Did you think searching for a VPN for Windows could be so confusing?
There are over 500 of them to choose from. It’s not only your time that you’ll waste, but it can start to get expensive testing out inefficient services.
- Slow download speeds
- Unreliable VPN connections
- Questionable privacy policies
We’ve seen it all.
But not all VPN services are bad.
Inside this guide we’ll be showing you exactly which is the best VPN for Windows – tested against our 5 point critical features – and giving you nine other choices of reputable VPN services.
Your search for a Windows 10 VPN is over!
Keep scrolling to discover the virtual private networks you’ll want to check out for your online security, privacy, downloading, streaming and more.
Table of Contents
Top 10 VPNs for Windows
ExpressVPN is the best choice for a VPN for Windows 10 and older editions because its custom software is compact and straightforward.
You’ll love the fact that ExpressVPN is registered in the British Virgin Islands that puts them outside the Five Eyes countries that other VPN providers are often registered in.
If you take your privacy seriously and want to stay away from the NSA & GCHQ, then this is a great feature. Couple this with their audited no-log policy and what you do online will remain safe.
Other services can often work out a little bit cheaper but ExpressVPN is different because they’ve concentrated on the quality of their connections and useful features.
ExpressVPN has a massive 30-day money-back guarantee which is one of our favorite features allowing you to test the service across your Windows devices for nearly a month and if you’re unhappy with the service then you can get your money back.
While all the usual VPN protocols are available, their newly released Lightway protocol is fast and efficient.
Our Recommended Windows VPN
30-day money back guarantee
The next on our list of best VPNs for the Windows 10 operating system and earlier editions is NordVPN, a Panama-based service that is very easy to use, with top protection, and an abundance of VPN servers.
Just like many others on this list, NordVPN offers multiple VPN protocols, AES 256-bit encryption, and a massive network of servers that includes 5481 VPN servers in 59 different countries.
In addition, NordVPN offers P2P support, it has a very user-friendly Windows app and 24/7 customer support. Its live chat support is likely to result in the quickest resolution of your issues, but you can also contact it through other means.
Of course, it can unblock Netflix by masking your IP address, and it offers up to 6 connections, so you can easily protect other devices, as well, including Android, iOS, Mac, and more, in addition to your Windows 10 PC.
It also has a 30-day money-back guarantee, if you change your mind about using it.
Up next, we have CyberGhost, another excellent VPN to protect your PC, regardless if you use Windows 10, earlier editions or even a Mac.
CyberGhost uses strong encryption, top-notch security protocols, and a massive VPN server network. This will not only protect your online activities by securing your internet connection, but it will also let you bypass censorship and geo-restrictions.
As a result, you will be able to unblock Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and other streaming services.
However, its biggest advantage over other VPNs is its 45-day money-back guarantee. On top of that, CyberGhost provides additional features, such as DNS leak protection, a kill switch, unlimited bandwidth, and more.
Its server network spans throughout 90 different countries, with a total of 6800 VPN servers. It is easily among the most powerful VPNs out there, and a great option to check out.
Another excellent VPN for PC, be that Windows 10 or Mac is Surfshark.
This is another VPN from the British Virgin Islands, just like ExpressVPN. Unlike ExpressVPN, however, Surfshark is a relatively young service. Still, that did not stop it from becoming worthy of finding itself on the list of Best VPNs for Windows 10.
Surfshark is easy to use, and it can protect every popular operating system. It offers DNS leak protection, strong encryption, powerful security protocols, but also things like a kill switch and a split tunneling feature, among other additional features.
Split tunneling is more useful for mobile devices, as it can let you decide which apps will be protected.
It supports P2P, it can unblock Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and alike, and it has excellent customer service.
Its VPN server locations cover 63 countries, with 1700 servers in total. Its prices are also lower than many of its peers, and, of course, it has a 30-day money-back guarantee.
All of this makes it an excellent choice for hiding your browsing activity and securing your internet connection.
IPVanish is the ideal choice for a VPN for Windows, which makes them one of our top recommendations.
The best aspect of IPVanish is they have a custom Windows 10 client which makes getting connected and securing your connection extremely easy.
If you’re more of a do-it-yourself kind of person, then configuration files for OpenVPN and set-up guides for the other VPN protocols are easily accessible on the IPVanish website.
