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If you’ve decided to find the best VPN for Windows, it means you likely won’t be using the Windows built-in VPN. Yet not all third-party tools are a great bet either, and a bad VPN service can endanger your system, with reliability and safety issues abound. Therefore, when picking, you should look if it meets the following criteria:
- Privacy – the provider should not keep any logs or collect any identifiable data from its users
- Security – the VPN should have excellent encryption, OpenVPN or IKEv2 connection protocols, and solid leak protection
- Performance – your download speeds should be high enough for whatever activities you do online
- Entertainment – is it good for torrenting? Does it unblock Netflix and other streaming services?
- Price – is this VPN worth your money? Does it offer a free trial?
Of course, doing in-depth research on all the VPNs on offer now can take a long time, which is why we’ve done the work for you.
Let’s take a look at our 5 best VPNs for PC to help you make your choice:
NordVPN for Windows has many selling points, but the most important one is privacy and security. It encrypts data using a military-grade AES-256 cipher, supports the OpenVPN protocol, and has no DNS/WebRTC/IPv6 leaks. The service also has two types of kill switch, Onion over VPN, Obfuscated Servers, and other features that go far beyond the market standard.
In fact, NordVPN for Windows probably has the best-performing client app, as it works faultlessly.
What else makes it the best VPN for PC? Due to its tight security and privacy, NordVPN is your top choice in China, Russia, Iran, and other countries with restricted internet access. Since it can climb over the Great Firewall, it easily deals with less sophisticated geo-restrictions, giving you access to Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, and Amazon Prime.
Finally, NordVPN is great for torrenting – its specialty P2P servers guarantee connectivity and top speeds. The parent company is based in Panama, which means no data retention laws and an extra barrier for intelligence agencies.
You would expect such a service full of features to cost a fortune. The truth is, NordVPN is pretty cheap and allows 6 simultaneous connections per account that should be more than enough for most users.
- Excellent security and privacy
- Great extras (Tor over VPN, Custom DNS, etc.)
- Registered in privacy-friendly Panama
- Specialized servers optimized for P2P
- Cheap – starts at $3.49/month
- No router app
As the headline says, Surfshark VPN is the best cheap option for Windows users. Such lists often aren’t a place for newcomers, but Surfshark VPN is a standout exception to the rule. This no-logs VPN service, launched in 2018, has already shown it belongs to the VPN elite.
Low price wouldn’t be enough for any provider to make the best-of list, so let’s see what else Surfshark has to offer. First of all, it comes with an unlimited number of simultaneous connections, meaning you can use the same account on as many devices as you like. In contrast, none of the other VPNs on this list offer more than seven.
Furthermore, the speeds you get with Surfshark VPN are cheetah-fast. 1,000+ servers seem to be enough to keep those Mbps high, and 60+ countries provide global coverage on par with the rest of the best Windows VPNs. You can even use it in high-censorship countries like China with the help of a Camouflage Mode.
Finally, Surfshark VPN is great for both P2P and streaming – it’s based in the privacy-friendly British Virgin Islands and easily unblocks Netflix as well as other streaming platforms.
- Rich in features
- Unlimited simultaneous connections
- Very cheap – starts at $1.99/month
- Support could be better
There’s widespread agreement that CyberGhost for Windows is a great, easy to use choice that offers a universal set of features.
When it comes to privacy and security, CyberGhost gives the same level of encryption as the others on this list – a bank-grade AES-256. It comes with a no-logs policy and is registered in Romania, which has been a staunch critic of data retention laws and is not part of the Fourteen Eyes alliance. In the past, though, CyberGhost has reportedly had some leaking issues, both with DNS and WebRTC.
Their Windows app is slick and incredibly user-friendly, using an eye-pleasing yellow-black palette. Therefore we can easily recommend CyberGhost for Windows to those who are new in the field of VPNs.
This service has an impressive server fleet of 5,500+ and counting that’s spread over 80+ countries. That’s a rare combination you won’t find easily. Such infrastructure makes CyberGhost one of the fastest VPN providers, allowing comfortable torrenting and streaming speeds.
- Slick Windows app
- Registered in privacy-friendly Romania
- 5,500+ servers in 80+ countries
- 7 simultaneous connections
- Cheap – starts at $2.75/month
- Not ideal for China
- Kill switch cannot be turned off
ExpressVPN is also great for Windows. It encrypts data using the AES-256 cipher, has a kill switch, and no leaking issues to speak of. The company is registered in the British Virgin Islands, a British overseas territory with no data retention laws and not part of the Fourteen Eyes alliance. Still, those in need of maximum security should choose NordVPN.
But if you’re looking for a very fast connection, ExpressVPN for Windows is your bet. This service boasts 3,000+ servers in more than 90 countries – such coverage is still a goal for the rest of VPNs on this list. Unless you’re in a really remote location – expect some of the best speeds on the market.
ExpressVPN Windows 10 client is straightforward, with easy install and a one-click VPN connection. This means you will be watching Netflix and other geo-blocked content or torrenting in no time. What’s more – you can do that on 5 devices simultaneously!
To sum up, ExpressVPN expertly balances security and speed, whereas NordVPN leans towards the safer side. The only real handicap is the price – this service is really expensive compared to the other VPNs for Windows. While ExpressVPN lacks a free trial, at least you can try it using a 30-day money-back guarantee.
- Very user-friendly
- Very fast
- Registered in privacy-friendly BVI
- Allows P2P traffic on all servers
- Great security features
- Quite expensive – starts at $8.32/month
- No free trial
- No stealth mode
Lastly, we have VyprVPN – not the best VPN for Windows 10, but still a good option unless you want a VPN that supports torrenting and has a more slick app. While you can use P2P services, your account can be canceled in case of copyright infringement.
