5 Best VPNs for Windows

Ray Walsh

Ray Walsh

June 22, 2017

All over the world, Windows users are waking up to the massive advantages of using a Virtual Private Network (VPN). With a Windows VPN, anybody can access censored or geo-restricted content from all over the world. Furthermore, with a VPN for Windows TV addicts can watch US premieres the moment they come out, movie aficionados can access the larger US Netflix catalog, and sports fans can access geo-restricted streams of live tournaments all over the world. The options are endless.

The Best VPNs for Windows

  1. ExpressVPN
  2. NordVPN
  3. Buffered
  4. CyberGhost
  5. hide.Me

A VPN for Windows is the best digital privacy and personal cybersecurity service available on the market. It provides a strong layer of encryption that securely conceals the user’s web browsing data. The result is that nobody – not Internet Service Providers (ISPs), governments, or network administrators – can tell what subscribers are doing online.

There is no doubt that Window’s security has improved a lot in recent years. Despite this, it is impossible for the Windows Operating System to protect its users from snooping governments, ISPs, advertisers, and corporate surveillance. In addition, Windows users are vulnerable to hackers: especially when using Public WiFi Hotspots, or P2P (BitTorrent).

By connecting to a VPN server, Windows users can pretend to be in a different country. This allows people living in restrictive regimes to overcome censorship imposed by their government. When connected to a remote server, Windows VPN users also conceal their real IP address. This stops websites from knowing where the VPN user is, and permits the VPN user to access geo-restricted services such as online banking.

A VPN for Windows is the most highly sought after and useful online service on the market. It provides both ease of access AND digital privacy and security, which is why a VPN is incomparable to anything else.

In this article, we will explain how a Windows VPN works and what the differences between the varying services are. We will walk you through what a VPN can do, and how to make sure a Windows VPN is capable of doing those things. In reality, not every VPN works well on Windows. However, by the end of this article you will know everything about Windows VPNs, and that knowledge will allow you to make an informed decision about which of the five best VPNs for Windows to opt for. 

Best VPN for Windows: Summary

Rank Company Score Price Link
1
Read Review
8.32 / monthVisit Site
2
Read Review
3.29 / monthVisit Site
3
Read Review
8.25 / monthVisit Site
4
Read Review
2.90 / monthVisit Site
5
Read Review
4.99 / monthVisit Site
Editor's Choice Award

Winner

ExpressVPN

4.9/5

ExpressVPN

  • ProsPROS
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • No usage logs
  • Servers in 94 countries
  • Excellent customer service
  • Peer-to-peer (P2P): yes
  • ConsCONS
  • Some connection logs kept (though they are aggregated only – which means that they can never be tied to subscribers)

ExpressVPN is by far the best VPN for Windows. It has servers across the globe, in 94 countries. The VPN software for Windows provides OpenVPN encryption, which is implemented very strongly and is perfect for security. The company keeps no usage logs and has an excellent reputation for providing security for its subscribers. In addition, the connection logs are aggregated, which means they can never be tied to a single subscriber and are completely safe.

Customer care is fantastic: the VPN has 24/7 customer support that can help you with unblocking anything you are interested in. This VPN for Windows will also keep you secure on public WiFi. Furthermore, this VPN can be used on three simultaneous devices, so don’t think it will only run on Windows – you can put it on your phone and tablet as well.

Connection speeds are lightning fast and P2P is allowed for BitTorrent. This makes the VPN perfect for all data-intensive tasks and means that you will be able to stream in HD. We love this VPN for Windows, and because of its 30-day money-back guarantee anyone can test the service to see juts how great it is. If you want the best, look no further.

Get the best VPN for Windows now!

Visit ExpressVPN »

30-day money-back guarantee!

2nd place

NordVPN

4.7/5

NordVPN

  • ProsPROS
  • Excellent encryption
  • No logs
  • Six simultaneous connections
  • Servers in 61+ countries
  • P2P: yes
  • ConsCONS
  • Speeds not quite as good (especially if you use double encryption)

NordVPN is a fantastic Windows VPN option for people who want extra security features. The VPN is equipped with features such as VPN into Tor, double-hop encryption, a kill switch, DNS leak protection, and auto connect, which is why so many people like it. The software performs fantastically on Windows, and can also be used on other devices easily.

Due to the fact that it has extra security features, this VPN can get a bit slower (if you use those features). However, if a strong OpenVPN-encrypted VPN with plenty of security options is what you want, then this is a great option for any Windows machine. In addition, this VPN is fast enough to stream in HD – so it isn’t slow by any stretch of the imagination.

With excellent software, great customer care, good value for money, and a 30-day money-back guarantee, this premium VPN service for Windows is well worth considering.

