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The Best Free & Premium VPNs for Windows

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A illustration of a Windows spying on a PC protected by a VPN
Simon Migliano
8 Comments

Simon Migliano is a recognized world expert in VPNs. He's tested hundreds of VPN services and his research has featured on the BBC, The New York Times and more.

EXPERT ADVICE: Free VPNs for Windows are often restricted by data caps, unable to access streaming services, and riddled with third-party advertisements. Use ExpressVPN, the best Windows VPN, to unblock geo-restrictions with fast speeds. Try it risk-free for 30 days.

The best VPNs for Windows protect your online privacy and security on your Windows 7, 8, 10, or 11 device.

VPN software encrypts your internet connection and routes it via a remote server, hiding your real IP address from third parties.

We put 56 VPN services through our testing process and identified the best free VPNs for Windows.

The best free VPNs for Windows laptop and desktop PCs are:

  1. Windscribe – Best Free VPN for Windows
  2. Proton VPN – Free Windows VPN with Unlimited Data
  3. Hide.me – Most Private VPN for Windows

The issue with free VPNs is that they’re often restricted by a limited server network, streaming performance, or data cap.

Upgrading to a paid VPN gives you access to a full server network, advanced security features, streaming platforms, and unlimited data.

As such, we’ve also highlighted the best premium VPNs for Windows, based on our in-depth Windows testing methodology.

The overall best VPNs for Windows laptop and desktop PCs are:

  1. ExpressVPN – Overall Best VPN for Windows
  2. NordVPN – Fastest VPN for Windows
  3. PIA VPN – Best Windows VPN for Privacy

Comparison of the Best VPNs for Windows

Use the table below to compare the top VPN Windows clients based on compatibility, logging policy, price, and more:

These VPNs are easy to set up on Windows devices, and work extremely well on desktops, laptops and even the Microsoft Surface.

Why Trust Top10VPN.com?

Unlike many review websites, we’re completely independent and focused on VPN software. We’ve spent thousands of hours testing and reviewing Windows VPNs using our Windows VPN review process to recommend the best ones.

Here is an overview of our key Windows VPN testing statistics:

Windows VPN Clients Tested56
Windows Versions Tested11, 10, 8 & 7
Test Devices Lenovo T480 & Lenovo T480s
Total Hours of Testing30,000+
Weekly Speed Tests3,000+
IP & DNS leak Tests9,500+

Best Windows VPNs: Summary Test Ratings

The table below compares the top Windows VPN applications in the most important testing categories:

The Best Free VPNs for Windows

  1. 1. Windscribe: Best Free VPN for Windows

    Excellent Windows VPN that unblocks streaming services on its free servers.

    Ranked #1 out of 56 VPNs for Windows
    Windscribe mobile screenshots
     Rated 5 out of 5 
    (3 user reviews)
    Visit Windscribe

    • Easy-to-use app with great customization options
    • Generous 10GB monthly data limit
    • Robust VPN extension for Microsoft Edge
    • Unblocks UK Netflix & other streaming services
    • No payment details required for sign-up
    • Use barely any RAM

    • Device limit for WireGuard connections
    • Windows app can’t be resized
    • No human live chat available

    VPN for Windows Rating: 8.7/10

    This overall rating is calculated based on the following subcategory ratings. To learn more, read our Windows VPN testing methodology.

    • 9.49.4/10
    • 9.59.5/10
    • 88.0/10
    • 7.67.6/10
    • 9.19.1/10
    • 77.0/10

    Windscribe Free is the best free VPN for Windows and our overall top-rated free VPN for 2022.

    Windscribe Free performs like a premium VPN service. It’s capable of unblocking Netflix, torrenting large files quickly, and bypassing censorship in China.

    Cheapest PriceFree
    Compatible with
    1. windowsWindows
    2. androidAndroid
    US NetflixNo
    TorrentingPermitted
    IP AddressesUndisclosed
    Data LeaksNo
    Logging PolicyAnonymous Server Usage Data
    JurisdictionCanada (Five Eyes Member)
    SupportEmail & Online Resources Only

    Intuitive and well-designed Windows app

    Windscribe Free is one of the easiest apps to use on Windows due to its simple and condensed design.

    Everything you need is in the main menu of the app. Click the power button to start your VPN connection and activate your kill switch by toggling the widget – there’s no need to go into the settings.

    Windscribe Free's Windows Client

    Windscribe Free condenses all of its most essential features to the main menu.

    More experienced users can select the hamburger menu in the corner for advanced features, including custom DNS and split tunneling. There’s also the option to switch between a windowed and docked app to better tailor Windscribe to your Windows.

    Server navigation is made simple too with the inclusion of an in-built search bar and favorites list.

    We did, however, find it difficult to read some of the in-app text and UI elements, especially the tool tips. We’d like the ability to resize the Windows app to mitigate this issue.

    Protocol selection is difficult to navigate within the app as well. You’re expected to manually select the port number for the appropriate VPN protocol which isn’t easy if you’re an inexperienced user.

    Windscribe integrates seamlessly into the Windows ecosystem

    The installation process is straightforward on Windows. Download the client directly from Windscribe’s website and then create an account – no payment details are required.

