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It’s common knowledge that laptops have become a lot more advanced than they were many years ago. And because of their small size and hard disc drive improvements, some people have even replaced them with larger desktop personal computers altogether. And the best part is how they allow users to use productivity applications anywhere, including outdoors.
However, security is still a big concern for both PCS and laptops, and operating systems can be vulnerable to user’s personal information becoming known on the internet. If you torrent, a notebook will allow it but may risk your ISP cutting your internet plan. A VPN can help with all of these things, giving subscribers the ability to get on sites and apps that would normally be off-limits.
Below are ten of the best VPNs for PCs and laptops of all kinds, with most of them featured on all major OS platforms.
Once you’re done with the list, head on over to the Buyer’s Guide to get useful info relating to any concerns you may have about VPNs Here we go!
What is a VPN?
Laptops and other computer equipment have become affordable to the general public, and it’s likely that the average person has used a VPN before at some point. VPNs are applications that send private tunnels to a public server. If you were to try and connect to a website that you knew was being blocked by your ISP (such as a torrent web address), you wouldn’t be able to see the content. When that happens, your browser will return a 404 error. But with a VPN installed on your laptop, the site would appear as normal. Why is this?
Sites that are blocked regionally are often done so by either an ISP or the website itself. If you ISP is behind the block, they can read the ISP of the web address and prevent you from viewing it. But if it’s the site you intend to go on, your computer’s IP address is read, resulting in the content being hidden when the address is entered in your browser’s URL. The VPN will get through this by first sending your signal to their servers fist, which is then redirected to the destination address. Your ISP cannot see it this way due to the VPNs server being read. Protocols help with this as well, encrypting the content to any outsiders that try to access the information that trafficked in between servers.
Choosing a Good VPN for your Needs
Picking the right VPN for your computer isn’t that different from choosing one with any other piece of hardware. There’s no real secret to it since VPNs work the same way on smartphones and personal computers. You’ll want to ensure that the company you’re looking into has a good track record. Enter the name of the VPN in your favorite news aggregate, paying attention to any controversial topics that it might be involved in. After that, read the users agreement directly on the VPN’s web address. This is where you’ll be able to see if there’s any conflicting information that’s claimed by the VPN. Unfortunately, a lot of VPNs are guilty of this. You’ll hear sensationalized descriptions that don’t always reveal the capabilities and/or limitations of the platform. But the only way of knowing, besides looking into what others have said about it, is to investigate for yourself.
Additionally, one of the most important things you’ll want to know is whether you’ll be able to perform intended tasks on the VPN. If you’re into streaming content and need to make an account that isn’t based in your region, confirm if the VPN is friendly with video and music sites. If Netflix is supported, then it’s likely that others will be too. If not, move on to another VPN that won’t blacklist you when try and make an account. Furthermore, consider the laptop that you’re using. Is your system up to date, and are you running an alternative OS such as Chrome or Linux?
VPNs may sometimes behave and install differently from one OS to another, so check the system requirements and compare them to your laptop’s specifications before you install.
Here’s a quick comparison list of all the VPNs shown in the reviews. For more information, you should check out the websites of the VPN that piques your interest.
- Surfshark: Number of Servers: 800; Compatible With: Windows, macOS, Linux, Chrome; Number of Devices: Unlimited
- NordVPN: Number of Servers: 3000; Compatible With: Windows, macOS, Linux, Chrome; Number of Devices: 6
- ExpressVPN: Number of Servers: 160; Compatible With: Windows, macOS, Linux, Chrome; Number of Devices: 3
- IPVanish: Number of Servers: 1300; Compatible With: Windows, macOS, Linux, Chrome; Number of Devices: 10
- CyberGhost: Number of Servers: 3700; Compatible With: Windows, macOS, Linux, Chrome; Number of Devices: 7
- Windscribe: Number of Servers: 480; Compatible With: Windows, macOS, Linux, Chrome; Number of Devices: 5
- PureVPN: Number of Servers: 750; Compatible With: Windows, macOS, Linux, Chrome; Number of Devices: 5
- Ivacy: Number of Servers: 1000; Compatible With: Windows, macOS, Linux, Chrome; Number of Devices: 5
- Private Internet Access: Number of Servers: 3100; Compatible With: Windows, macOS, Linux, Chrome; Number of Devices: 10
- Hotspot Shield: Number of Servers: 2000; Compatible With: Windows, macOS, Linux, Chrome; Number of Devices: 5
Top 10 Best VPNs for Laptops
Surfshark is an outstanding VPN application for anyone with a laptop to use. It doesn’t take long for download and install to complete either. There are lots of server, and many of them are fast enough for you to pick alternatives that don’t show up at the tip of the list. As you sign on for the first time, you’ll quickly see how it puts on online in just a few seconds. VPNs have been known for going pretty slow when connecting to a server, so it’s nice to see that fixed with Surfshark. Netflix may run a bit slow at times, but that shouldn’t stop you from enjoying movies on the platform (when the VPN is turned on).