Visit NordVPN »


3rd place

Buffered

4.3/5

  • ProsPROS
  • Very fast speeds
  • Easy to use software
  • Excellent features
  • Particularly good on Windows
  • P2P: yes
  • ConsCONS
  • Some connection logs kept for internal use

Buffered is a VPN that works particularly well on Windows computers. The highly subscribed provider is from  Hungary, which is an outstanding location for a VPN to be based in. Buffered has servers in 37 countries, and although that is fewer than some VPNs, they are placed extremely well, allowing you to unblock most things necessary. Furthermore, the VPN is well designed, innovative, feature-packed, and has live chat support on its website.

The Buffered software includes a kill switch and Domain Name System (DNS) leak protection. In addition, it has open port detection, which means that you can log onto WiFi at hotels without the need for a password from reception. It also provides close to 100% up time, along with lightning fast connection speeds. Encryption is provided with OpenVPN (our recommended VPN protocol). As such, Buffered is fully equipped to guarantee your online privacy and security.

Finally, thanks to a 30-day money-back guarantee, it is also possible to test this VPN to make sure you enjoy it. A fantastic VPN for both home use and use on public WiFi, which will allow data-intensive tasks such as streaming in HD.

Visit Buffered »


4th place


4th place

CyberGhost

3.6/5

CyberGhost

  • ProsPROS
  • Works excellently on Windows
  • Servers in 27 countries
  • Fast connections for streaming
  • Secure encryption for privacy
  • Easy to use and reliable
  • ConsCONS
  • Some minimal connection logs

CyberGhost is an excellent VPN for Windows that is perfect for bypassing censorship and unblocking content from all over the world. It is highly secure thanks to a superb privacy policy, great security features, and strong military grade encryption. The VPN installs and works seamlessly in Windows, and is extremely easy to use. P2P torrenting is permitted. Customer support is fantastic, though live chat is in UK daylight hours only. Finally it has a 30-day money back guarantee so tat you can test the service. A superb option down in 4th!

Visit CyberGhost »


5th place

Hide.Me

3.5/5

Hide.Me

  • ProsPROS
  • 5 simultaneous connections
  • Great support with active community
  • Great for travelling
  • Great Windows software
  • Certified logless
  • ConsCONS
  • Premium plan pricey
  • Tricky mutiple connection set-up

Hide.Me is a Malaysian VPN that is brilliant. Offering three different plans, we recommend their Premium plan as the best option for your Windows machine. Recent updates to Hide.Me have allowed them to implement a new transparent privacy policy, so you can be sure that no one is logging your activity.

Hide.Me is hugely popular in Germany, and this has lead to a rich wealth of information for Germans looking to troubleshoot their service – which makes it an even more attractive prospect if you’re living in or planning of travelling to Germany. The service also offers a large number of protocols which means their VPN is both fast and secure. Finally its also worth noting that Hide.Me offers 115 servers located in 23 countries worldwide. Most of these servers allows P2P if you enjoy torrenting, so you can be sure that you can download wherever you are in the world.

Visit Hide.Me »


Windows VPN Considerations

Windows 10 was released last year. Sadly, that version of Windows has a number of invasive features. Thankfully the majority of these can be disabled, so please check out our guide to patch up the security issues.

DNS Leaks on Windows Machines

When using a Windows VPN, users often suffer from DNS leaks. Unfortunately, this can reveal a VPN user’s true location and identity.That is why all Windows users are recommended not only to subscribe to a VPN, but also to read our article on resolving DNS leaks.

Using the two guides above, anybody can easily improve the security of their Windows 10 system. Despite this, a VPN is still required if you don’t want your data to be accessible as it comes and goes from your Windows devices.

What Is a VPN for Windows?

A VPN is an online service that allows people to conceal their real IP address by pretending to be in a different country. This is achieved by using the VPN software to connect to a remote server. In addition, a reliable VPN provides encryption that securely scrambles all data as it passes through the VPN tunnel. The result is that nobody can access that securely encrypted data. A VPN for Windows is simply a VPN that has software that works perfectly on a Windows machine. 

Why Do I Need a VPN on a Windows Device?

In many countries, the government forces ISPs to retain web browsing histories and metadata about their customers. Depending on where you live, your ISP could retain that information for anything between ten weeks and two years.

In the US, although mandatory data retention isn’t a legal requirement, the Trump administration has made it legal for ISPs to sell user data to third parties without prior consent from their consumers. The result is that US ISPs are highly likely to be retaining their customers’ data, in order to sell it to whoever is willing to pay.

For people who don’t want their data to be snooped on by ISPs and the government, the encryption that a VPN provides is the best solution. Considering that a reliable and trusted VPN only costs around $75 to $90 per year, we believe a VPN to be an indispensable tool for stopping surveillance in its tracks.

