With so many VPNs on the market and numerous features advertised, it can be difficult to figure out what is the #1 best VPN for PC. To save you time, I’ve tested more than 30 VPNs to find the best VPNs for Windows in 2023. ExpressVPN, NordVPN, and Surfshark VPN are three of the most well-known and popular VPNs in the industry, and it can be tricky knowing what is the best VPN for 2023 that is fast, safe, and most importantly – reliable!
Therefore, I put each VPN to the test in four different categories such as price, security features, speed, and privacy policies to establish which service takes the top spot. Turns out that ExpressVPN is the winner because of its consistently fast speeds, highly secure server network, and top-tier privacy tethered to releasing the results of third-party audits of its no-log policy.
It’s also one of the few VPNs that work in China compared to Nord or Surfshark VPNs which don’t always get around online restrictions. Good to know that all three VPNs have a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can try them risk-free and try out the service for yourself.
Note: These best VPNs for PC are not free. Although they are free to download on Windows OS, you need an active subscription to set up and log in to your VPN account on Windows PC. You’ll get a VPN activation code, necessary for the signup and installation.
How to Choose the Best Windows 10 VPN for PC in 2023
If you’re wondering how we evaluate which is the best Windows VPN for PC, then we have done the heavy lifting for you and vetted each VPN service – (ourselves). We have examined them for their technical weaknesses as well as scrutinized their individual performance.
We tested these best VPNs for PC download on our Windows PC across different categories. But, to help you find the most secure VPN for Windows 11/10, we evaluated our hand-picked VPNs across four major categories and assessed them for speeds, server connections, security, as well as potential privacy leaks. Among the mentioned providers, we’ll also highlight which VPN is best for streaming and torrenting.
As we go about evaluating the best Windows VPN that ticks every box, we’ll only suggest one VPN that suits your purpose. As always privacy and security should be your primary concern even if it means spending more.
If you love TV and cinema, you need a VPN for Windows that can unblock tons of global streaming sites. If you’re a gamer, mega speeds will be essential. Those looking for torrenting protection and more customization from their apps may prefer a techier interface with more additional features.
Overall, we consider ExpressVPN download to be the best PC VPN available for most users. Given other VPNs that may suit you better, we’ve rounded up two more that offer a similar experience. If you’re excited to know what is the no 1 VPN for PC, stay attached!
The Best VPN for PC: 2023’s top Windows VPNs
Let’s look at each of our VPN vendors below in more depth. All the recommendations on our main list of the best VPN providers are compatible with all currently maintained Windows versions. That means they’ll work seamlessly on Windows 11 and Windows 10.
Overall, the competition is close and the results are pretty similar, therefore there’s no surprise why all of these providers are at the top of our best VPNs list. The list below presents our favorites overall in 2023. So far ExpressVPN for Windows, in this narrow evaluation, knocks every other VPN out of the way with a variety of great features, and streaming options as well as its public third-party audits.
ExpressVPN: Best overall VPN for privacy protection and speed
NordVPN is the best VPN for Windows 10 PC and uses the proprietary NordLynx tunneling protocol, which is based on the open-source WireGuard. Similarly, ExpressVPN uses Lightway. Meanwhile, Surfshark is utilizing WireGuard without any bonuses.
In terms of speed, Lightway performed better than NordVPN. Despite battling, NordVPN is still fast, thanks to its speedy NordLynx protocol. But, honestly, either choice would be a win from a speed perspective. By contrast, Surfshark is both slower and considerably less predictable. While Nord and ExpressVPN are running pretty much neck and neck, the definitive loser here is Surfshark.
The best VPN food chain champions are equipped with numerous security features for different use cases. They come bundled with AES-256 encryption, WebRTC, DNS, and IPV6 leak protection, VPN kill switch, Split tunneling, and Stealth VPN. Not every VPN has these, but they try to establish common ground by including these in their services. Let’s see, what we have in Surfshark, ExpressVPN, and NordVPN.
|Obfuscated servers (Stealth VPN)||CleanWeb||Port forwarding|
|Double VPN (multi-hop)||MultiHop (Double VPN)||Stealth Servers|
|Threat Protection||NoBorders Mode||Zero-knowledge DNS|
|Onion Over VPN||Camouflage mode|
All three vendors come to the game with most of the features you’d expect. Nord has a few more business-focused features while Surfshark has some features that may afford a limited degree of additional personal privacy. It’s a tight contest, but we’re awarding wins to both Surf Shark and NordVPN. ExpressVPN just gets a participation award.
Winner: NordVPN & Surfshark VPN
Over years, ExpressVPN increased its independent third-party audit count. The British Virgin Islands-based VPN company released the results of an audit by PricewaterhouseCoopers in 2019 and in October 2022. It released two more audits from KPMG and Cure53. In early 2023, ExpressVPN download for Windows released an extremely positive Cure53 audit of its Lightway protocol. This shows the sheer effort of the VPN company to make sure its user’s privacy is not compromised in any way.
Surfshark boasts a private DNS service among its advanced features so you can be protected even while using public Wi-Fi. They also passed the German company Cure53’s security audit and offer uncrackable AES-256 bit encryption alongside its strict no-logs policy, but the German audit was limited to Surfshark’s browser extensions.
