Compare the 5 Best VPNs for Windows

The Best VPNs for Windows OS

In this article we will detail why you need a VPN for Windows and what to look for when buying a new VPN.

Windows remains the overwhelmingly most popular operating system on the market thanks to its accessibility, affordability (at least compared to Apple products running macOS), and familiarity.

So it’s no wonder just about every VPN provider caters to Windows users – sometimes exclusively.

But, much like the cereal aisle at any given American supermarket, this massive range of choice leaves many people cathartic. When you’re bombarded with hundreds of seemingly viable options, it’s harder to find the best one.

Of course, there isn’t really such a thing as “the best one” when it comes to VPNs. It ultimately becomes a matter of which one best caters to your needs and budget.

But there certainly is a “best range” – and narrowing down the options to this group makes finding the right VPN for you much, much easier.

Use our table below to compare VPNs side-by-side.

Our 5 Best Recommended Windows VPNs

Price$3.49/mth$6.67/mth$2.75/mth$2.99/mth$1.99/mth
Rating
Servers5572300064341001040
Multiple ConnectionsUp to 6Up to 5Up to 7Up to 6Up to 100
Speed 93 % 79 % 79 % 71 % 99 %
LoggingNo logsNo logsNo logsNo logsNo logs
Support24/7 live chat24/7 live chat24/7 live chat24/7 live chat24/7 live chat
Killswitch
Refund30-Day Moneyback Guarantee 30-Day Moneyback Guarantee 45-Day Moneyback Guarantee 30-Day Moneyback Guarantee30-Day Moneyback Guarantee
Devices
Unblocks

The Best VPNs for Windows

If you have the type of curious mind that likes tinkering around with your computer’s settings, you’ve probably noticed Windows 10 has a built-in function allowing you to set up a PPTP tunnel.

A lot of people think this is a built-in VPN, but it’s a little more complicated than that.

For starters, while PPTP is a VPN tunneling protocol, it’s also one of the worst. Using a PPTP connection and thinking you’re using a VPN is almost like confusing the Vulcan salute “live long and prosper” with the Jedi mantra “may the Force be with you.”

They’re kinda the same thing, but also vastly different.

This Windows PPTP setup is also incredibly complicated. You need to mess around with the Network Connections setting on your computer and reconfigure your router. Considering the end result is a shockingly weak pseudo-protection, it’s not worth the time and effort involved.

Instead, all you need to do is find a reliable VPN provider, pay for a subscription, install the VPN app, and connect. Sure, you’ll have to cough up some cash (unless you opt for a free VPN), but the benefits are absolutely worth doing so.

Of course, you could end up spending days or even weeks trying to find the right VPN.

But that’s why you’re here!

We’ve already done the deep dive research and testing to help you find the right VPN in a fraction of the time. All you need to do is choose which VPNs to compare using our nifty tool and pick the one that caters to your personal preferences and requirements.

We have 5 recommendations for you to start with. But ultimately, the final decision is always in your hands.

How to Choose a VPN for Windows

Remember how we mentioned the overabundance of choice makes the act of choosing so much harder? This is known as “choice paralysis” or “the paradox of choice.”

The free market is great in many ways. But it also makes fixing the cause of choice paralysis next to impossible. Instead, the best we can do is treat the symptoms.

Luckily, when it comes to choosing a VPN for Windows, doing so can be fairly simple. You just need to ask the right questions and keep a look-out for the following:

  • Easily installed Windows app
  • Ideally not located in a 5 Eyes, 9 Eyes, or 14 Eyes country
  • Strict no-logs policy
  • 256-bit encryption
  • Automatic kill switch
  • DNS leak protection
  • High-speed connection
  • Unlimited bandwidth
  • Lots of servers
  • P2P connections supported
  • OpenVPN protocol
  • 24/7 customer support (live chat preferred)
  • Affordability

All of our recommended VPNs in this guide meet most – if not all – of these requirements.

