Since its launch, Windows 10 has raised some serious privacy concerns. Default settings allow the Windows software to collect all of your browsing data and more, and users aren’t happy. If you don’t trust simply adjusting the settings to keep Windows out of your business (and you shouldn’t), installing a VPN is the way to go. By using a VPN on your Windows 10 PC, all of your data will be encrypted – meaning that even if it is sent to Microsoft servers, it will be completely indecipherable.
If you’re looking for our top choice, we think that the best VPN for Windows 10 is ExpressVPN.
Windows 10 Privacy – Is My Data At Risk?
Microsoft has outraged users around the world with its latest operating system update. It turns out that the much-praised Windows 10 is an all-out assault on users’ privacy. Windows 10 collects all manner of user data, including your contacts, calendar information, browsing activities, and your Wifi data. It logs every keyboard stroke, and even monitors your location.
Some Windows 10 services are particularly guilty of collecting your private information. Cortana, for example, is Microsoft’s new personal assistant and Siri challenger. It’s also a security threat, sharing every request you make with Microsoft’s servers, from asking for information about the weather, to accessing maps.
There are plenty of guides out there telling you how to protect yourself against Microsoft using your data, advising you to change various settings on your Windows 10 device. Doing so is important, but disabling certain features is not enough. An Ars Technica analysis found that computers running Windows 10 were sending requests to Cortana and other Microsoft services – even when those services had been turned off.
While Microsoft claims that it uses the data it collects from you to improve its services, there is plenty of scope for abuse. Microsoft has previously been accused of working closely with the National Security Agency, including helping the NSA get past Microsoft’s own encryption. Using VPN software for Windows 10 is undoubtedly the best way to protect yourself and your data. Even if you didn’t use a VPN for Windows 7, but you’ve upgraded to Windows 10, thanks to these security breaches, it’s now practically obligatory.
Why Use a VPN for Windows?
A VPN (Virtual Private Network) creates a secure connection between your computer and the VPN’s server. Once you connect, your IP address is blocked, your data is encrypted, and you’re given access to any content that is available in that location. With a VPN, even if Microsoft manages to get a hold of your data, it will all be encrypted, and Microsoft won’t be able to see which sites you’re visiting.
Using a Windows VPN also protects you from DNS attacks. By monitoring your DNS requests, hackers can track your movements online. They can also use DNS poisoning techniques to place false information into the caches of the DNS system, rerouting all of your DNS requests to websites that steal your data. When you install a VPN on your computer, your computer will switch to using the VPN’s DNS system rather than its own, which affords you a higher level of protection.
It’s important to pay attention to how many servers your VPN provider is offering. Generally speaking, the more the merrier. The more services the VPN offers, the better chance you have of avoiding a VPN server that is already overcrowded with thousands of other users. Pay attention, too, to the number of server locations. Using a VPN with multiple server locations means that you have multiple opportunities to spoof your location, and you will be able to find a nearby VPN server wherever your travels take you.
The best VPNs for Windows 10 use the OpenVPN protocol. OpenVPN, which is fast, secure, and open source, has become the standard for the industry. Unlike standard protocols like SSTP, L2TP, and PPTP, it doesn’t come built in to Windows 10, so choose a VPN provider that makes it easy to set up OpenVPN with minimal hassle.
Note that there is a Windows built-in VPN, but it’s a hassle to set up, requiring multiple steps. The Windows built in VPN also uses the PPTP protocol (Point to Point Tunnelling Protocol) which is not nearly as secure as the OpenVPN protocol.
Now, you might be thinking that the options on this list are too pricey. You may be tempted to secure yourself with a free VPN for Windows. Remember: these VPNs are free for a reason. Apart from being slow and unreliable, being free comes with a catch. A free VPN was recently caught tracking its users’ browsing data, and allowing other users to divert traffic through your connection, which means you could be held liable for anything illegal that they get up to. For that and many other reasons, we think that a few dollars a month is a worthwhile investment, particularly when in comes to protecting your most important and private data. Also, most VPN providers offer a free trial, so you don’t need to commit upfront.