The custom Windows software allows you to select a server either in a list and sort by speed etc. You can even choose a server location by using a world map.
With ease of use in mind IPVanish on Windows is certainly suitable for beginner and expert alike. The software is ideal for both desktop and tablet Windows devices.
IPVanish is a totally no-log VPN provider meaning they won’t store any information on what you access or what websites you visit.
With 256-bit encryption, your Windows device will be completely secure whether you’re at home, the office, or mobile.
Being one of the fastest VPN providers we’ve tested concludes why they’ve made our top 10 list.
VyprVPN is a company that cares about online security and their Windows offering is by no means an afterthought.
Their Windows 10 client is beautiful and simple to use. Just one click gets you connected and secure and another allows you to choose a server from over 50 countries.
It will certainly be suitable if you wish to unblock Netflix and other services.
Their Windows software has some well thought out options like a killswitch and the ability to automatically connect on unknown wi-fi keeping you safe whilst you’re in a coffee shop or other public location.
VyprVPN brought their prices in line with many other providers a couple of years back and they’re now much more affordable.
All the standard encryption modes are available plus a custom mode called Chameleon that masks the OpenVPN metadata and is ideal for use in countries like China and Iran.
7. Private Internet Access
Private Internet Access, or PIA, for short, is another of the VPNs without a list of best VPNs for Windows cannot be made. It has all the usual best security features, such as robust encryption, security protocols, DNS leak protection, a kill switch, and more.
It also has a 30-day money-back guarantee, which guarantees a full refund if you are not satisfied with its VPN service.
You can use it to unblock Netflix, and various streaming services, such as BBC iPlayer, and many others.
Like all major VPNs, it features a robust no-logs policy, although it is based in the US, which is not among the most desirable locations.
Still, it is considered a good VPN for PC, with up to 10 simultaneous connections, 24/7 support, and a huge server network, featuring 16,596 servers.
Its server locations are spread across 74 countries, so you will be more than able to hide your IP address and ensure the security and privacy of your VPN connection.
Nearing the end of our list of the best Windows 10 VPN services is VPN.ac.
Like all the others, VPN.ac is fairly easy to use, with six simultaneous connections, and top-notch internet protection.
This VPN service also allows you to unblock various streaming services and similar content that might be out of reach, and it has a strict no-logs policy.
VPN.ac doesn’t have a significant number of servers to offer, it only features 21 of them.
They are spread across the world, however, covering 18 locations. Unfortunately, it only unblocks US Netflix. So, if you are after Netflix of some other region or some other library, this might not be the best choice.
But, despite the low number of servers, VPN.ac is still surprisingly fast. It also has a helpful and polite customer support, and it is more than capable of protecting your online activities from any nosy entities.
If you plan on using a VPN for security and privacy, and you don’t need a massive reach, VPN.ac is an excellent choice for Windows, as well as Mac. The 7-day money-back guarantee is a little on the slim side.
StrongVPN is one of the oldest VPN providers around and well recommended throughout the privacy industry.
Their pricing is simple and they’re also one of the cheapest at just $5.83 /mo when taking an annual package.
They do have a lesser choice of servers to connect to which we weren’t that impressed with but the price of their service and speed more than made up for the lack of choice.
The Windows software is easy to use and while not as intuitive as the Windows 10 software from ExpressVPN, it is suitable for all abilities.
As the name suggests, StrongVPN has up to 2048-bit handshaking encryption, making them a good choice if you’re concerned about your online Windows privacy.
HideMyAss is probably the most well-known and customer-friendly VPN provider. They’ve supported Windows systems for a long time.
Although their Windows client isn’t the most visually appealing, it does allow you to connect to well over 190 different countries around the world and secure your connection. It even claims that it can unblock Netflix and more.
OpenVPN and PPTP modes are available in their Windows client and if you want to access L2TP/IPSec, then the HideMyAss website can guide you through manual set-up.
We like the fact that leading anti-virus firm AVG bought out the HideMyAss brand putting huge financial backing behind the service with the added security expertise AVG will bring.
HideMyAss has been in the industry for over 10-years and isn’t going anywhere fast. We didn’t find them the fastest but they provide a robust VPN service suitable for Windows.
How we selected these VPNs
When testing and selecting these VPNs, we assessed them against the following factors:
1. Windows app
One of the most essential aspects of VPNs, it goes without saying, is their Windows app.
