Best VPN for Laptop – Windows & Mac in 2021

A VPN (Virtual Private Network) is one of the best ways to protect your laptop, as well as your personal privacy on the internet. You likely spend hours a day on your laptop for work, browsing, or for streaming your favorite content, which is why it makes sense to ensure your device is properly protected.

A VPN will serve to encrypt your private internet activity by sending your data traffic through an encrypted tunnel of servers, so that your ISP (Internet Service Provider), government agencies, and malicious advertisers cannot track your internet traffic. ISPS are known to log users’ web traffic data, building profiles that lead to personalize advertisements, and even higher prices for internet shopping.

It is especially important to consider installing one of the best VPN services if you frequently use unsecured public Wi-Fi hotspots, as anyone using the same network could potentially access and steal your private information. VPN providers will ensure your data is secure even when using such public WiFi connections.

VPN services will also offer you greater freedom online by enabling you to access geo-blocked streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and BBC iPlayer.

All of the best VPNs offer a desktop app or client for all common operating systems, ensuring seamless compatibility with your laptop. However, there is an overwhelming array of VPNs available on the market, making it difficult to choose the right one. So, we have compiled a list of the best VPN services for laptops in 2021.

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What is the best VPN for laptops?

Whether you are looking for a VPN for your laptop for the purpose of accessing geo-blocked streaming sites when traveling abroad, or simply to improve your internet security, these VPNs are great options.

1. NordVPN

NordVPN combines an impressive client with a range of high-quality security features and a vast array of server locations. It is one of the best VPNs for a laptop and is one of the most popular providers on the market.

This VPN provider is extremely popular thanks to its impressive range of features and strong reputation. It offers access to over 5,500 servers in 59 countries worldwide, with a server in every continent. The VPN’s servers provide ultra-fast speeds, making it a great choice if you are looking to access geo-restricted streaming services such as overseas Netflix libraries. It is also one of the best VPNs for gaming, as its high-speed servers prevent lagging and buffering.

NordVPN also offers access to 13 obfuscated servers which mask the use of a VPN, making it appear that the user is not using a VPN server. This is especially useful for accessing restricted streaming sites, which often have strong VPN blocking technologies.

The VPN provider utilizes OpenVPN and IKEv2 protocols. We recommend OpenVPN if you want the highest level of security, however, IKEv2 is typically better if you are looking for faster speed connections. NordVPN uses military-standard encryption such as AES-256 bit encryption and a 4096-bit RSA key.

NordVPN also boasts its proprietary open-source NordLynx protocol which combines impressive speeds with strong encryption. VPN customers also have the option to activate NordVPN’s Double VPN technology, which encrypts all of your data twice rather than just once. This is especially useful if you frequently use unsecured public Wi-Fi hotspots in cafes, hotels, or public transport.

The VPN provider ensures complete leak protection, meaning that your real IP address will never be revealed to anyone trying to access it. NordVPN offers both DNS and WebRTC leak protection technology, as well as Transport Layer Security, to make sure all of your private information and internet traffic remains secure and encrypted.

The VPN’s privacy features also include a reliable kill-switch, ensuring your laptop is protected even if your connection drops. Without a kill-switch, in the event that your server connection fails, any unencrypted information may be intercepted or stolen. A kill-switch serves to cease the transfer of data to prevent this.

The VPN company is based in Panama, a country that is free from strict privacy retention laws, which is a major plus for customers looking to optimize their online anonymity and security. NordVPN also operates a strict no-logging policy, meaning that no user browsing information is tracked or stored. Nor does the company sell user data to third-parties.

The only information that the VPN provider does store is your account username and the session timestamp, however, this data is only stored for 15 minutes after you log-out. Thus, you can rest assured that NordVPN will protect your personal privacy. For additional peace of mind, NordVPN’s privacy policy is audited annually by the independent security company PricewaterhouseCooper.

NordVPN provides extensions for Chrome and Firefox browsers as well as Android, iOS, Windows 7, Windows 10, and Mac VPN apps. Each NordVPN subscription plan provides 6 simultaneous device connections, meaning that you can ensure your laptop, as well as your phone, desktop computer and SmartTV, are protected.

The Windows and macOS desktop clients are simple to use, making it a great choice for laptop owners. On both systems, the client is free of complications and easy to navigate, making it suitable for even beginner VPN customers.

The client opens to reveal a map of server locations as well as a Quick Connect button, which enables you to connect to the best available server. There is also a simple VPN Pause feature, which allows you to pause the app for a short period without needing to completely disconnect.

The website features an extensive range of comprehensive troubleshooting guides. There is also a chatbox as well as live-chat customer support if you run into any issues.

NordVPN may not be the cheapest VPN on the market but it is one of the best VPN options available, and, the price does reflect its extensive range of high-quality features. The company also offers a 30-day money-back guarantee on all of its subscription plans, giving you the peace of mind to try the product risk-free. If you are not happy with the product you can cancel the subscription and request a refund.

Customers can choose to pay anonymously with Bitcoin, or with PayPal or credit card. If you commit to NordVPNs long-term 2-year plan, you will receive a 70% discount compared to the monthly plan. However, the company disappointingly no longer offers a free-trial period.

