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5 Best VPNs for Windows in 2018 – 5 Top VPN Apps for Windows 7 & 10

Ray Walsh

Ray Walsh

December 15, 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, you can access censored or geo-restricted content from all over the world. Furthermore, with a VPN for Windows, encryption protects your privacy at home and on public WiFi. In addition, it will conceal your IP address (location and identity).

What’s most important to you?

Tell us what matters to you and we’ll recommend the VPN that fits you best.

Privacy: I want to make sure my internet activity is hidden from my Internet Service Provider (ISP, government or...)

Unlocking content: I want to access content from other countries or services that is not available in my country

Next

What’s most important to you?

Tell us what matters to you and we’ll recommend the VPN that fits you best.

Ease of use

Great Customer Service

Speed of connection

See the Best VPN for you

The Perfect Fit

Highlights

  • Super fast : ExpressVPN has always been at the top of the game in terms of raw speed!
  • Super secure: 256-bit AES OpenVPN encryption ensures no-one can access your data
  • Unlimited downloading
  • 30-day no quibble money-back guarantee: just give it a try
  • 24/7 Customer support: world class!
« Start again

The Perfect Fit

Highlights

  • Great for Privacy : No logs at all so nothing to trace what you do online
  • Based in Panama: so no government spying or link to the NSA
  • 6 simultaneous connections Good for the whole family!
  • Servers in 61+ countries
  • 30-day money back guarantee – so you have nothing to lose!
« Start again

You can read about the advantages and disadvantages of each VPN separately below. We then take an in-depth look at the role of a VPN for Windows.

What is the Best VPN for Windows in 2018?

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

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.

Special Deal: Save 49% Today!

Visit ExpressVPN »30-day money-back guarantee!
NordVPN Homepage
PROS:
  • Excellent encryption
  • No logs
  • Six simultaneous connections
  • Servers in 61+ countries
  • P2P: yes
CONS:
  • 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, 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.

3. CyberGhost

CyberGhost Homepage
PROS:
  • Works excellently on Windows
  • Servers in 27 countries
  • Fast connections for streaming
  • Secure encryption for privacy
  • Easy to use and reliable
CONS:
  • 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 that you can test the service.

4. Buffered

Buffered Homepage
PROS:
  • Very fast speeds
  • Easy to use software
  • Excellent features
  • Particularly good on Windows
  • P2P: yes
CONS:
  • 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.

5. hide.Me

hide.Me Homepage
PROS:
  • 5 simultaneous connections
  • Great support through active community
  • Ideal for travelling
  • Great windows software
  • Certified protocol
CONS:
  • Premium plan expensive
  • Tricky set up multiple connection

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 it’s 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.

Best Windows VPN: Side-by-Side Comparison



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.


Windows VPN guide for 2018

If you would like to learn more about what VPNs are and how they can benefit windows users, why not take a minute to look through our handy guide. Simply click the links relevant to your queries in the table of content below to jump straight to the answer.


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.

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 & Internet, as displayed in the picture below.
    VPN for Windows
  2. 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. (When getting the information about your server ID from the VPN provider, ask if you need a particular VPN connection name. That way you’ll 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’s 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 doesn’t 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 enter your details now. Scroll down the page a little and tick the box that says Remember my sign-in information. Then click Save and navigate back over to the Add VPN page.

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

When you select the VPN that you’ve created, you’ll be prompted with three options. One of those is Connect. Click this 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, you can do so here.

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. Download the OpenVPN configuration files from your VPN provider. You will need unzip them 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 plan to use.
  6. Double-click the OpenVPN GUI icon. You’ll see a small red icon appear in your taskbar. Right-click on that icon, select the server you require and click Connect.

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.

Setting up a VPN Server: Why Some VPNs Are Faster

Setting up a network of VPN servers is neither cheap nor easy, especially if you want that VPN service to provide decent speeds. Many VPNs that are cheap – and even some that are expensive! – have inferior networks that have been put together on the cheap. This results in slow servers and slow speeds. The VPNs in this guide have all set up their servers to the highest standards. They use network infrastructure that is designated “tier 1.” Tier 1 networks allow point-to-point tunneling to happen at the very best speeds!

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.

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.

WiFi VPNs

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!


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. 

Best Windows VPN Software: Side-by-Side Summary

Title image credit: hafakot/Shutterstock.com

Ray Walsh

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.

5 responses to “5 Best VPNs for Windows in 2018 – 5 Top VPN Apps for Windows 7 & 10

  1. 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.

    1. 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.

  2. 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. 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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