Windows is the the most common operating system preinstalled on PCs, laptops, and tablets. It’s easy to use, well-documented, and popular among the general populace. At the same time, it’s not without flaws, meaning a VPN (Virtual Private Network) for Windows is crucial to patch many of the system’s security and privacy holes.
It’s worth noting that the popularity of this OS makes it a top priority for software creators. Thus, Windows VPNs for PC are abundant and filled to the brim with features compared to macOS, mobile devices, and especially Linux.
However, this vastness of options makes finding the best VPN for Windows 10 challenging. And so, we manually tested countless virtual private network services in numerous situations to uncover the top 5 most worthwhile options.
Top 5 VPN for Windows in 2023
- Best overall VPN for Windows PC9.6
- Excellent Windows VPN for unlimited devices9.4
- Most cost-effective Windows PC VPN9.0
- Security-centered VPN service for PC8.7
- Trustworthy and affordable Windows 10 VPN8.4
How to choose the best VPN for Windows
There are numerous factors to consider when trying to discover the best VPN for Windows PC. We prioritized these key points when comparing different options while compiling this list.
- Compatibility with Windows. The top Windows VPNs should grant feature-packed apps easily installed on any PC or laptop. Additionally, they must be compatible not only with Windows 10 but with older and newer versions of the OS, too.
- Security and privacy. Malicious hackers frequently target Windows users because they occupy a large portion of the computer market. As such, using a secure VPN that won’t falter at the first sight of malware is vital.
- Server network. You’ll greatly benefit from a severe fleet spanning numerous regions. It grants you the ability to unlock a greater variety of foreign content without skipping a beat regarding connection speeds.
- Speed and performance. Your upload and download rates will mostly depend on the tunneling protocols the VPN provider has on offer. Thus, we picked services implementing top-of-the-line technologies like WireGuard in their Windows applications.
- User-friendly interface. Windows is the go-to OS of users with vastly varying levels of technical dispositions. That means software for this operating system should accommodate computer enthusiasts and tech-wary seniors.
- Customer support. VPN apps on Windows won’t work flawlessly all the time. That means you’ll benefit from 24/7 customer support if you encounter issues beyond your understanding.
- Pricing options. You shouldn’t be surprised that industry-leading Windows VPNs require a subscription. Thankfully, it’s not impossible to find reasonably-priced options that include buyer-friendly perks like free trials and lengthy money-back guarantees.
Naturally, your priorities may vary, meaning your chosen Windows VPN doesn’t need to fulfill all the above criteria. However, there’s little benefit in picking a one-dimensional product when well-rounded options exist.
Best VPN for Windows overview
- NordVPN – top VPN for Windows computers and laptops
- Surfshark VPN – fast VPN for PC with reasonable prices
- Atlas VPN – the best freemium Windows 10 VPN
- ExpressVPN – pricey but ultra-reliable VPN for PC
- CyberGhost – well-rounded secure VPN for Windows
The primary criterion when sifting through different VPNs was compatibility with Windows 10 and the number of various features available on the OS. We conducted hands-on tests with over 30 well-known providers to filter out the best VPN software for computers from the unremarkable.
Another critical aspect is connectivity because sluggish speeds will negatively impact your experience, no matter your goals. Check our continuous VPN speed testing tool to glimpse at the up-to-date performance metrics of some of the fastest service providers.
Finally, we had to consider subscription costs and whether these Windows VPNs are affordable to the average consumer. At the very least, they should include free trials and money-back guarantees to permit potential users to test the software on their machines.
1. NordVPN – top VPN for Windows 10
- Wicked fast using NordLynx
- Impressive feature set on Windows
- Versatile security with Threat Protection
- Only six simultaneous connections
NordVPN is the undisputed best VPN for Windows 10 regardless if you’re a desktop or laptop fan. The software is brimming with excellent features and runs smoothly on practically any device.
Connection speed. You’ll have no trouble maintaining incredible download speeds because the NordLynx protocol is at your disposal. It’s an improved proprietary version of WireGuard and is responsible for NordVPN consistently winning #1 positions in VPN speed tests. Combine it with over 5800 servers across 60+ countries, and you can enjoy peak connectivity anywhere.
Security. The Windows NordVPN app includes the exceptional Threat Protection tool to keep customers completely secure against online cyber threats. It deals with online ads, tracking parameters, virus-infected files, and various malware. At the same time, your VPN tunnel is fortified with AES-256 encryption and includes two kill switches against leakage.
Features. One of the most intriguing features of the NordVPN Windows apps is Meshnet. With it, you can connect remote devices to the same virtual network for file-sharing, collaboration, or multiplayer gaming purposes. Moreover, split tunneling is available if you’d like to pick which apps should pass through the VPN tunnel (or vice versa).
