5 Best VPNs For Laptops in 2020 – Choose The Best One for You
Many people these days use their laptops or mobile devices with public internet hotspots and assume that the connection is as safe as their internet at home.
When you’re sitting in a coffee shop or hotel room and casually logging in to the free wi-fi, how can you be sure that the wi-fi provider has ensured the connection is secure though?
The truth is, you can’t. Even if they say it’s secure, there’s still a huge chance you’re exposing yourself to hackers, who can not only potentially see what you’re doing online but can also steal your data and gain access to your most important accounts and details.
Thankfully, there is a way you can safely use your laptop on public wi-fi anywhere. All you need is a good VPN.
Quick Guide: Best VPNs for Laptops
- NordVPN – NordVPN is the number one provider we’ve tested due to its consistently reliable performance, great speeds, and robust security features.
- ExpressVPN – ExpressVPN is known for its super speeds, plus its other features are great, making it a perfect choice for laptop use.
- CyberGhost – With fantastic prices (especially on long-term plans), reliable servers, and good speeds and security, CyberGhost is deserving of its top five spot.
- Surfshark – With good overall features, Surfshark’s drawcard is undoubtedly its unlimited simultaneous connections, which is ideal for large families or people who want to use multiple devices.
- PrivateVPN – PrivateVPN is a great choice for beginners or those who want a low-fuss, affordable service with all the features you need and none that you don’t.
Why You Need a VPN for Your Laptop
By using your personal or business laptop on public or unsecured wi-fi, you’re leaving yourself open to snooping or data theft. So many people don’t even realize they are in danger of this, which makes it even more alluring to the criminals doing it.
If you’re not protecting your laptop with a VPN, you are an easy target for cybercriminals, and you run the risk of falling victim to cyber-attacks.
Laptops are particularly vulnerable because they are still often used in public, and people also tend to store very personal data on them, such as financial details, scanned documents, and similar.
Even with secure wi-fi connections, you can still find yourself a target of hackers. There have been incidents where wi-fi signals have been replicated by criminals hoping you’ll connect to their fake signal, rather than the one you’re expecting to connect to.
So, next time you see a sign such as ‘free hotel wi-fi’ you might want to check with whoever’s providing the signal before connecting to it.
Using a VPN with your laptop is definitely the easiest way of preventing this and other potential security breaches.
That’s Not All a VPN Can Do
A VPN works by making your activity on the internet invisible to anyone who attempts to see it.
While you’re using a VPN, your connection is routed to a server located in a different location and all the data you transfer is encrypted.
The added benefit of this system is that you’ll be able to circumvent censorship rules, access streaming services not available in your location (such as Netflix, for instance), and share files and other data without the risk of it being hijacked by cybercriminals.
Many of the top VPN providers offer adware and malware blocking software as part of their services too, so as long as you’ve got an antivirus program installed on your laptop, you’re making the security of your connection almost impenetrable.
Best VPNs for Laptop
To determine which VPN is the absolute best choice for use with either Windows, Linux, or Mac laptops, we rated them based on the criteria below:
- Easy-to-use system
- Compatibility with all or most laptop operating systems (Windows, Mac, Linux, Chrome)
- Robust security features
- Fast server connection
- DNS leakage prevention
- P2P torrent sharing ability
- Ability to access content from any country
- No-logs policy
- Kill switch (cuts all connections if VPN stops working)
- Great customer service
NordVPN is consistently the highest-rated provider based on our own tests, as well as user reviews.
This is due to its massive server infrastructure of 5,800+ servers spanning 60+ countries, its impressive speeds, great customer service, and military-grade security.
NordVPN’s robust security features include AES-256 bit encryption, OpenVPN, L2TP/IPSec, and PPTP tunneling protocols. It abides by a strict no-logs policy, has an automatic kill switch, and built-in CyberSec security software.
NordVPN can be used on up to six devices at once and can be installed on all the primary laptop operating systems.
NordVPN can unblock:
- Netflix, HBO, Hulu, Showtime, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime Video, and Sling TV.
- Yes, P2P specialty servers available.
