Best VPN for Windows

Windows is the most common operating system in the world, and this popularity is reflected in the extensive range of VPN services for Windows. You may be spoilt for choice when it comes to choosing a VPN for your computer, but not all VPNs will provide the same level of protection.

Whether you use it for work or simply for browsing and streaming, you likely use your Windows computer for hours every day. If you want to make sure your data and identity are protected online, you will need 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.

A Windows VPN will also provide you with completely private internet access to prevent your ISP from tracking and even selling your browsing activity, or suppressing your connection speeds.

Not only will a VPN 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. A VPN works by masking your IP location, and thus you can trick streaming services to overcome location blocks.

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. So, we have compiled a list of the best Windows VPNs that will work seamlessly on your computer.

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Do I need a VPN on my Windows computer?

You may already have anti-virus protection installed on your Windows computer, but that is likely not enough to protect you from more sinister threats. Despite that anti-virus software does provide some amount of protection, it is a good idea to install a Windows 10 VPN too.

Anti-virus software will protect your computer from malware, but only a VPN will provide you with an anonymous and secure internet connection. Installing a Windows 10 VPN will give you much more privacy online. Today, almost all of our online activity is monitored and tracked. Your ISP, the government, apps, and websites can typically all view and monitor your exact geographical location with alarming precision.

Your ISP may suppress your internet speed and even sell your data to third parties for profit, and many often also build profiles on individuals leading to personalized advertisements. A Windows 10 VPN works by rerouting your private internet data through an encrypted tunnel containing a number of servers, so that your activity cannot be intercepted, tracked, or decrypted. Thus, your ISP or government as well as the apps and websites you use cannot monitor your online activity.

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 you want to 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.

How to choose the best VPN for my Windows computer?

There is an overwhelmingly vast array of Windows 10 VPNs available, so it can be difficult to choose the right one for you. Look for a VPN that offers advanced security features such as a kill-switch and a transparent no-logging privacy policy.

There is a range of other factors to take into account when deciding on a VPN service. Choose a VPN client that is user friendly, with a simple, well-designed interface. A high-quality Windows 10 VPN service should be free of complications. It is also a good idea to look for a provider that offers a good standard of customer service such as 24/7 support in case you do run into any issues.

If you are looking for a VPN server for the purpose of streaming or gaming, it will be necessary to consider the speed and performance standard of the provider’s servers. Choosing the highest speed servers will make sure you can stream and game in high-definition, without having to worry about buffering.

Consider Windows 10 VPNs that offer free trial periods, or money-back guarantees to give you peace of mind. This is especially important if you are a VPN novice, as it will give you time to test the service before committing to a paid plan. Also, take into account how many devices you need to protect, whether the provider offers a number of simultaneous connections and if the client is compatible with a range of different devices.

Below are some of the best VPN services for Windows 10 users.

The best Windows 10 VPNs

To save you time, we have compiled a list of the best VPNs that are compatible with Windows 10 computers, taking into account the most important features and options. Ensure your computer is properly protected with one of these VPNs for Windows.

1. ExpressVPN

Arguably one of the best VPNs for Windows 10 computers, Express VPN offers an array of advanced features for an extremely user-friendly experience.

While it may not be the cheapest provider, ExpressVPN offers one of the best all-round VPN servers for Windows. Its client is as good on Windows as it is on Mac and mobile.

Installing ExpressVPN is quick and simple. The user-friendly experience continues with its well-designed and easy to understand client, which features a clear “Connect” button and a “Choose Location” option. Even a beginner VPN customer will be browsing safely in a matter of minutes.

ExpressVPN’s Windows 10 client also comes with a range of advanced features such as a smart server recommendation option, the ability to choose between multiple protocols, as well as the all-important kill-switch.

The Windows 10 VPN server usefully allows you to control your 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 smartTV 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. Thus, browsing, streaming, and gaming can often become more difficult. However, as its name suggests, ExpressVPN offers high-speed connections even for distant VPN locations. The speed will likely only improve as ExpressVPN intends to introduce its Proprietary Lightway protocol in the near future.

