- 1 How to Choose the Best Windows VPN
- 2 Our Top Picks
- 2.1 1. ExpressVPN
- 2.2 What You Should Know About Express VPN
- 2.3 2. Surfshark
- 2.4 3. NordVPN
- 2.5 4. Hide. me
- 2.6 5. ProtonVPN
- 2.7 6. Windscribe
- 2.8 7. TunnelBear
- 2.9 Four More Reasons to Get a Windows VPN
- 2.10 How to Get Started Using a VPN for Windows
- 2.11 Wrapping Up
- 2.12 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- 2.12.1 Is a Free VPN for PC Worth Downloading?
- 2.12.2 What is the business model of a free VPN provider?
- 2.12.3 Do free VPN providers log anything?
- 2.12.4 Is it possible to sign up for a VPN service completely anonymously?
- 2.12.5 Is there a free VPN for Windows 10?
- 2.12.6 What are the best Free VPNs for Windows?
- 2.12.7 What is the safest free VPN for PC?
- 2.12.8 What is the best free VPN for PC without registration?
- 2.12.9 Is a free VPN for Windows safe to use?
- 2.12.10 How do I set up a free VPN for Windows?
- 2.12.11 Can anyone track you if you use a VPN?
- 2.12.12 Can I use my Windows VPN on multiple devices?
How to Choose the Best Windows VPN
With so many VPNs on the market, all offering different features, it can be difficult to choose the best one for your specific needs. Which VPN for Windows is the right choice? Is a free VPN a good option? And, if so, which one should you go for?
Before we get into the details, let’s examine what to look for.
How VPNs Work for Windows
A VPN (Virtual Private Network) is a helpful tool that allows you to establish a secure and private connection between your device and a network, even when using the internet. It works by creating a connection that safeguards your information. If you’re using Windows 10 and want to enhance your privacy, you can manually configure a VPN connection. Here’s how: Open your computer’s settings and go to the “Network & Internet” section. From there, select “VPN” in the left menu and click on “Add a VPN connection.” Fill in the required details like the VPN name and server address, which you can obtain from your VPN provider. Save the settings, and voila! You now have a VPN connection set up. To connect to the VPN, return to the “Network & Internet” settings, click on the VPN you created, and hit the “Connect” button. With these simple steps, you can enjoy increased privacy and security while browsing the internet on Windows 10.
VPN Features to Look For
There are general features that should be found with every VPN. A VPN for Windows should be able to provide secure and private access to servers anytime and anywhere. The provider should ensure that their VPN is simple and easy to install, set up, configure, and maintain.
The VPNs listed here have a solid list of features, including no-logs policies (they don’t store your data), kill-switch (in case your VPN connection falters, your information won’t leak), and Split tunneling. Split tunneling enables users to divide their internet traffic into two separate tunnels, which can be particularly useful in reducing speed loss by limiting the number of applications that need to use the same VPN tunnel.
Our Top Picks
Rank: 1 | Servers: 3,000+ | Speed: Download: 87 Mbps | Countries: 90+ | Encryption Type: L2TP/IPsec, OpenVPN (TCP), OpenVPN (UDP), PPTP, IPsec, and IKEv2, Lightway | Max devices: 5 simultaneous, but unlimited installations | 24/7 support: ✅| Free trial:❌ | Money-back guarantee: ✅ | Apps & Devices: Win~Mac~Android~iOS~Router~LGTV~Samsung TV~Amazon Sticks~Xbox | Jurisdiction: British Virgin Islands (BVI)
Best & Worst:
- Best feature for Windows: Easy-to-use VPN apps
- Worst feature for Windows: Slightly fewer features than other top-level VPNs
What You Should Know About Express VPN
The company is based in the British Virgin Islands (BVI), which has no legal mandate to log the data of users. It’s also one of the most popular providers in the market – this means a higher level of trust in the confidentiality of information.
This VPN service charges a monthly subscription fee of US $12.95 and you can get a substantial discount by opting for a longer-term subscription at $8.32 for the 1-year plan. Although there is no free trial, there is a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you have nothing to lose by giving it a try.
Just like any high authority VPN, ExpressVPN secures your internet traffic and personal data from corporations and other third parties.
