If you live or travel in the United Kingdom the need to use a UK VPN is ever increasing and in 2021 you should definitely be using a VPN most, if not all of the time.
In this guide, we'll be showing you 10 of the leading secure VPN services for the job and pointing out some of their features that make them top options for use in the UK.
The services listed in this guide are also suitable for accessing UK services if you're overseas.
But with so many VPN services out there, which should you choose?
Answering that can end up costing you a lot in wasted sign up fees and time. In this busy world of ours, time you could better spend elsewhere.
We've tested a wide range of services for you and broken them down to just ten choices.
Our favourite virtual private network for the UK currently is ExpressVPN but as a savvy shopper, you'll probably want to compare some other options yourself. Although they are our favourite, you're free to choose.
However, rather than wading through over 500 options, you'll only need to compare these ten. So let's delve in.
Top 10 UK VPNs
You can discover some of the features you should be considering when choosing a VPN further below in this guide. First, below are our top choices:
- CyberGhost VPN
- Very fast downloads
- Lots of UK connection points
- Verified no-log policy
- Registered off-shore
- Excellent range of apps
- 30-day money back guarantee
- Month price expensive
ExpressVPN through our extensive expert testing is our standout winner as the number 1 VPN for the UK.
They've got VPN server locations in 94 countries which includes UK based servers and many surrounding countries.
ExpressVPN's connection speeds are excellent. In our tests they far surpassed the speeds of almost all other providers.
We like how well ExpressVPN works with the UK's streaming services and you'll have no issues watching BBC iPlayer, Sky Go, ITV Hub or other services from across the UK.
Plus they work well to access streaming services like Netflix (such as UK Netflix), Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, and other overseas services.
ExpressVPN is based in the British Virgin Islands. Being based in the British Virgin Islands means that there are no data retention laws in place, which is great news for your privacy.
Countries such as the UK or the US have no jurisdiction in the British Virgin Islands, so they can't request any user data from ExpressVPN. Even if they did, ExpressVPN doesn't keep any logs of their users.
An independent audit has confirmed that ExpressVPN's no-logging policy is robust and reliable.
They have a built-in kill switch and DNS leak protection (against DNS requests), cutting your internet instantly if you lose connection to your VPN server.
ExpressVPN also has unlimited bandwidth, which ideal for streaming 4K US Netflix content.
ExpressVPN works well with any UK Internet Service Provider including Virgin, BT, TalkTalk and others. In our speed tests, we found them to be one of the fastest VPN services with top download speeds.
They also offer one of the largest ranges of user-friendly apps available for Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux, Amazon Fire TV devices and more. Plus the ability to have five simultaneous connections.
ExpressVPN is the best VPN service if you are looking for a UK VPN, suitable for beginners and advanced users.
Our #1 Recommended UK VPN
30-day money back guarantee
- Great for streaming
- Big discounts available
- Proven no-log policy
- Security blip in 2019
- Fewer countries than ExpressVPN
NordVPN offers one of the easiest to use VPN services we've seen with some of the best-designed apps on the market that work on every operating system and device type.
Servers are available in the UK and at the current count, they have a massive 680 of them available.
There's also an extensive range across Europe and further afield, so you've got plenty of options. In fact, there are over 5,600 servers available in total which is a higher number of servers than most others.
There's a whole range of easy to use apps available for Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick. They're some of the easiest to use we've tested so if you're a beginner or don't want to delve into the technical side too much they'll be right up your street.
UK streaming services work well on NordVPN, in fact, in tests, they work more than most other providers for all the leading services such as BBC iPlayer, BT Sport, iFollow, Sky and others.
Just like ExpressVPN, NordVPN works well with Netflix (including US Netflix), Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, and other online streaming services. If you want more information, their great customer service team will be able to help you.
NordVPN offers a multihop VPN that allows you to change your IP address twice giving you double the privacy while connected to their servers. This is something that I love about their VPN.
NordVPN also has a built-in kill switch that will cut your internet connection instantaneously if you lose connection to your VPN server. This prevents your internet traffic from being leaked.
