5 Best VPNs for Windows OS in 2018 - BestVPN.com

5 Best VPNs for Windows in 2018

Ray Walsh

Ray Walsh

March 1, 2018

All over the world, Windows users are waking up to the advantages of using a Virtual Private Network (VPN). With a Windows VPN, you can access censored or geo-restricted content from all over the world. A VPN for Windows also encrypts your data to protect your privacy at home and on public WiFi. We have reviewed over 150 VPNs in the last five years and used our expertise to pinpoint the 5 best Windows VPNs.

Here is a quick look at our five expert Windows VPN recommendations:

You can read about the advantages and disadvantages of each VPN separately below.

How We Chose Our Five Best VPNs for Windows

Here at BestVPN.com, we’re fortunate to have some of the VPN industry’s foremost experts as staff members. Based on our detailed VPN reviews and data collected as part of our BestVPN.com Awards process, we’ve carefully considered a range of factors that go into making a great all-round Windows VPN service.

This includes things such as speed performance, encryption strength, privacy policy, legal jurisdiction, price, free trial or money-back guarantee, support for Windows, and much more.

We recognize that due to the versatility of VPN technology, what makes a great Windows VPN for one user may miss the mark for another. As such, these top five VPN for Windows picks are a consensus choice made after much careful deliberation by the BestVPN.com staff.

For more information about how we review VPNs visit our BestVPN.com’s review process overview.

What Is a VPN for Windows?

A VPN for Windows is a VPN service that is highly compatible with a Windows system, whether on a laptop or desktop PC. VPN providers have custom software that allows you to connect to their servers. That software provides encryption that protects your data from snooping Internet Service Providers (ISPs), the government, and hackers. A VPN for Windows allows you to conceal your real location (IP address) and replace it with a VPN IP address somewhere else. The result is that you can bypass local internet restrictions that the government, workplaces, schools, landlords, and TV streaming services put in place.

If you are a newcomer to the world of VPNs, please check out our beginners’ guide here.

Why Do I Need a VPN for Windows?

Over the last few years, we’ve seen an explosion in the amount of snooping that governments are doing. The Snowden revelations didn’t stop governments snooping. Instead, they have passed laws to continue putting their citizens under surveillance. Thankfully, Edward Snowden has helped to wake people up to that injustice. People are now looking for ways to protect their privacy. A Windows VPN app is the number one solution.

In addition, nowadays, it is common for governments and ISPs to block websites. Government censorship can be annoying. It can also stop you from getting unbiased news. The VPNs in this guide allow you to pretend to be in a different country to overcome geo-restrictions and censorship. The outcome is unlimited freedom online.

How to Choose the Right VPN for a Windows PC

The right VPN largely depends on what you use your PC for. If you want a VPN for gaming, you’ll need a super fast service because gaming is so data intensive. The same goes for streaming videos in HD.

If you only want your VPN for privacy, and you tend only to do work, send emails, and look at news websites, then a VPN that isn’t quite as fast should be fine. Thankfully, there are no slow VPNs in this guide. No matter which VPN you decide on, you’ll get a great service. If you do need a lightning fast VPN, opt for one that is higher on the list.

How Does a Windows VPN Work?

A VPN app for Windows allows you to connect to a remote VPN server. Custom software called a VPN client enables this. That software provides end-to-end encryption between you and the VPN server using point-to-point tunneling. This makes it impossible for anyone to tell what you are doing online. That includes ISPs who retain data on behalf of the government, workplaces, schools, and any other local network administrator.

Don’t be put off by compicated terminology. We cover everything you need to know about VPNs in plain English in our Beginner’s Guide to VPNs.

As soon as the VPN establishes the connection, it conceals your real IP address and replaces it with that of the VPN. This makes your Windows system appear to be in the location that you selected. Connect to a VPN server in the US, and you actually appear to be in the US!

Some people also choose to use VPN routers. You can purchase VPN routers with a VPN already loaded onto them. This means that the VPN app automatically protects all of the devices in your home. Some firms, like ExpressVPN, sell their own VPN routers. This means that all you need to do is buy the router, plug it in, and select your VPN connection preferences.

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’ve 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’ll need a few details from your VPN service. Select a VPN, subscribe, then get these details from your provider:

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

If your Windows VPN specifies that you must use a particular connection name, you’ll need to get that from your VPN provider as well. If you don’t require a specific name, 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.