This VPN for PC has a wide reach with a high number of servers in multiple locations and countries, so your bandwidth won’t be limited.
It uses the OpenVPN protocol with AES 256-bit encryption and is supported by mobile and desktop platforms on unlimited devices, but only five can be connected at one time on a single account.
+ 3 simultaneous connections
+ Several encryption options available: OpenVPN (UDP), OpenVPN (TCP), L2TP/IPsec, IPsec, IKEv2, and PPTP
+ Its privacy service is unique, and the identity of the user can be kept secure
+ Unlimited bandwidth
+ Numerous server locations
+ No DNS leaks
+ Strict no-logging policy.
– High subscription cost
Rank: 2 | Servers: 3,200 | Speed: 91.3 Mbps | Countries: 100 | Encryption Type: AES-256 GCM, OpenVPN, IKEv2 | Max devices: Unlimited | 24/7 support: ✅| Free trial: ✅| Money-back guarantee: ✅ | Apps & Devices: Win~Mac~Android~iOS~Router~Samsung TV~Amazon Sticks~Xbox~ PlayStation | Jurisdiction: Netherlands
Best & Worst:
- Best feature for Windows: Plenty of features and excellent download speeds
- Worst feature for Windows: Kill switch isn’t quite as reliable as the higher-end competition
Surfshark is based in the Netherlands which is part of the 14 Eyes Alliance. The 5 Eyes, 9 Eyes, and 14 Eyes alliances are intelligence-sharing agreements between five, nine, and 14 nations. Surfshark VPN does have a no-logs policy though, which means that despite being registered in a nation that is part of all three alliances, they do not keep any of your information and would have none of your information on hand to turn over to any government if asked.
If you’re after speedy and safe online access to all the content you want, then Surfshark may be a great choice for you. With OpenVPN and IKEv2 tunneling protocols, this VPN offers a smooth and secure internet experience.
And with over 3,200 servers in more than 100 countries, you can be sure that you’ll always have reliable and fast access to the content you need. Plus, with no IP address logging and complete protection against WebRTC and DNS leaks, you can rest easy knowing that your privacy is always protected.
Their monthly subscription comes in at an affordable $2.39 if you opt for the two-year plan, making it one of the most budget-friendly VPN services out there.
+ Easy-to-use user interface
+ A strict no-logs policy. Internet traffic is, therefore not stored
+ One account can use an unlimited number of devices
+ Surfshark VPN for PC has a built-in kill-switch to ensure that the online activities, private data, and information are never exposed to third parties
+ This Windows VPN offers private DNS for every server to avoid any potential security breach due to online browsing
+ Use of IKEv2/IPsec, OpenVPN protocols
+ Camouflage mode for Windows, Android, iOS, and Linux operating systems
– Based in the Netherlands, which is part of a global data-sharing alliance (although they do have a strict no-logs policy)
Read our full Surfshark review.
Rank: 3 | Servers: 5,000+ | Speed: 77.9 | Countries: 50+ | Encryption Type: AES 256-bit, OpenVPN | Max devices: 6 | 24/7 support: ✅| Free trial: ❌| Money-back guarantee: ✅ | Apps & Devices: Win~MacOS~Android~iOS~Router~LGTV~Samsung TV~Amazon Sticks~Xbox | Jurisdiction: Panama |
Best & Worst:
- Best feature for Windows: Enormous geographical range of servers
- Worst feature for Windows: Only 6 simultaneous connections allowed
NordVPN can be used on Windows, macOS, Android, Linux, Android TV, Firefox, Chrome, routers, and Apple platforms, and can be counted on not to track or store your data.
NordVPN provider has over 5,000 servers that are located in more than 50 countries. Their policy insists that they do not store your internet activity, bandwidth, IP address, traffic data, or the details of your session.
NordVPN provides a double VPN or onion over a VPN, offers military-grade encryption coupled with CyberSec malware and an ad blocker.
Nord has a tiered payment structure offering Standard, Plus, and Complete options with different features. The monthly payment plan ranges from $12.99 – $15.69. The yearly plan from $4.59 – $7.29, and the bi-yearly plan costs between $3.99 and $6.69.
