The best Windows VPN for PC in 2024 (2024)

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The best Windows VPN for PC in 2024 (1)

1. Best Windows VPN for PC
2.
Best VPN with Antivirus
3.
Best cheap VPN for PC
4.
Other VPNs I recommend
5.
What is a VPN?
6.
How to choose a VPN
7.
How we test Windows VPNs
8.
Windows VPN FAQs

Nowadays, VPNs are designed to work on all sorts of platforms with apps for mobiles, consoles, and even your Smart TV. However, Windows apps usually have the lion's share of features and tools. Combine this with the fact that the web is crawling with threats, and there are plenty of good reasons to bag a VPN for your PC.

The best VPNs encrypt your data and route it through secure servers to hide your IP address. This ensures your online activity can't be tracked back to you, and lets you bypass geo-restrictions—so you can access content from anywhere in the world.

VPNs aren't all created equally, though, and that's where me and the TechRadar team enter the picture. I've been reviewing VPNs for 3 years (and use one every day), and have compared the features, apps, security tools, and speed of the top contenders to curate this list of the best PC VPNs in 2024.

The three best PC VPNs in 2024

If you need a quick answer, don't worry—here are my 3 top PC VPN picks:

The best Windows VPN for PC in 2024 (2)

1. ExpressVPN: the best VPN for Windows PCs
ExpressVPN sits at the top of my rankings thanks to its easy-to-use Windows app. Automations help you get up and running in a flash, and you'll have access to a long list of streaming platforms, too.

ExpressVPN may be a pricey option, but it more than makes up for it with a built-in password manager, a year of unlimited cloud storage, and an extra 3 months of protection, all for free. Take ExpressVPN for a test drive with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

↪ Read more in my ExpressVPN deep dive

2. NordVPN: a full security suite for PC
NordVPN comes with built-in malware protection, ad-blocking, password management, cloud storage, and a whole host of other security features—all at a competitive price.

It's also worth noting that NordVPN is wickedly fast—so, if you're looking for a service that won't slow you down when streaming HD content, torrenting, or gaming, NordVPN has you covered. See how it compares to ExpressVPN with its 30-day money-back guarantee.

↪ Read more in my NordVPN deep dive

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3. Surfshark: the best budget Windows VPNSurfshark proves that you don't have to pay an arm and a leg for premium PC protection. In addition to being one of the most budget-friendly options around, it's also a speed demon, and allows you to upgrade to a full security suite.

One of my favorite things about Surfshark, however, is the unlimited simultaneous connections. That's serious value for money, and means you can secure all of your gadgets (and all of the family's devices) with one plan. Put its 30-day money-back guarantee to good use today.

↪ Read more in my Surfshark deep dive

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The best Windows VPNs for PC in 2024

Why you can trust TechRadar We spend hours testing every product or service we review, so you can be sure you’re buying the best. Find out more about how we test.

Let's dig into my top five picks for PC and Windows, where I'll discuss reasons to subscribe, my most recent testing results, and how each provider stacked up against the competition.

The best Windows VPN for PC overall

The best Windows VPN for PC in 2024 (5)The best Windows VPN for PC in 2024 (6)

1. ExpressVPN

Top-notch security and privacy tools with easy-to-use apps

Number of servers: 3,200+ | Server locations: 160 | Also available on: Mac, Android, iOS, Linux | Maximum connections: 5 | 24/7 support: Yes | Free trial?: 30-day money back guarantee

Easy-to-use Windows app

Handy dedicated features for Windows

Above average speeds

Servers in 94 countries

Superb 24/7 support

Not as cheap as PIA or Surfshark

Expensive subscriptions

Subscribe if:

✔️ You need a VPN that you can trust with your life: ExpressVPN is regularly audited by independent cybersecurity groups to prove its no-log claims.

✔️ You want to access geo-restricted content: with servers in 94 countries, you'll have no problem checking out content from around the world.

