Best Windows VPN service in 2024

A virtual private network (VPN) secures your online movement and digital identity by encrypting your online data so that it's shielded from trackers, snoops, and other online threats. Using a VPN on your Windows 10 PC protects you from being hijacked while connected to public WiFi and everything you do online from being recorded. A VPN reassigns your device's IP address to give you access to tv streaming services when you travel and other geo-restricted content that may be blocked when you leave your home country.

We've tested, evaluated, and gathered the most accurate information about the best Windows VPNs on the market. Multiple times a year we retest and reevaluate VPN services to ensure we have the most up-to-date information from security levels to privacy policies to current average connection speeds.

Our guide compares the top services, breaks down the best uses for each, and points out any flaws we've found during our research and hands-on testing. To get you started, here are our top three best VPNs for Windows PC.

1. ExpressVPN: the best overall Windows VPN

1. ExpressVPN: the best overall Windows VPN
ExpressVPN has set the bar across the industry when it comes to safeguarding user security. It's packed with easy-to-use tools, extremely quick, and capable of unblocking all of your favorite streaming platforms (like US Netflix).

Although ExpressVPN is more expensive than my other top picks, you're getting a premium service in return. Subscribe to a 12-month plan and you'll get an extra 3 months of coverage for free, 1 year of cloud storage, and a handy 30-day money-back guarantee.

2. NordVPN: the fastest VPN on the market

2. NordVPN: the fastest VPN on the market
NordVPN is another big name in the VPN sphere—and for good reason. It's the quickest VPN I've tested in a long time and works with Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and tons of other streaming services.

Grab a NordVPN plan (for a very modest price) and you'll get access to its ad-blocking and malware-protection tools, too. You'll also be covered by a risk-free 30-day money-back guarantee.

3. Surfshark VPN: the best cheap Windows VPN

3. Surfshark VPN: the best cheap Windows VPN
Surfshark proves that cheap VPNs can hold their own against their premium counterparts. In fact, I often recommend Surfshark to VPN newbies thanks to its easy-to-use apps and clutter-free interface. A vast server network means you'll be able to unblock international content in a blink, too.

A Surfshark subscription comes with unlimited simultaneous connections that you can use to secure all your gadgets or share with the family. See for yourself, and take the service for a test drive, with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Our top Windows PC VPN services of 2024

Why you can trust Windows Central Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

We compare the top Windows VPNs and give you a breakdown of what we've learned during testing, reasons to buy, and issues to be aware of, plus what we like about each provider.

Best Windows VPN overall

ExpressVPN running on a Dell XPS laptop

The best and most secure VPN service for Windows

Specifications

Compatible with: Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux, Xbox
Streaming services unblocked: Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Amazon, YouTube
Servers: 3,200+
Server locations: 160 in 94 countries
Refund period: 30 days

Reasons to buy

+
Easy for beginners
+
Solid security in every area
+
Stable connections

Reasons to avoid

-
Not as fast as NordVPN or Surfshark
-
An expensive choice
Subscribe if:

✔️ You need solid security: ExpressVPN consistently passes our security tests proving it protects against leaks and doesn't let anything break its connection.

✔️ You're new to VPNs: the interface is easy to navigate and most tools are already turned on for you, so you're well protected without having to mess with any settings.

✔️ You want to customize your VPN experience: while it's simple enough for new users, there's also plenty you can configure to get the most out of your VPN connection.

Don't subscribe if:

You need the fastest VPN: you get up to 750 Mbps with ExpressVPN, but both NordVPN and Surfshark reach speeds of 950+ Mbps.

You want an all-in-one security suite: although it is definitely secure, it doesn't have the extra protection tools that NordVPN includes.

You're on a budget: while it's worth the guaranteed security of ExpressVPN, it is still substantially more expensive than any of the other VPNs on our list.

Bottom line ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

🔒 ExpressVPN is the most secure VPN on the market, and while it's also one of the most expensive, it does come with a year of free cloud storage and a no-nonsense privacy policy.

Want to learn more?

Check out this ExpressVPN review for all the details of our security tests, speed tests, and streaming tests and how it compares to other VPNs.

ExpressVPN is our top choice for most VPN users because of how solidly secure it is. During testing, ExpressVPN didn't drop its connections and never allowed anything to leak. Even when its connections were forced to drop in order to evaluate its kill switch, the switch started up so quickly that there weren't any leaks between the time the VPN connection was severed and the kill switch engaged. The kill switch stayed on until the VPN connection was reestablished and safely secured all data throughout the entire process.

This isn't the first time we've tested ExpressVPN. In all our years evaluating VPNs, ExpressVPN has never disappointed when it comes to overall security. It uses military-grade encryption to make your data impossible to read if intercepted. Plus, as it's routed through ExpressVPN's secured servers, the IP address is changed so that your online activity can't be traced back to you.

