Windows 10 is a member of the Windows NT family of operating systems. The OS, which succeeded Windows 8.1, was first released on July 29, 2015.
Is Windows 10 Secure?
While the Windows 10 operating system is more secure than previous Windows versions, the operating system is still an attractive target for hackers and crooks looking to steal your valuable personal and business-related information. This is particularly true for business travelers and other users that connect to the internet via unprotected WiFi hotspots in coffee shops, hotels, and other public areas.
Can a VPN Protect My Windows 10 Online Activities?
By using a Virtual Private Network (VPN), a Windows 10 user can protect their internet connection from prying eyes, keeping their personal and business information, credit card and banking info, and much more safe from misuse.
A VPN provides an encrypted tunnel that wraps your internet connection in a layer of protection. This keeps outside parties, such as hackers, the government, and even your own Internet Service Provider (ISP) from monitoring your online activities. (Did you know that your U.S.-based ISP can sell info about your online travels to advertisers? Yup, it’s legal.)
A VPN can also make it appear as if your device is located in another area of the world, which can be across the state or around the globe. This 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.
In this article, I’ll be sharing the top seven VPN providers for use with your Windows 10 device, as well as the most important features to look for in any VPN service.
Best VPNs for Windows 10
After running numerous top VPN services through rounds of rigorous testing, I ranked them to come up with a top seven list of the best providers for use with Windows 10.
The seven providers listed below perform the best with Windows 10. For those of you in a hurry, here’s a summary:
- NordVPN: Top provider in this list. NordVPN delivers fast download speeds, numerous layers of privacy and security protection, and an impressive global server network. Comes with a risk-free 30-day money-back guarantee.
- Surfshark: Best budget-priced VPN option. This provider is bargain-priced, which makes it the best choice for budget-minded users. It provides a “MultiHop” server option and a Camouflage option that both provide additional security and privacy.
- ExpressVPN: Premium VPN protection. ExpressVPN performs highly in many areas, including security and privacy, customer support, global server coverage, and more.
- CyberGhost: Great VPN option for rookies. This easy-to-use VPN option offers speedy connections and top-notch connection protection via easy-to-use apps that provide one-click protection.
- Private Internet Access (PIA): Reliable Windows 10 VPN. PIA offers comprehensive online protection and reliable access to geo-controlled content in a large part of the globe.
- PrivateVPN: Mighty-mite VPN for Windows 10. This provider delivers above-average connection speeds, which are well protected using government-grade encryption. Their server numbers could use a bump up (or three).
- Atlas VPN: Unlimited Windows 10 VPN protection. Atlas VPN offers unlimited protected connections for Windows 10 devices, making it an attractive VPN option for users with multiple devices, small businesses, and large families.
I evaluated and ranked the top Windows 10 VPNs using the following criteria:
- Windows 10 availability (Yeah, DUH!)
- Security and privacy protections
- Connection speeds
- Size of global server network
- Customer support
- Bonus points for allowing P2P activity
Check out the testing methodology section later in this article for more information about the criteria I used.
Here are my top seven picks for the best VPNs to use with Windows 10.
NordVPN provides the absolute best VPN protection for your Windows 10 computer or tablet, with an app that provides top-notch protected access to a large global server network.
NordVPN obviously offers a Windows 10 app (although I honestly can’t think of any provider that doesn’t). The app offers the ability to block ads and malware, as well as obfuscate your server usage. (That makes it tougher for snoopy folks to detect your VPN usage.)
Chrome, Edge, and Firefox browser extensions are available. Apps are also available for other popular device platforms, including macOS, Android, iOS, Linux, and other platforms.
NordVPN’s connections provide top five speeds, ensuring you’ll have a smooth connection no matter what you’re up to. Their connections are never restricted by bandwidth limitations or data caps.
The provider’s connections are protected by military-grade encryption, kill switch protection, and the ability to block ads and malware. Users can also choose to use custom DNS servers to help protect against DNS leaks.
No worries when it comes to the privacy of your past online antics, as the provider never keeps records of your online travels while connected to their servers. Plus, their Bitcoin payment option ensures your payment info is kept incognito.
Also, the provider runs all of its servers 100% from RAM, with no data ever being written to a physical hard drive or SSD. So, all data is completely wiped from the servers upon reboot or shut down. Also, NordVPN owns and operates many of its servers, keeping third-party contractors away from your personal data.
NordVPN is well represented in the global server count column thanks to over 5,600 servers stationed in nearly 60 countries.
While the provider allows P2P activity, it limits it to certain servers. However, don’t fret about the search for a P2P server, because if you initiate P2P activity while connected to a non-P2P server, the service will automatically transfer your connection to a P2P-compatible server, which are available in multiple countries.