NordVPN calls their 30-day money back guarantee a free trial, but you have to choose a subscription and enter your payment information in order to get it, and then if you’re not satisfied at the end of the trial period, you can request your money back.
+ Military-grade Ikev2/IPsec/OpenVPN and AES-256-GCM encryption and double-hop
+ Risk-free 30-day money-back guarantee
+ Kill switch
+ Extra care in handling DNS leaks
+ NordVPN does NOT log user’s data
+ Unlimited bandwidth
+ Supports up to 6 devices operating on any platform
+ Provides HTTPS Protection and Anti-DDoS Protection
+ Payments can be made both in cash and cryptocurrency
+ Has support for Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, HBO, Sling TV, and Showtime.
– NordVPN for Windows restricts torrenting to only a few servers.
4. Hide. me
Rank: 4 | Servers: 1,800+ | Speed: 84.15 Mbps | Countries: 49+ | Encryption Type: AES-256/ IKEv2 IPsec, WireGuard, OpenVPN, SSTP, and SoftEther | Max devices: 10 | 24/7 support: Free trial: | Money-back guarantee: | Apps & Devices: Win~Mac~Android~ Linux~iOS~Router~LGTV~Samsung TV~Amazon Sticks~Xbox | Jurisdiction: Malaysia|
- Best feature for Windows: Their free version is better than most.
- Worst feature for Windows: Only one device is allowed to be connected on the free version.
The company is based in Labuan Island of Malaysia.
Organizations may not transfer personal information outside of Malaysia jurisdiction unless specified by the Minister under the Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA) legislation.
Hide me VPN’s free version for Windows offers 10GB of data per month, with servers in three countries. The provider only allows the connection of one device and only gives access to five server locations. The paying subscribers get more than 50 server locations.
That said, for a free version, hide.me is quite reliable. Many free VPN apps aren’t safe, or sell your data to third parties, or make money by giving space to annoying advertisers. Not so with hide.me. Their no-logs policy is just as true for free users as for paid plans so they don’t have your data to give to advertisers in the first place, and their Free VPN app is safe to use.
Fortunately, there will be no limiters on the connection speeds for free users.
It has more than 1,400 servers in more than 34 countries around the world in your hands with native software for Windows PC and Mac, Android, Linux, and iOS. A large number of protocols PPTP, L2TP/IPsec, SoftEther, SSTP, OpenVPN, and IKEv2 keep strong encryption.
The customer support team is reachable 24/7. Customer support is also available to free users.
+ Located on the Labuan Island of Malaysia, which is strictly excluded from 14 eyes alliance
+ Not legally mandated to log data – Malaysian Personal Data Protection Law
+ Lifetime free Windows app
+ Strong encryption standard PPTP, L2TP/IPsec, SoftEther, SSTP, OpenVPN, and IKEv2 protocols
+ Offers both free and paid services, the free service has several good features
+ Tons of servers around the world
+ Their customer support has a quick customer response time (Live chat and according to our tests – 68 min email reply)
+ A long list of supported devices
+ Unblocks Netflix, Spotify, YouTube, TOR and torrenting
– The VPN provider does not have an established connection overseas in China
– Average speeds
Rank: 5 | Servers: 1,900+ | Speed: 84.15 Mbps | Countries: 67+ | Encryption Type: AES-256-GCM, IKEv2/IPsec, OpenVPN, and WireGuard | Max devices: 10 | 24/7 support: ❌| Free Version: ✅| Money-back guarantee: ✅ | Apps & Devices: Win~Mac~Android~ Linux~iOS~Router~LGTV~Samsung TV~Amazon Sticks~Xbox | Jurisdiction: Switzerland|
- Best feature for Windows: Unlimited data and, even on the free plan.
- Worst feature for Windows: No chat support, although you can submit a question via the website at any time.
This VPN for PC enables you to use the web anonymously and visit blocked websites through more than 628 servers in 33+ countries.
ProtonVPN has no data limits, even on the free plan. Additionally, the free plan also doesn’t expose you to advertisers. The free plan’s one downside is that there are only three server locations: The Netherlands, Japan, and the USA. Prices range from free to $4.99 or $7.99 per month with a 24-month subscription.
