10 best VPNs for Windows PCs in 2021

Choosing a Windows VPN can be confusing because there are hundreds of rip-off VPN providers around. To help you, our experts have analyzed the market to find the best VPNs for Windows in 2021.

The best VPN software for Windows at a glance

Below, you can take a quick look at the top VPNs for Windows. If you need help picking, scroll down for more info about each VPN.

  1. ExpressVPN - The best VPN for Windows PCs and laptops. This premium service offers mind blowing privacy, great speeds & solid support.
  2. NordVPN - NordVPN is an easy to use VPN for Windows, that offers great streaming potential with servers in 60+ countries & great speeds.
  3. IPVanish - A feature packed VPN for for Windows. This excellent Windows app is fast, secure and offers servers in 75+ different countries.
  4. Private Internet Access - One of the most secure Windows VPNs on our list. It keeps zero-logs & is chocked full of privacy features for Windows.
  5. Surfshark - A cheap VPN for Windows. From just $2.49 a month, you get loads of server choice for unblocking & great speeds.

See full list & analysis

A VPN for Windows will provide your PC with unprecedented levels of freedom and privacy online. A Windows VPN stops your ISP from tracking your web visits.

A VPN also prevents the government from snooping on everything you do. With a VPN for a Windows laptop, you can use public Wi-Fi without your data being hoovered up for marketing purposes. And, you can even use the internet at work without any annoying blocks.

A Windows VPN also conceals your IP address from the websites you visit. This lets you pretend to be in a different country. As a result, you can bypass local censorship. Or get around geo-restrictions to watch foreign TV channels (such as BBC iPlayer) or to gain better value for money on your Netflix account.

Best of all, a VPN encrypts all your traffic, which means everything you do online remains completely private – to stream videos or download torrents in without prying eyes.

Before we recommend a VPN for Windows, we check the VPN for:

Try the best VPN for Windows

There are hundreds of VPN options for Windows, and we understand that this makes choosing a real headache. That is why we analyze the options to give you the best possible information. All our VPN recommendations meet the criteria above  – so that you can pick a provider without fear of getting an inferior service. 

The Best VPNs for Windows 10, 8 & 7 in 2021

The summaries below take a deep-dive into each VPN for Windows. All of our suggestions have a custom VPN App for Windows – designed with privacy and internet freedom in mind.

Our recommendations provide lightning-fast speeds, to let you enjoy HD streams and gaming while protected with the VPN's encryption. To find out more about any of the featured services, check out our detailed reviews!

ExpressVPN is our #1 VPN for Windows PC & laptops. The Windows client is robust and really easy-to-use and their service has versatile unblocking power on top of fantastic speeds.

  • Pricing

    • 12 month: $6.67/mth
    • 6 month: $9.99/mth
    • 1 month: $12.95/mth
  • Pros & Cons

    • Fast speeds
    • Easy to use
    • 30-day money-back guarantee
    • Servers in 94 countries
    • A bit pricey – but worth it!
    • Only 5 simultaneous connections
    • No port forwarding
  • Also available for

    • macOS
    • iOS
    • Android
    • Linux
  • Browser extensions

    • Firefox
    • Chrome
  • Split Tunneling?

    • No

ExpressVPN Demo

ExpressVPN Demo
ExpressVPN Demo


It's difficult to beat ExpressVPN when it comes to finding a stellar Windows VPN! When we first started using ExpressVPN we found that the software is incredibly easy to install and use, and provides tons of high-end premium features – including a kill-switch, DNS leak protection, port selection, auto-connect, and obfuscated servers. And since the first time using it, most of us at ProPrivacy haven't stopped.


The service is based in the British Virgin Islands, which is good news for customer privacy, taking Express out of the reach of more invasive jurisdictions, and a zero-logs policy goes the extra mile to keep your data secure.


VPN newbies will find the interface intuitive and not overly complicated, and we particularly like how easy the settings are to customize, too. Even the more advanced settings can be toggled with a few clicks. ExpressVPN is certainly one of the pricer services on this list, but we get a real sense of quality when using the Windows app, and the provider's customer service is equally impressive, and available 24/7 via live chat support. When testing the live chat support with a couple of test questions, we got great advice and didn't have to wait long for it. 


