Windows is by far the world’s most popular operating system. Whether you’re using Windows 8 or Windows 10, there are plenty of options out there when it comes to VPNs. In this article, we’re going to cover all the best VPNs for Windows from best features to most secure or affordable.
Picking the best VPN client for Windows 7, 8, or 10 is pretty similar to picking the best VPN full stop.
Most reputable providers will have a dedicated VPN client for the latest Windows operating systems. However, there are still numerous VPNs that are only browser-based or mobile based – simply put, they don’t work well on Windows.
With the massive selection of VPNs available on the market, picking the right one can be tricky. Luckily, we’re here to help you with our selection of top picks for what are, in our view, the best VPNs for Windows.
What Makes a VPN One of the “Best”?
There’s a selection of key features that make only a small handful of VPNs the “best” available for Windows. Only a few VPNs can consistently provide all of these features and more. Some of these features include:
- Netflix: Many people outside the U.S. use VPNs to access geo-blocked Netflix content. It’s no secret that U.S. Netflix has all the best TV shows and movies, after all! Netflix knows this and regularly blocks VPN providers’ servers.
- Torrenting and P2P: Not all VPNs support or allow the use of P2P platforms or torrenting, and some will ban you from using their services if caught. Any good VPN will allow you to hide behind a VPN while torrenting or using P2P platforms.
- Privacy: The best VPNs in our list will provide secure and complete privacy, allowing you to hide your online activities without storing any of your information, usage data, or exposing your identity through leaks or by using outdated protocols.
- Censorship: People living in key countries or states that exercise control over the Internet (e.g. China) use VPNs for a secure online platform. For these people, a secure VPN is a must for expressing their views without the fear of state persecution.
- Speed and Performance: Some ISPs will throttle their customers’ download speeds on key sites such as Netflix if they’re using a lot of bandwidth. By using a VPN, your ISP cannot see what sites you’re using and thus it becomes harder to throttle speeds.
These are just five of the many reasons why people opt to use a VPN. Once upon a time, VPN usage was seen as sketchy. But in an age full of privacy concerns, using a VPN is becoming the norm.
Our Picks: The 5 Best VPNs for Windows
Out of all the VPNs we’ve reviewed, these five stand tall above them all for providing the very best services. While each one has particular strengths, all five of these VPNs can be considered go-to options that perform remarkably on all modern Windows operating systems.
1. Express VPN: By far the best VPN right now
If you’ve been looking into VPNs, you’ve probably already come across ExpressVPN on a review site or two. That’s because it’s by far the best VPN available on the market right now.
ExpressVPN is registered in the British Virgin Islands. This means that it’s outside the scope of so-called 5, 7, or 14-Eyes nations that all work together to share information and intelligence. So your information can’t be requested by government agencies. Plus, ExpressVPN doesn’t log anything, period.
You get plenty for your money, too. With well over 2,000 servers and locations that are constantly being added, the ExpressVPN network is gigantic. You’re certain to find a server that will work with streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu. Speeds are nothing to worry about either (assuming you have a decent Internet connection) because ExpressVPN doesn’t throttle your download speeds and all their servers are lightning fast. You can also download as much as you want and participate in P2P activities.
ExpressVPN is compatible with virtually any device (including Nintendo Switch!) through router installation. You can sign up in a matter of minutes. With payment methods that include everything from debit card to Bitcoin, it’s very hard to find a bad thing to say about ExpressVPN. They are truly the best in their class.
Still not sure? Try out ExpressVPN today with their 30-day no questions asked money-back guarantee. If you’re not satisfied, you don’t lose anything! Starting at $12.95 per month on a rolling monthly basis or $8.32 per month for a 12-month subscription (billed at $99.95), you get true value for money with ExpressVPN.
Better yet, take advantage of the 12-month subscription now and get 3 months free with the link below.
2. NordVPN: A more affordable but still excellent option
NordVPN always ranks highly on VPN review sites, often sitting just below ExpressVPN. It’s renowned for its trustworthy and secure VPN services. With unbeatable prices and industry-leading features, it’s easy to see why millions of people around the world trust NordVPN for their day-to-day online privacy needs.
Based in Panama, NordVPN falls outside of any alliances or agreements with other nations (just like ExpressVPN). This enables them to guarantee that customer information and data will never be shared with third-party organizations.
No matter what you want to use your NordVPN subscription for, you can be sure that it will deliver. NordVPN has a huge range of servers and locations on offer, and these servers include specialty services that operate with a specific purpose in mind such as P2P, obfuscation, or double VPN.
Because of the large server network that is constantly changing and being added to, it’s easy to find a server that you can use to access geo-blocked content on streaming services such as Netflix. With virtually no loss of download speeds, you can stream content without any problems.
NordVPN really impresses when it comes to pricing. While you can opt for a 1-month plan and pay $11.95, there’s a hefty discount at $2.99 per month with their 3-year plan, billed at $107.55.
Want to make sure it really lives up to its reputation? You can try out NordVPN for free by taking advantage of their 30-day money-back guarantee. Plenty of time to test all the features for yourself.
Given how good NordVPN is, we don’t think you’ll be asking for a refund anytime soon! Other positives of this brilliant VPN service include insane security backed by industry-leading encryption methods and protocols, cryptocurrency (anonymous) payment methods, a wide range of supported devices, and a sign-up process that takes a matter of seconds.
Let’s not forget about the product interface itself. It’s surely one of the best (if not the best) VPN interfaces in the industry.
