4 Best VPNs for Laptops in 2021
Mobile and convenient, laptops can go with you when you travel, keep you connected at work even if you’re not in the office, and give you access to endless entertainment.
Unfortunately, with that convenience comes a significant danger – the potential to expose all your data on an unsecured public Wi-Fi connection.
As around 12 million US pupils who don’t have broadband internet gather in parking lots of schools, public libraries, coffee shops, and restaurants trying to access their virtual lessons, so that risk increases.
Although there is now an HTTPS encryption on the web which has helped to fix the main security issue with public Wi-Fi, there are still numerous dangers, from Man-in-the-Middle attacks to the distribution of malware.
It’s vital to protect your laptop everywhere you go with one of the best VPNs for laptops in 2021.
Best VPNs for Laptops at a Glance
- Great for online security with a geographically diverse server network that protects your privacy and anonymity Visit Site Read Our Review >
- Fast new NordLynx protocol, large server network, strong no-logging policy to protect your identity Visit Site Read Our Review >
- Fast, secure, and lightweight with robust no-logging policy and a commitment to user privacy Visit Site Read Our Review >
- User-friendly online security with automatic public Wi-Fi protection Visit Site Read Our Review >
Our Top Picks for Best Laptop VPNs
#1 ExpressVPN – the fastest and most secure VPN for laptops
Platforms Supported: Mac, Windows, iOS, Android, Linux, Routers, Chrome, Firefox | Compatible Devices: Chromecast, Apple TV, PlayStation, Nintendo, Raspberry Pi, Amazon Fire TV, Roku, Xbox, Chrome, Firefox | Unblocks Netflix: Yes | Also unblocks: Amazon Prime Video, YouTube, Hulu, DisneyPlus and BBC iPlayer | 3,000+ Servers | 95 Server Country Locations |
ExpressVPN is unbeatable in terms of both speed and security. It’s also versatile, with apps available for all major operating systems, and has an unbeatable reputation for protecting user privacy.
Based in the privacy-friendly British Virgin Islands, ExpressVPN uses zero-knowledge architecture and TrustedServer technology to safeguard its users and protect their data.
ExpressVPN is the best VPN for a laptop, whether you’re using it to work, play, learn, or socialize. For more details, check out our in-depth ExpressVPN review.
Cost: Starting at $6.67/month
#2 NordVPN – serious security and safe streaming
Platforms Supported: Mac, Windows, iOS, Android, Linux, Routers, Chrome, Firefox | Compatible Devices: Android TV, Nintendo, Raspberry Pi, Amazon Fire TV, Chrome, Roku, Firefox | Unblocks Netflix: Yes | Also unblocks: Amazon Prime Video, YouTube, Hulu, and BBC iPlayer | 5,498 Servers | 59 Server Country Locations |
NordVPN was one of the first to introduce AES 256-bit encryption and now its new security protocol – NordLynx – has boosted its speeds to make it one of the best VPNs for laptops. Take a look at our comprehensive NordVPN review for more information.
NordVPN also has a couple of advanced tricks up its sleeve:
- Double VPN gives you extra security
- Onion over VPN enables you to covertly enter the anonymous Tor browser
- Built-in malware blocker to protect you against unwanted infections.
Cost: Starting at $3.71/month
#3 CyberGhost – user-friendly laptop security
Platforms Supported: Mac, Windows, iOS, Android, Linux, Routers, Chrome, Firefox | Compatible Devices: Chromecast, Apple TV, Android TV, PlayStation, Nintendo, Raspberry Pi, Amazon Fire TV, Roku, Xbox, Chrome, Firefox | Unblocks Netflix: Yes | Also unblocks: Amazon Prime Video, YouTube, Hulu, DisneyPlus and BBC iPlayer | 6,200+ Servers | 90 Server Country Locations |
This user-friendly VPN has a handy auto-connect function for public Wi-Fi networks, making it a great VPN for laptops.
CyberGhost has optimized all its servers to provide the best possible protection on public Wi-Fi while maintaining consistent speeds and reliable connections.
Not only is CyberGhost easy to use, but it’s also affordable and is one of the few reputable VPNs for laptops that still offers a free trial, even if it is only 24 hours. Find out more about CyberGhost by reading our full review.
Cost: Starting at $2.25/month
#4 Surfshark – affordable protection for unlimited devices
Platforms Supported: Mac, Windows, iOS, Android, Linux, Routers, Chrome, Firefox | Compatible Devices: Chromecast, Apple TV, PlayStation, Nintendo, Amazon Fire TV, Xbox, Chrome, Firefox | Unblocks Netflix: Yes | Also unblocks: Amazon Prime Video, YouTube, Hulu, DisneyPlus and BBC iPlayer | 1,700+ Servers | 63 Server Country Locations |
Although Surfshark’s server network is comparatively limited, it still manages to produce secure, high-speed connections.