OpenVPN encryption is implemented to exceedingly high standards, and this VPN can protect your data both at home and while on public WiFi. ExpressVPN has been around a long time and is top of the list on a lot of sites for a good reason. It provides unblocking capabilities across 94 countries and can access many popular streaming services from around the world, like Netflix and iPlayer with ease. Customer support is second to none and you can give it a test run using its 30-day money-back guarantee. And, if you are a newbie to VPNs, you will love this VPNs 24/7 live chat support to help you with any issues at any time, day or night.

Tested by Hannah Hart

Tested by Hannah Hart

NordVPN is an easy to use and reliable VPN for Windows. This no-logs VPN is packed with features like a kill-switch, OpenVPN encryption, and a whole host of advanced features.

  • Pricing

    • 27 month: $3.3/mth
    • 24 month: $4.13/mth
    • 12 month: $4.92/mth
    • 1 month: $11.95/mth
  • Pros & Cons

    • Great speeds
    • Excellent encryption
    • No logs
    • Torrenting allowed
    • Doesn't unblock as many Netflix libraries as Express or Surfshark
    • Connecting to a VPN server is at times sluggish
    • No split-tunneling
  • Also available for

    • macOS
    • iOS
    • Android
    • Linux
  • Browser extensions

    • Firefox
    • Chrome
  • Split Tunneling?

    • Yes

Nord Demo

Nord Demo
Nord Demo


NordVPN is a trusted and well-known VPN from Panama. It’s common knowledge that Windows devices are more susceptible to viruses; partly because they’re the most widely used OS worldwide. That’s why we recommend pairing NordVPN with Windows - we feel few VPNs can match Nord when it comes to security features. 


It is a no-logs service that is perfect for Windows users who are in need of advanced VPN features. With NordVPN you get a reliable Windows app that comes with a kill-switch, obfuscated servers, DNS leak protection, double-hop encryption, OpenVPN, split tunneling, VPN over Tor, and browser extensions. This makes the VPN perfect for completely concealing your online habits from your ISP, the government, local network administrators, and WiFi hotspot providers. And, NordVPN permits P2P connections, which means that this VPN is suitable for torrenting (though admittedly it doesn’t provide port forwarding).


NordVPN is a service that provides lightning-fast connections that are great for streaming or doing video calls. And, this VPN provides access to sought-after streaming services like Netflix US and BBC iPlayer. There really is nothing that this VPN does badly, and for this reason, it is worth taking for a test run using its money-back guarantee.


Finally, this VPN has servers in over 60 countries, which means you will always be able to unblock huge amounts of geo-restricted international content. 

Tested by Aaron Drapkin

Tested by Aaron Drapkin

IPVanish is a feature packed VPN for Windows. Whether you want a VPN for streaming, gaming, torrenting or just for privacy, IPVanish's features, speed and encryption has you covered.

  • Pricing

    • 12 months: $2.62/mth
    • 1 month: $9.99/mth
  • Pros & Cons

    • Strong OpenVPN encryption + zero logs
    • Killswitch and DNS leak protection
    • Torrenting is permitted
    • Incredible speeds
    • Based in the US
    • Netflix unblocking is hit or miss
    • Customer support could be better
  • Also available for

    • macOS
    • iOS
    • Android
    • Linux
  • Browser extensions

    • Chrome
  • Split Tunneling?

    • Yes

IPVanish Demo

IPVanish Demo
IPVanish Demo


IPVanish is a US-based VPN that provides a zero-logs policy. This ensures that it never stores any records about what its users do online. In addition to this outstanding privacy policy, the VPN has an advanced Windows app that comes with advanced features like a kill-switch, DNS leak protection, OpenVPN encryption, obfuscation, and a SOCKS5 proxy. This makes the VPN highly versatile and means that you can easily use it to torrent securely or to access and censored content from around the globe.


IPVanish has servers in over 75 countries. This makes it ideal for accessing geo-restricted services and websites from all over the world. And, you can use it to gain access to content from back home on a laptop when you are on vacation. We love that this VPN permits users to connect to the VPN on an unlimited number of devices simultaneously. And we are always impressed by the customer support you get with this provider (though it is only available in US daylight hours via email).