NordVPN works on these devices:
- Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, Android TV, Linux, Chrome, and Firefox. It’s also compatible with routers.
ExpressVPN is one of the fastest VPN providers available. This, combined with its reliable servers, strong security features, and excellent 24/7 technical assistance has made it popular with users.
While ExpressVPN’s higher price point means it’s not our overall favorite, we can’t deny that it is a premium service and worth the money.
ExpressVPN boasts 3,000 servers in over 160 locations.
Its TrustedServer technology, military-grade AES-256 bit encryption, DNS leak protection, and OpenVPN support will keep your data safe while you’re online, while a no-logs policy will protect it when you’re not.
ExpressVPN can be used on up to five devices simultaneously and can be installed on all the primary laptop operating systems.
ExpressVPN can unblock:
- Netflix, Hulu, HBO, Amazon Prime Video, Showtime, Sling TV, DAZN, and BBC iPlayer.
- Yes, all servers support P2P activity.
ExpressVPN works on these devices:
- Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, Android TV, Linux, Chrome, and Firefox. It also offers an app for use with certain routers.
CyberGhost has gained a fan following due to the overall quality of its features and a great price to match.
With 5,700+ servers, in 90 countries, good speeds, and robust security features, CyberGhost is a good choice.
CyberGhost has 256-bit AES encryption, OpenVPN, DNS and IP leak protection, an auto kill switch, and malware and ad-blocking software included. It also has a no-logs policy.
You’re able to connect up to 7 devices at once with CyberGhost, and it can be installed on all the primary laptop operating systems.
CyberGhost can unblock:
- Dedicated streaming profile with servers optimized for: Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Sky Go, Comedy Central, Eurosport, ESPN, and others.
- Yes, the dedicated profile shows countries and number of users.
CyberGhost works on these devices:
- Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, Amazon Fire Stick, Android TV, Linux, and Chrome.
Surfshark is a great option for people who want to connect multiple devices or share their VPN with the whole family, as it offers unlimited simultaneous connections.
It has 1041+ fast servers in 61+ countries, good security features, Private DNS, and is P2P-friendly.
This provider has a great reputation and will keep your data safe with 256-bit AES encryption with split tunneling, extra obfuscation settings, a malware and ad blocker, and a kill switch.
Surfshark can be installed on all the primary laptop operating systems.
Surfshark can unblock:
- Netflix, Hulu, CBS, ESPN, Amazon Prime Video, and others.
- Yes, all servers support P2P activity.
Surfshark works on these devices:
- Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, FireTV, Linux, Chrome, and Firefox.
PrivateVPN is a small VPN provider but its determination to provide excellent service has gained it a top spot and boosted its popularity.
Despite only having 150+ servers in 80 locations, its servers are self-owned and super-fast, which is perfect for use with laptops.
PrivateVPN offers military-grade AES-256 encryption, IPv6, DNS leak protection, support for multiple protocols, and a Stealth mode. It also has a no-logs policy and a kill switch.
You can connect up to 6 devices at once with PrivateVPN and it can be installed on all the primary laptop operating systems, except for Chrome.
PrivateVPN can unblock:
- Netflix, Hulu, HBO, Hotstar, Amazon Prime Video, and BBC iPlayer.
- Yes, all servers support P2P activity; list of P2P-optimized servers available through the app.
PrivateVPN works on these devices:
- Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS.
If you regularly use your laptop in public or with free wi-fi, you are undoubtedly risking a data leak. Even if you think you’re connecting to a secure network, you could inadvertently be connecting to a fake wi-fi signal set up by scammers.
The most effective method of protecting yourself when using public internet hotspots is by using a VPN, which will stop your data from being visible to anybody trying to see it. We highly recommend NordVPN as the best VPN for your laptop.
If you want to browse more VPN choices, then have a look at our top ten!
If you have multiple devices you’d like to connect, read 5 Best VPNs for Multiple Devices & Connections.
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VPNs can help you hide this information from websites so that you are protected at all times. We recommend NordVPN — the #1 VPN out of over 350 providers we've tested. It has military-grade encryption and privacy features that will ensure your digital security, plus — it's currently offering 68% off.