Customer support is available night or day thanks to 24/7 chat, email support, and a searchable support library.
You can connect up to six devices simultaneously to the NordVPN server network on a single username. If that isn’t sufficient, you can set up NordVPN’s protections on numerous makes and models of routers.
- Windows 10 app and browser extensions
- Blazingly fast connection speeds
- 5,600+ servers in 59+ countries
- Reliable access to content around the globe
- Blocks ads and online perils
- Kill switch protection is enabled on an app-by-app basis
BEST VPN FOR WINDOWS 10:Wide server coverage, extremely fast download speeds, high-level encryption, and top-notch privacy protections add up to the best option for protecting your Windows 10 online activities. A risk-free 30-day money-back guarantee is available.
Read my full review of NordVPN.
Surfshark snagged second place in this round-up due to the high level of protection and service that it delivers at a low price.
The provider’s Windows app is easy to install and use, as are all Surfshark apps. The provider also does a fine job of protecting other devices, including Android, Android TV, Linux, macOS (with support for M1/M2 Macs), and Fire TV device platforms. Chrome, Edge, and Firefox browser extensions are also available. The provider is also compatible with a range of wireless routers.
The provider offers an unlimited concurrent connections allowance, meaning those of you with large families or small businesses will never run out of online protection for all of your internet-capable devices.
The provider offers fast download speeds, more than capable of handling today’s fast-moving games, streaming HD video (including video conferencing), sharing large files, or performing any of your other online activities. No data caps or bandwidth limitations are to be found here.
Surfshark’s connections are not only fast, but they are also well-protected. The provider protects its customers’ online travels with banking-grade encryption, a kill switch, and DNS leak prevention. Users can also take advantage of Surfshark’s tracker and ad blocking, as well as its phishing and malware protection.
A “Camouflage” feature disguises your VPN usage as normal internet traffic, while a “MultiHop” option routes your internet connection through two VPN servers for added protection and anonymity.
Surfshark allows users to pay for their subscription using cryptocurrency, while a no-logs-ever server policy means there are no records of any of your online antics while connected to Surfshark.
The provider has joined NordVPN and ExpressVPN in running their servers sans hard drives, with all operations being run 100% from RAM, meaning all data is wiped if a server is shut down, unplugged, or rebooted.
Surfshark’s 3,200+ servers in 100+ countries should be more than sufficient for most user’s needs. The provider allows P2P activity on their network and automatically transfers your connection to a P2P-optimized server when it detects such activity.
In addition to excellent VPN protection, Surfshark also offers antivirus, truly private search, and alerts when your personal data is exposed in a data breach.
Around-the-clock support includes a 24/7 chat option, a searchable support library, and a support contact form.
- Inexpensive VPN option
- Reliable VPN protection for Windows 10 computers
- Unlimited concurrent connections
- Excellent security and privacy protections
- Apps lack some advanced options
BEST BUDGET OPTION:Surfshark offers a high level of performance at a low-level price. The provider’s security and privacy protections are ideal, and its unlimited simultaneous connections policy should come in handy. A 30-day money-back guarantee is available.
Read my full review of Surfshark.
ExpressVPN is a great all-around service, offering a satisfying level of global server coverage, speeds, security and privacy protections, and more.
The provider’s native Windows app is both easy to install and to use, and it offers a handy “Smart Location” option that provides one-click access to the best-performing VPN server in your country. The provider also offers Chrome, Edge, and Firefox browser extensions. Apps are also available for other popular device platforms.
ExpressVPN delivers speedy download speeds, which are encrypted using banking-grade encryption, and additionally 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 any logs of your online activities. A Bitcoin payment option offers complete account anonymity if used with a throwaway email address.
The provider runs all of its servers fully from RAM, meaning no data is ever saved to a physical hard drive. This means all data is securely wiped from the servers whenever they are shut down or restarted.
With over 3,000 servers located in 94+ countries around the globe, ExpressVPN provides optimal access to geo-restricted content nearly anywhere in the world. Peer-to-peer file-sharing fans will be pleased to learn that the provider allows P2P on every server in their network.
ExpressVPN limits concurrent connections to five on a single set of login credentials. However, you can make use of the service’s comprehensive router compatibility to protect all of your connected devices via a single access point.
Customer service is also well-handled at ExpressVPN, with 24/7 live chat, a trouble ticket tracking system, email support, and a comprehensive troubleshooting and support knowledge base.