In our experience testing IPVanish on a Windows machine, we were thoroughly impressed by the overall quality of the Windows app. The app was super simple to use and we were able to zip around and access all the features and functionality with ease. Connecting to all the different servers across the IPVanish network was also a breeze. My entire experience with the IPVanish Windows app was exceedingly positive.


We think IPVanish is a superb VPN for Windows, and while it may not be as fast as some of our other recommendations, it is still plenty fast enough for streaming in HD without buffering. Plus, you can test it yourself on your Windows machine for 30 days thanks to its money-back guarantee.

Tested by Attila Tomaschek

Tested by Attila Tomaschek

Private Internet Access is one of the most secure VPNs for Windows on our list. Its Windows app is highly customizable and provides the excellent levels of privacy that PIA have become known for.

  • Pricing

    • 38 months: $2.08/mth
    • 12 months: $3.33/mth
    • 1 month: $9.95/mth
  • Pros & Cons

    • Accepts Bitcoin
    • No logs – proven in court!
    • Great OpenVPN encryption
    • Awesome security features like DNS leak protection and a killswitch
    • US-based company
    • UI could be updated
    • Customer support could be improved
  • Also available for

    • macOS
    • iOS
    • Android
    • Linux
  • Browser extensions

    • Firefox
    • Chrome
  • Split Tunneling?

    • Yes

PIA Demo

PIA Demo
PIA Demo


Private Internet Access (PIA) is a US-based VPN that enforces a robust no-logs policy. This ensures that even if it is approached with a warrant by the authorities, it never has any data to hand over. And PIA has proven its no-logs claims in a court on more than one occasion.


We thoroughly tested the PIA windows client and found it to be a highly featured app that easily competes with other leading services. We used it to torrent with ease and had no issues with connection speeds or reliability. Plus, it has advanced features like port forwarding and split tunneling, which made it extremely versatile and user friendly, 


We also like that it comes with OpenVPN encryption by default and that it has a kill-switch, DNS leak protection, and obfuscation (which means you can use it anywhere). We tested the Windows app for unblocking Netflix and was happy with the speeds it provides. The US catalog worked perfectly for me, and we were able to stream extra shows that aren't available in the UK. We also like its customizable settings, which allowed me to weaken the encryption to get better speeds – or strengthen it to be extra secure when using public Wi-Fi. 


The VPN currently has 74 server locations around the world, which means you can always get good speeds or unblock a variety of international services. And, you can use this VPN on  10 devices simultaneously, which means you can install it on your mobile and tablet to use it on public Wi-Fi, or on smart TVs, Firesticks, or anything else you own. A bargain VPN that is worth comparing to other services by making use of its  30-day money-back guarantee. 

Tested by Ray Walsh

Tested by Ray Walsh

Surfshark is a cheap VPN for Windows. They are the new kid on the block, but what it lacks in tenure, it makes up for in performance and a super easy to use app.

  • Pricing

    • 24 months: $2.49/mth
    • 6 months: $6.49/mth
    • 1 month: $12.95/mth
  • Pros & Cons

    • Unblocks tons of Netflix libraries (including US)
    • Awesome customer support
    • Unlimited simultaneous connections
    • Excellent, fully-featured Windows client
    • Not quite as fast as some of the more expensive options
    • Relatively small server network
    • 1-month subscription price is a bit steep
  • Also available for

    • macOS
    • iOS
    • Android
    • Linux
  • Browser extensions

    • Firefox
    • Chrome
  • Split Tunneling?

    • Yes

Surfshark Demo

Surfshark Demo
Surfshark Demo


Surfshark is one of the younger VPNs on our list, but don't be fooled – it's taken the VPN market by storm in the short time it's been around. This is largely thanks to blistering speeds and a huge network of servers in 63 countries. As is to be expected from today's top VPN providers, Surfshark offers customers a 30-day money-back guarantee and 24/7 live chat support. Where the provider blows us away is with its unlimited simultaneous connections! This means you can connect as many devices as you want to the service, and all at the same time.