✔️ You want a quick start: ExpressVPN's auto-connect feature lets you connect once and stay protected.

Don't subscribe if:

You need a cheap VPN: ExpressVPN is the most expensive service on my list. If you're on a tight budget, you'll get a better deal with Surfshark.

You want the fastest speeds: ExpressVPN certainly lives up to its name, but if you want speeds over 900 Mbps, you'll have to turn your attention to NordVPN or Surfshark.

Bottom line ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

🔒It's no wonder ExpressVPN is my top pick. From its simple user interface to its perfectly crafted security features and 24/7 support, plus speeds to support streaming and torrenting, it's hard to beat ExpressVPN's quality.

Want to learn more?

Head on over to my in-depth ExpressVPN review to see why it's my #1 VPN overall.

ExpressVPN continues to dominate my Windows VPN list thanks to its sleek PC app. It looks great, but the quality isn't just skin deep. There's no complicated setup, all of ExpressVPN's features are easy to find and use, and the one-click connect function makes it easy to join a nearby server and start browsing securely. So, if you're new to the world of VPNs, ExpressVPN is an awesome first pick.

The service has a seriously impressive network of servers, too, scattered across a whopping 94 countries (and 160 locations). That's more than pretty much any other VPN out there. You also have the option of adding servers to a favorites list, which is handy if you frequent certain locations to unblock region-specific streaming libraries.

Try the best Windows VPN for PC with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

ExpressVPN's Windows app includes split tunneling, which allows you to pick and choose which apps and sites bypass the VPN encryption—which comes in handy if you want to access local services. You can choose to either have only specific apps using the VPN or flip it and have everything protected by encryption with your chosen exemptions.

Its browser extensions give you added protection and enable a VPN proxy to help you better unblock content abroad. It works in tandem with the VPN app, so you won't have to jump between the two every time you want to switch regions.

Plus, ExpressVPN offers reliably fast speeds through its proprietary Lightway protocol. More than 20 times what you'd need to stream in 4K ultra-HD. Speaking of streaming, Our testing showed ExpressVPN unblocked Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, Disney+, and BBC iPlayer. It also works with AppleTV and Roku streaming devices, so you can stream your favorite shows anywhere.

Its no-logs policy is also impressive and has been audited by numerous third-party cybersecurity groups. ExpressVPN doesn't keep tabs on what you do online and never logs your IP address.

Expert and friendly customer support are on-hand 24/7 via live chat or email for any problems you might encounter. Alternatively, there are plenty of articles on its website to help with setup and popular use cases. Simply put, ExpressVPN is dedicated to being the best VPN around, and our analysis shows that it truly lives up to these lofty aims.

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ExpressVPN test results:
AttributesNotesRating
DesignSimple, lots of attention to detail, and a clean interface⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Ease of useVery easy and one of the best for beginners⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
PerformanceGreat speeds, but not as fast as NordVPN or Surfshark⭐⭐⭐⭐
UnblockingExcellent unblocking across the board⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Security and privacyRegular independent testing supports its claims and its clear policy shows a commitment to protecting its customers⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Customer supportAlways friendly, always helpful, always available⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
PriceMore expensive than most other VPN services⭐⭐⭐

Best Windows VPN with antivirus

(Image credit: NordVPN)

2. NordVPN

Packed with security features, and great for streaming Netflix

Number of servers: 5,500+ | Server locations: 60 countries | Also available on: Windows, Android, iOS, Linux | Maximum connections: 6 | 24/7 support: Yes | Free trial?: 30-day money back guarantee

Double data encryption

Very good performance

So many servers

Unblocks tv streaming

Not quite as intuitive as Express

Torrent causes some slowdown

Subscribe if:

✔️ You want extra security: NordVPN offers a full security suite at a competitive price point.

✔️ You need fast speeds: one of the fastest, NordVPN closed over 700 Mbps in our latest speed tests.

✔️ You want to stream Netflix: NordVPN unblocked shows in the US, UK, Australia, and Japan with ease.