- Windows app and browser extensions
- All servers support P2P file sharing
- Comprehensive privacy and security protections
- Wide-ranging global server network
- More expensive than other providers
- Limited to five simultaneous connections
FAST AND VERSATILE:ExpressVPN offers fast speeds, wide global server coverage, and solid security and privacy protections, making it excellent for users who want a VPN that will perform well in many departments. A 30-day money-back guarantee is available.
Read my full review of ExpressVPN.
CyberGhost is an attractive VPN choice for Windows 10 users who are new to VPNs. The provider’s app is easy to use, yet provides top-level protection.
The provider’s Windows 10 app offers excellent connection protection. The app provides a built-in ad blocker, the ability to force websites to serve up HTTPS versions of their pages if available, and much more. Chrome and Firefox browser extensions are also available, and apps are available for other popular device platforms.
CyberGhost offers swift connections, delivering more than enough power to deliver smooth HD and 4K streaming, fast downloads, and more. No data caps or bandwidth limitations found here.
Those fast connections are protected by government-level encryption and optional kill switch protection.
Privacy is also held in high regard at CyberGhost, as the provider follows a strict no-logs-ever policy, and a Bitcoin payment option means you can keep your subscription payment info undercover.
CyberGhost’s global server network is over 9,000 strong, located in 90+ countries around the world. While CyberGhost allows P2P activity on its network, it limits it to a select number of servers.
Keep in mind that CyberGhost doesn’t work from inside some particularly restrictive countries, like China and the United Arab Emirates, so check with CyberGhost to make sure the service works inside your country.
In addition to comprehensive VPN services, the provider also offers a password manager and alerts when your info is exposed in a data breach. Windows users will benefit from virus and malware protection, privacy customization, and more.
While CyberGhost’s apps are easy to use, you may have some questions from time to time, which you can get the answers to via a live chat option, a searchable support library, or a trouble ticket submission system.
A generous seven simultaneous connections are allowed. If that’s not enough, you can make use of the VPN’s comprehensive router compatibility.
- Native Windows 10 app, Chrome, and Firefox browser extensions
- Fast connections
- Excellent security and privacy protections
- Easy to use
- Doesn’t work well in some restrictive regions
- Advanced users might miss some options
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.
Read my full review of CyberGhost.
Private Internet Access (PIA) provides reliable protection for Windows PCs. A 30-day money-back guarantee is available.
The PIA global server network boasts over 3,300 servers stationed in close to 85 countries.
PIA native app support includes an app to protect your Windows 10 machine, as well as Chrome, Opera, and Firefox browser extensions to protect your browsing. Options for other devices are also available, including Android, Android TV, iOS, macOS, and Linux devices. Comprehensive router compatibility is also present and accounted for, to protect all of your connected devices.
Up to 10 devices can be simultaneously connected to PIA servers by a single user.
Although PIA’s download speeds are far from the fastest around, they easily handle streaming, online gaming, and more. No data caps or bandwidth throttling to spoil the fun when using PIA.
The provider’s comprehensive online protection includes banking-grade encryption, IP/DNS leak prevention, and kill switch protection. The provider can also block ads, trackers, malware, and dangerous websites.
There are no user logs saved on PIA servers and the provider also accepts Bitcoin as a subscription payment, providing protection for both your usage and payment privacy. If you use a disposable email address, you can score an additional bit of security.
PIA’s customer support includes a live chat option, a trouble ticket system, and a searchable support library.
- Comprehensive online protection for Windows 10
- Reliable access to geo-fenced content
- Excellent global server coverage
- No streaming-enhanced servers
- Issues in some heavily-restrictive countries
RELIABLE PROTECTION FOR WINDOWS 10:Private Internet Access provides top-notch online protection and privacy for Windows 10 users. It offers fast and reliable access to geo-limited content around the globe. A 30-day money-back guarantee is available.
PrivateVPN makes it into this roundup thanks to its reliable and speedy connections, as well as its strong privacy and security protections.
The PrivateVPN Windows 10-compatible app delivers reliable protection for your PC or tablet, offering IPv6 leak and Stealth VPN protection, as well as the option to automatically start VPN protection on system startup. Additional app support is limited to iOS, Android, and macOS.
PrivateVPN is the little provider that could, thanks to its super-fast download speeds, which are an excellent asset for gamers, streamers, and file sharers. No data caps or bandwidth limitations to be seen here.
Military-grade encryption is the order of the day when it comes to connection protection.
Privacy is also at an optimal level, with a no-logs policy ensuring no evidence of your online antics are to be found. Plus, if you sign up using a disposable email address, you can use the Bitcoin payment option to keep your VPN subscription totally covert.
PrivateVPN calls itself “The Fastest Growing VPN Worldwide,” but it still has a bit of growing to do. The provider has 200+ servers, which are stretched a bit thin in 60+ countries.