When we tested Surfshark on a Windows machine, we found the app to be incredibly smooth and responsive. It connected immediately to each of the server locations we tested and all the functions and features were easy to find and simple to use. We were especially impressed with the quality of the killswitch and felt that its protections were airtight no matter what scenario we threw at it. The speeds were awesome too, considering how strong Surfshark’s encryption standards are.


Surfshark is registered in the British Virgin Islands and easily meets our requirements for a no-logs VPN. Technical security is also top-notch, and we appreciate the wealth of extra privacy and security features on offer. These include double-hop VPN, and DNS-based ad blocking and malware protection. 

CyberGhost is a great VPN for Windows if you're looking for a simple to use app. It requires very little set up and selecting server locations is quick & easy.

  • Pricing

    • 36 months: $2.25/mth
    • 24 months: $3.49/mth
    • 12 months: $3.99/mth
    • 1 month: $12.99/mth
  • Pros & Cons

    • Works excellently on Windows
    • Fast connections for streaming
    • Secure encryption for privacy
    • Easy to use and reliable
    • No obfuscation
    • WebRTC leak detected in our tests
    • Servers can be overloaded at times
  • Also available for

    • macOS
    • iOS
    • Android
    • Linux
  • Browser extensions

    • Firefox
    • Chrome
  • Split Tunneling?

    • Yes

CyberGhost Demo

CyberGhost Demo
CyberGhost Demo


CyberGhost VPN provides outstanding services at a fantastic price. The VPN has 110 server locations (90 countries) and it is dedicated to providing privacy and security for its subscribers. The Windows app provides all the necessary VPN features you need to gain digital privacy from your ISP and the government. It also ensures that your IP address cannot be tracked by websites. OpenVPN encryption is implemented to massively high standards, which means you never have to worry about it being cracked.


CyberGhost also has a zero-logs policy, which means it can never disclose your habits to the authorities even if they come knocking with a warrant. When it comes to unblocking this service has servers in over 90 countries that all provide excellent speeds for streaming. Admittedly, this VPN does not have quite as many features as NordVPN. However, it has DNS leak protection and a kill-switch. If you require obfuscation, though, you should look elsewhere. Finally, CyberGhost permits 10 simultaneous connections, and it has a blindingly generous 45-day money-back guarantee on subscription plans of over one month.


One of the biggest pitfalls with using a device with Windows OS is that it’s far more susceptible to malware and viruses than any other OS. On top of this, there also seems to have been an increase in malicious activity since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. With this in mind, we really enjoy using Cyberghost because it consistently blocks malware, ads and web trackers, so it makes users feel secure and safe when using it.

Tested by Aaron Drapkin

Tested by Aaron Drapkin

VyprVPN is a great all around VPN option for Windows users. If you are concerned about privacy or want to unblock content on the web, VyprVPN can get the job done.

  • Pricing

    • 36 months Olympics special: $1.39/mth
    • 36 months: $1.67/mth
    • 18 months: $2.5/mth
    • 2 months: $6.47/mth
  • Pros & Cons

    • Automatic internet kill switch
    • Whole service has been fully audited
    • Owns own server and CDN network
    • No logs
    • Golden Frog is a US company
    • Relatively small server network
    • Doesn't accept Bitcoin
  • Also available for

    • macOS
    • iOS
    • Android
    • Linux
  • Browser extensions

  • Split Tunneling?

    • Yes

VYPR Demo

VYPR Demo
VYPR Demo


VyprVPN is based in Switzerland, which means it falls safely out of the jurisdiction of 5 Eyes nations. In addition, it now has a solid no-logs policy which has been fully audited. This VPN runs on parent-firm Golden Frog’s proprietary network of servers. That means it can provide excellent speeds and top-notch security. 


When testing VyprVPN’s app for Windows we found it a breeze to both install and use. Using it on Windows was equally as straightforward as the iPhone app, with little to configure yourself and only the necessary stats - like ping time of different servers - are included as to not overcomplicate things. These ping stats are visible by each server and they make it really simple to find the fastest server. 