    The app is ideal for optimizing your Windows performance, consuming the least RAM of any VPN we’ve tested. Windscribe’s memory consumption remained below 32MB of RAM while torrenting a 1GB file on its free UK server.

    Windscribe is also accommodating of the default Windows browser, Microsoft Edge, providing a custom VPN extension.

    It’s one of the best Microsoft Edge extensions available, allowing you to connect to 11 different server locations as well as blocking ads, trackers, and WebRTC leaks.

    It’s also completely free to use and doesn’t require any account creation.

    Most VPN services don’t support a Microsoft Edge extension, and even less make it completely free like Windscribe.

    The best free Windows VPN for streaming

    Windscribe Free is the only free VPN that unblocks multiple Netflix libraries, HBO Max, and BBC iPlayer.

    Using Windscribe with Netflix we were able to unblock 6 Netflix libraries, including UK Netflix.

    You can also use Windscribe to unblock DAZN and Amazon Prime Video on its free Canada and US servers respectively.

    During our streaming testing we were able to unblock UK Netflix in 4K quality using Windscribe’s free UK server. Our stream never buffered or deteriorated in quality while connected to the VPN.

    Windscribe also supports unlimited simultaneous connections meaning you can use your free account to stream content across a range of devices.

    The only drawback is Windscribe’s 10GB monthly data limit. While this might be enough if you just plan on leaving it running in the background while you do your everyday browsing, it limits you to around 90 minutes of 4K Netflix streaming on desktop.

    You can mitigate this by selecting ‘Tweet 4 Data’ in your Windscribe account, increasing your allowance to 15GB.

    Who is Windscribe Free best for?

    You should use Windscribe Free if:

    • You want a free VPN that unblocks streaming sites. Windscribe Free unblocks 6 Netflix libraries, HBO Max, and BBC iPlayer.
    • You want to optimize your Windows performance. Windscribe uses the least RAM of any VPN we’ve tested on Windows.

    You should not use Windscribe Free if:

    • You want fast international connection speeds. Windscribe has excellent short-distance speeds, but struggles on longer-distance connections.
    • You want unrestricted streaming and torrenting. Windscribe Free limits its service with a 10GB monthly data cap.
  2. 2. Proton VPN: Unlimited Data

    An excellent free Windows VPN with no data restrictions.

    Screenshot of Proton VPN's mobile app
     Rated 5 out of 5 
    (2 user reviews)
    Visit Proton VPN

    • 100% free with no card details required
    • Unlimited data allowance
    • No-logs VPN and great jurisdiction
    • Open-sourced & audited apps
    • Fast speeds for a free VPN

    • Doesn’t permit torrenting
    • No VPN extension for Microsoft Edge browser
    • Slow to connect to US servers

    Overall Windows Rating: 7.5/10

    This overall rating is calculated based on the following subcategory ratings. To learn more, read our Windows VPN testing methodology.

    • 99.0/10
    • 9.89.8/10
    • 9.99.9/10
    • 7.27.2/10
    • 0.80.8/10
    • 0.10.1/10

    Proton VPN Free is a great choice for Windows. It’s fast, secure, and a genuinely free service that isn’t limited by a data cap.

    Cheapest Price$6.63/mo over 24 Months See all plans
    Compatible with
    1. windowsWindows
    2. androidAndroid
    US NetflixYes
    TorrentingPermitted
    IP Addresses1,888
    Data LeaksNo
    Logging PolicyAnonymous Server Usage Data
    JurisdictionSwitzerland (Privacy Haven)
    SupportEmail & Online Resources Only

    Secure, free app built for Windows

    When you run Proton VPN Free for the first time on Windows you’re given the option to take a tour of the app’s main features. We found this to be helpful and informative.

    You can choose between a docked and undocked app to tailor Proton VPN Free to how you use Windows.

    Proton VPN's free server list on Windows

    Proton VPN Free’s Windows app.

    Your traffic is encrypted using AES-256 encryption and protected by a VPN kill switch.

    There’s also inbuilt IPv6 leak protection, a feature unique to Proton Free’s Windows app.

    Split tunneling and Custom DNS allow you to further tailor the VPN to your needs, with both features only found on the Windows app.

    However, we were unimpressed by Proton VPN Free’s impact on our Windows System Performance. Proton VPN Free used an average of 123MB of memory while running, a 51% increase when compared to ExpressVPN’s usage.

    We’d also like to see a Microsoft Edge Extension introduced to fully accommodate Windows users.

    Unlimited data, but no streaming or torrenting

    Unlike most free VPNs, Proton VPN Free doesn’t come with a data cap. You can use the app on Windows without any limitations on your bandwidth or data.

    Sadly, you can’t make the most of its unlimited data as Proton VPN Free blocks high-bandwidth activities. This is to encourage users to sign up to the premium service.

    The VPN fails to unblock a single Netflix library or any other streaming sites. This includes HBO Max, BBC iPlayer, and Disney+.

    Torrenting also won’t work – P2P traffic is blocked on all of Proton VPN Free’s servers.

    Small server network

    Using a free VPN inevitably carries some trade-offs.

    In addition to lacking streaming access and torrenting, Proton VPN Free has a smaller server network than the paid version.

