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Best VPN for Windows

By Simon Migliano | Updated June 10, 2019

Illustration of Microsoft Windows laptop computer and desktop computer

Microsoft Windows is the most popular PC operating system in the world. 

Because of this, it’s a prime target for hackers and rife with security issues.

A VPN is an essential tool for keeping your computer safe and your data private. 

But there’s so many to choose from, and some work better on Windows than others. 

To make your life easier, we went through all of our reviews and put together a list of the best VPNs available for Windows.

Simply scroll down and decide which of these VPNs sounds right for you.

If you were looking for a free VPN to use on your PC, these free VPN services all have a Windows app you can download – but they won’t perform as well as the VPNs on this page.

What Does a VPN for Windows Need to Have?

  1. User-friendly custom app for Windows
  2. Reliable and fast speeds
  3. Great security and privacy features
  4. Transparent & privacy-focused logging policy
  5. Unlocks popular streaming sites
  6. Allows torrenting and P2P traffic

Wondering why you should trust our reviews?
See How We Review VPNs.

Best VPNs for Windows 10, 8 & Below

1. ExpressVPN

Ranked #1 out of 78 VPNs for Windows

  1. Very fast speeds
  2. Works with Netflix & iPlayer
  3. Effective, easy-to-use Windows app
  4. Advanced privacy features such as split tunneling
  5. Connect securely to 94 countries
  1. Price could be lower on shorter plans
  • Best Price

    $6.67/mo over 15 Months

    See all plans

  • Top Speedi

    85Mbps same city speed

    Based on a 100Mbps test connection

  • Servers

    94 countries, 3,000+ servers

  • Compatible with

    • Windows logoWindows
    • Mac logoMac
    • iOS logoiOS
    • Android logoAndroid
    • Linux logoLinux

The Bottom Line

ExpressVPN is compatible with Windows through a nicely-designed, easy-to-use custom app. 

It looks good, but it’s fast too — ExpressVPN is one of the fastest VPNs available. 

That’s great news if you’re looking to access popular streaming websites such as Netflix and BBC iPlayer, particularly as ExpressVPN is a reliable companion for unblocking content. It also works for torrenting. 

Most importantly: ExpressVPN is private, and protects your traffic. It collects only a minimal, non-identifiable amount of information needed to maintain its service.

Naturally a top class service means paying top dollar — ExpressVPN is, frankly, expensive, but it really does go out of its way to ensure that your experience is a good one. The 24-hour live chat is extremely impressive.

ExpressVPN is our #1 VPN for a reason.

If you’re a Windows user in China or other censored nations like Russia, ExpressVPN even gets around censorship blocks.

For a more in-depth look, read our full ExpressVPN review.

2. NordVPN

Ranked #2 out of 78 VPNs for Windows

  1. Great speeds
  2. Works with popular sites such as Netflix
  3. Customizable, user-friendly Windows app
  4. Generous six device connection limit
  5. Good server list
  1. Extra protocols require manual config
  • Best Price

    $3.49/mo over 36 Months

    See all plans

  • Top Speedi

    90Mbps same city speed

    Based on a 100Mbps test connection

  • Servers

    60 countries, 5,600+ servers

  • Compatible with

    • Windows logoWindows
    • Mac logoMac
    • iOS logoiOS
    • Android logoAndroid
    • Linux logoLinux

The Bottom Line

NordVPN has a very nice app for Windows. You’re guaranteed a smooth experience. 

Like ExpressVPN, NordVPN is also a terrific all-rounder: it does most things very well. 

NordVPN’s Windows default security protocol is OpenVPN, which prioritizes security without hampering speed. 

NordVPN is based in Panama. This is a very privacy-friendly part of the world, thanks to the fact that it’s not a member of any intelligence-sharing alliance.

Even if it were based somewhere in the EU or the US, NordVPN is a no-logs service, which means that it doesn’t collect or store any personal information about you, and you can’t be spied on or traced.