You can test the service risk-free with their 30-day money-back guarantee and if you get stuck they provide top-notch customer support.
NordVPN is one of the best VPN providers for the UK, and their price point won't break the bank either.
You can secure their services today for as little as £2.86 for their 2-year plan, and just like ExpressVPN, they are offering three months free on this option.
3. CyberGhost VPN
- Lots of servers
- Great for streaming
- Big range of apps
- No log policy unverified
- Registered in the EU
CyberGhost VPN has been vastly improving their service in recent years, making them a great choice for use in the UK.
With their recently redesigned apps, you can make a UK VPN connection and protect your online activities across your range of devices. We like that their mobile apps help you find the correct server for your needs which saves time and doesn't leave you frustrated like some alternative services.
There are over 7453+ VPN connections dotted across the world with some 641+ in the UK in London, Manchester and Berkshire.
We had no trouble with the leading UK streaming services such as BBC iPlayer and when using the range of apps they even show you which server to join to unblock which specific TV service.
They also unlock many Netflix libraries (such as the Netflix US), Hulu, Disney+, and Amazon.
There's a huge 45-day money-back guarantee which is more than most. Plus you can use the service on up to 7 devices with simultaneous connections, although you'll need to de-register some if you hit the limit which is a little uncommon and a bit unnecessary.
- Unlimited connections
- Big range of apps
- App design uninteresting
- Not brilliant for streaming
IPVanish is one of the most popular UK VPN services and for use in Great Britain, they have a decent offering.
Currently, UK based servers are available across 5 UK server locations which are more than most and includes London, Manchester, Birmingham, Maidenhead and Glasgow. Overall there are servers in 55 countries.
The service has been expanding again after cutting back on servers for several years and there are now three new server locations since our last look.
The standout feature is the ability to have unlimited simultaneous connections. You'll be hard-pressed to find another service that beats this limit.
Speeds on the service are favourable and we didn't experience any issues when watching video, browsing websites or streaming other media to a range of devices.
This coupled with their easy to use apps for Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, and a decent Amazon Fire TV Stick app makes IPVanish an all-around good service with just a few weaknesses, great for protecting your mobile device.
They also have excellent customer support which is a must-have for any VPN provider.
- Easy to use apps
- Reliable service
- Not the fastest speeds
VyprVPN has been one of the most highly regarded VPN services for many years and their commitment to offering a no-log service proven by an audit has won them many fans – ourselves included.
For UK use this makes them a great choice because you can use their VPN service without fear what you're doing is being recorded. This allows you to browse the web privately.
Servers are available in the UK and while they're not quite the fastest, they are incredibly reliable.
Watching content from the streaming service BBC iPlayer, and ITV won't be a problem either. There's also a number of servers located across Europe, and the rest of the world is well covered too (including the US so you can access US Netflix).
A 30-day money-back guarantee is available which matches the competition and gives you an entire month to test it for a variety of purposes.
Their dedicated customer support is extremely useful and even have the addition of live chat customer support if you need to speak to a real person. This is a nice touch as not all VPNs have customer support capable of live chat.
Apps are available for all the most popular devices but sadly there's no dedicated Amazon Fire TV app so if you're a big streamer you'll need to look elsewhere.
6. Surfshark VPN
- Great for Netflix
- Fast download speeds
- Audited infrastructure
- Unverified log policy
- Few servers
Surfshark VPN is relatively young when compared to most others on this list. However, that does not make it any less worthy UK VPN option.
This service has excellent connection speeds, as well as plenty of server locations around the world to let you unblock anything.
It offers a reasonable number of servers, over 1,040 servers in more than 61 countries. The UK is, of course, one of them, and so are many of the surrounding regions.
Surfshark VPN also offers easy to use dedicated apps for many of the most popular devices, mobile devices, and systems, such as iOS, Android, Windows, Linux, macOS, Smart TVs, gaming consoles, and even browser extensions.
It claims it has a no-logging policy and stores no user data or user activity, but while parts of the service have been audited, this doesn't extend to the no-log policy.
A standout feature of Surfshark VPN is the fact that you can have unlimited VPN connections with your subscription. This makes it perfect for families, businesses, and people with plenty of different devices with an internet connection.