Interface. The centerpiece of the NordVPN Windows app is the world map for easy connections to your desired locations. Alternatively, you can extend the server tab and use the search bar to search for specific countries. The same menu is also necessary for enabling specialty servers. Finally, all other settings are neatly nested in separate menus.
The best $2.99/month subscription prices will be at your fingertips when you have a NordVPN coupon code by your side. Or start with a short stint using the 7-day trial on the Google Play Store and the 30-day money-back guarantee after that.
For a deeper investigation of NordVPN, read our NordVPN review.
2. Surfshark – finest Windows VPN with unlimited connections
- Limitless connections with one account
- Excellent security feature variety
- Robust connection quality with WireGuard
- Some features cost extra
Surfshark is an excellent choice if you need a service to protect an entire data center filled with Windows PCs. The service is reliable, affordable, and permits unlimited connections with one account.
Connection speed. The service blends WireGuard and an immense network of 3200+ servers to ensure lightning-fast speeds worldwide. Crucially, customers can gain foreign IP addresses from over 100 countries to unblock a mind-boggling variety of exotic content.
Security. Surfshark packs quite the punch in the online security category. Firstly, the Windows app includes CleanWeb for nullifying ads, trackers, and malware. On the other hand, NoBorders mode can bypass the most stringent means of online censorship and restrictions. And don’t forget that a reliable kill switch will ensure your details don’t slip out in case of disaster.
Features. The Surfshark Windows app includes split tunneling (named Bypasser), allowing users to select apps or websites that should skip the VPN tunnel. Furthermore, IP Rotator is available if you want to keep online service on their toes and your IP address in constant flux.
Interface. Choosing connection points in Surfshark is done by scrolling through the country list or searching via text. Specialized servers (Static IP, MultiHop, Dedicated IP) are kept in separate compartments to avoid confusion. Conversely, other features like Alert and Antivirus have their menus tucked away on the left side of the app.
You can get your hands on this VPN for as little as $2.21/month when you provide a valid Surfshark discount code at checkout. Meanwhile, a 7-day trial is available on mobile app stores as a risk-free introduction. Besides that, the 30-day money-back guarantee is also a viable strategy.
For a deeper investigation of Surfshark VPN, read our Surfshark VPN review.
3. Atlas VPN – cost-effective Windows 10 VPN
- Wicked speeds at crazy low prices
- No device connection limit
- Impressive toolset
- No router firmware
Atlas VPN is one of the greatest budget-friendly Windows 10 VPN options available. You can even use it as a reliable free VPN for PC, thanks to the available costless plan.
Connection speed. This VPN is truly a hidden gem with its affordable prices and the inclusion of the speedy WireGuard protocol. Users can enable it on any of the 1000+ servers in 49+ countries for excellent connection quality.
Security. No need to be concerned about malicious ads or trackers when Atlas VPN SafeBrowse has your back. Customers can also blanket themselves with extra layers of encryption using MultiHop+ to route their connections through multiple servers. Plus, the Windows app includes the kill switch extra safety measure against IP leaks.
Features. Premium users can use one Atlas VPN subscription to secure unlimited devices. Additionally, the service includes Breach Scanner, which delves into the dark web and scans exposed databases for your credentials and other critical information.
Interface. The Atlas VPN Windows app is straightforward and easy to navigate regardless of your technical prowess. The server selection screen occupies one-half of the app, while the other is reserved for the quick connect button. Meanwhile, bonus perks are hidden on the left side of the app under the Assistant and Settings buttons.
An Atlas VPN discount code unlocks the gates to meager $1.64/month starting subscription prices. If that’s not up your alley, consider starting with the free plan or giving the 30-day money-back warranty a shot.
For a deeper investigation of Atlas VPN, read our Atlas VPN review.
4. ExpressVPN – Windows VPN with ironclad security
British Virgin Islands (BVI)
- Ludicrous speeds with Lightway
- Reliable streaming performance
- Excellent privacy guarantees
- Above-average price
Consider ExpressVPN if you don’t mind paying a pretty penny for an ultra-secure Windows 10 VPN. While pricey, the service comes packaged with an impressive feature arsenal and unrivaled performance in numerous avenues.
Connection speed. This VPN foregoes open-source tunneling protocol options in favor of in-house implementations. Specifically, it created Lightway, which fares extremely well compared to WireGuard and similar options. At the same time, solid connection quality can also be attributed to the impressive 3000+ server fleet spanning 105+ countries.
Security. Customer personal data integrity is guaranteed because ExpressVPN boasts TrustedServer technology. In short, it means all servers run on RAM modules and cannot store data long-term. Furthermore, Threat Manager works in the background to ensure apps and websites don’t share excess data without your consent.
