Windows is the most common operating system in the world, and this popularity is reflected in the extensive range of VPN services for Windows with some of the best providers including NordVPN, ExpressVPN, ProtonVPN, and Hotspot Shield.
Whether you use it for work or leisure activities, you likely use your Windows computer for hours every day. The best way to protect your online security is to use a VPN or Virtual Private Network. A Windows VPN will secure your computer from cyber-threats such as hacking and identity theft, which is especially important if you often use unprotected public WiFi hotspots.
Not only will a Virtual Private Network offer an important additional layer of protection for your device, but it will also give you access to a host of foreign streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and BBC iPlayer.
It is understandable to want the highest level of protection on your device, but it can be time-consuming and overwhelming to have to wade through the sheer abundance of VPNs for Windows 10. To help you find a suitable provider, we have compiled a list of the best Windows VPNs of 2021.
To save you time, we have compiled a list of the best VPNs compatible with Windows 10 computers, taking into account the most important features and options of each. Ensure your computer is properly protected with one of these VPNs for Windows.
Arguably one of the best VPNs for Windows 10 computers, ExpressVPN offers an array of advanced features for an extremely user-friendly experience and a super-secure VPN connection.
While it may not be the cheapest VPN provider, ExpressVPN offers one of the best all-around VPN services for Windows. Its VPN app is as good on Windows as it is on Mac systems, providing access to a decent-sized VPN server network and excellent features for a good VPN connection.
Installing ExpressVPN’s Windows’ desktop client is quick and simple. The user-friendly experience continues with its well-designed and easy-to-understand VPN app, which features a quick “Connect” button and a “Choose Location” option. Even a novice will be browsing safely in a matter of minutes regardless of whether they are connected to their home or a public wi-fi network.
ExpressVPN’s app for Windows also comes with a range of advanced features such as a smart server recommendation option, the ability to choose between multiple protocols to secure your VPN connection, as well as the all-important kill switch if the VPN connection drops.
This VPN service enables users to control server locations from a browser extension. There is also a split tunneling option which is perfect for torrenting and using the VPN on a chosen browser.
Many people choose to install Windows 10 VPN software for the simple purpose of streaming foreign shows or sports coverage. ExpressVPN can unlock overseas Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Disney+ libraries with ease. It can even access the more troublesome BBC iPlayer site. You can also use the provider’s MediaStreamer to access streaming sites on devices that do not support VPN software, such as a Smart TV or gaming console.
One thing to take into account when choosing a Windows 10 VPN is the fact that many come at the cost of a slower internet connection. Therefore, browsing, streaming, and gaming can often become more difficult. However, as its name suggests, ExpressVPN offers high-speed connections even for distant VPN locations thanks to its use of the OpenVPN protocol and its proprietary Lightway protocol.
When it comes to security and online privacy, ExpressVPN uses advanced, industry-standard protocols, DNS leak protection, and 256-bit data encryption ensuring your Internet Service Provider doesn’t see your data.
ExpressVPN offers 24/7 live chat customer support and there are also extensive troubleshooting and setup guides available on its website. ExpressVPN provides a 30-day refund policy so that you can claim a full refund if you’re not satisfied.
NordVPN is one of the most popular Windows 10 VPN providers on the market. It offers a sophisticated security-focused service for Windows 10 users.
NordVPN is consistently on the best VPN lists for a reason. It offers the largest server network of any provider and the addition of double data encryption. Nord is constantly updating and improving its services and remains one of the best providers when it comes to server speed and security.
The main reason that most people decide to install a VPN service is for security and privacy reasons. NordVPN utilizes the highest-quality protocols, including open-source OpenVPN, IKEv2, as well as its own NordLynx, all of which are available in the Windows desktop client settings.
NordVPN offers a range of “Double VPN” servers, which reroute your personal data through two different VPN servers, rather than just one. This additional feature ensures your private information remains even more secure. It also utilizes Perfect Forward Secrecy, a system that encrypts and decrypts keys, ensuring your internet traffic data cannot be read by anyone trying to access it.
NordVPN’s kill switch is also extremely effective. No security service is completely immune to IP leaks. In the event that your VPN connection drops, a kill switch serves to suspend the transfer of data and internet traffic so that no unencrypted data can be stolen or intercepted.