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. The process will be almost exactly the same as that described above. Thus this guide should be enough for most people to set up their VPN.

If you’re looking for more information on setting up a VPN on your Windows machine, check out our step-by-step guide to installing and setting up a VPN for Windows

How to Test Your Windows VPN

We test VPNs regularly. You can check a service’s performance easily by simply looking at its individual review. Simply search for the VPN that interests you using our search function.

We use our own test servers to check VPN speeds three times daily. We actually have the best VPN speed performance testing infrastructure in the industry! You can test it yourself really easily here. Simply select a test server close to you and test your internet connection using the “combined” test. Remember to first test it without your VPN switched on. This allows you to compare your internet speeds with and without the VPN connected. The VPNs in this guide all provide excellent speeds. The VPNs higher on the list provide better results. Having said that, these truly are the five best VPNs for Windows. That means they are all superb compared to the other 850 commercial VPNs on the market.

Different Types of VPN Connection

There are a number of VPN encryption protocols available for your Windows system. The best tunneling protocol is OpenVPN. All of our recommended VPNs provide this. However, for your information here is a rundown of all the protocols.

  • Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP) – provides minimal security and privacy but is fast.
  • Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol (L2TP)/Internet Protocol Security (IPsec) – L2TP/IPsec provides stronger security than PPTP, along with medium speeds.
  • Internet Key Exchange version 2 (IKEv2) – this is the most widely used protocol for iOS VPN clients. It is secure but not as strong as OpenVPN, and is not often used on Windows. However, you do have the option to use it if you wish.
  • OpenVPN – an open source and highly secure protocol. This protocol provides military-grade encryption when providers implement it correctly. All of the VPNs for Windows in this guide have got OpenVPN (implemented securely).

For a more indepth look at VPN encyption and protocols, check out our Ultimate VPN Envryption Guide.

Windows VPN FAQs

What Can I Do with a VPN?

As soon as you connect to your Windows VPN, the world is your oyster. Pretending to be elsewhere in the world means you can use geo-restricted services, and watch geo-restricted TV streams from other countries. TV addicts can watch US cable TV live, for example. If you go on vacation, your VPN will also allow you to connect to services back home while you’re away. This means you can do internet banking while overseas. At the end of the day, the options are almost endless. Provided your VPN has a server in a particular country, you can pretend to be there!

Can I Get a Free Windows VPN?

Yes, you can get a free VPN for Windows. However, the vast majority of these are highly insecure. You shouldn’t trust them to handle your data. Thankfully, some VPNs do offer a secure free service – so if you need 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 services (with usage and bandwidth limits) in order to tempt you into buying a full subscription.

As such, a free Windows VPN will never come close to providing the level of service that a full Windows VPN gives you. In the VPN industry, you get what you pay for. It’s not unusual for people who try a free VPN to mistakenly think VPNs are rubbish due to the limitations that are in place. This is completely untrue – VPNs are AMAZING!

Sadly, many free VPNs 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 services are incredibly insecure and do the exact opposite of what a VPN should do. A VPN is supposed to protect your privacy, not sell your web browsing data to the highest bidder. That’s why it’s important that you only stick to the free VPNs for Windows that we recommend. Those VPNs have strong encryption and trustworthy privacy policies.

Fastest VPNs for Microsoft Windows

All of the VPNs in this guide provide fast speeds. That’s because they all have superb networks of VPN servers. The fastest VPNs for Windows inevitably cost a little bit more. Having said that, all of the VPNs in this guide are at the top of their game. They all allow users to stream video in HD without buffering issues.

Streaming VPNs

When you connect to a Windows VPN, your internet traffic travels further. Firstly it’s encrypted, then it travels to the VPN server. The further away the VPN server is, the larger the speed drop will be. That’s why it’s 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 slow down a connection by 90% or more. This makes the VPN practically useless. All of the VPNs in this article cause only a minimal loss of speed. With them, you can enjoy HD streaming and gaming on your Windows devices.


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

With the encryption that a VPN provides, you can keep your data safe both at home and on public WiFi. What’s more, the VPNs that we’ve selected also have software for Android and iOS. That means you can secure your phone or tablet as well.

Recently, industry professionals uncovered a vulnerability called KRACK. It makes ALL WiFi vulnerable to hackers – even your home network. This means that hackers could ‘sniff’ your traffic and steal your passwords, credit card details and so forth. A VPN is the only current solution!

