5 Best VPNs for Laptops in 2021

Laptops are great for work and travel, but connecting to a public Wi-Fi hotspot in a hotel, café, or elsewhere could expose your data to hackers. Using a VPN on your laptop keeps you secure and ensures your data is private whether at home or on a public network. A VPN also gives you online freedom by letting you unblock content unavailable where you are.

In this guide, we take a look at the best VPNs for laptops and give you some tips on how you can unblock more and stay secure online.

What is the best VPN for laptops

Below you can take a quick look at the best VPNs for laptops. Our recommendations have resource-friendly apps for Mac and Windows – to ensure it will run on your laptop without concerns. For more info about each VPN, scroll down for in-depth summaries that will help you pick.

  1. ExpressVPN - The best VPN for laptops. It has lightning-fast servers, great software for Windows, Mac, and Linux, and offers rock-solid encryption.
  2. NordVPN - An easy to use VPN that is highly secure and has a lot of advanced features
  3. IPVanish - Fast for streaming and apps for all platforms make this budget-friendly and easy-to-use VPN a must-have.
  4. Private Internet Access - The most private and secure VPN on the list. Great Mac, Linux, and Windows apps, fast, and, top-notch security features.
  5. Surfshark - The cheapest VPN for laptops on the list. It has Mac and Windows software packed with features and can unblock loads.

To get the most out of a laptop VPN, it must have the following important features:

Best Laptop VPNs - In-depth Analysis

The summaries below provide all the info you need to pick a VPN for your laptop. If you still need help choosing, simply head over to our VPN reviews.

ExpressVPN the best VPN for laptops. It has fantastic software for Windows, Mac, and even Linux. It's a well-known service that is consistently the fastest around.

  • Pricing

    From $6.67 - $12.95
  • Available on

    • Windows
    • macOS
    • iOS
    • Android
    • Linux
  • Unblocks

    • Netflix
    • iPlayer
    • Amazon Prime
    • Hulu

ExpressVPN is one of the best VPNs in the world. It is an established service based in the British Virgin Islands, that is known to provide an extremely reliable platform – perfect for accessing censored or geo-restricted content. On top of that, ExpressVPN has some of the best VPN software we have ever encountered, with apps available for all the most popular platforms. What's more, this VPN lets you install and use the VPN software on up to five devices simultaneously.


When it comes to privacy, ExpressVPN is watertight. Robust OpenVPN encryption protects your data from government snoops, local network administrators, and ISP tracking. In addition, this VPN has a zero-logs policy, stealth mode, a kill switch, and DNS leak protection. ExpressVPN unblocks Netflix US, Hulu, HBO Go, and BBC iPlayer. And because it has servers in 94 countries, there is nothing that it can't unblock. It is also one of the fastest VPNs in the world. While Express is a bit pricey, it really is true that you get what you pay for. It's a fantastic VPN with a 30-day money-back guarantee that is well worth paying for if you can afford it. 


expressvpn laptops


 

NordVPN is an outstanding options for laptops thanks to its strong privacy and excellent unblocking abilities

  • Pricing

    From $3.30 - $11.95
  • Available on

    • Windows
    • macOS
    • iOS
    • Android
    • Linux
  • Unblocks

    • Netflix
    • iPlayer
    • Amazon Prime
    • Hulu

NordVPN is a provider based in Panama that is both excellent for privacy and for unblocking more content online. The VPN has a zero logs policy, which means that it never stores any data about what you do while connected to its servers. And, because it provides strong OpenVPN encryption you gain complete privacy from your ISP and the government.


NordVPN provides robust privacy and security features, including DNS leak protection, a killswitch to stop you leaking data if the VPN connection drops out, obfuscated servers, double hope encryption, and VPN into Tor. It also has apps for both Windows and Mac, which makes it perfect for any laptop or MacBook.


With NordVPN you get access to servers in over 60 countries and all those servers are lightning-fast for performing data-intensive tasks such as streaming in HD. And this VPN has servers that unblock popular services such as BBC iPlayer and Netflix US. I was impressed with how resource-light this VPN was on my laptop, and I found it to be a superb all-rounder for gaining privacy at home and on public Wi-Fi. You can try it thanks to its 30-day money back guarantee. 

IPVanish is a reliable VPN with apps that work excellently on Windows and macOS laptops. Not to mention the fact that it's easy to use and budget-friendly, too!