Netflix and BBC iPlayer content is unrestricted if you use NordVPN, and it’s currently ranked third on our list of the fastest VPNs.

It also competes with ExpressVPN when it comes to support, featuring a 24/7 live chat, with quick, friendly, and helpful agents. 

NordVPN has the edge on ExpressVPN when it comes to pricing — its quite a lot cheaper, making it fantastic value for money (even if it doesn’t quite beat it overall).

For a more in-depth look, read our full NordVPN review.

3. IPVanish

Ranked #3 out of 78 VPNs for Windows

  1. Good global speeds
  2. Works with popular apps including Netflix
  3. Powerful Windows app with solid privacy features
  4. Very strict zero-logs policy
  5. Connect securely to 50 countries
  1. Short refund period (7 days)
  2. Could confuse inexperienced users
  • Best Price

    $4.12/mo over 24 Months

    See all plans

  • Top Speedi

    84Mbps same city speed

    Based on a 100Mbps test connection

  • Servers

    50 countries, 1,300 servers

  • Compatible with

    • Windows logoWindows
    • Mac logoMac
    • iOS logoiOS
    • Android logoAndroid
    • Linux logoLinux

The Bottom Line

IPVanish is a particularly good VPN for Windows if you’re into P2P torrenting or using Kodi. 

Its speeds on local connections are lightning fast, enough for HD or 4K. We lost 10% of our internet speed using IPVanish to connect to a nearby server, which is very impressive. 

IPVanish doesn’t compare to ExpressVPN and NordVPN as a service for streaming. You can currently use IPVanish to unlock Netflix, but the lack of dedicated streaming servers means it’s inconsistent. 

IPVanish is also a no-logs VPN service, even if it had to remake itself after a poor history of handing information over to authorities. 

It’s also not as pretty as ExpressVPN and NordVPN, its darker colours and greens giving it a more intimidating tech-y look that may put off newcomers.

However, if you’re a seasoned VPN user, then that won’t put you off, and IPVanish’s multiple configurable settings and customization options will certainly appeal to you. 

For a more in-depth look, read our full IPVanish review.

4. CyberGhost

Ranked #4 out of 78 VPNs for Windows

  1. Fast speed
  2. Quick, easy access to Netflix
  3. Simple and effective Windows app
  4. Completely zero-logs provider
  5. Connect securely to 60 countries
  1. Server network could be bigger
  2. Some restrictions on torrenting
  • Best Price

    $2.75/mo over 36 Months

    See all plans

  • Top Speedi

    87Mbps same city speed

    Based on a 100Mbps test connection

  • Servers

    90 countries, 6,200+ servers

  • Compatible with

    • Windows logoWindows
    • Mac logoMac
    • iOS logoiOS
    • Android logoAndroid
    • Linux logoLinux

The Bottom Line

CyberGhost may be priced like a budget VPN, but that takes nothing away from its effectiveness. 

The Windows app is particularly useful for streamers, as it comes with dedicated servers for streaming. This means you can watch Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and more to your heart’s content. 

Servers are also optimized for P2P (with the exception of Australia), which makes it a good choice for torrenting but not as good as IPVanish. 

Its quick speeds – especially when connecting locally – will ensure that all the tasks that you have in mind will be doable without even a hiccup in performance. 

CyberGhost is a great pick for privacy due to its strict zero-logs policy, integrated VPN kill switch and DNS leak protection. It even comes with a malicious website blocker.

And it’s Windows app is super simple to use. CyberGhost is a consumer-friendly,

For a more in-depth look, read our full CyberGhost review.