The app needs to have all the proper security features, such as the kill switch, suitable security protocols, DNS leak protection, encryption, and alike.
However, you also need it to be easy to use, for users who never used a VPN before. If they happen to have even more security features, such as split tunneling, that’s a useful bonus.
2. Service features
Apart from the Windows 10 VPN app, we also looked for reputable services with strong privacy features.
They needed to have a strict no-logs policy and be located in privacy-friendly jurisdictions. If not that, they at least had to be audited by an independent 3rd party that could confirm that the VPNs do not keep logs.
Using a VPN is vital for users’ protection, and we want you to be safe while conducting your online activities.
While securing your PC with a proper Windows 10 VPN takes priority, we also did not want you to have to pay a fortune every month.
This is why we chose VPNs with either very affordable prices or those whose long-term deals come with significant discounts.
That way, you can have the best Windows 10 VPN, but also not break the bank. And, of course, they needed to have a money-back guarantee, preferably one that lasts for at least 30 days.
Reputation can tell you a lot about a VPN.
If a VPN is capable of unblocking Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and other streaming services; if it can protect you on the internet and secure your PC; if it can help you be mostly-anonymous by replacing your IP address; then it will likely have a lot more positive impressions than negative ones.
Those positives are what attracts people to VPNs, while those that are unable to back their promises usually get skipped, discarded, and eventually receive negatives reviews across the net.
Lastly, since we know that a large number of people set up a VPN for unblocking Netflix and BBC iPlayer, or for using encryption and other features to protect their downloads, we also looked at VPNs that offer good speeds.
Different factors impact this.
Apart from the speeds themselves, numerous and close-by servers can help out a lot. Of course, VPN software is crucial, and it needs to be well-developed to ensure you can download, stream and browse the web without speed interruptions.
How to choose a VPN for Windows?
When searching for the best VPN for yourself, you need to know what things to look for in order to assess its quality.
Here are some of our top recommendations.
1. App features
You need your VPN software to be able to protect you and your VPN connection.
In essence, you should look for apps that have as many security and privacy features as possible. That means looking for the likes of:
- DNS leak protection
- Split tunneling
- Multiple VPN protocols
- Strong encryption levels
- Kill switch
The kill switch is maybe the most crucial of all.
While all other features work on making your connection safe, the kill switch will instantly terminate your internet connection if another aspect of the app malfunctions.
That way, the kill switch will prevent your data from leaking to the internet without protection.
2. Server locations
Next, let’s talk about servers.
Servers, and particularly server locations, are crucial for securing your VPN connection. All VPNs have server networks, which allow you to hide your identity by replacing your IP address.
This is why you can unblock Netflix and BBC iPlayer, access services not available in your country, and more.
However, it is also essential to have servers close by, especially if you need speed, as closer servers require data to travel shorter distances. So, what you really need to do is look for the nearest server that can let you access what you need.
3. No-log policy
Every top VPN for Windows needs a no-logs policy, regardless of where it is based.
Whether in the privacy-friendly British Virgin Islands or the privacy-unfriendly US, a no-logs policy is the only way that you can be confident that your information is not being recorded and sold to the highest bidder, or your Internet Service Provider.
Not only that but to be entirely sure that the VPN keeps its promises, you should always look for audited VPNs, where 3rd parties were able to confirm that the service truly doesn’t keep logs.
4. Other apps
Lastly, you don’t want to limit yourself to the best Windows VPN but also look for VPNs that offer multiple simultaneous connections, for a variety of different apps and devices.
Many VPNs these days also offer browser extensions, apart from apps for specific devices.
Browser extensions are important, as they allow you to use a VPN on any device that can run the browser in question.
Keep in mind that browser extensions only protect your activity within the browser itself. Most reputable VPN services also provide apps for all other major devices.
Can I use these on a Windows desktop or laptop?
Once you find the best Windows VPN and subscribe to it, you can use it on any device that runs Windows.
And yes, that includes laptops and desktops.
There is no difference, as long as the device in question has a Windows 10 installation or one of the earlier editions.
If you wish to change to a different system down the road, it is likely that you can use the same VPN, only download a different version of the app for it, created specifically for the system in question.
Which ‘Protocol’ should I choose for Windows?
