you tap “Show advanced options” , you will be able to configure a few advanced details regarding the VPN connection that you’re setting up. Things like: ”DNS search domains” , ”DNS servers” and ”Forwarding routes”. If the VPN connection that you’re creating requests you to enter these details, do so now. However, these are usually not required.

When you’re done entering all the details of the VPN connection, tap Save.

The VPN connection is now created and can be used at any time.

How to connect to a VPN server in Android

O nce the VPN connection is configured, tap on its name in the VPN list.

Your Android smartphone or tablet will ask you to enter the username and password of your VPN account. If you want to, you can save this information so that you won’t have to enter it again the next time you connect to the same VPN.

Tap Connect and wait for a few moments for the VPN connection to be established.

And that’s all! From now on, every bit of information you receive or send on the internet using your Android smartphone or tablet is relayed via the VPN server you’re connected to. That is, of course, until you decide to disconnect from the VPN server.

How to disconnect from a VPN server in Android

To disconnect from a VPN server, go back to the VPN screen and tap the running VPN connection. You’ll see some information about the Duration of the VPN connection, as well as details about the data that was Sent and Received using the VPN connection. Below this information, you will see a button called Disconnect. Tap on it and the VPN connection will close immediately.

Conclusion

As you’ve seen in this guide, creating, configuring and using VPN connections on Android smartphones or tablets is easy. Everyone can do it as long as you follow the instructions we shared. If you have questions on this subject or if you need help, don’t hesitate to ask in the comments below.