5 Best VPNs For Windows in 2020 [+EASY SETUP GUIDES]
From data security to privacy protection, from accessing geoblocked streaming sites to torrenting anonymously, there are plenty of reasons to install a VPN on your Windows 10 desktop. But setting one up can seem a bit intimidating.
This guide will take you through a simple, step-by-step process to set up a Windows 10 VPN app. In case you’re new to the VPN world, we’ll also show you how to get the full benefits of a VPN service and offer you some tips on finding one you can trust.
If you have previously installed a VPN on an older Windows version, you’ll notice some key differences in the setup process, but we’ve got you covered. Your VPN will be up and running better than ever in no time.
Best of all, your Windows 10 VPN has unique capabilities you might not know about. For example, your PC can connect devices like Apple TV and Chromecast to your VPN to unblock streaming services. Read on to learn how!
Quick Look: 5 Best VPNs for Windows 10
Before we get into setup, let’s make sure you have a VPN that actually does what a VPN is supposed to do. Many VPNs slow your connection to a crawl, have ugly histories of data breaches, or can’t unblock Netflix and other popular sites.
Here’s a quick list of top performers in our VPN testing for Windows 10. They all offer dedicated apps for Windows and helpful Windows 10 setup guides. You’ll find more information about them below.
NordVPN is our number one VPN recommendation for Windows 10.
ExpressVPN claims to be the fastest VPN on the market.
CyberGhost specializes in easy customization for your specific needs.
VyprVPN offers one of the simplest PC installation processes for Windows 10.
Surfshark offers connection to an unlimited number of devices to protect your business.
How to Easily Setup Your VPN on Windows 10
In this guide, we’ll show you not only how to install and setup your Windows 10 VPN, but also how to keep the app running in the background so all your internet activity is safe, all the time.
We’ll use NordVPNto demonstrate the steps, but the setup process is similar with other top-rated VPNs.
1. Sign up for NordVPN, then navigate to the Downloads page and select the Windows client.
2. Find the NordVPN Setup.exe file in your Downloads folder and open it.
NOTE: If a new window pops up and asks, Do you want to allow this app to make changes to your device?, click Yes.
3. The OpenVPN TAP adapter will appear if this is the first time you’re installing the VPN on Windows 10. Click Next, I Agree, and Install to continue with the installation process.
4. Click Install once the installer window opens, and wait while the Setup Wizard proceeds with installation.
5. As soon as installation is complete, the NordVPN application will run and appear in a new window. You’ll also see a shortcut icon now on your desktop.
6. If Windows asks you if you wish to allow NordVPN to install a TAP driver, click Allow. This step is essential to connect to NordVPN’s servers.
7. Log in to NordVPN by entering your credentials in the app window and clicking Sign In.
8. You’ll now see the application’s main screen. If you click the Quick Connect button in the bottom middle, the app will automatically connect you to the best available server based on current network traffic. On the map, you’ll see the pin representing that server’s location light up in green. Your new IP address will be displayed right below the Quick Connect button.
9. Alternatively, you can manually choose a country by clicking any country pin on the map. Use this feature if you want to access geo-restricted content. For example, click on the US to access Hulu, the UK to reach the BBC iPlayer, etc.
11. You can also search for a specific server in any country by clicking the search icon in the upper left and typing in the name of the country.
12. For a detailed breakdown of your server options, click the Servers tab. There you will find all of NordVPN’s 5,000+ servers, organized by categories (server types) and countries.
The percentage listed next to each server reflects the current load on the server. A higher percentage means more people are using the server. Generally, servers with the lowest loads will be fastest.
14. If you have a great experience with a particular server, you can add it to your favorites by clicking the heart symbol next to it, making it easy to use again in the future.
Once you’re happy with your server connection, you can either click Settings to further customize your VPN, or simply close the app window and start surfing!
15. When you close the application, it continues to run in the background. To be able to see this, you need to enable Show Tray Icon in the NordVPNapp Settings. Otherwise, you can find the app icon by clicking on the up arrow in your system tray area to see hidden apps.
16. By clicking the NordVPN app icon in the visible or hidden system tray, you will bring the application to the foreground. Or you can right-click on the icon to activate Quick Connect or quit the application entirely.
That’s it! Your new VPN for Windows 10 is now fully up and running and easy to adapt for any online purpose.
If you’re a tech savvy VPN user and want to fully customize your VPN from the ground up, you can also choose to manually configure protocols. You’ll find detailed manual setup guides on your VPN provider’s website.
Bear in mind, however, that if you configure your connection manually, you might lose the protection of a kill switch and DNS leak protection. These important features ensure that your data never spills onto the public internet without your knowledge.
