Best VPN for UK

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Best VPN for UK

Best VPN for UK

A VPN is a must-have tool for UK residents and UK expats abroad. Not only will it help you to stay safe, private, and secure online, a VPN will also unblock websites and content that may be restricted.

There are many reasons for this upward trend in VPN usage:
  • Privacy – Internet providers in the UK are forced to record the browsing activity of their customers and provide this to government agencies on demand. A VPN encrypts and anonymizes your activity so your internet provider can’t see what you’re doing.
  • Unblocking websites – Many websites are blocked in the UK. A VPN changes your IP address and virtual location to get around these blocks. UK expats who want access to BBC iPlayer, Netflix, and other UK media
  • Security – Anyone who wants more security when connecting to public WiFi hotspots or questionable networks should use a VPN.
  • UK IP address – UK expats living abroad will need a UK IP address to stream UK-specific media, such as BBC iPlayer. A VPN is the solution for this.
We’ll examine each of these trends more carefully below – but first let’s examine the best UK VPNs. This guide ranks the best VPNs for the UK (and UK expats) based on the following criteria:
  1. Located in a good privacy jurisdiction to keep user data safe
  2. Passed all tests with no leaks found (no IP address leaks or DNS leaks)
  3. Good performance throughout the server network (fast speeds and good reliability)
  4. High-quality VPN apps with all features working correctly
  5. Supports the OpenVPN protocol and strong encryption standards
  6. Offers a money-back guarantee (between 7 and 30 days)
  7. Trustworthy and well-established VPN provider with a good track record
Here are the best VPNs for the UK:

1. ExpressVPN – Best all-around VPN for UK

VPN ExpressVPN
Based in British Virgin Islands
Logs No logs (audited)
Price $6.67/mo.
Support 24/7 Live chat
Refund 30 days
Website ExpressVPN.com
At the top of our list, holding the title of Best VPN for the UK, we have ExpressVPN. ExpressVPN is based in the British Virgin Islands, which is an excellent offshore privacy jurisdiction. Despite the name, the British Virgin Islands are fully independent of the UK with their own legal and political system. It is a jurisdiction acclaimed for privacy with no data retention laws, unlike in the UK. ExpressVPN is also a verified no logs VPN service with an excellent track record going back many years. If you need a VPN with the highest levels of security, ExpressVPN has you covered. It offers very secure VPN apps that encrypt traffic using 256-bit AES encryption. Traffic is further secured against any leaks with the Network Lock feature to prevents IP address leaks or DNS leaks. ExpressVPN operates a large network of high-bandwidth servers throughout the world, with secure self-hosted DNS. They converted all servers to run only in RAM-disk mode (no hard drives) for better security – see the TrustedServer feature. If you enjoy streaming or torrenting, ExpressVPN is also one of the top choices. It currently ranks as the best VPN for Netflix, providing 24/7 access to all major Netflix regions, including UK, Australia, and American Netflix. ExpressVPN also works well with other streaming services, such as if you need a VPN for Hulu, BBC iPlayer, and more.

ExpressVPN UK server locations

You can get a UK IP address with any of these ExpressVPN servers:
  • Docklands
  • East London
  • London
  • Wembley

+ Pros

  • User-friendly and very secure VPN apps
  • Exceptional speeds throughout the server network
  • 30 day money-back guarantee
  • Split tunneling feature (for Mac OS, Windows, and routers)
  • Works with Netflix, BBC iPlayer and other streaming services
  • 24/7 live chat support

– Cons

  • Slightly more expensive (but currently offering a 49% discount below)

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See our ExpressVPN review for detailed test results and analysis.

