In this article, I will share the Top 5 Best FREE VPN providers for use with your Windows device, as well as the most important features to watch for any VPN service.
While the Top 5 Best FREE VPN for Windows operating system is more secure than previous Windows versions, the operating system is still an attractive target for hackers and rogues who want to steal your valuable personal and business-related information.
Users of Windows laptops and mobile devices are particularly attractive targets due to the use of devices on the road, connecting via unsecured Wi-Fi hotspots in coffee shops, hotels and other public areas.
Such users may fall prey to attacks between hackers and government agencies trying, monitoring and surveillance.
By using a virtual private network (VPN), a Windows user can protect their Internet connection from stinging eyes, their personal and business information, credit card and banking information, and much more from abuse.
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A VPN provides an encrypted tunnel that wraps your Internet connection into a layer of security. It keeps parties outside your online activity monitored, such as hackers, the government, and even your own Internet service provider (ISP). (Did you know that your US-based ISP can sell information about your online travel to advertisers; yes, it’s legal.)
A VPN may also reveal as if your device is located in another region of the world, which may be in a state or worldwide. It enables you to access blocked content from other parts of the world including streaming services, gaming servers and other types of services, sites and content.
How to use your VPN with Windows devices
To protect your Windows PC or tablet with a VPN, do the following:
- Subscribe to the VPN provider that best fits your needs.
- Install the provider’s Windows app. Browser extensions are also available from many providers to enable security for your browsing sessions.
- Enter VPN network.
- Select a VPN server and connect to it.
- Enjoy your new enhanced and protected online activities.
Best vpn for windows
After running several top VPN services through a string of rigorous testing, I ranked them to come up with a top 5 list of the best providers for Windows usage.
The 5 providers listed below perform best with Windows . For those of you in a hurry, here is a TL; DR summary is:
- ExpressVPN: The top provider in this list of 5, ExpressVPN offers fast download speeds, multiple layers of privacy and security protection, and some extensive global server coverage around.
- NordVPN: This provider is bargain-value, making it the best choice for budget-minded users, as NordVPN provides excellent security for your online activities without breaking the bank.
- CyberGhost: This is another low-cost option, providing quick connections and top-notch connection protection through easy-to-use apps that provide one-click security.
- IPVanish: This provider is one of only two VPN providers I know of that owns and operates its entire server network, which keeps third-party contractors away from your personal information.
- PrivateVPN: This provider provides above-average connection speeds, which are well protected using government-grade encryption. Their server number may use a collision (or three).
I rated and ranked the top 5 Windows VPNs using the following :
- Windows availability
- Security and Privacy Protection
- connection speed
- Global Server Network Size
- Customer support
- Bonus points for allowing P2P activity
Here are my top 5 best VPNs to use with Windows.
ExpressVPN provides the best VPN protection for your Windows computer or tablet, with an easy-to-use app that provides top-notch protected access to a large global server network.
The provider’s native Windows app is simple to install and easy to use, and provides an easy “smart location” option that provides fast, one-click access to the best-performing VPN servers in your country . The provider also provides Chrome and Firefox browser extensions. Apps are also available for other popular device platforms.
ExpressVPN delivers speedy download speeds (the fastest in this lineup), which is encrypted using banking-grade encryption, and furthermore protected using a kill switch, as well as IPv6 leak and DNS. Leak protection. The provider never restricts your usage with data caps or bandwidth limitations.
Privacy is never a concern with ExpressVPN, as the British Virgin Islands-based provider never keeps a log of your online activities. A bitcoin payment option provides full account anonymity when used with a tedious email address.
With over 3,000 servers located in 94 countries around the world, ExpressVPN provides optimal access to geo-blocking content almost anywhere in the world. Fans of peer-to-peer file sharing will be pleased to know that the provider allows P2P on every server in its network.
ExpressVPN limits concurrent connections of 5 to a set of login credentials. However, you can use the service’s extensive router compatibility to protect all your connected devices through a single access point.
Customer service is also well handled at ExpressVPN, with 24/7 live chat support, a trouble ticket tracking system, email support and a comprehensive troubleshooting and support knowledge base.
- Windows app and browser extension
- P2P file sharing is allowed on all servers
- Best download speed in this list
- Comprehensive Security and Privacy Protection
- Extended Global Server Coverage
- This list is slightly more expensive than other providers
BEST Windows: Easy-to-use apps, great download speeds, high-level encryption and top-notch privacy protection are the best options for protecting your Windows online activities. A 30-day money-back guarantee is available.
NordVPN finished second in this roundup due to the high level of patronage and service, which was awarded at a low cost.
NordVPN explicitly provides a Windows 10 app (although I honestly can’t think of any provider). The application provides the ability to block advertisements and malware, as well as prevent the use of your server. (This makes it harder for Snoopy people to detect your VPN usage.)
