Windows VPNs are the flagship offering from just about every one of the best VPN providers on the market. New features land on PC first and, unlike mobile apps, you won't be missing out on crucial features like split tunneling or a kill switch.
Thanks to this, there's a huge range of PC VPNs on the market, and many of them are pleasant to use. However, bagging a service that's perfected every aspect – from privacy and security to unblocking streaming sites – can be tricky.
That's why we've hand-tested dozens of the biggest names in the game (as well as a bunch of smaller providers) and rounded up the very best Windows 10 VPNs available today. We'll compare how they perform in all the key areas, and draw on our in-depth reviews to give an informed, unbiased opinion on which is best for you. And, whichever you pick, you'll be set for a slick experience on your PC.
How to choose a Windows 10 VPN
Because there are so many good Windows 10 VPNs out there, we recommend signing up to a provider that ticks every box. As always, privacy and security should be your primary concern. However, since a fair few PC VPNs will keep you safe online, it's worth considering what else you'll need from it.
Love TV and cinema? Getting a VPN for Windows that can unblock tons of global streaming sites will be a priority. If you're a gamer, mega speeds will be essential. Those looking for torrenting protection and more customization from their apps may prefer a techier interface with more additional features.
Overall, we consider ExpressVPN to be the best PC VPN available for most users. However, other providers may suit you better, so we've also rounded up four more that offer slightly different experiences.
1. ExpressVPN – The best Windows 10 VPN (opens in new tab)
ExpressVPN is the best all-round Windows VPN on the market, with rock-solid privacy, great speeds, and excellent streaming performance. If you're not sure, you're covered by a no-quibble 30-day money-back guarantee, and if you sign up for the 12-month plan, you'll get 3 months FREE.
2. NordVPN – Big name is still one of the best (opens in new tab)
NordVPN isn't the biggest name in the VPN business for nothing, and its performance on Windows machines is nothing short of impressive. Nord gives ExpressVPN a real run for its money – it's a great option and certainly worth considering.
3. Surfshark – Excellent value Windows 10 VPN (opens in new tab)
Want to make your money go a little further? Surfshark has got you covered. At less than $2.50/mo it's the cheapest way to get a quality Windows VPN, but you'll also get awesome features like Double Hop and being able to use one plan on as many devices as you want.
Best Windows 10 VPN for PC in 2022(opens in new tab)
In our complete ExpressVPN review we rated the provider as the very best overall VPN on the market – and the same goes for its Windows VPN. With over 3,000 servers in a huge 94 countries worldwide, you'll be able to get connected wherever you are.
ExpressVPN's Windows app is quite simply a pleasure to use. If you just want to get connected as quickly as possible, then tap the big on/off button and you'll connect to the Smart Location. If you need to manually select a server, this is super simple too – there's an intuitive list of locations to choose from and connect to in a couple of clicks.
Elsewhere, you'll have plenty of control over how the app works. Head into the settings and you'll be able to customize your kill switch, protocols, auto-connect settings, split tunneling, and plenty more.
Speed is an essential part of choosing a VPN, and ExpressVPN's in-house, open-source Lightway protocol is suitably rapid. When tested on our 1Gbps connection, it delivered peak speeds of 560Mbps. That's an excellent performance, but it's worth noting that some rivals were even faster – NordVPN at 820Mbps, and Surfshark at a whopping 950Mbps.
In practice though, if you're using a regular domestic connection of around 100Mbps you won't see any difference, and Express's super-reliable connections will be more important.
Fancy expanding your streaming scope? When we tested ExpressVPN with Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Disney+, and Amazon Prime Video, it was able to unblock every single one. This alone could make ExpressVPN worth it for you.
Should you ever run into any issues with Express, we found the live chat support team incredibly helpful, and the huge range of well-written support guides is a great first line of defence. And, if you choose to sign up and find that you don't enjoy the service, there's also a 30-day money-back guarantee backing you up.
Overall, ExpressVPN is the very best Windows VPN available right now. If you're looking for a service that's easy to use with no compromises, it's the one to go for.
Get 3 months FREE with the best Windows 10 VPN (opens in new tab)
Tom's Guide readers can get three months free when signing up to a 12-month plan with ExpressVPN – that's 15 months for the price of 12. Plus, if you're not sure, you're covered by a 30-day money-back guarantee so you can make sure you like the service before committing. Easy.
If you're a sucker for a brand-name, NordVPN could be right up your alley. With over 5,500 servers worldwide, it's got a slight upper hand on ExpressVPN, but with 63 locations there's not quite as much spread. For almost every user, though, that's unlikely to make much of a difference.
