There are a variety of reasons why you might want a public IP address from the UK. British holidaymakers or expats living abroad might want to access news, TV shows, and movies on UK Netflix, ITV Hub, BBC iPlayer, and All 4. Or perhaps you may want to unblock British sporting coverage on Sky Sports or BT Sport. Those with UK bank accounts with Barclays, Natwest, Lloyds, and HSBC, might also need a British IP address to avoid being flagged by security regulators.
In this guide, we’ll teach you how to safely and securely acquire a real IP address from the UK. The easiest and quickest way to do that is by using a Virtual Private Network (VPN). A VPN is basically software that encrypts all the traffic flowing to and from your device and routes it via an intermediary server of your choice. By choosing a VPN service that offers servers in the UK, it’s possible to make it appear that you’re actually located in the country.
As we mentioned, the most efficient way to obtain a UK IP address is to sign up for a VPN. Paid VPN services offer a robust range of server locations. Selecting one that’s stationed in the UK will make it appear that you’re accessing the web from that region.
We’ll get into plenty of details about each provider further down, but if you only have time for a brief summary, here’s a list of the best VPNs for getting a UK IP address:
- NordVPN Easily tops this list for getting a UK IP address. Plenty of British servers, best-in-class security features, and a 30-day money-back guarantee.
- Surfshark An affordable service that punches well above its weight. Connect as many devices as you like. Great unblocking ability and a strong security offering.
- ExpressVPN Lots of UK servers. Tuned for fast and secure performance. Top-notch privacy features and apps are easy to use.
- CyberGhost Beginner friendly and offers solid security features and fast servers.
- IPVanish Ideal for privacy and torrenting, but not the first choice for streaming. Allows any number of simultaneous connections.
- PrivateVPN Small server count but achieved good connection speeds in our testing. Ample privacy and security.
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How to get a UK IP address
It’s very simple to get a UK IP address and access all of your favorite British content from anywhere.
Here’s how to get a UK IP address:
- Register for a VPN service and download the app relevant to your device. We recommend NordVPN.
- Clear all cookies and restart your device.
- Launch and log into the VPN mobile app or desktop client.
- Connect to a UK server and wait for the connection to be made
- Now you have a UK IP address and can browse the web at your leisure.
It doesn’t matter where you’re located in the world – it could be the US, France, Germany, Canada, Australia, India, Singapore, Thailand, or elsewhere – the process to obtain a UK IP address is the same.
Video: How to get a British IP address with a VPN
The best VPNs for getting a UK IP address
Our list of the most efficient services that provide UK IP addresses has been curated based on the following factors:
- Maintains multiple VPN servers located in the UK
- Unblocks geo-restricted streaming content with ease
- Incorporates rigid encryption protocols so your data is protected
- Provides apps for Android, iOS, Windows, and MacOS
- Doesn’t store detailed internet traffic logs
- Offers value for money
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
NordVPN operates 500+ servers in the UK, within a global network of more than 5,000 across 59 countries. It’s highly secure service that’s been offering VPN solutions for over a decade. Best of all, it currently has the fastest servers of any major provider.
This provider should have no problems with unblocking geo-restricted content platforms. It’s also one of the rare services that allow internet users to select a server based on how they’d like to access the web; this includes streaming TV, ultra-secure privacy, anti-DDoS, and more.
Encryption standards are robust. The service uses the 256-bit AES protocol by default coupled with 2,048-bit SSL keys. DNS leak protection is enabled. NordVPN doesn’t log user data or any form of personally identifiable information so your digital footprint will remain hidden.
Apps are available for Android, iOS, Linux, Windows, and MacOS.
- Operates over 500 servers in the UK
- Can unblock most popular UK streaming services
- Fastest speeds we’ve seen
- This provider doesn’t compromise on user security and privacy
- Extensive support documentation and live chat option
- Desktop app can take some getting used to
BEST VPN FOR A UK IP ADDRESS:NordVPN is our first choice. A speedy, secure option that unblocks most UK sports and streaming services. Comes with a strict no-logging policy and a risk-free 30-day money-back guarantee.
Here’s our full review of NordVPN.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
Surfshark currently has around 1700 servers spread across the UK and a further 60+ countries. This service’s download speeds are fast enough for streaming live HD video without any noticeable lag or buffering, and it can even unblock notoriously stubborn media streaming platforms like BBC iPlayer. Unlike most other VPNs, Surfshark has no connection limit, which means you can safely browse and stream on whichever devices you prefer.
