There are many reasons to use a VPN in the United Kingdom. Perhaps you’re a traveler looking to regain access to your usual services like Hulu, ESPN, or fuboTV. You may even just want to protect your internet activity from hackers, internet providers, or snooping governments.
In 2016, the British government introduced the Investigatory Powers Act, which legalized mass surveillance with little oversight. This means visitors are now subject to scrutiny by government agencies who can track everything you do online.
For these reasons, it’s best to use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) while accessing the internet in the UK. These enhance your privacy by sending your data through an encrypted server, making it extremely difficult for snoopers to tell what you’re doing online.
In a rush? Here’s a summary of our recommended VPNs for the United Kingdom
7 Best VPNs for the UK:
- NordVPN Best VPN for the UK. Scores well for download speed, security and unblocking ability. Provides a 30-day money-back guarantee.
- Surfshark Best budget option. Works with British streaming services and is fast enough for lag-free streaming.
- ExpressVPN Great speeds and strong security. Works with ITV Hub, Netflix, and many other services.
- CyberGhost A good all-rounder. Won’t let you down on speed, security, or streaming ability.
- IPVanish A speedy VPN with user-friendly apps and a no-logs policy.
- VyprVPN Strong security, good speeds. Also works with plenty of UK streaming services.
- Hotspot Shield Unblocks popular British services abroad. Also provides high speeds and plenty of security features.
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Our list of the best VPNs for the UK is based on the following factors:
- Speed and reliability of service
- Strong encryption parameters
- Strict no-logs policy
- Unblocks geo-restricted content with ease
- Servers in Great Britain so you can use British services abroad
- Apps for Android and Phone / iOS
The best VPNs for the UK – At a glance
We’ve compared the most important features for the top VPNs here. Prefer to read the in-depth reviews? Start with NordVPN – our #1 choice for the UK.
|Website||www.NordVPN.com||www.Surfshark.com||www.ExpressVPN.com||www.Cyberghost.com||www.IPVanish.com||www.VyprVPN.com||Ranking for UK:||1||2||3||4||5||6||Streaming Services||Netflix|
|Avg Speed (Europe)||100+ Mbps||100+ Mbps||100+ Mbps||100+ Mbps||100+ Mbps||151 Mbps||Avg Speed (UK)||100+ Mbps||100+ Mbps||100+ Mbps||100+ Mbps||100+ Mbps||228 Mbps||Simultaneous Connections||6||Unlimited||5||7||Unlimited||5|
|Best deal (per month)||$2.99|
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Best VPNs for the UK
Let’s jump right in with a closer look at our top picks:
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
NordVPN is a well-known service with a true zero-logging policy, This means that it doesn’t keep any logs of user sessions, bandwidth used, traffic, or timestamps.
This decision has resulted in failed attempts by foreign agencies to extract user data from its servers. NordVPN has received requests for information in the past but it simply shrugged its shoulders, saying there was no possible way to comply. Authorities also confiscated servers in one instance but weren’t able to glean any valuable insights.
The company operates more than 5,000 servers in 60 countries, making it a robust choice for whatever it is you want to do online – gaming, streaming video, or downloading. 400+ of these are in the UK so finding a suitable connection won’t be a problem. It’s able to securely access Netflix, ITV Hub, and BBC iPlayer, among other services.
NordVPN uses the 256-bit AES protocol encryption standard by default coupled with 2,048-bit SSL keys. DNS leak protection is enabled. A single subscription grants access to six devices. Apps are available for Linux, Windows, MacOS, iOS, and Android.
- Operates 400+ servers in the UK
- Fastest speeds we’ve seen
- Works with most popular streaming sites
- Top-notch security and privacy protection
- Keeps no logs whatsoever
- Desktop apps take two clicks to disconnect
BEST VPN FOR THE UK:NordVPN is our #1 choice for the UK. Works reliably with video streaming. Also offers extremely high speeds. Connects up to 6 devices simultaneously. App doesn’t offer server switching choice. Has a risk-free 30-day money back guarantee.