The provider also boasts some of the fastest server speeds thanks to its proprietary NordLynx protocol, ensuring optimal download and streaming speeds.
In addition to advanced security features, NordVPN uses obfuscated servers, masking the fact that you are utilizing a VPN. This gives you more freedom online and allows you to unblock Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and other streaming services with VPN blocking technology. Such sites will not detect your use of the VPN service, ensuring you have no issues accessing censored or geo-blocked websites.
If you’re wondering how to set up a VPN, you needn’t! NordVPN’s VPN app for Windows is easy to use and requires minimal setup time. The interface is well-designed and easy to understand. It offers all of the necessary essentials, as well as some handy additional features.
A striking map reveals all of the available server locations, from which you can connect to your desired server. There is also a list display of servers and a “Quick Connect” feature that will connect you to the optimal server. However, unlike Nord’s Android VPN app, the Windows offering does not feature a split tunneling option. The client also no longer features its useful “Favorites” server panel.
The company is based in Panama, a country that has strict privacy laws and is outside of the 5/9/14-Eyes alliances, which is good for NordVPN’s customers. It has a transparent no-logs policy and only stores a timestamp of each previous session for 15 minutes. Its no-logs policy is independently audited annually by PricewaterhouseCooper, adding to the provider’s commitment to honesty and the protection of user privacy; your data won’t be shared with any third-party providers.
Nord offers customers a 30-day refund policy so that they can test the service risk-free. While it may not be the cheapest VPN service available, the extra cost is worth it for the excellent service. Its 2-year subscription plan is also relatively affordable considering its state-of-the-art features.
ProtonVPN may not be the cheapest or largest VPN provider, but it does offer one of the best security services. The company’s track record in the privacy industry makes it one of the most secure VPNs for Windows 10.
Proton’s claim to offer the highest standards of privacy and security is evidenced by its history in the industry. The company also runs the popular ProtonMail, an encrypted end-to-end email service.
While it does not offer the same extensive number of servers as some of its competitors, Proton has expanded its VPN server network in recent years and now offers 1,016 servers in 54 countries. The majority of its servers are located in North America and Europe, but it also has servers in Australia, Hong Kong, India, Japan, New Zealand, and South Africa.
All of the servers are owned and managed by Proton, meaning that they have greater control over the network than other VPNs. ProtonVPN’s Secure Core technology reroutes your internet data through a range of servers before it reaches its endpoint. This means that even the best cyber-criminals cannot gain access to your private information.
The Windows client features an excellent range of security features including a kill-switch, DNS leak protection, split tunneling, and integrated Tor support. The split tunneling technology can be set to reroute your data traffic on a single browser. The Smart Protocol feature ensures you will stay connected, even if someone attempts to block your VPN connection. In the same way as other VPNs’ automatic features, if it cannot connect through one protocol, it will simply try an alternative.
Proton’s VPN app for Windows is extremely user-friendly. The interface opens to reveal a portal allowing you to sign in and access the Windows download link. The client downloads quickly and opens to reveal a well-designed interface. A large map and a list both display the server locations. The VPN app is also open-source making it easy to spot issues that could affect your online security.
The VPN service is successful at unblocking YouTube, BBC iPlayer, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, and Netflix. However, the streaming speeds may not be as fast as some of its competitors.
Proton is located in Switzerland, a country that has excellent privacy laws, and is outside of the 14 Eyes Surveillance Alliance, and the U.S and European jurisdiction. The company’s no-logs policy is clear and states that the company does not monitor or record your online activity.
There is almost no activity logging, the only information that the provider stores is the time of your previous log-in. However, this data is overwritten every time you log in again. The VPN service does associate your account with an email address, but for even more anonymity, you can choose to use ProtonMail.
All of ProtonVPN’s apps including its Windows version are independently audited and open source, offering a rare level of transparency.
Proton offers a greater level of features for its higher-priced subscription plans. The VPN service provides 4 different subscription tiers. The Plus version is arguably the most cost-effective. This plan gives users access to 10 simultaneous device connections, servers in 50 countries, and the highest connection speeds.