2. NordVPN – A low-priced VPN with UK servers

VPN NordVPN
Based in Panama
Logs No logs (audited)
Price $3.71/mo.
Support 24/7 Live chat
Refund 30 days
Website NordVPN.com
NordVPN is another great all-around VPN for the UK that is popular with many users. It’s based in Panama (a great privacy jurisdiction) and is a verified no logs VPN provider with a good track record. It performed well for the NordVPN review without any leaks or problems identified. NordVPN is one of the fastest VPNs we have tested. It now supports the WireGuard VPN protocol, which offers faster speeds than any other VPN protocol. With excellent speeds and strong security, it is currently the best VPN for torrenting. NordVPN has a huge network of 5,500+ servers in 59 countries, all running on dedicated hardware (no virtual server locations). NordVPN continues to be one of the top-performers in security and privacy. It has upgraded the server network to run only in RAM-disk mode, while also conducting an in-depth security audit with Versprite to identify and eliminate network vulnerabilities. NordVPN also offers many great privacy features:
  • CyberSec feature to block ads, tracking, and malware domains
  • Double-VPN servers that encrypt traffic over two different locations
  • Tor-over-VPN servers that encrypt traffic with both the VPN server and the Tor network
  • Obfuscated servers that will conceal your VPN traffic as regular HTTPS encryption (a useful feature if you need a VPN for China)
For streaming, NordVPN is also a top pick. It supports all major Netflix regions, including UK Netflix, as well as many other streaming services. If you need a VPN for Firestick, NordVPN offers a dedicated VPN app in the Amazon App Store. And for the icing on the cake, NordVPN is one of the best low-cost options available. You can pick up a subscription with a 68% discount, which drops prices down to only $3.71/month. All plans come with a 30 day money-back guarantee as well as 24/7 live chat customer support.

NordVPN UK server locations

+ Pros

  • User-friendly and reliable apps
  • 30 day money-back guarantee
  • Double-hop VPN servers; Tor-over-VPN servers
  • 24/7 live chat support
  • Verified no logs (audited)
  • Works with Netflix and other streaming services
  • CyberSec ad-blocking feature

– Cons

  • Big discounts only available with long-term plans

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See the updated NordVPN review for test results and analysis.

3. Surfshark – A reliable, fully-featured VPN for the UK

VPN Surfshark
Based in British Virgin Islands
Logs No logs
Price $2.49/mo.
Support 24/7 Live chat
Refund 30 days
Website Surfshark.com
Surfshark is another great VPN for the UK. It is one of the newer VPN services, having officially launched in 2018. It is a no-logs VPN based in the British Virgin Islands that also gives users an unlimited number of connections. It is also one of the best options if you want a cheap VPN provider. Surfshark VPN uses strong encryption with an AES-256 cipher and the OpenVPN and IKEv2 VPN protocols. Like NordVPN, Surfshark also offers an ad-blocking feature and double-VPN servers. Additionally, it has a split tunneling feature that allows you to route certain applications or websites outside of the VPN tunnel. Surfshark also does well in the streaming category. Like the other UK VPNs we’ve discussed, Surfshark also works with UK Netflix and officially supports eight other global Netflix regions. It is a good option if you need a VPN for Kodi streaming and they do not limit or restrict torrenting in any way. If you are a Mac OS user, it’s worth noting that Surfshark only supports the IKEv2 protocol in the Mac OS app. But there are other VPNs for Mac that support the OpenVPN protocol you can consider. Speeds with Surfshark were pretty good, but not quite on par with ExpressVPN and NordVPN. All speed test results are posted in my review of Surfshark VPN.

Surfshark UK server locations

  • London
  • Manchester
  • Glasgow

+ Pros

  • Unlimited connections
  • User-friendly apps for all devices and operating systems
  • CleanWeb feature to block ads, trackers, and malware domains
  • Works great with Netflix, Amazon Prime, and other streaming services
  • 24/7 live chat support
  • Split tunneling feature
  • Secure encryption and leak protection features

– Cons

  • Variable speeds with some servers

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Our review of Surfshark VPN has more info and test results.

