A VPN for your PC stops your ISP, the government and the sites you visit tracking what it you get up to online. Windows VPNs conceal your IP address to access geo-restricted videos on YouTube, or services like Netflix US. And, because a VPN encrypts you traffic, you can access any website privately – to stream videos or download in secrecy.
Choosing a Windows VPN can be tricky, because there are hundreds of terrible, rip off VPN providers around. To help you, our experts have analyzed the market to find the 5 best VPNs for Windows.
What we look at when testing VPNs for Windows…
- Privacy. Above everything else, a VPN needs to protect your privacy.
- Speed. People won't use a VPN if it slows them down, We look at how each VPN will impact broadband performance
- Server locations. The more locations, the more services you can access and the better the performance
- Ease of use. A VPN should never get in the way of your online activities. If it isn't easy to use, it won't make the list
- Compatibility with different versions of Windows. Most people are using Windows 10 now, but we look at backwards compatibility too
- Money-back guarantee. MBGs have become pretty standard but some are a lot sweeter than others.
- Simultaneous connections. Own more than one internet-enabled device? Of course you do. So one subscription should be able to protected them all!
What is the best VPN for Windows?
The following in-depth comparisons explain exactly why we recommend these VPNs. They all offer a great Windows client, fast speeds and are user friendly…
ExpressVPN is a provider that is hard to beat when it comes to finding a Windows VPN. This software is easy to use, and it provides a lot of high end features including a kill switch, DNS leak protection, port selection, auto-connect, and obfuscated servers. Being based in the British Virgin Islands is great for privacy, and because this VPN has a zero logs policy, it can be trusted with your data.
VPNOnlineFree encryption is implemented to exceedingly high standards, and this VPN can protect your data both at home and while on public WiFi. ExpressVPN has been around a long time and is top of the list on a lot of sites for a good reason. It provides unblocking capabilities in a staggering 94 countries and can access streaming services like Netflix and iPlayer with ease. Customer support is second to none and you can give it a test run using its 30-day money-back guarantee. And, if you are a newbie to VPNs, you will love this VPNs 24/7 live chat support.
CyberGhost VPN provides outstanding services at a fantastic price. The VPN has 110 server locations (90 countries) and it is dedicated to providing privacy and security for its subscribers. The Windows app provides all the necessary VPN features you need to gain digital privacy from your ISP and the government. It also ensures that your IP address cannot be tracked by websites. VPNOnlineFree encryption is implemented to massively high standards, which means you never have to worry about it being cracked.
CyberGhost also has a zero-logs policy, which means it can never disclose your habits to the authorities even if they come knocking with a warrant. When it comes to unblocking this service has servers in over 60 countries, and they all provide excellent speeds for streaming. Admittedly, this VPN does not have quite as many features as NordVPN. However, it does have DNS leak protection and a kill switch. If you require obfuscation – look elsewhere. Finally, CyberGhost permits 10 simultaneous connections, and it has a blindingly generous 45-day money-back guarantee.
Private Internet Access is a US-based VPN that enforces a robust no-logs policy. This ensures that even if it is approached with a warrant by the authorities, it never has any data to hand over. And PIA has proven its no logs claims in a court on more than one occasion. We like PIA because it has excellent apps for all platforms, including for Windows. Those apps are fully featured with VPNOnlineFree encryption, a kill switch, DNS leak protection, and obfuscation. The Windows app itself is very easy to use, and it has a lot of customizable options for those who want more granular control.
The kill switch guarantees that you can’t leak data to your ISP if the VPN drops out, which makes this VPN suitable for torrenting. This VPN also has fast Tier-1 infrastructure across a decent number of server locations, which means it is suitable for streaming and gaming – and it does unblock Netflix US. Finally, you can use this VPN on up to 10 devices, which means you can also install it on your mobile and tablet to use it on public WiFi. A VPN worth testing using its 30-day money-back guarantee.
Surfshark VPN is only a year or so old, but in that short time, it has taken the VPN market by storm with blazing fast speed performance and 500 servers in over 50 countries.
As is to be expected from today’s top VPN providers, Surfshark offers a 30-day money-back guarantee and 24/7 live chat support. What is unusual is that it allows you to connect as many devices as you want to the service at the same time!