Chrome and Firefox browser extensions are available. Apps are also available for other popular device platforms.
NordVPN’s download speed is not as fast as other providers in this roundup, but they can still handle any online task you want. Their connection is never restricted by bandwidth connections or data caps.
The provider’s connections are protected by military-grade encryption, kill switch protection, and the ability to block advertisements and malware. Users can choose to use custom DNS servers to help prevent DNS leaks.
When it comes to the privacy of your past online antics, no worries the provider never keeps a record of your online travel while connected to their server. Also, their bitcoin payment option ensures that your payment information is kept secret.
NordVPN is well represented in the Global Server Count column for over 5,600 servers deployed in 60 countries.
While the provider allows P2P activity, it limits it to certain servers. However, do not fret about searching for P2P servers, because if you start P2P activity while connected to a non-P2P server, the service can connect your connection to a P2P-compatible server in Canada. Or will transfer to the Netherlands.
Customer support is available night or day for 24/7 support chat, email support and searchable support library.
You can connect up to 6 devices simultaneously to the NordVPN server network on a single username. If that is not enough, you can connect to NordVPN’s servers with multiple builds and models of routers.
- Windows app and browser extension
- 5,600+ servers in 60 countries
- Low Price
- Blocks advertisements and malware
- Kill switch protection implemented on an app-by-app basis
BEST LOW PRICE VPN Options: NordVPN provides high-level connection security at a low-level price. Windows users who are working to keep expenses down, but still want optimal VPN security take a closer look at this provider. A 30-day money-back guarantee is available.
CyberGHS is an attractive VPN option for Windows 10 users who are new to VPNs. The provider’s app is easy to use, yet provides top-level security.
The provider’s Windows 10 app provides excellent connection protection. The application provides a built-in ad blocker, the ability to force websites to provide HTTPS versions of their pages, if available, and more. Chrome and Firefox browser extensions are also available, and apps are available for other popular device platforms.
CyberGhost provides a smooth connection, providing more than enough power to deliver smooth HD and 4K streaming, fast downloads, and more. No data cap or bandwidth limits are found here.
Those fast connections are protected by government-level encryption and optional kill switch protection.
Privacy is also held in high regard in cyberhost, as the provider follows a strict no-logs-policy, and a bitcoin payment option means you can keep your subscription payment information undercover.
CyberHost’s global server network is more than 5,900 strong, located in 90 countries around the world. While CyberGhost allows P2P activity on its network, it limits it to a few select servers.
Keep in mind that CyberGhost does not operate from within some particularly restrictive countries like China and the United Arab Emirates, so check with CyberGhost to ensure service functions within your country.
While CyberGhost’s apps are easy to use, you may have some questions from time to time, which you can find answers through live support chat options, a searchable support library or trouble ticket submission system.
A generous 7 simultaneous connections are allowed. If this is not enough, then you can use the extensive router compatibility of VPNs.
- Native Windows 10 Apps, Chrome and Firefox Browser Extensions
- Fast connection
- Excellent security and privacy protection
- easy to use
- Does not work inside some countries
BEST VPN for BEGINNERS: CyberGhost offers top-notch protected connections and its speeds are some of the best around. Meanwhile, their Windows app is one of the easiest to use in the industry. A 45-day money-back guarantee is available.
IPVanish makes Windows 10 a good choice for users who are looking for an extra level of privacy and security protection.
The provider’s Windows 10 app protects your Internet connection by using the ability to use Kill Switch Protection, auto reconnect, 3-party DNS servers and more. While there are no browser extensions available, the provider provides apps for popular device platforms
Windows users will find that the provider’s connection speed can easily handle any of their online activity. No data cap or bandwidth limits are ever imposed on IPVanish users.
Security is a strong point over IPVanish, as the provider uses banking-grade encryption, auto-reconnect, IPv6 leak protection, and a “scramble” feature.
IPVanish does not keep any record of your online travel thanks to the no-logs policy. However, no cryptocurrency subscription payment option is available.
The IPVanish global server network is made up of over 1,300 servers deployed in more than 50 countries. P2P file sharing is allowed on all 1,300+ servers.
Remember the “extra level of privacy protection” mentioned earlier? It comes through IPVanish’s self-owned and -operated server farm, which provides additional privacy and security by preventing third parties from accessing your information.
IPVanish offers almost 24/7 chat support, almost customer support thanks to a searchable knowledge base and email support.
While the provider provides a generous 10 concurrent connection allowance, for some users this may not be sufficient, so extensive router compatibility is also available.
- The entire server network owns and operates
- P2P file sharing is allowed on all servers
- 10 devices can connect at once
- 7-day money-back guarantee is slightly lower
- No cryptocurrency payment option
Additional security and private servers: IPVanish provides an additional layer of privacy and security by owning and operating its entire server network, with no third parties involved. Fast, well-preserved connections are the rule here. Their 7-day money-back guarantee should actually be extended to the normal 30-day period.
