Windows phones get a lot of bad press due to lack of support for apps. But support and functionality has nothing to do with privacy issues which are prevalent on the web irrespective of the phone you are using.
So, to ensure maximum privacy and security on your Windows Mobile, you need a VPN. However, most providers do not offer a dedicated app for Windows 10 Mobile or Windows 8.1. But you can still configure most VPNs manually on Windows handsets.
If you don’t want to invest too much, here are some free windows VPN apps.
6 Best VPNs for Windows 10 & 8.1 Mobiles
Here are the top 6 VPNs that work with Windows phones.
1. ExpressVPN – Trusted Choice for Windows Mobiles
ExpressVPN is one of the largest VPN brands based in British Virgin Islands. The provider adheres to a zero-logging policy to protect users from surveillance and data logging that many governments normally engage in. The 3,000 servers sufficiently cater to the large requirements of its huge customer base, delivering outstanding performance across all major platforms, including Windows Phone.
This service supports various VPN protocols including PPTP and L2TP, and is known for its fast servers, especially for users of Windows smartphones. However, like most providers, you will have to setup ExpressVPN manually on your device.
As a subscriber to this VPN, I have never experienced any difficulty in unblocking Netflix, streaming content, and bypassing censored sites so it would be safe to say that it is a great option for streaming with VPN. In addition, all ExpressVPN servers suppport p2p activities, catering to the needs of Windows mobile users that download files through torrents. The provider has received numerous accolades for its service, such as in this review.
The provider costs $6.67/mo and comes with a 30-day refund policy.
- Fast server speeds
- Excellent cross-platform compatibility
- Unblocks pretty much everything
- Supports only 3 simultaneous connections
2. NordVPN – Best Windows App
NordVPN offers 5500+ servers in 50+ countries and supports L2TP, IKEv2, and SSTP protocols, all of which are compatible with Windows devices.
You can access most popular streaming services as well as torrent websites safely on Windows 8.1 and Windows 10 mobiles using NordVPN. This includes support for Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, and more.
It uses military-grade AES-256 encryption and its Panama-based jurisdiction that the provider refrains from logging any customer-related information. The service pays heavy emphasis on security with features such as Double VPN, CyberSec, and Onion over VPN. For these features, it is highly praised in this review.
However, the provider doesn’t offer much details on the setup process on Windows phones, but there are third-party tutorials available for setup using L2TP. At the cost of $3.71/mo , it is a decent VPN to have if you’re a privacy-conscious user with Windows OS on your phone.
- Largest server network in the industry
- Robust encryption features
- Supports torrenting
- Privacy-friendly terms of service
- Not all servers work fast
3. PureVPN – Powerful VPN for Windows
PureVPN is a natural choice for any user seeking online freedom and privacy on their Windows Phone. It supports L2TP/IPSec, PPTP, SSTP, IKEv2, and OpenVPN tunneling protocols. Windows Phone supports the first four of these, so you can easily run this VPN on it.
The 6500+ servers distributed in more than 140 countries is an excellent range for users who want to bypass censorship and restrictions, while the AES-256 bit encryption and no-logging policy ensures your safety and privacy on the web. The VPN is located in Hong Kong, which is an excellent jurisdiction that protects user privacy. This is why PureVPN is valued and positively rated by users and reviewers alike.
PureVPN has excellent compatibility with the Netflix app and also supports torrenting. Overall, it is the best choice for Windows Phone users who need privacy along with a restriction-free internet access. When you factor in the price of $3.33/mo , there’s any room for debate why it should be your top choice if you’re looking for a VPN. Due to its extremely low prices, it is the best inexpensive VPN we found so far.
If you are a desktop user, you can read this article about top VPNs for desktop PC for an in-depth discussion about PC-specific VPNs.
- Good variety of server locations
- Supports multiple VPN protocols
- Strong encryption
- Zero-logging policy
- No support through dedicated app for Windows
4. CyberGhost – Unblocks Netflix on Any Windows Phone
CyberGhost offers a mighty impressive list of 6,600+ servers in 90+ locations. It provides all the industry standard features that the leading providers are known for including AES-256 bit encryption, multiple tunneling protocols including L2TP and PPTP and no-logging policy. You can manually setup CyberGhost on Windows phones to immediately start accessing different regions of Netflix and as well as torrenting websites.
The VPN is based in Romania and benefits from the highly privacy-oriented laws of the country. As such, it refrains from logging private information of customers. But one of its USPs is the 7 simultaneous connections for multiple devices. So, if Windows phone isn’t the only device you keep around, you can use the same CyberGhost account to connect to multiple device simultaneously.