This service uses effectively uncrackable 256-bit encryption, a kill switch, and protection against WebRTC, IPv6, and DNS leaks to ensure your internet traffic cannot be read by snoopers. What’s more, it doesn’t log any personally identifiable information, and you can sign up anonymously by using cryptocurrency and a disposable email address.
Surfshark offers Android, iOS, Windows, MacOS, and Linux apps. It also works with supported internet routers although manual installation is required.
- Strong unblocking capabilities
- Fast enough connection speeds for most purposes
- No logs kept
- Very low price
- Allows you to protect all of your devices
- Small (but growing) network
- Some servers slower than others
Read our full review of Surfshark here
BEST BUDGET CHOICE:Surfshark is nice and affordable, but doesn’t skimp on security features or unblocking ability. What’s more, it offers a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
ExpressVPN is a solid all-rounder. It offers reliable service and fast connection speeds, along with top-notch customer support. At the moment, the company offers more than 3,000 high-speed servers spread across the globe. There’s a sizeable list of options in the UK and more in North America and parts of Europe.
One of the provider’s distinguishing features is its ability to unblock geo-restricted streaming content platforms including Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Sky, and more.
ExpressVPN makes use of military-grade encryption protocols which go a long way in firming up your internet connection and quelling any attempts to pilfer your data. It leverages 256-bit AES-CBC as the default encryption standard as well as HMAC authentication and perfect forward secrecy. An internet kill switch is included, which it refers to as a ‘network lock’. The best part is that these rugged protocols don’t deteriorate speed parameters at all.
The company doesn’t store any detailed internet traffic logs on its servers. It does retain a sliver of metadata, but that’s to improve the quality of the service, and real user IP addresses are never recorded. ExpressVPN is incorporated in the British Virgin Islands which means it’s out of the jurisdiction of government authorities in both the US and the UK.
ExpressVPN offers apps for Windows, MacOS, Linux, Android, and iOS.
- Fast and reliable servers in the UK are fit for most purposes
- No issues unblocking UK streaming content while abroad like Netflix, Amazon Prime and more
- High-end security features with good privacy protection
- 24-hour live chat support, 7 days a week
- Limited advanced options for power-users
- Not the cheapest
GREAT FOR STREAMING:ExpressVPN unblocks plenty of services both from the UK and elsewhere. It’s secure, too, with speedy connections, and a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Read our review of ExpressVPN.
Money-back guarantee: 45 DAYS
CyberGhost has firmed up its service in recent months, especially after its acquisition by Crossrider – an Israeli firm registered in the UK. At the moment it offers a choice of over 480 servers in the United Kingdom, part of a global network that numbers 5,700+ servers sprinkled across 89 countries.
We recommend the VPN solution for its budget-friendly pricing, fast service, and impeccable encryption standards. Other nifty features which are available at no extra cost include an ad blocker, anti-malware defense, and anti-tracking.
CyberGhost is able to reliably unblock a bunch of geo-restricted content including Netflix. That puts it in an elite category of VPNs.
All internet traffic is secured by 256-bit AES encryption on the OpenVPN protocol by default along with perfect forward secrecy. An internet kill switch is included. The company is headquartered and registered in Romania. As such, it isn’t subjected to any mandatory data retention laws. It firms up the privacy angle with an internal policy of not storing any user data.
Apps are available for Android, iOS, Windows, Linux and MacOS.
- Large server presence in the UK
- Good value provider with fast servers that are great for streaming and downloading
- Apps are easy to use and great for new users
- Privacy and online security are solid
- Blocked in China and UAE
- Lack of control over advanced features
Easy-to-use apps:CyberGhost is great for beginners. Hundreds of servers to choose from in the UK. Works well with most popular UK sports and streaming sites. Stores no logs and streams HD video reliably. 45-day money-back guarantee.
Here’s our in-depth CyberGhost review.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
IPVanish operates 80+ servers in the UK. Its total global server network comprises over 1,300 spread across more than 75 worldwide locations. The service is fast, private, and has minimal downtime. IPVanish works seamlessly with BBC iPlayer, HBO Now, Amazon Prime Video, and Sling TV.
Encryption standards are in the top-tier. IPVanish uses 256-bit strong encryption on the OpenVPN protocol by default, SHA512 authentication, and a DHE-RSA 2,048-bit key exchange with perfect forward secrecy. It stores no data other than when an account is registered for the first time, which puts it in a similar vein to NordVPN.
This service is popular with Kodi users because it enables them to download the Android APK directly to their device. The interface is also remote control-friendly for Kodi devices that lack a keyboard and mouse.
Apps are available for Android, iOS, Windows, and MacOS.