Surfshark is registered in the British Virgin Islands and easily meets our requirements for a no-logs VPN. Technical security is also top-notch, and we appreciate the wealth of extra privacy and security features on offer. These include double-hop VPN, and DNS-based ad blocking and malware protection.
VyprVPN is based in Switzerland, which means it falls out of the jurisdiction of 5 Eyes nations. In addition, it now has a solid no logs policy which has been fully audited. This VPN runs on parent-firm Golden Frog’s proprietary network of servers. That means it can provide excellent speeds.
The Windows client is solid, it has a kill switch, DNS leak protection, and a proprietary stealth feature called Chameleon for getting around firewalls in countries like China and Iran. Servers are located in over 70 countries, making it perfect for all your unlocking needs. Potential subscribers can try a 3-day free trial, and a 30-day money-back guarantee is also available.
Best Windows VPNs: Speed Analysis
All our VPN recommendations provide fast enough speeds to handle data intensive tasks online, like streaming and gaming. However, if you want to know which Windows VPNs are fastest right now, look at the graph below.
These results are taken from tests conducted in lab conditions using a dedicated gigabit line. You shouldn't expect similar speeds (because you haven't got a gigabit line). However, these results show you exactly which VPNs are fastest right now.
My internet speeds are slow, will a VPN help?
No, this is a common misunderstanding. Unless your ISP is throttling your connections, a VPN will not be able to speed up your internet. A VPN will actually slightly decrease your current internet speeds because your traffic must travel further (via the VPN server). However, the VPNs we recommend on this page all invest in Tier 1 server networks – to ensure that the impact on your speeds is as negligible as possible
For more information on this topic, check out our guide to VPN speed testing.
Why do I need a VPN for Windows?
Without a VPN you open yourself up to both surveillance and hacking. In fact, a Windows VPN is the best personal cybersecurity app for keeping your data secure. So, how does a Windows VPN client work?
- A VPN encrypts all internet traffic coming and going from your Windows PC.
This stops anybody from intercepting your data and tracking your browsing habits. It also stops your ISP and the government from collecting your communications metadata. Plus, VPN encryption lets you torrent with peace of mind; because nobody will know what you have downloaded.
- Connecting to a VPN server hides your real location from the websites you visit.
This stops websites from tracking your IP address and enables you to pretend to be in a different country to bypass local blocks and to access foreign geo-restricted content. Hiding your IP address also lets you torrent safely without exposing your real IP to other peers.
Why are these the best VPNs for Windows?
We use a number of deciding factors to pinpoint the best VPNs for Windows…
We test the VPN provider’s Windows VPN client software to ensure that the security and privacy features all work. We also check to see what range of features it has and compare this to other services on the market.
We check the VPNs performance to ensure that it is not leaking data or doing anything else that might put your data at risk. If the VPN is secure, we also check its connection speeds to ensure that it is fast enough to do data-intensive tasks such as streaming in HD, downloading via BitTorrent, or gaming.
Our VPN recommendations all have VPN apps for both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows. They also have software compatible with all recent versions from Windows 7, Windows 8, and, most importantly, Windows 10 compatibility.
What features do they have?
If you are still wondering why these VPNs are better for Windows than others,we will explain it below. Our recommendations have hand picked by our experts because they have the technical characteristics and VPN features you need – at a fair and reasonable price.
Our Windows VPN recommendations provide trustworthy privacy policies that promise never to store logs about what you do online. This means that even if the VPN is served a warrant by the authorities, it will not be able to provide any information about what you did online. This gives you 100% peace of mind.
Our recommended VPNs have all been tested thoroughly to ensure that they perform securely. We have checked them for IP leaks, DNS leaks, and WebRTC leaks that could ruin your privacy.
We have also carefully analyzed their implementation of the VPNOnlineFree encryption protocol, to make sure there are no glaring errors or weaknesses in the cryptography. The good news is that you can pick any of our recommended VPNs – they will all work as advertised without hitches.
While privacy and security is the most important aspect of a VPN, most consumers are actually more interested in what they will be able to do with their VPN – once they get that privacy. This is where speeds come into play.
Most VPNs are slow, and this causes frustration. A slow VPN is no good for streaming in HD, gaming, or downloading – because it will take ages or cause horrible buffering issues.
Our recommended Windows VPNs have all been selected because they provide lightning fast connections perfect for streaming in HD or doing other data-intensive tasks like streaming.