PrivateVPN thanks to its reliable and quick connection as well as its strong privacy and security protection.
The PrivateVPN Windows 10-compatible app provides reliable protection for your PC or tablet, provides IPv6 leaks and stealth VPN protection, along with the option to automatically initiate VPN protection upon system startup. Additional application support is limited to iOS, Android and macOS.
PrivateVPN is a little provider that can do this thanks to super-fast download speeds, which are an excellent asset for gamers, streamers and file sharers. There is no data cap or bandwidth limit to see here.
Military encryption is the order of the day when it comes to connection security.
Privacy is also at an optimal level, with a no-logs policy to ensure that no evidence of your online antics is found. Also, if you sign up using a disposable email address, you can use the bitcoin payment option to keep your VPN membership completely secret.
PrivateVPN calls itself “the fastest growing VPN worldwide”, but it is still growing to do. The provider has 150+ servers, which is a bit thin in 60 countries.
Things can slow down if providers add users to the server at the same rate. But on the bright side, P2P file sharing activity is allowed on all servers.
PrivateVPN customer support can also be considered “thin”, live chat support is available, but it is not 24/7. A non-searchable FAQ and “Contact Us” form are also available in your time of need. Assistance in setup and troubleshooting is also available through some of the service’s specific remote control support facilities.
6 devices can connect to the service at once using the same login credentials. Router support is available for those who require more.
- Up to 6 concurrent connections
- Worldwide P2P file sharing
- Effective connection speed
- Need more server
- Lack of 24/7 customer support
P2P USERS WELCOME: P2P users will appreciate the rapid connection to PrivateVPN and the acceptance of P2P file sharing on all their servers. Also, remote control support can be quite useful. A 30-day money-back guarantee is available.
Is a free VPN a good option for use with my Windows machines?
Definitely, use a free VPN – if you don’t take into account the possibility that the VPN service that protects your online information is actually selling some of that information to the highest bidder.
If a VPN provider is not charging you for their services, then they are making their money in some other way. Many free VPNs track their money and record your online travel and then sell that information to advertisers and other noisy parties.
Still other times, freebie providers have been caught inserting advertisements into their users’ browsing sessions. Some also put tracking cookies that stick around you even after you are signed in to your network.
The inconvenience may also be the “convenience” of a sans-charged VPN for the restrictions imposed by many providers on your VPN usage.
Some free VPNs will force you to wait in a queue before being allowed to connect to one of your servers. Once you are allowed to connect, you will find that you are forced to connect to a particular server, or find that your server selection is limited to a few servers.
A note about using VPN browser extension
In addition to their native Windows apps, many VPN providers offer browser extensions for use with the Chrome and Firefox browser platforms.
When using browser extensions you provide one-click protection for your Internet browsing session, be sure to remember one important thing: when using VPN browser extensions, only your in-browser online activities are kept secret. The online activities of all your other Windows apps can be easily tracked.
This makes a browser extension an ideal solution for a quick online trip to your bank or to buy something on Amazon. However, to protect all your Windows-related online activities from stinging eyes, be sure to use the provider’s app.
How to manually set VPN provider on Windows
While all providers in this top 5 offer a native Windows 10 app, you may need to manually establish a VPN connection on your Windows PC. Fortunately, it takes only a few minutes to manually set up and test a VPN in Windows.
I recommend using the OpenVPN protocol whenever possible, OpenVPN is not available when setting up a VPN connection manually in Windows. (However, it is available in many providers’ apps.)
Therefore, I recommend using L2TP / IPSec, SSTP or IKEv2. Do not use PPTP, as it has security vulnerabilities.
You will need the following information from your VPN provider, may vary according to the protocol you use:
- username and password
- Address of a server in the global network of a VPN provider
- A pre-shared secret (key) or certificate
The following instructions are for the most recent version of Windows. However, earlier versions require similar steps, and you should still be able to follow along.
- Click your mouse in the Windows search bar, then type “VPN”.
- In the menu that appears, click the “Add a VPN connection” option.
- In the window that appears, click “Add a VPN Connection”.
- Under the “VPN Provider” section, click “Windows (Built-in)”.
- Give the connection a name. In this case, we would call it “ExpressVPN L2TP-IPsec”.
- Fill in the required information, as mentioned above.
- Click “Save”.
- You should now see the VPN listed in the VPN menu. Click it and then click “Connect” button which appears.
- The connection will be completed in a few moments. Your connection is now secure.
- In future, you can access VPN by simply clicking on the Wi-Fi icon in your system tray.
I strongly recommend that Windows users are searching for the most reliable and efficient way to protect and enhance their online activities, purchasing a membership of a virtual private network.
A VPN does an optimal job of keeping your online antics secret, and also provides access to content and services that you can usually block from your part of the world.