They have a built-in Whitelister feature that allows you to give certain apps or sites permission to bypass your VPN via split tunnelling. They also have a built-in kill switch to prevent any of your web traffic personal data from leaking.
Surfshark VPN is well known for being very compatible with streaming services (one of the best UK VPNs for video streaming in my opinion) such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, and BBC iPlayer.
You can use Surfshark VPN to connect to a US server, to access the US Netflix library. It's packed full of great shows that are only available on Netflix US.
Surshark offer three subscription options with a monthly price as low as £1.68 per month (for the two-year plan). Plus they give you an extra three months on top as a bonus.
Lastly, Surfshark VPN has a 30-day money-back guarantee, just in case you change your mind about using it, so you can try the VPN risk-free. If you have any questions while using their VPN client, their stellar customer support will be able to help you.
If you need a VPN that's easy to use, has great connection speeds, works well with streaming services such as Netflix, and has great customer support, then Surfshark is one of the best VPNs around.
- Strong security
- Registered in Switzerland
- Expensive monthly price
- Different packages
ProtonVPN is one of the most trustworthy VPN services out there. It is based in Switzerland, and it is fully compliant with the country's stringent privacy laws.
ProtonVPN offers rich coverage of 55 countries, although its server count is a bit lower than what most other VPNs with such extensive coverage have to offer. It has 1246 servers, all of which are strategically located across the world.
They have servers located in the UK, so you can access services like BBC iPlayer (which requires a UK IP address) if you're outside of the UK.
You can also use their VPN to access Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and more.
It is available on all the popular systems, like Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS. The basic package only allows two simultaneous connections so you'll probably want to look at their plus package which allows five.
If you decide that it doesn't work well for you or that you don't like it, you can always rely on a 30-day money-back guarantee. You even get to test it via its free version, so it has a lot to offer.
All of the above is why it is one of the best VPNs for the UK.
- Great download speeds
- Knowledgeable staff
- Short money-back guarantee
- Fewer server locations
Up next is VPN.ac, a service with quite a small, but effective server network.
It has a number of servers in 24 countries, which might sound small when compared to the giants of the VPN industry mentioned earlier, but it is more than enough for most people.
Its UK VPN servers are placed in some of the most popular locations for users to unblock all kinds of content. There are over 120 servers in total, which are reliable, some of the fastest we've tested and suitable for a variety of reasons.
Further, VPN.ac offers apps for Windows, Android, Mac, and iOS. You can use it on six devices with simultaneous connections, which is also pretty good for securing your devices.
From a privacy standpoint, VPN.ac is also useful, as it claims to keep zero activity logs. It does retain some minor customer connection logs for troubleshooting but for just 24 hours.
Last but not least, it offers a 7-day money-back promise, which is a bit short considering CyberGhost VPN's offering of a 45-day money-back guarantee, however, the service is one of our favourites and you probably won't need to utilise it.
Its year plan costs only £3.58 per month which will hardly break the bank and is still relatively cheap when compared to some VPNs.
VPN.ac is one of the best VPN services for the UK.
9. Private Internet Access
- Thousands of servers
- Accepts gift card payments
- Unverified log policy
Private Internet Access, or PIA for short, is one of the oldest VPN services that has been around for a long time.
As such, it survived many different situations as the online privacy world changed. Today, Private Internet Access offers some of the lowest prices in the world of premium VPNs, while at the same time, it works well to protect the user.
It offers over 31,000+ servers in 78 countries, and you can use it to protect up to ten devices at the same time.
You can use this VPNs UK servers to unblock BBC iPlayer and other British TV content. As well as connecting to international servers such as the US to access US exclusive content from streaming platforms such as Hulu, Amazon Prime, and Netflix US.
Meanwhile, it is available on countless platforms, including Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS, and 34 others, so those ten simultaneous connections can come in handy.
Private Internet Access does not keep logs, and this was confirmed when Libsodium audited it. Owners of CyberGhost, KAPE acquired the service but some have raised questions about this acquisition which you can read more about here.
