Install Openvpn for Android

Edited by Jay, Maria

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As we advance through this technological age, there seems to be a recurring theme or area of importance that people are paying more attention to. What we're referring to, of course, is privacy. Obtaining privacy and anonymity while browsing the web or using applications that connect to the internet is possible by using a reliable VPN (virtual private network) service.

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Another great reason to use a VPN is to get access to content that is geographical restricted. Some websites on the internet are only available to users residing within said country. Conversely, some countries place restrictions on what their citizens can view online. A way around this obstacle is to use a VPN on your device or computer.

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In this VisiHow, we're going to cover using the award-winning open source software OpenVPN on an Android device. The OpenVPN software isn't an actual VPN service provider; instead, it allows users to connect to their chosen VPN service by running what is known as .ovpn files or profiles. These profiles are set up within the user's account inside their VPN providers interfaces. Each profile is typically a specific IP address, located in whatever countries and regions that are offered by the service provider.

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The following steps were completed on a Google Pixel running Android Oreo. Please note that you will need a valid VPN account (free or paid) to be able to use the OpenVPN app for Android. For this article, we used AirVPN, which is a paid service. We will list a few paid and free services further down in this tutorial.

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Installing OpenVPN Connect

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  1. 1
    Access your device's app drawer, then tap the "Play Store" icon.
    OpenVPN-for-Android-01.png
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  2. 2
    Once in Google's Play Store, type "OpenVPN Connect" into the search field
    .
    When the search results populate, tap the first link in the list.
    OpenVPN-for-Android-02.png
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  3. 3
    On the applications information page, tap the green "INSTALL" button.
    OpenVPN-for-Android-03.png
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  4. 4
    When the installation has finished, tap the green "OPEN" button.
    OpenVPN-for-Android-04.png
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  5. 5
    Next you'll be brought to the welcome page, which is also the main screen you'll see each time you launch OpenVPN Connect
    .
    Next, we need to import a .opvn file/profile which we cover in the following section.
    OpenVPN-for-Android-05.png
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Import a .ovpn Profile

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To proceed with the following steps, you'll first need to create a .ovpn profile. To do this, you'll have to sign in to your VPN provider and follow the instructions inside their help or FAQ section. Every provider is unique and will have a different set of steps for generating .ovpn profiles. Once you've generated a .ovpn profile, save it to your device's internal storage. To keep things organized, we created a special folder specifically for this.

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  1. 1
    Launch OpenVPN Connect by tapping the app's icon.
    OpenVPN-for-Android-06.png
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  2. 2
    On the main screen, tap the three-dot menu in the upper right corner.
    OpenVPN-for-Android-07.png
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  3. 3
    Once the drop-down menu appears, tap "Import", then tap "Import Profile from SD card".
    OpenVPN-for-Android-08.png
    Don't worry if your device doesn't have an SD slot
    .
    You'll be redirected to your device's internal storage.
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  4. 4
    If this is the first time importing a profile, OpenVPN Connect will request access to your photos, media, and files
    .
    Tap "ALLOW" to continue.
    OpenVPN-for-Android-09.png
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  5. 5
    Now that you're viewing your device's internal storage, navigate to the folder you saved the .ovpn profile.
    OpenVPN-for-Android-10.png
    In our case, we created a folder specifically for .ovpn profiles.
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  6. 6
    Once inside the appropriate folder, tap a .ovpn profile, followed by "Select".
    OpenVPN-for-Android-11.png
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  7. 7
    If this is the first time importing a profile, you'll be prompted with a Connection request dialogue box
    .
    Tap "OK" to continue.
    OpenVPN-for-Android-12.png
    When the VPN is active, you'll see a little key icon up in the status bar.
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  8. 8
    Next, you'll notice your device connecting to the network you selected in the previous step.
    OpenVPN-for-Android-13.png
    This may take a moment or two, depending on how far the server is from your original location.
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  9. 9
    Once the VPN is connected, you'll see the connection status about halfway down the screen
    .
    To see additional connection information, select "Tap for more detail".
    OpenVPN-for-Android-14.png
    You can also end the connection at any time by tapping, "Disconnect".
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  10. 10
    You can access the VPN screen by either tapping the app's main icon or, by accessing your device's notification panel.
    OpenVPN-for-Android-15.png
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Create Connect Shortcut, Delete, and Rename .ovpn Profile

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  1. 1
    Launch OpenVPN Connect and import a profile, but don't connect to it.
    OpenVPN-for-Android-16.png
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  2. 2
    To create a Connect Shortcut, tap the edit icon to the right of the .ovpn profile.
    OpenVPN-for-Android-17.png
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  3. 3
    When the drop-down menu appears, tap "Create Connect Shortcut"
    .
    In the next menu box, name the profile anything you wish, then tap "CREATE SHORTCUT".
    OpenVPN-for-Android-18.png
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  4. 4
    To delete the current profile, tap the edit icon, followed by "Delete Profile"
    .
    In the following menu box, tap "DELETE" to complete the operation.
    OpenVPN-for-Android-19.png
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  5. 5
    To rename the current profile, tap the edit icon, then tap "Rename Profile
    .
    In the next menu box, type a new name, then tap "RENAME".
    OpenVPN-for-Android-20.png
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Preferences

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  1. 1
    To access OpenVPN's setting, open the app, tap the three-dot menu in the upper right corner, followed by "Preferences".
    OpenVPN-for-Android-21.png
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  2. 2
    The following screen shows all the available settings for Open VPN Connect
    .
    We'll go through each setting and what it does or controls, in the following screenshot.
    OpenVPN-for-Android-22.png
     
    1. Battery Saver: Enabling this will pause the VPN when the screen goes blank.
    2. Seamless Tunnel: Enabling this will block the internet when the VPN is paused or is in the process of reconnecting.
    3. Reconnect on reboot: When this is enabled, the VPN will reconnect when your device reboots if it was connected at the time of shutting down.
    4. Auto Keyboard: Turn this on to have the soft keyboard raise/dismiss automatically.
    5. VPN Protocol: Tapping on this gives the option to choose between; Adaptive, UDP, and TCP.
    6. IPv6: Tap on this to choose; Combined IPv4/IPv6 tunnel, IPv4-only tunnel, or no preference.
    7. Connection Timeout: Select this to choose how long he VPN waits to attempt a reconnect.
    8. Compression: Users can choose; No, Full, or Downlink only.
    9. Force AES-CBC ciphersuites: When this is enabled, it can sometimes help while connecting to legacy servers.
    10. Minimum TLS version: Users can select to; disable, use the profile default, TLS 1.0, TLS 2.0, or TLS 3.0.
    11. DNS Fallback: With this enabled it will use Google's DNS as a fallback to route all internet traffic through the VPN tunnel.
    12. Shortcut Minimize: When a VPN connection starts, and there is no additional user authentication information required, minimize the app once the connection is secure.
    13. Notification: Enable this to see notifications from the app while it's running.
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VPN Providers (Free & Paid)

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There are several VPN providers available out there that offer both free and paid services. Some of the free providers will have limited access to servers or other restrictions, or there may be ads displayed on the app. We suggest you test out a few before purchasing an actual subscription. Some of the free VPN apps listed below offer paid options along with their free subscription. The key is to test, test, test.

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Free VPN Apps

Some of the following apps may not require the usage of OpenVPN, as they provide built-in solutions for creating encrypted tunnels.

If you have problems with any of the steps in this article, please ask a question for more help, or post in the comments section below.

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Categories : Software | Use Google Pixel and Pixel XL

Recent edits by: Jay

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