When it comes to security and privacy, ExpressVPN uses advanced, industry-standard protocols, DNS leak protection, and 256-bit data encryption. Its sophisticated TrustedServer technology utilizes RAM to ensure data is permanently deleted, meaning that ExpressVPN cannot store private data. Their independently audited privacy policy states a commitment to no-logging of internet activity or IP address locations.

ExpressVPN offers 24/7 live chat customer support, which is on hand if any issues arise while you are using the service. There are also extensive troubleshooting and setup guides available on its website. ExpressVPN provides a 30-day money-back guarantee to give you peace of mind.

2. NordVPN

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 at the top VPN recommendation lists for a reason. It offers the largest server network of any provider, as well as 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 is for security and privacy reasons. NordVPN utilizes the highest-quality protocols including OpenVPN, IKEv2, as well as its own NordLynx.

NordVPN also offers a range of “DoubleVPN” 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 is lost, 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 that utilize VPN blocking technology. Such sites will be unable to detect that you are connecting via a VPN, ensuring you will have no issues accessing censored or geo-blocked websites.

NordVPN’s Windows client 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 as well as a “Quick Connect” feature that will connect you to the optimal server. However, unlike its AndroidVPN 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.

However, most of its servers do use hard drive storage rather than RAM, which is a greater security risk and is at a higher risk of becoming exposed to hackers.

NordVPN offers great customer support including a comprehensive VPN user guide on its website as well as a 24/7 instant chat service.

Nord offers customers a 30-day money-back guarantee so that you can test the service risk-free. While it may not be the cheapest VPN option 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.

3. ProtonVPN

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 in recent years and now offers 1016 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 whole service. 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 features ensure you will stay connected, even if someone attempts to block your VPN connection. In the same way as other VPNs’ automatic feature, if it cannot connect through one protocol, it will simply try an alternative.

Proton’s Windows client 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 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. Their no-logs policy is clear and states that the company does not monitor or record your online activity. They thus cannot give private information to third parties or the government, should they request it.

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 company 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.

Unlike many of its competitors, Proton does not offer instant message support, meaning it will typically take between 1-2 days to receive an answer to any queries. While this is not a major issue, it is good to note.

Proton offers a greater level of features for its higher-priced subscription plans. The company provides 4 different subscription tiers. The plus version is arguably the most cost-effective. This plan gives users access to 5 simultaneous device connections, servers in 50 countries, as well as the highest connection speeds.

All payments are secured with a limited 30-day money-back guarantee. Unlike usual subscription guarantees, Proton will only refund users for unused subscription time. So, if you sign up for the 1 month plan request a refund after using it for 2 weeks, you will only receive half of your subscription fees back.

You will not have to provide any payment details if you decide to try the free plan. For the paid subscription plans you can opt to pay anonymously with Bitcoin. If you decide to pay with PayPay or with your credit card, your payment will be processed by a third party, meaning that ProtonVPN will not have access to your payment information.

4. SurfShark VPN

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.

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+.

The provider also offers 24/7 live-chat support in case any issues arise during use.

SurfShark offers a high-quality security service for a fraction of the price of some of its competitors. While it does not offer a free trial, any of its subscription plans come with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

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.

4. Hotspot Shield VPN

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. Its Windows VPN features its proprietary Catapult Hydra protocol, offering really fast, secure connection speeds, even for a long-distance server connection. Thus, Hotspot Shield is perfect for streaming, torrenting, or gaming.

It has no issue unblocking Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, Youtube, or Disney+. Its 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 when connected to the VPN.

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.

The provider also offers great customer support with a 24-hour live chat and email options.

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. There is also an assuring 45-day money-back guarantee on all of its plans.

5. IPVanish VPN

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 is also compatible with Android, Mac, iOS, and Linux, meaning that you can use it on all of your devices.

The VPN has a range of 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 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, which 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 money-back guarantee 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.

6. Private Internet Access VPN

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 provides guaranteed access to your favorite streaming sites including Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and Amazon Prime Video.

The Windows client is simple to understand and easy to use. The 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 money-back guarantee, in case you change your mind.

What is the best free VPN for Windows?

If you cannot afford a paid VPN subscription plan or you simply want to save some money, you may be considering a free VPN for Windows 10. 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 considering 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 Free Plan

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. Thus, it is a great way for a beginner customer to try a VPN for Windows for the first time.

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Last updated: January 14, 2021