    There are only 200 servers located in three countries: the US, Netherlands, and Japan.

    Combined with Proton VPN Free’s middling international speeds, it’s likely you’ll experience slow download speeds while using the service.

    We also encountered long load times when connecting to the free US servers. In some instances, we couldn’t establish a connection whatsoever.

    Furthermore, you won’t have access to Proton VPN’s Secure Core servers which are reserved for the premium version.

    Who is Proton VPN Free best for?

    You should use Proton VPN Free if:

    • You want unlimited data. Proton VPN Free does not come with a data cap or any bandwidth restrictions on your connection.
    • You want secure online connections. Proton VPN Free’s suite of security features includes IPv6 leak protection and a reliable kill switch.

    You should not use Proton VPN Free if:

    • You want to stream or torrent. Proton VPN Free blocks torrenting on its servers and it fails to access any streaming services.
    • You need a VPN browser extension. Proton VPN Free doesn’t provide any browser extensions, including Microsoft Edge.
  3. 3. Hide.me: Most Private Free Windows VPN

    Easy-to-use VPN with exclusive Windows features and privacy settings.

    Hide.me mobile screenshots
     Rated 5 out of 5 
    (1 user reviews)
    Visit Hide.me

    • Generous 10GB data limit
    • No account registration needed
    • Useful Microsoft Edge extension
    • Customisable kill switch
    • Easy-to-use Windows app

    • Paywalls too many features
    • Slow torrenting speeds

    VPN for Windows Rating: 7.1/10

    This overall rating is calculated based on the following subcategory ratings. To learn more, read our Windows VPN testing methodology.

    • 8.58.5/10
    • 9.99.9/10
    • 77.0/10
    • 4.94.9/10
    • 0.50.5/10
    • 6.56.5/10

    Hide.me Free is a private service backed by a secure logging policy and robust security features.

    It does, however, lack the unlimited data of Proton VPN and the streaming performance of Windscribe.

    Cheapest PriceFree
    Compatible with
    1. windowsWindows
    2. androidAndroid
    US NetflixNo
    TorrentingPermitted
    IP AddressesNot Disclosed
    Data LeaksNo
    Logging PolicyAnonymous Server Usage Data
    JurisdictionMalaysia (Privacy Haven)
    SupportLive Chat

    User-friendly Windows app

    You can use Hide.me Free straight away on Windows – you don’t need to create an account or to provide payment details.

    The app uses an easy-to-read blue and white color scheme with a simple, stripped-back user interface.

    Hide.me Free's Windows app

    It’s not hard to use, just click the Enable VPN button on the main menu to start your VPN connection.

    The in-app message center periodically updates you with the latest features and explains how they function. There’s also a support tab that lets you send diagnostic reports, in-app, along with a message detailing your problem. This level of technical support is exceptional for a free VPN service.

    For more experienced users, you can safeguard your connection with Hide.me Free’s fallback protocol. This is a Windows-exclusive feature that lets you assign a backup VPN protocol if the one in use fails for any reason.

    We don’t like the amount of features paywalled on the Windows app. You can’t use Hide.me’s fast 10Gbps servers or its streaming-optimized servers. This was reflected in Hide.me Free’s poor performance in our streaming tests, failing to unblock a single platform.

    Stripped-back Microsoft Edge browser extension

    Hide.me Free is compatible with the full catalog of Windows software, including the Microsoft Edge Browser.

    You can install the extension from the Microsoft store without the need to create an account, provide personal information, or enter payment details.

    The extension is stripped-back and simple, which we found made it easy to use. Two-thirds of the UI is taken up by a prompt to upgrade to the premium version with the remaining third consisting of an on/off toggle and a server selection tab.

    You can connect to proxy servers in Canada, Germany, and the Netherlands. There’s also the option to enable a WebRTC blocker and configure a SOCKS proxy.

    Unlike Windscribe’s VPN extension, Hide.me Free won’t encrypt your traffic on Microsoft Edge. Its extension can only spoof your online location and block WebRTC leaks.

    Great for private torrenting

    Hide.me Free has all the necessary features for safe and secure torrenting.

    Unlike most free VPN services, P2P activity is permitted on all of Hide.Me Free’s servers.

    The service only logs minimal connection data which is then deleted after a few hours. This ensures your torrenting activity remains private even in the event of Hide.me handing over its servers.

    The Windows app features a reliable VPN kill switch, an absolute must for torrenters.

    Hide.me Free also comes with its proprietary stealth guard feature, letting you block specific apps from working unless you’re connected to a VPN. We recommend designating your preferred torrenting client to add a further layer of security.

    We were, however, disappointed by Hide.me Free’s slow torrenting speeds. We recorded an average bitrate of 4.5MiB/s – a poor result compared to the 10MiB/s we recorded with no VPN running.

    Coupled with Hide.me Free’s 10GB monthly data allowance, we can’t recommend Hide.me Free for regularly torrenting large files. For only the occasional bit of torrenting, though, Hide.me Free is still a great choice that guarantees your online anonymity.

    Who is Hide.me Free best for?