Here’s our full NordVPN review.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
Surfshark is a security and privacy-conscious VPN that’s based in the British Virgin Islands, a location with no mandatory data-retention laws. It secures your traffic using 256-bit encryption, protection against WebRTC, DNS, and IPv6 leaks, and a kill switch, but more importantly, Surfshark doesn’t log any information that could identify you. You can pay in one of three different cryptocurrencies for an additional layer of anonymity. 24/7 support is available over live chat.
This service offers access to more than 3,200 high-speed servers in 60+ countries including the UK. With no connection limit, unlimited bandwidth, and the ability to unblock major streaming platforms like BBC iPlayer and All 4, this service is ideal for anyone looking to stream, torrent, or browse safely while traveling.
Surfshark offers apps for MacOS, iOS, Windows, Android, and Linux. Manual configuration is required for use with wireless routers.
- Strong security and privacy protections
- Unblocks major streaming platforms like BBC iPlayer
- Unlimited simultaneous connections
- Fewer servers than some of its rivals
- Some slow speeds
Read our full Surfshark review.
BEST BUDGET OPTION:Surfshark unblocks plenty of British streaming platforms and allows you to secure all of your devices at once, meaning you can watch what you want, where you want. Best of all, this VPN is very reasonably priced and includes a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
ExpressVPN is one of the top VPN services out there due to a customer-first approach, blazing-fast connection speeds, minimal downtime, and large network of servers. There are over 3,000 spread across 94 countries and five locations in the UK. This makes ExpressVPN ideal for anyone traveling abroad who wants to access services like BT Sports, Sky, and All 4.
ExpressVPN does not store any traffic logs. It does, however, extract some minimal information such as the date (not time) of connection, choice of server location, and total bandwidth used. Your individual IP address is not logged under any circumstances so the service won’t be able to identify you. Furthermore, the company is headquartered in the British Virgin Islands – out of the jurisdiction of British authorities.
ExpressVPN utilizes 256-bit AES-CBC as its encryption standards as well as both HMAC authentication and perfect forward secrecy. There’s an internet kill switch included, referred to as a network lock, which means all web traffic will be temporarily halted if the connection drops unexpectedly.
There are apps for Android and iOS as well as desktop clients for Windows, MacOS, and Linux.
- Fast streaming speeds
- Leading privacy and security features
- Apps for all platforms that are a joy to use
- 24/7 chat support by knowledgeable staff is refreshing
- Not cheap, so use the coupon below for a discount
- Could offer more control over advanced functionality
STREAM SAFELY ON-THE-GO:ExpressVPN is fast, versatile, and secure. Unblocks all major streaming services including Amazon Prime, Sky Go and many more. Impressive security and privacy. Offers a 30-day money back guarantee.
Here’s our in-depth review of ExpressVPN.
Money-back guarantee: 45 DAYS
CyberGhost is headquartered in Romania, which means it’s not subject to mandatory data retention laws. The firm adds that it doesn’t log user behavior or browsing habits at all. However, it was recently purchased by a UK-based firm so that could change things. We’ll update the article if we hear more on this front.
There are over 7,000 servers in 90+ countries with more than 650 of them in the UK alone. So British expatriates and tourists traveling abroad won’t have any problems accessing content from back home.
Encryption standards are stringent. CyberGhost Pro uses 256-bit AES encryption on the OpenVPN protocol by default along with 2,048-bit RSA keys and MD5 HMAC authentication. This means it’s in the top-tier of VPNs when based on sturdy encryption. There’s also an internet kill switch included, which means web traffic will be halted if the connection drops unexpectedly.
Apps are available for both Android, Linux and iOS as well as desktop support for Windows, Linux, and MacOS.
- Operates over 600 servers in the UK
- Good value choice with plenty of UK servers
- Impressive streaming video speeds
- Minimal configuration required and easy to use browser extensions
- Good security and they don’t store user activity logs
- Fewer advanced settings than some VPNs
- Less reliable in places like the UAE
Read our full review of CyberGhost.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
IPVanish is a lightweight VPN whose servers are optimized for speed, stability, and security. There are over 1,900 of them spread across 75 worldwide city locations, with more than 100 servers in the UK alone.