Try ExpresVPN risk-free with a 30-day money-back guarantee

ExpressVPN has a secured privacy policy, too. This promises never to log your online history or keep files with your personal information on hand. This means ExpressVPN can't hand over any information about you to partners, law enforcement, or anyone curious about what you're doing while using its VPN service.

If you travel, especially overseas, ExpressVPN is a handy tool to take with you. It has over 3,200 servers worldwide in an impressive 94 countries. It's hard to find a VPN server in an area when you need it. Using ExpresVPN servers lets you work around geo-blocked content, including tv streaming services, so you can visit the sites you enjoy while at home.

For tv streaming, services aren't a problem for ExpressVPN to unblock. This includes Amazon Prime, Hulu, Disney+, and even HBO Max. You can watch the BBC iPlayer and 9Now, too. Last year during testing, we had problems unblocking Netflix in both the US and the UK. Sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn't. We never were able to unblock Netflix in Canada. However, in our latest tests, ExpressVPN unblocked all these Netflix regions on top of Japan and Australia.

ExpressVPN is expensive to use. You can expect to pay 50% more for ExpressVPN than NordVPN, and three times more than a Surfshark subscription. You do get solid security and one year free of secured cloud storage with ExpressVPN.

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ExpressVPN test results
AttributesNotesRating
DesignClean, simple, and modern⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Ease of useApps are intuitive with auto-connect functions, good for beginners⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
PerformanceFast enough for most tasks, but significantly slower than NordVPN and Surfshark⭐⭐⭐⭐
UnblockingUnblocks everything without hassle⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Security and privacyTop-notch security and a fool-proof no-logs policy⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Customer supportAlways available, always friendly, always helpful⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
PriceMore expensive than most leading VPN services⭐⭐⭐

Best Windows VPN with antivirus

NordVPN being used on a Windows laptop

Well-known Windows VPN with extra safety precautions

Specifications

Compatible with: Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux
Streaming services unblocked: Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, YouTube, Amazon
Servers: 5,600
Server locations: 80 in 60 countries
Refund period: 30 days

Reasons to buy

+
Antivirus and ad blocking included
+
Double-encrypts data
+
Excellent for Netflix streaming
+
Includes Meshnet

Reasons to avoid

-
Busy apps aren't the best for beginners
-
Fewer server countries than ExpressVPN and Surfshark
Subscribe if:

✔️ You want more protection than a VPN alone provides: NordVPN comes with antivirus and ad blockers. It can also double-encrypt your outgoing data.

✔️ You want to stream Netflix: NordVPN unblocks Netflix in all regions, which several other VPNs can't do.

✔️ You need fast speeds: NordVPN gets up to 950 Mbps, and then some.

Don't subscribe if:

You're a VPN beginner: the interface isn't the easiest to navigate, which becomes frustrating for new users. Try Surfshark or CyberGhost for a simpler experience.

You want a torrent VPN: NordVPN does support this, and even includes Meshnet for creating a secured network for torrenting. However, we've seen dips in speed while doing torrents. PIA is a better choice.

You need servers in more countries: It has an impressive 5,670 servers, but only in 60 countries. Surfshark has servers in 100 countries.

Bottom line ⭐⭐⭐⭐½

🔒 NordVPN uses extra security to ensure you're shielded online including sending your data through two servers to double-encrypt it, using dual kill switches in case your connection is lost, and including online malware protections.

Want to learn more?

This in-depth NordVPN review looks at what was found during testing, gives more info on its security features, and looks at its impressive unblocking of streaming services.

NordVPN is just as secure as ExpressVPN. In our tests, we saw the same level of security and no leaks while the VPN was connected. We also didn't see any issues when we forces the connection to drop and the kill switch to start. NordVPN uses a dual kill switch system just in case one doesn't engage in time. But we saw both kill switches engage properly and quickly and no leaks when they were working.

Another safety feature NordVPN includes is double encryption. This sends your information through two servers to ensure it's impossible to read if a cybercriminal snatches it. This also assigns two IP addresses so your online browser movements can't be traced back to you.

Try NordVPN risk-free with a 30-day money-back guarantee

NordVPN includes antivirus. While this isn't as good as a true antivirus solution, it does help keep online threats from infecting your computer. This is done first by stopping malicious files from downloading. It also blocks you from visiting websites that have malware hidden on them. NordVPN includes ad blockers too. These remove most ads from the websites you visit. While most ads are just annoying, there are some that have malware downloads hidden in them.

For unblocking geo-restricted content, NordVPN is one of the best, especially when it comes to accessing tv streaming services. We didn't have any problem unblocking Netflix in every region, including Japan and Canada, two of the most difficult to tap into. NordVPN also unblocks Hulu, Amazon Prime, YouTube, and BBC iPlayer.

This VPN works on several different devices, including mobile, Linux, and Xbox. There are differences between apps that make it hard to bounce between devices. We've found the desktop tops a bit harder to use than the mobile ones. 