    You should use Hide.me Free if:

    • You want an easy-to-use VPN. Both the Hide.me VPN app and its Microsoft Edge extension are simple and intuitive to use.
    • You want to keep your personal data private. Hide.me logs a small amount of connection data which is then erased after a few hours – this is backed by third-party audits.

    You should not use Hide.me Free if:

    • You need a VPN with advanced features. Hide.me Free only covers the basics to encourage users to upgrade to the premium version.
    • You want a VPN for regular torrenting. Hide.me Free is too slow for large file downloads with an average bitrate of 4.5MiB/s.

The Best Premium VPNs for Windows

  1. 1. ExpressVPN: Best VPN for Windows Overall

    The best, fully-featured and highly secure VPN for Windows 10 and 11.

    Ranked #1 out of 56 VPNs
    ExpressVPN's new app on mobile devices
     Rated 4.8 out of 5 
    (1,813 user reviews)
    Visit ExpressVPN

    • Fully-featured Windows VPN app
    • Excellent long- and short-distance speeds
    • Unblocks 10 Netflix regions
    • No IP leaks and strong encryption
    • 3,000 Windows-compatible servers in 94 countries
    • 24/7 live customer support and 30-day refund guarantee

    • The most expensive option on this list
    • No port-forwarding for P2P users

    Overall Windows Rating: 9.6/10

    This overall rating is calculated based on the following subcategory ratings. To learn more, read our Windows VPN testing methodology.

    • 9.69.6/10
    • 9.69.6/10
    • 9.99.9/10
    • 9.29.2/10
    • 9.99.9/10
    • 9.59.5/10

    ExpressVPN is the best VPN for Windows due to its secure, intuitive, and feature-laden Windows app.

    ExpressVPN’s native Windows app delivers fast download speeds as well as unblocking every major streaming service.

    Cheapest Price$6.67/mo over 15 Months See all plans
    Compatible Windows VersionsWindows 11, Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7
    Compatible with
    1. windowsWindows
    2. androidAndroid
    3. chromeosChrome OS
    US NetflixYes
    TorrentingUnlimited
    IP Addresses3,000+
    Data LeaksNo
    Logging PolicyAnonymous Server Usage Data
    JurisdictionBritish Virgin Islands (Privacy Haven)
    Support24/7 Live Chat

    Highly-secure & intuitive Windows app

    ExpressVPN is one of the easiest to use VPNs on Windows 10 and 11. The app is sleek and minimal, avoiding the cluttered menus of its competitors

    Speciality servers, such as obfuscated and streaming-optimized, are built into ExpressVPN’s servers by default, simplifying the user experience.

    ExpressVPN's native Windows client

    ExpressVPN’s Windows Client is well-designed and intuitive.

    Connect to a VPN server by clicking the central power button – the app will change from red to green to indicate a successful connection.

    The Windows app is easy to navigate and features a range of options to configure your VPN connection. One of these, split tunneling, is a Microsoft-exclusive feature allowing you to specify which apps enter the VPN tunnel.

    ExpressVPN encrypts your internet traffic using unbreaklable AES-256 encryption and industry-standard OpenVPN protocols. Its own proprietary protocol, Lightway, isn’t fully optimized for Windows yet but we still registered impressive connection speeds using it.

    The VPN is also equipped with IP leak protection, a reliable kill switch (Network Lock), and first-party DNS servers.

    ExpressVPN is optimized for Windows

    ExpressVPN is the most efficient paid VPN we’ve tested on Windows, barely consuming any of our system memory or CPU.

    ExpressVPN's Windows app alongside task manager

    ExpressVPN won’t affect your system performance on Windows.

    In our testing, ExpressVPN used less than 1% of our CPU and only 43MB of RAM. This was second only to Windscribe, making ExpressVPN one of the best VPNs for optimizing Windows performance.

    This means you can use ExpressVPN while carrying out CPU-intensive activities, like torrenting and online gaming, without slowing down your Windows device.

    ExpressVPN is also the best VPN extension for Microsoft Edge. The browser extension’s functionality is near-identical to the full VPN, including its encryption, server network, and advanced features.

    Optimized for Streaming & Torrenting on Windows

    ExpressVPN is the best service for unrestricted streaming with Windows 10 and 11.

    You can unblock 10 international Netflix libraries on Windows using ExpressVPN, including US Netflix.

    ExpressVPN also unblocks popular content platforms like HBO, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, and more.

    All of ExpressVPN’s 3,000 servers on Windows permit torrenting without any speed or data caps.

    You can safely use ExpressVPN to torrent on Windows, supported by a working kill switch and a fast average bitrate of 9.4MiB/s.

    Fast Speeds on Windows with the Lightway Protocol

    In addition to being just as secure as other established protocols, Lightway is the fastest available for ExpressVPN on Windows.

    ExpressVPN's Lightway protocol excelled in our Windows 10 speed tests.

    We test ExpressVPN’s speeds weekly on both Windows 10 and Windows 11 devices to verify it reaches the requirements for 4K streaming, lag-free gaming, and fast torrent downloads.

    ExpressVPN remains one of our fastest VPNs, excelling on international connections, with an average speed loss of just 20% across our six test locations.

    Who is ExpressVPN best for?