  • Pricing

    From $2.62 - $9.99
  • Available on

    • Windows
    • macOS
    • iOS
    • Android
    • Linux
  • Unblocks

    • Netflix
    • Amazon Prime
    • Hulu

IPVanish is a US-based VPN provider that is well known for providing a reliable and fast VPN experience. It has superb apps for macOS and Windows which means you can easily use it to gain privacy and security on any laptop. 


IPVanish owns and controls almost their entire "Tier 1" server network. This is an advantage in terms of both performance and privacy - because it means that no third parties are involved in its infrastructure. In addition, IPVanish is stacked with useful security features to help protect your privacy online. This includes a kill-switch and obfuscation. And if you want to torrent privately, this VPN permits P2P connections throughout its large network of 52 countries.


Overall, we consider IPVanish to be superb value-for-money VPN. And it is good for unblocking tons of geo-restricted content. However, it doesn't currently work to access more Netflix. That said, it is good for torrenting, gaming, or just for gaining watertight privacy online. Plus, it is perfect for families with a lot of devices, because it provides unlimited use of the VPN on an unlimited number of devices with just a single subscription. You can compare it to our other recommendations using its 30-day money-back guarantee.

Private Internet Access is the most private VPN on the list. Proven in court that it does not keep logs, it has great security features, and fantastic apps for Windows and Mac.

  • Pricing

    From $2.08 - $9.95
  • Available on

    • Windows
    • macOS
    • iOS
    • Android
    • Linux
  • Unblocks

    • Netflix
    • iPlayer
    • Amazon Prime
    • Hulu

Private Internet Access (PIA) is a US-based VPN provider that keeps zero logs, a claim it has proven in court multiple times. It is a trusted and reliable VPN that is particularly good for techier users who want to be able to customize the strength of the encryption And it is a service that is great for streaming, gaming, and torrenting. Plus it has advanced features like a kill-switch, DNS leak protection, and a SOCKS5 and Shadowsocks proxy. 


PIA VPN has servers in 74 countries, provides strong OpenVPN encryption, and is one of the most popular VPN services among Reddit users. It also has live chat support and gives you the power to unblock many of the most popular streaming services, including Netflix US. The VPN has reliable apps for all popular platforms, including apps for MacBooks and Windows laptops. You can try it for yourself by taking advantage of its 30-day money-back guarantee.


Private Internet Access Laptop

Surfshark is the cheapest VPN for laptops on the list, costing less than $2 a month. It has fully-featured Mac and Windows apps, that include adblocking software and a smart DNS.

  • Pricing

    From $2.49 - $12.95
  • Available on

    • Windows
    • macOS
    • iOS
    • Android
    • Linux
  • Unblocks

    • Netflix
    • iPlayer
    • Amazon Prime
    • Hulu

Based in the British Virgin Islands, Surfshark is a no-logs VPN service with great technical security, a bunch of useful features, and superb 24/7 support. Surfshark is a highly respected provider that has gained a huge amount of popularity with laptop users due to its ease of use and the overall quality of its offering.


When you load Surfshark on your laptop, you'll be protected by military-grade AES 256-bit encryption standards, DNS leak protection, a kill switch, and a strict no-logging policy. On top of all that, you'll enjoy blazing-fast connection speeds for seamless streaming, gaming, and ding video calls. 


It also works for unblocking Netflix US, iPlayer, Hulu, and anything else you can think of. A superb all-rounder that you can use on an unlimited number of devices with just one subscription. Try it for yourself with its 30-day money-back guarantee.


SurfShark Laptop software

Why do I need a VPN for my laptop?

When you use the internet, all your data can be monitored by local network administrators and Internet Service Providers. This is massively harmful to your privacy because it means that everything you do online is being tracked.

If possible, public Wi-Fi hotspots will tie your habits to your name via your booking, and they will sell your habits to third parties for marketing and data brokerage purposes. 

In addition to this tracking, ISPs may have to cooperate with government data retention directives. That means that everything you do online is also being forwarded to government snoops and the police. 

If you want to stop government surveillance and surveillance capitalism that causes targeted advertising and other privacy-eroding repurcussions, it is vital that you use a VPN to encrypt your data.

In addition, every time you visit online services and websites, those services can track your IP address. This lets those websites know when you visit their site so they can track you when you return. This also allows them to monitor what you buy on their site. A VPN conceals your IP address from the websites you visit so that they have no idea where you are when you visit the site (unless you log in and actually tell them directly who you are).