VPNs to Avoid

Another way to relieve some of the stress caused by choice paralysis is to know what to avoid. And when it comes to VPNs especially, this alone can help you narrow down your options from hundreds to a handful:

  • Android VPN permission-enabled apps (unless it’s the authorized version of a premium VPN service)
  • Free VPNs (with a few exceptions)
  • VPNs that are based in a 5 Eyes, 9 Eyes, or 14 Eyes country – though there are always a few rare exceptions
  • Cryptostorm VPN
  • GoVPN
  • PureVPN

Our 5 Recommended Windows VPNs in Detail

CyberGhost

As one of the best overall VPN providers, CyberGhost naturally qualifies as a great VPN for Windows.

You’ll have access to all 6,300+ servers in 90 countries and a wide-range of security and privacy features. These include a strict no-logs policy and 256-bit AES encryption, as well as the best VPN protocol out there: OpenVPN.

CyberGhost ticks just about all of the right boxes for us when it comes to usability and function. Pretty much the only major issue you should look out for is the fact CyberGhost isn’t a reliable option for using in China.

But, as a Romanian-based provider, you won’t have to worry about the 5/9/14 Eyes Alliances having easy-access to all of your personal data!

Specs

  • Number of Servers: 6,353 servers
  • Server Locations: 111 (90 countries)
  • 53 Mbps average (download)
  • 256-bit AES encryption
  • Up to 7 simultaneous connections
  • 1 Month Plan: $12.99
  • 6 Months Plan: $47.94
  • 1 Year Plan: $49.50 (+ 6 months free)
  • 24-hour free trial
  • 14-day money-back guarantee on 1 Month Plan
  • 45-day money-back guarantee on 6 Months and 1 Year Plans
  • 24/7 customer support via live chat and email

ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN claims to be a British Virgin Islands VPN, though there’s some doubt as to whether the provider might be Hong Kong-based instead. Regardless, they’ve remained dedicated to a strict no-logs policy. So dedicated, in fact, they’ve passed several independent audits!

When it comes to security features, ExpressVPN pulls out pretty much all the stops. When you connect to one of their 3,000+ servers in 94 countries, you can rest assured you’ll be able to stream, torrent, or simply browse in private.

Specs

  • Number of Servers: 3,000+
  • Server Locations: 160 (94 countries)
  • 50 Mbps average (download)
  • 256-bit AES encryption
  • Up to 5 simultaneous connections
  • 1 Month Plan: $12.95
  • 6 Month Plan: $59.95
  • 1 Year Plan: $99.95
  • 30-day money-back guarantee on all subscription plans
  • 24/7 customer support via live chat and email

NordVPN

NordVPN can be accurately described as the third giant of the VPN industry, and for good reason.

In fact, until early-2020 (when CyberGhost overtook them), NordVPN had the largest server network available. They’ve actually downscaled by about 700 servers since we first reviewed them, now offering 5,065 in 59 countries.

While you can still opt for the (tried and trusted) OpenVPN protocol, NordVPN recently launched a new option: NordLynx, based the WireGuard protocol. According to their feature release, NordVPN suggests you’ll get faster connection speeds with NordLynx than any other tunneling protocol.

Admittedly, NordLynx is still in the testing phase and is primarily marketed toward Linux users. But innovation is exciting and the provider is introducing the protocol to its Windows VPN too!

Specs

  • Number of Servers: 5,065
  • Server Locations: 59 countries
  • 256-bit AES-GCM encryption with a 3072bit Diffie-Hellman key
  • Up to 6 simultaneous connections
  • 1 Month Plan: $11.95
  • 1 Year Plan: $83.88
  • 2 Year Plan: $119.76
  • 3 Year Plan: $125.64
  • 30-day money-back guarantee on all subscription plans
  • 24/7 customer support via live chat and email
VPNArea logo

VPNArea

Another (perhaps surprisingly so) small VPN provider that’s really impressed us during testing: VPNArea.