We were also really impressed with the providers' encryption. OpenVPN is implemented to an extremely high standard and they also provide users with newer protocol WireGuard. WireGuard is a quick protocol and the speed is visible as when you click on a WireGuard server it connects almost immediately. 


The Windows client is solid, it has a kill-switch, DNS leak protection, and a proprietary stealth feature called Chameleon for getting around firewalls in countries like China and Iran. Servers are located in over 70 countries, making it perfect for all your unlocking needs. Potential subscribers can try a 3-day free trial, and a 30-day money-back guarantee is also available.

Tested by Aaron Drapkin

Tested by Aaron Drapkin

Ivacy is the cheapest VPN for Windows on our list. It provide users with an excellent Windows app that is packed with plenty of features and offers decent speeds for streaming.

  • Pricing

    • 60 months: $1/mth
    • 12 months: $3.5/mth
    • 1 month: $9.95/mth
  • Pros & Cons

    • Great value for money
    • Vast network of servers worldwide
    • Airtight security
    • Torrenting permitted
    • Not the fastest VPN on the planet, but fast enough for streaming
    • Netflix unblocking performance is spotty
    • UI could be improved
  • Also available for

    • macOS
    • iOS
    • Android
    • Linux
  • Browser extensions

    • Firefox
    • Chrome
    • Edge
  • Split Tunneling?

    • Yes

Ivacy Demo

Ivacy Demo
Ivacy Demo


Ivacy is a VPN service based in Singapore that is often praised for providing outstanding value for money. The VPN is a bargain considering the level of premium features you get.


We tested the Windows app thoroughly and found it to be extremely reliable and secure. The Windows app comes with a kill-switch, DNS leak protection, and OpenVPN encryption – and those features work wonderfully for providing watertight privacy whether you use the VPN on a desktop at home, or on public Wi-Fi on a laptop.


If you want port forwarding, you can get it and a static IP address if you want it. This makes the VPN a good option for people who download P2P via BitTorrent clients. We also loved that the VPN has servers in over 100 countries, which makes it super-versatile and great for unblocking streams, game servers, and anything else you can think of. 


We used the VPN to access Netflix US and iPlayer and were happy with the performance it provided. Admittedly, Ivacy isn’t as fast as some of our other recommendations. However, we've never had any problems streaming in HD with Ivacy. Well worth comparing to our other options using its 30-day money-back guarantee.

Tested by Ray Walsh

Tested by Ray Walsh

ProtonVPN is a trusted VPN provider for Windows. From the guys behind ProtonMail, it's no surprise that the privacy it offers is second to none.

  • Free option

    Yes

    Pricing

    • Free trial: $0/mth
    • 24 months: $3.29/mth
    • 12 months: $4/mth
    • 1 month: $5/mth
  • Pros & Cons

    • Easy to use on Windows machines
    • Military grade OpenVPN encryption
    • No logs
    • P2P permitted
    • Speeds aren't quite as fast as others in this list
    • Server network relatively small
    • Users must purchase 'Plus' plan to unblock streaming sites
  • Also available for

    • macOS
    • iOS
    • Android
    • Linux
  • Browser extensions

  • Split Tunneling?

    • Yes


ProtonVPN is a superb service based in Switzerland. It is a VPN service that was designed by the developers of ProtonMail, which means that it has fantastic provenance. The VPN has a superb reputation among users and on Reddit. With ProtonVPN you get a choice of apps for all platforms, including Windows. And, the Windows client has all the advanced features you are likely to need. This includes a kill-switch, OpenVPN encryption, Tor through VPN, DNS leak protection, and secure bare metal servers in 50+ countries.


ProtonVPN's Windows app is one of my favorites – the design is fresh and modern, there's no clutter on the screen, and we were able to browse the various servers (and check out specific locations) without any hassle or headaches. We also like some of the ease of use features included in the app. For example, you can turn the kill switch with one click, or eradicate ads from your session via NetShield.


