5 Best VPNs for (ANY) Windows PC – Updated May 2020Last Updated by Chase Williams on May 11, 2020
Warning! Windows is monitoring you. Although it’s a very popular operating system, most users are unaware of its invasive privacy policies. While you may use antivirus or other security products, if you don’t use a VPN on Windows devices, you are exposed to threats online.
In other words, Windows collects your data. On top of these privacy concerns, security audits have found that Windows is also particularly vulnerable to hackers and other spying eyes.
With so many security concerns, I was relieved to discover that the right VPN can protect you online while using Windows devices. There are hundreds of services on the market that claim to protect you — but not all VPNs are compatible with Windows devices. Some VPN services just don’t work well with this operating system, and others expose you to threats like identity theft. To avoid these problems, I highly recommend trying NordVPN or another reputable VPN.
To help you find a safe service that works well, my team and I tested hundreds of services and found the 5 best VPNs for Windows that you can try risk-free using money-back guarantees.
Quick Guide: Best VPNs to Use with Windows
- NordVPN — #1 VPN for security and compatibility with Windows devices. Offers a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can test it for free.
- ExpressVPN — Offers you top-of-the-line TrustedServer technology to keep you safe on Windows, but a bit pricier than NordVPN.
- CyberGhost — Keeps your data safe with its NoSpy Servers, but it doesn’t work in Turkey or China.
- Surfshark — Lets you protect an unlimited number of devices at the same time, but its email-based customer service is slow to respond.
- IPVanish — Secures you with military-grade encryption, but can’t access American Netflix outside the US.
5 Best VPNs for Windows
1. NordVPN — #1 VPN to Protect You on Windows Versions 7, 8, and 10 and Ensures Military-Grade Security and Fast Speeds
- 5,600+ servers in 59+ countries around the world
- Unlimited bandwidth for limitless streaming and downloading
- Protects up to 6 devices at once with military-grade encryption
- 30-day money-back guarantee so you can try it without paying a cent
- 24/7 customer support and live chat support to help you troubleshoot
- Windows client is perfectly compatible with Windows 7, 8, and 10 and apps for Android, iOS, and other devices are available
NordVPN is my top choice because its Windows client works perfectly on Windows versions 7, 8, and 10 and it offers fast speeds on a huge number of secure servers.
Since Windows compatibility can be a problem with many VPNs, this was the most important factor when making my choice. I wasn’t disappointed — NordVPN delivered on its compatibility promises. I was happy that I was able to easily download NordVPN for Windows directly from the website and install it without any issues. The customer service chat even helped with the installation process. Since you can buy it directly from the vendor, NordVPN’s purchase and refund processes are easy.
Once installed, I found that the NordVPN Windows client has the same features as the Mac OS app — and they all work just as well. I was relieved because some other VPNs don’t work as well on Windows as they do on Mac. This wasn’t the case for NordVPN. With the Windows client, I was happy that I could still use features like QuickConnect, which automatically pairs you with the fastest server available.
During my tests, NordVPN also had the fastest speeds out of all of the VPNs on this list. Since I was in Central Europe when I tested it, I thought I might experience some buffering when I connected to US servers — I was wrong. I was able to stream US Netflix in HD without buffering even though I was thousands of kilometers away.
If you want to stream using a Windows device, NordVPN’s SmartPlay technology also unblocks other popular streaming services like Prime Video, Hulu, and BBC iPlayer. Many VPNs aren’t able to bypass these platforms’ geo-restrictions, so I was excited that NordVPN gave me fast access to content libraries from around the world.
For extra peace of mind, I also completed independent DNS leak testing of NordVPN. I found that my true location was never exposed, so I knew that NordVPN would keep me safe. This level of security reassured me that I could access my online banking using public WiFi networks without fear of having my information stolen.
If you want to try these features out for yourself, I recommend you try NordVPN for 30 days using its money-back guarantee for free. You can get your money-back if you request for a refund within 30 days — the process is really easy and the customer support team will process it within a few minutes.
NordVPN unblocks: Netflix, Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, Vudu, SkyTV, HBO Go, HBO Now, Sky, SHOWTIME, ESPN, and YouTube.
NordVPN works on: Windows 7 and higher, Mac OS, Android, iOS, Windows Phone, Chromebook, Linux, Chrome, Firefox, and Blackberry.
- 3,000+ servers around the world in 90+ countries
- Unlimited bandwidth for uninterrupted, fast streaming
- Protects up to 5 devices at once
- 30-day money-back guarantee so you can try it risk-free
- 24/7 live chat and email support to help you fix any problems
- App works great on Windows 10, 8, and 7
ExpressVPN is one of the safest and fastest Windows-compatible VPNs on the market. Since Windows has well-known security flaws that leave users vulnerable to hackers, VPN safety is important to me. That’s why ExpressVPN impressed me — in addition to industry standard protections, it uses security features that no other VPN on the market has.
ExpressVPN has a strict no-logging policy and an automatic kill switch to protect you from accidental data leaks. It claims to always keep information about your true location hidden with features like this. To test these security promises for myself, I ran a DNS leak test — and ExpressVPN kept my real IP address secret.