- Over 80 servers in the UK
- Unblocks a growing list of streaming services
- Preferred by Kodi and users for remote-friendly apps
- Doesn’t reliably unblock Netflix, Hulu
- Doesn’t accept Bitcoin for payment
LARGE NETWORK:IPVanish works with any number of connected devices. Great for families and multiple internet connections. Can’t unblock as many streaming services as some of its rivals. 30-day money-back guarantee.
Read our full review of IPVanish.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
PrivateVPN has a relatively small choice of servers compared to the other recommended services on our list. But that doesn’t mean the service is sub-par. In fact, PrivateVPN is so confident about its product that it’s able to offer a 30-day money-back guarantee to all users.
The company offers a total of four servers in the UK. Globally there are just over 80 in 56 countries. PrivateVPN has an impressive ability to unblock popular streaming services including Netflix, BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, and lots more. An additional reason to opt for this provider is that its speed and privacy ranking, as judged by our extensive user review, was at par with the other providers mentioned in the article.
PrivateVPN uses the industry-leading 256-bit AES encryption along with perfect forward secrecy on the OpenVPN protocol. An internet kill switch is offered too. The service doesn’t store any user logs or engage in data mining of any nature.
Apps are available for Android, iOS, Windows, and MacOS.
- Unblocks most popular UK streaming content from almost anywhere
- Servers are fast and connections are reliable
- Strong on privacy and security features
- Fewer UK servers than others on this list
- Doesn’t work in China
- Kill switch option is only for the Windows app
GREAT SPEED:PrivateVPN is a good family choice. Unblocks many popular UK shows and allows up to 6 devices on the same account. Small network of servers but fast connections. 30-day money-back guarantee.
Here’s our full review of PrivateVPN.
Can I use a free VPN for a UK IP address?
One of the basic reasons for opting to use a VPN is the reassurance that your digital footprint will remain secure as long as you stay connected to a VPN server. After all, that’s why the software was developed in the first place: to keep yourself hidden on the internet. We’re aware that free VPN services are heavily advertised on app stores and elsewhere across the internet, but the experience they offer is shoddy, unreliable, and not worth your time.
Free VPN services ship with a ridiculously small choice of servers, deploy feeble encryption standards, regularly indulge in bandwidth throttling, and, in some cases, mine your data to sell for a profit. We’re not saying it’s impossible to get a UK IP address with a free VPN but it’ll be very cumbersome and may require a fair bit of trial and error.
Having said that, you should know such services are registered businesses. They need to make money to pay for staff salaries, the cost of maintaining servers, and other business overheads. A free product should raise eyebrows because there’s definitely a catch involved. Some will bombard you with migraine-inducing popup advertisements or insert tracking cookies and sell your personal data to advertisers. Others might interrupt the service frequently to pester you to upgrade to a premium plan.
Overall, we recommend investing a few dollars and obtaining a paid VPN service. Free ones don’t cut it.
I’ve decided on a VPN. What do I do next?
After you’ve settled on a VPN service that works for you (an easy way is to click on the links beneath each mini-review) and signed up with your credit card information, then all you need to do is proceed to download the client software for your device.
Log into your account after the installation is complete. Browse through the list of available server locations until you find those that are located in the UK. Some providers let you select a server based on country alone, while others let you select by city.
A successful connection will normally be indicated by a green icon on your taskbar or a VPN symbol at the top of your smartphone screen. Now your connection will be anonymous and secure, and you’ll have a UK IP address that will give you access to all the British content you want.
Why do I need an IP address from the UK?
Advocacy body Freedom House says the internet landscape in the United Kingdom is “free”, noting that it “is considered to be a key element determining societal and democratic participation”.
Access to broadband internet is a fundamental human right in the UK. This is backed by a commitment to allow access to the free and unfettered internet, bereft of content censoring or other abhorrent practices.
An IP address from the UK can help if you’d like to access the free and open web. Normally that’s not available to citizens of countries like Iran, China, Russia, and the UAE where state-appointed engineers impose all sorts of blockades to throttle access to sites.
UK residents who are traveling abroad will find it useful to obtain an IP address from back home. This helps to access content like BBC iPlayer, Sky Go, UK Netflix, and ITV Hub. If you’re looking for a more detailed guide on how to stream UK shows while abroad, then our primer on the topic should help.
Other use cases for a UK IP address are accessing online banking services and watching premier league football.
DISCLAIMER: Comparitech does not encourage using a VPN to stream content illegally. Please consult local laws thoroughly before deciding to embark on this route. If you have any questions then it’s best to talk to a lawyer in your country of residence.