- Strong server infrastructure
- 7 simultaneous connections
- Supports P2P networking
- Good customer support
- Average speeds
IPVanish offers over 1,300 servers in 75+ locations. The provider doesn’t have a dedicated app for Windows handheld devices, but supports manual setup. This VPN is very good for unblocking sports streaming channels such as ESPN and bEIN Sports on smartphones running Windows 8.1 or higher. However, it fails to work with streaming apps like Hulu, Netflix, and BBC iPlayer.
You can, however, download some torrents on some IPVanish servers, but since the company is based in the US, it isn’t recommended for P2P purposes. The logging policy is also a little vague, which makes it less than ideal for Windows users who normally require strong privacy protection.
- Supports torrenting
- Solid encryption
- Decent speeds
- Based in US
6. Ivacy – Secure VPN for Windows Handsets
Ivacy is an all-around efficient VPN service known for unblocking streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video. Ivacy supports 3 protocols for Windows phone: OpenVPN, L2TP, and IKEv2. However, you will need to set it up manually on your Windows mobile. The provider offers 2000+ servers in 100+ countries which allow users to change server locations at will.
The service offer fast server speeds which which enable quick torrent downloads as well as seamless streaming. The provider is based in Singapore and follows a no-logging policy to guarantee privacy to its subscribers. As such, it is one of the most highly rated providers available for the low cost of $1/mo
For encryption, it uses AES 256, which is one of the strongest encryption standards out there. As such, if you want to bypass geo-restrictions on websites while using your Windows Phone, Ivacy is a highly reliable VPN provider.
- Fast speeds
- Unblocks many streaming service
- Zero-logging policy
- Based in Singapore (cooperative member of Five Eyes)
Selecting VPN for Windows Phone – Key Criteria
A VPN must have the following characteristics to be considered good enough for privacy protection and counter online restrictions:
- Server network: The size of the server infrastructure and their geographical spread are important factors that determine the overall performance, speed, and stability of the VPN
- Tunneling protocols: Windows unfortunately lacks native support for OpenVPN protocol. This limit your choice to only those VPNs which have L2TP, IKEv2, PPTP, or SSTP support
- Speed: VPNs invariably have a negative effect on your connection speed. But this effect varies depending on the VPN. The service that has the most negligible effect on speed naturally has an edge over alternatives
- Price: Probably the one factor that every individual naturally takes into account before making a purchase. The lower the better, of course; but make sure that the lower prices don’t come at the cost of quality or performance
To set up a VPN on Windows Phones, you’ll need to get inside the operating system itself and tinker with a few settings. This is because there are only a few VPN providers that offer a dedicated app for Windows 10 & 8.1 handsets, so manual configuration is the only way to go in most cases.
Before following the instructions below, note that it is recommended to use IKEv2, SSTP, or L2TP. Also make sure you know server addresses and your username/password before performing the steps below.
Setting up VPN on Windows 10 Handset:
- Enter the Settings menu and tap VPN
- Press the ‘+’ sign to add a VPN connection.
- Tap on Windows (built-in) under VPN provider.
- Give a name to the VPN connection (you can choose any name you want).
- Type in a server address as given by your provider.
- Choose a VPN protocol. We recommend L2TP/IPSec or IKEv2.
- Type in the pre-shared key as given by your provider.
- Choose Username and password in the Type of sign-in info drop down menu
- Enter your username and password.
- Tap Remember my sign-in info to remember your login for future.
- Press Save.
- Go back to the VPN menu and tap on the profile you just created to connect to the VPN.
Setting up VPN on Windows 8.1 Handset:
- Go to Settings > Network & Wireless > VPN.
- Turn the VPN status to On and press the ‘+’ sign at the bottom.
- Type the server address given to you by the provider.
- Select the VPN type for the connection you wish to create. We recommend L2TP, SSTP, or IKEv2.
- Press Connect using and enter your login credentials.
- Tap Send all traffic to turn it on
- Choose a profile name. You can pick any name you want.
- Press Save
- Go back to the VPN menu and tap the VPN connecting appearing with your chosen name to turn it on.
- Repeat this process to add more server locations. Swipe down on the top notification bar and click Settings
Why do you need a VPN for your Windows phone?
While VPN services can’t protect you from all the myriad ways that your privacy can be compromised, they do create hurdles for anyone that has the audacity to chase your digital footprint around the web and peep on your activities and personal data.
And VPNs have broader application than simply as privacy tools. For instance, VPNs:
- Bypass geo-restrictions commonly encountered on steaming sites like Hulu Netflix, and HBO
- Access censored websites around the world
- Avoid bandwidth throttling
- Torrent securely
- Encrypt your traffic
- Boost online privacy
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