Are you looking for the best VPN service for the UK? It’s more complicated than it seems with so many options.
In this guide, I’ll be rounding up the top choices for use in the United Kingdom and have whittled it down to 7 to help you make a decision.
There’s been plenty of internet-related headlines for the UK over the past few years.
From website blocks to nationwide logging of URL access with the Investigatory Powers Bill, there have been many changes that made a VPN essential to access free and unrestricted internet on the shores of Britain.
If you quickly search Google or any other search engine for a VPN suitable for the UK, you’ll be inundated with thousands of different options and it’s hard to pick the right service in the sea of options.
I’ve been testing a selection of the best VPN services to find out which is the top option to use this year so you can make an informed purchasing decision before signing up.
ExpressVPN is considered to be the best UK VPN, and as such, it takes my number 1 spot in the search for the leading Virtual Private Network service this year.
It is based in the British Virgin Islands, but for the UK – there are VPN server options in 5 different locations in the UK including London, Berkshire, Chessington, Kent, and Maidenhead. This is a broad range and generally bigger than most.
These servers will be accessible from across the UK and you shouldn’t notice too much speed difference in your internet connection. It’s also the best if you’re interested in streaming at fast speeds. Plus, it can unblock local services such as BBC iPlayer.
Software is available for Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, with the bonus of a Linux client for Ubuntu, among other platforms. You can establish simultaneous connections on five devices.
ExpressVPN is easy to use, but it costs a bit more than some VPNs, with its one month plan being the most expensive.
Its best price comes in at $6.67 per month, which is competitive with most other providers. However, if you change your mind, you will still have 30 days to get a refund.
If you’re looking to connect outside the UK, then there are 94 other countries on top of the UK, with the number of servers exceeding 3,000 and making them one of the biggest VPNs around.
If you ever have a problem, you can always contact its customer support via live chat support.
#1 VPN for the United Kingdom
30-day money back guarantee
The next on the list of best UK VPN is NordVPN, another excellent VPN service based in Panama, and one of the more popular ones around the world, especially for streaming services.
In addition to a strict no-logging policy, it offers the strongest security and privacy features, such as the OpenVPN protocol and 256-bit AES encryption.
As for its server network, it is massive.
It offers 5478 servers in 60 countries. Naturally, the UK itself finds itself among NordVPN’s server locations, with a total of 425 servers located in the country.
It should be noted that they are all located in London, however.
NordVPN’s price is also relatively standard for a VPN of this size and quality, with its 2-year plan being the most affordable on a monthly basis. And, you can always use its 30-days money-back guarantee if you end up not liking it for some reason.
It also lets you establish six simultaneous connections at once, and it has excellent customer support.
NordVPN is also very fast, and more than capable of letting you access streaming services like Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and other services available in the UK.
You can use it on all popular devices, such as Windows, Linux, Mac, iOS, Android, and more. Also, if you need one of the best UK VPNs with 24/7 support, this is the best choice for you.
3. CyberGhost VPN
Our next contender for the best UK VPN service is CyberGhost.
This is one of the best VPNs in the world, and it is coming from Romania which is a good thing, since this is a privacy-friendly country that allows CyberGhost to be able to offer a strict no-logs policy and fulfil that promise.
If you wish to access and use a VPN but you are a complete novice, you should not worry – CyberGhost is exceptionally user-friendly. It features over 6,900 servers at the time of writing, with server locations in 89 different countries.
Apart from all the standard security features, such as 256-bit encryption and OpenVPN protocol, it also has DNS leak protection, a kill switch, extremely fast connection speeds, and an extremely long 45-day money-back guarantee.
It is a secure VPN that has everything, including good streaming speed, privacy, and unlimited bandwidth.
Also, let’s not forget that it offers up to 7 simultaneous connections with a single license, and a wide range of supported devices and systems. So, if you need a VPN for a large number of devices, this is one of the top choices with excellent customer support.
IPVanish offers some of the best speeds in the industry and in our tests they’ve come top more times than not. As such, it is a speedy UK VPN. Unlike others, it is actually a US-based VPN, but it still claims to keep your data safe.
There are 6 different VPN server locations across the UK in London, Manchester, Glasgow and Birmingham.
