Using a VPN on your PC can allow you to browse the web in private and unblock content that's restricted in your region. It's ideal for privacy buffs and TV lovers alike.
With VPN 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 in one way or another.
For this reason choosing one can be difficult, but that’s why you’re here, right? So let’s get on with it: here are the best VPN services for PCs.
With apps for Android, iOS and macOS as well as Windows, NordVPN will work on all of your devices, including your PC.
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.
Security is one of NordVPN’s highlights. It also has some servers which offer double protection by routing your connection through two servers instead of one. It offers over 5,000 servers, and doesn’t keep logs, either.
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 certain rivals will be worth it if you value privacy most: and that’s what a VPN service should be all about.
The three-year deal is the best value, costing £2.29/$2.99 per month (£82.40/US$107.55 upfront)
Read our full NordVPN review for more details
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 Stick, Apple TV, PlayStation and more.
Performance is excellent, too, as is privacy. ExpressVPN is based in the British Virgin Islands and doesn’t keep any logs about your activity. Should the VPN connection drop for any reason, the Network Lock – a kill switch – stops all internet access to protect your privacy until the connection is restored.
As well as the main app, you can install browser extensions for Firefox and Chrome. These allow you to restrict the VPN connection to just that browser rather than all internet traffic.
Should you require it, tech support is available 24/7 via email or live chat.
ExpressVPN is very good, but it also comes at a cost. At the moment you can get a 12-month plan for US$99.95/£79. It comes with three months three, so for the 15 months it works out at $6.67/£5.05.
Read our full ExpressVPN review
We’re fans of PureVPN as it ticks all the boxes. Speed: check. Privacy: check. Headquartered outside the '14-eyes': check.
There are over 2,000 servers in 141 countries. And if that weren’t enough, PureVPN unblocks Netflix US and you’ll even find a video showing you how to do this on its website.
It's reasonably cheap at $3.33/£2.60 per month for a year, but there are two year and one month options too. You can sign up here.
The Windows app lets you choose between location or ‘purpose’. These modes including Steam (for video), Internet Freedom (for calling countries which dislike VoIP), Security / Privacy (prevents your ISP looking at your activity) and File-Sharing.
There’s a kill switch and split tunnelling. 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 is plenty for most people.
Read our full PureVPN review
CyberGhost is a well-known VPN which has been around for years. It is based in Romania, outside of the '14-eyes'.
Unlike some VPN providers, with CyberGhost you can pick the specific server you want from a selection of over 3,600, not just a country. So if you particularly want one on the East- rather than the West Coast of the USA, you can.
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, but be warned that – as with all other VPN services – Netflix is hot on blocking VPN servers so it may or may not work from one week to the next.
CyberGhost isn’t the cheapest, but lets you connect up to seven devices at the same time. It also gives you extras such as Home Wi-Fi protection which protects you against malicious websites, blocks ads and tries to use HTTPS connections wherever possible.
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 three year plan which works out at £2.10/$2.50 per month.
Read our full CyberGhost review
Surfshark is a reasonably new name in the VPN industry, but with a great price, good features and good performance during our testing, it's not hard to see why its subscriber base is growing at a fast pace.
It has 800 servers across 50 countries, and can successfully unblock streaming services including Netflix and BBC iPlayer.
You'll get unlimited simultaneous connections, as well as mobile apps and browser extensions included.
The cheapest option works out at just £1.53/$1.99 per month. Check out all of the plans available on the Surfshark website.
Best described as quirky, TunnelBear is many people’s first experience of a VPN simply because of its completely free tier which offers 500MB per month. That isn’t nearly enough for watching video, but if you travel frequently and want to stay safe on free public Wi-Fi then it can be enough.
For use on a PC, choose between 2 years, one year and one month, starting at £3.33/$4.17 per month. That gives you unlimited data with servers in 22 countries. That’s a smaller choice than some rivals, but there are servers in US and UK and Canada, where TunnelBear’s headquarters are located. That’s one of the 5-eyes countries which shares information, but TunnelBear doesn’t log any activity.
Two features which are turned off by default are ‘VigilantBear’ and ‘GhostBear’. The former is a handy kill switch, and the latter makes your activity look less like VPN traffic – useful if you wouldn’t want the government of a country knowing what you were up to.
If you don’t want all your traffic routed via the VPN, there are browser extensions for Chrome and – unusually – Opera.
Read our full TunnelBear review
With over 700 servers worldwide and the ability to pick the one you want based on ping, VyprVPN offers more choice than some of its competitors.
It isn’t based in one of the '14-eyes', but does keep logs of things such as connection times, IP addresses and bytes transferred for 30 days for purposes including “crimes performed over the service”.
Fortunately, that doesn’t include watching US Netflix which isn’t a criminal offence. It’s merely against Netflix’s terms and conditions. And when we checked, VyprVPN did allow us to unblock US Netflix from the UK.
Vypr offers a kill switch, but this is turned off by default. Handily the app has an option to play a sound when the VPN connects or disconnects so you’ll get audible confirmation of when this happens.
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. If you want to test it yourself, there’s a three-day trial – a little short for our liking, and stingier than other services.
There are several plans available offering three or five simultaneous connections, with the cheapest costing £2.72/$3.75 per month.
Read our full VyprVPN review.
8. Private Internet Access
PIA, as it’s fondly known, is a US-based VPN service with more than 3,000 servers across 32 countries.
You'll get a kill switch and lots of advanced security settings, making it an all-rounder that's suited to the simpler of tasks such as unblocking Netflix right through to P2P. It wasn't able to unblock BBC iPlayer during our testing, though.
It's one of the cheaper options, starting at £2.65/$3.49 per month. You can subscribe here.
Read our full PIA review.