2. ProtonVPN

ProtonVPN offers one of the best security services as part of both free VPN and paid VPN subscription plans. The Swiss-based company has a strong reputation in the internet security industry, making it arguably the best VPN in terms of security and a reliable choice for a laptop.

ProtonVPN may not be the largest or the cheapest VPN provider but it does offer a first-rate service when it comes to private internet access. Both its free VPN version and paid plans offer an extensive range of privacy features to protect its customers online.

The company is also behind the popular ProtonMail, an encrypted end-to-end email service that provides privacy and protection to journalists and activists. Thus, Proton can be trusted for an impenetrable VPN service.

ProtonVPN has added an extensive number of new server locations and now offers access to over 1100 servers in 50 countries worldwide. However, ProtonVPN still lacks the high server speeds of some of its competitors and it does not yet offer the WireGuard protocol.

ProtonVPN utilizes the best protocols, OpenVPN, and IKEv2. It also boasts military-standard AES-256 bit encryption for ultra-secure internet browsing. The provider also uses encryption cipher suites which ensures your private data is transferred safely, meaning that if any encrypted information is intercepted, it is extremely difficult to decrypt.

The VPN is also completely leak-free, so you can rest assured that your data will never be exposed. ProtonVPN offers DNS leak protection which is automatically activated in the Mac or Windows client, meaning that the real IP address of your laptop will never be revealed.

ProtonVPN’s Plus and Visionary plans offer access to its Secure Core Network. This advanced technology provides an additional layer of protection for your data traffic. The network includes two server links from Proton’s core server to the VPN server, meaning that even if the server is accessed, your real IP address will never be revealed. The Secure Core Network is also fully owned by ProtonVPN, meaning that you will have the peace of mind that its connections cannot be tampered with by third parties.

ProtonVPN is simple to download and install. Once it is installed on your laptop, the client opens revealing a highly user-friendly interface. ProtonVPN’s desktop client is extremely easy to use, making it a great option for laptop users. Customers have the option to choose a VPN server from the server location map and to create profiles for different tasks such as gaming or business.

The client also comes with an extensive range of advanced privacy features including a reliable kill switch, meaning that data leakages are preventing even in the event of a lost connection. There is also an Always-on VPN feature which will automatically reconnect you to a new server if you become disconnected for any reason. This provider offers perhaps the best VPN when it comes to customer security.

ProtonVPN is also based in Switzerland, a country that is free from strict data retention laws, making it safer than some of its competitors when it comes to user privacy and security. However, it does still co-operate with the 5-Eyes alliance. The alliance consists of countries that share data for security purposes.

Unfortunately, ProtonVPN does not offer live chat customer support, meaning that it may take a few days for you to receive an answer to a query.

ProtonVPN offers four different subscription price tiers, each offering a more generous number of features. The provider also offers speed classifications for each tier, which are based on expected user numbers. The free VPN includes a low-speed classification, as the provider expects a higher number of users on a limited number of servers. The paid subscriptions offer higher speeds due to an expected lower number of users per server.

The provider does offer an excellent free-version, allowing you to try the service before committing to a paid subscription. ProtonVPN’s free VPN comes with unlimited bandwidth which is rarely seen among free VPNs. Most other services offer a meager data limit, making them useful for only the simplest online tasks. The service is limited to just basic privacy features but it does provide protection against DNS leakage and high-quality protocols.

ProtonVPN’s Basic tier gives users access to all VPN server locations but offers just 2 simultaneous device connections and a limited subset of servers. However, P2P sharing is permitted at this level.

ProtonVPN Plus offers access to Plus servers, which are reserved for the higher subscription levels, on up to five devices. Users also get access to Tor anonymization, multihop Secure Core servers, and special streaming servers. The ProtonVPN Visionary plan enables connections for 10 devices simultaneously and also provides access to Proton’s encrypted mail service, ProtonMail.

Users can choose to pay anonymously with Bitcoin, making the process even safer for users that are worried about their online privacy. The company does offer a limited pro-rata 30-day money-back guarantee, meaning that if you use the service for 2 weeks before canceling it, you will receive a 50% refund.

3. Hotspot Shield

Hotspot Shield is a great choice for laptop customers looking for a high-speed VPN service at an affordable price.

With the premium plan, users gain access to 3,200 server connections in over 80 countries with protection for up to 5 devices. Hotspot Shield utilizes military-standard encryption, meaning that you will have the peace of mind that your IP address and personal data remain securely hidden. There is also protection against DNS leaks, to ensure there is no risk of your IP address becoming exposed.

The company offers a reasonable privacy policy and does not store data regarding users’ private internet activity. The company does log customer IP addresses so as to match you to the optimal server, however, this data is encrypted and deleted when you log out of the current session. There is no way to connect your private activity to a specific server or individual. Hotspot Shield does also log session timestamps, data usage, and device hashtags.

If you are looking for a VPN service to access overseas streaming sites, Hotspot Shield will enable you to do so. The VPN is successful at unblocking Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and BBC iPlayer, despite advances in VPN blocking technologies.