Features. Besides Windows PC, ExpressVPN grants split tunneling perks to Mac, Android devices, and even certain routers. This perk combines well with the service’s excellent streaming results with popular platforms like Netflix.
Interface. The ExpressVPN user experience is simple, with plenty of perks for added convenience. For example, you can create various shortcuts and choose your favorite servers to speed up the VPN-enabling processes.
The service costs a whopping $6.67/month, although you may encounter lower prices by scouring the available ExpressVPN coupons. Or, consider the 30-day money-back guarantee strategy to see if the service is worth the massive price tag.
For a deeper investigation of ExpressVPN, read our ExpressVPN review.
5. CyberGhost – cheap and secure VPN for Windows
- WireGuard-powered speeds
- Cheap and effective
- Massive server network
- Only 7 simultaneous connections
CyberGhost is another Windows PC VPN that should appeal to budget-conscious consumers. It has reasonable starting prices and a compelling number of advantages.
Connection speed. Like any worthwhile VPN that wants to remain competitive regarding connectivity, CyberGhost implemented the WireGuard protocol. Additionally, the service stands out among the competition with its huge 10218+ server network in 100+ countries. Plus, finding the perfect server for your needs is easier with a wide range of categories.
Security. CyberGhost pampers Windows users with an exclusive Security Suite package that includes an Antivirus and Security Updater. It ensures your system remains without severe security vulnerabilities. However, this is an optional bonus if you think a kill switch, DNS leak protection, and AES-256 encryption aren’t enough.
Features. The Windows app includes the Privacy settings tab, where users can enable malicious content blocking to make ads, trackers, and malware go poof. Moreover, split tunneling (named Exceptions) is at your disposal if you’d like to optimize your connection on a per-app basis.
Interface. CyberGhost doesn’t try to reinvent the wheel regarding UI and is pretty similar to the competition. You’ll see a quick connect button on the right and a scrolling menu for finding servers in the middle, while server categories and other settings are on the right. All menus are named accordingly and easy to navigate for VPN experts and newcomers alike.
You can get your hands on CyberGhost for free on Windows for 24 hours using the free trial. After that, subscriptions start at only $2.03/month, which can be altered with an appropriate coupon code. And don’t forget about the extended 45-day money-back guarantee.
For a deeper investigation of CyberGhost, read our CyberGhost review.
Best Windows VPN comparison
Still can’t make up your mind about which Windows 10 VPN is the most suitable for your desktop battle station? Perhaps the comparison table below will make it easier to decide.
|Provider||NordVPN||Surfshark VPN||Atlas VPN||ExpressVPN||CyberGhost|
|Servers||5800+ in 60+ countries||3200+ in 100+ countries||1000+ in 49+ countries||Servers in 105+ countries||10218+ in 100+ countries|
|Avg. speed||748 Mbps||734 Mbps||N/A||234 Mbps||0 Mbps|
|Streaming||Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, HBO Max, BBC iPlayer, and more||Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Sky Sports, Disney+, Netflix, and more||Netflix, BBC iPlayer, HBO Max, Disney+ and more||Netflix, Disney+, HBO Max, Crunchyroll, Hulu, and more||Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, and more|
|Log policy||No logs, independently audited thrice by PwC||No logs, independently audited by Deloitte||No logs||Court-proven, independently audited no-logs policy||No logs, independently audited by Deloitte|
|Reviews||NordVPN review||Surfshark review||Atlas VPN review||ExpressVPN review||CyberGhost review|
How we tested the best VPNs for Windows
Here’s a glimpse at some of the most critical aspects we had to focus on while conducting the best Windows 10 VPN testing process.
- App interface and ease of use. VPNs are an essential everyday asset, meaning they must be easy to use, pleasant on the eyes, and intuitive. And so, we installed the software on different Windows-powered PCs and laptops to see how the experience varies on different devices.
- Connection performance in various regions. We had to conduct a fair number of manual speed tests with numerous worldwide servers to ensure consistent connection quality. After all, VPN customers hail from all parts of the world.
- Ad blocking effectiveness. Ad blocking features aren’t made equal and must be tested manually and with third-party tools to verify their effectiveness. You’ll find more detailed results on our dedicated ad blocker review pages.
- Geo-block removal capabilities. Unsurprisingly, most people use VPNs to change Netflix regions and unlock extra entertainment options. The same principle applies to countless online services, many of which we had to verify manually to ensure users will get the results they desire.
- Customer support experience. We had to feign ignorance and contact customer support agents to see if their knowledge and communication were swift and satisfactory.
Our tests concluded that NordVPN is the #1 VPN for Windows 10 in these categories. So save yourself some trouble get it for the best experience while using your PC.
Maximize your PCs benefits and enjoy privacy from Microsoft and other online snoopers with a top-of-the-line VPN for Windows. The robust desktop app includes loads of benefits, such as Threat Protection for blocking ads and a wide selection of specialty servers. Don’t miss this chance to take advantage of massive discounts!