4. Perfect Privacy – Secure VPN with advanced privacy features

VPN Perfect Privacy
Based in Switzerland
Logs No logs
Price $8.95/mo.
Support Email & forum
Refund 7 days
Website Perfect-Privacy.com
Next up is Perfect Privacy, a Switzerland-based, no logs VPN service. Like Surfshark, Perfect Privacy also gives users an unlimited number of connections. While it is on the higher end of the price scale, Perfect Privacy offers some advanced privacy and security features. These include multi-hop VPN functionality, advanced leak protection, full IPv6 support, and a powerful TrackStop feature that blocks advertising, trackers, malware, and phishing domains. While Perfect Privacy’s server network is not as large as with ExpressVPN or NordVPN, it is composed of only dedicated bare-metal servers with high bandwidth data channels. There are many locations throughout Europe, with a handful in North America and other regions. You can see real-time server bandwidth stats here. Perfect Privacy offers dedicated VPN apps for Windows, Mac OS, Linux, and support for mobile devices and routers. While it is an expensive VPN service, it offers advanced features to achieve a high level of online anonymity. One main drawback with Perfect Privacy is that they do not offer much support for streaming services. Therefore if you are a UK expat who wants a VPN to stream UK media, Perfect privacy would not be the best choice, as it’s more focused on privacy and security. Another drawback is that they don’t offer a VPN app for Android that supports OpenVPN – but you can always use third-party apps.

Perfect Privacy UK server locations

  • London (two dedicated high-bandwidth servers)
  • Manchester

+ Pros

  • Multi-hop VPN, up to 4 servers (self-configurable)
  • Zero logs with an unlimited number of connections
  • Dedicated bare-metal servers with full IPv6 support
  • Full obfuscation support (Stealth VPN)
  • Customizable firewall and port-forwarding options
  • TrackStop filter (advertisement, tracking, and malware blocker)

– Cons

  • Higher price
  • Does not work with some streaming sites (such as Netflix and BBC iPlayer)
  • Limited support for mobile devices

https://Perfect-Privacy.com

See the Perfect Privacy review for detailed test results.

5. VPN.ac – A basic, security-focused VPN for UK

VPN VPN.ac
Based in Romania
Logs Connection logs
Price $3.75/mo.
Support Email
Refund 7 days
Website VPN.ac
Last up on our list of UK VPNs is VPN.ac, a reliable and secure VPN based in Romania. VPN.ac is run by a team of network security professionals and has a lot to offer. It is a fast, secure, and fully-featured VPN with apps for all major operating systems and devices. Similar to Perfect Privacy, VPN.ac runs only dedicated bare-metal servers, with high-bandwidth data channels. This provides great speeds, as I verified in the VPN.ac review. For features, VPN.ac offers double-hop VPN servers, numerous encryption options, built-in leak protection, and secure proxy browser extensions for Firefox, Chrome, and Opera. While it is not the best VPN for streaming, VPN.ac does offer limited support for American Netflix. Other services, however, may get blocked on VPN.ac servers, as they are more focused on security rather than unblocking media sites. VPN.ac is well-priced at $3.75/month when you sign up for the two-year plan. All subscriptions come with a 7 day money-back guarantee, and they also offer a discounted one-week trial (see the FAQ page).

VPN.ac UK server locations

  • London
  • Coventry
  • Manchester
  • Portsmouth

+ Pros

  • Dedicated bare-metal servers with self-hosted encrypted DNS
  • Excellent speeds with plenty of available bandwidth
  • Multi-hop (double VPN) server configurations
  • Obfuscation features with many different encryption options
  • Secure proxy browser extensions

– Cons

  • Minimal connection logs (but erased daily)
  • Limited support for streaming services

https://VPN.ac

See the VPN.ac review for detailed test results.

What about VPNs based in the UK?

