Windows users have their pick of the litter when it comes to VPNs. As the most popular operating system in the world, almost every VPN service caters to Windows users. Most of their apps work on all recent versions of the operating system, including Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 10, and now Windows 11.
However, the wide range of VPNs available can make it difficult to narrow down the criteria by which to judge the best Windows VPN. The best VPN for accessing Netflix and Hulu on Windows, for example, might not be the best VPN for torrenting on Windows. Because of that, for this article, we looked for the best VPNs for Windows with the best all-around performance, security, design, and customer support. Note that all of the VPNs on this list should also work with recent Microsoft Surface models, which run full Windows 8.1 and Windows 10 operating systems.
We’ll cover each VPN we recommend in detail later on, but if you’re just looking for a quick recommendation, here is a summary:
The best VPNs for Windows:
- NordVPN: Our #1 Choice! Offers super fast and secure connections. A global network of over 5,500 servers. Strong security features. Outstanding unblocking. 30-day money-back guarantee.
- Surfshark: Best budget option. A privacy-oriented provider that offers decent speeds, excellent unblocking capabilities, and unlimited connections.
- ExpressVPN: Fast and reliable with great digital privacy protection. Supports most streaming platforms, including Netflix.
- CyberGhost: Superb value for money. Easy-to-use apps are perfect for beginners. Over 9000 servers. Private and secure.
- Private Internet Access: WireGuard support for uninterrupted streaming, apps for desktop and mobile, plus a 10-device connection limit.
- PrivateVPN: Based in Sweden. No logs policy allows torrenting. Lots of advanced features. Connect up to 10 devices simultaneously.
- AtlasVPN: A fast and versatile service with unlimited connections and strong security features built-in.
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The best VPN for Windows
In order to find the best of the best VPNs for Windows 7, 8, 8.1, 10, and 11, we looked for providers that met the following criteria:
- Logging policy
- Security features and encryption
- Connection speeds and useability
- App design and compatibility
- Customer support
- Ability to unblock websites and bypass censorship
For more detailed information about how we recommend VPNs, check out the VPN testing methodology section later in this guide. For now, let’s take a closer look at the ones that made our list.
Here is our list of the best VPNs for Windows 7, 8, 10 & 11:
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
NordVPN is our first choice for a Windows VPN. It offers customers specialized servers such as anti-DDoS for super stable connections, ultra-fast streaming for high-quality video, double VPN for extra privacy, and Tor over VPN for extra anonymity. It stores neither traffic logs nor metadata logs.
NordVPN uses military-grade encryption, and customer service responded quickly to support tickets in our testing. This VPN can provide secure access to Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, and HBO Now as of the time of writing.
NordVPN operates more than 5,400 servers in 59 countries. You can choose server locations from a map or a list. Speeds are excellent and enough to stream video in HD and quickly download files. Perfect for streaming on any Windows 7 or higher computer.
- Exceptionally high speeds
- Massive range of global servers
- Works well with streaming services
- Specialized servers for super stable connections
- Excellent security features
- 24/7 suppor
- The desktop app can take time to connect
BEST VPN FOR WINDOWS DEVICES:NordVPN is our first choice. Boasts incredible speeds and works well with most streaming services, including Netflix. Great online privacy and security credentials. Try it risk-free with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Read our full NordVPN review.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
Surfshark is a low-cost VPN based in the British Virgin Islands and, accordingly, doesn’t log any personally identifiable information. It has over 3,200 servers in 100+ countries and is more than fast enough for streaming, torrenting, or general web browsing. This service secures your traffic with IPv6, DNS, and WebRTC leak protection, 256-bit AES encryption, and a kill switch (in all versions of the software).
This VPN is capable of accessing platforms like Netflix and BBC iPlayer from abroad. It also blocks ads and malware automatically, so there should be nothing to distract you from your favorite shows. Finally, Surfshark includes a NoBorders feature that allows you to bypass country-wide internet blocking, and it even works in China. 24-hour support is available via live chat.
Surfshark provides apps for Windows 7, 8, 10 & 11, Android, iOS, macOS, and Linux systems. It can be manually configured for use with home routers too.