Benefits of Installing a VPN on Your Windows 10 PC
A VPN will give you access to a huge variety of content otherwise unavailable to you by assigning you a new IP address to change your apparent location. This is great if you are in a censorship-heavy region or want to access geo-restricted sites like US Netflix.
However, most free and low-quality VPNs can’t get past tough geoblocks and firewalls because their IP addresses have been detected and banned. The best VPNs constantly refresh their IPs and use advanced data obfuscation to get you past the blocks.
A top-quality VPN will also keep your data secure and safely hidden from anyone who wants to get their hands on it. By encrypting all your traffic, VPNs keep your ISP, your government, and hackers out of your internet business.
Using a VPN with a Windows 10 PC is especially valuable because you can easily set up a virtual router and extend your VPN coverage to other devices in your home.
A virtual router even makes your VPN connection available to devices like Chromecast and Apple TV that don’t support VPN installation. See one of our virtual router setup guides for all the details – and enjoy skipping half the steps with Windows 10!
The Best VPNs for Windows 10 – Key Features
NordVPN for Windows 10 is an intuitive desktop app with a variety of valuable features. Quick Connect instantly connects you to the fastest available server, while the SmartPlay feature gives you simple, secure access to popular streaming websites.
NordVPN supports torrenting on its network and protects your anonymity with Onion over VPN and a strict no-logs policy. You can browse with peace of mind, thanks to the CyberSec security suite’s protection against malware and many other online threats.
You can try out NordVPN risk-free by taking advantage of a 30-day money-back guarantee.
To learn more about NordVPN, read our full review.
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.
Known for its exceptional speed, Express VPN optimizes every server for great performance during high-bandwidth activities like streaming and torrenting. Browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox, and more allow you to control the VPN right from your web browser.
On the security front, you’ll receive advanced leak protection by default, as well as a Network Lock kill switch that prevents your online activity from being exposed if your VPN server connection drops unexpectedly.
A no-questions-asked, 30-day money-back guarantee makes it easy to get a full refund if you’re not entirely satisfied with the service. However, based on its many glowing reviews, not many users take ExpressVPN up on the offer.
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 makes setting up a VPN simple with preconfigured profiles for a variety of different VPN uses. Windows 10 profile options include anonymous browsing, seamless streaming, and extra security for public wi-fi hotspots.
With over 5,700 servers across 90 countries, AES-256 encryption, a wide range of encryption protocols, and very affordable long-term plans, it’s hard to find a reason not to use CyberGhost.
Even better, a subscription of 6 months or longer entitles you to a 45-day money-back guarantee. That’s one of many reasons for this VPN’s rapidly rising popularity.
CyberGhost can unblock:
- Dedicated streaming profile with servers optimized for: Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Sky Go, Hulu, Comedy Central, Eurosport, ESPN, and others.
- Yes; 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.
VyprVPN makes it simple to get ironclad security for your Windows 10 computer. This highly rated VPN’s customizable kill switch can be set to automatically route all your traffic through the VPN tunnel so you never connect to a public server by mistake.
The intuitive interface makes it easy to activate advanced features such as the unique Chameleon protocol, which disguises your VPN traffic so you can easily bypass blocks on geo-restricted or censored content.
VyprVPN offers new users a 30-day money-back guarantee. Learn more about this unique Switzerland-based VPN by checking out our collection of real user reviews.
VyperVPN can unblock:
- Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer.
- Yes, all servers support P2P activity.
VyperVPN works on these devices:
- Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, Routers, Android TV, QNAP, Blackphone, Anonabox.
Surfshark’s Windows app has proven itself to be more consistent across various platforms than many competitor apps. The native Windows app includes pop-up notifications that make it easier to keep track of your VPN connections.
Like other native apps, you can use Surfshark with its Quick Connect option to tether you to your optimal location in seconds. For a higher level of privacy, Surfshark also offers MultiHop, which will channel your connection through several channels.
Surfshark offers an optional kill switch which you can choose to turn on or off once connected. It’s the CleanWeb option that truly sets them apart, however, as it offers you a way to block ads, trackers, and malware all with one click. If you’re looking for a good family or business option, Surfshark offers connection to an unlimited number of devices.
You can try out Surfshark using its 30-day money-back guarantee to experience all of its features. Check out what users have to say about it to see what else Surfshark has to offer.
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.
Windows 10 is an advanced platform with unique features and better security than any previous version of Windows. However, no operating system can keep you truly safe from online risks on its own.
Installing a VPN on your Windows computer takes just a few minutes, and it’s critical if you want a secure, private internet connection. The best VPNs for Windows 10 are also powerful tools to access restricted content from anywhere on Earth.
And there’s one more great thing top-rated VPNs do: regularly offer amazing discounts! Check out our latest coupon codes to see how much you can save.