The service is an excellent pick for Windows, seeing as it's easy to use, and permits torrenting throughout its network (provided you've subscribed to the premium plan). Additionally, the free subscription is useful – so long as you don't mind having fewer server locations and slower speeds. If you want to unblock Netflix US or other sought after services, however, you'll need to shell out for a premium plan. All in all, ProtonVPN is ideal for anyone looking for a VPN with a watertight reputation for protecting user privacy, and you can try it for yourself with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Tested by Hannah Hart

Tested by Hannah Hart

PrivateVPN is a great Windows VPN if you're a streaming fan. It reliably unblocks most major streaming sites and has the speeds on offer to stream HD content without buffering issues.

  • Pricing

    • 24 months: $1.89/mth
    • 3 months: $4.2/mth
    • 1 month: $7.12/mth
  • Pros & Cons

    • High streaming speeds
    • Strong encryption
    • Works great on Windows
    • Excellent customer support
    • DNS must be configured manually
    • Relatively small network of servers
    • Sweden is part of 14 Eyes Alliance
  • Also available for

    • macOS
    • iOS
    • Android
    • Linux

PrivateVPN Demo

PrivateVPN Demo
PrivateVPN Demo


PrivateVPN is a provider based in Sweden that has an excellent reputation among consumers. It is a no-logs VPN with apps for all platforms – including excellent superb apps for Windows, macOS, iOS and Android.


The Windows client comes with a kill-switch, port forwarding, obfuscation (cloaking), a choice of encryption settings for OpenVPN, and DNS leak protection. We tested it thoroughly and found the Windows client to be superb for both beginners and tech-heads alike, thanks to that wide selection of features. We enjoyed the fact that it worked to unblock a wide selection on Netflix catalogs, as well as BBC iPlayer, and regional TV channels.


We also found it to provide superb speeds for torrenting, so if you need a desktop VPN for Windows that is suited to downloading a lot of content, this is well worth a trial using its money-back guarantee. In my opinion, the feature set makes it ideal for bypassing government restrictions – or for accessing any geo-restricted content without being monitored.


It is also worth mentioning that this is one of the few services that provide access to hulu, Prime Video, and many other international streaming services, which makes it a great all-rounder. In addition, we were incredibly impressed with its live chat support and found it to have well-trained staff that can deal with all kinds of issues.   

Tested by Ray Walsh

Tested by Ray Walsh

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Which is the fastest VPN for Windows?

By using a fast VPN, Windows users can enjoy the internet speeds they pay for. Most VPNs have slow servers that slow down their subscribers' internet connection. This destroys the quality of their customers' internet, resulting in the money they pay their ISP going down the toilet. This is why it is essential that you pick the right VPN for Windows.

Our Windows VPN recommendations invest in fast Tier-1 server networks all over the world. So you can use them to stream in HD, for gaming, or for downloading torrents securely.

If you are looking for the fastest Windows VPN of all, you can use the table below. At ProPrivacy we test the world's leading VPNs three times a day across three global locations. This data allows you to see exactly which VPN is fastest in real-time. 

Place Provider Average Speed Max Speed Visit Site
1. 64.30 Mbit/s 87.12 Mbit/s Visit Site
2. 62.20 Mbit/s 72.76 Mbit/s Visit Site
3. 61.03 Mbit/s 83.26 Mbit/s Visit Site
4. 57.63 Mbit/s 92.04 Mbit/s Visit Site
5. 54.77 Mbit/s 78.35 Mbit/s Visit Site
6. 49.31 Mbit/s 74.08 Mbit/s Visit Site
7. 49.01 Mbit/s 56.45 Mbit/s Visit Site
8. 48.72 Mbit/s 60.55 Mbit/s Visit Site
9. 43.00 Mbit/s 73.55 Mbit/s Visit Site
10. 34.38 Mbit/s 59.77 Mbit/s Visit Site

For more information about how we test VPNs, check out our VPN speed testing page.

My internet speeds are slow. Will a VPN help?

There are many websites claiming that a VPN will make your internet faster. In reality, this is a misunderstanding.

For a VPN to provide its service, it must route your traffic via a VPN server on its way to the final destination (the websites and online services you choose to use). VPNs also encrypt and decrypt your traffic, which also adds to latency.

For this reason, even the fastest VPNs will slow down your internet a little. The fastest VPNs make this slowing unnoticeable. So, why all the stories?