- Large server network in 100+ countries
- Wide range of security features
- Keeps no logs
- Fast enough for HD live streaming
- 24/7 support
- We found some slow speeds during testing
BEST BUDGET CHOICE:Surfshark works great on Windows systems, but it also lets you secure every device you own. Strong privacy protections, great unblocking potential, and a 30-day money-back guarantee make this VPN well worth your time.
Read our full Surfshark review.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
ExpressVPN is incorporated in the British Virgin Islands, which is beyond the jurisdiction of both the USA and UK governments. It keeps no traffic logs and uses the strongest available security, including 256-bit AES encryption and perfect forward secrecy. Users can choose from over 3,000 servers located in 94 countries. Live chat support is available around the clock. ExpressVPN works with Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime Video, and HBO Now at the time of writing.
Speeds are generally fast and reliable, ensuring fast downloads and high-quality streaming video without buffering. A connection kill switch and leak protection come baked into the app.
Apps are also available for macOS, iOS, Android, Linux, and certain wifi routers.
- Fast speeds
- Works with all major streaming services, including Netflix, Amazon Prime, BBC, and others
- Industry-leading security and privacy
- Allows torrenting
- 24/7 customer support
- Lack of advanced configurations
- Streaming servers aren’t labeled
SOLID UNBLOCKER:ExpressVPN reliably unblocks all major streaming services with fast speeds for buffer-free HD viewing. Lots of security and privacy features. 30-day money-back guarantee.
Read our full ExpressVPN review.
Money-back guarantee: 45 DAYS
CyberGhost upped its game in the past year with a slew of new servers, features, and websites it can unblock. The company doesn’t keep any logs of user activity or their real IP addresses. Connections are reliable, and CyberGhost scored well in our speed tests. The tunnel to the VPN server is secured with 256-bit AES encryption. Live chat is available to help 24/7 and in 4 different languages.
The Windows app allows users to choose their server not only by location but according to what they want to use it for. Whether you want to bypass a firewall put in place by a country’s government or your office management, secure a public wifi connection, or access a specific streaming site, CyberGhost has you covered. You can even choose a server based on the specific streaming site you want to access, which at this time includes Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, and more. Additional features include anti-tracking and adblocking.
Apps are also available for MacOS, iOS, and Android.
- Massive server network
- Fast speeds
- Works with Netflix
- Keeps no logs
- Strong security features
- Doesn’t work in China or UAE
- More suited to beginners than power users
BEGINNER FRIENDLY:CyberGhost is simple to set up and ideal for first-time users. Great speeds and strong security features. Comes with a 45-day money-back guarantee.
Read our full CyberGhost review.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
Private Internet Access offers apps for Windows that provide fast and secure connections. Windows aside, it also supports macOS, iOS, Android, and selected routers. PIA doesn’t collect user logs, and with DNS leak protection, a kill switch, and 256-bit encryption, you can ensure your activities are kept private.
PIA accesses an array of streaming providers like Netflix, but its ability to evade geo-restrictions can be inconsistent. You can use the service on up to 10 devices simultaneously, whether you have 10 Windows machines or a mix of other devices.
Extra features include the option to adjust your encryption level, WireGuard support, and malware blocking. Support for PIA users is impressive and is available 24/7, and you can try the service risk-free for a month.
- A solid choice for day-to-day browsing
- Lightweight app for Windows 10
- 10 simultaneous device limit
- Decent speeds with the use of WireGuard
- Unblocking can be inconsistent
- No Smart DNS support
10 DEVICE CONNECTIONS:Private Internet Access secures connections with a kill switch and DNS leak protection. Apps are available on mobile and desktop, and it includes 24/7 support. Comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Read our full review of Private Internet Access.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
PrivateVPN is a relative newcomer in the VPN market, but the Sweden-based provider is growing fast. Despite its smaller network of servers, speeds are excellent, and it has been able to access almost everything we’ve thrown at it thus far. That includes Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime Video, and more. You can use it on your Windows 7 computer, plus you can connect up to 10 devices at one time on a single plan. Live chat support is available during business hours.
PrivateVPN does not log users’ activity or how they use the VPN. You can choose between TAP and TUN interfaces, which are protected with 128-bit and 256-bit AES encryption, respectively. A connection kill switch and leak protection come built-in.
