Skip to main content

Best Windows 10 VPN in 2020

best Windows 10 VPN
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

There's currently huge demand for the best Windows 10 VPN, and competition to be the best VPN on the OS is as stiff as ever. Found on over a billion devices worldwide, Windows is stable, versatile, and well-known – perfect for developing powerful VPNs that deliver the goods. 

From streaming and torrenting to protecting your everyday browsing and personal info, Windows 10 VPNs are more popular than ever and have become mainstream software. The biggest question is which one is right for you.

To help you make that decision, we've tested pretty much every VPN we could find to narrow the selection down to the five very best. But first, what can a Windows 10 VPN actually do for you?

How does a Windows 10 VPN work?

A VPN routes your internet connection away from your ISP and through its own servers. These servers are more highly encrypted than the ones your ISP might use, and subsequently are virtually impenetrable. If you want your activity to be totally private – even to your ISP – a Windows 10 VPN is essential.

However, while a VPN for Windows will help keep you anonymous online, it can also provide a host of other benefits. One of the most popular reasons people download VPNs isn't necessarily even to do with security – they just want to watch TV.

Because VPNs have servers all around the world, you can connect to one and you'll appear to websites as if you're in that country. This can be used to bypass geo-restrictions and get you access to streaming content that's not available in your country – all the anime that's available on Japanese Netflix, for example, or even BBC iPlayer.

So, if you're in the market for a Windows 10 VPN, read on to find out which providers work best with the operating system and provide the best value for money. We've rated ExpressVPN as the best Windows 10 VPN, but there are still other options that might be a better fit for you. So, without further ado, let's get into it.

1. ExpressVPN – the best Windows 10 VPN
If you want the most powerful and user-friendly Windows 10 VPN, ExpressVPN is the answer. Either set it and forget it or delve into settings and customize your experience – whatever your VPN needs, Express can deliver, and you can also claim three free months through Tom's Guide, too.View Deal

2. Surfshark – seriously great value Windows 10 VPN
Want to make your money last a little longer? Look no further than Surfshark. At just $2.49/mo it's the cheapest way to get a Windows 10 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.View Deal

3. NordVPN – the biggest name is still one of the best
NordVPN isn't the biggest name in the VPN business for nothing, and its performance on Windows machines is nothing short of impressive. While not quite as usable as ExpressVPN, Nord's a great option and certainly worth considering at just $3.71/mo.View Deal

Best Windows 10 VPNs in 2020

ExpressVPN Windows 10 VPN

1. ExpressVPN

The best all-round VPN for Windows

Number of servers: 3,000+ | Also supports: Mac, iOS, Android, Linux | Max connections: 5 | Money-back guarantee: 30-days | 24/7 support: Yes

Excellent Windows client
Great connection speeds
24/7 support service
Perfect for streaming and torrenting
Only five devices at a time

ExpressVPN tops this list of Windows 10 VPNs because it's the full package. Not only is the software lovely to look at and easy to use, but it houses serious configuration options as well as some really useful additional features. 

At its core, ExpressVPN uses tried-and-trusted AES-256 encryption on its servers to ensure your data is as safe as possible, and on your end you can choose between a number of protocols to tailor the VPN's performance towards speed or ultimate security.

Housing all this is the client, which neatly packages everything into a clean, crisp UI which is super intuitive to use – and this Windows version is the basis of all others. From the off you'll have a full list of servers plus a quick-connect option, as well as a history of your recently used locations. Something a lot of VPNs miss out is the ability to change servers without disconnecting – but Express can do just that.

Looking through the server list you'll see locations in over 94 countries, meaning if you fancy exploring the world's Netflix libraries, you're in luck. On that note, Express can also access pretty much any streaming service you want – from NBC's Peacock to BBC iPlayer – and its stellar connection speeds will get you watching in HD.