Some ISPs purposefully engage in bandwidth throttling to prevent congestion for their users during peak times. Under these circumstances, a VPN can help to speed up your internet.

A VPN prevents your ISP from knowing what you are doing online. This stops your ISP from tracking you when you are gaming, streaming in HD, or torrenting. As a result, the ISP is unable to throttle your speeds. 

All the VPNs we recommend in this article invest in Tier 1 server networks to ensure that the impact on your speeds is as negligible as possible. And if you believe you are being throttled, you should try a VPN to see if it speeds up your net. 

Why do I need a VPN for Windows?

When we connect to the internet, we risk sacrificing our privacy. ISPs, Wi-Fi providers, websites, and government agencies all track our data against our wishes. A VPN encrypts your traffic to prevent this kind of tracking. As a result, you gain control over your digital footprint. This makes a VPN the best personal privacy tool available on the market. 

A VPN is the best personal cybersecurity solution for keeping your data secure, your browsing history private, and all your Windows devices safe. But how does the Windows VPN client work?

How we test a Windows VPN's performance

All the VPNs we recommend using on a PC offer a money-back guarantee. You should always take advantage of this offer period (usually around 30 days) when you first sign up for a service to test your VPN and put it through its paces – to make sure it fits your needs. If it doesn't the guarantee means that you haven't risked your cash, and can try a different provider.

When we test a VPN service, we apply a number of different stress tests to it as a way of determining its effectiveness. These tests are:

Do all the advertised features work?

We test the provider’s Windows VPN client software to ensure that the security and privacy features all work. We also check to see what range of features it has and compare this to other services on the market. 

Generally, a premium VPN will offer features such as a kill-switch, DNS leak protection, and OpenVPN encryption. And some have extra features such as obfuscation (cloaking), port selection, a choice of protocols, auto-connect, double-hop encryption, and even VPN into Tor.

How does the VPN perform?

We test a VPN's performance to ensure that it isn't leaking data, or doing anything else that might put your privacy at risk. We'll also check the VPN's connection speeds if it's secure. This is an important test, as it'll determine whether the service is quick enough to handle data-intensive tasks like streaming in HD, downloading via BitTorrent, or online gaming.

Is the VPN secure?

We check the VPNs privacy policy and ensure that it is located in a jurisdiction that will allow it to keep your data secure. We opt only for Windows VPN services that store no invasive logs, and that have unblemished track records of providing privacy for their users.

How compatible is the VPN with Windows?

There are several Windows operating systems in circulation, so we make sure our VPN recommendations cover them all. The VPN apps on our list have clients for both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows. They also have software compatible with all recent versions from Windows 7, Windows 8, and, most importantly, Windows 10 compatibility. 

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How to install and set up a VPN for Windows

Each and every one of the VPNs we've mentioned in this guide have custom VPN apps for Windows 10. This makes setup simple – so simple, in fact, that you'll just need to:

  1. Subscribe to one of the best VPNs for Windows – don't forget to take advantage of their money-back guarantees and test them out without risking your cash.
  2. Download and install the VPN software by following the on-screen instructions.
  3. Log in to your VPN, and activate any privacy settings you might need.
  4. Connect to a server – choose the nearest physical location for the best speeds.

That's all there is to it!

There is no real reason to experiment with the settings of your VPN, unless you really want to. All services in our list run OpenVPN as standard, which is the gold standard of VPN encryption for PCs. However, if you want to test some other types of VPN encryption, we cover some alternatives below.

Compare VPN protocols for Windows

After installing your VPN software, you will find several options inside the settings to change which protocol you are using. These VPN encryption protocol options can be confusing, and it's useful to know what each one offers before you change your VPN settings.

To help you out, here is a list of the protocols and how they stack up:

VPN Protocol Speed Security
Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP) Fast Weak
Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol(L2TP)/Internet Protocol Security (IPSec) Average Average
Internet Key Exchange v2 (IKEv2) Fast Average
OpenVPN Fast Strong

We recommend using OpenVPN for Windows PCs

OpenVPN is by far the fastest and most secure VPN protocol for PC users. However, please be aware that OpenVPN can be implemented in various ways, and many of those implementation methods are not actually secure – so it's important to configure your VPN properly.