Apps are also available for macOS, iOS, and Android.
- Fast speeds
- Works with all major streaming services
- Good security features
- No 24/7 live chat support
- Fewer servers in each location compared to our other options
ALLOWS 10 DEVICES:PrivateVPN is a good family choice. Unblocks popular geo-blocked sites. Also good for browsing and torrenting. Could do with having more servers and lacks 24/7 support. 30-day money-back guarantee.
Read our full review of PrivateVPN.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
AtlasVPN is a solid choice for modern and legacy Windows users as it offers some of the easiest-to-use apps we’ve seen across the VPNs we’ve tested. Other than Windows, it offers apps for ios, macOS, and Android but currently lacks router and Linux support.
AtlasVPN has a smaller server infrastructure than other providers, with 750+ servers in around 40 locations, but it offers WireGuard support and incredible speeds on many of the locations we’ve tested.
AtlasVPN is capable of accessing a wide range of geo-blocked services, including some major Netflix libraries along with Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime Video, and AT&T TV Now from abroad. Split tunneling, multi-hop servers, a kill switch, and a zero-logs policy are some of the benefits of using AtlasVPN, and if you need help, live chat-based support is on-hand 24/7.
- WireGuard support
- Goes undetected by a wide range of games and streaming services
- Streaming speeds are fantastic
- Getting a refund can be difficult
- Can’t be installed on Linux or routers
WIREGUARD SUPPORT:AtlasVPN has no connection limit, offers split tunneling, and uses 256-bit encryption. 30-day money-back guarantee.
Read our full AtlasVPN review.
Windows VPN – Testing Methodology
There are hundreds of VPNs that have apps for Windows on the market, but they are not all created equally. In order to prevent consumers from wasting their money on inferior VPN servers, we have devised a scientific VPN testing methodology. Here are some of the most important things we check for:
- A no-logs policy. What a VPN does with data is hugely important. We only recommend VPNs for Windows that never track or keep records of what their users do. This ensures that user privacy comes first and there is no paper trail about what users do while connected to the VPN.
- A global server network. For a VPN to be versatile and useful, it must have plenty of servers to pick from. We recommend VPNs that have a wide choice of server locations and whose servers are fast enough to let you do data-intensive tasks such as torrenting, gaming, and streaming.
- Plenty of advanced features. We only recommend VPNs that have apps for Windows and other popular platforms. This ensures that you can use it on your PC, laptop, tablet, smartphone, and other devices. We also check that those apps have useful privacy and security features such as OpenVPN, DNS leak protection, and a kill switch.
- Superb value for money. There are dozens of VPNs that overcharge for what you get. We only recommend VPNs that are both secure and reliable – and priced fairly.
- Allow Peer to Peer connections. Many VPN users want to protect their IP address from being discovered by the people they connect to P2P. That is why we only recommend VPNs that have servers optimized for torrenting – as well as useful features such as a SOCKS5 proxy or Split tunneling.
How to set up a VPN on Windows 7, 8 & 10
All of the VPN providers we recommend above make their own apps for Windows. Windows has built-in support for VPNs, but it requires manually configuring a connection for each server you wish to connect to. This can get tedious quickly, plus you won’t be able to take advantage of all the features built into the providers’ apps. These include kill switches, leak protection, auto-reconnect, etc.
Furthermore, the baked-in support for VPNs in Windows is limited when it comes to protocols. Windows don’t support OpenVPN by default, which is open-source and generally considered the most secure.
Here’s how to set up a VPN on Windows 7, 8, 10, or 11:
- Sign up for an account with the provider of your choice, NordVPN is our top recommended option.
- Download the app for your version of Windows from the provider’s website.
- Click on the downloaded file to install the app and follow the instructions in the setup wizard.
- Once installed, run the app.
- (Optional) Select a server. Most VPN apps will connect you to the nearest server if you don’t choose one. If you want to unblock content that’s restricted to a certain country, for example, select a server in that country.
- Hit Connect and wait for the connection to establish.