Don't subscribe if:

❌ You're new to VPN: the map-style interface is a fun differentiator from the competition, but it's not the easiest to navigate for absolute beginners.

❌ You want to torrent: while NordVPN supports torrenting on its servers, it doesn't offer port forwarding.

Bottom line ⭐⭐⭐⭐½

🔒 NordVPN always scores highly in our tests, and if you want a perfect balance of security, features, and cost, it's well worth trying out.

Want to learn more?

Read our NordVPN review to find out why NordVPN is such a close second to ExpressVPN.

NordVPN has an enormous global network, with over 5,500 servers in 60 countries. Many of the more popular locations have multiple server locations, so you don't have to fight to get a connection or experience slow speeds because of congested servers.

The Windows client is fast to set up and the map-style interface is a lot of fun for veteran users and comes with plenty of security features, like Tor over VPN and double VPN encryption for greater anonymity. However, this gearing towards the tech-savvy may be a bit overwhelming for less experienced users.

Try NordVPN with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

With speeds of over 700 Mbps, you can install it on a router and protect every internet-connected device in your home without being slowed down. In fact, you could all be streaming Netflix in 4K, and NordVPN will still be fast enough that you won't have to suffer buffering.

Our latest tests showed Nord unblocks all leading streaming services, including Amazon Prime, Disney+, Hulu, YouTube, and BBC iPlayer. Where NordVPN really shines, however, is with Netflix. Topping our charts as the best Netflix VPN, NordVPN unblocked every region we threw at it with ease. You can stream your favorite shows, anywhere in the world with total privacy.

In the wake of the latest round of Netflix account lockdowns, many users turned to NordVPN's Meshnet feature as a means to get around password-sharing bans. It lets you route up to 60 devices through your home network and access your files and apps remotely.

With excellent customer support, customizable pricing plans, and a 30-day money-back guarantee, NordVPN is only just pipped to the post by ExpressVPN, so be sure to put it to the test and see how the two compare before you commit your cash to one in particular.

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NordVPN test results
AttributesNotesRating
DesignA little busy and uses a map interface that overwhelms some users⭐⭐⭐⭐
Ease of useThe amount of info on the dashboard makes it harder to navigate⭐⭐⭐
PerformanceOne of the fastest, easily supports streaming⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
UnblockingThere's nothing this VPN can't unlock, its especially good for Netflix⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Security and privacyJust as strong as ExpressVPN, plus it has double-encryption⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Customer supportVery helpful, and the online articles are easy to understand⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
PriceThough not the cheapest, it's still a great overall value⭐⭐⭐⭐

Best cheap VPN for PC

(Image credit: Surfshark)

3. Surfshark

A budget-friendly VPN that offers plenty of features and amazing speeds

Number of servers: 3,200+ | Server locations: 110+ | Also available on: Windows, Android, iOS, Linux | Maximum connections: Unlimited | 24/7 support: Yes | Free trial?: 30-day money back guarantee

Most affordable provider on the list

Covers as many PCs (and more) as you like

So easy to use

Kill switch issues

Subscribe if:

✔️ You're on a budget: no other service can beat the value-for-money on offer with Surfshark.

✔️ You want fast connections: Surfshark beat out all other VPNs to reach the top of our speed tests.

✔️ You're new to VPN: this is a really simple client to use, and it doesn't sacrifice details for simplicity.

Don't subscribe if:

You want a sure-fire kill switch: it doesn't happen all the time, but our security tests show that sometimes it doesn't engage properly on Windows.

You want servers in more locations: Surfshark offers more countries than most services, but fewer specific locations to choose from than ExpressVPN.

Bottom line ⭐⭐⭐⭐

🔒 Surfshark offers great value, and it's no surprise that it tops both our cheap VPN and fastest VPN lists.

Want to learn more?

Our Surfshark VPN review sheds light on how this low-cost VPN is able to stand up with its more expensive peers.