Many VPNs just offer servers in London but IPVanish provides a range of locations allowing you to connect locally and keep your data safe while browsing the local content.
A total of over 48 different UK VPN servers are available and with the software, you can even select your favourite.
Software is available for Windows and Mac and apps for Android and iOS, with 24/7 support. This makes connection really easy and anyone from the beginner to the expert can get connected and protect their online privacy.
Also, if you pay for it and decide that you don’t like it, a 30-day money-back guarantee awaits you here, as well, just contact customer support for a refund.
VPN.ac is a VPN service that offers something a little different from the above providers.
The service is easy to operate, but also slightly smaller than the others I’ve compared already but they still have everything you need. It offers 3 VPN servers located in the UK in London, Coventry, and Portsmouth.
In total, across the service, you can get access to only 21 countries covered, so in comparison to the previous providers, it definitely has a smaller number of servers.
If privacy is your number one concern and you’re looking for advanced encryption options, then VPN.ac is certainly a good starting place.
They’re also one of the fastest VPNs we’ve tested and compare with IPVanish in speed results.
One of the benefits of being smaller is the price reflects this and a yearly service will set you back just $4.80 monthly.
Apps are available for Windows and Mac and iOS and Android, so the service is easy enough to use across the most popular devices, which is why it deserves a place on the list of the best services.
One of my favourite features of the Overplay service is it comes with a SmartDNS feature as part of your subscription package.
SmartDNS allows you to stream TV content without the speed loss that a VPN would incur because there is no encryption and its sole purpose is to help you with streaming blocked TV services from the UK or overseas.
Unfortunately, there is only software for Windows, macOS and no apps are available for either Android or iOS.
It’s still possible to use the service on a mobile device until their apps are released but you’ll need to manually set this up so being of average technical skill would help.
Overplay offers a 5-day money back guarantee which is shorter than ExpressVPN’s mammoth 30-days one.
StrongVPN wraps up my selection of VPN options for the UK.
If one of the above options hasn’t already taken your interest, then it’s worth taking a look at StrongVPN. Like VPN.ac they’re smaller in size than the others with just 22 overall countries cover but the UK is well resourced.
UK VPN servers are available in Canterbury, Livingston, London, Maidenhead, Manchester, Nottingham and Rugby giving you plenty of options.
Apps are available for Android and iOS devices too so you’ll be able to protect your mobile connection and access geo-blocked content.
StrongVPN costs just $5.83 monthly if taking an annual package which is approximately £4.72 so it’s not going to break the bank.
How to choose a VPN for the UK
If you want to find and use the best VPN for the UK, you will first have to know what kinds of features you are looking for.
Of course, things like simultaneous connections and ease of use are important.
However, when using a VPN, you are using it for speed, privacy, security and anonymity more than for any other reason. This is why other features have an advantage.
Here is what you should look for in a VPN:
1) Server Locations
If you need to unblock content such as various streaming services via a VPN, then server locations and the number of servers that the service has to offer is crucial.
By connecting to foreign servers, you can change your IP address. In doing so, you get an IP address associated with the server you are connected to.
That means that your identity will be safe and that no one can track your actions back to your real IP. Also, don’t worry, doing something like that is perfectly legal in the UK.
The UK is one of the members of the 5/9/14 Eyes Surveillance Alliance, so as you could have guessed, privacy is not something that the country is known for.
Apart from having cameras all over the country, the UK government is also continually monitoring web traffic. Its GCHQ ‘Tempora’ collection system is capable of seeing all of it – if you don’t use a VPN, that is.
Not to mention its Investigatory Powers Act, commonly known as the Snoopers’ Charter.
This bill became a law in 2016, and since then, citizens have been constantly concerned about the UK government invading their privacy. Fortunately, VPN encryption and security protocols can protect you from it.
3) Unlock Streaming Content
The next reason why VPN is a good tool to have is its ability to unblock streaming content online.
Whether you wish to access US Netflix, or you are after streaming Amazon Prime video, you can easily do it with one of the VPNs listed above. Thanks to their servers located in countries around the world, you can bypass geo-restrictions and censorship alike.