They are one of the best VPN services for the UK.
- Good download speed
- Nice for streaming
- Unaudited log policy
Last on our list; we have VPNCity – another relatively new service that is pretty much unheard of.
It has servers in 42 different cities, covering 33 countries around the world. The total number of its servers is 3,167, which is more than enough to prevent overcrowding, and provide some high download speeds.
In terms of apps, you can use it on Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Chrome, Firefox, Android TV and Fire TV Stick. It can be used for protecting between 6 and 12 devices at the same time, depending on your subscription package.
VPNCity has a strict no-logs policy, which makes it safe to use. It has low prices, and if you decide that you do not like it, it has a 30-day money-back guarantee which you can use to get your money back.
They may be lesser-known but they're a great UK VPN option.
What is a VPN?
A VPN is a service that you can use to keep yourself safe on the internet. This is usually offered in app form.
VPN software hides your traffic with security protocols (VPN Protocol). A VPN encrypts all your internet traffic making it unreadable. Using their server locations to protect your location and identity.
As such, they also allow you to bypass geo-restrictions and censorship on the internet, and to unblock all the content you could ever want.
If you're interested in learning more, we have a detailed guide on what VPNs are.
How to choose a VPN for Britain
Choosing a VPN for the UK has a few unique requirements because of regulations, monitoring, censorship and a whole host of other reasons.
Knowing the standout features specifically for the UK will help you better choose a VPN service so below we've listed four that you should be considering.
- Servers in and around the UK: For different purposes, you'll require UK based VPN servers plus a number of servers nearby to put you outside the UK in locations such as the Netherlands, Switzerland and Iceland.
- Unblocks UK streaming: To get the most out of your private connection you want to ensure that the VPN isn't blocked by the leading UK streaming services such as BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, Sky Go, BT Sport, iFollow and others. This will allow you to watch your favourite content while remaining secure.
- Works with UK ISPs (Internet Service Providers): While any good VPN should work with your UK Internet Service Provider, there have been incidences where a poor server connection can lead to slow speeds. Making sure the VPN works well with the likes of Virgin Media, BT, TalkTalk and Sky Broadband etc will give you the best experience.
- Money-back guarantee: Not much is guaranteed in the VPN world so choose a VPN that gives you at least a 30-day money-back guarantee. This will let you test the service for your specific uses to see how they perform, risk-free. This is definitely something you should look out for.
Which UK VPN is for you?
With more than 500 VPN services available to choose from, it's hard to select just one UK VPN.
That's why we've slimmed this list down to the top ten options. However, even with ten, you may still be a little undecided.
While all ten are excellent for use in the UK there may be one that is most suitable for your personal needs which is why we've broken it down into typical usage scenarios.
If you're still confused, take a look at the usage scenarios below to pick the one that closest matches your needs.
If you're a complete beginner, choose NordVPN. Their apps are well designed and make connection effortless. Even if you've never used a VPN before you can simply make use of their one-click connection which will get you connected to the best server automatically.
If you want to access UK streaming services, choose ExpressVPN or NordVPN. Both services work with the greatest number of the UK's streaming websites and offer excellent connection speeds. If you're in the UK or overseas and you want to access BBC iPlayer and others then these two providers work with most of them. These two VPNs also work great streaming Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon.
If you want to test risk-free, opt for CyberGhost VPN. They've got the most extended money-back guarantee of 45-days giving you plenty of time to check the service.
If you want help choosing the right server, take CyberGhost VPN. Their vast range of helpful apps points you in the correct direction of where to connect for what purpose.
Why is a VPN for the UK necessary?
Using a VPN regardless of which country you're in is essential these days for a range of reasons. The most obvious is the slow erosion of online privacy but there are plenty of other pressing reasons having a VPN is good practice.
The UK has some very good causes why you should be making use of a UK VPN to protect your connection which includes:
The UK's Investigatory Powers Act also known as the ‘Snooper's Charter' is one of the most invasive surveillance and data retention laws in the western world.
With the UK having now left the EU there will be no further European oversight allowing the UK government to pass even more restrictive laws.