If you're new to VPNs, Surfshark is a great provider to learn the ropes with. Its easy-to-use apps are absolutely packed with features, and if you upgrade to Surfshark One, you can get a full security suite with ad blocking, antivirus, and dark web data breach scanning to alert you if your information has been compromised.

You can even go a step further and grab Incogni on its "Ultimate" plan, which automatically requests the deletion of tracking information from leading data brokers to help keep your online activity more private in the world of "Big Data."

Try Surfshark on unlimited devices with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Surfshark isn't just amazing value for money, it's also our #1 pick for the fastest VPN on the market. With speeds of over 950 Mbps, it consistently maxed out our gigabit testing lines. If you want to do data-intensive tasks like torrenting, gaming, or streaming online, it's guaranteed to take it all in its stride.

When it comes to streaming, this Windows VPN will unblock just about everything. In fact, the biggest players aren't a problem. Netflix in all regions, Amazon Prime, and even BBC iPlayer can be accessed anywhere you travel. 9Now, 10Play, ITV, and All4 are also no match for Surfshark.

Surfshark uses AES-256 encryption for watertight security, but our tests highlighted an issue with its kill switch. It seems to enable just fine, but it doesn't always let us know when the VPN connection has dropped and the kill switch has been activated. Without this notice, we can't be sure the kill switch is working. This doesn't happen every time, but once is enough for us to be concerned.

Customer support is available through live chat, and the site has plenty of helpful articles for setup and customization. With unlimited device coverage, you can protect every device you own, and all of the devices your friends and family own for that matter. We haven't tried to test how "unlimited" it really is, but it's a welcome benefit considering many leading services force you to buy another subscription for additional simultaneous device coverage.

Put the best cheap Windows VPN to the test with a 30-day money-back guarantee, and see why it's one of our favorite budget picks on the market.

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Surfshark test results:
AttributesNotesRating
DesignBasic and simple without feeling outdates, or that corners were cut⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Ease of useOne of the best for new users because of how simple it is⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
PerformanceCan't beat the speeds of this VPN⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
UnblockingMost streaming services aren't a problem to access⭐⭐⭐⭐
Security and privacyKill switch issues, especially when using with Windows PC, while not consistent, it does happen enough for us to notice⭐⭐⭐
Customer supportHelp articles are there, but it isn't the easiest to find exactly what you need⭐⭐⭐⭐
PriceThe absolute best deal and best overall value⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Other VPNs I've tested and recommend

(Image credit: Proton VPN)

4. Proton VPN

Try before you buy with an unlimited free Windows VPN

Number of servers: 1,700+ | Server locations: 63 countries | Also available for: Mac, Android, iOS, Linux | Maximum connections: 10 | 24/7 support: Yes | Free trial?: 30-day money back guarantee

Above average speeds

Tons of features

Unblocks Netflix, Disney Plus, BBC iPlayer, and Amazon Prime Video

Pricier than most

Below-average connection speeds

Subscribe if:

✔️ You want to try before you buy: though it's limited, Proton VPN Free gives you a feel of what its paid subscription has to offer.

✔️ You have other devices to protect: ProtonVPN also works with Mac, Android, iOS, and Linux.

Don't subscribe if:

You need a lot of servers and locations: it's improving in this area, but ProtonVPN still comes up short with only 85 locations in 67 countries.

You need a fast VPN: ProtonVPN slipped in our speeds test to a below-average speed.

Bottom line ⭐⭐⭐½

🔒 Proton VPN has a lot to offer to Windows users, including a free VPN that gets you started while still offering good protection. It still has a ways to go before becoming a top contender, though.

Want to learn more?

See our Proton VPN review for more information as to why this is such a popular free service, and see how it compares to top services like ExpressVPN.

Proton VPN continues to improve and make itself a contender among the big boys with its Windows 10 client, a great option if you're after a sleek, intuitive client that offers plenty of features and settings to play with. When we opened it up, we enjoyed the choice of navigating its map interface or collapsing it for a more standardized list format for accessing different locations.