However, the reason it's top of this particular list is the fact that the Windows client is packed full of extra features not often seen together. Amongst others you'll get a kill switch, a useful split tunneling feature (which routes some apps and not others through the VPN), and the foolproof Smart Connect button, which will get you set up on the best server in a single click.

Combine all that with a watertight privacy policy and class-leading support, and you really do have the best Windows 10 VPN on the market.  

Get 3 months free + 49% off the best Windows 10 VPN
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.
View Deal

Surfshark Windows 10 VPN

2. Surfshark

Excellent value with great Windows performance

Number of servers: 1,700+ | Also supports: Mac, iOS, Android, Linux | Max connections: Unlimited | Money-back guarantee: 30-days | 24/7 support: Yes

Unlimited simultaneous connections
Fantastic value
Great speeds
A little basic for power users

If you're looking to spend as little as possible on your Windows 10 VPN but still want a premium service, look no further than Surfshark. For less than $2.50 a month you can get most of the features available in VPNs costing twice as much.

The first thing you'll notice is the simple, cheerful Windows client. Admittedly there isn't quite as much configuration available here as with ExpressVPN, but Surfshark's by no means underpowered and still boasts some nice features.

You'll get a kill switch to protect you if your connection drops, a good selection of protocols, double VPN hop and a useful quick connect button.

Just like ExpressVPN above, Surfshark is also great for streaming, unblocking pretty much every streaming service available. That, along with impressive connection speeds, makes it a very appealing option for casual users who just want the peace of mind a VPN can bring.

Surfshark also provides a 24/7 live chat support service should anything go wrong, and in truth its slight limitations only make the process of using this Windows 10 VPN a simpler task. All you need for $2.49 a month? You can't really go wrong with that.

Get the best budget Windows 10 VPN
If you're looking for an easy Windows 10 VPN to keep your data safe and access geo-blocked streaming content, Surfshark is an excellent bet. While not as powerful as ExpressVPN, it has everything most people could want for $2.49 a month – and if it's not enough, you've got a 30-day money-back guarantee, too.View Deal

NordVPN Windows 10 VPN

(Image credit: NordVPN)

3. NordVPN

Excellent security-focused Windows 10 VPN

Number of servers: 5,400+ | Also supports: Mac, iOS, Android, Linux | Max connections: 6 | Money-back guarantee: 30 days | 24/7 support: Yes

Double encryption security
Great additional functionality
Certified no-logging
The odd interface quibble

NordVPN is one of the best VPNs for pure security thanks to its use of a double encryption system. That means you get a 2048-bit encryption on over 5,200 servers spread across 60 countries. Combine that with strong DNS leak protection, two kill switches, IKEv2/IPsec, OpenVPN, PPTP, and L2TP protocols and excellent connection speeds and you have yourself a very impressive Windows 10 VPN indeed.

The Windows client is P2P friendly and offers a nice simple interface, which makes it an excellent choice for torrenting. And, on top of that, connection speeds are above average, so whatever you're doing, you won't be held up by Nord.

NordVPN has recently undergone a second independent audit which proved its privacy policy's claims of zero-logging, and this will be a big tick for the privacy conscious. You're in safe hands, and you can trust that Nord's not collecting any data which could identify you or your activity.

There are a couple of minor issues we found, mostly to do with the user interface – while it's by no means a deal breaker, we hope that Nord keeps updating and recognises where the experience could be improved. Searching through menus to find additional features isn't the most fun, but we're glad they're all available (somewhere).

However, NordVPN is one of the most well-known and popular Windows 10 VPNs for a reason – excellent privacy, tons of servers all over the world and clients that get the job done. If you care about the safety of your data, NordVPN is definitely one to look out for.