And that’s it! Most VPN apps will notify you when the connection is ready. It typically takes less than 30 seconds. Any internet traffic going to or from your computer will first be encrypted and travel through the VPN server.
Disable IPv6 on Windows for better security
In more recent versions of Windows, the operating system sends DNS requests for web pages using both the IPv4 and IPv6 protocols simultaneously. Whichever one comes back first is used to establish a connection with a web server. This helps web pages load faster–often by only a few milliseconds–but it can cause problems when you’re trying to access geographically restricted websites like Netflix or Hulu.
Most commercial VPNs are only equipped to handle IPv4 requests. Those IPv4 requests go through the VPN tunnel and are resolved by the VPN provider’s DNS servers. But if the IPv6 request bypasses the tunnel and is sent over the normal non-encrypted network, it will go to the nearest public or ISP-run DNS server, revealing the user’s true location. The DNS server mismatch is a dead giveaway for websites like Hulu and apps like Netflix, which will return an error saying the user must first disable the proxy before watching a video. It also lets your ISP snoop on your activity, although to a lesser degree than if you were not using a VPN at all.
Here’s how to disable IPv6 in Windows:
- Right-click the network icon (usually a wifi symbol) in your system tray and select Open network and sharing center
- In the window that appears, click the link with the name of your network. If you’re on wifi, it will have (Wi-Fi) in parentheses
- In the next window that pops up, click Properties
- Uncheck the entry for Internet Protocol Version 6 (TCP/IPv6)
- Click OK to save your changes and restart your computer
Windows VPN FAQ
Can I use a free VPN for Windows 7, 8 or 10?
So-called “free VPNs” are best avoided. While they don’t require payment like those on this list, they can actually reduce your privacy by injecting tracking cookies and advertisements into your web browser. Furthermore, they typically have data caps and bandwidth limits, not to mention a far more restricted range of servers.
As a general rule of thumb, if you’re not buying the product, then you are the product.
Why do I need to use a no logs VPN with Windows?
A VPN, at its core, is a privacy tool. Microsoft has built some known tracking and advertising features into Windows 10 that impose on users' privacy. The company has a history of cooperating with the NSA in bulk data collection, as exposed by Edward Snowden. For these reasons, we prefer VPNs that keep no logs of user activity and are (preferably) based outside of the United States.
Which is the best VPN for Windows mobile?
While VPN apps are practically omnipresent for desktop versions of Windows, the opposite is true when it comes to Microsoft’s unpopular mobile operating systems. Therefore, the criteria by which to judge a VPN provider on Windows Phone 8.1 and Windows 10 Mobile deviate from the desktop criteria.
For this reason, we’ve written a separate article detailing the best VPNs for Windows Phone and Windows 10 Mobile here. Likewise, we have another list made specifically for Windows 10 VPN recommendations.
Will a VPN help when Windows 7 is not updated anymore?
It's possible that a VPN could prevent a future vulnerability found in Windows 7 from being exploited. Hackers scanning for vulnerable IP addresses wouldn't be able to find or launch attacks against your device while you're connected to the VPN, for example.
But there could also well be future vulnerabilities that a VPN can't help with. Comparitech always urges readers to keep operating systems and software up to date for the best security possible. A VPN is not a replacement for antivirus and system security updates.
How do I create a PPTP VPN connection on Windows 7?
First, we do not recommend using PPTP if you want a secure VPN connection. PPTP has known security flaws that make it vulnerable to attack.
If you insist on setting up a PPTP VPN connection on Windows 7, you first need to ensure that your VPN provider and server support it. You'll need the server address, your username, and your password.
With that information in hand, here's how to set up a PPTP connection on Windows 7:
- Right click the network icon in the system tray (bottom right) and select Open Network and Sharing Center
- Click Set up a new connection or network > Connect to a workplace > Use my Internet connection (VPN)
- When asked if you want to use a connection that you already have, choose No, create a new connection, and hit Next
- In the Internet address field, enter the server address. Enter whatever you want in the Destination name field.
- Check Don't connect now, just set it up so I can connect later and hit Next
- Enter your VPN User name and Password. If your VPN provider gave you a domain to enter, do so here. Hit Create.