Torrenting aside, VyprVPN for Windows has security credentials that rival the best of the best – AES-256 encryption, no leaking issues, a great location (Switzerland), and very strong features that include one of the best kill switches on the market. What we would like to see is more anonymity: the signup and payment methods require you to use a credit card or other non-anonymous payment methods.
One unique feature that VyprVPN for PC has is its in-house Chameleon protocol. This technology was built specifically for unblocking the internet in China, Iran, and other countries. What’s more, the company owns all of its servers, making it a great choice for those who are looking for extra privacy.
VyprVPN provides enough speed to end up on our list of fastest VPN providers, but you shouldn’t expect anything like ExpressVPN. In any case, that should be enough to stream Netflix in HD or even 4K.
- Secure and fast
- Great against censorship
- Good for Netflix
- 24/7 live chat and great knowledgebase
- Not great for torrenting
Is Windows 10 built-in VPN good enough?
Some Windows 10 users consider using the built-in VPN to encrypt their traffic and hide their IP address. If we thought this was a good idea, we probably would have included in our best VPNs for PC list. Let’s look at the differences between the default Windows VPN functionality and a quality third-party service.
For starters, Windows built-in VPN is just a piece of client software that doesn’t provide any servers of its own. That means that to make it work, you’ll still need to connect to some third-party provider that would allow such a connection. In contrast, premium VPNs have their own networks of servers.
Result: Windows – 0, Third-party – 1
Next, the built-in version is included with every Windows computer, meaning it has a huge footprint and is vulnerable to all the typical Windows issues. You’re far more likely to suffer IP leaks and other issues with the built-in Windows VPN functionality.
In the meantime, a top VPN like NordVPN has dedicated teams working specifically on the security of the VPN. As a result, these services have significantly fewer security holes.
Result: Windows – 0, Third-party – 2
Furthermore, Windows 10 built-in client doesn’t support the OpenVPN protocol, which is the most popular one.
That leaves users with the next best choice – IKEv2. Beyond that, the choices are less secure and/or slower, such as L2TP/IPSec, SSTP, or, god forbid, PPTP. Third-party VPN services almost always support OpenVPN, and occasionally also more advanced protocols like WireGuard.
Result: Windows – 0, Third-party – 3
If that wasn’t enough, the Windows VPN client works only on… Windows! While you’re precisely looking for a VPN that’s best for PC, chances are you own an Android or iOS device and want to keep it safe as well.
Most top VPN services happen to offer apps for all major platforms, as well as some of the weirder ones.
Result: Windows – 0, Third-party – 4
What really makes the difference between the Windows native VPN functionality and premium third-parties is features and how easily these are accessible.
Starting from the basic ones like a kill switch and ending with stealth protocols, premium VPN services have prepared their product for any eventuality. All these features are accessible with the click of a mouse, whereas someone using the Windows VPN would have to work hard to configure them. Even then, some are simply impossible to configure using native tools.
Result: Windows – 0, Third-party – 5
Perhaps the only area where Windows built-in VPN stands high is the price – it’s completely free if you don’t count the price you’ve (hopefully) paid for the OS. With that said, since Windows doesn’t run a VPN server network, you would likely have to pay for a VPN server somewhere around the world.
Result: Windows – 1, Third-party – 5
How to choose the best VPN for Windows
While Windows keeps getting more secure, it’s still far from providing its users with solid protection. This means that you cannot rely on its built-in VPN to guarantee your anonymity online. While we’ve already established some criteria in the introduction, there’s certainly more to it when it comes to picking the best VPN for Windows 10.
Every user has different needs, and even the best one for PC might not fit everyone. But there’s that minimum security and privacy level that all providers should deliver if they expect someone to actually pay. So here are the basics that your VPN fo Windows should have.
- Encryption. Most VPNs provide the military-grade 256-bit cipher, which is the gold standard in today’s VPN industry.
- Protocol. OpenVPN and IKEv2 are the two most secure popular tunneling protocols out there. Search for a VPN service that offers these protocols or WireGuard – a new and extremely promising tunneling protocol.
- No-logs policy. The more data your provider stores about you, the easier it is for your government to track you down. That’s why your VPN shouldn’t be keeping any logs or keeping them at a minimum.
- Jurisdiction. While for most users this doesn’t play a significant role, it’s still better to use a VPN that operated from a privacy-friendly location.
- Speed. A very important criterion for many – VPNs slow down your connection due to the fact that your traffic is being encrypted and routed through a remote server. Some services have hundreds of servers, some have thousands, but you won’t really know how it performs until you test it for yourself. Or check our list of the Fastest VPN services in 2019.
- Entertainment. Most users get a VPN for torrenting, streaming, or both. Therefore, when looking for the best VPN for PC, make sure it allows P2P and unblocks Netflix or any other streaming service you wish to use.
- Customer support. Having a 24/7 live chat is not that important until you actually need it. That’s why you should take it as the industry standard, rather than some premium feature. Having a good knowledge base with tutorials and FAQs is crucial too, in case the live support is temporarily unavailable.
- Price. Last, but definitely not least, price is the deciding factor when choosing the best VPN for Windows 10. Ask yourself – am I getting my money’s worth? Is the money-back guarantee long enough? Am I entitled to try the service for free, without entering my payment details?
Considering these points will allow you to get the best VPN for PC that you deserve.
When it comes down to it, NordVPN will probably be your best bet for a great VPN for Windows. It has industry-leading features, as well as an amazing price. Yet all of the services on this list are great for their own reasons.