Whether you’re a resident in the UK permanently, here for a holiday, or living here temporarily for work or school, a VPN could be a huge asset to you. It will help you:
- Bypass geo-blocking
- Torrent securely
- Browse the web anonymously
Nowadays, there are hundreds of VPN providers out there all claiming to be the best VPN for the UK. To make things easier for you, we’ve put together our own list based on three simple criteria:
- How affordable the VPN is compared to its utility
- How well it keeps you anonymous and secure
- Whether it operates out of a privacy-friendly country
No time to read? Here are our best VPNs:
- Best security
- Top speeds
- SmartPlay to bypass geo-blocks
- No router app
NordVPN is another solid contender for the best VPN for the UK. Located in sunny Panama, NordVPN isn’t subject to surveillance from the 5, 9, or 14 Eyes, giving it a good foundation for keeping you private.
NordVPN continues its commitment to privacy by offering unique anonymity features. This VPN has two types of kill-switch and a DoubleVPN option that can route your connection through a second server if you ever need twice the privacy. It’s also a great choice for unblocking region-locked content. NordVPN’s specialized SmartPlay technology gives you access to Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and hundreds of other streaming platforms without hurting performance.
For a deeper investigation of NordVPN, read our NordVPN review.
2. Surfshark VPN
- Great security
- Geo-unblcoking with Smart DNS
- Unlimited simultaneous connections
- Weak self-help support section
Surfshark VPN is the cheapest of the top VPNs, yet offers a lot of bang for your buck. Firstly, the service operates from the privacy-friendly location of the British Virgin Islands and has a strict no-logging policy.
This is also one of the fastest VPNs on the market, offering good geo-unblocking ability (including unblocking BBC iPlayer, albeit only via the browser extensions). Users in the UK will appreciate that Surfshark allows torrenting on all servers. Moreover, using this service you can get past the online censorship measures imposed on torrent websites.
Those concerned about their privacy in the UK have nothing to worry about with Surfshark: the service offers military-grade encryption, has no leaks, and boasts a great kill switch feature.
For a deeper investigation of Surfshark VPN, read our Surfshark VPN review.
- Great security
- User-friendly apps
- No anonymous payments
Next up is VyprVPN. This mid-priced VPN is based in Switzerland, a country with favorable privacy laws.
VyprVPN’s best feature is its high speeds. This provider’s EU servers are particularly fast, exceeding many of the competitors. Plus, the VyprVPN apps are some of the easiest-to-use VPN clients available, making it a great choice for newbies.
On the privacy side, we found VyprVPN to be leakproof. However, while VyprVPN claim they allow torrenting on their platform, they’ve been known to suspend accounts for copyright infringements.
For a deeper investigation of VyprVPN, read our VyprVPN review.
- Solid security features
- Excellent for streaming
- macOS and iOS apps have fewer features
Like all the VPNs on our list, PrivateVPN has its ups and downs—the first ‘down’ being its jurisdiction. Sweden is a member of the Fourteen Eyes intelligence alliance. On the other hand, its strict no-logs policy means that you shouldn’t be too much concerned about your privacy unless you’re a political activist or a spy.
PrivateVPN carries on its privacy protection with a no-logging policy, a kill switch, and no leaks. But where this service really excels is combining high speed and low prices. You would be hard-pressed to find a better bang-for-the-buck ratio than the one PrivateVPN offers.
PrivateVPN is just as fast or even faster than its competitors. Therefore if you should have no issues streaming Netflix and other content platforms in HD or even UHD (4K) quality.
For a deeper investigation of PrivateVPN, read our PrivateVPN review.
5. Windscribe VPN
- No identifying logs policy
- Works with Netflix & P2P
- Unlimited simultaneous connections
- Complicated refund policy
Windscribe VPN is based in Canada (part of the 5 Eyes), so it’s not the best VPN for the UK if government privacy is your main concern.
However, Windscribe does somewhat redeem itself on the privacy front with all the features you’d expect from a secure VPN: a zero logs policy, no DNS or IP leaks, a kill switch, and super strong encryption. If you want access to the Netflix US library specifically, Windscribe also has you covered there with their special Netflix-compatible server. Plus, its apps are all simple and newbie-friendly.
On the downside, Windscribe isn’t great when it comes to speed. Also, while torrenting is allowed, only certain servers are compatible, which can be a nuisance.
For a deeper investigation of Windscribe VPN, read our Windscribe VPN review.
6. Perfect Privacy VPN
- Lots of advanced bonus security features
- No logs
- Great variety of payment options
- Outdated interface
Perfect Privacy VPN definitely has a lot of strong points, including a no-logging policy, no leaks, and all the other features you need to keep you anonymous and secure. They even offer a leveled kill switch that lets you decide when your internet connection should terminate if your VPN drops.
However, it’s hard to say that Perfect Privacy is worth its very high price tag. Speeds are consistently average compared to the competitors on this list. On top of that, they only allow torrenting on their premium servers, and we only found one server that worked with Netflix (a Netherlands server). Perhaps the worst downside for newbies is that Perfect Privacy only has apps for Windows and Linux; to use it on your phone or Mac, you’ll need to learn how to set it up manually.