In either view, Proton highlights which servers support P2P or Tor with clear icons, and by clicking on a specific location, it'll drop the servers available with colored indicators to display the kind of load currently on each one.

Try ProtonVPN without spending a penny with its unlimited free plan.

Its Profiles feature is also super nifty, functioning as a more extensive Favorites list, allowing you to opt for connecting to a specific server in a certain location or creating one that ensures you're immediately on the faster server in a country.

Proton Pass launched in June 2023, giving users the ability to add password management into their toolbelt. The service is currently limited to mobile apps and browser extensions, but it also has a free offering. Proton VPN also comes loaded with handy features, including quick connect, its new VPN accelerator, auto reconnection, and a kill switch that we were gratified to find did its job well.

You'll be able to choose between OpenVPN and WireGuard. In our speed testing, we saw a slight decline in its previously excellent performance, with some lower lows seen. Still, with a range of 360 Mbps to 670 Mbps, at its best, it's still ticking along at a fast rate.

In terms of unblocking streaming services, Proton has got you covered there, too. It'll unblock Netflix (in the US, UK, and Canada at least), as well as the usual suspects—BBC iPlayer, Prime Video, and Disney Plus. And, of course, its free VPN option allows a great starting point for any VPN newbies.

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Proton VPN test results
AttributesNotesRating
DesignBeautiful, dark mode interface⭐⭐⭐⭐
Ease of useEasier to use on mobile than on desktop⭐⭐⭐⭐
PerformanceLots of variation and extra steps make it hard to get up and running quickly⭐⭐⭐
UnblockingMissing some streaming services, but most popular ones aren't a problem⭐⭐⭐⭐
Security and privacyAllows independent audits and passes checks for both security and privacy⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Customer supportLots of resources online, but it's hit-or-miss when trying to contact a live agent⭐⭐⭐
PricePaid programs are a little on the pricy side, but its free option is great⭐⭐⭐⭐

5. Hotspot Shield

A good torrenting VPN for Windows PCs

Number of servers: 1,800+ | Server locations: 110+ | Also available on: Mac, Android, iOS, Linux | Maximum connections: 5 | 24/7 support: Yes | Free trial?: 45-day money back guarantee

Excellent Windows 10 kill switch

A pleasure to use

Unblocks Amazon Prime Video, Disney Plus, and BBC iPlayer

Slightly limiting in scope

Speeds no longer match the best WireGuard VPNs

Subscribe if:

✔️ You want a long money-back guarantee: you can try Hotspot Sheild for 45 days before deciding to cancel with its money-back guarantee.

✔️ You want to torrent: Hotspot Shield is one of the few free VPNs with torrenting support.

Don't subscribe if:

You want to use a VPN on more than one device: Hotspot Shield is inconsistent across its clients, making it hard to use on more than one platform

You need customer support: most of the online articles aren't very helpful and have explanations and ideas we don't consider accurate.

Bottom line ⭐⭐⭐½

🔒 Hotspot Shield is a good choice if you're looking for a VPN that supports torrents. Just know if you need help it's a little tricky to get it.

Want to learn more?

Read our Hotspot Shield review to see why this speedy, free VPN is still popular.

Hotspot Shield has been a big player in the Windows VPN game for some time now, with its Catapult Hydra protocol seeing it ride a wave to a top 3 spot. However, the outright impressive speeds we once saw continue to be vastly overtaken by other WireGuard VPNs, with its own performance slipping below the average figures. That being said, its interface is still a great choice for those after a Windows 10 VPN for their PC.

Hotspot Shield offers a Windows client that is ridiculously easy to set up and use - even for VPN newbies. Hit the big, fat "On/Off" button, and you'll be connected to the server of your choice (or it will guide you to your most local server if that's what you want) in a matter of moments.

Try Hotspot Shield's free plan and 45-day money-back guarantee.