This service is headquartered in the US and hence not subject to British data retention laws. Furthermore, it has a stated policy of not storing any internet traffic logs or metadata. The only time it retains information is when an account is registered for the first time. After that, your browsing history is kept hidden.
IPVanish incorporates robust encryption standards, which means prying eyes such as the NSA and hackers are kept at a distance. It uses 256-bit encryption on the OpenVPN protocol by default, SHA512 authentication, and a DHE-RSA 2,048-bit key exchange with perfect forward secrecy. There’s also an internet kill switch built-in which means traffic will be temporarily halted if the connection drops out of the blue.
There are apps for both iOS and Android as well as desktop support for Windows and MacOS.
- Operates 100+ servers in the UK, great for most popular UK shows
- Preferred by Kodi and Firestick TV for its remote-friendly apps
- No-logging policy and solid security
- Struggles with some larger streaming platforms
- No true live chat support
CONNECT ALL OF YOUR DEVICES:IPVanish has a large server network. A favourite among Kodi and Amazon Fire Stick users. What’s more, it achieves great connection speeds and offers a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Read our full review of IPVanish.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
VyprVPN has over 700 servers, including some in London, although the company doesn’t say how many there are in total. Its speeds are decent, and users can securely access a wide range of platforms, from Netflix to BBC iPlayer.
The company owns and manages entire data centers, which optimizes speed and stability of connections. Further, all traffic is secured by the OpenVPN protocol, 256-bit AES encryption, 2,048-bit RSA keys without perfect forward secrecy, and SHA256 authentication. VyprVPN includes an internet kill switch by default which means internet traffic will be halted temporarily if the connection drops.
VyprVPN is a popular choice for British residents visiting China because it’s able to sidestep the Great Firewall. This means that thousands of government-appointed engineers working around the clock haven’t been able to block its operations. That’s definitely an achievement, which should propel it into the gold standard of VPNs.
Apps are available for both Android and iOS as well as desktop support for Windows and MacOS.
- Operates servers in the UK
- Great unblocking capabilities, even works well in China
- Stable and speedy connections with secure apps
- Speeds could be better
- Power users would prefer more configuration options
SOLID PERFORMER:VyprVPN is user friendly. Works well with BBC iPlayer and some other popular streaming services. Easy to use but a bit pricey. 30-day money-back guarantee.
Read our in-depth review of VyprVPN.
Hotspot Shield offers several powerful security features including 256-bit encryption, IPv6 and DNS leak protection, and a kill switch. Users can also let certain websites bypass the VPN or configure the apps to connect automatically whenever you use an unsecured wifi network. This VPN doesn’t log any identifiable user data once your session is over. Customer support is on-hand 24/7 over live chat in case of any problems.
With over 3,000 servers spanning 70+ countries, Hotspot Shield makes it easy to access region-locked services abroad. In fact, it even works with notoriously stubborn streaming platforms like ITV Hub and BBC iPlayer. You won’t even have to worry about lag or buffering as Hotspot Shield’s speeds are fast enough to flawlessly stream live HD video.
Hotspot Shield has Windows, Android, iOS, Linux, and MacOS apps.
- Securely access platforms like BBC iPlayer
- High enough connection speeds for HD live streaming
- Strong online privacy features
- Doesn’t accept Bitcoin
- Spotty record on privacy
VERSATILE AND SECURE:Hotspot Shield offers solid all-round performance, with fast, reliable connections, strong security features, and excellent unblocking ability. Also offers a 45-day money-back guarantee is included.
Read our full review of Hotspot Shield.
How to protect yourself using a VPN
These services are easier to use than you might first expect. Simply follow the steps below to encrypt your traffic and browse safely while in the UK.
Here’s how to use a VPN in the UK:
- Start by signing up for one of the VPNs above (we recommend NordVPN).
- Log in and select a server in your desired location. Note that while any server is fine if you’re only looking for enhanced security, the location matters when it comes to unblocking geo-restricted content. For instance, you’ll need a US server to access US-only services like Hulu.
- Once connected, your online activities can’t be read by your ISP, hackers, or the owner of the wi-fi hotspot you’re using. If you experience any issues unblocking content, clear your cookies and try again or contact your VPN’s support team for more advice.