Its proprietary Hydray protocol ensures high speeds even on long-distance server connections, meaning that you do not have to worry about lagging or buffering when you are enjoying your favorite shows. Moreover, the protocol ensures first-rate security for your laptop at the same time.

If you want a VPN service that will work seamlessly on your laptop, Hotspot Shield may be the VPN connection for you. The Windows and Mac clients are simple to download and set up. The simple connect button allows you to connect to your desired server in a single click. The desktop client is well-designed and user-friendly.

Hotspot Shield offers a good, although limited free VPN option, which is better than most other free VPNs available. You will gain access to unlimited bandwidth and high-quality encryption, however, Hotspot Shield’s more advanced features and ad-free client are reserved for its paid subscription plans.

Hotspot Shield offers one of the best VPNs when it comes to customer support. There is 24/7 live chat support as well as the option to email the customer service team. There is also a 45-day money-back guarantee on Hotspot Shield’s premium plans, which is reassuring to customers.

4. Cyberghost VPN

Cyber Ghost is a popular VPN provider thanks to its extensive range of advanced privacy features and its large server network, making it a great choice if you want to use a VPN connection on your laptop.

Cyber Ghost VPN utilizes military-grade 256 bit AES encryption, making it extremely difficult for anyone to access or monitor your private activity. The VPN connection also utilizes Perfect Forward Secrecy, meaning that the encryption keys are changed frequently. It also uses an impressive range of first-rate protocols including OpenVPN, WireGuard, IKeV2, and L2TIP/IPsec for additional privacy and an extremely secure connection.

The provider offers DNS and IP leak protection, as well as double encryption for both authentication and connection. It also provides access to No-Spy server connections which are located in Romania and utilize the highest standard of encryption. Cyberghost VPN takes care of all of its No-Spy servers end-to-end, meaning that any potential issues can be quickly resolved. However, these server connections are reserved for the premium subscription plans.

The VPN also offers integrated security additions such as a kill-switch and adware blocking technology. If you visit a website that does not have HTTPS, the VPN will re-connect you to a more secure version of the same website, which is especially useful if you are entering payment or confidential details online.

Cyberghost VPN also works on sole RAM memory which is more secure than other storage options, as it means that no data is stored on the laptop’s hard drive. If the VPN’s servers are ever compromised, any data that is stored is deleted simply by shutting down the servers.

Cyberghost VPN operates on a strict no-logs policy and is committed to user security and privacy. The provider does not log customer data. Unlike other VPN plans, its privacy policy is clear and easy to understand, which is reassuring. The company is also based in Romania, meaning that it is not subject to strong data retention laws.

If you are looking for a VPN to overcome geo-restrictions on streaming sites such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and BBC iPlayer, Cyberghost VPN will enable you to do so. It also provides a handy list on its website showing customers which servers work best at unblocking different Netflix libraries, making it arguably the best VPN when it comes to streaming. There are also servers specially designed for torrenting that offer reliably fast speeds, which means that you can download files quickly.

The provider offers simultaneous connections for up to 7 devices. Cyberghost VPN is compatible with Windows, Android, iOS, and Mac, meaning that you can protect multiple devices on one subscription.

It is a great option if you are looking for a secure VPN service for use on your laptop, thanks to its well-designed and highly functional interface. Its apps and client are simple to install and easy to use. The Smart Panel allows you to connect automatically to your favorite server when you log on.

The client features a range of advanced features such as split tunneling, however, not all are automatically activated upon installation. Split tunneling is extremely useful for online banking or for sending confidential information online. The desktop app also provides the option to choose to protect specific apps. The VPN also activates automatic protection when your laptop connects to a new unsecured public Wi-Fi network.

All of the highest quality VPN services provide special IP services. With Cyberghost VPN, customers can choose to buy a static IP address, which offers more secure encryption and is useful for tasks such as online banking.

There is a range of different subscription plans and Cyberghost VPN also offers a 45-day money-back guarantee, giving you the peace of mind to try the product risk-free before committing to a paid subscription plan. It offers excellent customer support service including a live-chat and a help center.

5. IPVanish VPN

IPVanish is a great VPN service that offers 10 simultaneous connections for a reasonable price.

IPVanish VPN offers an impressive range of over 40,000 shared IP addresses as well as more than 1500 VPN servers in 70 countries. It also offers unrestricted P2P sharing, unlimited simultaneous connections, and 24/7 live-chat customer support.

The VPN operates on 256-bit AES encryption and offers DNS and IPv6 leak protection for those customers that are worried about their online privacy. It also offers great server speeds, however, it may not be one of the best VPNs if you are looking for a VPN solely for streaming purposes. IPVanish VPN does struggle to overcome the VPN blocks present on Amazon Prime Video and BBC iPlayer.

A subscription with IPVanish VPN will also grant you 250GB of SugarSync cloud storage for free. This rarely seen free addition is great for laptop users who have countless photos and videos stored on their device.

The IPVanish VPN client is extremely easy to use and is compatible with Android, iOS, Windows, and Mac. It is a great VPN thanks to its unlimited simultaneous connections, as well as the functionality of its desktop client. Each VPN subscription plan also comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee for additional peace of mind.

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Last updated: January 19, 2021