Why do I need a VPN for Windows?
A feature-packed Windows VPN can immensely enhance your experience while using your desktop, laptop, or tablet. Have a look at some of the benefits you can expect.
- Privacy from your ISP. Technically, your internet service provider can see everything you do online. And while it doesn’t monitor you 24/7, it can store that information for later or share it with others. Meanwhile, a solid no-logs VPN will encrypt your entire traffic, rendering it completely indecipherable to all outsiders.
- Immunity to throttling. The same ISP can slow down (aka throttle) your connection whenever you partake in data-heavy activities like streaming or online gaming. The reasoning behind this annoying practice is to prevent excessive network strain. Naturally, this isn’t possible when you mask your activities in a VPN tunnel.
- Unlock restricted websites. Another reason to despise ISPs is that they are responsible for blocking any website the government deems inappropriate or illegal in your country. But that’s not a problem when you can change your location with a VPN.
- Security on public Wi-Fi. An impenetrable VPN connection means you’re no longer at the mercy of malicious hackers on publicly-available Wi-Fi networks.
- Access to geo-blocked content. Geographical restrictions are pretty widespread among online entertainment services. That means changing your IP address can unlock region-exclusive movies, TV shows, video games, music, and other media.
- Cheaper prices. Some goods and services can vary in price depending on where you’re from. These cost discrepancies are prevalent with flight tickets and online subscriptions. That means a VPN is a worthwhile investment if you’re a fan of saving costs whenever possible.
How to set up NordVPN on Windows PC
Setting up a top-quality VPN like NordVPN on Windows PC is one of the easiest and most invaluable things you can do for your device. Follow the steps below if you’re unsure how to do that.
- Acquire a reliable VPN service that offers a dedicated Windows OS application. Our top recommendation for PC enthusiasts is NordVPN
- Download the software from the provider’s official webpage
- Open the setup file and allow it to make changes to your device
- Go through the installation process and make adjustments wherever you see fit
- Launch the VPN app and log in with your credentials or create a new account
- Pick a server location and enable the VPN connection
That’s it; your online movements are now completely masked and secure. And don’t forget to fiddle with the settings menu and enable the essentials like the kill switch and Threat Protection.
Best VPNs for Windows and PC in 2023: video review
If you’re tired of reading, here’s a short video review of the top VPNs you can get for PC and Windows this year. Some services are the same as in our article, but you’ll find alternative suggestions as well.
Do we recommend a free VPN for Windows?
Internet veterans who remember the prominence of shareware will argue that a free VPN for Windows PC is a totally safe and reliable alternative to premium services. Unfortunately, these days most costless apps are filled with annoying ads, performance issues, security vulnerabilities, and other significant drawbacks. As such, finding a reliable free and fast VPN for PC is practically impossible.
However, there is a glimmer of hope if you don’t mind a few terms and conditions. For example, many top VPNs offer temporary free trials on mobile app stores. Once claimed, the service is usable on other devices, too, including desktop computers.
On the other hand, consider the 30-day money-back route if you need a lengthier testing period. This path is open with NordVPN, the ultimate VPN for Windows 10 PC.
The Windows operating system is widely used by countless people for almost any task imaginable. As such, the platform would benefit from an equally-versatile VPN service that’s beneficial in many scenarios.
If you’re a PC lover, you can’t go wrong with NordVPN. The service is tailor-made for the popular OS and includes the most comprehensive benefits package. You’ll enjoy ultra-fast connectivity, impenetrable security, and total privacy.
What is the best VPN to use on PC?
NordVPN is the best VPN for PC. It’s compatible with the latest Windows and macOS versions and includes the most comprehensive security packages for these computer operating systems. The apps are feature-rich, easy to use, and provide swift download speeds using cutting-edge tunneling protocols.
What are the safest VPNs for Windows?
The safest VPNs for Windows are NordVPN, Surfshark, and Atlas VPN. All include the modern WireGuard protocol for swift and secure network connections on your Windows PC or laptop. Plus, they’re equipped with solid ad blockers to minimize the online threats you’re exposed to while browsing the net.
Does Windows 10 have a built-in VPN?
Yes, Windows 10 has a built-in VPN option. However, it’s powered by the inferior PPTP protocol, which results in inadequate security and severe connectivity slowdowns. A better alternative is using a third-party VPN for Windows 10. The top option for PC is NordVPN, which uses the NordLynx protocol for minimal speed reduction.
Is Windows 10 built-in VPN any good?
No, the Windows 10 integrated VPN is a terrible option because it uses the outdated and poorly-secured PPTP tunneling protocol. Consider a dedicated VPN provider like NordVPN if you want the best results regarding connection speeds, online security, and anonymity.