Things could slow down if the provider doesn’t add servers at the same rate they add users. 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’s not 24/7. A non-searchable FAQ and a “Contact Us” form are also available in your time of need. Help with setup and troubleshooting is also available via the service’s somewhat unique remote control help feature.
Up to 10 devices can connect to the service at once using the same login credentials. Router support is available for those who require more.
- Up to 10 concurrent connections
- P2P file sharing around the globe
- Fast, well-encrypted connections
- Could use a few more servers
- Lacks 24/7 customer support chat
P2P USERS WELCOME:P2P users will appreciate PrivateVPN’s fast connections and approval of P2P file sharing on all of their servers. Plus, remote control support could come in quite handy. A 30-day money-back guarantee is available.
Read my full review of PrivateVPN.
Atlas VPN provides reliable online protection and privacy for Windows 10 users. A 30-day money-back guarantee is available.
The provider’s global server network includes 750+ servers in 42+ countries. While that is not exactly a massive server network, it provides reliable access to content wherever it has servers located.
Atlas VPN-provided connections easily deliver enough bandwidth for all of your favorite online activities, including streaming, gaming, and more. No data caps or bandwidth limitations to worry about with this provider.
As well as the industry-standard online protections (banking-grade encryption, a kill switch, and IP/DNS leak protection), the provider offers its proprietary Safebrowse and Safebrowse Plus protection against online perils and pesky ads.
User tracking logs are nowhere to be found on Atlas VPN servers. A cryptocurrency subscription payment option is now also available to protect your fiscal privacy, especially when you use a tossable email address.
The provider’s native app support offerings are available for Android, iOS, macOS, Windows, Linux, Android TV, and Amazon Fire TV device platforms. However, there is currently no support for browser extensions or routers. Atlas assures users that both features are currently being developed.
Atlas puts no limit on the number of devices that a user can concurrently connect to its servers.
Live agent chat is limited to paying customers, while email, a contact form, and a support library are available to all.
- Well-protected, fast connections
- Blocks online perils
- Safebrowse and Safebrowse Plus protection
- Live chat is available only to paying customers
- No browser or router support
UNLIMITED AND COMPREHENSIVE PROTECTION:Atlas VPN’s unlimited connections policy allows users to benefit from Atlas VPN’s fast, reliable protection on all of their compatible connected devices. A 30-day money-back guarantee is available.
Read my full review of Atlas VPN.
Methodology for Assessing VPNs for Use With Windows 10
Several factors should be carefully considered when researching VPN providers to use with your Windows 10 computer, as well as your other devices.
This is a list of the most important features to consider when making a decision about which VPNs to use to protect and enhance your Windows 10 online activities:
- Connection speeds: No matter what online activity you’re engaging in, fast internet speeds are a must, especially if you enjoy streaming video or online gaming. All of the VPNs I included on my list provide fast connections.
- Global server network: When a large global server network is available, it provides wide access to geo-controlled content. Also, look for multiple servers in each country, as it helps prevent any single server from being overloaded by too many users.
- Value: When considering a VPN service’s true value, its asking price should be weighed against its features and performance. Every VPN I include in my articles offers excellent value.
- Ease of use: VPN apps should be intuitive to use, while offering native app support for popular device platforms. Each VPN on this list offers well-designed, easy-to-use apps for popular platforms.
- Security and privacy: Never settle for less than 256-bit encryption, an automatic kill switch, and DNS/IP leak protection. Additional security features are a welcome bonus. The provider should also follow a no-logs policy. All of the VPNs I recommend offer strong online security and privacy features.
- Streaming: The VPNs I include in my articles all offer reliable access to streaming sites around the globe, including BBC iPlayer, Netflix, Hulu, and numerous other popular services.
The list above is not everything I look at. These features make up just a portion of my comprehensive VPN testing methodology. I also use VPNs to protect and enhance my daily online travels. This data-driven approach allows me to better understand these VPNs and their services, allowing me to recommend only VPNs that are a good fit for the task at hand.
How to Use Your VPN With a Windows 10 Device
To protect your Windows 10 PC or tablet with a VPN, do the following:
- Subscribe to the VPN provider that best fits your needs. I recommend NordVPN.
- Install the provider’s Windows app. Browser extensions are also available from many providers to enable protection for your browsing sessions.
- Log into the VPN’s network.
- Select a VPN server and connect to it.
- Enjoy your newly enhanced and protected online activities.
Is a Free VPN a Good Option for Use With My Windows 10 Machines?
Sure, use a free VPN – if you don’t mind the possibility that the VPN service that’s supposed to be protecting your online information is actually selling some of that information to the highest bidder.
