Stuck behind an internet block or worried about your privacy on the web? Once you have a VPN installed on your OnePlus 5 phone, you’ll be able to anonymously access any site on the internet from anywhere in the world.  

In this guide, we’ll show you:

  • How to download and setup a VPN on OnePlus 5
  • How to best utilize your VPN on your new device
  • Why some VPN options are not to be trusted

Setup a VPN on OnePlus 5

Here’s how to install the IPVanish VPN app onto your OnePlus 5 via Google Play. 

Step 1: Create your VPN account

To create your account, go to the IPVanish website. You can create an account using any email address. However, for maximum privacy you may want to consider creating an entirely new one just for IPVanish.

Choose a plan that fits your needs

IPVanish OnePlus 5
Source: IPVanish

Most VPN services like IPVanish sell multiple plan options. Depending on how long you intend to use the service, you’ll need to decide whether one month, 6 months or 12 months is the best option for you. Note that the purchasing a longer subscription results in a lower overall cost.

All plans are offered with a 7-day money-back guarantee in case you find the service isn’t living up to your expectations.

Enter account information and select payment

IPVanish OnePlus 5
Source: IPVanish

Selecting your payment option is also relatively simple. Depending on your privacy concerns, you can select anything from a standard credit card to Bitcoin.

IPVanish takes over 20 different payment methods, which is more than most but not entirely uncommon for top-tier VPN programs.

After signing up for your account, you’ll need to confirm your email address. Click the verification link to receive a second email containing your username and password.

Step 2: Download the VPN App

After signing up for IPVanish, download the app from the Google Play Store. 

IPVanish Google Play OnePlus 5
Source: Google

Next, open up your Play Store, look for the IPVanish app and then click the Install button.

Step 3: Login to Your VPN App

IPVanish login screen OnePlus 5
Source: IPVanish

The final step is to log into the IPVanish app. Simply type in your username and password, then tap the Login button. 

Key VPN Features 

Here are a few features you should know about when using IPVanish and other VPN services. 

Connection Methods (Protocols)

The IPVanish app allows you to choose between two protocols: OpenVPN TCP and OpenVPN UDP. In general, TCP is more stable and more secure, but slower. UDP is faster but less secure. You can learn more about the differences between these two protocols here.

Obfuscation

“Obfuscation” is a bit of loaded word meaning “to make unclear” or “unintelligible.” When applied to a VPN service like IPVanish, this means making it so that nobody looking in can detect the use of a VPN.

VPN obfuscation hides the fact that you’re connected to a VPN. Different VPN obfuscation methods exist, and many different VPN services give their obfuscation methods different names.

Why use obfuscation?

Obfuscation is an increasingly necessary technology for VPNs. An increasing number of governments, ISPs and content providers try to crack down on VPN use. Netflix is a prime example of a streaming service that has been fighting tooth and nail to prevent users from utilizing VPN services to bypass geographic content restrictions. China is also well-known for its content blocking via its “Great Firewall.”

If you’re traveling with your OnePlus 5, VPN obfuscation methods will help you continue watching the content you enjoy from your home country. It can also help you unlock content you might want to enjoy in other regions. That includes the well-crafted documentaries and dramas available through the BBC iPlayer, the iTV service or sports streaming services like the Canadian Sportsnet.

IPVanish can even get past the Netflix proxy ban, but only if you’re using the obfuscation method. This allows access to American Netflix. If you’re in the US but don’t want to shell over cash for CBS All Access, you can watch Star Trek Discovery in regions outside of the US through this method as well.

Obfuscation is particularly useful if you’re trying to bypass attempts to block VPN connections.

On IPVanish, the “Scramble” switch activates obfuscation mode.

IPVanish Scramble on OnePlus 5
Source: IPVanish

IPVanish regularly updates their obfuscation methods to counter proxy bans in an on-going battle with governments and streaming services – so make sure you download the latest patches as soon as they come out.

Multiple Servers and Server Locations

When setting up a VPN on OnePlus 5, you’ll be able to choose between different servers in different regions across the world. You can filter by ping and country so that you can find the fastest server with the most bandwidth.

IPVanish sources on OnePlus 5
Source: IPVanish

What is Ping?

“Ping” is a number that indicates how quickly a connection can be made between your computer and a server. The lower the number, the better and faster the connection between your computer and the server.

Another way of thinking about ping is as the reaction time between your computer and the server you’re looking at. The larger the number, the slower the reaction, and ultimately, the slower your speeds will be.

You can use ping to find the best server in a certain region – but don’t make all of your decisions based on ping. While the load on a server can be impacted by how many other people are using it, it’s also impacted by distance. If you’re in Alaska, a server in Australia is going to have higher ping just based on distance. Still, that server may be the best one due to having fewer users.

Ping is a good starting point, but it’s sometimes a good idea to test different connections to find the best one if you experience lagging or other issues.

Multiple Device Logins

IPVanish allows you to use 5 devices at once. Most other services allow anywhere from 3 or more.

There are different situations where multiple device logins will be useful. For example, if you want to share your VPN service with family members, multiple device logins means more people get to enjoy the privacy and security that comes with the VPN service.