What is the Best VPN for Windows in 2018?

BestVPN Editor's Choice Award
ExpressVPN Homepage
  • Special Offer: 49% off today!
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • No usage logs
  • Servers in 94 countries
  • Excellent customer service
  • Peer-to-peer (P2P): yes
  • A bit pricey – but worth it!

ExpressVPN is one of 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


CyberGhost Homepage
  • Special Offer: 77% off 2-year plans!
  • Works excellently on Windows
  • Servers in 56 countries
  • Fast connections for streaming
  • Secure encryption for privacy
  • Easy to use and reliable
  • 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. Also good news: this VPN can be installed on up to five devices - and can be used on Windows, Android, Mac, and iOS - at the same time if you wish.

Finally, it has a 30-day money back guarantee so that you can test the service. Considering the price of this VPN, it really is hard to beat: well worth a test run!

3rd Place


Buffered Homepage
  • Special Offer: 49% off today!
  • Very fast speeds
  • Easy to use software
  • Excellent features
  • Particularly good on Windows
  • P2P: yes
  • 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. Buffered has servers in 42 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.

4th Place


PrivateVPN Homepage
  • Best value for your money
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • 6 simultaneous connections
  • Great customer service
  • High streaming speeds
  • Strong encryption
  • DNS must be configured manually

Sweden-based VPN provider, PrivateVPN, is an excellent choice for a Windows VPN, especially after winning BestVPN.com’s “Best Value VPN” of 2018. Not only do you get a full service VPN at an affordable price, but you get 54 server locations, excellent customer service, super fast streaming speeds, great encryption, and a user-friendly Windows client interface.

PrivateVPN is particularly ideal for getting into Netflix; supporting 16 different Netflix regions! PrivateVPN also offers six simultaneous connections, WiFi protection, and a 30-day money-back guarantee for unsatisfied customers.

5th Place


VyprVPN Homepage
  • No bandwidth limits
  • Solid speeds
  • Free iOs and Android apps
  • Automatic internet kill switch
  • Transparent privacy policy
  • Some connection logs for 30 days

VyprVPN is another great VPN for Windows. It runs on a proprietary network of servers that can provide lightning fast speeds. VyprVPN has apps for all platforms, and the software is very easy to use. The VPN is also fully featured with advanced settings such as a killswitch, DNS leak protection and VPN cloaking (Chameleon mode).

VyprVPN has servers in over 60 countries, perfect to unblock content from all over the globe. This VPN also has a strong privacy policy and provides robustly implements OpenVPN encryption. No usage logs are stored, and connection logs are kept for 30 days. VyprVPN does ask users to refrain from using the VPN for illegal torrenting.

Finally, this VPN provides a 3-day free trial and a 30-day money back guarantee to test the service.

Best VPN for Windows: Conclusion

In this guide, we’ve explained everything you need to know about Windows VPN connections. We’ve detailed everything necessary for a clear understanding of selecting a VPN for Windows. 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 provides on any Windows machine is absolutely invaluable.

If internet freedom and security are important to you, then we have you covered. 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 via the messages section below. 

Title image credit: hafakot/Shutterstock.com

Ray Walsh
March 22nd, 2018

I am a freelance journalist and blogger from England. I am highly interested in politics and in particular the subject of IR. I am an advocate for freedom of speech, equality, and personal privacy. On a more personal level I like to stay active, love snowboarding, swimming and cycling, enjoy seafood, and love to listen to trap music.

7 responses to “5 Best VPNs for Windows in 2018

  1. Jon says:

    What about Ivacy, did you test them?

    I would be most interested in your opinion of Ivacy.


    1. Douglas Crawford says:

      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.

  2. Mozef Kaddas says:

    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.

  3. hidayat.palawan says:

    hi dear sir i need to a vpn

    1. Douglas Crawford says:

      Hi hidayat,

      If you use Windows, then this is a good list. The provider recommendations on our more general-purpose 5 Best VPN Services list are also good. If you unsure about what a VPN is or how to use one, please check out my VPNs for Beginners guide. If you need any more specific help, please let me know.

  4. Kabrina says:

    Hey this was great to use as a reference, I’ll look around some more before I make a decision. Also this needs to be updated, IPVanish allows up to 5 connections now.

    1. Douglas Crawford says:

      Hi Kabrina,

      Thanks for letting us know. I have updated this article. I’m afraid it may take a while, however, before all our articles are updated with this info.

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