Using a DNS server in the UK
Your IP address operates as a physical identifier of sorts, helping websites determine where you’re accessing the web from. But that’s just one (albeit popular) method. Another common mechanism is via Domain Name Systems (DNS) which act as a hybrid registry of sorts. DNS addresses are used to verify domain names using their IP address. When trying to access geo-restricted content, most websites will check where the DNS request is originating from. If both your IP address and DNS server don’t originate from a country that allows access (such as the UK for BBC iPlayer), the host website or app will block you.
All the recommended VPNs in this list make sure that DNS requests are handled accordingly. After a successful connection to a VPN server, your DNS requests will also be routed through the same encrypted tunnel. Many of them offer DNS leak protection to boot. Therefore, it’s not possible for snoopers to monitor your web activity simply by examining DNS requests.
Free VPN services ordinarily route your DNS requests through the encrypted tunnel but then use a public DNS service on the other side. This means search engines can track which websites you visit, thereby compromising privacy.
It’s possible to manually configure DNS servers on most device platforms. OpenNIC can do the trick for you; it offers free DNS servers in specific countries.
Can I obtain a UK IP address without signing up for a VPN?
There is an alternative option for getting an IP address from the UK. This is obtained via the Tor browser; a product conceptualized by the Tor project which aims to help people escape network surveillance and violation of confidential business relationships and privacy.
The Tor browser is free and incorporates sophisticated encryption and anonymity standards. It’s popular with journalists, human rights activists, and whistleblowers as it allows them to hide their identity without a monthly charge.
But the Tor browser is only viable for limited use. If you’re a blogger or whistleblower, then Tor can help. It’s a terrible option if you want to engage in online banking services or stream British content. That’s because all the sophisticated encryption makes it insufferably slow. However, if you’d still like to get a UK IP address with Tor, then this guide will break it down in more detail.
Another option is to deploy a free proxy server. However, this is similar to the free VPN services we warned you about earlier in the article). Proxy servers also operate with download caps and shady privacy policies. Most streaming providers like Netflix have started to block proxies as well and others are quickly catching on.
An additional problem is those proxy servers won’t encrypt your traffic the way a VPN does, so you’re leaving yourself susceptible to online monitoring by an ISP or other intrusive entities. The proxy provider itself could also monitor your online behavior.
UK IP Address FAQ
How can I select an IP address from London via a VPN?
Some VPN providers actually let you choose the city your server is in, as well as the country. They might, for instance, let you choose between servers in London, Manchester, or Glasgow. Generally, though, even if you’re not given the option to select a city, servers are usually in the capital or another nearby location. This means that servers simply labeled “United Kingdom” will most likely be in London and will, as such, give you an IP address from London.
Is it legal to use a UK IP address while abroad?
There’s no law that says you can’t change your IP address. In fact, if there were, many prominent businesses would be in trouble since remote workers frequently use VPNs to access company networks safely. Unless you’re planning on committing crimes while connected to a VPN, there’s no reason you should encounter any problems. After all, it’s not a crime to be privacy-conscious.
How can I hide my IP address while in the UK?
Generally, there are two ways to hide your IP address: proxy servers and VPNs. Proxies work by routing your traffic through servers elsewhere in the world but these usually only protect your browser traffic. It can also be difficult to find out who operates publicly-available proxy servers and what they do with your information.
Ultimately, VPNs are the better choice. They do everything a proxy does but encrypt your traffic as well. This means that even if someone is monitoring the network, they won’t be able to see which sites you visit or what you do on them.
Do any VPN providers offer a dedicated IP address from the UK?
Yes, some VPNs provide dedicated IP addresses from the UK. This includes NordVPN and CyberGhost. Note that in order to get a dedicated IP address from these VPNs, you’ll need to pay an additional fee on top of your regular VPN subscription. Dedicated IP addresses offer a number of benefits such as being able to skip blacklists and avoid repetitive identity verification.
Where can I find the NordVPN server list for the UK?
It’s easy enough to find the NordVPN server list for the UK. You can choose to look at it on NordVPN’s website or, if you’re already a subscriber, via the NordVPN apps. With the apps, simply scroll down to the United Kingdom and click on the three dots. You’ll see the full list of servers sorted by server number. It’s also possible to see the server load while you can even favorite specific servers for faster future access.
Will a UK IP address from a VPN provider stop my ISP throttling BBC iPlayer?
It depends on the VPN provider! Like some ISPs, some VPNs throttle your bandwidth, resulting in lag and buffering while streaming BBC iPlayer. The good news is that there are a number of high-quality, reputable VPN providers that offer unlimited bandwidth. This includes NordVPN. By using these VPNs to connect to a server in the UK for a UK IP address, you can bypass ISP throttling and watch BBC iPlayer without interruption.