If you've kept on top of the latest Windows 10 developments, you may have spotted the Windows 10 VPN client's existence. It sounds super promising by its very name, suggesting you don't need a dedicated VPN solution, and you can simply flick it on any time you need the added protection and security. Dig a little deeper, however, and you may be disappointed by what the built-in VPN client means for you.
While the built-in client is likely enough for some people, there will be others who are looking for more from it. Read on and we'll tell you everything you need to know about the Windows 10 VPN and whether it's worth using.
The Windows 10 VPN client isn't actually a VPN service
You see the words 'VPN client,' and you think it'll solve all your VPN needs, right? Well, the Windows 10 VPN client isn't really a VPN service all of its own. Effectively, it's a desktop client that helps you connect to a third-party VPN network separately. Yup, it's a container basically.
You'll still need to subscribe to a 'proper' VPN service to take advantage of the Windows 10 VPN client. This does mean that you won't need to download any additional software, which is something that will make some people happy. But, are the feature trade-offs worth it when you could just download the VPN's own client instead? Well, let's keep looking at what the Windows 10 client offers.
The Windows 10 VPN client requires you to set up connection profiles
Once you've hooked up your full VPN service with the Windows 10 VPN client, you might think it's plain sailing from now on. Unfortunately, there are some further restrictions. You have to set up a connection profile to use it, and each profile only has room for one server address and one connection protocol. If you like to switch between different servers regularly through your VPN, this immediately restricts your options unless you keep creating new profiles.
In a way, it's simpler (ish) as often, you probably only connect to the same couple of servers each time, but it makes it harder for you to switch easily between the fastest servers out there. It simply takes longer to do this via the Windows 10 client than a regular VPN software tool.
The Windows 10 VPN client isn't overly user friendly
We'll be blunt - the Windows 10 built-in VPN client isn't great for everyone. It needs a bit of technical knowledge as it asks you about protocol choices and other features that most VPN service clients don't bother asking anymore. They're far more intuitive and user-friendly than the Windows option. There's also the matter of needing to set up yet another client when you've already just signed up for a VPN service. It feels like an unnecessary step because it is.
As you need to subscribe to a VPN anyhow to even use the Windows 10 option, most people may find it easier to just use that company's software. It's far simpler and more effective to use your chosen VPN app instead as it's typically designed better and far quicker to use. Switching between servers will be quicker, and it's an all-around far smoother experience than using the Windows method.
A VPN client simply has better features
The Windows 10 VPN client is super rudimentary. It looks like one of the more technical sides of Windows when numerous VPN apps look more attractive. At their simplest, VPN service clients tend to include maps that help you pick what location server you want to connect to, but they also offer extra features that can be very useful.
Depending on your VPN, this can be something pivotal like an integrated kill-switch, so your connection is cut if the VPN connection drops. Those kinds of features are hugely beneficial to many users, and they come as standard with the VPN app that's been designed with your VPN in mind. The Windows 10 client can't compete here.
The Windows 10 VPN client is a great option ... for some people
We've said many negative things about the Windows 10 built-in VPN client and for a good reason. For most users, it's simply pointless. If you've just signed up for a VPN service, it makes far more sense to use the VPN's dedicated app to connect and switch between servers. It's simpler to use, and you'll have the full wealth of features that the VPN offers made available to you.
There is an exception to this rule, though. If you're technically-minded and keen to avoid the potential bloat of having unnecessary apps installed, the Windows 10 VPN client does offer benefits. You don't need to install any extra apps to connect to your chosen VPN which is useful if you have limited space, or if your system is very low spec and needs all the help it can get to keep running smoothly. Also, if you're worried about any security issues relating to your VPN service, this is an easy way to dodge those concerns (although maybe consider switching to a VPN you trust more).
Be sure to check out this roundup of all the best VPN deals now.
We test and review VPN services in the context of legal recreational uses. For example:
1. Accessing a service from another country (subject to the terms and conditions of that service).
2. Protecting your online security and strengthening your online privacy when abroad.
We do not support or condone the illegal or malicious use of VPN services. Consuming pirated content that is paid-for is neither endorsed nor approved by Future Publishing.
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