After all, our ancestors fought hard to establish our human right to privacy – should we really just hand it over to overreaching governments?

Can I Get a Free Windows VPN?

Yes, it is possible to get a free VPN for Windows. However, the vast majority of these are highly insecure and should not be trusted to handle your data. The good news is that some VPNs do offer a secure free service – so if you want a free VPN for Windows please stick to those. 

Doing so will stop anyone from snooping on your metadata and web browsing habits. It will provide full privacy and strong security, no matter whether you are at home or on public WiFi. However, please remember that the reliable free VPNs restrict their service (with usage limits and bandwidth limits) in order to tempt you into buying a full subscription.

As such, a free Windows VPN will never come even close to providing the level of service that a full Windows VPN gives you. In the VPN industry you really do get what you pay for, and it is not unusual for people who try a free VPN to mistakenly think VPNs are rubbish – this is completely untrue, VPNs are AMAZING!

Sadly, there are many free VPNs that must be completely avoided. Some VPNs are free because they have an insecure privacy policy that allows them to sell consumer data to third parties. These VPNs are incredibly insecure and do the exact opposite of what a VPN should do. A VPN is supposed to protect its users’ privacy, not sell their web browsing data to anybody who is willing to pay. For this reason, it is important that you really do only stick to the free VPNs for Windows that we recommend. Those VPNs have strong encryption and trusted privacy policies.

What Can I Do with a VPN on Windows?

By allowing its users to pretend to be in another country, a VPN gives them the power to unblock any content they wish. Whether they are away on vacation and want to access geo-restricted content from back home, or they want to access content in a foreign country, a VPN is the answer.

People use VPNs for many reasons. Those living in countries with censorship can use a VPN to bypass local restrictions. People with landlords or employers that block websites use VPNs to bypass those blocks. Perhaps the biggest use of VPNs, however, is for people that want to watch restricted TV streams, movies, and sports competitions from around the world. The choice is yours, and because of the privacy that a VPN provides, you are free to unblock any content you wish without worrying about being snooped on.

Which Windows VPN Should I Choose?

There are a huge number of commercial VPNs on the market, which can make it hard to select one. Unfortunately the difference between a good service – and even a middle of the range service – is massive, and the vast majority are terrible.

All of the VPNs in this guide have been tested thoroughly and chosen for use with Windows because the have excellent software that runs superbly on the platform. All of these VPNs have fantastic privacy policies and provide strongly implemented encryption. As such, these VPNs can be trusted to provide both privacy and security for Windows users.

Furthermore, these VPNs are known to be reliable and have large networks that provide outstanding server location options (for unblocking content from all over the world).

The VPNs for Windows that we have selected are the best of the best. However, do be aware that even in the top five there are slight differences. ExpressVPN is number one because it has stronger encryption, more server locations, and better connection speeds than the other VPNs, though all of the VPNs in this guide are truly exceptional, so you will be able to stream in HD even if you go for the fifth best VPN.

Windows VPN for WiFi

When you connect to a public WiFi hotspot, you run the risk of falling victim to a hacker. As soon as you are connected, anybody else on the network can access your data (if they know how). This allows cybercriminals to steal usernames, credentials, passwords, and even bank details.

With the encryption that a VPN provides, you will be able to keep your data safe both at home and on public WiFi. What’s more, the VPNs that we have selected also have software for Android and iOS, so if you want to secure your phone or tablet you will be able to do so without a problem.

HD Streaming on a Windows VPN

When you connect to a VPN, your internet traffic must travel further. Firstly it must be encrypted, and then it must travel to the VPN server. The further away the VPN server is, the larger the speed drop will be. It is for this reason that it is important to subscribe to a VPN with a network of fast, tier 1 servers.

Many VPNs make an internet connection suffer far too much, some even slowing down a connection by up to 90% or more. This makes the VPN practically useless. All of the VPNs in this article cause only a minimal loss of speed, allowing users to enjoy HD streaming and gaming on their Windows computers.

How to Set up a VPN on Windows 10

The VPNs in this article all have custom software for Windows. As such, setting up the VPN is as simple as subscribing, downloading the software, and installing it. That method is by far the easiest and best. However, we have also included this setup guide for installing a VPN manually on Windows, just in case you need it.

To set up a VPN manually on Windows, you will need a few details from your VPN service. Select a VPN, subscribe, and then get these details from your provider:

  1. The VPN server name or address
  2. The VPN protocol (normally PPTP, but we recommend OpenVPN, so select this)
  3. Username and password (to connect to the VPN server)

If your Windows VPN specifies that a particular connection name must be used, you will need to get that info from your VPN provider as well.

If a specific name isn’t required, you can connect with a user-generated name, so do that.

Finally, if your VPN for Windows requires you to enter your proxy settings yourself manually, please go ahead and get your IP address and port number for proxy from your provider.

