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The Best VPNs for Windows 10 in 2021

Top10.com Staff
The Best VPNs for Windows 10
According to Microsoft.com’s By the Numbers site, more than 800 million devices are running Windows 10.

In the next few years, it could easily hit the billion mark. With Windows 10 continuing its climb to a new milestone, it’s important that Windows 10 users know how to best optimize their OS, and virtual private networks (VPNs) are becoming a critical factor in smartly and safely navigating the ever-changing internet.

Internet users all over the world are increasingly relying on virtual private networks (VPNs) to browse safely, and anonymously. All the leading VPN providers offer separate applications for the main operating systems, including Windows and Mac. If your computer runs on Windows 10, Windows 7, or any other Windows version, you’ll need to choose a VPN download for Windows to ensure your virtual network runs smoothly on your device.

The Best VPNs for Windows 10

1. ExpressVPN

Pros
Cons

Over 2,000 servers to choose from

Expensive compared to competitors

Supports older Android versions

No free trial

Fast speeds allow you to access streaming services, and ExpressVPN offers wide support for Android phones—both older and newer versions.

Security is important to this provider, and along with offering 256-bit encryption, an automatic kill switch, and private, encrypted DNS on every server, it also ensures no collection or logging of data—at all.

As a result, it's a bit pricier, but if you're willing to pay for privacy, it's a good bet.

Get 12 months + 3 months free when you sign up for Express VPN now!

ExpressVPN ExpressVPN Buy Now

2. NordVPN

Pros
Cons

Top-notch security

Unclear logging policy

Services in over 50 countries


Reliable and friendly


This provider ensures a good experience with its user-friendly interface. You can quickly see information displayed: closest server, availability, load percentage, etc. With over 2,870 servers in 59 locations, there's plenty of information for the app to display.

Security is extremely important to NordVPN, with its inclusion of 256-bit encryption, double data encryption (that means your data is encrypted through not 1, but 2 servers), and an automatic kill switch.

Though monthly billing is a bit pricey, the other plans are more affordable, with the rates dropping for longer plans. The 2-year plan is the least expensive.

NordVPN NordVPN Buy Now

3. Private Internet Access

Pros
Cons
Servers in over 75+ countries
Expensive monthly plan
No logging policy

Reliable, experienced company

Private Internet Access is a reliable, secure, and fast VPN with over 35,000 servers across 77 countries. As a veteran in the industry with over 10 years of experience, its product comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Private Internet Access offers multiple security features, including encrypted wifi, no logging, a kill switch, two-factor authentication, plus it blocks ads, trackers, and malware. 

As for price, it is very competitive at $2.69/month for a 2-year plan. Additionally, 1 subscription covers up to 10 devices, which means you don’t need to pay a lot to get comprehensive coverage.

Private internet Access Private internet Access Buy Now

4. Norton Secure VPN

Pros
Cons
Includes unlimited bandwidth
Fewer server options than the competition
Backed by a 60-day money-back guarantee

Norton Secure VPN comes attached to the Norton name, which means that you get the infrastructure and customer service associated with an experienced industry heavyweight like Norton. Norton Secure VPN is seamless on desktop and mobile devices.

The server count is lower than the competition, but features such as unlimited bandwidth, OpenVPN protocols, a no-logging policy, and a 60-day money-back guarantee show that Norton Secure VPN has more to it than just a recognizable name.

Norton Secure VPN Norton Secure VPN Buy Now

5. Surfshark

Pros
Cons
Whitelister, multihop, and camouflage mode
Email support could be faster
Extremely resilient privacy and security features
No free trial

Surfshark VPN is relatively new and has earned its place among the elite services. Located in the British Virgin Islands, Surfshark enjoys the perks of a territory with no data retention laws and favorable data protection laws that ensure user information is safe.

Furthermore, it has a strict no-logs policy, and no identifying information about users is collected.

SurfShark SurfShark Buy Now

6. IPVanish

Pros
Cons
Connect unlimited devices
Live chat needs improvement and better hours
Ultra-fast connections
No free version

IPVanish is an excellent choice for anyone looking to secure their internet usage no matter where they are in the world. You can utilize its services to secure your connection - even when surfing on an unsecured Wifi channel - access all your favorite shows or channels, and keep important information safe.

