As a Windows user, you’re probably familiar with the security issues that have long plagued the operating system. It’s by far the most widely used desktop OS and there is an abundance of malware that can affect it. Cautious internet browsing and an anti-virus can go a long way to keep you safe from these attacks, but you’ll still need one of our best VPN for Windows to keep you truly safe.
Whenever you connect to the internet, you open yourself to privacy and security threats. If you log into public WiFi, anyone with the knowhow can see the data that you exchange. This can include credit cards, passwords and other private information.
Even at home, your internet service provider (ISP) may violate your privacy. In the U.S., ISPs can log your browsing data and sell it to marketers and now, with the FCC repealing net neutrality, they can regulate what you see and how fast it loads.
Thankfully, a VPN can give you peace of mind. It secures your connection and grants anonymity. Whether you are just looking to browse the internet without corporations looking over your shoulder or to keep yourself safe when your connection isn’t, VPNs are the solution.
On top of that, all of our best VPN picks allow you access to geoblocked content by making you appear to websites as if you are somewhere else in the world. There is very little reason not to use a VPN, keep reading to find out how to pick the best one for you.
Best VPN for Windows 2018
What Makes a VPN Best for Windows
While it’s clear that you should be using a VPN, it’s less clear which VPN you should be using. We’ve made it a bit easier by choosing the best VPNs for Windows for you, focusing on some key features you’ll want to have.
A major factor you should consider when picking a VPN is its logging policy. As your connection will be routed through the company’s servers, you’ll want to avoid any providers which log your data if privacy is at all your goal.
Privacy and security are valuable, but it can be difficult to stick to the habit of using a VPN if it noticeably slows your internet connection. On a day to day basis, a VPN should be unnoticeable: something you turn on and forget about.
In order to really not worry, though, there needs to be an assurance that, even if something disconnects, your information is still safe. This is where a killswitch comes in. A killswitch will sever your internet connection if your VPN stops working for whatever reason. This prevents any potential loss of security during server outages.
On Windows 10 Privacy
Since the release of Windows 10, Microsoft has shifted its business model and seems to be following a path closer to that of Google, privacy-wise. While Windows is getting progressively more secure over time, it’s also getting substantially less private.
The default settings allow Windows to record a significant amount of information on your usage and then sell it to advertisers, evidence that Microsoft is relying on users’ lack of familiarity with Windows’ operation to make a profit.
Fortunately, you can and should change these settings. A VPN can keep your browsing private, but with these settings left stock, Microsoft can still snoop away. For total privacy, you should use a VPN in tandem with these changes.
Best VPN for Windows: ExpressVPN
ExpressVPN is, without a doubt, one of the best VPNs on the market. It sits not only at the top of this list, but ranks as the best among our VPN reviews, too, and with good reason. It’s fast, doesn’t log your data, offers plenty of server locations and has great support. Check out our full ExpressVPN review for the details.
ExpressVPN manages to execute a tricky balance of power and usability. It looks clean and the basic functionality really couldn’t be more straightforward with the main interface showing an on/off button and location options. The rest is taken care of.
Power users will be happy to know that there is still plenty to tinker with in options menu including a manual selection of encryption protocol between SSTP, L2TP/IPSec, PPTP and OpenVPN.
ExpressVPN is very reliable, but should your connection to its servers be dropped for any reason, it does feature a killswitch to block all internet traffic until a connection is reestablished. This prevents anyone looking in on your connection while the VPN tunnel is down.
While ExpressVPN isn’t the cheapest service, it’s a great option for anyone seeking a no-compromises VPN. It’s fast and feature rich; it also offers a 30-day money-back guarantee, which is one of the longest in the industry.
Other Reasons Why We Like ExpressVPN
ExpressVPN hasn’t earned its spot as the best overall VPN by only winning out on Windows. It’s a solid choice for pretty much any device you might use as it also supports smart TVs and a browser extension. Do note however that ExpressVPN only allows three simultaneous connections. If this isn’t enough, you can run ExpressVPN on your router to protect your entire home network.
As IoT devices become more popular, ExpressVPN’s split tunneling capabilities are also useful. If you opt to protect your home network by using ExpressVPN on you router, your smart home devices don’t have to run over the VPN.
- No logging
- A bit expensive
- Only 3 connections
- Collects non-identifiable metadata
NordVPN isn’t the fastest VPN around, but if you don’t work with large files it can work as a streamlined security solution with a reasonable price. Check out our NordVPN review for the full picture.
NordVPN also has a strict no logging policy; your data is completely private. For example, your server choice is not stored. This is information that many competitors, even those focusing on privacy, might collect. NordVPN is based in Panama, excusing it from U.S. and E.U. requirements to track certain customer data and it takes full advantage of this fact.