Set up Your VPN for Windows 10

You can set up your VPN for Windows manually in a few simple steps.

  1. Click the Start button and in your Start menu choose Settings. Now click on Network and Internet as displayed in the picture below.
    VPN for Windows
  2. Next, click VPN on the left to see your system’s settings.
    Windows VPN
  3. Now, click the ‘+’ icon that says Add a VPN Connection.
    Windows VPN Setup
  4. In the VPN provider box, select Windows Default.
  5. In the Connection Name box, give the VPN connection a name. If your VPN provider requires you to connect using a particular name, you will need it at this stage. Don’t worry if that is the case: when getting the information about your server ID from the VPN provider, just ask if you need a particular VPN connection name. That way you will have it for this stage of the process (if you need it).
  6. In the Server Name or Address box, key in the IP address that your VPN gave you. In Windows 10, it is impossible to set up a VPN connection without the URL or IP address of your VPN server.
  7. Under VPN type, if you want to use PPTP (the most commonly used protocol), choose that. If the VPN connection does not work after you set it up for any reason, go back and select Automatic and Windows 10 will detect the protocol for you.

Enter Your Password

If you would rather sign in to your Windows VPN without the hassle of entering your user ID and password every time, then it is better to enter your details now. Scroll down the page a little and tick the box that says Remember my sign-in information.

Now, click Save and navigate back over to the Add VPN page.

If all has gone according to plan, you will now be able to see your VPN connection under the Add VPN button.

When you select the VPN that you have created, you will be prompted with three options. One of those is Connect. Please click this option to connect to the VPN. The other two options are Advanced and Remove. If you need to remove the VPN connection from Windows 10 at any point, then select it here.

How to Set up Your VPN for Windows 7

If you still haven’t updated to the latest version of Windows and are using 7, 8 or 8.1, then the best bet is to look on your VPN provider’s guides page for a setup guide. Having said that, the process will be almost exactly the same as that described above, so that guide should be enough for most people to set up their VPN.

How to Set up OpenVPN in Windows 10

To use OpenVPN encryption in Windows 10 you may (with some VPNs) need third party software. Most VPNs have custom Windows VPN software (all our recommended VPNs do). However, if there is no OpenVPN option in your VPN’s software, then you can get the open source OpenVPN client from OpenVPN.net.

Here is the installation process for the open source OpenVPN client:

  1. Install the software for Windows from the link above.
  2. After installation, click the OpenVPN icon and select ‘Open file location.’
  3. Right-click on the OpenVPN GUI icon (or click on the icon on your desktop) and click on Properties.
    OpenVPN
  4. Click on the Compatibility tab at the top and check the Run this program as an administrator box before clicking OK.
    OpenVPN on Windows
  5. Now, download the OpenVPN configuration files from your VPN provider. They will need to be unzipped into the config folder of the OpenVPN install directory (usually C:\Program Files (x86)\OpenVPN\config, or C:\Program Files\OpenVPN\config). You only need to unzip the files for the VPN servers that you will most likely use.
  6. At this stage, double click the OpenVPN GUI icon. You will now see a small red icon appear in your task bar. Right-click on that icon, select the server you require and click Connect.

Test Your VPN’s Performance (Speed, DNS, WebRTC, and IPV6 Tests)

Some people want to check that their Windows VPN is working as it should be. This is actually very easily done. Speed tests can be conducted in moments at testmy.net. Simply select a server close to you and do the “Combined” test to check your upload and download speeds. Remember to test without the VPN first to get a base reading that you can compare to the VPN.

If speeds are fine but you would like to check that security is working as it should be, you can check to see if you are getting IP or DNS leaks. You can use ipleak.net to do this.

Best VPN for Windows: Conclusion

In this guide, we have explained everything that you need to know about Windows VPNs. The considerations section thoroughly details everything necessary to have a clear understanding about selecting a VPN for Windows. ExpressVPN and Buffered are by far the best options. However, all of the VPNs in this guide are excellent services that are well worth considering.

With the risk of your web data being sold to the highest bidder, and governments passing more and more invasive legislation, we strongly recommend investing in a reliable, world-class VPN service. The privacy that it will provide on any Windows machine is absolutely invaluable.

If internet freedom and security are important to you then we have you covered, because all of the VPNs for Windows in this guide are perfect for the job. If you have any questions at all, please don’t hesitate to contact us in the messages section below. 

Best Windows 10 VPN: Summary

Rank Company Score Price Link
1
Read Review
8.32 / month Visit Site
2
Read Review
3.29 / month Visit Site
3
Read Review
8.25 / month Visit Site
4
Read Review
2.90 / month Visit Site
5
Read Review
4.99 / month Visit Site

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