5. PrivateVPN

Ranked #5 out of 78 VPNs for Windows

  1. Excellent speeds
  2. Easy access to Netflix and iPlayer
  3. User-friendly apps for a range of popular devices
  4. Supports TCP Port 443 for bypassing censorship
  5. Connect securely to 59 countries
  6. Strict zero-logs policy
  1. Server network could be bigger
  2. No browser extensions
  3. Mobile apps lack advanced privacy features
  • Best Price

    $2.88/mo over 15 Months

    See all plans

  • Top Speedi

    86Mbps same city speed

    Based on a 100Mbps test connection

  • Servers

    59 countries, 150+ servers

  • Compatible with

    • Windows logoWindows
    • Mac logoMac
    • iOS logoiOS
    • Android logoAndroid
    • Linux logoLinux

The Bottom Line

If you want quick and easy access to popular streaming sites, PrivateVPN is a great budget option.

It earns good local and international speeds scores, and low ping times make PrivateVPN a good choice for gamers too. 

With all these entertainment demands met, PrivateVPN doesn’t forget to stay true to its name and protect your right to privacy.

We wish it would make things clearer on its privacy policy, but we’ve spoken directly to the service and can assure you that PrivateVPN doesn’t collect or store sensitive data or track your searches of any kind. 

It also comes with a VPN kill switch, DNS leak protection, and first-party DNS servers. TCP Port 443 also works well to bypass censorship. 

In plain terms: PrivateVPN is a robust VPN. It’s not as cheap as CyberGhost, but it’s very close to its overall performance. 

 

For a more in-depth look, read our full PrivateVPN review.

Popular Questions

Do You Really Need a VPN on Windows?

Yes, you really do. 

That’s because Windows is neither the most private nor the most secure, though it is the most popular.

A VPN gives you all the benefits of Windows without any of its downsides, protecting your information and personal details against hackers and preventing governments and snoopers from infringing on your privacy. 

What Is the Best Free VPN for Windows?

Why bother paying for a VPN when you can get one for free, right? 

Wrong – it turns out there are a lot of reasons. Free VPNs are often very poor at protecting your privacy and and are even made free to extract information or inject malicious hardware or trackers. Most free VPNs are bad news.

Illustration of a credit card with a line through it and some coinsBut we get it: the allure of a freebie is irresistible and surely, you ask, there are one or two decent ones out there?

We are here to show you which free VPNs are usable, and ensure you make the right choice for your Windows computer. 

The safest free VPNs available are those offered by:

  • Windscribe
  • ProtonVPN
  • TunnelBear
  • Hide.me
  • Avira

It’s definitely worth checking out our in-depth list of the best free VPNs, where you can find out each of these services’ strengths and weaknesses. 

But rest assured: none of these VPNs require credit cards or payment information when you sign up – they truly are free. 

VPNs for Windows to Avoid

We’ve given you our list of the best VPNs for Windows, but it’s worth warning you about the VPNs that you should almost certainly avoid. 

That includes almost all free VPNs. So many are unsafe and designed to do the opposite of a VPN — extract your information or infringe on your privacy.

We recommend the free VPNs in this guide as safe and private, even with various performance limitations.

Here are some more VPNs who scored very poorly in our assessments that are available on Windows:

  • SkyVPN
  • Betternet free
  • Hola VPN
  • Touch VPN
  • VPN 99
  • VPNBook
  • SlickVPN

Can I Use a VPN with Microsoft Edge?

Microsoft Edge is a web browser developed by Microsoft in 2015, designed to replace Internet Explorer.

Since its release it’s been the default browser for Windows, so it’s only natural that you should ask: can I use a VPN while using Microsoft Edge?

The answer is yes.

But which VPN should you use?

Well, you can use any VPN that you like as long as you are running the service while browsing via Microsoft Edge.

Seeing as Microsoft Edge supports some browser extensions, we recommend that you choose a VPN from this list that also come included with this feature. 

This excludes only two VPNs on this list: IPVanish and PrivateVPN. 

So we say ExpressVPN, NordVPN, or CyberGhost are great choices for Microsoft Edge. 

Even if you’re just using a browser, we recommend that you use the full-on VPN service alongside the VPN extension.

VPN or Freegate for Windows?