This VPN for Windows passes the user’s internet traffic through a core network that is located in countries like Iceland and Switzerland. Most importantly, it’s compatible with Windows, Android, iOS, macOS, Linux and even works with TOR.
+ A free version can be used to test its security
+ The paid version is well priced
+ It has a refund policy if you aren’t satisfied with its services (paid version)
+ Multiple connections to its VPN for secure locations
+ DNS leak prevention with other prime features including forwarding secrecy, strong protocols, a trusted Switzerland-based company
+ Zero-logs policy
+ Its user interface is well-built and intuitive with a friendly P2P environment
+ Unblocks Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, YouTube, Kodi, and also when torrenting
– It has a single session timestamp
– It may not work in China
Read our full ProtonVPN review.
Rank: 6 | Servers: 110+ | Speed: 84.15 Mbps | Countries: 63 | Encryption Type: AES-256 cipher with SHA512 auth and a 4096-bit RSA key, IKEv2, OpenVPN UDP, TCP | Max devices: Unlimited | 24/7 support: ❌| Free trial: ✅| Money-back guarantee: ✅ | Apps & Devices: Win~Mac~Android~ Linux~iOS~Router~Kodi~Android TV~Amazon TV Sticks | Jurisdiction: Canada|
- Best feature for Windows: They have an autopilot feature that connects users to the fastest connection in the best location.
- Worst feature for Windows: Their customer support chatbot could be an annoyance.
The Windscribe company is based in Richmond, Ontario, Canada with servers in more than 60 countries.
This VPN service can be used on a wide range of platforms; Windows PC, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS operating systems. Compatible also with Amazon Fire Stick and routers.
Windscribe VPN uses AES-256 cipher with SHA512 auth and a 4096-bit RSA key to create a protection tunnel for your data.
Has a good mix of both data and servers. Their free version also has more server locations than many others, including in Germany, the UK, Canada, and several other locations.
Great choice of VPN for Windows, as it offers a good chunk of free data and is suitable for music and video streaming.
Users do NOT need to provide any personal information when they are signing up for the service.
The company has a clever marketing ploy, where they will boost your data by 5GB if you send out a tweet about the service, and if you refer a friend who subscribes to the paid tier, you’ll be given access to that higher tier at no charge!
This VPN for Windows allows for installation of more than one of its services at a time and you can also switch between them.
Windscribe provides a monthly plan that starts at $9, and a yearly plan at $49.
The user can also build their payment plan, where the user will pay based on the number of locations they want to access. Charged at $1 per location per month.
+ Strict no-logging policy
+ User-friendly software interface
+ A wide range of servers and locations to choose from which are located in close to 60 countries
+ 10GB of free data each month
+ This VPN for Windows has no DNS leaks
+ Built-in malware and ad blocker
+ Unblocks Netflix, YouTube, Kodi, Skype, and torrenting
– Their customer support system is a Chatbot named Garry that only responds to already programmed queries. It’s more of a searchable FAQ than a true customer support chat.
– You only have 3 days after purchase in which to claim a refund.
Read our full Windscribe review.
Rank: 7 | Servers: 3,000+ | Speed: 83.8 Mbps | Countries: 48+ | Encryption Type: AES-256/ IKEv2 IPsec, WireGuard, OpenVPN | Max devices: 5 | 24/7 support: ✅ Free trial: ✅ | Money-back guarantee: ✅ | Apps & Devices: Win~Mac~Android~ Linux~iOS~Router~LGTV~Samsung TV~Amazon Sticks~Xbox | Jurisdiction: Canada|
- Best feature for Windows: Obfuscated connections: TunnelBear VPN offers obfuscated connections, which can help you bypass VPN blocks.
- Worst feature for Windows: It won’t unblock Netflix.
This is one of the best known free VPN for Windows. TunnelBear has more than 220 servers in more than 20 locations around the world.
This Windows VPN has 256-bit AES encryption and a kill switch. The VPN for PC supports a maximum of 5 devices.
It has a paid monthly subscription as well that ranges from $4.99 to $9.99.