There's a Smart VPN feature that helps you connect to the ideal server dependent on your location and activity, a fully functioned kill switch, and a bonus feature that automatically connects Hotspot Shield when you access public Wi-Fi hotspots—handy for the cybersecurity conscious.

There's P2P support on every single server, making it a handy torrenting VPN, at the least. Speaking of servers, you can access any of its over 1,800 servers worldwide. We tested its torrenting servers, too, and were easily able to download torrents while connected to servers in the US, UK, and Japan.

Unblocking YouTube, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime Video, and Disney Plus in our tests was a breeze. However, Hotspot Shield failed at the last hurdle when it came to Netflix. It was unable to unblock any Netflix library around the globe, only managing to access Canada's Netflix library in one of our three attempts.

Hotspot Shield works on a lot of devices, and we do like it as a mobile VPN. But we don't recommend it be used on more than one platform. This is because there are inconsistencies between the offerings with some tools available to one client and not the other. There are differences in layout, too, so it's difficult to work on a Windows PC and then move to a smartphone and seamlessly navigate the two VPN apps.

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Hotspot Shield test results:
AttributesNotesRating
DesignSimple, clean, and available in dark mode⭐⭐⭐⭐
Ease of useOne of the easiest to figure out how to use⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
PerformanceSpeeds are below average, though still fast enough to support streaming, plus good for torrenting⭐⭐⭐⭐
UnblockingHas trouble unblocking some Netflix regions, but others are a breeze⭐⭐⭐
Security and privacyUses AES-256-bit encryption, but does have some kill-switch issues⭐⭐⭐
Customer supportOnline support isn't the best, but it does have live chat⭐⭐⭐
PriceBetter deals the longer to commit to using it, plus it has a free version⭐⭐⭐⭐

What is a VPN?

A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is software called a client whose primary function is to keep your internet connection, browser history, and device location private. This is done in several ways, but the most important is through the use of encryption.

Encryption is a way of scrambling your data so it can't be read. Many government agencies, militaries, and even financial institutions use encryption when saving files, sharing data, and receiving personal information through their websites, email, or messages. The highest encryption level is known as AES-256 bit. The best VPNs should use this level of security.

Another helpful security tool of a VPN client is the number and location of its servers. When you log onto the internet, your device is given an IP address that is specific to your location, and even more specific to your home address.

The best Windows VPN for PC in 2024 (11)

Since connecting to a VPN requires you to log in through one of the client's servers, your IP address will be different every time you log in. This makes it really hard to trace your online activity back to you, your device, or your address.

You can use a VPN to secure person-to-person (P2P) data transfers. This is also called torrenting. By nature of their designs, a VPN will encrypt these messages, but some VPNs are specifically designed to support torrenting with dedicated servers with faster connection speed to help cut down on the risk of the data being intercepted.

And finally, every country has content that you can't access unless you are physically present in that area. This is known as geo-restricted content, and most often is used to refer to TV streaming services. But there is other content that is restricted if you're in a country, like China.

When you connect to a VPN in a geo-restricted area, your device's IP address will show that you are local. This lets you log into your home accounts and watch your favorite shows on Netflix, Amazon Prime, AppleTV, BBC iPlayer, and others.

How to choose the best Windows VPN for PC

Unsurprisingly, most major VPN companies work on a "Windows-first" basis, developing their product for the world's most-used operating system (Mac users aren't totally left out, though). That means the VPN clients for PCs are generally feature-packed and offer a multitude of options to suit most users. But some are still easier to use than others, and our top picks below are all an absolute doozy to set up and operate.

Regardless of how you intend to use your service—although even more so if you'll likely be streaming or take your gaming seriously—you'll want one that's fast, with robust connections. If you use your monitor or laptop as a TV as well as a PC, we suspect that you'll also want to make sure that your PC's VPN can unlock content that's usually geo-restricted: shows and movies that are exclusive to US Netflix and other streaming services, for example, or even sports that generally wouldn't be available to live stream where you are.