As a general rule of thumb, I do not recommend VPNs that are legally based in the UK. The reason for this is because the UK is a bad jurisdiction for privacy, especially for companies that handle private data. Authorities in the UK have enormous power to coerce companies to collect and hand over customer data, which was greatly expanded with the Investigatory Powers Act. This means that a UK VPN service could be forced to log customer data, while also being prohibited from disclosing this to their users. The UK is also an official member of the Five Eyes alliance, along with the US, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand. As a member, data collected by UK authorities is also available to the other Five Eyes member countries. The risk of UK VPN providers logging customer data and handing it over to authorities is very real and should not be taken lightly. One noteworthy example of this was with HideMyAss (HMA VPN review), a VPN based in the UK that provided data logs to US authorities for a criminal investigation:
It appears that the FBI traced a hack into Sony back to an IP address owned by HMA and promptly got a UK court order, demanding logs from HMA an incident HMA dubbed the “LulzSec Fiasco” in a post on their blog on September 23rd, 2011.
When selecting the best VPN for the UK, jurisdiction is an important consideration. All of the providers in this guide are located in safe jurisdictions with strong privacy protections in place.

Why use a VPN for the UK?

There are many reasons to use a VPN for the UK. Here are just a few we will cover:
  1. Privacy concerns and internet provider snooping
  2. Accessing UK media (BBC iPlayer and UK Netflix)
  3. Blocked websites
  4. Torrenting, filesharing, and Kodi streaming

1. Privacy concerns and internet provider snooping

Leaked documents about the PRISM program in the United States illustrate the degree to which corporate and government agencies work closely together to monitor, track, and record your online activities. This alarming development is also unfolding in the UK as well. uk privacy laws vpn In November 2016, the Investigatory Powers Act (also called the Snooper’s Charter) officially became law. This bill massively expanded both monitoring and data collection of all UK residents, as well as persons of interest abroad (such as UK expats):
  • Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and phone companies are now required to record every website you visit and how long you were on the website over a period of 12 months, and provide that information to various agencies. (This information will be stored in a giant centralized database with everything under your name.)
  • Legalizes bulk data collection of all personal communications (phone/text and internet)
  • Legalizes real-time monitoring of everyone inside the UK, as well as large populations of people outside the UK.
  • Requires tech companies to record data from apps and devices, such as iMessage and WhatsApp.
  • Allows the government to force tech companies to hack into their customer’s devices (phones, computers, tablets) to steal private information.
  • Allows for the targeted hacking of individuals, technology infrastructure, or even entire towns – if deemed necessary by UK officials.
Just like in the UK, Australia also ushered in massive data retention laws, which is discussed more in the best VPNs for Australia guide. This is a Western-wide trend we see unfolding. Most people assume they have some degree of anonymity when they are online. As you can see with the developments above, this assumption is false. Anyone in the UK who is not using a VPN is exposing their private data and online activities to third parties. surveillance privacy laws in uk Perhaps more alarming is a law that makes it illegal to view any “terrorist propaganda” online. What exactly qualifies as “terrorist propaganda”? Who knows. This legislation is truly frightening when you consider that punishments for visiting the wrong site – even just once – can include up to 15 years in jail. While these trends are concerning, we also see the same unfolding in Australia as well as the United States. I highlighted the worst policies when discussing VPNs for USA and the growing need for data privacy.

2. Accessing UK Media, BBC iPlayer, UK Netflix, and more

Many UK expats and residents abroad are looking for a safe and reliable way to access UK media. This is especially true for watching UK Netflix or streaming BBC iPlayer with a VPN. A VPN is the best way to unblock UK media because it will allow provide you with a UK IP address, thereby making you appear to be in the UK. Simply connect to a VPN server in the UK (from anywhere in the world) and then stream any UK media you want as normal. As mentioned above, the best VPN for streaming UK media is ExpressVPN. Another good option for streaming UK media is NordVPN (see our NordVPN vs ExpressVPN comparison report). Both services work with UK Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and many more. Of course, be careful with free VPN services, free proxies, and dodgy browser extensions, which usually function as insecure data collection tools. (This is how the free services pay for themselves, by collecting your private data and selling it to third parties.)