Freegate is a free anti-censorship software. It’s the most popular circumvention proxy anonymity software used in China and is very easily added to Windows PCs.

The thing to remember about Freegate is that it’s just an anonymizer proxy and it’s not guaranteed to work all the time.

A VPN is designed to encrypt your data and protect all your information through a secure network. 

 

FreeGate Logo

For this reason, we recommend you consider a VPN as your chief software for privacy and anti-censorship. 

Also, Freegate is far less user-friendly than VPNs, with an incredibly outdated look, which is bad when you want to make privacy simple for everyone. Most VPNs are consumer products designed to make everything as easy as possible for you, but losing nothing in effectiveness.

Which VPN for Windows Should I Use in China?

There are a lot of Windows users in China and many of them are tired of the harsh censorship imposed by the CCP. 

The best way to undermine this censorship is through VPNs, but only some work in China. From our list of the best VPNs for Windows, these are:

  • ExpressVPN
  • NordVPN
  • PrivateVPN

Illustration Depicting a VPN Circumventing the Great Firewall of ChinaFrom these, we’d recommend ExpressVPN or PrivateVPN, which have proven to be slightly more reliable than NordVPN.

PrivateVPN comes with a Stealth VPN Protocol, and ExpressVPN dedicates a lot of time and resources into maintaining its service against the odds in China.

These two VPNs make for surefire bets in other restricted countries too, such as Russia, Turkey, Iran, and India. 

Which VPN for Gaming on Windows Should I Get?

PC gaming is more popular than ever – you might be one of the millions playing on their PC every day.

Microsoft knows this, and even introduced ‘Game Mode’ to Windows, which is designed to produce higher frame rates and lower latency.

But it’s not taking into account your privacy and security. 

That’s where we come in.

With all the risks that gaming can pose, such as DDoS attacks, it’s definitely worth looking into a VPN, even while being aware of some drawbacks (likely increase in ping).

We put together a list of the best VPNs for gaming that is well worth checking out if you’re a privacy-conscious gamer. Whether it’s Minecraft, World of Warcraft or Fortnite, this is the list for you.

How To Install a VPN for Windows 10?

Don’t worry: setting up a VPN on Windows only takes a few minutes.

All the VPNs we’ve recommended here couldn’t be simpler to use: just download the software, install and run. 

We have a more detailed guide for installing a VPN on Windows that you can read here.

 

There are a few key choices for you to make after your purchase, though.

Choosing the right protocol is important – we recommend OpenVPN in most cases as it strikes the best balance between privacy and performance. Most providers will offer a few others, but unless you have a specific need for them we would advise sticking to OpenVPN.

For the best performance you then need to connect to a server as close as possible to your physical location. The majority of VPN apps have an option to automatically connect to the ‘best server’, which is usually in the same country as you.

Once you’re connected, the VPN will continue to run in the background and you can just carry on using your Windows device as normal.

You’ve cracked it.

Does Windows 10 Have a VPN?

There’s some confusion about whether Windows 10 comes with a built-in VPN.

This is a result of the fact that if you go to Settings > Network & Internet, there’s an option that says VPN.

But let’s be clear: this is not a VPN, it is there to add a VPN connection from an existing provider.

Even more confusion exists because if you click ‘Add a VPN Connection’ it comes up with Windows (built-in). To be clear: this is not a VPN.

You have to add information from your own VPN subscription.

Built-in is merely an indicator that a feature is available within Windows without any extra software, but it’s not a built-in VPN. 

Windows VPN Options in Settings

Windows does not come with a VPN. 

But that’s not to say you cannot use a VPN on Windows 10. 

You can connect an existing VPN account that you have using this feature on Windows 10 or simply run a VPN.

About the Author


  • Simon Migliano Head of Research at Top10VPN

    Simon Migliano

    Simon leads our investigations into VPN safety and internet freedom research. His work has been featured on the BBC, CNet, Wired and The Financial Times. Read full bio