The free version of the VPN for PC will give you a bandwidth of a limited amount – 500 MB every month which is a lot less than other VPNs for Windows. TunnelBear VPN is compatible with Windows, iOS, macOS, Android, Linux, Firefox, and Chrome.
+ A kill switch to ensure that no data leaks out to outside parties
+ Easy installation
+ The TunnelBear VPN for PC can be used when torrenting
+ The VPN provider’s systems are independently audited to avoid any data leaks
+ A no-logging policy
+ Offers data blocking and also protection from online malware activities
+ Has high upload and download speeds
+ GhostBear mode is very vigilant, ensuring no data leakages when the device is disconnected from the Wi-Fi connection.
+ Can be used with HBO Go, Kodi, and YouTube.
– The user cannot leave it “always-on,” as they will get caught short on bandwidth data before the end of the month
– Router installation is not supported
– Doesn’t support Netflix
– The free version does not have the enterprise functionalities
Four More Reasons to Get a Windows VPN
- The possibility of online threats and malware attacks are present in Windows operating systems. A good VPN can be used to safeguard your device for either personal or business use.
- A Windows VPN connection will secure connection to the organization’s network and the internet. The same can be applied when you are connecting to public Wi-Fi, say in a coffee shop, library, or conference. These are efficient in cost-saving and network capability.
- Windows is the most widely used operating system in the world and with this, the company can secure access to the web for its users and maintain their privacy. The company can then use their carrier networks to route data and process information.
- The overall process of this linking and data transfer gives the user a view that all the computers are linked to each other in real-time.
How to Get Started Using a VPN for Windows
- Before you start, you’ll need an active ExpressVPN subscription and a device running Windows 7 or newer.
- Go to the ExpressVPN website/sign-in
- Enter your account information and click sign in
- Go to your account dashboard and click download for Windows. This will immediately begin the download process.
- Then, to use ExpressVPN on your computer you will need the activation code.
- You will find the activation code in your account dashboard. Copy and save it as you will be asked to provide it later.
- Once the download has finished, open the installer (upper right of your browser) and follow the instructions to complete the installation.
- You will want to have your activation code from earlier handy now, as you will be asked to paste it into the ExpressVPN window.
- You will be asked if you would like ExpressVPN to launch automatically upon startup.
- Then, you will be asked if you want to share anonymous diagnostics to help improve ExpressVPN’s performance.
- Answer these as you wish and continue (your answers can also be changed later within the app).
- Now all you have to do is launch the app.
- The ExpressVPN website has numerous tutorials to help you through any issue you may face, so if you’re new to VPNs, spend some time looking through their site.
By tunneling out to a VPN server that is beyond the control of ISPs, a free VPN for Windows can bypass oppressive censorship. This feature can be used to access streaming content that is not available in your location. For example, different TV shows and movies will be available to overseas Netflix subscribers than those available to subscribers in the US. This is because Netflix has specific deals to distribute this content in different regions.
Netflix is not the only TV streaming service that can be tricked by the use of a free Windows VPN. There are different streaming arrangements for BBC and MLB in different regions. These companies will try to block the use of VPNs for PC to enforce the regional streaming deals.
This then becomes a hassle for the users, as the number of servers you can connect to is limited. The users have fewer options to spoof their location. It is also more difficult for users to jump from one server to another in search of unblocked access or faster speeds. Some VPNs can work with Netflix and other TV content streaming apps but only for paid users.
If you are looking for another option to aid you in going around the Netflix blockade, purchasing a static IP address is a good option. This will usually require that you have a premium VPN subscription atop the additional cost of the static IP.
The best (paid) Netflix VPN can be found here.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Is a Free VPN for PC Worth Downloading?
To be frank, there is no straightforward and easy answer to this question. This will depend on the use you intend for the free Windows VPN. If you want to use the free Windows VPN to just get a bit more security on your personal computer or mobile device when you are connected to a public Wi-Fi, then one of the above free VPNs is worth getting.
When it comes to using VPN to stream online content or download terabytes of torrent files, a free VPN for Windows will not cut it.