Best VPNs for Windows 10
Here is our review for selected VPN for Windows 10 in 2018.
#1 ExpressVPN – Best VPN for Windows 10
ExpressVPN scores highly on just about every metric. That’s why it’s our top VPN pick for 2018.
It is incredibly easy to use, with an intuitive user interface, and dedicated apps for different mobile and desktop systems. If you get stuck, ExpressVPN staff are available 24/7 through live chat and email support, with an average email response time of less than 20 minutes.
WIth over 145 server locations in 94 countries across the globe, ExpressVPN is blazing fast, and allows you to switch servers as often as you want.
ExpressVPN allows you to use OpenVPN (TCP, UDP), L2TP-IPsec, SSTP, and PPTP protocols.
You can get Express VPN for $12.95 for one month, or $9.99 a month for six months. If you sign up for 15 months, you get three months extra – that comes to only $6.67 a month.
If you’d like to try out a free VPN for Windows, ExpressVPN offers a 30-day, risk-free trial.
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NordVPN is a slightly cheaper option than ExpressVPN. It’s not quite as fast, but there’s no compromise on security. They have a VPN client for every platform, and their apps work smoothly across mobile and desktop devices.
The service is extra flexible for travellers, with 360 worldwide server locations in 60 different countries. NordVPN’s “Double VPN” technology encrypts your data twice over, and their CyberSec feature can help you block suspicious websites.
Their customer service isn’t quite as good as ExpressVPN’s, but their setup is pretty intuitive, so you shouldn’t face any problems.
OpenVPN is used as the default protocol for all of NordVPN’s apps.
One month of NordVPN costs $11.95, six months costs $7.00 a month, and one year is $5.75 a month. If you sign up for a full two years, you get a whopping 72 percent off. That comes out to a measly $3.29 a month for some of the best VPN software for Windows on the market.
On the downside, unlike Express VPN’s generous 30-day offer, NordVPN’s free trial is only for three days, so you will have to decide quickly.
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PrivateVPN isn’t as well known as the previous two providers, but it’s still worth checking out.
Their dedicated apps for mobile devices, computers and routers are easy to use, and they offer 24/7 customer support if you hit any problems.
Private VPN offers servers in 52 worldwide locations – not as many as ExpressVPN or NordVPN, but still excellent, and more than enough for most people.
The service is especially worth considering if you have a big family (or if you share a router with roommates) and everyone wants to be online at the same time. PrivateVPN allows you to use six devices on their servers at the same time, and is the only provider to do so.
All protocols are covered, including OpenVPN.
PrivateVPN is $10.95 for one month, and $6.75 a month for three months. Like ExpressVPN, you can pay for 15 months and get three months for free. That’s $2.98 a month, just about as cheap as you can get for a high quality VPN.
Also like ExpressVPN, PrivateVPN offers a generous 30-day trial.
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Rounding out our list of the best VPNs for Windows 10 is IPVanish. The service is pretty fast, with more than 850 servers in over 50 countries. IPVanish has a number of clever features, like a kill switch in case you lose your connection. You can also set your IP address to switch automatically after a set period of time, to get anyone who might be watching off your tracks.
With five simultaneous connections, almost as many people can use IPVanish as PrivateVPN. The OpenVPN protocol is standard. And best of all, if you’re not happy, they offer a seven day money-back guarantee
IPVanish costs $10 for one month, $8.99 a month for three months, and $6.49 a month if you sign up for a whole year. You can also get a seven-day free trial.
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Get a Windows VPN and Keep Your Data Safe
In 2018, our devices are more connected and more capable than ever. But all of the cool features that come with flashy new operating systems like Windows 10 have a price, and it’s a steep one. Despite Microsoft making assurances to the contrary, we believe that using Windows 10 will put you at significant risk of being tracked by malicious third parties. We store our most important and private data on our devices, so it’s crucial to stay one step ahead of the hackers, and armour up with the best security you can get. That’s why we recommend using a VPN for Windows 10, and why we suggest you give ExpressVPN a try. Of the best VPNs we’ve tested, it’s the fastest, most reliable, and easiest to use.
More information on the above-mentioned VPN providers can be found in: