Getting hold of an APK is sometimes the best way to get an app on your Android device, especially when it comes to VPN services.
There are a host of reasons why you’d want to install applications this way (rather than going through Google Play): from the ability to install any version of any application (not just the latest) through to testing those that haven’t been released yet, it’s a good way to do things differently.
Just 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 (and we have a list of best VPN services handy, as it happens).
APK Pure 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 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 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 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 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.
- We’ve also picked out the best free VPN services around