The first reason is that the providers of the full no-cost VPNs for PC will limit you to a daily or monthly data allowance that you’ll go through in no time at all. Secondly, most of the free VPNs for Windows do not possess the kind of easy access support or server range that makes streaming easy.
What is the business model of a free VPN provider?
The providers of free VPNs are still running a business and are in it for the money. The operation of such a business will cost a lot, especially if it is popular, such as the high-end VPNs for PC like ExpressVPN. These providers will leverage the use of their free versions as a marketing tool to draw in potential clients to change to the paid version of their services once you are happy with the free one. Many free VPNs (none on this list) will engage in selling users’ data or providing information to a third party and can compromise your privacy.
Do free VPN providers log anything?
However, there are still several scrupulous VPN services that don’t keep logs.
Is it possible to sign up for a VPN service completely anonymously?
To protect your identity when signing up for a VPN:
- If an email address is required, use a disposable email account to provide it.
- Consider using Tor (a network that offers online anonymity by routing internet traffic through a series of encrypted servers).
- VPNs like CyberGhost, Private Internet Access, Anonymous VPN, or Mullvad offer anonymous payment options such as cryptocurrency or gift cards.
Is there a free VPN for Windows 10?
Hide.me, Windscribe, and Proton all offer good, completely free VPN options.
It works by routing your device’s internet connection by selecting the VPN’s private server instead of your internet service provider (ISP).
What are the best Free VPNs for Windows?
There are several VPNs for Windows that offer great service. The ones which offer money-back are ExpressVPN, Surfshark, and NordVPN. The limited free VPN we like the most is hide.me.
All free VPNs have some limits, but ProtonVPN, Windscribe, TunnelBear, and hide.me all have functional options.
What is the safest free VPN for PC?
ProtonVPN, Windscribe, TunnelBear, and hide.me are all safe. The other options on the list offering limited trials or money-back guarantees are also safe.
What is the best free VPN for PC without registration?
TunnelBear and hide.me are two excellent choices if you’re looking to try out VPN services. TunnelBear stands out for its user-friendly interface and the availability of a free version. It prioritizes security by following industry-standard measures and maintaining an independently audited no-logs policy. Additionally, TunnelBear can unblock popular streaming services while encrypting the user’s internet connection to ensure privacy on any network.
Hide.me offers a free tier that grants access to five VPN server locations. It boasts fast speeds and zero information logging, guaranteeing the protection of user data. Unlike some VPN providers, hide.me does not engage in selling user information or displaying ads. Moreover, it ensures quick page loads and unlimited bandwidth in its free version.
Is a free VPN for Windows safe to use?
This depends. Some of the free VPNs in the Microsoft store are either unsafe, sell your data, or expose you to advertisers. None of those in this list do that, and if you choose your provider carefully, then yes, a free VPN can be quite safe.
How do I set up a free VPN for Windows?
Here are the steps to set up a free VPN on a Windows device:
- Choose a free VPN service: There are several options available for free VPN services on Windows, such as Hide.me and TunnelBear.
- Download and install the VPN software: Once you have selected a free VPN service, proceed to download and install the corresponding VPN software on your Windows device.
- Launch the VPN app: After the installation is complete, launch the VPN app on your Windows device.
- Allow network property changes: If prompted, grant permission for the VPN to modify network properties on your Windows device.
- Select the desired server location: From the list of available options, choose the geographic location you wish to connect with.
- Press the connect button: Once you have made your server selection, click the connect button to establish a connection to the VPN server.
Can anyone track you if you use a VPN?
Your Internet Service Provider (ISP) can see if you are using a VPN, although they are unable to monitor your specific online activities when connected to a trusted VPN service. Using a low-quality VPN may still leave you susceptible to tracking.
While your VPN provider can view your online actions, reputable providers adhere to a strict no-logging policy, ensuring that your activity remains confidential.
Websites can still employ methods such as cookies, fingerprinting, and similar techniques to track user behavior. These practices are generally less intrusive to your privacy compared to IP address-based tracking.
Can I use my Windows VPN on multiple devices?
Depending upon the VPN you choose, yes, it is possible to use your Windows VPN on multiple devices. The VPN can be connected to your router, and then all the devices that share the network will be protected from any user who would want to view their internet activity.