As a Windows user you’re inevitably already well used to a wide selection of software when it comes to getting things done – and that's no different when it comes to Virtual Private Network options. The world of Windows VPNs gives you plenty of providers to pick from and each offers something different to help you. So what is a VPN and which is the best for you?
Credit: ShutterstockA VPN essentially helps to make it look like you're logged on somewhere else. This is done by bouncing your location around the world using multiple servers. That can be really handy for getting around locally blocked websites or geo-blocked TV shows and sports coverage.
Another major reason for using a VPN is security, since your location and identity are masked. This has plenty of uses from anonymous browsing and safe banking.
We've taken the time to test the many VPN options out there and narrowed them down to the best for Windows specifically and popped them below. While ExpressVPN has taken the top spot there are other options out there...read more about our top 5 VPN for Windows below.
Our Top Five Picks
The best all-rounder for WindowsRating: 4.5/5 stars
Pros: Great Windows app; Over 94 countries supported; A 24/7 support service
Cons: Max 3 connections
ExpressVPN is the best VPN for Windows we’ve encountered. That’s owing to its high speeds, excellent 24/7 customer service support and wide compatibility across devices. The dedicated Windows app is excellent since it's super simple to use, looks great and offers more depth if you need it.
The app offers server recommendations, multiple VPN protocols, and kill switch technology. There's also a browser extension that offers split tunneling, making it ideal for torrenting.
Customer support is superb and is available 24 hours a day, meaning you can login and ask someone directly and get an answer right away. In our experience, that advice is more often than not genuinely useful, too.
The only negative we found was a limit of up to three devices at the same time. If you have more that you would usually need to use at once then Express might not be for you. But then the benefits may still outweigh this negative.
ExpressVPN also offers a 30-day money back guarantee. So you can essentially try this for free for 30 days and if you don't like it you can cancel without having spent a cent.
Read our full ExpressVPN review.
Super security for WindowsRating: 4/5 stars
Pros: Double encryption secure; Up to six devices at once; Lots of extensions
Cons: 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, over 5,000 servers spread across 60 countries. Combine that with strong DNS leak protection, two kill switches, KEv2/IPsec, OpenVPN, PPTP, and L2TP protocols and excellent connection speeds and you have yourself a very impressive Windows VPN indeed.
The VPN client is P2P friendly and offers a nice simple interface. There were a few glitches we found with resizing windows but nothing to really detract too much from using Nord on the whole.
Zero logging and a 3-day free trial make this one of the best VPN options out there right now. It even has double the maximum supported devices than ExpressVPN, making it a surefire option from Windows and beyond.
Read our full NordVPN review.
Top torrent clientRating: 4/5 stars
Pros: Fast connections; Lots of Windows friendly features; Excellent client
Cons: No free trial
When it comes to torrenting you won't find much better than the IPVanish offering. The client is both simple to use for everyday activity, yet complex enough to offer more options for those that want to dive a little deeper.
One of the reasons this VPN is ideal for torrents is the connection speeds we discovered in our testing - IPVanish wipes the floor with a lot of the competition when it comes to connection speeds alone. And security is also a big sell here with a strict no logs policy in place plus a 256-bit encryption over OpenVPN, PPTP, and L2TP protocols.
MORE: Best VPN Services and Apps
There isn't a free trial and this isn't cheap. But when the finished product is this good, it’s hard to quibble with what you’ll pay - still way under $10 a month, assuming you want to get a whole year’s worth.
Read our full IPVanish review.
Lots of free Windows-friendly VPN featuresRating: 4/5 stars
Pros: Fast performance; Generous free data plan; Ideal for watching Netflix on Windows
Cons: Software sometimes needs restarts
Windscribe offers you up to 10GB per month of free data if you want a quick and easy free service. That alone makes it a great way to try a VPN with your Windows account, minus any proper commitment.
Of course if you want high quality video streaming regularly, you'll likely use that data up and need to pay for the full version. This paid-up version also lets you connect as many devices at once as you like which is great for use across lots of gadgets besides your Windows machine.
There's even a cool "Windflix" location setup made for the ultimate Netflix experience. Plus, you can pay for a Windscribe subscription using bitcoin and don't need to give an email address which makes it perfect for Windows users who put importance on anonymity.
Read our full Windscribe review.
5. Hotspot Shield
Great support and speedsRating: 4/5 stars
Pros: Extra privacy; Free data; Fast speeds
Cons: Perhaps over-simplified
If you want speed but on a budget then Hotspot is a great way get that for Windows. The feeling you always get with Hotspot is that it just works - it’s really easy to have confidence in the product you’ve subscribed to. And it even acts as a local security system and will scan your device for any malware to make sure you're not only secure but safe, too.
There is also a free option that offers limited data access for those that want to use this for low bandwidth stuff. This only gives you 500MB per day so most people, especially those who want video streaming, will likely need to pay for the full version.
Catapult Hydra protocol is onboard which is how this offers super VPN speeds while maintaining high levels of security on your Windows PC or laptop.
Read our full Hotspot Shield review.