Like ExpressVPN, Surfshark is based in the British Virgin Islands and operates under a strict no-logging regime that prioritizes user privacy. Find out more about Surfshark here.
With a bundle of advanced tools, Surfshark is as versatile as it is safe and includes:
- Malware and advert blocker
- Kill switch
- Multi-Hop VPN
- P2p-optimized servers
Cost: Starting at $2.21/month
How to Choose a VPN for Your Laptop
The most important aspect of any VPN for laptops is the ability to protect you, your device, and your data from potential cyberthreats. Those that detect public Wi-Fi networks and provide automatic protection are by far the best. Other important features to look out for include:
- AES 256-bit encryption
- No-logging policy
- Streaming-optimized servers
- P2P and torrenting support
- Large and geographically diverse server network
- Reliable high-speed connections
Some other nice touches include a choice of security protocols, built-in malware protection, and split-tunneling.
Using a Free VPN for Laptops
Although a free VPN will help to protect your device and allow you to hop to another geo-location, it will also limit your bandwidth, restrict your server choices, or regulate your speeds.
While you may be safe out there in cyberspace, you’ll also waste valuable time as your VPN buffers its way to your desired online destination. Streaming, torrenting, and gaming all require high-speed connections so, if you’re planning on doing any of these, you’d be better off investing in one of the best VPNs, rather than toiling away with a free VPN, as they will surely limit your speed and bandwidth significantly.
Some free VPNs are better than others, but some of them are severely lacking in security measures and should not be relied on to keep your data private. Because you aren’t paying for the service, these free VPN companies have to get their money somewhere. Many of them actually collected your data to be sold to the highest bidder (advertisers, the authorities, etc.).
Protect Yourself from Major Laptop Hacks
The global coronavirus pandemic has been haunted by a significant increase in cybercrimes and phishing attacks, making a VPN for laptops a vital security tool. With sophisticated threats that can take control over your webcam, steal the login details of your online accounts, and hijack your laptop’s microphone, some level of protection is essential.
It’s not just cybercriminals who are developing new tools to hack your laptop, however – government departments and official organizations are using the same tricks to gather information on individuals.
Intelligence agencies, like the UK’s Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) “can invade the privacy of anyone around the world with a few clicks”.
Invasive tools like Nosey Smurf, which hijacks your laptop’s microphone, Gumfish which commandeers your webcam, and Foggybottom which “records Internet browsing histories and collects login details”, can easily steal private data, unless you have the protection of the best VPN for laptops.
A VPN is not infallible, however, especially not on public Wi-Fi networks using a “captive portal” – i.e. a page that requests login information. According to Charl van der Walt, head of security research at Orange Cyberdefense, “A captive portal puts a laptop into a captive state, where the machine is connected to the LAN, but not the Internet. This means the VPN can’t establish a tunnel, and can’t enforce any protections”.
While the best VPNs for laptops will do much to boost your online security and privacy, we would still recommend using it in conjunction with a local firewall, the best antivirus protection, and a reliable password manager.
Using a VPN on Multiple Devices
Many VPNs will only protect one device at a time, so it’s important to check how many simultaneous connections you can run when choosing the best VPN for your laptop. For those of you with a house full of connected gadgets and devices, a subscription with Surfshark makes the most practical and financial sense, as they offer an unlimited number of device connections for less than $2 per month.
Before blithely signing up for the best VPN for laptops, do a quick survey of all your connected devices, and find a VPN that’s versatile enough to protect all of them with a single subscription.
Because laptops are easy to transport, we tend to take them with us wherever we go, using them to work, stay in touch, and access online entertainment. In the process, however, we continually expose them to potential cyber threats as we connect to public Wi-Fi networks in hotels, airports, and coffee shops.
Keep your data to yourself by investing in the best VPN for laptops which, by implementing the latest encryption and cybersecurity technology, can prevent common public Wi-Fi dangers, while pulling the virtual wool over prying eyes.
A VPN like ExpressVPN has a proven no-logging policy and will protect your identity and your data with the latest zero-knowledge architecture and cybersecurity technology. On the downside, ExpressVPN doesn’t include added extras like password managers and malware blockers which are becoming increasingly common.
CyberGhost has just launched an in-built password manager, while SurfShark includes a malware blocker on all its subscriptions and additional HackLock phishing protection and BlindSearch options for an extra $0.99 per month.
The best VPNs for laptops will only reduce your risk, not your speeds, and, unlike most free VPNs for laptops, will give you protection for numerous other devices as part of the same subscription.
Whether you use your laptop for work, studying, playing, or socializing, you need the best VPN for laptops to do it safely.