A top security-focused Windows 10 VPN for a good price
If you want the peace of mind using a big brand's product can bring, NordVPN will be right up your alley. Powerful clients, excellent Windows functionality and a great support system mean that NordVPN is one of the finest WIndows 10 VPNs around.View Deal

IPVanish Windows 10 VPN

4. IPVanish

Great Windows 10 VPN for getting in-depth

Number of servers: 1,500+ | Also supports: Mac, iOS, Android, Linux | Max connections: Unlimited | Money-back guarantee: 30 days | 24/7 support: Yes

Powerful Windows client
Full torrent support
Unlimited connections
Could be complicated for beginners

US-based stalwart IPVanish is an excellent Windows VPN, and totes great credentials to match its impressive performance. With 1,500 servers you're bound to find a quick connection where you want it, and no matter which you choose, you'll be able to torrent thanks to IPVanish's full P2P support.

IPVanish's Windows client stands out from the crowd – compared to the minimalist offerings from most other providers, IPVanish's app is chock-full of data and additional features. You'll get a scrolling graph displaying your connection speed, plus displays of your IP address, data up and down, and time connected. 

Alongside all that you'll also have a kill switch in the Windows client (although that's missing in the iOS app), split tunneling and a very useful 'Scramble' feature, which hides the fact you're using a VPN at all – very useful if you're also after a VPN for China.

However, the interface is also a slight downfall of IPVanish's – for those new to VPNs, it could seem rather intimidating. While it's plug-and-play, being faced with all that information is admittedly quite confusing for newbies, and the amount of configuration can seem like you've been dropped in at the deep end.

If you're comfortable with that, though, IPVanish is one of the most powerful options on the market today, and appears tailor-made to be the perfect Windows 10 VPN for those who want full control.

Sign up now on IPVanish's website

Hotspot Shield Windows 10 VPN

5. Hotspot Shield

Incredible speeds (with some drawbacks)

Number of servers: 3,200+ | Also supports: Mac, iOS, Android, Linux | Max connections: 5 | Money-back guarantee: 45 days | 24/7 support: Yes

Such blistering speeds
OK free option
Good price
Clients lack true power
Logging concerns

If you want speed on a budget, Hotspot Shield is a great Windows 10 VPN. By using its proprietary Catapult Hydra protocol, it can reach speeds over double what pretty much any other VPN can deliver. If you want to make the most of that speed, Hotspot Shield can give you access to Netflix libraries around the world, and get you streaming in HD with no trouble. 

If you're really strapped for cash, Hotspot Shield offers one of the best free VPN services on the market – learn more here – but although its 500MB-a-day allowance is generous in free terms, it's nowhere near enough to truly put the Catapult Hydra protocol to work. 

Paying customers will be able to cover all their devices with Hotspot's five simultaneous connections and full suite of apps, and you'll also be able to put the SmartVPN option to use – which functions similarly to split tunneling. 

There are a few drawbacks. The Windows client doesn't offer a huge amount of options in the way of configuration – you mostly just turn it on and select your server – and Amazon Prime streamers are out of luck, as it can't access overseas libraries of the streaming platform. Also, Hotspot Shield logs more that its competitors (but not identifying info), with data recorded including bandwidth used, your ISP, plus devices and servers used.

For those looking for a Windows 10 VPN that has huge configuration and in-depth features, Hotspot Shield probably isn't the best choice. But, if you're after a reliable, super-fast option that'll get the job done, this Windows 10 VPN could be the answer.

Sign up now on Hotspot Shield's website

Best Windows 10 VPN FAQ

Why do I need a Windows 10 VPN?

A Windows 10 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.

What makes a great Windows 10 VPN?

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 Netflix VPN and iPlayer VPN guide, 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.

Fifth-place Hotspot Shield probably offers the best free Windows 10 VPN option on the market, giving a decent 500MB a day of data. 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 your're using it as a streaming VPN – 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 cheap VPN list – you might be surprised at how little many fully-featured VPNs go for.

Why do I need a Windows 10 VPN?

A Windows 10 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.

  • Saurabh jha
    Hotspot shield is the best free VPN. I feel personally it is very secure ,you can also go for it.
    Reply