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Best Windows 10 VPN for PC in 2022

Windows 10 VPN being used on a Microsoft Surface laptop
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

As the most-used desktop operating system worldwide, it should come as no surprise that there's a huge amount of Windows 10 VPNs on the market. Picking the best VPN out of that dizzying array, however, can be a challenging prospect.

From low-level privacy and security features to unblocking streaming sites and price, there's a lot to consider – and it's easy to simply pick the very first VPN you come across without a second thought. That's why we've tested just about every decent VPN on the market (as well as our fair share of dodgy ones), and ranked the very best for Windows here.

We've focused on VPNs for Windows that cover all the bases. We'll explain exactly where each one shines, where they fall behind, and outline how  they compare in all the essential areas.

How to choose a Windows 10 VPN

Your chosen Windows 10 VPN needs to be an absolute all-rounder. Privacy features are undoubtedly at the top of the list, but with plenty of providers delivering rock-solid protection, it's likely you'll be making your decision based on app design, peak connection speeds and streaming performance.

ExpressVPN soared through every one of our hands-on tests with flying colors, and as such it's our top pick for Windows. However, there are a number of other providers that offer different features, and the four we've included here are worthy alternatives.

Below, you'll find a quick rundown of the top three Windows VPNs. If you'd like to learn more about any of our choices, just keep scrolling to read our in-depth exploration of the providers.

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1. ExpressVPN – the best Windows 10 VPN (opens in new tab)
If you want the most powerful and user-friendly PC 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 months FREE through Tom's Guide.

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2. NordVPN – the biggest name is still one of the best (opens in new tab)
NordVPN (opens in new tab) 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.

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3. Surfshark – excellent value Windows 10 VPN (opens in new tab)
Want to make your money last a little longer? Look no further than Surfshark (opens in new tab). 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

ExpressVPN - best windows VPN for PC

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1. ExpressVPN

The very best Windows VPN on the market

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

Windows app is slick and intuitive
Great connection speeds
Independently audited
Great for streaming and torrenting
Only five devices at once

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, too. With over 3,000 servers in a whopping 94 countries worldwide, you'll be able to get connected wherever you are.

Express's privacy features are second to none. Based around uncrackable AES-256 encryption combined with OpenVPN and Lightway protocols, it's got the basics we expect locked down. However, with its RAM-only TrustedServer tech and an audited privacy policy you can be sure that none of your activity is ever stored by the provider. 

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 fancy a bit more control, though, you'll be able to head into the settings 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 630Mbps. That's an excellent performance, but it's worth noting that some rivals were even faster – Surfshark at 790Mbps, IPVanish at 890Mbps, and TorGuard 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 performance 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.

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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.

NordVPN Windows 10 VPN for PC

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2. NordVPN

Excellent security-focused Windows 10 VPN

Number of servers: 5,500+ | Also supports: Mac, iOS, Android, Linux | Max connections: 6 | Money-back guarantee: 30 days | 24/7 support: Yes

Great additional functionality
Certified no-logging
Superfast connections
Excellent for streaming
The odd interface quibble

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, Nord'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 760Mbps 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, in our NordVPN review it 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)

Surfshark Windows 10 VPN for PC

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3. Surfshark

Excellent value with great Windows performance

Number of servers: 3,200+ | Also supports: Mac, iOS, Android, Linux | Max connections: Unlimited | Money-back guarantee: 30-days | 24/7 support: Yes

Unlimited simultaneous connections
Fantastic value
Great WireGuard speeds
Minor kill switch issue on Windows
OpenVPN speeds aren't great

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 65 countries, it's got a respectable spread that rivals 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 a fast VPN. Outperforming both NordVPN and ExpressVPN with peak speeds of 790Mbps, it has made great improvements since our last hands-on review. However, when using OpenVPN Surfshark returned slightly less impressive speeds – maxing out at just 150Mbps. 

Compared to OpenVPN leaders Hide.me (560Mbps) and Proton VPN (440Mbps), Surfshark looks pretty sluggish. However, unless you're looking to install it as a router VPN or need to use obfuscated servers, WireGuard will be all you use.

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 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)

Proton VPN on a Windows device

(Image credit: Proton)
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4. Proton VPN

Excellent privacy plus great streaming

Number of servers: 1,700+ | Also supports: Mac, Linux, iOS, Android | Unblocks: Netflix, iPlayer, Amazon Prime, YouTube, Hulu, Disney+ | Money-back guarantee: 30 days | Maximum devices supported: 10 | 24/7 support: No

Excellent OpenVPN & WireGuard speeds
Top-tier privacy features
Apps are powerful
Great for streaming
Support isn't 24/7 yet

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 1,700+ servers in 63 locations, 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) or 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, 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 670Mbps, Proton is towards the faster end of the pack, but its OpenVPN performance is impeccable. With peaks of 440Mbps, it's faster than every other VPN on this list, and only a few like Hide.me and Mullvad outdo it.

To match those excellent speeds, Proton is also 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 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)

CyberGhost best windows vpn

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5. CyberGhost

Capable Windows VPN with excellent speeds

Also works on: Windows, Linux, iOS, Android | Unblocks: Netflix, iPlayer, YouTube, Amazon, Hulu | Money-back guarantee: 45 days | Number of servers: 7,900+ | Maximum devices supported: 7

Decent for streaming
45-day money-back guarantee
Excellent speeds
Clients can be a little clunky
No independent audit

As a real old hand of the industry, CyberGhost is established and trusted by millions worldwide – and our hands-on CyberGhost review proves that it's still one of the best around. 

Kicking off with the Romanian provider's party piece, you'll be able to choose from a staggering 7,900 servers in 91 countries. Very few providers can match that. Privacy and security are also excellent, with AES-256 encryption and a bunch of additional features – although the lack of an independent audit is becoming more of a sticking point as this becomes the industry norm.

Both WireGuard and OpenVPN speeds are excellent, and with the former protocol, CyberGhost is the fastest on this list, and fourth fastest overall at 850Mbps. 

We found CyberGhost's dedicated streaming VPN servers a nice touch, and we were able to unblock every site we tried. However, in previous testing we've often only been able to unblock US Netflix. If you want global streaming power, one of the other four providers above will be a better bet.

The Windows VPN app is stable, but one of our only other complaints is that if you've reached the maximum number of devices allowed on your plan, you have to de-register devices on the website rather than simply logging out of the app – which can be quite annoying if you use your VPN across a range of tech.

However, CyberGhost is very powerful, and for the price it's a seriously tempting PC VPN. The only reason it's not higher is the fact that the competition is so strong.

Head over to the CyberGhost website to sign up (opens in new tab)
  

Best Windows 10 VPN for PC FAQ

What is the best Windows 10 VPN?

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 VPN 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.

Mo is VPN Editor at Tom's Guide. Day-to-day he oversees VPN, privacy, and cybersecurity content, and also undertakes independent testing of VPN services to ensure his recommendations are accurate and up to date. When he's not getting stuck into the nitty-gritty settings of a VPN you've never heard of, you'll find him working on his Peugeot 205 GTi or watching Peep Show instead of finally putting up those shelves.