Trusted by hundreds of millions of users all over the world, Windows is one of the best-known operating systems out there. Available on PCs, laptops, and other devices too, Windows is famed for its ease-of-use, but it’s not the safest OS out there.
And with online security becoming increasingly important to many people, especially in the wake of more and more reports of hacks, data breaches, and cyberattacks affecting everyone from individuals in their own homes to major corporations, it’s vital for everyone to invest in proper online security on their Windows systems.
One of the best ways you can stay safe while using Windows devices is to install a VPN. Encrypting your internet traffic, masking your IP address, and giving you access to a world of content, VPNs offer a lot of advantages to every Windows user.
This guide will introduce you to VPNs on Windows, showing you just some of the great advantages and benefits you can enjoy from having a VPN on your Windows device, as well as learning how to find the best VPNs.
What Actually Is a VPN?
A VPN, which stands for Virtual Private Network, is a form of online security that millions of people around the world are using. VPN providers have huge networks of secure servers set up all over the globe. When you connect to a VPN, your connection is rerouted via one of those many servers. This helps to hide your IP address, preventing anyone from spying on your online activity, and it also encrypts your connection, giving it a strong and secure shield against hackers and other malicious agents.
Why Would I Want a VPN for Windows?
Windows is a great operating system in many ways, but it’s famously not the most secure option out there. Unfortunately, even though Microsoft has made some strides in terms of enhancing its security features over the years, hackers have also made strides in terms of the tools and methods they can use to break into people’s computers and steal their identities.
This is where a VPN comes into play. One of the top reasons why people want to install a VPN is for security. With more and more hackers out there and so many ways for them to potentially steal everything from your email password to your bank details, it’s vital for individuals who want to stay safe online to consider a VPN.
Even if you’re not too worried about online security, privacy might be a major concern for you when using the internet. Every time you establish a connection with a website or online service, your computer sends out a signal, known as an IP address, which lets site admins, hackers, ISPs, and even advertising companies see exactly where you are, what sites you’re using, what files you’re downloading, and more.
A VPN can combat this whole issue by hiding your IP address and replacing it with an IP address of one of the provider’s servers. This means that nobody will be able to see what you’re doing online and potentially use that information against you. It also allows you to connect to servers in different countries and access sites or content that are only usually available in those countries.
What Are the Dangers of Not Having a VPN?
As we’ve stated earlier, Windows sadly isn’t the most secure operating system out there. If you don’t have a VPN on your Windows device, you’ll be putting yourself at risk not only of hackers spying on your activity and stealing your identity but also of advertisers targeting you with ads based on your browsing activity or ISPs throttling or blocking you if you start downloading big files or torrenting, for example.
Will a VPN Protect Me from Everything?
No, you can’t download a VPN and treat it like the ultimate form of online security. It’s one of the best options out there for keeping yourself safe from hackers and prying eyes, but it’s not an impenetrable shield, and there are still other ways that hackers and malicious agents can harm you or steal your data. You still need to be careful to avoid downloading viruses or malware onto your Windows devices, for example, and you should practice safe browsing and only visit secure sites in order to stay as safe as possible.
What Advantages and Uses Does a VPN Have?
There are many unique advantages of VPNs, and here are three of the big ones, broken down:
- Security – As stated earlier, when you have a VPN installed on your Windows device and switched on, your internet connection will become encrypted, usually with state-of-the-art 256-bit technology. This makes it way harder for any hackers to spy on you or infiltrate your computer.
- Privacy – When you have a VPN installed, your IP address becomes basically invisible to any hackers, spies, government agencies, internet service providers, advertising companies, or anyone else who might want to see what sites you’re visiting and how you’re using the internet in general.
- Access – The best VPN providers have many servers all over the world. This allows you to connect to servers in different places and then access content that is usually restricted to users of those countries. For example, you can connect to a British server and access UK-only sites and services like the BBC iPlayer.
What Else Should I Know About VPNs?
VPNs have a lot of advantages, but you need to know that they’re not all the same. There are some top quality VPNs out there that offer supreme security, peerless privacy, and super speeds too, but there are also other, lower-quality VPNs that might slow down your internet speeds due to their server locations or even log your data.
This is why it always pays off to read through VPN reviews before installing any VPN apps or clients, and always look out for providers with no log policies, as these are the most trusted VPN companies in the business and won’t store any of your data or use it against you.
How Easy it Is to Use a VPN?
It’s incredibly easy, as long as you choose the right one. When reviewing VPNs, experts usually take the time to look at ‘ease of use’ as a major factor, as a lot of people want to get the benefits of a VPN but don’t want to waste their time messing around in complicated menus or navigating their way through reams of instructions just to get the VPN up and running.
The best VPNs are really easy to use and can be set up in a matter of minutes. When you choose a top-rated VPN, all you usually need to do is pay for your plan, download the software, and click on a ‘Connect’ button to get it working. After that, the VPN will do everything else automatically, encrypting your connection, and keeping you totally anonymous.
Will it Work on My Windows Device?
It should do. Windows is one of the most popular and widely used operating systems out there, with hundreds of millions of daily users, so it makes sense that a lot of the big VPN providers put a lot of effort into focusing on the Windows market, ensuring that their apps and clients work across the full spectrum of Windows devices from PCs and laptops to Windows-powered tablets and phones.
What About Other Devices?
If you’re someone who owns a Windows PC, an Apple iPad, and an Android phone and wants to connect to the internet safely and securely across all of these platforms, you’ll be happy to hear that most of the best VPNs work on pretty much any device and can dynamically adjust to different platforms and operating systems.
You can even find VPNs that run on devices like TV sticks and game consoles. Just be sure to check out the compatibility lists on your chosen VPN to see what devices it works with and read through our reviews to learn more.
How Do Free VPNs Work?
As well as the many paid, premium VPNs out there, there are also free VPNs. How do they make money? Usually through ads. So you’ll need to accept ads as a part of the experience when dealing with most free VPNs, and you also need to know that most of them will limit the amount of data you can use each month, so they’re only usually recommended for very casual use. If you want the top levels of security and privacy, a paid VPN is the best option.
How Do I Find the Best VPN for Windows?
If you want to find the best VPN for your Windows device, we recommend paying attention to the security features, the privacy settings, and the speeds offered by your VPN provider. The best VPNs should be able to excel in all three of those categories, and they should also be able to offer easy-to-use systems, strong customer support departments, and fair pricing too. It’s always nice if a VPN provider offers a free trial and money-back guarantee too, and you can read through our reviews to learn about some of the top-rated Windows VPNs out there.