All payments are secured with a limited 30-day refund policy. Unlike usual subscription guarantees, Proton will only refund users for unused subscription time. So, if you sign up for the 1 monthly plan request a refund after using it for 2 weeks, you will only receive half of your subscription fees back.
Surfshark offers a great VPN service and is one of the best VPNs for PC when it comes to affordability.
If you are a VPN novice looking for an easy-to-understand and complication-free service, then Surfshark may be the provider for you. Its client is highly compatible with Windows 10 software ensuring simplicity and ease of use.
Importantly, Surfshark utilizes military-standard OpenVPN, IKEv2, and WireGuard protocols as well as secure DNS, AES-256 encryption. Its kill switch is also highly effective in case your connection drops.
Surfshark is based in the British Virgin Islands, outside of the 5/9/14 Eyes Alliance, meaning that your data will remain securely protected and private.
The provider also uses double-encryption as well as strong obfuscation features, which are helpful in heavy-censorship locations. The “Camouflage Mode” will also prevent your ISP from being able to detect that you are using a VPN. While its CleanWeb technology blocks malware, ads, trackers, and phishing attempts. Your VPN connection will be secure at all times.
Installing and downloading Surfshark is quick and easy. The client interface is highly responsive and it is easy to use and navigate. All of the features are presented in a clear and simple manner for a great user experience.
If you require a VPN for streaming, Surfshark will provide you with access to streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, CBS, ESPN, and Disney+.
No other VPN provider comes close when it comes to value for money, especially considering the extensive range of advanced features, as well as simultaneous device connections. This means that one subscription price will cover all of your devices. Whether you need to protect your or a family member’s Mac, iPhone, Android tablet or mobile, router, or SmartTV, Surfshark’s subscription plan will enable you to do so.
Hotspot Shield is a great option if you are looking for the highest speed connections for streaming and gaming.
Hotspot Shield has long been a popular choice for users looking for fast speeds and unblocking technologies. This VPN service features its proprietary Catapult Hydra protocol, offering extremely fast, secure VPN connection speeds, even on long-distance server connections. This makes Hotspot Shield the fastest VPN for streaming, torrenting, and gaming.
Hotspot has no issue unblocking Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, Youtube, or Disney+ and P2P support on all of its servers also makes it great for torrenting.
The VPN also boasts an extremely easy-to-use client, even for those users that are new to using a VPN. The clear on/off button ensures a quick connection to your chosen server. Its Smart VPN option allows you to connect to the optimal server based on your location and activity.
When it comes to security, Hotspot Shield utilizes military-standard encryption ensuring your IP address and private data will remain secure and hidden. The VPN also offers DNS leak protection, meaning that there is no chance that your actual IP address could become exposed over the VPN connection.
The client also features a reliable kill switch as well as a useful auto-connect feature, which automatically switches on the VPN upon connection to an unsecured WiFi hotspot.
Hotspot Shield is also one of the rare providers to offer a free, although limited VPN service. The paid subscription option will give you access to a lot more features including unlimited data usage and advanced encryption and there is also an assuring 45-day refund policy on all of its plans in case you change your mind.
IPVanish VPN offers a well-designed, user-friendly client for Windows Computers.
IPVanish’s subscription plan offers users access to an unlimited number of device connections. The VPN service is also compatible with Android, Mac, iOS, and Linux, meaning that you can use it on all of your devices.
The VPN service has a range of built-in advanced features to provide you with optimal internet security. It utilizes military-grade AES-256 bit encryption, as well as OpenVPN, SSTP, PPTP, and L2TP protocols.
It also has the option to hide the fact that you are using a VPN. This means that the VPN service is great for use on your PC to access streaming sites such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and BBC iPlayer, which often operate VPN blocking technology. However, it will likely be unable to unblock Hulu or HBO.
The client also offers a kill-switch to protect your data should your VPN connection fail. This security feature helps to protect your PC against privacy issues such as IP leaks. With the split tunneling feature, you can choose to encrypt a single browser, for example, for protection when banking online, while your other browsers connect through your usual ISP.
IPVanish does have a strong no-logs policy in place, however, unlike some of its competitors, it remains unaudited. Also, IPVanish is located in the United States, meaning that it under the 14-Eyes Alliance jurisdiction may be a worry for some users.