If you tend to use your Windows laptop on public Wi-Fi, you'll also want guarantees around the extra layer of online safety that the VPN affords. And that goes double if you're on your travels to a country with greater online censorship (VPNs are a great way to get access to social media apps and other sites in countries where they've been blocked) or that's infamous for government snooping.

And the price is always worth bearing in mind, so you'll see the current best rates for each of our recommended services below. It's no secret that ExpressVPN is more expensive than other leading services, but you may consider it worth the cost considering what a strong VPN for PC (and other devices) it is. If that's not enough, don't forget it comes with a year of unlimited cloud storage, a built-in password manager, and an additional three months of protection—all for free.

How we test VPNs for Windows

For over 15 years the VPN experts at TechRadar have used their technology backgrounds, hands-on experience, and research capabilities to dive deep into the weeds of dozens of VPN services. Some aren't worthy of our stamp of approval, but those that are included in our Best VPN guides have passed our rigorous tests.

To begin with, we want to make sure the VPNs we recommend are secure to use. As part of our testing, our IT experts do everything they can to find flaws. This includes trying to force the VPN to drop, and if successful looking at how well the kill switch kicks in. They also try to punch through the VPN running on one device with another device to see if any information is leaked.

Because your privacy is so important, we spend a lot of time reading the fine print of each VPN privacy policy. We take note of those that include a no-logging clause and give extra points to those that allow third-party audits of their claims. This isn’t many VPN services, but Surfshark is one that does.

The best Windows VPN for PC in 2024 (12)

Another important factor in determining privacy is where the VPN is based. There are some countries that band together to form the Five Eye Alliance. This group promises that any online, software, or tech programs from companies based in their countries will keep logs of their users for 30 days, just in case law enforcement needs to review it.

VPNs are also subject to the Five Eyes Alliance, so choosing one in a more neutral location is a security plus. ExpressVPN is based in the Virgin Islands while Proton VPN is a Swiss company. This is one of the reasons they both land on our Most Secure VPN buying guide.

Speed is a big must-have if you need a VPN for torrenting or streaming TV shows. Torrenting is the process of sending and receiving files, such as email attachments, to and from a specific individual. This is sometimes referred to as a person-to-person (P2P) transfer.

Usually, you’d use a VPN for torrenting when the information you are sending is confidential, like a contract, or an application where personal information is provided. In order to reduce the risk of the file being intercepted - even though it will be encrypted and hard to decipher - a VPN with a high speed is important. VPN speeds refer to how fast information travels between two points including to VPN servers, or even two people’s personal devices.

We have several test machines set up in the US and the UK and use both testing locations to tap into servers worldwide to help with our testing.

For TV streaming, higher speeds mean it’s quicker to download the movie you want to watch, and there’s less chance of lag or buffering when watching live streams of your favorite reality show, or sports game.

In both cases, we took testing of speed pretty seriously. First, we used performance testing sites, including SpeedTest, nPerf, and SpeedOfMe to determine the average speeds of our connections. These tests were run several times from various devices (PC, mobile, etc.) and from different locations. We have several test machines set up in the US and the UK and use both testing locations to tap into servers worldwide to help with our testing.

We also connected using different encryption protocols. OpenVPN has historically been the go-to, but recently WireGuard has proven to be more secure and faster. But we still test both along with the IKEv2 protocol which is commonly used on Mac devices. Surfshark came out on top with its impressive 960Mbps speeds. But even VPNs, like Express, that only have a top speed of 560, are still plenty fast to support TV streaming.

Talking about streaming services, when you travel outside of your country, or viewing area, sometimes your account will be blocked because it picks up your device’s location as being away from your home or city. It uses an IP address to determine your whereabouts.

The best Windows VPN for PC in 2024 (13)

Connecting to a VPN server gives you another IP address that matches the location of the server. For example, if you’re traveling to Australia from the US, connecting to a US VPN server will give you a US IP address. With this, you can access your online streaming accounts and watch your favorite shows.