We would strongly recommend implementing OpenVPN using your VPN's app and controlling it within the settings.

If you require some help in getting set up, we cover the installation process in more detail in our how to install a VPN on Windows guide.

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Can I get a free VPN for Windows?

There are trustworthy free VPNs out there, yes! Unfortunately, 99% of these free services are not reliable. They can be malicious, designed to steal user data to sell for a profit – and some have even been known to contain spyware.

Running a VPN service isn't cheap – so it's impossible to offer a truly free subscription. The recommendations we've hand-picked provide a taste of what a VPN can do – but it'll be a limited trial, best suited for users wanting to access a VPN in an emergency or trial a provider without risk.

A legitimate free VPN will often come with restrictions galore, seeing as they exist primarily to advertise the full, premium subscription. Expect fewer server locations, monthly download limits, and connection speed restrictions.

If you have never used one before, a free VPN for Windows is a fun way to get a sense of how a VPN works, and what it can do for you. However, don't be put off if the free VPN seems a little limited; this is by design. 

To test an unrestricted VPN for free, we recommend trialing a full premium Windows VPN from this article.

All of our hand-picked VPNs come with money-back guarantees that allow you to put all of their features to the test without limitations – and still get your money back. This will let you compare all our recommended VPNs before settling on your favorite! So, don’t be shy and try a few.

Top-tip: Get ExpressVPN for Free!

Did you know you can experience ExpressVPN's fully featured service without limitations… for free!

If you're finding free VPNs too restrictive, why not test ExpressVPN's premium service? Simply purchase a subscription using the button below and take advantage of the no-nonsense money-back-guarantee. Enjoy the service for up to 30-days, and when you cancel, you will receive a complete refund!

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FAQs

Here we answer some frequently asked Windows VPN questions, sourced from places such as Reddit.

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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. 

5 Comments

Johanne
on June 4, 2018
Reply
I am looking for a VPN client to use with our own VPN servers, not a VPN service. Can you please show how these can be used as VPN clients?
https://cdn.proprivacy.com/storage/images/proprivacy/02/member-dougjpg-avatar-image-default-1png-avatar-image-default-minpng-avatar_image-small.png
Douglas Crawford replied to Johanne
on June 5, 2018
Reply
Hi Johanne, We currently have guides for doing tis using CentOS 6 and using PrivatePackets.io, which automates the process. Look out for more in the future!
Jon
on January 20, 2018
Reply
What about Ivacy, did you test them? I would be most interested in your opinion of Ivacy. Regards, Jon
https://cdn.proprivacy.com/storage/images/proprivacy/02/member-dougjpg-avatar-image-default-1png-avatar-image-default-minpng-avatar_image-small.png
Douglas Crawford replied to Jon
on January 22, 2018
Reply
Hi Jon, Ivacy is basically just a white-label re-seller of PureVPN (same software, and uses the same server network). Our Ivacy Review could probably do with an update.
Mozef Kaddas
on August 25, 2017
Reply
Thank you Ray for such an awesome the article, I'm not big fan of Windows since my first MacBook 2008, I shifted to MacOS and I couldn't be any Happier. Regards those VPN, I just wanted to share my humble experience of using their services. All of them are amazing and I think they have their pros and cons. Put from my experience I found that not all of them provide a great speed, with keeping in mind connection could be a bit slow due to the encrypted connection and the location of the servers. I usually my two must favorite locations are U.K. & Netherlands. My connection is 100mbps (12.5 MB/s), and when connecting to those locations I found my connection drops to 15mbps, which led me to try all of them, and I found speed is not satisfactory for me, till I signed up with Hide.me which became my favorite and the only VPN I'm using at the moment. The speed with connection to U.K. Server is 91mbps connection to NL is 95mbps, which is really still good. I still don't understand what can be effecting the connection maybe the load of people connecting to certain server. Yet with providers promising us we are connection to faster server, or maybe connection from Middle East is effecting too. Any how thank you for the awesome article.
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