It’s clear that the shift to mobile devices is accelerating, and the slump in the sales of PCs has been well-documented over the past few years. That said, the PC is still holding its own, and indeed there have been some more positive signs in terms of sales recently.
There are certainly plenty of folks out there who still prefer desktop computers, or at least use a PC to do the odd task here and there – and if they wish to do so with the maximum levels of privacy and security, then they’ll need to use one of the best VPN services.
How to choose the best VPN service for PC
As a service that was initially built for PCs, the VPN market has rapidly expanded over the years, catering to the general public’s growing concerns about cybersecurity. But what are the really important considerations in terms of choosing a good VPN for your personal computer?
A user-friendly client is a must, while the service should also have readily available customer support to swiftly address any issues. For more tech-savvy users, advanced features are always a welcome sight, while mobile support is not necessarily important if a PC is your sole weapon of choice.
Bearing all that in mind, here are our top five choices for the best VPN for PC.
- Check out the best VPN services of 2018
Best all-round VPN
Number of servers: 1000+ | Server locations: 60+ | IP addresses: 40000+ | Maximum devices supported: 5
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IPVanish has it all – lots of servers, excellent download speeds, and great desktop clients (although note that we found the Windows client to be susceptible to the odd network issue – but your mileage may well vary). During our performance tests, this VPN actually improved our download speeds by almost 20%, which is one of the best results we’ve seen.
As mentioned, there are plenty of servers to choose from and the rather intuitive client offers a number of options to take advantage of. There are preconfigured settings for specific usages like media or gaming, and advanced options include a kill switch, split tunnelling and much more.
What spoils the fun just a little bit is IPVanish’s pricing. There are more affordable options out there and the service doesn’t offer a free trial to allow for a test run. That said, the yearly plan still remains a nicely affordable option. The packages available are:
Number of servers: 700+ | Server locations: 70+ | IP addresses: 200,000+ | Maximum devices supported: 3-5
VyprVPN fully owns and manages every bit of its hardware, network, and software, which certainly helps on the performance front. In our testing, we found that the service more than doubled our download speed compared to the rates we got with the VPN turned off.
There is a client for nearly every device, including Linux, Mac, and Windows PCs. We used the latter and it’s commendably simple to operate, if nothing particularly to write home about. It does offer some interesting extra features like a kill switch, various auto-connect options and – if you commit to the premium plan – VyprVPN’s own Chameleon protocol which helps users to overcome VPN blocking.
On the security front, all the standard security protocols are present with 256-bit encryption. Apart from the aforementioned Chameleon technology, the company also delivers VyprDNS and third-party DNS solutions.
If you are looking for a rolling monthly subscription, be prepared to reach deep into your wallet as VyprVPN is relatively expensive on a month-to-month basis. There are two plans available, with premium being the option with all the good stuff – you can subscribe to basic or premium plans on a monthly or annual basis.
This provider does not offer refunds at any point so make sure you use the 3-day free trial to thoroughly test the service before you commit. The packages available are:
- Basic: $9.95 monthly or $5 per month billed annually
- Premium: $12.95 monthly or $6.67 per month billed annually
Most secure VPN
Number of servers: 2981 | Server locations: 59 | IP addresses: N/A | Maximum devices supported: 6
NordVPN boasts a huge number of servers with 59 locations worldwide, and also has clients for Windows, Mac, iOS and Android. The Panama-based VPN is perhaps best known for its tight security. The service offers a number of ‘Double VPN’ servers which pass data through two separate VPN servers for extra security and privacy. You can also route its encrypted traffic over the Tor network, adding a further layer of security.
NordVPN is P2P-friendly and has a ‘zero logs’ policy, although there is a slight question mark over the latter, because it isn’t clear what happens in terms of session logging. As to performance, this VPN is above-average in that department, which is always a definite boon.
There's a free 3-day trial (but it's tucked away here), and aside from the monthly subscription, the service is rather affordable, offering three plans with a 30-day money-back guarantee. The best value-for-money option is the 2-year plan. The packages available are:
Best VPN for torrents
Number of servers: 1500+ | Server locations: 148 | IP addresses: N/A | Maximum devices supported: 3
This British Virgin Islands-based provider offers wide server coverage with 145 locations across 94 countries, and it’s a P2P-friendly service. In our tests, we witnessed very good performance for local servers, with slightly lower but still very acceptable results for longer distance connections. The PC clients are designed to be intuitive and easy-to-use with a good smattering of extras like a Speed Test module, diagnostics report and kill switch to satisfy more advanced users.
Price-wise, the service sports above-average prices (especially the monthly plan), which might put some folks off. ExpressVPN doesn’t offer a free plan or trial but all the plans come with a 30-day money-back guarantee. Out of the three plans, the annual subscription offers the best value-for-money. The packages available are:
Best VPN for novice users
Number of servers: 300+ | Server locations: 63 | IP addresses: N/A | Maximum devices supported: 2-5
Based in Slovakia, TigerVPN owns its infrastructure, which helps the firm deliver consistent and above-average performance levels. This provider offers decent server coverage, and in our tests allowed for fast download speeds, which were in fact very close to our regular rates without the VPN turned on.
The PC clients, and the Windows effort in particular, are pretty basic, with very few advanced features. However, that’s likely to appeal to novice users who are just getting their first taste of the VPN world.
In terms of security, you benefit from meshed IPs and strong encryption. And as for privacy, TigerVPN states that it “[doesn’t] log any activities – period”, which is pretty much what you want to hear.
TigerVPN offers three price plans that come with a 7-day money-back guarantee. The monthly plan offers only two connections, so your best bet is the yearly subscription which is better value-for-money, allowing for up to five simultaneous connections (and also giving you additional benefits such as a password manager). Or if you’re prepared to make a longer-term commitment, the 3-year plan is even better value still.
The packages available are:
- We’ve rounded up the best free VPN services of 2018