Getting hold of an Android Package Kit, or APK, is sometimes the best way to get an app on your Android device, especially when it comes to VPN services. It’s the file format that ensures the VPN software is going to be compatible with your Android device, but going down the path of an APK isn’t normally done via the more commonly used Google Play store.
You’ll generally find that APK VPNs can be found through third-party vendors, which can also mean you’ll need to be a little more cautious about what you find. For example, some packages might look tantalisingly good, but equally they might contain malicious content, which is an obvious thing you’ll want to avoid.
Nevertheless, there are a host of reasons why you’d want to install applications this way (rather than going through Google Play). This can range from having the ability to install any version of any application (not just the latest) through to testing those that haven’t been released yet. It can therefore be a good way to do things differently, just as long as you take your time and double-check anything that might not be what it purports to be.
You’ll definitely want to be cautious about the legitimacy of your download sources. Just as is the case with Windows software, make sure the APKs you download are not pirated copies, are free from malware, and haven’t been compromised in any way.
To help you in this cause, on this page we’ve listed our recommended APK sources for getting your fix of VPN providers. Just bear in mind that while the APKs might be free, you still need to pay for the actual service from the respective VPN provider in many cases. Fear not though, as we also have a list of best VPN services (opens in new tab) handy, as it happens. Meanwhile, down at the bottom of the page, we explain the benefits of using a VPN APK for some users.
APK Pure (opens in new tab) has one of the largest repositories of VPN APKs on the web with more than 250 results listed. Sadly, there’s no way of sorting them out (by date or price) but you can theoretically filter the results by region, although at the time of writing that function appeared to be broken.
Each VPN page has a very small description, a prominent download button (with the file size), a few screenshots, the version number, the OS requirement, list of newest features, the launch date and a list of previous VPN APKs.
As expected, there is also a list of related VPN services (mostly competitors), and APK Pure offers a discussion forum for each product with a rating system. The download site claims to be 100% safe as it curates and hand-verifies all apps prior to publishing.
It may not have as many VPNs (just around 200) as its competitors but APK Mirror (opens in new tab) offers a range of VPNs that you can’t get anywhere else. For example, it’s the only one we’ve listed here to offer Samsung’s Enterprise VPN services for download. So, as you can probably guess, it isn’t a bad idea to combine this repository and the aforementioned one (APK Pure) together to get your fix of VPN APKs.
APK Mirror allows you to sort APKs by app name or by developer name. It shows the number of downloads and the size of the download, but unlike APK Pure, it doesn’t have a discussion forum or a user rating system, just a standard Disqus-based comments area. It does, however, show the certificate fileprints as well as the file hashes of each file. Nice! There’s also a raft of options to make downloading files easier: QR Code, PushBullet and even RSS Feed.
At the time of writing, APK4Fun’s (opens in new tab) search facilities appeared to be broken. Run by Google Custom Search Engine, this repository lists more than 6,000 results for VPNs, an impressive number. Sadly, you can only access 100 (ed: You can also use the search operator site:www.apk4func.com “VPN” to unearth around 400 VPNs).
As with the competition, it uses a star rating system which is directly pulled from Google Play (rather than generated by users on-site). It provides the usual details to check the integrity of the file you’re downloading, and offers up to six sources to download your files from.
Note that we did encounter some dead links to external servers, but not to APK4fun’s own servers. Why this is the case is a mystery, and sadly, you won’t be able to download older versions easily (archived versions are not located on a central page).
This is the only website we’ve highlighted here which has adopted an infinity scroll layout rather than a classic next/previous navigation model. Doing so allows Uptodown (opens in new tab) to sit well with its intended audience – namely smartphone users – especially as it sports a narrow design, making it a great choice to sift through the 140+ VPN providers listed.
Filtering options are limited only to specifying the platform. You can’t sort by date or by type (whether they’re free or not). The product page offers previous versions of the APK, and details the permissions required for installation, giving a brief description and the usual screenshots and sharing buttons.
This site does have its own commenting and ‘ask a question’ sections but we found them fairly empty. Uptodown uses VirusTotal to scan for malware or spyware using a whopping 57 antivirus solutions.
There are far more VPN APKs on Aptoide (opens in new tab) than anywhere else. Indeed, we counted to 500 before giving up. That said, our latest global VPN audit showed there were 340 providers worldwide – so we are rather dubious about Aptoide’s search result claims here.
At any rate, Aptoide – which utilizes a similar narrow page layout as Uptodown – doesn’t curate content from Google Play, instead operating its own comment and rating system (with some success), while adding its own details like the MD5 and SHA1 signatures.
Downloading APKs is a fairly straightforward process, and we love the fact that it shows how many downloads each brand has had. All the main features are here: you can download older versions, you can share the page with others, you have access to other alternative VPN APKs easily, and the list of permissions required by each app is presented.
The benefits of VPN APK
There can be plenty of positives to be had from using VPN APK, just as long as you’re diligent about the resource you’re using and stick with the more well-known ones listed above. The great thing about a VPN that works seamlessly with the Android operating system is that you’ll be able to enjoy the same levels of privacy and security as is found on other popular computing platforms.
The additional benefit is that you’ll be able to browse online knowing that you’ve also got an extra level of security, which is always a good thing. A VPN offers much more freedom too, with the ability to skip around geographical boundaries by not letting services know where you are. This can be useful for services such as streaming TV shows, which can often prevent users from accessing their content if they happen to be overseas or are situated in an unusual location.
Having the ability to effectively cover your tracks as you browse the internet can also pay dividends when it comes to avoiding the dreaded targeted advertising that is the bane of many browser sessions. While all this sounds fine and dandy, you should still exercise a great deal of caution when considering a VPN APK arrangement.
If you’re in any kind of doubt, you’ll probably be better off sidestepping what seems like a decent enough free VPN (opens in new tab) and heading in the direction of a reputable, paid-for VPN. Services from the likes of ExpressVPN (opens in new tab), NordVPN (opens in new tab) and Surfshark (opens in new tab) have gained their sterling reputation for good reason, so parting with some cash might be the best way forward if you’re after a fuss-free online life.
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