For a deeper investigation of Perfect Privacy VPN, read our Perfect Privacy VPN review.
- Bulletproof security
- Super fast
- Perfect for streaming, torrenting, and gaming
- Very expensive
A very popular provider, ExpressVPN starts off on the right foot with its location: the British Virgin Islands, outside the Fourteen Eyes intelligence alliance.
If staying private and secure is your top concern, ExpressVPN has you covered. Alongside using military-grade encryption, they never store any of your sensitive data like IP addresses or traffic logs (this is known as a no-logs policy). ExpressVPN also excels at keeping your data from leaking to third parties. If you’re more interested in using a VPN to access overseas websites, ExpressVPN excels there too. They have Netflix UK and US compatible servers and their fast speeds are ideal for streaming in HD.
The only real downside to ExpressVPN is that it’s quite expensive.
For a deeper investigation of ExpressVPN, read our ExpressVPN review.
Best UK VPN speed comparison
NordVPN is the fastest VPN for the UK. We ran the tests from Europe, connecting to servers in the UK, the US, and Australia. Then we calculated the average download and upload speed of each UK VPN. You can also find the latest data from our in-house speed testing tool.
|1.||NordVPN||214 Mbps||60 Mbps||137 Mbps|
|2.||Surfshark||151 Mbps||56 Mbps||104 Mbps|
|3.||PrivateVPN||70 Mbps||132 Mbps||101 Mbps|
|4.||ExpressVPN||148 Mbps||33 Mbps||91 Mbps|
|5.||VyprVPN||87 Mbps||20 Mbps||54 Mbps|
|6.||Windscribe||36 Mbps||58 Mbps||47 Mbps|
|7.||Perfect Privacy||40 Mbps||51 Mbps||46 Mbps|
Why do you need a VPN in the UK?
Unfortunately, the UK is one of the worst countries when it comes to oline privacy. That’s why you need a reliable VPN service to protect yourself and your data.
To start with, it belongs to the Five Eyes intelligence alliance. It means that your data can be shared among the member countries, includings those that belong to Nine and Fourteen Eyes. The biggest intelligence partner of the UK is the US – they’ve been working together for decades.
Investigatory Powers Act
What’s more, back in 2016, the Parliament stunned the whole world with the Investigatory Powers Act. According to it, law enforcement can snoop on any citizen because telcos and ISPs must collect ant sore usre data for one year. There’s even a dedicated search engine for the government officials, namely the police and security agencies.
If that wasn’t enough, this so-called Snoopers Charter allows the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) to view and use data of any person, as long as it’s been collected from a range of devices in a particular location. Additionally, any company that collects data should have an option to decipher it, also informing GCHQ whenever they update their software. Finally, intelligence agencies have the right to hack into any device, meaning that anything you write on WhatsApp should be readily accessible.
Of course, UK’s intelligence has been collecting information prior to the Investigatory Powers Act. The Investigatory Tribunal ruled that the government has been doing this for 17 days. But now it’s totally legal and probably not going anywhere.
The decline of internet freedom in the UK
According to Freedom House, internet freedom declined in 2017 as the Investigatory Powers Act had a full year in force. Next year, the situation improved a bit because of the High Court’s decision. According to it, Snoopers Charter doesn’t comply with the EU law and the right to access citizens’ data shouldn’t be given without the approval of a court. However, with the advent of Brexit, this ruling might become obsolete soon.
In 2018, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that the UK’s mass surveillance described in earlier Investigatory Powers Act violated the human rights. Things didin’t get better in 2019, when the policed ordered one ISP to shut down wifi in some Underground stations to disrupt a peaceful protest. Later, an Online Harms White Paper was released. While it was aimed at illegal online content, this document also discussed which legal content should be tagged and harmful.
And what about 2020? Well, with the Brexit coming closer, we can only hope that the online privacy in the UK won’t continue its decline.
What can you do with a VPN in the UK?
If you’ve read the section above, you probably know that the most important thing that a VPN can do for you is protecting your privacy. When your traffic is encrypted and your IP stays hidden, it becomes a real challenge for the UK government to track you down and snoop on your activities.
At the same time, you can hide from your ISP and bypass its blocks. You may also want to hide your IP when downloading torrents. While P2P is still legal in the UK, you don’t want to get caught with copyrighted content on your device.
What’s more, a VPN is a powerful tool against geo-blocking. Not every streaming platform is available in the UK, and even if it is, that doesn’t your favorite show will be in the library. With a VPN, you can connect to another country and access everything that’s unvailable in your country.
Finally, a VPN will protect you when you’re using a public wifi, such as those in the airports. When anyone can connect to a wifi, it becomes a perfect scene for the hackers to act. However, attacking you becomes extremely hard because of encrypted traffic and hidden IP address.
These seven VPNs are all solid options for the UK, but each of them has its own pros and cons. Hopefully, this information will help you to make an informed decision when choosing a VPN provider.
If you’re in the UK, which of these VPNs have you used before? Did we miss any great VPNs for the UK? Let us know in the comments below.