- Has an easy to comprehend logging policy
- Sever speeds are good, even on those which aren’t used the most
- Installs fast and doesn’t take up too much space on a laptop’s HDD
- Connection speeds to a server happen almost immediately
- May take a long time to hear back from customer support in the event of troubleshooting
- Netflix may stream too slow and choppy on some servers
NordVPN is a top contender on almost every VPN review site, and this is certainly not by mistake. The VPN is excellent in speed and easy for users to grasp without looking at instructional videos on YouTube. You’ll get the hang of it very quickly. Most servers are specialized for all streaming content, and finding one that doesn’t work on Netflix would be unlikely. You connection will never go offline, even if you use a poor ISP with a bad signal. But even if this did occur, there won’t be any room for worry since Nord has a great kill switch that’ll prevent sites from being exposed to your provider. Plan costs aren’t the best, but starting a subscription with the website remains highly recommended for people on laptops.
- Has thousands of servers for users to choose from
- Good assortment of plans and prices
- Servers will never go offline on a good connection
- Fast interaction with customer support
- One of the more expensive VPN brands
ExpressVPN has a great app for notebooks and laptops of all kinds. It doesn’t matter if you’re on Windows, macOS, and Linux; things run smoothly on every OS. If you’re a big music or movie fan, you’re in luck. Every server is geared for running smoothly when such sites are visited. And setting up a subscription is a breeze. You’ll be done with payments in just a few clicks. However, you won’t have to pay for it on the site if you don’t want. It’s based on the Mac App Store and Google’s Play Store, which makes download and install even simpler. If you’re a beginner to using VPNs, be thankful that Express has no difficult tasks for you to complete to get started. Just sign in, find the server that you want, and browse to your heart’s content.
- Music and video streaming are easy to do on all servers
- Very powerful DNS and IP leak protection on the application
- Ready to use immediately upon finishing installation
- Switching between servers and server countries could be faster
IPVanish has a unique set of servers that are well-equipped to handle torrent sites. That’s because that app supports a large list of protocols. If you’re running Windows, then the list gets even higher. macOS shouldn’t be left out either, and the application runs well on the system without taking up too much RAM from processors. Logging doesn’t occur either; you’ll never have to think twice about the information that the VPN has gathered on you because there is none. Going back to the protocols, a majority of them are encrypted, including the popular OpenVPN. It uses 256-AES standard, so hackers won’t stand a chance at accessing your traffic that’s sent from server to server.
- Fast downloading times on web browsers
- Has an honest no logging policy in place
- Most protocols used by the platform are encrypted
- Slow to download when installing
CyberGhost has many features that users who love privacy can get behind. The most important thing for such customers would probably be the way in which you can pay for a subscription. This VPN accept cryptocurrencies, including the famous Bitcoin. But if you wanted to take things a step further in regards to privacy at checkout, Zcash is also an option. And since the platform has been very persistent on privacy and their unapologetic claims to guarding user’s anonymity, your personal details remain separate from them. Video streaming can get a little tentative with some servers, but it’s completely unsupported.
- Most plans are inexpensive when compared to other major VPNs
- Menu options are easy to learn, likely on the first time that the VPN is opened
- Payments can be done with cryptocurrencies
- Has never in their history collected the personal data of their subscribers
- Some servers aren’t capable of running Netflix without any problems
Windscribe has been in the business of VPNs for quite a while yet have remained a top choice among users. There are two versions of the server, one free and the other paid. The free server will cap your bandwidth while a paid subscription has better server quantity and unlimited usage. Pricing is good and not too expensive; there’s plenty of VPNs that Windscribe is in competition with that are a lot pricier. You can stream video content in high resolution if you want, and torrent files download well in most speed tests. Generic logging isn’t entirely ruled out here, but Windscribe still won’t know enough about you to cause concern for blowing your anonymity.
- Multiple pricing options for users to pick
- Once installed, most operating systems won’t need to have the network settings tweaked to begin using the VPN
- High resolution and bitrate music and video works almost perfect on streaming content
- The VPN has been known to log information that pertains to users
PureVPN is a platform that’s provided on most laptop-based operating systems, inkling Mac and Windows. Controls are nice and not too hard to follow but the best thing about it is customer service. Having a problem with your installed application and need some troubleshooting advice? Getting in touch with a representative from the company is lightning quick. You’ll probably have remediated the issue just a day after the report is sent to PureVPN’s website. Your favorite torrent apps can also be run through the VPN, and seeds show up in the same quantity as they would on a normal connection directly from your ISP. It doesn’t update as often as one would hope, but there’s not much else about PureVPN to criticize.