NordVPN probably has the cleanest design on this list. It has a similar approach to ExpressVPN in showing only on/off and location in the main interface, but does so with a slightly more modern look and with a map to help you visualize your server choice.
If you run into any issues or are confused about using NordVPN, it also has a strong customer support system. The knowledge base is useful and fleshed-out and further questions can be sent in as request messages. It does have live chat, but this isn’t available 24/7 like ExpressVPN.
If you’re willing to compromise a little on speed and features, NordVPN is a compelling alternative to ExpressVPN. It’s easy to use, very secure and will save you a bit of money, especially with an annual or two year purchase.
Other Reasons Why We Like NordVPN
NordVPN also steps ahead of ExpressVPN in connection offerings. While it doesn’t have apps for as many devices as ExpressVPN, it does support six simultaneous connections. If one of these devices isn’t supported with an app, you can still set up NordVPN manually, it will just be more hands on.
- Easy to use
- 821 servers in 57 countries
- Not very fast
- Monthly is expensive
CyberGhost prioritizes privacy above all else. It’s approach rivals that of NordVPN, keeping no activity logs and barely any metadata logs at all. The company also publishes an annual transparency report showing publicly the number of DMCA complaints, malware reports and police requests for information.
CyberGhost’s servers aren’t entirely consistent, but if you take the time to pick the right one, you can definitely get some usable speeds. Overall, the service seems to be improving every few months as the team behind it tweaks another feature or improves part of the UI. Check out our CyberGhost review for details.
Other Reasons We Like CyberGhost
Based as it is in privacy-friendly Romania, CyberGhost is a real contender when it comes to keeping your data safe. It’s also easy to use, offers users a wealth of information if they want it, and all for a reasonable monthly cost.
CyberGhost also has a 30-day money-back guarantee, so feel free to check it out and see how it works for you. Though it may be at the bottom of this list, there’s plenty to like here for a certain kind of user; that may very well be you.
- No logging
- Great network in Europe
- Network outside Europe is meh
AirVPN is a powerful, fast service aimed at experienced users with a demand for high security and customizability. The service comes at a reasonable price with very flexible pricing options (as short-term as three days). Read our full AirVPN review for the details.
AirVPN is a very transparent service. The project was built by a small group of people who cared about high security. The client can run speed tests and gives a very detailed list of server statuses.
AirVPN exclusively supports OpenVPN. This does mean that if you are specifically looking for support of the less secure PPTP and L2TP, AirVPN won’t be your solution, but it also demonstrates the company’s serious approach to security.
Other Reasons We Like AirVPN
AirVPN’s feature set is a step above most others. As a tool built for those with more experience, you get a very versatile service. You can connect to AirVPN over the Tor network, allowing you to stay completely anonymous to both AirVPN as well as the websites you visit.
AirVPN also offers a free trial, but it requires you to send a friendly email asking for it to the service. Though this may be a bit too quirky for some, here at Cloudwards.net we’re never afraid of small personal touch and find this a very charming feature.
- No logs
- Less user friendly than alternatives
- Interface is outdated
While AirVPN is made for power users, VyprVPN is made to be approachable. It also offers two tiers of subscription, meaning anyone who doesn’t need the five connections or VyprVPN’s special Chameleon Protocol — both offered in the premium package — isn’t forced to shell out full price. For more details on all this, read our full VyprVPN review.
VyprVPN’s interface is very easy to navigate. It takes a slightly different approach than other services by showing more information in the main window. It’s not so much that it becomes overwhelming, but just enough to make troubleshooting easier for less advanced users.
While VyprVPN isn’t the fastest or cheapest VPN around, it’s a solid and very easy to use service that can keep your browsing private and secure. It ranks high in many of our categories, including the best VPN for porn.
Other Reasons We Like VyprVPN
VyprVPN is one of the few VPN providers that gets through the Netflix VPN ban. If you plan on catching up on your favorite shows, VyprVPN is a solid choice to do so securely. VyprVPN also supports pretty much every device you’d need so you can secure more than just your Windows PC.
VyprVPN is the only top provider that offers a free trial without any fuss (though you’ll have to provide your payment details), meaning you can take it for a three-day test drive to see how it handles. Chances are, you’ll like it.
- Easy to use
- Free trial
- Up to 5 connections
- Bit slow
- Trial is short
Ultimately, we recommend ExpressVPN for most Windows users. It’s fast, versatile and secure making it an all around great service. Those on a tighter budget may find NordVPN to be a good, if slower, solution. Power users who know they need features not contained in either will probably find what they need in the extensive feature list of AirVPN.
We’ve done our damnedest to make sure to think of everything when selecting the above five services, so please let us know if you feel we missed something. Does one of these VPNs fit the bill for you? Is there another that you prefer? Let us know in the comments below. Thanks for reading.