As part of our in-depth testing, we try and tap into as many channels and streaming services as possible. And we don’t limit ourselves to just a couple of countries. For example, we know exactly which VPNs unlock Netflix Japan, Netflix UK, and Netflix Canada.

Other common services and channels we test are Amazon Prime, Hulu, and Disney+. We also check out BBC iPlayer, ITVX, and Channel 4 in the UK, as well as 9Now and 10Play in Australia. The best streaming VPN has all the details and results of this part of our testing.

Windows VPN FAQs

What is the best Windows VPN for PC?

Our top pick is ExpressVPN as the best PC VPN for Windows. It's an absolute dream to use on desktops and laptops (as well as mobiles and pretty much everything else, for that matter), and supplies fast, reliable server connections. It's got a proven track record of unblocking Netflix and loads of other streaming services, while also having the security smarts to give you peace of mind that your online activities will always be anonymous when it's switched on.

What can I do with a VPN on my PC?

Although VPNs started life as a way to share data securely, they have become a lot more broad in their usage. If you use your Windows 10 laptop as a portable multimedia device, for example, you can geo-spoof your PC IP address to other regions of the world to make sure you don't miss out on your favorite content when abroad—or even catch films, TV and sport that is shown in other countries but not yours.

Virtual private networks have also become a key tool in unlocking restricted websites on PCs (just one of the reasons why VPNs in China have become so popular, with the likes of Google, Facebook, BBC, CNN, and more being blocked there).

There are plenty more ancillary VPN uses you can explore, too—you can discover more by clicking the link.

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How do I set up a VPN on my PC computer?

Once you've chosen the ideal VPN for your PC, getting started is ridiculously easy. We've gone into it in some detail in our dedicated guide to how to set up a VPN, but anybody—from inexperienced Windows users to absolute prosæcan get going with ease. Head to the website of your chosen provider, and it will guide you to the download page for Windows. Once downloaded and installed, most VPN clients have a big fat "On" button that you just can't miss and will give you a long list of countries from which to choose your server.

Does Windows 10 have a built in VPN - and is it good?

Many people don't know that Windows 10 has its own built-inVPNclient. But before you rush to cancel your current VPN subscription, it's worth taking a closer look at what the Windows option is capable of.

The most important thing to know about the built-in Windows option is that it’s not really a VPN service—or at least not the kind we've become accustomed to from third-party providers. Windows doesn’t give you access to a secure server network, which is what you pay for when using a VPN service. Instead, the built-in tool is just a desktop client for connecting to a third-party network, and it can't help you with all the other use cases that we've described above and has limited features.

What's more, it's rather complicated to get set up and requires a deep dive into your network settings and probably even some tinkering with your router. In contrast, the VPNs listed above can get you protected within seconds, are supremely easy to use and only cost a few dollars a month.

How safe is Windows 10

While not as secure as Windows 11, Windows 10 is a significant improvement in terms of security and protection over previous incarnations (especially with dedicated Windows antivirus). Even so, you can never be too secure, and a reliable VPN is an essential tool for anyone online nowadays.

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Can I use VPNs on Windows 11

Yes, you can—all of our recommended services above support the latest version of Windows. Windows 11 is no longer in its infancy, and VPN providers have adapted thoroughly to the changes present in the latest OS.

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The best Windows VPN for PC in 2024 (17)

Adam Zeis

Editorial Director - High Yield

Adam is the Editorial Director of High-Yield content at Future. Leading an outstanding team, he oversees many articles the publisher produces about subscriptions and services including VPN, TV streaming, and broadband. In addition to identifying new e-commerce opportunities, he has produced extensive buying guides, how-to-watch content, deal news, and in-depth reviews. Adam's work can be seen on numerous Future brands including TechRadar, Tom's Guide, T3, TTR, Android Central, iMore, Windows Central, and Real Homes.

With contributions from

  • River HartTech Software Editor
  • Andreas TheodorouEditor-in-Chief of Tech Software
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