You may also find yourself using multiple internet connected devices for different purposes. For example, you may be using a laptop for work and your OnePlus 5 for entertainment and leisure. Both may need a VPN connection to ensure your privacy, and you may need the VPN on your computer to bypass Wi-Fi restrictions when out of the house.

IPVanish Vs. The Competition

IPVanish isn’t the only show in town. There are many other VPN services that run quality services. Some meet particular niche needs that IPVanish won’t.

IPVanish vs. ExpressVPN

If you’re traveling to China, ExpressVPN has one of the best reputations for those living in and traveling to the country. ExpressVPN is known to get past the Great Firewall far better than most other VPNs, IPVanish included. However, if you’re scheduling your trip to China, you’ll need to download and install the VPN first as you may not be able to access the ExpressVPN website once you get there.

IPVanish vs. NordVPN

IPVanish outshines NordVPN in many ways, but NordVPN provides a bit more choice in server type. While IPVanish primarily offers one type of server, NordVPN offers unique server options including Anti DDoS, Dedicated IP Address, Onion over VPN and Double VPN. These add specialized security measures. However, when we tested out NordVPN we found that its security features tended to slow down your internet connection.

VPNs to Avoid

There are several shady VPN apps lurking in the Google Play store. Here are a few that you should avoid like the plague.

Free VPNs

You may be looking at your bottom line and wondering whether purchasing yet another subscription is actually worth it. Whatever you do, don’t try these free VPNs.

Some shady free VPNs include:

  • SuperVPN
  • Betternet
  • CrossVPN
  • ArchieVPN
  • Flash Free VPN
  • Hotspot Shield
  • Private Wifi

Even the free Opera Browser VPN should be avoided.

Free VPNs Still Make Money By Selling Your Data

VPNs take money to operate. Free VPNs are no exception. When you use a “free” VPN, you’re still paying for that service, only through the selling of your data. This usually comes in two ways: through advertisements, and through the selling of your browsing data.

For example, Hotspot Shield not only uses nearly a dozen third-party tracking systems. The service is open about its data collection and sharing in its Terms of Service.

SurfEasy, Flash Free VPN, ip-shield, and WiFi Protector have also been caught selling its customers’ data.

Free VPNs Have Limited Bandwidth and Servers

Free VPNs have far fewer servers, fewer security features and sometimes limited bandwidth. That means you’re going to experience much slower speeds and may not be able to stream as much as you want through the free VPN.

If you use TunnelBear, for example, you’ll be limited to 500MB a month, a small amount for anyone who streams content online.

You Run the Risk of Installing Malware and Losing Data

A joint study by the Australian Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), University of South Wales and UC Berkeley discovered that over a third of free VPNs were tracking user activity through hidden malware. Eighteen percent didn’t even encrypt internet traffic, which is the primary purpose a VPN, to begin with. Some (10 percent) even requested access to text messages user accounts.

The study specifically called out AnchorFree and Wifi Protector for injecting tracking code into their software. OkVPN and EasyVPN were highlighted for inserted adware into their software.

VPNs That Keep Logs

All VPNs keep logs of some kind. There are no true “logless” VPN services, as recording some data is necessary. However, there are varying levels of how much data a VPN provider will keep. The less, the better, of course. The best VPN services only keep data that can’t be used by a government, content provider, or law enforcement agency for any practical purpose.

One PureVPN subscriber recently discovered that the type of VPN you use does indeed matter. In this case, he may have deserved what was coming to him.

After cyber-stalking a woman online for over a year and a half, the police finally caught him. However, the troubling part is that his activities were revealed through a log request by the police to PureVPN. PureVPN kept enough relevant data that the police were able to verify plenty of his browsing activities, leading to the arrest.

When looking for a VPN for your OnePlus 5, opt for one that takes seriously its no-logs policy. IPVanish is one of these, but most other top-tier VPN programs also limit the type of data they collect and limit how long they keep that data.

Other Security Apps on Google Play

IPVanish or other reputable VPN apps will protect your OnePlus 5 against some privacy and security concerns. A good VPN can also help prevent some types of hacking attempts.

On the other hand, a VPN app will not protect you against malware. While your connection may be encrypted, that encryption doesn’t stop you from downloading malicious software. It may be a good idea to pair your VPN app with high-rated security apps that can protect you.

Consider Using: AVG AntiVirus FREE

There’s a good chance you’ve heard of AVG. Not only is AVG AntiVirus highly rated by independent testing labs, its free version is loaded with features. The AVG AntiVirus app includes live virus monitoring and virus scanning to help protect vulnerable Android devices.

Consider Avoiding: Kaspersky Mobile Antivirus

Although their software has been gaining some popularity, a recent report from the New York Times reveals that the Russian government has been using the company’s software to steal data from the US government. Kaspersky has been under unconfirmed suspicion for this for some time, but new reports offered more verified information.

While your average Kaspersky user likely isn’t a target, Kaspersky may not be the most trustworthy given the current revelations.

Tech, video games, and a good book. I love all of them, and I'd write about all of them if I had the chance! I've been a teacher in the past, now a writer for tech-related news, guides, and information.