With AES-256 encryption and RAM-only servers, in our NordVPN review we we confident stating that it's super secure, and much like Express you'll be able to connect in a single click and forget about it. However, there are a couple of unique features like Double VPN and Onion over VPN on offer here. These will certainly appeal to the more privacy conscious, and while not necessary for day-to-day use, they're useful additions to have on hand. The multiple independent audits are also a nice touch.
Nord's PC VPN app is attractive, but in our experience using the map interface can be quite fiddly at times. A plain server list is available, but it's not quite as easy to use as ExpressVPN's or Surfshark's. When it comes to speed, however, Nord's reliable and very fast – its peak of 820Mbps isn't quite class-leading, but it's close.
We manually test all the VPNs we review on a wide range of streaming sites, and just like ExpressVPN, Nord delivered a clean sweep. Admittedly in the past year we've seen some minor fluctuations, but the provider has proved reliable in recent months.
Should anything go wrong, you'll have friendly live-chat agents ready to take your question, and again, a 30-day money-back guarantee allows you to test-drive the service before you commit.
Sign up now on the NordVPN website (opens in new tab)(opens in new tab)
For bargain hunters after a cheap VPN, the sub $2.50-a-month Surfshark will be very tempting – but it's also an excellent choice for those looking for a fully featured VPN. With 3,200 servers over 100 countries, it's got a respectable spread that beats both ExpressVPN and NordVPN, and its AES-256 encryption and full independent audit of its servers will also be big ticks for security nuts.
In terms of what you get under the hood, Surfshark certainly doesn't short-change you. Split tunneling, a kill switch, Multi-Hop servers and even obfuscated servers are all available. Plus, the new Nexus feature is in development – all you'll currently get is an IP rotator, but we're promised more is in the pipeline.
When we used the Windows VPN app, it was quick and easy to select and switch servers, change settings, and we had no issues with reliability. What's more, you'll even get unlimited connections, meaning you can install Surfshark on as many devices as you like on a single plan.
It's worth noting that in our Surfshark review stress-testing we were able to slightly break the kill switch, but what we were doing is very unlikely to happen in real life – and none of our data was ever leaked.
When using WireGuard, Surfshark is the fastest VPN we've ever tested. Outperforming both NordVPN and ExpressVPN with peak speeds of 950Mbps, it has made great improvements since our last hands-on review. OpenVPN speeds are little sluggish, but now that WireGuard is very much the norm, this is becoming less and less of an issue.
Surfshark regains its composure when it comes to streaming, and just like Nord and Express it delivered a clean sweep of Netflix, Prime, Disney+ and BBC iPlayer. Combined with a 30-day money-back guarantee and excellent support, if you're pinching the pennies you can't go wrong with Surfshark.
Sign up now on the Surfshark website (opens in new tab)(opens in new tab)
Private Internet Access has been around for years now, and is well-known as a trusted name in internet privacy. However, it hasn't rested on its laurels and brand power – in fact, in the last year or so it's really improved and is now easily one of the very best Windows VPNs on the market.
With the largest server network of any PC VPN – at least 10,000+, if not even more – you're almost guaranteed to find a connection that's pretty much empty and can deliver good speeds. What's more, in our Private Internet Access review we discovered that it also offers servers in every one of the 50 US states, so it's also a great US VPN and streaming VPN.
In terms of speeds, it's not one the very fastest services we've tested, but topping out at 510Mbps in this round of testing it's only just trailing ExpressVPN. Plus, that's a big improvement from our last test, which saw it perform quite disappointingly.
PIA's party piece, however, is the power of its apps. Alongside the essentials like AES-256 encryption, WireGuard integration, a kill switch, and split tunneling, there's plenty more to explore. Features like port forwarding make it perfect as a torrenting VPN, and there are a ton of connection setting not often found elsewhere.
For newbies, though, these might add complexity without much payoff, so it's worth considering if you really need them.
Overall, though, if you need a cheap, powerful VPN with some surprisingly in-depth apps, PIA is one of the top VPNs for Windows on the market.
Head over to the PIA website to sign up (opens in new tab)
The new and improved Proton VPN is box-fresh following the whole Proton brand's glittering revamp, but under the skin it's the same secure and reliable VPN we've grown to love.
With a decent 1,900+ servers in 67 locations (around 100 servers in 3 locations are available with the excellent free VPN version), in our testing it was quick and easy to get a reliable connection – but there's no escaping the fact that close rivals have double this, or even more in the case of NordVPN (5,500) and CyberGhost (7,900).