    You should use ExpressVPN if:

    • You want a VPN for streaming. ExpressVPN excels at streaming, unblocking 10 Netflix libraries, HBO Max, and Amazon Prime Video.
    • You want a VPN optimized for Windows. ExpressVPN’s Windows app and its Microsoft Edge extension are the best we’ve tested.

    You should not use ExpressVPN if:

    • You’re on a strict budget. As the leading VPN service, ExpressVPN costs $6.67 per month over 15 months. This is more than its competitors.
    • You want a VPN that blocks third-party trackers. ExpressVPN’s proprietary tracker blocker, ‘Threat Manager’, is not yet available on its Windows app.
  2. 2. NordVPN: Fastest VPN for Windows

    The fastest VPN available, optimized for all versions of Windows.

    NordVPN Mobile App Screenshot
     Rated 4.7 out of 5 
    (246 user reviews)
    Visit NordVPN

    • Multiple features exclusive to the Windows app
    • Very fast connection speeds
    • No logs privacy policy and secure servers
    • Unblocks US Netflix & BBC iPlayer
    • More affordable than ExpressVPN
    • Excellent Microsoft Edge Extension

    • High memory consumption on Windows
    • Windows app can’t be resized
    • Doesn’t accept PayPal
    • Considerably higher renewal price

    Overall Windows Rating: 9.5/10

    This overall rating is calculated based on the following subcategory ratings. To learn more, read our Windows VPN testing methodology.

    • 9.49.4/10
    • 9.59.5/10
    • 9.99.9/10
    • 9.39.3/10
    • 9.89.8/10
    • 8.98.9/10

    NordVPN is an excellent choice for Windows 10 and 11, providing an easy-to-use Windows app, affordable prices, and fast download speeds across a global server network.

    Cheapest Price$3.29/mo over 2 years See all plans
    Compatible Windows VersionsWindows 11, Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7
    Compatible with
    1. windowsWindows
    2. androidAndroid
    US NetflixYes
    TorrentingPermitted
    IP Addresses5,613+
    Data LeaksNo
    Logging PolicyNo Logs
    JurisdictionPanama (Privacy Haven)
    Support24/7 Live Chat

    NordVPN is built for Windows

    The Windows app is usually the flagship of any VPN service and NordVPN is no different, offering its best VPN app on Windows.

    NordVPN's native Windows app

    NordVPN’s most fully-featured app is on Windows.

    NordVPN’s impressive suite of advanced features are compatible with every protocol on Windows, without restriction.

    This means Windows is the only platform that lets you use NordVPN’s dedicated IP, obfuscated servers, and Onion over VPN with the NordLynx protocol.

    With other platforms you’re limited to using these features with the much slower OpenVPN protocol, restricting your flexibility and connection speeds.

    Similarly, split tunneling and NordVPN’s full Threat Protection feature are reserved for Windows only.

    NordVPN has one of the best VPN kill switches we’ve tested, letting you choose between a system level and application level kill switch.

    This level of configurability isn’t available on any other platform.

    NordVPN’s advanced software comes at a cost, though. It requires an average of 180MB of RAM – this can slow down your Windows if you’re using the VPN in tandem with memory-intensive tasks.

    The main menu is cluttered with all of NordVPN’s extra features, which can be intimidating for inexperienced users. The option to hide the speciality servers would be a welcome addition to streamline the UI.

    It’s also frustrating that you can’t resize the NordVPN app on Windows. This makes it difficult to use NordVPN side-by-side with other apps.

    Excellent for torrenting & streaming

    If you want to stream international content on Windows then NordVPN is a great choice.

    Averaging a speed loss of just 21% when connecting to New York from London, NordVPN guarantees HD and 4K streaming without any buffering.

    You can use NordVPN to consistently unblock US Netflix on Windows.

    NordVPN can unblock 11 Netflix libraries and proved to be the best VPN at unblocking BBC iPlayer in our testing.

    It’s also the most effective VPN at bypassing Hulu VPN blocks.

    NordVPN’s verified no-logs policy, P2P-optimized servers, and reliable kill switch also makes it a solid choice for secure torrenting.

    Audited no-logs policy & a Panama jurisdiction

    NordVPN has been audited by an external security firm. Everything stated in its logging policy has been verified to be true.

    In other words, NordVPN doesn’t log anything you do online while using its service.

    Also, NordVPN is based in Panama, which has no connection or obligation to surveillance setups like the Five Eyes alliance or NSA.

    Despite suffering a server breach in 2018, as covered in our NordVPN review, NordVPN has since overhauled its infrastructure.

    NordVPN is now more secure than ever using AES 256-bit encryption, diskless RAM servers, and first-party DNS servers.

    Its Microsoft Edge extension is secure too, encrypting browser traffic with TLS v1.3.

    Who is NordVPN best for?

    You should use NordVPN if:

    • You want a fast VPN. NordVPN is the fastest VPN on Windows, registering a local download speed loss of just 2%.
    • You want a fully-featured Windows VPN. You can only access the full suite of NordVPN’s security features on its Windows app.

    You should not use NordVPN if:

    • You want to optimize your Windows system performance. NordVPN uses an average of 180MB of RAM – more than its competitors.
    • You want to pay with PayPal. NordVPN no longer accepts PayPal payments, replacing it with Adyen.
  3. 3. PIA VPN: Best Windows VPN for Privacy

    Fast, private, and secure VPN optimized for anonymous torrenting on Windows.

