Microsoft Windows is the most widely used operating system for home computers. Whether you have Windows 7, 8, or 10 installed, you probably understand the need for security when you connect to the internet. Windows also runs on many smartphones. If you access the web a lot from yours, you will need to consider security measures for that, too.
If you also use a tablet for internet access, then you probably switch between devices a lot, and so understand how important it is to get the same software running across all of your gadgets. The virtual private networks (VPNs) examined in this review will work across all of your devices. That means you don’t have to keep adapting to different security software.
VPNs help you work around local restrictions to internet access. They also unlock those pesky location locks on a lot of web content. If you plan on accessing websites from all over the world, you should take the same global viewpoint when choosing a VPN. You want your VPN service to protect you wherever you travel in the world, so global accessibility is important.
Candidates for this list of the five best VPNs for Windows had to fulfill the following criteria:
- Value for money, providing the best service for less cash
- Cloaking technology that prevents internet service providers from detecting your VPN traffic
- Global accessibility, so you can get the VPN service no matter where in the world you go
- High speeds, so you can access streaming services such as TV websites
- Full access to geo-restricted content in foreign countries
- The ability to use the VPN service across all Windows devices
The concept of “value” has to be calculated alongside considerations of a minimum level of service. You aren’t saving money if you select a cheap service that can easily be detected and blocked. With many services, you are given false security, which means you are not only throwing your money away, but taking more risks, believing you have greater anonymity than the VPN actually provides.
You probably don’t have enough time to investigate all of the hundreds of VPN services out there. That’s why we’ve done the legwork for you and selected just five services that work really well with Windows.
List of the Best VPNs for Windows in 2017
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Best VPN Providers for Windows
ExpressVPN has interface software that was specifically written for Windows. They have thoroughly tested it on smartphones and tablets, too. You don’t have to worry about the screens being too small to read on your phone, or that the interface needs a lot of scrolling. The client software is super-easy to install – basically, the website does it all for you once you click the Download button. The company is also renowned for its top quality customer support, so they won’t leave you stranded.
- Tried and tested across all Windows devices
- Unlimited bandwidth
- Installs automatically
- P2P allowed
- Fantastic customer service
- One of the more expensive services
IPVanish has a great access app for Windows users, and the company made sure their interface looks good and works well on the small screens of mobile devices. This service is judged to be the fastest VPN available, which is important if you’re casting a streaming film to your hotel TV screen. The five simultaneous connections allowed with this service means you can stream on your tablet, check your emails and download on your laptop, and let your boyfriend use a couple of connections so he can go and watch sports, while tweeting on the balcony.
- Works well across all Windows devices
- One of the fastest services around
- Servers in over 60 countries
- P2P allowed
- Round-the-clock live support
- Based in the US, where the NSA operates
NordVPN is one of the cheapest services on this list. It gets into our top five because it has an excellent, easy-to-use interface for Windows and it works across all devices. Despite being low-cost, the service allows you to have up to six simultaneous connections, which is a perfect family pack. The company is very big on security procedures, and its connections are doubly encrypted. They accept payment by bitcoin, which can make you even harder to trace.
- Good Windows interface
- Very strong encryption
- Six simultaneous connections
- No activity logs kept
- Accepts Bitcoin
- Not the fastest service
VyprVPN is very good at evading detection. Less tolerant nations crack down on VPN use by ordering internet service providers to block their packets from getting through. This is carried out by looking into the contents and structure of each data packet and looking for specific patterns (called deep packed inspection). VyprVPN is below the radar because it has its own encryption methods that governments don’t know about, so its traffic always gets through.
- Software for all Windows devices
- Chameleon disguising methods
- Up to five simultaneous connections with Premium, three with Standard
- Cloud storage included
- Kicks in automatically if you connect to an unknown WiFi router
- Chameleon and cloud storage only available with Premium package
VPNArea is the cheapest of the recommended VPN services on this list. However, remember that none of the systems got into this review without passing our test of working well with Windows. The interface app works well on all devices, but installing it does require some intervention on your part (four clicks). The service has all the necessary security features that you need to prevent your identity from being revealed and the company has a no-logging policy.
- Servers in 60 countries
- P2P allowed
- Interface software written for all Windows devices
- Six simultaneous connections
- Unlimited bandwidth
- Other services are faster
VPN for Windows: Considerations
It is important to realize the benefits that VPNs have over conventional security software. With a virtual private network, you are not specifically looking for protection from viruses or Trojans, and you probably know that “https” on the front of a website address means your connection is encrypted.
Windows comes bundled with Windows Firewall and Windows Defender to guard against viruses and intrusion by hackers. Make sure you regularly install updates to all the software you have running on your device, because many of these updates address security loopholes.
The Windows Firewall and Windows Defender programs do not give you anonymity from detection when you are surfing the web. In fact, there is no bundled software in Windows that can protect your identity, especially from repressive governments. Even though the contents of your communications over the internet can be encrypted, standard Windows software does nothing to hide the source and destination information that is held in the header of all messages sent out of your computer.
Getting a VPN service is all about protecting yourself and getting access to blocked sites, rather than just keeping your computer virus-free. Companies, educational institutions, and even internet cafes now all run their own software that blocks access to an ever-growing list of sites.
TV websites and even some commercial sites, such as airline ticketing websites, often decide they don’t want to let you in if you are not connecting from the right place.
However, you don’t have to put up with restrictions imposed by governments and other organisations. VPNs work around these blocks and give you freedom to communicate with whoever you want and read whatever you want.
VPN for Windows: Conclusions
Make sure the VPN you select works well. You should get a service that includes interface software that was specifically written for Windows. You also need to be sure that you are going to get prompt responses from customer support, because there is no point paying for a service if you have to go for days without being able to use it.
There are some pretty scary governments out there, which have draconian punishments for people who access certain sites while in their countries. You could also find yourself liable to prosecution and company legal action if you happen to blunder in and do something that you didn’t realize wasn’t allowed.
If they can’t spot you, they can’t sue you or throw you in jail, so protect yourself with a VPN and make sure it actually keeps you safe by working properly behind the scenes. All of the VPN services in our review will protect you when you access the internet from your Windows device.