Methodology: How we chose the best VPNs for the UK
It’s easy to find a VPN that promises the world but much more difficult to find one that actually delivers on this. Further, most VPNs can’t access popular streaming services abroad, so travelers have additional requirements that need to be met. We used the criteria below to whittle down the list of candidates until only the very best remained:
- Server choice: Having lots of server locations grants access to a much wider variety of services. For instance, using a British server gets you a British IP address, allowing you to use British streaming services as you travel.
- Streaming ability: We see which VPNs are best at evading detection by testing them against services like BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, All 4, Sky Go, and Now TV. Reliability is important too, since this means less trial and error when it comes to server selection.
- Performance: It’s important that your VPN is fast enough for the tasks you have in mind. Comparitech regularly speed tests leading providers to see which are the fastest and most reliable. However, you should note that your VPN’s speeds are limited by how fast your base connection is.
- Security features: At a minimum, our top VPNs must keep you safe using 256-bit encryption, leak protection, a kill switch, and a no-logs policy. That said, we prefer services with even more advanced tools such as cloaking features, ad-blockers, and split-tunneling functionality.
- User-friendliness: We’ll only ever recommend services that are welcoming to newcomers. This means they must have apps for all major operating systems, a well thought-out design, and live chat-based customer support.
Believe it or not, this is only the first part of our decision process. Read our full VPN testing post to find out more.
Can I use a free VPN for the UK?
There’s always the option of settling for a free VPN if you’re just looking for a quick fix.
But free VPN services definitely don’t grant the same experience as paid ones. There’s usually just one or two servers you can connect to. Encryption parameters are weak, so don’t assume your connection will be optimized for privacy and security. This is especially an issue if you’re abroad and likely to use public wi-fi. Plus there will most likely be a data cap which means your connection can terminate if you stream video for too long.
Our recommendation is to avoid such providers. After all, there’s no such thing as a free lunch – free VPNs monetize by aggressively inserting tracking cookies, monitoring your browsing patterns, and selling the data to third-party advertisers. You run a real risk of a malware infection – which can lead to data loss and a painful procedure of recovering your device.
VPN FAQ for the UK
Is using a VPN legal in the UK?
Broadly speaking, it is perfectly legal to use a VPN within the UK. There’s no specific legislation that prohibits it outright. However, you’re still liable for any crimes you commit while connected.
Disclaimer: While we've researched this topic thoroughly, we are not legal experts. Nothing we've said should be considered legal advice. If you're in any doubt, we recommend researching the UK's laws for yourself or consulting a professional.
Where can I get a free US/UK VPN to unblock Spotify?
Free VPNs are ten-a-penny, but services that are fast and reliable are much harder to find. Generally, free VPNs have more users than paid services, which means they’re usually far slower. As you might expect, this can make streaming very difficult.
Instead of risking your security with a free VPN, why not take advantage of ExpressVPN’s 30-day money-back guarantee? You will have to pay upfront, but you can try the service out risk-free and claim a full refund if it doesn’t meet your expectations.
How can I stream Top Gear from outside the UK?
Top Gear is actually available in quite a few countries, although not everywhere will have the most recent episodes. Take a look below to find out which networks are showing Top Gear where you are:
- Australia: Stan, 9Now
- Canada: BBC Canada
- China: bilibili
- New Zealand: TVNZ
- USA: BBC America, Hulu
Can I connect to iPlayer from India?
BBC iPlayer is usually only available in the UK (although some Asian countries have their own version). As such, if you try to access it from India, you’ll usually see the following error: “BBC iPlayer only works in the UK. Sorry, it’s due to rights issues.”
By connecting to a British VPN server, however, you can bypass BBC iPlayer’s geo-restrictions measures. This will allow you to stream your favorite shows from India, Pakistan, or anywhere else in the world.
Which is the best UK VPN app for mobile?
While there are plenty of VPNs on the market, not all provide high-quality apps. Of course, the question of which is the best UK VPN app for mobile is highly subjective. However, NordVPN is a highly popular VPN service with excellent apps for Android and iOS. The mobile apps of NordVPN are quick and easy to install and very user-friendly. In fact, it only takes a few seconds to connect to a server or adjust your preferences.