There are multiple VPN protocols to choose from, but not all of them are equally good. Here are some of the most common ones and what they do:
This is one of the oldest protocols with some of the best connection speeds. However, those speeds come at a cost, as its security is not that great. The encryption is just too weak for this day and age.
This one has much better security, it is difficult to block and detect, and it is great for all kinds of clients.
However, people do not trust it as it has been a part of Microsoft for ages, and it is basically a Microsoft-made proprietary protocol. Unfortunately, Microsoft did not make it possible for developers to see the underlying code.
This is a pretty good VPN protocol for Windows, but it is even better for mobile devices, as it can quickly re-establish a broken connection or switch between networks.
OpenVPN is the current king of VPN protocols.
It is open-source, so developers were able to inspect its code, and they did not find any shady parts that would indicate that someone is trying to use it for spying.
It uses the strongest encryption, but its speeds are somewhat impacted because of it.
WireGuard is a new VPN protocol, and it is also open-source. It is much simpler and faster than even OpenVPN, but it doesn’t sacrifice security to achieve it.
Many believe that it will eventually surpass every other protocol and become a new standard for VPNs.
Lastly, there is Lightway, a protocol by ExpressVPN. It is modern, very secure, extremely fast, and more reliable than any other. ExpressVPN has decided to develop its own protocol rather than use WireGuard.
What’s the best free VPN for Windows?
One thing that most VPN users are interested in is a free VPN for Windows.
Now, we understand why this has such an appeal – nobody likes paying for services.
But, one thing that you need to keep in mind is that a free VPN usually cannot protect you anywhere near as good as premium services.
A Free VPN doesn’t get the money from you, and maintaining servers and software is still quite expensive. So, they tend to sell user data, target them with ads, and in some cases, you may even stumble upon VPNs owned by hackers.
One alternative for a free Windows VPN would be to use free plans of premium services, such as Tunnelbear or ProtonVPN.
Just keep in mind that these VPNs are extremely limiting. ProtonVPN only lets you use a few servers, while Tunnelbear grants you only 500MB of data per month, which you will likely use in less than a day.
How to install a VPN on Windows?
Thankfully, using a Windows VPN isn’t difficult. Gone are the days of needing to configure it manually.
However, if this is your first go at using VPNs, then it can still be intimidating. Below you can find out the exact steps to getting protected.
While you may find other services to be the best VPNs for Windows, our choice is ExpressVPN, so we will provide an example using this provider. With that in mind, here are the steps.
- Go to the ExpressVPN website.
- Create an account with your email address.
- Select a payment plan and enter your payment details.
- Once you’ve subscribed, head to ‘Products’.
- Download the Windows app and double-click on the installer icon to start the installation process.
- The wizard will help you install it and set it up in a few minutes.
- Launch the VPN app. Now login with the activation code. Other devices may require you to use your username and password.
- Once inside, find a list of servers and connect to the country you need.
That’s all there is to it.
Right now, your connection on Windows will be secure.
And, if you change your mind, remember that ExpressVPN has a 30-day money-back guarantee. But, if you start experiencing trouble, don’t ask for money just yet.
First, contact their 24/7 support. The live chat support can solve most issues with VPNs, so keep them in mind.
Can I use the VPN on other devices?
Of course, while we are focusing on a Windows VPN, you are not only limited to Windows.
We explained how you can connect almost any device if you use a VPN with browser extensions. Well, there are many dedicated apps apart from browser extensions when it comes to VPNs like ExpressVPN, NordVPN, and others we mentioned above.
You will be able to access all of their servers, as well as their customer support and other features, as they are not limited to their Windows client only.
There is plenty of choices when it comes to Windows VPN providers and the best services these days provide custom software to make connection effortless.
Above we’ve highlighted ten of the best VPN services for Windows not only based on their outstanding support for Windows systems but also due to the quality of the VPN services themselves in areas such as speed, reliability, and 24/7 support.
Overall we recommend ExpressVPN as our top-notch VPN for Windows.
All listed providers work with Windows 10 and also support older editions of Windows such as 7, 8, and 8.1.
If you want to recap on the top VPNs for Windows options, check below.
We would also love to hear your own experiences and feedback if you’ve used one of the providers above or if you have another recommendation. Feel free to drop us your hints and tips in the comments section.