From a solid money-back guarantee and competitive pricing plans to unprecedented tier-1 service quality, IPVanish delivers an impressive package for the industry.

IPVanish IPVanish Buy Now

7. CyberGhost

Pros
Cons
Easy-to-use platform
Not as solid a reputation
Low pricing plans

CyberGhost is a fast, secure VPN service owned by a privacy-focused company based in Bucharest, Romania. This VPN service has been around since 2011, and it has a comprehensive grasp of what the digital world needs—internet freedom and privacy.  CyberGhost VPN is more of a privacy solution, and it follows a strict no-logs policy. It packs many features to showcase its capabilities.

Cyber Ghost Cyber Ghost Buy Now

8. PureVPN

Pros
Cons

80,000+ IP addresses

Download speeds aren’t great
NAT firewall add-on
DNS leak issues

PureVPN is one of the elite services of 2021. It’s also the world’s fastest VPN service. PureVPN is based in Hong Kong, away from the eyes of US or EU surveillance. This jurisdiction is favorable for a VPN service, and PureVPN is not required to store any data.

Their privacy policy also states that they do not log activities. PureVPN clients are easy to use, but the interface can get complicated as you dive into more settings.

Pure VPN Pure VPN Buy Now

9. ProtonVPN

Pros
Cons

Swiss provider, absolutely no logging

Not as many servers as some competitors
Secure Core, encrypted VPN tunnel, TOR integrated
Can only access all features with higher plans
Unlimited bandwidth

ProtonVPN is a Swiss-based VPN service that is big on privacy. From the creators of ProtonMail, the largest secure email service developed by CERN, ProtonVPN takes internet privacy to the next level. Features abound to keep your sessions secure and anonymous at all times.

Available for Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, and Android devices, you can take your ProtonVPN anywhere you go. Check out the free plan or opt for more robust features.

ProtonVPN ProtonVPN Buy Now

10. ZenMate

Pros
Cons

Optimized for high speeds

Logs IP addresses
Instant setup

Trusted by over 47 million users, ZenMate is a fast, secure, and easy-to-use mid-range VPN. To date, ZenMate remains an excellent choice for non-technical users, and this makes it one of our favorites. ZenMate’s easy-to-use plug-in is its key differentiator.

Simply one-click install this user-friendly plug-in for safe and secure browsing in up to 74 countries worldwide.

ZenMate ZenMate Buy Now

Why Do I Need a VPN for Windows 10?

Whether your device runs on Windows or any other operating system, there are a number of reasons to use a VPN. These include:

Security. VPNs provide a secure, encrypted connection between your computer and the internet, meaning nobody can see your personal IP address, place malware on your computer, or steal your data. This is a particularly important consideration when using public Wi-Fi, where your security can easily be compromised.

Surfing without worry. These days, even citizens of the free world have a hard time knowing whether someone’s snooping on their internet usage. But with a VPN, you can browse safely.

How to Setup a VPN on Windows 10 - Step-By-Step

There are 2 ways to set up a VPN on Windows 10. For new users who prefer to connect in seconds and to not mess around with the security settings, the best way is to download the Windows app from your VPN provider’s website. For users who don’t mind spending an extra minute connecting manually and choosing their own security settings, just follow these steps:

  1. Right-click the Lan/Wi-Fi icon on the bottom-right of your screen, and select Network & Internet Settings.
  2. Select VPN from the menu on the left.
  3. Click the plus symbol next to the words “Add a VPN connection.”
  4. Choose Windows (built-in) as your VPN provider. Type in your connection name and server name or address. You can find these names from your VPN provider’s list of servers. You’ll also need the name and password you use for your VPN service to proceed. Don’t forget to click “Remember my sign-in info” if you wish to log in automatically the next time. When you’re done filling in all these details, click “Save.”
  5. Now you’ll see your chosen VPN connection on the list of VPN options. Just click on it to connect.