3. Blocked websites in the UK

There are now over 775,000 websites being actively blocked in the UK. What types of websites are getting blocked? There are many different website categories getting blocked: torrenting, streaming, sports, adult content, music, videos, and more. How are websites in the UK getting blocked? These website blocks in the UK are being carried out by UK internet providers. To block websites, UK internet providers simply block the DNS request, which is the translation request your computer sends to your internet provider to look up the specific IP address of a website you want to visit. Here are the most popular UK internet providers that are blocking websites:
  • BT Internet: 9+ million users
  • Sky Broadband: 6+ million users
  • Virgin Media: 5+ million users
  • TalkTalk: 4+ million users
Additionally, there are also now age verification filters in place, which exposes your identity and the sites you visit to third parties. This is yet another reason to use a good VPN service if you are in the UK. The growing problem of blocked websites is also unfolding in Canada, as I pointed out when discussing the best VPNs for Canada. Solution: When you use a VPN service, however, your DNS requests are processed by your VPN provider and all your traffic is encrypted and anonymized with other users on that server. Not only will your UK internet provider not be able to block any website you’re visiting, but it also won’t be able to see anything you’re up to online. A VPN encrypts internet traffic and data, which makes it unreadable to your internet provider and other third parties.

4. Torrenting, file sharing, and Kodi streaming in the UK

In the United Kingdom, the punishments for copyright violations are getting downright absurd. These include massive fines and jail time for simply downloading, sharing, or torrenting copyrighted media. While some torrent clients offer encryption options, this will not keep you safe as your IP address can be exposed, especially with media companies actively monitoring torrent swarms and logging data. Under the current law, people in the UK who are found guilty of pirating copyrighted material could face up to 10 years in jail. Torrenting in uk vpn The UK government is also cracking down on streaming sites and streaming platforms, such as Kodi. Because television programs are big business for media companies and advertisers, unauthorized third-party streams fall under the copyright infringement laws. This means that even if you don’t download anything, you can still face the heavy consequences of copyright infringement for accessing third-party streams. While there may be a small performance tradeoff when using a VPN (due to encryption) a premium VPN service will still provide excellent speeds for torrenting, streaming, and any other online activity.

Are VPNs legal in the UK?

Perhaps you are thinking, “Sounds good, but are VPNs legal in the UK?” The answer to that question is yes. VPNs are perfectly legal in the UK, and all Western countries, for that matter. In fact, VPNs are legal and necessary encryption technology that most businesses use for network security. Additionally, companies with remote workers also rely on VPN technology to securely access internal servers. Even in China, where VPNs are regularly blocked (for censorship reasons), VPN technology is still perfectly legal for all users. In short, there’s nothing to worry about when using a VPN for the UK, especially since VPN services are becoming mainstream for all types of users. Unlike Tor, VPNs no longer come with any “stigma” of shady business, since they are now standard for streamers, torrenters, and average users who simply want more privacy and security online. Just be sure to pick a secure, fast, and reputable provider.

How to get a UK IP address with a VPN

If you are a UK expat living abroad, or just someone who wants to access British streaming platforms, then a VPN is the ticket you need. Here’s how to access UK streaming platforms like the BBC from anywhere in the world. To watch your favorite British streaming platforms you’ll need a UK IP address. To get a UK IP address from anywhere in the world, follow these steps:
  1. Purchase one of the VPNs in this guide
  2. Download and install the VPN software on your device
  3. Connect to a UK VPN server
  4. Access the British streaming site like normal and enjoy your show
Unfortunately, some VPNs are getting detected and blocked by British media sites like the BBC. On a positive note, there are some great VPNs that are still getting through to BBC iPlayer, UK Netflix, and other regional streams, as noted above.

Best VPN services for the UK

As a brief recap, be careful when selecting your VPN, especially since there have been cases where UK VPN services (such as HideMyAss) provided logs to authorities. Our top recommendations remain ExpressVPN and NordVPN, as they both do very well in nearly all use cases. Based on the latest test results and in-depth analysis, below are the best VPNs for the UK and getting a UK IP address.
expressvpn uk

nord vpn for United Kingdom

surfshark vpn uk

perfect privacy vpn uk

vpnac uk

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