Do you want to protect your laptop from digital threats like malware, man-in-the-middle attacks, or government surveillance? Or maybe you need a privacy tool to shield your data while you work in public spaces? If so, you need a high-quality VPN for laptop devices.
But how can you choose a provider you can trust? Not all laptop VPNs score highly on privacy, value, speed, and other key properties. But we know the ones that do, and this list of the top 5 laptop VPNs explains how to find them.
What makes a great VPN for laptop users?
Before we get started with our list, you’ll probably want to know how we made our decisions. Well, all of the VPNs below satisfy a few basic criteria that make them well-suited to laptops:
Good Windows, macOS, and Linux clients
These three operating systems dominate the laptop market, so we’ve looked for VPNs which cater for them all.
Encryption and anonymity
Naturally, the best VPN for laptop users should be as effective as possible when it comes to encrypting data and preventing IP/DNS leaks. Both are at the core of what VPNs do.
Torrents and streaming
Laptop users are more likely than smartphone owners to use their devices for watching movies or downloading large torrent files, so we looked for providers that are P2P friendly and deal with Netflix geo-blocking with ease.
Whether you’re using your VPN for gaming or for accessing content on Kodi, speed is crucial, so we’ve eliminated pedestrian VPNs.
We’ve also tried to strike a balance between price and quality. All of these VPNs are 100% secure, but they also offer competitive packages that laptop owners will appreciate.
Most laptop owners will find it handy to have the option to use their VPN on more than one device, whether that’s a PS4 or an Android phone. So we give extra credit to providers that are generous with additional connections.
Now that we’ve laid out the basis for our evaluations, let’s move onto the important part: the laptop VPN rankings.
Our top 5 VPNs for laptop owners
1. NordVPN ‣
Based in Panama, NordVPN is an easy pick for the best VPN for laptop users. Fast, secure, great value, and located in a jurisdiction that’s famously hostile to state surveillance, this VPN elegantly combines all of the features we look for in a laptop VPN.
Customers can choose between NordVPN clients for Linux, Windows, and MacOS, as well as browser add-ons for Firefox and Chrome. So you can protect everything you do online, or focus resources on web browsing if you want to.
P2P downloads aren’t a problem, making NordVPN an excellent choice for torrent fans, and the company maintains thousands of global servers. With so much choice, you can reroute your traffic through Europe, Asia, or wherever you like – making an end-run around corporate filters.
2. ExpressVPN ‣
Occupying second place, but not far behind, ExpressVPN offers a very similar level of performance to NordVPN. Based in the British Virgin Islands, the VPN is tucked away from the eyes of officials in the so-called “14 Eyes” alliance, and its logging policies are very reassuring. Your privacy should be safe and sound with ExpressVPN, whatever you do online.
Servers in 94 countries mean that you can anonymize your identity and beat Netflix geoblockers easily, while torrents aren’t an issue either. 256-bit encryption locks away your data securely, there’s a reliable kill switch which can handle any mishaps, and “zero-knowledge DNS”, which makes your browsing activity invisible even to ExpressVPN staff.
In addition, speeds are excellent, you can pay anonymously via cryptocurrencies, and the ExpressVPN speed test lets you know exactly how to find the fastest servers – a sign that the company has total confidence in its technology.
All-in-all, both NordVPN and ExpressVPN are best in class laptop VPNs, and won’t let you down.
3. CyberGhost ‣
Romania-based Cyberghost is another VPN for laptop systems that you may want to check out. And it can also be slightly cheaper than our top two providers, which might sway some users.
Offering OpenVPN-based tunneling protocols, 256-bit AES encryption, “No Spy” servers that keep user data off-limits to prying eyes, and the ability to install the client on as many as 7 devices, CyberGhost meets most of our criteria comfortably.
It’s fast, P2P friendly, maintains 3,500+ servers in over 60 countries, and has a strong record in defeating Netflix geo-blocking. So there’s a lot here for laptop owners to like. However, while there are clients for Windows and MacOS, Linux isn’t an option, something that will annoy a few laptop users.
Headquartered in Seychelles, AstrillVPN is a slightly less high-profile provider, but definitely deserves a place among elite laptop VPNs. The reasons are pretty simple. Astrill succeeds across the board, delivering security, speed, value, and anonymity.
The company offers clients for all laptop platforms, including Windows, Linux, and macOS. It measures up in the security department with military-grade encryption and OpenVPN protocols, an efficient kill switch, and “multi-hop” configurations that let you add an extra layer of anonymity.
Additionally, Astrill is extremely flexible, allowing you to decide exactly which apps run through the VPN. In fact, the only drawbacks relate to its small size. While the company has a presence in 65 countries, its server list is short in comparison to competitors like NordVPN. That might compromise speed at times, so it’s worth bearing in mind.
Famous for being torrent-friendly, PIA is a streamer’s paradise, unlocking content with ease, and delivering superfast download speeds. And it’s also great value, with bargain packages available all the time.
Users can use it on as many as 5 devices simultaneously, there are zero bandwidth limits, encryption is pretty much flawless, and over 3,000 servers represents plenty of choices (although these servers are located in just 33 countries – less than other elite providers).
Every laptop platform has a PIA app, you can set up Socks5 proxies for torrent clients, and the no logging policy is very clear. However, there may be one catch: PIA is a USA-based VPN, which may turn off users who are worried about NSA surveillance or anti-torrenting prosecution.
Why you need to use the best laptop VPNs around
Any of these VPNs will protect your laptop while you use the web, both at home and on the move. And adding them to your defenses is well worth the cost and time.
With a VPN, you can use public wifi without worrying about giving away payment details to cybercriminals. You can access blocked content on streaming platforms, or beat geofilters to find bargain flights. You can ensure access to social media when you travel abroad and generally, feel secure whatever you do.
So pick a strong contender and make it part of your laptop arsenal. You won’t regret it.