What those providers don't offer is an answer to Proton's Secure Core servers. Secure Core routes your connection through a super secure VPN server in either Iceland, Switzerland or Sweden before forwarding you to your location of choice. Proton recommends you use this function if you're connecting to a potentially troublesome server like Turkey or China, but real privacy obsessives may want to use this 24/7.
Proton VPN's PC VPN app is large and somewhat complex – but it's well laid out and has a better map-based interface than Nord. In our Proton VPN review we found the servers easy to search through, but newbies may prefer something simpler like ExpressVPN.
With peak WireGuard speeds of 510Mbps, Proton is on par with PIA and ExpressVPN, but can't quite match the fastest. It's also worth noting that, unlike Private Internet Access, Proton is marginally slower than in our last testing procedure.
However, Proton is a great choice as a Netflix VPN. Able to unblock a number of locations including the US, UK and Canada, as well as other sites like BBC iPlayer, Prime Video and Disney+, it certainly isn't all work and no play for this privacy-focused VPN.
However, while Proton's written guides are excellent, its live chat isn't yet 24/7, so if you have an issue at midnight you may not be able to rectify the issue until morning. Overall though, it's a cracking Windows VPN choice for those who like a little more depth to their VPN – and with a recent price-cut, it's more affordable than ever.
Sign up now on the ProtonVPN website (opens in new tab)
Best Windows 10 VPN for PC FAQ
What is the best Windows 10 VPN?
Overall, we recommend ExpressVPN (opens in new tab) as the best Windows 10 VPN on the market. It's great for streaming, staying anonymous, has plenty of servers, and also delivers excellent connection speeds.
However, close on its tail is NordVPN, with a very similar feature set for a little cheaper (opens in new tab), and a great bargain option is Surfshark, which is available for less than $2.50 a month (opens in new tab).
Why do I need a VPN for Windows?
A PC VPN can offer a lot more than many people think. While it can help protect your data from hackers and when you're on public Wi-Fi, you'll also be able to access content that would previously have been unavailable. All you need to do is select a server in the country of your choice, and away you go.
VPNs can also help you avoid location-based price targeting. Many products – especially digital services – alter their advertised prices depending on where the customer lives. If you want to save a bit of cash, it's worth seeing how much the service charges in other countries.
Often you'll find that lower-income areas will be offered cheaper prices, and businesses also often advertise better prices to those who live in their own country. This process is often trial and error, but your VPN could pay for itself in no time.
Do I really need a VPN for Windows?
We generally consider a VPN to be a useful bit of kit for just about any PC user, but some will get more use out of a VPN for Windows than others.
If all you use your PC for is browsing social media, watching YouTube and sending emails, it's unlikely you'll find yourself opening up your VPN all that often. And, remember that even if you've got a VPN active, signing in to any social media will immediately identify you to any potential snoopers or marketing trackers, no matter where your IP is located.
However, if you want to watch more content on Netflix, torrent in any shape or form, or simply want to keep your activity out of your ISP's hands, a VPN is the perfect tool.
What makes a great VPN for PC?
Since Windows is a great all-round operating system, you'll want a VPN that can do it all as well.
Firstly, you'll need great privacy – look for verified no-logging policies and top encryption standards. It's also worth making sure you've got additional features like split tunneling and a kill switch for maximum functionality.
Then you should make sure that you can access the streaming services that you want. Some VPNs struggle with iPlayer or Netflix, so if you want to watch as much as possible, take a look at our VPN for Netflix and BBC iPlayer VPN guides, or just go with ExpressVPN which can pretty much do it all with no hassle.
Finally, it's worth making sure that your VPN is simple and easy to use. Ideally you'll want to set it and forget it, so being able to quickly open the app and get protected is super important.
Can I get a free Windows 10 VPN?
Yes, free Windows VPNs are available, but every one comes with some kind of restriction – after all, VPNs are businesses and at the end of the day, they need to get paid.
Proton VPN offers the best free option on the market, giving unlimited data, and only restricting the servers you can use. Compare that with a service like TunnelBear, which offers 500MB a month, and it starts to look quite tempting.
However, if you're going to do anything major with your Windows 10 VPN – especially if you're using it for streaming – we'd thoroughly recommend paying for a service.
If you can't afford a premium service like ExpressVPN (which we whole-heartedly recommend to pretty much everyone) it'd be worth having a read through our cheapest VPN list – you might be surprised at how little many fully-featured VPNs go for.