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The best VPN for Windows in 2021

If you’ve been on the internet in the past couple of years, you’ve surely seen mentions of a VPN for Windows and how it can help protect your privacy online. Despite competition from Apple, the Windows OS is the most widely used in the world, sitting at approximately 68%. So you can see the need for a Windows VPN — there are plenty of individuals out there who are not protecting their computers, and it’s important that they understand the importance of securing their Windows device. Since Windows is the most popular OS in the world, all of the best VPN services provide amazing services for you and it becomes a battle of choice. Which VPN is the right one for me? Feel free to do your own research on the six VPNs we’ve compiled for you below, and alternatively, if you want to dip your toes in the VPN industry before diving in, check out our list of the best free VPN services.

NordVPN

  • Country of registration: Panama
  • Clients supported: iOS, Android, Windows, macOS, Linux
  • Cost: $12 per month
  • Number of servers: 5,237+
  • Simultaneous connections: 6
  • One of the most famous VPNs for Windows on the market

NordVPN needs no introduction these days. Most of your favorite YouTubers and influencers have, at one point, been sponsored by NordVPN in the company’s quest to claim the number one spot in the VPN market. And if you were to debate that NordVPN is, in fact, the most popular VPN, you might not be wrong. Just because a service is the most popular in its field does not necessarily indicate it’s the best option out there, and it’s true that customers have personalized tastes in their choice of VPN, too. But just about every pundit, blog, and website unanimously agree that NordVPN is one of the best VPNs you can purchase.

With well over 5,000 global servers, you’re spoiled for choice, and each and every single one is securely backed by NordVPN’s world-class security features like its NordLynx protocol, military-grade AES 256-bit encryption, split tunneling, and much more. On top of that, if you require a dedicated IP, you can purchase that for a fee to exert total control over your digital life. You can feel completely safe and sound as soon as you click the connect button, knowing that your IP address is hidden and encrypted and that your data is completely untouched.

Of course, this popular VPN for Windows may not be for everyone, so if you feel dissatisfied with the service, then you’re more than welcome to initiate a full refund under the company’s 30-day money-back guarantee policy. The customer support team is available 24/7 and just a quick chat away so you can approach them at any time you wish. NordVPN doesn’t have a free data plan option, so this 30-day money-back alternative gives you a way to test the service without any commitment.

ExpressVPN

  • Country of registration: British Virgin Islands
  • Clients supported: iOS, Android, Windows, macOS, Linux
  • Cost: $13 per month
  • Number of servers: 3,000+
  • Simultaneous connections: 5
  • Amazing VPN for streaming

ExpressVPN is another extremely popular Windows VPN that has spread its tendrils of influence over multiple clients like iOS, Android, macOS, Linux, and even others like routers and smart TVs! The competition between ExpressVPN and NordVPN is palpable, and the two titans are constantly raising the bar for what constitutes an acceptable VPN standard, which is great for customers as we get a better final product! Due to this rivalry, ExpressVPN has gone out of its way to try and revolutionize the foundation of VPNs at the core. It developed Lightway, a modern and more secure VPN protocol, and TrustedServer, a new way of operating servers without the risk of recording your data.

These revolutionary changes come with a price, though. ExpressVPN is not cheap, and many argue that for only five simultaneous connections, 3,000+ servers, and not much in the way of special features, $13 per month can be quite steep. What ExpressVPN may lack in supplemental features, it makes up in its rock-solid fundamentals and airtight security. You can expect military-grade security that governments, cybersecurity firms, and militaries implement in their own systems with ExpressVPN.

If you use a VPN mainly for streaming or browsing the internet, ExpressVPN is a great option due to its lightning-fast server speeds with a built-in speed test and its special streaming servers. Each server is carefully optimized to take your streaming experience to the next level with Ultra HD streaming capabilities with no buffering or lag. While perhaps not the most versatile option, ExpressVPN is a Windows VPN that provides you a great base product if you care about privacy and data protection.

Surfshark

Surfshark

  • Country of registration: British Virgin Islands
  • Clients supported: iOS, Android, Windows, macOS, Linux
  • Cost: $13 per month
  • Number of servers: 3,200+
  • Simultaneous connections: Unlimited
  • Free unlimited global bandwidth

Surfshark gives you unlimited global bandwidth and unlimited simultaneous connections. Yes, we’re being serious! If you care about where your hard-earned money goes, and you appreciate the importance of value for money, then we suggest you look no further than Surfshark. This Windows VPN allows you to connect all of your devices, whether it’s an iPhone, TV, router, or other devices, as well as those of your loved ones. Keep your whole household protected online for $13 per month. That price tag may not be the most accommodating when you look at it, but if you consider all the benefits you get from it, we’re convinced you’ll be satisfied.

Additionally, a single Surfshark subscription gives you access to over 3,200 global servers (and increasing all the time). If you’re in a country with a lot of restrictions and censorship, purchasing a Surfshark subscription could be extremely liberating and give you unfettered access to the open internet. The geolocation obfuscation function is safe and secure, meaning you can feel safe even if you’re in an unstable country.

Surfshark is a lesser-known VPN for Windows, but we think it’s a diamond in the rough and certainly worth having a look at. If accessibility is a big factor in deciding which VPN to purchase, then there is none that is more accommodating than this one. You can commit to a monthly subscription or a cheaper annual one if you know you’re going to be using a VPN for the long term.