VPNArea’s true location is a bit of a puzzle: the provider’s company headquarters are in Bulgaria, but their website and emails are hosted in Switzerland. But the good news is regardless of which country you choose to identify VPNArea with, it’s a politically safe choice – neither jurisdiction belongs to the 5/9/14 Eyes Alliances.

In fact, the only real issue we have with VPN Area is the fact they only have 100+ servers in 65 countries.

However, as with Surfshark, we’ve found VPNArea to enjoy surprisingly good speeds despite this potential handicap.

Granted, they’re still the slowest among these 5 recommendations, but VPNArea does allow you to make informed decisions when picking a server. At a glance, you can quickly tell which ones have the lowest load and the best current speeds.

If you’re looking for a reliable VPN with affordable subscription rates, then VPNArea is definitely a great choice.

Specs

  • Number of Servers: 100+
  • Server Locations: 65 countries
  • 256-bit AES-CBC encryption
  • Up to 6 simultaneous connections
  • 1 Month Plan: $9.90
  • 1 Year Plan: $59
  • 3 Year Plan: $107.64
  • 14-day money-back guarantee on 1 Month subscription plan
  • 30-day money-back guarantee on 1 Year and 3 Year subscription plans
  • 24/7 customer support via live chat and email
Surfshark Logo Small

SurfShark

Surfshark is sort of like a little brother to ExpressVPN, with one of the main distinguishing factors being there are no conspiracy theories questioning whether or not Surfshark truly is based in the British Virgin Islands.

Another obvious difference is in the much smaller server networks – only 1,700+ in 63 countries.

Usually, such a small server network would almost certainly guarantee slow connection speeds. It’s a simple matter of math – the fewer servers, the more users are forced to share. And when that happens, you end up with network overload.

Such issues aren’t affecting Surfshark, though. In fact, they’re one of the fastest VPNs we’ve tested so far!

Specs

  • Number of Servers: 1,700+
  • Server Locations: 63 countries
  • 62Mbps average (download)
  • 256-bit AES-GCM encryption
  • Unlimited simultaneous connections
  • 1 Month Plan: $11.95
  • 1 Year Plan: $71.88
  • 2 Year Plan: $47.76
  • 30-day money-back guarantee on all subscription plans
  • 24/7 customer support via live chat and email

Do I need a VPN for Windows?

Yes.

As the most popular operating system for computers, Windows is also the most open to cyber-attacks and malware, which a VPN can help to protect you from (though safe practices and antimalware software is still necessary). The built-in “VPN” that comes with Windows 10 is also inadequate, so you’ll need a real VPN to enhance your online privacy.

What is the best VPN for Windows?

There is no single best VPN for Windows, as individual users have individual requirements. However, we’re generally comfortable with recommending NordVPN and ExpressVPN as two of the strongest contenders for a universally best VPN for Windows.

Can my ISP see my web traffic?

Yes, and they can legally sell that information to third-parties without informing you. If you use a reliable VPN, your ISP won’t be able to see your traffic anymore.

Can my ISP detect VPNs?

If you’re using a VPN with PPTP protocol, then yes, and your ISP is likely to detect and block your VPN. However, OpenVPN protocol cannot be detected or blocked by ISPs, and is a far more secure protocol in general. Some of the VPNs recommended in this guide also have features that allow you to camouflage your VPN usage to prevent detection by your ISP.

Can I use a free VPN for Windows?

It is never recommended to use a free VPN service, as many are dangerous. However, if you’re looking for a short-term solution, we do have a guide on reliable freemium VPNs for Windows.

Are VPNs legal?

Yes, using a VPN is 100% legal in most countries. The most notable exceptions that ban or otherwise restrict VPN usage include China, Iraq, North Korea, and Russia. However, bear in mind that any illegal activities conducted via a VPN remain illegal.

Will ExpressVPN work for Windows?

Yes, ExpressVPN is one of the best VPNs for Windows.

Will NordVPN work for Windows?

Yes, NordVPN is one of the best VPNs for Windows.