This will be a BIG problem for your privacy, something that can be fixed by paying a small price for a VPN.
Don't become a victim of the Investigatory Powers Act.
Online threats in the UK are at their highest recorded levels and your personal details are big business.
Anything from credit card details to your driving licence and other personal details can be bought or sold on the ‘dark web' for anywhere between as little as 80 pence up to £25.
While a UK VPN can't protect you against data breaches of businesses, it does secure you in many other circumstances.
Don't wait until it's too late, secure your privacy now.
Unblock TV services
If you're outside the UK or travelling overseas many of the UK's TV service websites are blocked.
A UK VPN allows you to unblock them anywhere by changing your IP Address. It also means you can watch in the UK while retaining your privacy.
Use a VPN and enable a whole world of content.
Unblock other content
There's plenty of other content blocked or censored in the UK. A VPN allows you to hop outside the UK to access legal content from another location.
Adult Age verification
Age Verification was proposed to come into effect in the UK in 2019.
However, for the time being, it has been shelved. That doesn't mean that age verification has gone away entirely as UK authorities are still proposing to introduce similar measures in their ‘Online Harms' legislation.
You therefore may wish to be prepared for any future laws that could be implemented.
The above isn't an exhaustive list of reasons to use a VPN but it's some of the best reasons for users to use one. Even taking the five specifics above goes to show that using a VPN for your everyday internet use in the UK is now essential.
Is using a VPN illegal in the UK?
No, using a VPN is entirely legal in the UK.
There are no laws against protecting the privacy of your internet usage. Nor against using encryption which is how a VPN protects you.
Encryption is also how websites such as your bank manages to secure your connection.
VPN systems are used by hundreds of thousands of businesses daily and millions of individuals as a way of staying safe online.
So using any of the 10 VPNs mentioned above is perfectly legal and will help you stay protected.
Is there a free VPN to use?
We don't recommend free Virtual Private Networks like hotspot shield for several reasons.
Most importantly, free VPNs are a security risk. There have been numerous reports about free VPN services selling access to your data or usage. They sometimes give other users access to your IP address which can land you in trouble.
They also have questionable ownership which can be in countries like China that have very few laws to protect the privacy of your data. This puts free users at risk as your identifiable user data can be shared with third parties.
There have even been reports of free VPNs that aren't actually VPNs at all and are instead malware.
If you managed to find a reliable free VPN (which is incredibly tricky) then you would discover they've got slow internet speeds, poor connections, and don't tend to work as you would expect.
To add insult to injury, most free VPNs won't work with major streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, or any other streaming services.
In my experience, steer clear from free VPNs, and use one of the best VPNs mentioned in my list. There isn't a “best free VPN”.
What is the leading VPN for UK TV?
To stay secure while watching TV services or access UK TV from abroad picking the correct VPN can be difficult.
Not all work with UK TV services and while some work with specific services, they often don't work with them all.
Through our extensive testing, we've found both ExpressVPN and NordVPN to be the best options. They've been the most reliable for UK TV and they unlock the greatest number of services such as BBC iPlayer.
They also work well with the streaming service Netflix and many other streaming platforms.
Either of them makes good choices for watching UK TV.
In Summary: A quick round-up
While all the VPNs on this list are great for the UK, the best VPN for the UK right now is ExpressVPN.
They offer the perfect balance of privacy protections, TV unblocking (think BBC iPlayer), apps, ease of use and more. They've also got an extensive range of server locations across the UK and plenty of nearby locations.
You can try them risk-free using their 30-day money-back guarantee.
We recommend signing up for their 1-year package because it's almost 50% cheaper than paying every month and they're giving you 3-months free right now which isn't to be missed.
If you've got time to do further research then it's worth checking out all ten VPNs above as you may like one more than the others.
Whichever of the VPNs you end up choosing you can't go wrong because they're ten of the most reliable VPN services for the UK this year, and all offer a great price.
Get yourself set up with one of the best VPN providers for the UK now.
- The Telegraph | The best VPNs to protect your data, browser, iPhone, Android and more
- NCA | Cyber crime
- Metropolitan Police | Little Book of Cyber Scams
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