The Best VPNs for Windows of 2020

Internet users all over the world are increasingly relying on virtual private networks (VPNs) to browse safely, anonymously, and to get around content restrictions in certain countries. All the leading VPN providers offer separate applications for the main operating systems, including Windows and Mac. If your computer runs on Windows 10, Windows 7, or any other Windows version, you’ll need to choose a VPN download for Windows to ensure your virtual network runs smoothly on your device.

Best VPNs for Windows

A Closer Look at the Top VPNs for Windows

The Best VPNs for Windows

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The Basics

Price per month
$7.99 (for 5 devices)
Data encryption type
256-bit encryption DNS
AES-256-CBC with a 2048-bit DH key
AES-256 bit encryption
256-bit encryption
Servers available
Countries available
Simultaneous connections
1, 5, or 10

Why Do I Need a VPN for Windows?

Whether your device runs on Windows or any other operating system, there are a number of reasons to use a VPN. These include:

  • Security. VPNs provide a secure, encrypted connection between your computer and the internet, meaning nobody can see your personal IP address, place malware on your computer, or steal your data. This is a particularly important consideration when using public Wi-Fi, where your security can easily be compromised.
  • Bypassing geographic restrictions. Many websites block or restrict content to certain locations. If you find yourself posted abroad for work, you can still access restricted content with a VPN. Traveling outside the US, but don’t want to miss your favorite Netflix show? Just use your VPN to connect to a US IP address, and problem solved.
  • Surfing without worry. These days, even citizens of the free world have a hard time knowing whether someone’s snooping on their internet usage. But with a VPN, you can browse safely, knowing that nobody – not governments, not corporations, not even the owners of the website you last visited – can find out your real IP address or identity.

How to Set up a VPN on Windows 10 - Step-By-Step

There are 2 ways to set up a VPN on Windows 10. For new users who prefer to connect in seconds and to not mess around with the security settings, the best way is to download the Windows app from your VPN provider’s website. For users who don’t mind spending an extra minute connecting manually and choosing their own security settings, just follow these steps:

  1. Right-click the Lan/Wi-Fi icon on the bottom-right of your screen, and select Network & Internet Settings.
  2. Select VPN from the menu on the left.
  3. Click the plus symbol next to the words “Add a VPN connection.”
  4. Choose Windows (built-in) as your VPN provider. Type in your connection name and server name or address. You can find these names from your VPN provider’s list of servers. You’ll also need the name and password you use for your VPN service to proceed. Don’t forget to click “Remember my sign-in info” if you wish to log in automatically the next time. When you’re done filling in all these details, click “Save.”
  5. Now you’ll see your chosen VPN connection on the list of VPN options. Just click on it to connect.

How to Set up a VPN on Windows 7 - Step-By-Step

Windows 7 users can also connect in seconds with their VPN provider’s Windows app. To set up manually, just follow these steps:

  1. Right-click the Lan/Wi-Fi icon from the system tray on the bottom right of your screen, then select “Open Network and Sharing Center.”
  2. Click “Select a new connection or network.”
  3. Select “Connect to workplace” and click Next.
  4. Select “Use my Internet connection (VPN).”
  5. Insert your preferred server address and destination name (from the list of servers given by your VPN provider), your destination name. Choose whether to “allow other people to use this connect.” And choose whether to connect now or just set up the VPN so you can connect later. Once you’re done, click Next.
  6. On the next screen, enter the username and password you use for your VPN account. Tick “Remember this password” if you wish to do so, and then click Create.
  7. To choose your own security settings, click on Network and Sharing Center > Change adapter settings. Right click your newly created VPN connection and select Properties. Click on the Security tab (third from left) and choose your preferred type of security protocol and data encryption.
  8. Your VPN connection will now appear in your control panel under Network and Internet > Network Connections. Simply right-click on the VPN and select Connect.

How to Test Your Windows VPN

To test the speed of your Windows VPN connection, simply connect to a server and begin browsing. Most paid services offer a 7-day or 30-day money-back guarantee, to protect you if you’re not satisfied with the speed or with any other features.

Another thing to be aware of is WebRTC IP leaks. WebRTC is a free, open project that provides browsers and mobile applications with Real-Time Communications (RTC) capabilities, but it can open you up to having your real IP address leaked. All the top VPN providers have tools in place to prevent this from happening. If you wish to check for yourself, most providers have a page on their website where you can conduct a leak test. Simply disconnect from your VPN and open the page in a new tab or window. Take note of any public IP addresses you see. Close the page. Connect to your VPN and re-open the page. If you still see any of the public IPs you saw earlier, you have suffered a privacy leak. You can also conduct this test using a free IP address check from the likes of whatismyipaddress or whatismyip.

Most VPN providers also offer instructions on how to turn off WebRTC and block out even the smallest risk of an IP leak.

Can I Get a Free Windows VPN?

Some VPN companies offer free or trial subscriptions, but remember that you get what you pay for. Free VPN services are usually slower, less reliable, and limited to a small amount of bandwidth that last just a few hours or days. If you’re away from home for a couple of days and just need a temporary fix for your Windows device, then you might find a free VPN a suitable option. But if you’re looking for a permanent solution, then we recommend paying a few dollars a month for a subscription from a secure and reliable VPN service.

VPN for Windows Server

Windows includes a built-in option to function as a VPN server using PPTP, the point-to-point tunnelling protocol. This is a useful option for people who wish to connect to their home network on the road, play video games on the same network as friends in other locations, or secure their browser while on a public connection. This option is best for advanced users, as it can open your computer up to potential security risks when not done properly.

To create your VPN server in Windows 10, just follow these steps:

  1. Open Control Panel > Network and Sharing Center and click “Change adapter settings.” For a shortcut, just hit the Windows icon (on Windows 10) or Start, and type“ncpa.cpl.”
  2. Open the File menu (by pressing Alt on Windows 10, or by looking at the tabs at the top of the Control Panel on Windows 7). Select “New Incoming Connection.”
  3. Tick all the users who you want to establish VPN access for on this computer. Click Next.
  4. Tick “Through the Internet” and click Next.
  5. On the next page, you’ll be given a choice of networking software. Select Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) and click “Allow access.” Windows will configure your VPN server access within a few seconds.

Open a Window of Opportunity

Now that you know what to look for when choosing a VPN for Windows, it's up to you to select the right one for your needs. To read more about any of these companies or other top VPNs, read our in-depth reviews.