- Easy to talk to a customer rep; no long wait times
- Although every OS is different, most versions will support all compatible protocols with them
- Large torrent files download quickly
- Improvements and updates are infrequent
Ivacy’s VPN platform is nice for computers that are quite old. If you’re still using a dated laptop to get on websites, then the server will run great and won’t place your laptop’s memory in haywire. The DNS leak and kill switch protection have good precision, activating immediately when your internet connection goes down. It could be a lifesaver in this regard, since more and more ISPs are beginning to crack down on those found using VPNs that leak servers that are blacklisted. Getting on Netflix with some servers may not prove likely, however. You could find yourself flipping between them, hoping that one works. You might find a working server for video, but don’t always count on it.
- When the VPN is in use, the memory will run about the same
- Has a kill switch that actually works; doesn’t allow data to slip through the cracks
- Server switching is a fast action to complete
- Buffering could render some servers unable to successfully stream video content
9. Private Internet Access
Private Internet Access sometimes goes by the acronym PIA. The company is located within the United States and has servers in the same place as headquarters. Given the nature of past and present American surveillance tactics by the government, having a VPN that doesn’t log is important. PIA will never do this, although the site doesn’t gather analytical information to visitors on their web address. The application collects email and sign-in sessions, but won’t scan for anything you connect to on a server. Customer servers usually respond to answer in an impressive time, never taking too long to give a solution when problems arise. Try out PIA if you like to do general web browsing with a VPN.
- Doesn’t log must information on applications and when browsing the website
- Handles torrent clients of all kinds smoothly
- Troubleshooting doesn’t become annoying in the off chance that such an incident occurs; good customer reps
- The headquarters and servers are based in the USA, which is known for data mining
10. Hotspot Shield
Hotspot Shield has all the best qualities about using a VPN. FAst servers, good response time, you name it; it’s all here in one easy-to-install application. But even with its similarities, there are some major differences from its competitors, namely the protocol it relies upon. There’s only one, with it being exclusive to the VPN. Thankfully, it does feature encryption and works fast for most online activities but laptop speed could depend on your OS and hardware model. Interacting with the controls is fun and comes with a fast learning curve. Try out Hotspot Shield if you want to VPN will quality servers, but don’t mind the lack of protocols.
- Can be found on most web stores featured on several operating system’s web store applications
- Although basic, the interface and controls are ideal for beginners
- No reports of limiting bandwidth when streaming videos or downloading torrent files
- Only one protocol is given with the VPN, which goes for every operating system that the platform is available on
Does Download and Installing a VPN typically involve a Lengthy Setup on Laptops?
As a whole, the answer is no. However, the amount of setup that you’ll have to do can sometimes be dependent on the operating system that’s featured on your laptop. For example, MacBooks may require that you change your DNS settings in the Network Settings menu before logging on your VPN. This might not be needed for some VPNs, but others may require it. Others could require you to configure protocols manually. But in most cases, you shouldn’t have to do much of anything. If you’re running the latest software of Windows or macOS, the likelihood of you needing to change anything that’s network related to your VPN application decreases exponentially.
Will my Laptop’s RAM be Effected?
Unless you have too many programs open when using the VPN, then you should be okay for memory. An older model laptop may work slower if the internet hardware has never been updated. Yet newer models could also lag if there’s too much going on (on your computer) at one time. If you do experience any lagging or high memory use when on the VPN, consider changing the number of programs that are allowed to open when your laptop starts up. Removing unnecessary applications could also help, along with freeing up space on your hard disc drive.
Are VPNs Safe to use on My Laptop?
Most VPNs that are used by the public are safe. That is if you consider paid services. Applications that claim to be paid may also harbor malware, but those that do tend to be obscure or featured on websites that are dangerous to visit (or blocked). Ransomware has also become a problem and connecting to VPN servers can technically infect your laptop with troublesome software. Free VPNs have this issue more often. If you stick to paid subscriptions from VPNs that are trusted, a majority of these risks will never manifest into a bigger worry. Furthermore, always use a good antivirus for whatever laptop you connect to the internet on. If you don’t have one, your safety could be on the line.
When choosing, should I make Price a Major Part of my Criteria?
The cost for a subscription to a VPN server is always important. But that doesn’t mean that you have to put price first. Things like logging and server locations could also play a part in your buying decision. Even some of the more expensive VPNs to choose from could log things that cheaper apps won’t. And the low-priced variety could also allow you to connect a higher number of devices. Additionally, some VPNs may not be downloadable at all. This is sometimes the case with particular countries or service providers. Or maybe you’re concerned about the location of the VPN’s servers? All of these things could play a role in how well-suited you are for a platform. So again, your subscription fees don’t have to be on the back burner. Yet there are loads of other considerations for you to be mindful of before you check out.
All ten of the VPNs have some quality that makes them worth a purchase. None of them are perfect but will manage to do what most will expect from one. And if you’re afraid of one of them not living up to your expectations, then always start a subscription with a free trial first. Doing so will give you a feel for the VPN application, and reveal it’s capabilities and limitations. If you start with a trial run, be sure that you cancel before the actual plan starts. You’ll end up stuck with a VPN that you possibly didn’t want. But this might be the best way for you to figure out those you like the most. And once you’ve found the right one, your privacy online will once again be controlled by you!