3. CyberGhost: Constantly updated with new features
20 million people around the world use CyberGhost for its brilliant features, so it’s no surprise that it’s appearing on this list. CyberGhost is one of the best VPNs for PC and it’s compatible with all the latest versions of Windows.
Founded in 2011 in Romania, it has managed to go from a relatively obscure VPN provider to industry-leading name in less than a decade. Because it’s located in Romania, it doesn’t fall under any agreements or alliances between nations for the sharing of intelligence and security. This, in addition to their no-logging policy, use of OpenVPN, and AES-256 encryption, makes CyberGhost a go-to for anybody concerned about privacy.
In our comprehensive CyberGhost review, we put the service to the test. It passed everything with flying colors, including IP and DNS leak testing, UI and UX testing, customer support, and speed testing. Throughout all this, we didn’t experience any drops or lapses in connection and our download speeds remained consistently fast across all servers and locations we looked at.
Netflix, torrenting, and P2P are all supported on CyberGhost and it’s very easy to find a suitable server; we were able to stream Netflix shows without any problems.
There are two ways you can test out CyberGhost: try it out for free for three days, or purchase a premium subscription and take advantage of their 45-day money-back guarantee.
We recommend purchasing a premium plan. CyberGhost provides all the above and more for the budget-friendly price of $3.50 per month billed as $63 for the first 18 months, then yearly for three years total. If you prefer a rolling month-to-month service, you can pay $12.99 instead. If you invest in a subscription and aren’t completely satisfied, CyberGhost will refund you with no questions asked within 45 days of your purchase.
4. Private Internet Access: A no-logging policy proven in court
Although Private Internet Access (PIA) is in the U.S. and thus a part of the 5, 7, and 14-Eyes alliances—an agreement that means they share information and intelligence with other nations—two court cases involving the company have shown that their strict no-logging policy is watertight.
A location in the U.S. or any other country within the 5, 7, or 14-Eyes agreements would usually be a big red flag, but Private Internet Access is committed to anonymity, even when put under legal pressure.
Twice within the past three years, PIA’s no-logging policy was tested in separate cases. The policy was held up both times when the FBI subpoenaed the company for user information, only to come home empty-handed.
PIA offers a vast range of servers around the globe. Current locations include North and South America, Europe, and Asia, and they constantly add to their offerings. In terms of speed and performance, our testing revealed very little reduction in download speeds across the servers and only small increases in ping. Just like the VPNs above, this makes PIA perfect for using Netflix and participating in P2P activities like torrenting.
PIA uses OpenVPN as one of its tunneling protocols—widely regarded as the best available—backed up by AES-128 and AES-256 encryption. AES-128 is faster, but AES-256 is more secure. So whether you need to watch Netflix or protect your privacy, you’re covered. In addition to these encryptions, PIA utilizes SHA1 (160-bit) and SHA256 for authentication, handshake encryption, and ECC.
On top of PIA’s no-logging policy, the above encryption methods and a built-in kill switch that masks your IP address if your connection drops make this VPN one of the safest and most secure services on the market.
Pricing starts at $2.91 per month when purchased as a 2-year subscription, or you can instead opt to pay $6.95 on a month-by-month basis. PIA is one of the cheapest VPNs on the market despite all the features on offer. You can try it out risk-free for 7 days thanks to their 7-day money back guarantee.
*Note: For those of you shopping over the holidays, there’s an even better, one-time deal at $2.59/month for a 2-year subscription, where the first three months are free! The yearly subscription gives you the first month for free.
If you want (proven) privacy with the reliability of American-made software, PIA is it.
5. hide.me VPN: Another VPN committed to privacy
Based in Malaysia, hide.me is not associated with any intelligence-sharing nations under the 5, 7, or 14-Eyes agreements. Malaysia has no data retention laws, and the U.S. cannot interfere. As a result, Hide.me logs zero information.
hide.me also claims to be the “World’s Fastest VPN,” and though this may not exactly be true, it does offer impressive performance which was enough to earn it a spot on our list. After using hide.me for several hours during initial testing, we found it to be consistently reliable and noticed virtually no hampering of our download speeds when connected to their servers.
Although server speeds were good, Netflix access is intermittent and cannot be guaranteed; it depends on the server in question. Speaking of servers, there aren’t as many when compared to ExpressVPN, for example. However, hide.me handpicks all its servers for quality assurance, so the ones that are available are very good.
The VPN did not show any signs of IP or DNS leaks during our testing, and ticks all the boxes due to its use of OpenVPN and strong encryption. Their customer support is great and available through the website.
hide.me VPN has a freemium plan. However, we recommend taking advantage of their 14-day money back guarantee and taking their premium unrestricted service for a spin. Pricing is $9.99 per month for their Premium plan or $4.99 for their Plus plan that has restricted data transfer. Although hide.me VPN is more expensive, it’s a more “boutique” service that’s run by a small team of specialists who provide awesome support and spend time handpicking servers.
For these reasons, hide.me VPN is easily one of the best VPNs you can get for Windows.
What VPN Do We Recommend?
You really can’t go wrong with ExpressVPN.
Just as the lion is the king of the jungle, ExpressVPN reigns supreme when it comes to quality VPNs.
There’s a reason it’s consistently crowned the best VPN service by review sites like ours. It has everything anybody could ever need at a budget-friendly price point. Sure, there are plenty of great alternatives out there, but if you’re looking for the cream of the crop, ExpressVPN has everything you need and more.
So save yourself a headache and try their service for 30 days with a money-back guarantee. There’s no risk with this kind of guarantee.