Concealing your IP address from websites also lets you access more content, giving you unprecedented levels of online freedom. By connecting to a VPN server in a different country, you can bypass local censorship imposed by the government. You can also bypass geo-restrictions to access content that is supposed to be unavailable where you live. 

Below, we have included a list of the types of things you can do with a VPN:

There are hundreds of VPNs on the market and not every VPN was created equally. Many VPNs have poor privacy policies that would not keep your online habits truly private. Other VPNs have badly implemented encryption, unreliable apps, or critical data leaks that make the VPN connection untrustworthy.

For a VPN to be suitable for your laptop, it must provide watertight security. It must also have specific VPN privacy features that not all VPN apps have. Below, we explain the features that we looked for when curating this list of the best laptop VPNs:

Can you use a free VPN for Laptops?

If you want to use a free VPN with your laptop, then you have to know how to see through the bad ones. Unfortunately, free VPNs that promise the world and offer unlimited speed and data usually have a more sinister ulterior motive. Using these sorts of VPNs could land you with:

  • Weak encryption: leaving you with no real security.
  • Limited server options: having few (if any servers) nearby.
  • Server congestion: lots of people queuing and fighting over the same server (and slowing you down significantly).
  • Awful privacy policies: harvesting and selling on your personal information at every opportunity.
  • Malware: infecting your device with adware and spyware.

The good news is that there are some fantastic free VPNs available. It's worth noting that the best free services tend to be stripped-back versions from premium providers.

A good VPN doesn't have to cost a fortune, and there are plenty of cheap VPN providers that offer top-tier services. Just be sure to do some digging on those providers to make sure they meet your VPN requirements.

If you want to get the most out of a VPN, then we recommend utilizing the money-back guarantees offered by the services listed above. You get to try the VPN service in its fullest, and at the end of it you get your money back – it's a win/win situation.

Laptop Webcam Hacking: A Real Threat

While the notion of laptop webcam hacking may seem like something from a conspiracy website or a Matt Damon movie, it is a real danger that can severely violate your privacy. Even more worrying is that Russian teenage hackers might not even be the biggest threat when it comes to this kind of hacking.

GCHQ (the UK's version of the NSA) has made headlines for the use of snooping tools such as Nosey Smurf and Gumfish.

These snooping methods further increase the distrust between governments and ordinary citizens. Just another reason to set a VPN up on your laptop today!

How to move a current VPN subscription onto a new laptop?

If you are already subscribing to a VPN service, chances are you are entitled to use your VPN on a number of devices simultaneously. So, If you have just purchased a new laptop, simply head over to your current VPN's website, log in using your credentials and download the VPN software you require. When it finishes downloading, install it, and enter your credentials. Now you are ready to start using your VPN on your new laptop. 

Remember that you can use your VPN on a laptop, desktop, mobile devices, and tablets - all at the same time - with a subscription to any of the VPNs in this guide.

Sharing your laptop VPN with other devices

If you own a laptop, chances are you probably own a smartphone, tablet, or PC as well. Using a high-quality VPN service, like the ones we've mentioned above, usually allows you to have the VPN active on multiple devices at the same time. This is great news if you want to secure multiple devices with one VPN subscription.

If you are using a laptop at home or in the office, you can also configure a VPN on your router and cover all of your devices under one VPN connection.

Conclusion

If you want to keep your laptop safe when you're connected to the internet, then a VPN is the best all-round tool for the job. Our chosen VPNs will give you the best possible service, and you can test each one with their lengthy money-back guarantees. Here's a quick reminder of the best VPNs for laptops:

  1. ExpressVPN - The best VPN for laptops. It has lightning-fast servers, great software for Windows, Mac, and Linux, and offers rock-solid encryption.
  2. NordVPN - An easy to use VPN that is highly secure and has a lot of advanced features
  3. IPVanish - Fast for streaming and apps for all platforms make this budget-friendly and easy-to-use VPN a must-have.
  4. Private Internet Access - The most private and secure VPN on the list. Great Mac, Linux, and Windows apps, fast, and, top-notch security features.
  5. Surfshark - The cheapest VPN for laptops on the list. It has Mac and Windows software packed with features and can unblock loads.

Written by: Ray Walsh

Digital privacy expert with 5 years experience testing and reviewing VPNs. He's been quoted in The Express, The Times, The Washington Post, The Register, CNET & many more. 

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