    Private Internet Access
     Rated 4.3 out of 5 
    (29 user reviews)
    Visit PIA VPN

    • Secure encryption for all Windows devices
    • Low memory and CPU consumption
    • A verified flawless no-logs policy
    • The best VPN for anonymous torrenting
    • Fast download speeds across its large server network

    • Windows app may be too complicated for beginners
    • Smart DNS doesn't work for streaming
    • US jurisdiction is a bad choice

    Overall Windows Rating: 9.4/10

    This overall rating is calculated based on the following subcategory ratings. To learn more, read our Windows VPN testing methodology.

    • 8.88.8/10
    • 9.99.9/10
    • 9.99.9/10
    • 9.39.3/10
    • 99.0/10
    • 9.69.6/10

    Private Internet Access is an excellent VPN for Windows users, particularly if you’re good with computers and want a complex and customizable VPN.

    It’s also the best VPN for keeping your torrenting secure and anonymous while you download or seed files on your desktop or laptop.

    It does only support Windows 8.1, 10, and 11, though, so go with another option if you use Windows 7.

    Cheapest Price$2.03/mo over 28 months See all plans
    Compatible Windows VersionsWindows 11, Windows 10, Windows 8
    Compatible with
    1. windowsWindows
    2. androidAndroid
    US NetflixYes
    TorrentingUnlimited
    IP Addresses17,087+
    Data LeaksNo
    Logging PolicyNo Logs
    JurisdictionUS (Five Eyes Member)
    Support24/7 Live Chat

    A perfect logging policy, despite its bad jurisdiction

    First and foremost, you can trust PIA to keep your browsing data private.

    The service’s logging policy is one of our favorites, and applies to all users – whether you’re on Windows or any other OS.

    PIA VPN logs zero personally-identifiable data. It barely even logs anonymous data, as the only thing it collects is extremely top-level aggregated usage figures.

    This no-logs policy offsets its terrible choice of jurisdiction. PIA is based in the US, one of the main members of the Five Eyes intelligence sharing alliance.

    The US government can, in theory, pressure VPN services into handing over user data. However, PIA doesn’t collect any user data, which has been proven in court cases.

    The best VPN for torrenters

    PIA’s excellent speeds, secure logging policy, and advanced features make it the best VPN for torrenting on Windows.

    PIA downloads torrents faster than its competitors — including NordVPN.

    We recorded an average download bitrate of 9.6MiB/s using PIA, versus 10.0MiB/s when not using a VPN – barely any difference at all.

    The service also has an effective VPN kill switch, and free port forwarding to make your torrent client even faster.

    Private Internet Access' impact on Windows System Performance

    PIA barely affected our Windows system performance.

    PIA isn’t as efficient as ExpressVPN but an average memory usage of less than 100MB is still impressive, especially while connected to a VPN server.

    Torrenting consumes a lot of your Windows computer’s CPU and memory so PIA’s lightweight performance is ideal for torrenters.

    PIA's Windows app isn't beginner-friendly

    Private Internet Access’s Windows program is full of advanced security features.

    PIA home screen on Windows when connected to a server

    PIA’s Windows home screen is simple, but its options menu is complex.

    You can pick between the secure OpenVPN or the even faster WireGuard protocols, use custom DNS (including PIA’s privately-owned DNS servers), and use split tunneling to channel specific programs outside of the VPN tunnel.

    It also has PIA Mace – a surprisingly effective VPN ad and tracker blocker.

    However, the PIA Windows app isn’t as smooth or intuitive as ExpressVPN’s. In fact, the VPN may be too advanced for users new to VPN services.

    Who is Private Internet Access best for?

    You should use PIA if:

    • You want to torrent on Windows. PIA’s fast average bitrate, no-logs policy, and port forwarding support are ideal for torrenting.
    • You want an affordable premium VPN. At $2.03 per month over two years, PIA offers great value for money.

    You should not use PIA if:

    • You haven’t used a VPN before. PIA’s advanced features and customization options can be difficult to understand for VPN beginners.
    • You want a VPN for streaming. While PIA can unblock Netflix and BBC iPlayer, it can take several attempts. This isn’t great compared to its competitors.

Other VPNs We've Reviewed

As the number one platform for VPNs, we’ve reviewed 56 VPN services on Windows.

Many of these providers are immensely popular with millions of downloads but lack the necessary safeguards and features to qualify as a top-rated Windows VPN.

Below we’ve listed five of the most popular VPNs that fail to reach our requirements:

CyberGhost

Overall Ranking: #6 out of 56 VPNs

Overall Rating: 9.0/109.0

What we don’t like: CyberGhost is an excellent service but its download speeds are too inconsistent to qualify as a top Windows VPN. Also, its slow torrenting bitrate requires improvement.

Atlas VPN

Overall Ranking: #11 out of 56 VPNs

Overall Rating: 7.0/107.0

What we don’t like: Atlas VPN isn’t all that user friendly on Windows: the app can’t be resized and the server list is randomized.
The free version isn’t as good as the recommendations on this page, either, due to a 5GB data cap.