By using the local servers, you can even use your VPN for streaming services like BBC iPlayer and other similar sites.
But, not any VPN can do it. This is why it is so important to use a reliable VPN, with good speed and the ability to protect your privacy.
4) No-log policy
Speed and reliability are great, but you also need to make sure that your VPN will not betray you by selling your browsing data or giving it to the government.
The only way to do that is to ensure that the VPN of your choice offers a strict no-logs policy and that it can avoid data retention laws.
Most VPNs will claim that they have it, although that might not necessarily be true.
5) Fast Download Speeds
Lastly, let’s talk about download speeds. You need them to be fast in order to be able to use your VPN for things like torrenting and other forms of downloading and sharing files.
Too many VPNs have slow speeds which makes them useless when you want to download something and remain protected, so make sure that your VPN of choice has decent speeds before you use it.
What’s the best free VPN in the UK?
Let’s get one thing straight right now – there are no free VPNs that can be considered ‘good,’ or in any way equal to premium services.
While this is unfortunate, since no one likes paying for things they need only because they were forced to need them, it is still the truth.
Free services are disappointing for a number of reasons, whether that includes privacy and security, having a data cap, or having too few servers, which are usually overcrowded and slow which makes them useless for streaming.
VPNs that don’t cost anything simply aren’t reliable.
Don’t confuse VPNs that you don’t pay for with a free trial of premium VPNs, however, as those do offer proper protection and often full access to their services.
They might leak users’ IP addresses, or lack some basic features like a kill switch. These services were caught selling user data multiple times, whether to the highest bidder, or the governments which requested it.
A UK-based free service is probably the worst one you can use, as you will be able to obtain neither privacy nor security with such services.
Is using a VPN legal in the UK?
Yes, as mentioned earlier, using a VPN in the UK is perfectly legal, and you won’t have any problems with law enforcement if you pay for and use these services.
VPNs are considered to be privacy technology, and since privacy is one of the fundamental human rights, using the tech that allows you to achieve it is not forbidden.
Interestingly enough, even using some of the best VPNs for unblocking restricted content, such as some streaming sites, is also not illegal.
Also, keep in mind that, even if you are protected, you still shouldn’t do anything truly illegal, such as online piracy. Just because no one can see you do it, doesn’t mean that doing it is not illegal anymore.
Will a VPN make my internet faster?
This is a common misconception, but unfortunately, the answer is no, a VPN cannot bring you more speed than the speed you have according to your internet plan.
However, a VPN can help you keep your speed stable, and avoid throttling, which internet providers sometimes engage in.
Basically, if your internet provider doesn’t like what you are doing, they can purposefully slow you down. A VPN can disguise your traffic and hide your actions from them, so they won’t know what it is you are doing in the first place.
How to get a British IP Address?
Lastly, let’s talk about what you need to do in order to get a British IP.
Whether you are located in the UK and you wish to access the local content safely, or if you live abroad and you wish to explore what the UK has to offer, we will explain what you need to do.
We will use ExpressVPN as an example, as it is one of the best VPNs around.
With that out of the way, here are the steps you need to take:
- Access the ExpressVPN website and sign up by providing an email address and choosing a password.
- Once you have created your account, select one of the offered payment plans. Note that longer plans, like the one year plan, may earn you some significant discounts.
- Next, install the VPN app on the device you wish to use. ExpressVPN serves various devices, like Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, and many others.
- Once you install the app, launch it, and log in. Inside, locate the ExpressVPN server network.
- Among the servers, locate any server in the United Kingdom, and Connect to it.
At this point, you will be completely secure and connected to a UK server, while your IP will be a British one.
The VPN market is ever-changing pace and it can be difficult to know which is the leading service this year.
For this year my top provider for the UK is definitely ExpressVPN because they offer a better service than most at an affordable price and without a doubt, they’re one of the fastest VPN services I’ve used which is always a bonus.
If you don’t have time to be checking all the available choices, then you should choose them but if you want to do a little research, then it’s worth checking all seven options listed and visiting each website to see what’s on offer.
No matter which provider you end up choosing, they’ll all be suitable for protecting your privacy and allowing you to access geo-blocked websites both in the UK and abroad.
To take a look again at the available options, see the table below.