Aside from these standard features, ExpressVPN is the only VPN that uses TrustedServer Technology, which erases your data every time the server reboots. Since it doesn’t keep any records of your data, prying eyes aren’t able to spy on you. During international legal investigations, ExpressVPN has famously demonstrated that it really doesn’t keep user data. When law enforcement tried to obligate the service to hand over user records, ExpressVPN was unable to comply because the records really didn’t exist.
I thought all of these security features might make its connection speeds slower — but ExpressVPN proved me wrong. During my ExpressVPN testing, I tried it at peak use times using different servers from all over the world and I never experienced slow speeds. I was able to surf the web, video chat, and game without experiencing delays.
ExpressVPN is also one of the best VPNs for streaming — it can unblock tough geo-restrictions on platforms like Netflix, Hulu, HBO, and many others. It can even bypass censorship and reliably unblock content in China. To me, nothing is worse than a service that slows down streaming, so I was happy that ExpressVPN let me watch my favorite Hulu content and soccer matches on DAZN Italy with no buffering.
The only minor con I experienced with ExpressVPN was that it was a little more expensive than NordVPN. However, all of its premium features still make it a great choice for Windows users. Plus, ExpressVPN lets you try a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can test the service with zero risk. If you don’t like it, you can get a full refund, no questions asked.
ExpressVPN unblocks: Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, Vudu, SkyTV, HBO Go, HBO Now, Sky, SHOWTIME, ESPN, YouTube, and Spotify.
ExpressVPN works on: Windows 7 and higher, Mac OS, Android, iOS, Chromebook, Linux, PS4, Xbox, Nintendo Switch, and Blackberry.
- 5,500+ global servers in 90+ countries
- Unlimited bandwidth for smooth streaming
- Secure up to 7 devices at once
- 45-day money-back guarantee — the longest of any VPN on this list
- Customer service support through email and chat
- App works well on many versions of Windows 10, 8, and 7
Although it hasn’t been on the market as long ExpressVPN or NordVPN, CyberGhost offers premium security and other competitive features. Since government internet surveillance is a big issue in the countries to which I travel, I was excited to learn that CyberGhost uses NoSpy servers to guarantee its no-logs policy. This unique technology means that CyberGhost owns and operates its own servers, so they control who has access to them.
In addition to this unique feature, CyberGhost protects Windows users with 256-bit encryption and an automatic killswitch, making it unhackable even if your connection is dropped. Unlike some other VPNs, it also provides built-in protection against both malware and annoying popup ads. After reading about new malware vulnerabilities on Windows, these features reassured me that I would be safe online.
CyberGhost is also the only VPN on this list that gives you servers optimized for streaming. These servers are frequently updated with new IP addresses to ensure they can unblock your favorite content and stream high quality video. When you use this function, CyberGhost lets you access your favorite shows on platforms like US Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and others. I was impressed that CyberGhost let me stream Black Panther in HD on Netflix with no buffering.
The only slight issue I experienced with CyberGhost was that it was slightly slower than my top 2 choices when I connected to different servers in Europe. This wasn’t a problem at all though, because I didn’t experience any lag, slow connections, or download speeds — honestly, if I hadn’t run speed tests, I wouldn’t have noticed.
During my research, I was surprised that CyberGhost offers a 45-day money-back guarantee on subscriptions of at least 6 months. This is the longest money-back guarantee that I’ve seen on the market. If you want your money back during this period, you can contact customer service via live chat and process the refund easily.
CyberGhost unblocks: Netflix, Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, Vudu, SkyTV, HBO Go, HBO Now, SHOWTIME, ESPN, and Spotify.
CyberGhost works on: Windows 7 and higher, Mac OS, Android, iOS, Chromebook, Linux, PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.
- 1,000+ global servers in 60+ countries
- Unlimited bandwidth for uninterrupted connections
- Protects unlimited number of devices at once
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- Live chat available 24/7
- App works well on different versions of Windows
Since my whole family uses Windows, I thought that protecting everyone would be expensive. That’s why I was excited that Surfshark allows you to protect an unlimited number of devices at the same time with one subscription. This is the only VPN on this list that offers this level of affordability.
At such a reasonable price, I was worried that Surfshark might not offer the same quality of protection for Windows users — but that wasn’t the case at all. It offers industry-standard security like 256-bit encryption, an automatic kill switch, and a no-logging policy. In addition to these features, Surfshark also has a two-factor authentication (2FA) option for additional security. This technology requires you to sign in with a temporary code sent to your mobile device in order to prevent others from logging into your device if your password becomes exposed.
One slight issue I found was that Surfshark doesn’t have as many servers as other VPNs on this list. However, when I tested Surfshark, I didn’t experience slow speeds or other issues that you might expect with a smaller selection of servers. I was even able to stream Top Gear in HD on BBC iPlayer with minimal buffering.
If you want to try it out for yourself. Surfshark has a 30-day money-back guarantee and an easy cancellation process. If you don’t want to keep the service, just contact customer support and they can help you through the refund process.