NordVPN on the other hand has completed its PriceWaterhouseCooper audits in 2018 and 2020 and VerSprite released penetration testing reports about NordVPN’s apps in 2021. In January 2023, NordVPN released an audit from Deloitte that verified the company was complying with its commitment to not log user activity. But, we’d like to see them make the same public commitment to annual audits TunnelBear VPN has made.
All three vendors tout a no-logs policy. All three say they don’t capture VPN connection time stamps, used bandwidth, traffic logs, IP addresses, or browsing data but do they really mean it? NordVPN says it doesn’t track used bandwidth, while ExpressVPN claims that it tracks the total amount of daily data transmitted each day. ExpressVPN also tracks the location of the VPN servers you connect to – but not a specific IP address. That’s not good, because it means they can tell where your connection originated from (or at least the country) and where you’re trying to connect to.
So, which VPN service is more secure? Honestly, they all pretty much try to safeguard your privacy. I think it’s a tiebreaker. But, still, it’s hard to put our lives in the hands of these companies.
Winner: All three VPNs.
Surfshark VPN is the least expensive compared to ExpressVPN. Their best deal is $2.49 a month or $59.76 for two years. Nord is asking for $3.67 or $89 on signup for two years of service. ExpressVPN’s best deal is $6.67 a month or $99.95 now for 15 months of service. After that 15 months, you’ll be charged $99.95 every 12 months, so the per-month price is essentially going up about a buck and a half after that first year.
Surfshark definitively wins this round by allowing you to run an unlimited number of devices. Nord allows six simultaneous connections. And ExpressVPN gives you even less for its much more expensive price – just 5 simultaneous connections.
Winner: Surfshark VPN
Of all the best VPNs for Windows PC, ExpressVPN is the best one for Windows users that want a wide range of features, advanced privacy measures, streaming capabilities, and more. Additionally, its Windows app is super easy to install and use.
Surfshark: Cheap VPN packed with features
Surfshark VPN is the best VPN for Windows 11 and does an impressive job of providing privacy and security. With unlimited simultaneous connections and an expressive global network, Surfshark is still cheaper than Nord and ExpressVPN. It boasts a Kill Switch, DNS leak protection, camouflage mode, split tunneling, NoBorders mode, and multihop connections.
We are also excited to see Surfshark roll out its Nexus network. This basically connects the VPN’s entire network of servers together and lets you choose multiple servers to route your connection through. With its Dynamic MultiHop, IP Randomizer, and IP Rotator functions, the Nexus network can give you a few extra layers of protection while you use the VPN. These things will highly benefit users with their privacy needs. Surfshark says it doesn’t log any user activity. German cybersecurity firm Cure53 declared Surfshark’s security to be “solid” in its 2021 security audit of the VPN. It also passed its first independent no-logs audit in January.
The overall speeds of the VPN are impressive. The average internet speed loss is just about 19%. Even then there were some inconsistent speed results in certain locations. Both NordVPN and Surfshark use WireGuard, although, in NordVPN’s case, it’s a slightly fancier version called NordLynx.
NordVPN, in comparison, has an edge over Surfshark download for PC. They both offer incredibly fast speeds and rank up for the title of the fastest VPNs available. However, NordVPN for PC is just slightly speedier. If we compare the mobile users’ fan favorite IKEv2 protocol, NordVPN’s download speeds are almost identical. However, NordVPN for Windows has better upload speeds.
Because it offers cheaper introductory prices, it is the best value VPN for everyday needs like streaming Netflix or Hulu. If you opt for the two-year plan, you’ll pay $53 upfront for two years combined, plus two free months, then $60 per year for any additional years. Its monthly plan stays constant at $13 a month. If you’re not satisfied with the service for any reason, a 30-day money-back guarantee might help you.
NordVPN: Best VPN for reliability and platform compatibility
Nord is the most popular Windows PC VPN (and it has to be) because they offer six simultaneous connections through its network. They also offer a dedicated IP option, for those looking for a different level of VPN connection, and the ability to VPN into Tor. With their 5,000-plus server fleet optimized for peer-to-peer sharing, Nord has blocked torrenting in 14 countries. You’ll also be intrigued by NordVPN’s growing list of additional services—including encrypted storage and a password manager.
ExpressVPN vs. Surfshark vs. NordVPN: How do I choose between the three?
In our opinion, Surfshark VPN also wins the race for the best VPN for Windows PC. But, the wins and losses are not, particularly the only marker that determines the quality of a VPN. Instead, we advise you to use qualitative analysis or in simple words a decision tree to better judge your needs.
- If you need a wallet-friendly VPN, Surfshark is a good option. You will save about $30 over two years compared to ExpressVPN for Windows or NordVPN for PC.
- If you need fast download speeds and better performance, NordVPN is a consistently fast Windows VPN overall.
- If you want a VPN for your Xbox or PlayStation instead of a mobile device, choose Surfshark or ExpressVPN for your PC.
- If you want a dedicated, static IP address or more business-oriented features, coupled with additional security like Meshnet or Threat protection, choose NordVPN for Windows PC.
Comparison Table: 2023’s Best VPNs for Windows 11, 10, 8, and 7
|Server Number||Server Locations||Audited Zero-Logs Policy||Unblocks Netflix||Allows Torrenting||Money-Back Guarantee|
Every VPN in this list has distinctly different personalities but each does the job in its own way. It’s hard to get excited about ExpressVPN, except for its wide range of device support, superior connection reliability, and better privacy policies. NordVPN download for Windows also seems the most predictable of the bunch.