How to Set up a VPN on Windows 7 - Step-By-Step

Windows 7 users can also connect in seconds with their VPN provider’s Windows app. To set up manually, just follow these steps:

  1. Right-click the Lan/Wi-Fi icon from the system tray on the bottom right of your screen, then select “Open Network and Sharing Center.”
  2. Click “Select a new connection or network.”
  3. Select “Connect to workplace” and click Next.
  4. Select “Use my Internet connection (VPN).”
  5. Insert your preferred server address and destination name (from the list of servers given by your VPN provider), your destination name. Choose whether to “allow other people to use this connect.” And choose whether to connect now or just set up the VPN so you can connect later. Once you’re done, click Next.
  6. On the next screen, enter the username and password you use for your VPN account. Tick “Remember this password” if you wish to do so, and then click Create.
  7. To choose your own security settings, click on Network and Sharing Center > Change adapter settings. Right-click your newly created VPN connection and select Properties. Click on the Security tab (third from left) and choose your preferred type of security protocol and data encryption.
  8. Your VPN connection will now appear in your control panel under Network and Internet > Network Connections. Simply right-click on the VPN and select Connect.

How to Test Your Windows VPN

To test the speed of your Windows VPN connection, simply connect to a server and begin browsing. Most paid services offer a 7-day or 30-day money-back guarantee, to protect you if you’re not satisfied with the speed or with any other features.

Another thing to be aware of is WebRTC IP leaks. WebRTC is a free, open project that provides browsers and mobile applications with Real-Time Communications (RTC) capabilities, but it can open you up to having your real IP address leaked. All the top VPN providers have tools in place to prevent this from happening. If you wish to check for yourself, most providers have a page on their website where you can conduct a leak test. Simply disconnect from your VPN and open the page in a new tab or window. Take note of any public IP addresses you see. Close the page. Connect to your VPN and re-open the page. If you still see any of the public IPs you saw earlier, you have suffered a privacy leak. You can also conduct this test using a free IP address check from the likes of whatismyipaddress or whatismyip.

Most VPN providers also offer instructions on how to turn off WebRTC and block out even the smallest risk of an IP leak.

Can I Get a Free Windows VPN?

Some VPN companies offer free or trial subscriptions, but remember that you get what you pay for. Free VPN services are usually slower, less reliable, and limited to a small amount of bandwidth that last just a few hours or days. If you’re away from home for a couple of days and just need a temporary fix for your Windows device, then you might find a free VPN a suitable option. But if you’re looking for a permanent solution, then we recommend paying a few dollars a month for a subscription from a secure and reliable VPN service.

VPN for Windows 10 Server

Windows includes a built-in option to function as a VPN server using PPTP, the point-to-point tunneling protocol. This is a useful option for people who wish to connect to their home network on the road, or secure their browser while on a public connection. This option is best for advanced users, as it can open your computer up to potential security risks when not done properly.

To create your VPN server in Windows 10, just follow these steps:

  1. Open Control Panel > Network and Sharing Center and click “Change adapter settings.” For a shortcut, just hit the Windows icon (on Windows 10) or Start, and type “ncpa.cpl.”
  2. Open the File menu (by pressing Alt on Windows 10, or by looking at the tabs at the top of the Control Panel on Windows 7). Select “New Incoming Connection.”
  3. Tick all the users who you want to establish VPN access for on this computer. Click Next.
  4. Tick “Through the Internet” and click Next.
  5. On the next page, you’ll be given a choice of networking software. Select Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) and click “Allow access.” Windows will configure your VPN server access within a few seconds.

Windows 10 on the Way to One Billion

Believed to be the most popular operating system today, Windows 10 is gaining more and more users each year. Even some hard-core Apple loyalists have been lured back to Microsoft’s OS in recent years. And as Windows 10 inches closer and closer to the billion mark, it will continue to inspire VPN companies to create apps seamlessly ushering Windows users into a secured internet space. The above providers are our top picks for companies most accommodating to Windows 10 users, and there’s no doubt that as both Windows and VPN technology evolve, they’ll foster even more ways to keep you safe.

Open a Window of Opportunity

Now that you know what to look for when choosing a VPN for Windows, it's up to you to select the right one for your needs. 

Top10.com Staff
Our editorial staff is comprised of writers who are passionate about the world of online consumer services. We specialize in simplifying the process of choosing the right VPN for your needs.