The client is well-designed and easy to use. It is highly compatible with Windows’ software making it perhaps the best VPN for Windows 10 when it comes to the users’ experience. It provides a good range of basic and advanced features, for VPN novices and experts alike. It is also one of the best Windows VPNs for torrenting as well as P2P traffic.
It offers more features than most of its competitors. The Windows 10 client offers download speed charts, a Quick Connect feature, and a range of other useful features. The client is also now available in a wider range of languages including Spanish and Russian.
Its unlimited simultaneous device connections make IPVanish one of the best VPNs for PC, for you can use one subscription to protect all of your devices.
The 30-day refund policy will give you the opportunity to test the service to make sure you are happy with it before committing to a paid subscription. The company also offers live chat support as well as a high-quality email service.
Private Internet Access offers a well-designed interactive Windows client and provides one of the largest numbers of servers of any VPN provider.
PIA is a great option if you are looking for a Windows VPN that will also provide protection for all of your other devices too. Users will gain access to 10 simultaneous device connections and the client is compatible with Mac OS, iOS, Android, and Linux.
It utilizes industry-standard protocols including OpenVPN, L2TP/IPSec, and Wireguard, an open-source protocol. PIA will also support P2P and torrenting, thanks to its high-speed servers. The kill switch provides an extra layer of IP leak protection.
The VPN service provides guaranteed access to your favorite streaming sites including Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and Amazon Prime Video and its Windows client is simple to understand and easy to use. PIA VPN can be easily switched on from the home page, where you can also change your chosen server.
PIA’s extensive array of advanced features are available for an extremely affordable yearly plan. Its subscription plans also come with a 30-day refund policy, in case you change your mind.
If you cannot afford a paid VPN subscription plan or you simply want to save some money, you may consider buying one of the many free VPN services available. However, while there are some free VPNs that are relatively effective and safe, many can often cause more harm than good.
There is a range of reasons why it is best to remain cautious when buying a free VPN for Windows. Firstly, free VPNs are free for a reason. Most do not provide the same level of protection as a paid version and often utilize low-level protocols that leave your device exposed to hacking or cyber-attacks.
Also, free VPNs need to make money somehow, and many do so by selling their users’ data to third parties, rendering them counterintuitive. However, there are some free VPNs that are worth considering. In our opinion, the best free Windows 10 VPN is the version offered by ProtonVPN.
ProtonVPN’s free version offers unlimited data usage on a single device. However, it does come at the cost of low connection speeds, compared to the company’s paid plans. The free plan also restricts users to a limited number of servers and only one device connection at a time.
Despite the limitations, ProtonVPN’s free plan remains one of the best simply because of its unlimited data limit. Many other free VPNs such as Hotspot Shield limit users’ data to a meager 500MB per day. Therefore, it is a great way for a beginner customer to try a VPN for Windows for the first time.
You may already have antivirus protection installed on your Windows computer, but that is likely not enough to protect you from more sinister threats. Although antivirus software does provide some protection, it is a good idea to install a Windows 10 VPN.
Antivirus software will protect your computer from malware, but only a Windows VPN is the best way to get an anonymous and secure internet connection. Today, almost all of our online activity is monitored and tracked. Your ISP, the government, apps, and websites can typically view and monitor your web traffic and exact geographical location with alarming precision.
Your ISP may slow down your internet speed and even sell your data to third parties for profit. A Windows 10 VPN reroutes your private internet data through an encrypted tunnel so that your activity cannot be intercepted, tracked, or decrypted. Therefore, your ISP or government, as well as the apps and websites you use, cannot monitor your online activity.
Virtual Private Network encryption also serves to prevent hackers and cybercriminals from viewing your activity and personal data. This is especially important if you use public Wi-Fi to share personal information, banking details, or private photos.
If you want to watch your favorite shows when traveling abroad or access foreign streaming sites, VPN services will enable you to do so on your computer. By masking your real IP location, a VPN can access geo-blocked content on websites including Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and BBC iPlayer.
There is a vast array of Windows 10 VPNs available and many factors to take into account when deciding on a VPN service.