Surfshark unblocks: Netflix, Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, HBO Go, HBO Now, ESPN.
Surfshark works on: Windows 7 and higher, Mac OS, Android, iOS, Linux, PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.
- 1,400+ servers
- Unlimited bandwidth for streaming
- Watch on up to 10 devices at once
- 7-day money-back guarantee
- Support with email and live chat
- App works on many versions of Windows
IPVanish protects Windows users with industry-standard security. It keeps you private online with features like an automatic killswitch, DNS leak protection, and a no-logging policy. Like CyberGhost, IPVanish also owns its server network — this gives you extra peace of mind that your sensitive information won’t be seen by prying eyes.
IPVanish’s Windows app has a reputation for being easy-to-use. However, if you want to use an older version of Windows, you might run into trouble. I double checked with customer support and they confirmed that IPVanish isn’t compatible with some versions of Windows 7. They also told me that it doesn’t work with Windows phones.
Despite these limitations, IPVanish still offered good service for Windows 8 and 10. It unblocks many streaming platforms like ESPN, HBO, and some Netflix libraries. This lets me watch many of my favorite programs with very little buffering. Plus, since it protects up to 10 devices simultaneously, my whole family was able to stream their favorite shows at the same time.
If you’re not ready to commit to a long subscription, I recommend you try IPVanish for free using their 7-day money-back guarantee. If you don’t like it, you can talk to their helpful customer service to help you process your refund without any hassle. When I was finished testing it, I got my money back in 4 business days.
- IPVanish unblocks: Facebook, Skype, Twitter, Spotify, YouTube, and more.
- IPVanish works on: Windows 7 and higher, macOS, iOS, Android, Linux, ChromeOS, and routers.
How to Choose the Best VPN for Windows
When looking for a service for your Windows device, choosing the right VPN is important to staying safe online. I evaluated my recommended VPNs according to this list of criteria:
- Proven compatibility with Windows — Hundreds of VPNs claim to work with this operating system, but make sure your VPN has actually proven it. Nothing is worse than believing a product protects you when it actually exposes you more.
- Secure encryption — When you select a VPN for Windows, you should make sure that it uses at least AES-256-bit encryption, otherwise you may be exposed to spying by hackers, ISPs, government surveillance, and other prying eyes.
- Strict privacy policies — Some Windows-compatible VPNs track and sell user data to advertisers, Facebook, and other prying eyes. Use a VPN that has a proven record of protecting user privacy.
- Ability to bypass geo-blocks — Make sure the VPN you download will give you access to the sites you want. Not all services work in all countries or with all platforms, because some sites like Netflix use tough geo-blocks to stop VPNs — only the top-of-the-line services like NordVPN work.
- High speeds — Since VPNs can slow down your connection, make sure your service offers fast speeds to let you access the platforms you want.
- 24/7 customer support — To avoid service interruptions, make sure the VPN you choose has a helpful and responsive customer support service.
Easy Guides to Set Up VPNs for Windows
Most VPNs are easy to set up. But if it’s your first time, here are some guides to help:
💻 Can I use a VPN on my laptop or desktop? What other devices can I use with a VPN?
Yes, VPNs work on laptops, desktops, smartphones and many other devices. My recommended VPNs also work on these devices:
- Fire Stick/Fire TV
- Android TV
- Routers (which protect all devices connected to them)
🔍 What is the best VPN for Microsoft Surface?
All of my recommended VPNs are compatible with Windows 8, 8.1, or 10 on Microsoft Surface devices. Some of my top choices also work on Windows 7. NordVPN is also my #1 VPN choice for Microsoft Surface. You can simply download the Windows .exe file and install it with the same process as a desktop.
💰Can I use a free VPN on Windows?
Some free VPNs work on Windows — but I would recommend you to avoid them. Most free services don’t work well. They have few servers and data limitations, causing slow speeds and limiting your streaming. Even the best free VPNs only let you watch a maximum of about 10 hours of Netflix per month (that is, if they can even access the platform). In fact, most free VPNs can’t get around the geo-blocking used by Netflix or other strict sites.
Aside from poor service, many free VPNs also put your security at serious risk. Because free services don’t charge you to download their product, they often monetize your data. In other words, they sell information about you to third parties. Other services have been shown to install malware on user devices. Some free VPNs are even involved in financial fraud and identity theft. Even though you might save a little on the subscription price, you might end up losing even more money because of these threats.
You can avoid these unnecessary risks if you use a secure service like NordVPN. If you only need a free VPN for a few weeks while traveling, take advantage of NordVPN’s 30-day money-back guarantee. You can get a refund by email or live chat in a few minutes.
Keep Your Privacy Secure on Windows With a Top Quality VPN
In addition to keeping you safe, VPNs can give you greater freedom online. Premium VPNs can bypass geo-blocks, thus giving you access to location-restricted sites like Netflix, online banking, and other platforms.
Out of all of the VPNs I tested, I recommend you try NordVPN because of its secure high-speed servers and Windows-compatible apps that are ideal for browsing, streaming, and downloading. It also lets you try it with a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can test the service totally risk-free.