PureVPN

Overall Ranking: #23 out of 56 VPNs

Overall Rating: 7.7/107.7

What we don’t like: PureVPN can’t unblock US Netflix or Amazon Prime Video and its kill switch is faulty. Its logging policy needs improvement, too.

TunnelBear

Overall Ranking: #29 out of 56 VPNs

Overall Rating: 5.3/105.3

What we don’t like: TunnelBear’s limited server network and poor streaming performance can’t compete with the best VPNs for Windows.

TunnelBear Free is a poor choice too, with a restrictive 500MB data limit.

All of the VPNs above lack the quality, consistency, and features we expect from premium VPNs. Instead, try out one of our recommended paid VPNs for Windows.

Risky Free Windows VPNs to Avoid

Aside from a few trustworthy exceptions, free VPNs are unsafe and should not be installed.

To compensate for the absence of paying subscribers, free VPNs make money in other ways.

This includes collecting user data to sell to third-parties, allowing advertisements within the app, and infecting your Windows with malware.

Free VPNs often lack the security features and infrastructure of paid VPNs due to their lack of investment. This can result in slow speeds, IP leaks, restrictive data caps, and limited server choice.

Below are some popular free Windows VPNs that are too dangerous to use.

Turbo VPN

Overall Ranking: #57 out of 56 VPNs

Overall Rating: 2.8/102.8

What we don’t like: Turbo VPN is awful for security and privacy. It doesn’t have a kill switch and our investigation into free VPN ownership reveals troubling links to China.

It also bans torrenting, only covers three server locations on Windows, and can’t unblock streaming platforms.

Avira Phantom Free VPN

Overall Ranking: #46 out of 56 VPNs

Overall Rating: 5.8/105.8

What we don’t like: Avira Phantom is restricted by a 1GB monthly data cap and it can’t unblock streaming content on desktop.

It also hasn’t got a kill switch – a security essential.

Touch VPN

Overall Ranking: #60 out of 56 VPNs

Overall Rating: 2.6/102.6

What we don’t like: Our Touch VPN review found that the Windows app can’t load webpages – the VPN connection collapses each time.

Its Windows app hasn’t got a kill switch or any advanced features, and it leaks your DNS requests.

Touch VPN is extremely unsafe.

Avoid the unsafe free VPNs listed above and consider using one of our top-rated free VPNs for Windows instead.

How We Test VPNs for Windows

Using our bespoke and stringent review process, we test every VPN available to determine the best VPNs for Windows.

Testing is carried out on both Windows 10 and Windows 11 devices to properly assess how each VPN performs across a range of Windows iterations.

Specific attention is paid to attributes and features that are most relevant to Windows users.

For Windows VPNs we specifically test for:

  • How easy-to-use the Windows app is.
  • How much CPU and memory the app uses on Windows.
  • A generous data allowance.
  • If any identifiable logs are retained.
  • Connections speeds over short and long distances.
  • Ability to unblock geo-restricted streaming libraries.
  • If secure and anonymous torrenting is permitted.

In the section below, we’ll take a more detailed look at the factors used for ranking the best VPNs for Windows:

1. Windows App: 30%

Minimum Requirement: A native client for Windows, with basic customization options and a working kill switch.
We Recommend: An easy-to-use app optimized for Windows and equipped with multiple advanced feature.

The Windows app is normally the best-designed and fully-featured of a VPN service.

As such, we expect to see the widest array of protocols, the largest server network, and the most advanced features on Windows.

This shouldn’t come at the cost of usability, though. We reward VPNs with simple installation processes and intuitive apps that can be used at any ability level. This includes options to adjust the size of the Windows app, pin and unpin to your system tray, and alternate between light and dark modes.

We also want the VPN to balance performance and functionality on Windows. A well-developed Windows VPN should be optimized for the operating system, only consuming a minimal amount of CPU and memory.

Lastly, we take into consideration the VPN’s compatibility with Windows. VPNs that provide a native Windows app and a browser extension for Microsoft Edge, rank higher.

2. Logging Policy: 20%

Minimum Requirement: Anonymized or aggregated connection logs.
We Recommend: No logs retained, audited by a third party.

A private, no-logs policy is essential for preventing your online activity from becoming identifiable.

Using a VPN is pointless if the service logs private, revealing information like timestamps and URLs visited.

Any VPNs that log identifiable or unnecessary amounts of data have been excluded from this lift by default.

During our testing process, we examine every VPN’s privacy policy. We then record any information it collects, how long it’s stored for, and the reason for its collection.

As part of this process, we also reward VPNs that make an effort to outline their logging policy clearly and succinctly.

We also value VPN services that have partaken in third-party auditing. This is where an external agency verifies the claims of a VPN’s logging policy. Conducting these on a regular basis is a huge sign of trustworthiness for a VPN.

We only recommend Windows VPNs that log minimal, anonymized usage data or, even better, no logs whatsoever.

3. Data Allowance: 20%

Minimum Requirement: 10GB monthly for free VPNs, and unlimited for premium VPNs.
We Recommend: Unlimited data with no bandwidth restrictions.

Data caps are used by free VPNs to restrict their service and encourage users to upgrade to a premium plan.