Overall, the interface looks professional and there is an interactive map to help you locate a specific server. It does make NordVPN look busy and is complicated if you're just beginning to use a VPN. For new VPN users, we recommend starting with either Surfshark or CyberGhost. Both are more simple and will help you get a feel for using a VPN. You can always use NordVPN in the future when you feel ready to take on more customization.

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NordVPN test results
AttributesNotesRating
DesignCool, interactive design that's a bit busy⭐⭐⭐⭐
Ease of useOverwhelming for new users, some may find the map interface off-putting⭐⭐⭐
PerformanceOne of the fastest VPNs⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
UnblockingExcellent at unblocking Netflix in all regions and other popular streaming sites⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Security and privacyJust as secure as ExpressVPN, plus includes antivirus and double encryption⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Customer supportProfessional, friendly support available 24/7 via chat⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
PriceOverall good a balance between what you get and what you pay⭐⭐⭐⭐

Best cheap Windows VPN

Surfshark VPN running on a Windows PC

(Image credit: Source: Surfshark)
A cheap VPN that doesn't skimp on security

Specifications

Compatible with: Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux, Xbox
Streaming services unblocked: Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, YouTube, Amazon
Servers: 3,200+
Server locations: 143 in 100 countries
Refund period: 30 days

Reasons to buy

+
Fastest VPN we tested
+
Unlimited connections
+
Overall good value

Reasons to avoid

-
Not our recommendation for torrenting
-
Kill switch issues
Subscribe if:

✔️ You need a budget-friendly option: this VPN is the best overall value without costing an arm and a leg.

✔️ You are new to VPNs: the app is simple and easy to use, perfect for someone just learning about VPNs.

✔️ You want a fast VPN: the connection speeds of Surfshark can't be beaten by ExpressVPNs or most other VPN services.

Don't use if:

You need access to more servers: Surfshark has over 3,200 servers, but that's nothing next to the 20,000 of PIA.

You want to torrent: while Surfshark supports torrents, it doesn't have the dedicated tools and configuration that other VPNs, like ExpessVPN and PIA, have.

You want a solid kill switch: we've seen some issues with the kill switch enabling without telling us the VPN connection has dropped.

Bottom line ⭐⭐⭐⭐½

🔒 Surfshark is fast, easy to use, cheap, and worth trying, especially since it's backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Want to learn more?

Read this Surfshark review to see details of its speed tests, more information on its kill switch issues, and how it compares to other VPNs.

Surfshark is fast. It's the fastest VPN on our list. It's also secure using the AES-256 level of encryption, the highest level used by banks, militaries, and government agencies to secure their files. The best part of all this is Surfshark gives it to you at a price that other VPNs find hard to beat.

This VPN is easy to use and one we recommend for beginners. What's more, it works on so many different types of devices. It's good on mobile, has a Linux app, and even works on routers and Xbox. If you're looking to use a VPN for streaming, Surfshark is compatible with Roku, Apple TV, and Chromecast. This VPN doesn't limit the number of devices you have connected at one time, so you can stream, play, and browse with all of them.

Try Surfshark risk-free for 30 days

Surfshark is good at unblocking Netflix in all areas, including Japan and Canada, two regions that are especially difficult to access. You also can watch Hulu, Amazon, and YouTube. Surfshark unblocks several streaming sites in other countries as well. All4, ITVX, 9Now, 10Play, and BBC iPlayer are all accessible.

The average connection speed for a VPN is around 550 Mbps. Surfshark is almost double that with a top speed of over 950 Mbps. To put this in perspective, Netflix requires 14 Mbps to stream a video, and you need 45 Mbps for a VPN to work without causing buffering or drag on your device. With Surfshark's speeds, you can do everything on every device without your connection speeds suffering. This speed is found using the WireGuard protocol, though, so make sure this is the one selected before you stream. These speeds are also fast enough for online gaming and torrenting.

Surfshark does allow P2P transfers, but it doesn't have the configuration and tools that other VPNs include for torrenting. If you work a lot with torrents, we recommend Private Internet Access. All of its servers are configured for torrenting, plus it has port-forwarding and other tools dedicated to this task that Surfshark just doesn't have.

It might lack the more complex settings that power users may be after, so if you're an experienced heavy user that likes delving into the tweaking options, you may want to look elsewhere. For most people though, this is an ideal starting service, especially when you take its 30-day money-back guarantee into consideration.

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Surfshark test results
AttributesNotesRating
DesignIntuitive, simple, yet elegant⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Ease of useVery easy, perfect for beginners⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
PerformanceOne of the few VPNs to reach the highest speeds of over 950 Mbps⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
UnblockingDoesn't struggle unblocking most streaming services⭐⭐⭐⭐
Security and privacyWe noticed some kill-switch issues⭐⭐⭐
Customer supportIt isn't easy to find the right support articles when you need it⭐⭐⭐⭐
PriceThe cheapest and best-value VPN on the market⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Best of the rest

PIA running on a Windows laptop on top of a desk

4.