Hotspot Shield

  • Country of registration: United States
  • Clients supported: iOS, Android, Windows, macOS, Linux
  • Cost: $8 per month
  • Number of servers: 1,800+
  • Simultaneous connections: 5
  • Great budget-friendly option

Hotspot Shield is a VPN frequently seen touted as the best smartphone VPN, but the company has developed a comprehensive Windows program as well. It’s famous for its free data plan, where users get 500Mb per day in free data. If you use the maximum 500 Mb per day, you’ll get around 15Gb of free data per month! If you feel that isn’t enough, Hotspot Shield is one of the cheaper options on this list at only $8 per month. You’ll get access to unlimited bandwidth and the ability to connect to almost 2,000 global servers.

One cause of concern many experts note about Hotspot Shield is that its headquarters are based in the United States. That means that, if probed and demanded, the U.S. government or any of the 14 Eyes Alliance could access certain aspects of your personal data if the company keeps tidbits of your information on record. There have been many controversies (not particularly regarding Hotspot Shield) that have seen VPN providers give away personal information to governments and companies, so the concern is indeed valid. It’s important to note that there haven’t been any notable controversies with Hotspot Shield itself, though.

All in all, if you’re looking for a cheap VPN provider, this service is a great option for you. As always, it’s important to do your own research to see if the specs and features suit you, but there aren’t many VPNs out there that come at this cost. If anything, you can always give the free data plan a go to test out the VPN.

PrivadoVPN

  • Country of registration: Switzerland
  • Clients supported: iOS, Android, Windows, macOS
  • Cost: $8 per month
  • Number of servers: 200+
  • Simultaneous connections: 10
  • Free 10Gbps per month with the free plan

PrivadoVPN is one of the best free VPNs you can pick up right now. All customers are entitled to a free 10Gbps per of free data per month, which is an excellent way to recruit new customers. This freemium model is the company’s way of enticing customers to sign up for its affordable premium service, which is only $8 per month. In the land of VPNs, that’s quite the steal. Hypothetically, though, if 10Gbps is enough for you and your needs, you’re welcome to stick to the free data plan.

Admittedly, PrivadoVPN doesn’t have the most servers available for you to connect to at only around 200 or so. The company was founded in 2019, so its operations are still young, and we can expect a serious expansion of the service in the coming years. The team itself has experience in cybersecurity, privacy, and data management for over 20 years, so the Swiss company is in good hands going forward.

For those looking for a budget-friendly Windows VPN with free data available, we think PrivadoVPN is a great option. The 10Gbps of free data is nothing to scoff at and is more than enough for certain uses depending on where you are in the world. We also love that the current price point is accessible enough for citizens all across the globe at different stages in life.

CyberGhost

Cyberghost

  • Country of registration: Romania
  • Clients supported: iOS, Android, Windows, macOS, Linux
  • Cost: $13 per month
  • Number of servers: 7,300+
  • Simultaneous connections: 7
  • Amazing security on each server

CyberGhost has a different aura compared to the others on the list. It has a unique branding that sets it apart from its competitors with its vibrant and bold yellow motifs throughout its company identity. Although its logo is a cute little ghost and the dynamic color scheme of the brand seems rather playful, its servers are packed with serious security. You can enjoy the benefits of no-log features that ensure your data is never stored on the server, along with powerful measures to combat censorship whether you’re in a first-world country or an unstable one.

With over 7,300 servers, you’re sure to find one for your needs. If you’re in Japan, for example, and you want to watch U.S. shows on Netflix, this Windows VPN enables you to unlock geo-blocked content with a simple click of a button. This supports CyberGhost’s mantra of anti-censorship as it allows you to access global content wherever you are.

Albeit, CyberGhost is not particularly cheap. Like ExpressVPN, it costs $13 per month, which is on the costlier side of VPNs on this list. If cost is a major factor in your decision-making, then one of the more cost-friendly options may be for you. We do think that CyberGhost provides an amazing service if you can afford it, though. Also, if you know you’re going to be committing to a VPN for the long term, the subscription model gets progressively cheaper the longer you subscribe for — so keep that in mind!

Does Windows have a built-in VPN?

Yes, Windows does have its own VPN. Not many people know about this as it’s not advertised as a main feature of the OS, but you can indeed connect to the internet through Window’s very own VPN. As is the case with built-in features, many expect it to be horrible. In comparison to some of the best VPNs on this list, the Windows VPN has a lot to be desired, yes. There is a twist to this feature, though. The Windows VPN is merely a “client”. You’ll have to get your actual VPN details elsewhere. You’ll need to specify details such as username, password, smartcard, one-time password, etc., from a third-party source. It doesn’t actually give you split-tunneling capabilities, AES 256 encryption, or anything else inherently.

Is there a free VPN for Windows?

As mentioned, the VPN for Windows is technically free. The problem is that it’s more of a client than an actual VPN service. If you understand technical lingo and feel like you can set up a VPN server or find the necessary details required, then you can skip the process of downloading a third-party client and use the built-in Windows VPN. But when third-party clients are better than the “official thing,” why would you prefer to use the latter? Downloading these apps takes a few seconds, and you’re up and running in a few minutes. We wholeheartedly suggest researching and picking your favorite VPN from the list above and using that instead.

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