If a VPN provider isn’t charging you for their services, they’re making their money some other way. Many free VPNs make their money tracking and recording your online travels and then selling that information to advertisers and other nosy parties.
Freebie providers have also been caught inserting ads into their users’ browsing sessions. Some even insert tracking cookies that stick around even after you’ve signed off from their network.
Inconvenience can also be a “feature” of a sans-charge VPN thanks to the restrictions many providers place on your VPN usage.
Some free VPNs will force you to wait in a queue before allowing you to connect to one of their servers. Once you’re allowed to connect, you’ll find that you’re forced to connect to a particular server, or find that your server selection is limited to a few servers.
Then, they may throttle your connection speeds, and you’ll likely face daily or monthly data caps.
VPNs are designed to free you from restrictions, not impose more restrictions on you.
A Note About Using VPN Browser Extensions
While using a browser extension offers you one-click protection for your internet browsing session, be sure to remember one important thing: When using a VPN browser extension, only your in-browser online activities are kept incognito. All of your other Windows apps’ online activities can be easily monitored.
This makes a browser extension an ideal solution for a quick online visit to your bank, or to buy something on Amazon. However, to protect all of your Windows-related online activities from prying eyes, be sure to use the provider’s app.
How To Manually Set Up a VPN Provider on Windows 10
While all of the providers in this top seven offer a native Windows 10 app, you may find the need to manually set up a VPN connection on your Windows PC. Luckily, it only takes a few minutes to manually set up and test a VPN in Windows.
While I advise using the OpenVPN protocol whenever possible, OpenVPN is not available when manually setting up a VPN connection in Windows. (However, it is available in many providers’ apps.)
So, I recommend using either L2TP/IPSec, SSTP, or IKEv2. Don’t use PPTP, as it has known security vulnerabilities.
You’ll need the following information from your VPN provider, which can vary according to the protocol you choose to use:
- Username and password
- The address of a server in the VPN provider’s global network
- A pre-shared secret (key) or certificate
The following instructions are for the most recent version of Windows 10. 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’ll call it “NordVPN 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 the “Connect” button that appears.
- In a few moments the connection will be completed. Your connection is now protected.
- In the future, you’ll have access to the VPN by simply clicking the WiFi icon in your system tray.
I strongly recommend that Windows users searching for the most reliable and efficient way to protect and enhance their online activities purchase a subscription to a Virtual Private Network.
A VPN does an optimal job of keeping your online antics incognito, and it also opens up access to content and services that you might normally be blocked from in your part of the world.
My #1 VPN provider for use with Windows 10 is NordVPN. When I use Windows, I always have NordVPN installed on my machine. The provider delivers blazingly fast, reliable connections. Its global server network provides access to my favorite streaming providers and gaming servers around the world.
For more information or to purchase a subscription, visit the NordVPN website.
Windows 10 VPN FAQs
What Is the Best Free VPN for Windows 10?
There's no such thing as a good free VPN, period. Free VPNs have to make money somehow, and they often do it by tracking their users' online activities and selling that information to third parties. Not only that, but they also throttle connection speeds, impose data caps, and make users wait in a queue. To avoid these problems, choose a paid VPN solution.
What Is the Best VPN for PCs?
NordVPN offers native apps for both Windows 10 and Mac. It also offers browser extensions for Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome. Add to that its fast connection speeds, wide global server coverage, impressive security and privacy protections, and more, and you have the best VPN for PC.
How Do I Set Up a VPN on Windows 10?
While you can manually set up a VPN in Windows 10, most VPN providers offer a native app that makes the installation process as easy as a few clicks of the mouse. Just download the Windows version of the provider's app and install the software onto your device.
However, if you want to manually set up a VPN on Windows 10, you can follow the steps laid out in the “How To Manually Set Up a VPN Provider on Windows 10” section found earlier in the article.
- Is Windows 10 Secure?
- Can a VPN Protect My Windows 10 Online Activities?
- Best VPNs for Windows 10
- 1. NordVPN
- 2. Surfshark
- 3. ExpressVPN
- 4. CyberGhost
- 5. Private Internet Access
- 6. PrivateVPN
- 7. Atlas VPN
- Methodology for Assessing VPNs for Use With Windows 10
- How to Use Your VPN With a Windows 10 Device
- Is a Free VPN a Good Option for Use With My Windows 10 Machines?
- A Note About Using VPN Browser Extensions
- How To Manually Set Up a VPN Provider on Windows 10
- Windows 10 VPN FAQs
- What Is the Best Free VPN for Windows 10?
- What Is the Best VPN for PCs?
- How Do I Set Up a VPN on Windows 10?