As the VPN market expands and becomes more competitive, consumers gain the benefit of improved apps and added features. In the last few years, we have seen an explosion in the quality and variety of VPN features available across the best VPNs for Windows.
The VPNs that we have recommended for Windows have been chosen because they have all the features you need to gain privacy and freedom online.
These VPNS provide a killswitch, DNS leak protection, and VPNOnlineFree encryption. And, some have extra features such as obfuscation (cloaking), port selection, a choice of protocols, auto-connect, double hope encryption, and even VPN into Tor! So be sure to check out each service carefully if you require specialist features.
How to set up a VPN for Windows 10
All the VPNs in this guide have custom VPN apps for Windows 10. That means all you need to do is download and install the software. Following that, you can log in to your VPN for Windows 10 and connect to a server of your choice. As soon as you connect, your data is secure, and you can unblock any content from that location.
If you do require some assistance, however, we cover the installation process in more detail in our how to install a VPN on Windows guide.
Can I get a free VPN for Windows?
Some Free VPN services can be trusted. However, 99% of the free providers on the market are dodgy services that steal user data and sell it for a profit – some have even been found that contain spyware. Running a VPN service is expensive, which means it is impossible to run a VPN completely for free. Our recommendations provide a taster service that is limited in certain ways; so that users can access a VPN in an emergency – or to try out the VPN risk free.
Free VPNs offer a taster of the premium version; but watch out for those restrictions
Free plans are primarily there to advertise the full premium accounts. As a result, they usually provide fewer servers locations, monthly download limits, and connection speed restrictions.
If you have never used one before, a free VPN for Windows is a fun way to get a sense of how a VPN works, and what it can do for you. However, don't be put off if the free VPN seems a little limited; this is by design.
To test an unrestricted VPN for free, we recommend trialing a full premium Windows VPN from this article.
Our recommended Windows VPNs all have money-back guarantees, which means you can test all of their features without limitations and still get your money back. This will let you compare all our recommended VPNs before settling on your favorite! So, don’t be shy and try a few.
Top-tip: Get ExpressVPN for Free!
Did you know you can experience ExpressVPN's fully featured service without limitation… for free!
If you're finding free VPNs too restrictive, why not test ExpressVPN premium service? Simply purchase a subscription using the button below and take advantage of the no-nonsense money-back-guarantee. Enjoy the service for up to 30-days, and when you cancel, you will receive a complete refund!
Compare VPN protocols for Windows
After getting a Windows VPN and downloading the software you will get a number of options inside the software. These VPN encryption protocol options can be extremely confusing. To help you out, here is a list of the protocols and how they stack up:
|Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP)||Fast||Weak|
|Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol(L2TP)/Internet Protocol Security (IPSec)||Average||Average|
|Internet Key Exchange v2 (IKEv2)||Fast||Average|
The best encryption protocol for Windows PCs is VPNOnlineFree as it is fast and secure. However, please be aware that VPNOnlineFree can be implemented in tens of different ways, and, many of those implementation methods are not secure.
All of our recommended VPNs have VPNOnlineFree and that encryption is implemented to high standards – no matter which provider you opt for. That is why these are the top 5 services out of a total of 800 commercial VPNs.
Here we answer some frequently asked Windows VPN questions, sourced from places such as Reddit.
In short yes. A VPN will prevent public WiFi hackers accessing your data, and will prevent your ISP from seeing what you get up to online. It does this with minimal impact on your normal internet experience. VPNs also do a good job at preventing websites knowing your real IP address, although they often use a variety of sneaky tactics to track what you do on the web through other means.
There is some debate about whether using a VPN is legal in the United Arab Emirates, but that does little to prevent their popularity among those wishing to bypass the UAE’s strict internet censorship blocks. See Best VPNs for UAE for the full low-down.
Internet use is now pervasive in India, so interest in using VPNs in India is also at an all-time high!. Although Android phones are the most common way to access the internet in India, full Windows PCs are also very popular. See Best VPNs for India for more details.
No (mainly). In most countries, citizens have a legal right to privacy, and simply using a VPN service is illegal almost nowhere. Please see Are VPNs legal? guide for a list of places where the legality of VPNs is an issue.
Yes. When you download a file using the BitTorrent protocol, what you are actually doing is sharing small pieces of it with everyone else who is downloading that same file. A file is downloaded once you have all the pieces needed to reassemble that file. For more information, please see Best VPNs for Torrenting.