Once you reach the cap your VPN connection may be throttled or fail to start entirely. This prevents you from carrying out bandwidth-intensive activities such as streaming, torrenting, or online gaming.

We only recommend free VPNs that allocate a minimum of 10GB data a month. Anything less is too restrictive for regular use.

As part of our testing process, we also download each VPN service and identify any methods for increasing your data allocation. This can include creating an account or tweeting the VPN provider.

For paid VPNs, unlimited data is the standard.

4. Speed: 10%

Minimum Requirement: Less than 40% speed loss on local connections.
We Recommend: Less than 20% speed loss on local connections and 40% on distant ones.

Using a VPN will always slow down your connection speeds, the best Windows VPNs minimize this impact as much as possible.

To identify the fastest VPNs for Windows, we perform manual speed tests on a weekly basis while connected to a dedicated 100Mbps connection.

All testing is carried out on our Lenovo T480s running Windows 10.

We test each and every VPN while connected to servers in five regions: local (UK), the US, Central Europe, Australia, and Singapore.

From these results we calculate an average speed loss and assign the VPN a rating out of 10.

From a top-rated Windows VPN, you should not expect a greater speed loss than 20% on local connections and 40% on international ones.

5. Streaming: 10%

Minimum Requirement: Works with US and UK Netflix.
We Recommend: Works with US Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Disney+, HBO Max, Amazon Prime Video, and Hulu.

As the most popular platform, Windows VPNs often have multiple users connected to them at once.

This allows streaming services to easily identify and block IP addresses associated with the VPN’s server.

To determine which Windows VPNs work with streaming platforms, we test every VPN weekly on our Lenovo T480s.

This includes connecting to a variety of servers within a single location to identify the best one for unblocking geo-restrictions.

Once a VPN has successfully accessed a streaming service for four consecutive weeks, we update our review accordingly. This is to avoid any false positives or anomalous results.

We also take into account the streaming quality, any buffering issues, and if the VPN service offers streaming-optimized servers.

The best Windows VPNs will unblock several Netflix libraries, HBO Max, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime Video, and Disney+. The worst won’t access a single streaming service.

6. Torrenting: 10%

Minimum Requirement: Permits P2P activity on some servers and a minimal-logs policy.
We Recommend: Permits torrenting on all servers, with a working kill switch, fast bitrate, and a no-logs policy.

We apply the same in-house methodology to every Windows VPN we review to calculate its torrenting score.

First we measure the VPN’s P2P speed by torrenting a 1GB file while connected to a local VPN server. This provides us with an average bitrate for the VPN.

All P2P speed testing is conducted using the qBittorent client on our Lenovo T480s.

Throughout the process, our testing device is connected to a dedicated 100Mbps connection to eliminate possible speed fluctuations.

We also take into consideration the VPN’s data collection practices and its policy towards P2P activity generally.

VPNs are also rewarded for their spread of P2P-optimized servers as well as any advanced torrenting features such as port forwarding support.

Torrenting by itself can use upwards of 10% of your Windows’ CPU. The best Windows VPNs mitigate this by optimizing its Windows performance.

Additional Testing Criteria

Alongside our six key testing categories, we take into consideration several other factors when determining the best Windows VPN.

All the VPNs we recommend on this list are secure, using robust levels of encryption. We automatically exclude any VPNs that don’t use reliable forms of encryption or have been known to leak personal data.

As a minimum, we expect every VPN to tunnel traffic using AES-256 encryption and OpenVPN protocols. The top Windows VPNs also come with IP and DNS leak protection, a kill switch, and their own DNS servers. All of these measures ensure you remain anonymous and secure online.

We also look for VPNs that ensure a smooth user experience. VPNs that use ads or pop-ups and paywall key features are all penalized. This is not only a hindrance to usability but also presents a risk to your privacy as VPN services can sell your personal data to third-party advertisers.

All of the Windows VPNs on this list do not use ads, sell your data, or log identifiable information.

Lastly, we take into account the quality and availability of a VPN’s customer support. As a minimum, we expect a VPN to provide access to a support agent whether that’s through an email, ticket system, or live chat feature.

We also evaluate how quickly the service responds, whether the information provided is correct, and how adequately our query is answered. All of our recommended Windows VPNs provide multiple avenues of support with an excellent track record of solving user issues.

Windows VPN FAQs

Does Windows have a VPN built-in?

All Windows devices have built-in support for PPTP, L2TP/IPsec, SSTP, and IKEv2 VPN connections.

You can find VPN setup options within Settings > Network & Internet > VPN > Add a VPN connection.

This solution isn’t entirely native, though. You’ll still need to download configuration files from a VPN provider’s website to set up Windows’ built-in VPN.

Instead, we recommend using a VPN service with a native Windows client. It’s easier to set up and ensures that your VPN connection is configured properly.

What’s the best free VPN for Windows 10?

Windscribe VPN Free is the best free VPN service for Windows 10 due to its great streaming performance, generous data allowance, and impressive server network.

It’s a genuine, 100% free service, not requiring any payment details or subjecting you to constant pop-up ads.

The Windscribe app is built for Windows 10, equipped with Windows-dedicated features like split tunneling, and has Microsoft Edge support.