- Click Close
- Back in the Network and Sharing Center, click Change adapter settings
- Find the connection you just set up. Right-click it and select Properties
- Click the Security tab...
- Under Type of VPN choose Point to Point Tunneling Protool (PPTP)
- Adjust the remaining options according to your VPN provider's instructions.
- Click OK
- Back in Network Connections, double click the connection you set up
- Click Connect
After a few moments, the VPN should establish a connection.
How do I create a VPN server on a Windows 10 computer?
If you want your Windows 10 computer to act as the VPN server instead of the client, then you won't necessarily need to pay for a VPN provider. This setup allows you to route other devices' internet connections through your Windows 10 PC. Note, however, that this won't protect your privacy from your ISP or anyone lurking on the server's network.
Here's how to set up a VPN server on Windows 10:
- Open Control Panel and click Network and Sharing Center
- In the left sidebar, click **Change adapter settings
- In the Network Connections window, click File > New Incoming Connection
- Check which users you want to have VPN access to on your computer, or click Add someone and set them up with a new user name and password. Click Next
- Check Through the internet and click Next
- Check Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) and click Properties
- Check Allow callers to access my local area network
- Under IP address assignment, you can choose to assign IPs automatically using DHCP or specifying an IP address range. The latter is preferable but if you're unsure of what IP range to use, you can check your router's DHCP settings. Click OK.
- Click Allow access
- Click Close
Next, you'll need to allow VPN connections through your Firewall.
- Click the Start button and search "Allow an app through Windows Firewall". Choose the top result.
- Click Change settings
- Next to Routing and Remote Access, check Private and Public
- Click OK
- Your Windows 10 VPN server is now configured and ready to go. To connect to it from another device, you'll need your server's IP address (just search "what's my IP address?), along with the username and password you created in step four above.
Does Windows Defender have a VPN?
No, Windows Defender does not have a VPN. Windows Defender is an antivirus and firewall. Although Windows has built-in support for VPN connections (L2TP, SSTP, IKEv2), it does not come with a working VPN service.
Does Windows 10 have a VPN?
No, Windows 10 does not come with a VPN. Windows 10 has built-in support for some types of VPN connections---L2TP, SSTP, and IKEv2 protocols---that can be manually configured. But it does not come with a working VPN service or access to any VPN servers.
Do these VPN clients support Windows on ARM?
The VPNs we have recommended in this article use TAP drivers in their Windows applications to establish a connection. Unfortunately, ARM processors do not support TAP drivers. This means that you cannot use those custom VPN apps to connect.
Because of this problem, you cannot connect to the VPN the usual way on ARM. Instead, you will need to set up the VPN manually using L2TP/IPsec (or potentially IKEv2) – or use a third-party client; specifically the Windows ARM64 MSI installer ( or, alternatively, the 32-bit OpenVPN client, which works on Windows Arm according to Reddit.)
The best bet is to check with your VPN’s customer support before you subscribe to get advice regarding your Windows on Arm PC. This will allow you to understand whether the VPN can provide setup guides for using the VPN manually or via a third-party client.
If your VPN is not compatible with a Windows Arm PC, the best option is to connect to the VPN on a VPN-compatible router. This will automatically protect all the devices in your home with the VPN connection, including your Windows Arm computer.
Are these VPNs compatible with Windows 11?
Yes. Although some VPNs did experience some teething issues when Windows 11 was first released, most have managed to find solutions. This means that you can set up the regular custom VPN apps to work with Windows 11.
Which is a better choice; a VPN or a remote desktop?
Consumer-facing VPN services and remote desktop applications are designed for distinct purposes.
A VPN provides a secure connection to the internet that allows you to gain online privacy and protects your data from being snooped on by local network providers, ISPs, and government agencies. It also protects your data against hackers. In addition, a VPN allows you to bypass local restrictions by giving you a remote IP address.
A remote desktop application lets you connect to a secondary computer remotely via the internet. This allows you to make use of that PC’s data and resources, including the programs installed on the remote machine.
Because data must pass over the internet from the remote computer to your local PC, we consider it good opsec to use a remote desktop application alongside a secure VPN. This encrypts the data passing between you and the remote PC, which removes the potential for any important data to be intercepted in transit.