VPNs are subscription services which you can use on all your devices. All providers worth their salt have apps for Windows, macOS, iOS and Android, and there are usually others for devices such as the Amazon Fire TV and Android TV.
It's the Windows apps which tend to have the most features, though, so while you can use your subscription on your phone and perhaps tablet, there are often benefits when using it on your laptop or PC.
Features such as kill switches, which stop any data being sent or received should the VPN connection drop, are additional measures which ensure your location and identity aren't compromised.
Other extras you'll find can be settings to launch the VPN when you connect to an new or untrusted Wi-Fi network, a wider choice of protocols and split tunneling, which lets you pick which apps talk to the internet via the VPN and which use your normal internet connection.
With services costing from just a couple of pounds or dollars per month, there’s really no reason not to use one. And if your priority is to use it mainly on your PC or laptop, your choice is almost unlimited since every VPN provider supports Windows.
Choosing one, then, can be difficult, but that’s why you’re here? So let’s get on with it: here are the best VPN services for Windows PCs.
With apps for Android, iOS, macOS, Fire TV as well as Windows, NordVPN will work on all popular devices.
The Windows app is simple and intuitive: you drag the map around and click on a country’s marker to begin a connection. If you prefer, you can browse the country list and also save your favourites for quicker access (something you can't do on Nord's Android app, oddly).
There are lots of reasons to pick Nord, but the primary one is that it is the fastest VPN service around. Newly added WireGuard support (called NordLynx) makes connections virtually instant, and unless you're lucky enough to have a mega-fast internet connection above 150Mb/s, you won't really notice any drop in speed when using Nord.
There's also Double VPN, another feature that the Windows app benefits from, which routes your connection through two servers instead of one.
With support for P2P traffic, a customisable kill switch and the option to use the Tor network for extra privacy, the slightly higher monthly cost over the cheapest services is easily justified.
The two-year deal is the best value, costing £2.68/$3.49 per month.
Read our full NordVPN review
We like ExpressVPN for its easy-to-use app and the fact that you can use your subscription on so many devices – including an Amazon Fire TV Stick.
ExpressVPN positions itself as a premium service and justifies its monthly prices by running all its servers in RAM (for better security) and offering 24/7 customer support.
Currently, it isn't the fastest by any stretch, but it is rolling out its own proprietary protocol called Lightway which should bring it level with NordVPN, if not make it even faster.
From a privacy point of view, ExpressVPN is based in the British Virgin Islands and - like NordVPN - doesn’t keep any logs about your activity. Should the VPN connection drop for any reason, the Network Protection – a kill switch – stops all internet access until the connection is restored.
So, to the numbers. With our special deal you can get a 12-month plan for US$99.95/£80.65 ($8.33/£6.72 per month). It comes with three free months on top, so you won't have to renew for 15 months.
Read our full ExpressVPN review
CyberGhost is a well-known VPN which has been around for years. It is based in Romania, which has favourable privacy laws.
There are over 6,500 servers in 90 countries, and you can pick the specific server you want. There are also NoSpy servers, all in Romania, which offer extra privacy.
The Windows app also has an ‘Unblock Streaming’ section with a list of services: pick one and it will suggest the best server to use. These include Netflix, Disney Plus, BBC iPlayer and lots more.
App Protection is the service’s kill switch and allows you to specify which apps should be terminated if the connection ever drops.
The best current deal is a 18-month plan which works out at £2.15/$2.75 per month.
Read our full CyberGhost review
Surfshark is a relatively new player in VPNs, but with a great price, good features and good performance during our testing, it's not hard to see why its growing so fast.
And by growing, we mean that it has more than doubled the number of servers it offered a year ago, now having over 1700 in 63 countries.
It can successfully unblock streaming services including Netflix and BBC iPlayer.
Better still, the company doesn't put a limit on how many device you can connect at one time, and offers apps for macOS, iOS, Android, Fire TV and others.
Like NordVPN, it has a 'MultiHop' feature that runs your connection through two servers for better privacy.
There's a kill switch, split tunneling (Whitelister) and the CleanWeb ad blocker.
It doesn't yet offer support for WireGuard, but at just £1.95/$2.49 per month this may not be a big concern. Speeds aren't the quickest, but they're still perfectly fine for web browsing and streaming HD video.
Read our full Surfshark review
PureVPN ticks a lot of boxes. The Windows app has a kill switch and makes it easy to select the right server for whatever you might want to do, be that get around web filters, unblock streaming video services or download files.
If you pay extra, there's also the option of a dedicated IP address.
The highlight, though, is that PureVPN has servers in 141 countries, which is more than its rivals. Sure, some are virtual locations (and not physically present in those countries) but they behave as if they were, which is really all you need.
With our special deal, PureVPN's two-year plan costs only $2.88 per month. and there's also a 7-day trial for 99c (around 75p).
There’s a kill switch and split tunneling. This useful feature lets you choose which apps use the VPN and which don’t.
You’re allowed to use the subscription with five devices simultaneously, which isn't the most generous, but enough for most people.
Read our full PureVPN review
With over 700 servers worldwide and the ability to pick the one you want based on ping, VyprVPN may have fewer servers than some of its competitors.
But if you care about security and privacy, know that the company owns and operates those servers itself, meaning no-one else - not even staff at the datacentres where they're located - have access to them.
Whereas it used to log information and store it for 30 days, a big black mark against any VPN service, PureVPN has now switched to a strict no-logs policy.
It unblocks Netflix and other streaming services, and now lets you use the WireGuard protocol for faster speeds, alongside its own Chameleon protocol.
The Windows app offers a kill switch but, like many services here, this is turned off by default. So make sure you enable it if you want full protection.
We also like how the Windows app displays the bandwidth used, even if you’re not using the VPN, because you can see immediately if your connection speed drops.
And talking of speed, VyprVPN’s performance was excellent in our tests.
The best-value subscription is VyprVPN's two-year plan which lets you use it on five devices simultaneously. This costs £2.50/$2.50 per month.
Read our full VyprVPN review