A VPN is absolutely essential in the UK. Why?
Well, without a secure VPN, your Internet Service Provider (ISP) will be able to monitor and log everything you do online, and you’ll be subject to the UK’s intrusive Snoopers’ Charter.
A VPN will keep your personal information safe and your privacy intact, but is a free VPN just as secure as a paid one?
Free VPNs are very popular and there are tons of them on the market. But not all of them will work well in the UK or protect you as a VPN should. Some of them could potentially do more harm than good.
We’re constantly testing all the free VPNs we recommend for the UK to ensure they protect all your online activities from prying eyes. These are our top picks for the best free VPNs for the UK.
If you’re interested in more robust VPNs for the UK, check out our list of the highest rated (paid) VPNs for the UK.
The Most Important Factors We Compared
- Has servers in or close to the UK
- No IP/DNS leaks & no/minimal logging
- Has the biggest data allowance possible
- Advanced privacy & security features
- No caps on download speeds
- Well-designed & easy to use apps
Wondering why you should trust our reviews? Take a look at How We Test VPNs
Inside Look into the Best Free VPN Services for the UK
Do I Need a VPN in the UK?
You need a VPN in the UK, without a doubt.
Not only do UK laws force ISPs to log all web browsing history as well as the contents of emails, texts, and phone calls, but these are also made available to the government to access and view at any time.
Public WiFi hotspots are also very common in the UK, and while these can be practical to use when you’re out and about, they could also potentially expose all of your online activity to hackers.
Using a VPN is the only way to keep your personal information safe and secure, whether you’re at home or in public.
Are VPNs legal in the UK?
Loads of UK citizens use VPNs on a daily basis to keep themselves safe online and stop the government spying on their browsing activity, and it is perfectly within their rights to do so.
Using a VPN doesn’t mean you’re exempt from UK laws, however, so you still need to make sure that everything you do while connected to the VPN is legal – this includes adhering to copyright restrictions, too.
If you’re located outside of the UK and are planning on using a VPN to connect in, however, there is a small number of countries that place restrictions on unauthorised VPN services. These are:
- United Arab Emirates (UAE)
VPNs are also completely illegal in four other countries, and using one could result in a large fine or even a prison sentence. The countries in which VPNs are illegal are:
- North Korea
If you need to connect in to the UK from one of these locations, be sure to check out our guide Are VPNs Legal? for more information on choosing the best VPN service.
You can also take a look at our guide on the Best VPNs for China (and other high-censorship countries).
How Do I Get a Free UK VPN?
Fear not – it’s super easy to get a free VPN in the UK.
Simply choose a free VPN service with VPN servers in the UK (or close by), sign up, and you’re good to go. Naturally, we recommend the ones on this page.
All you need to do is connect to a VPN server based in the UK, and you’ll appear to be connecting out from a UK IP address.
What Is the Best Free VPN for UK Netflix?
There are over 500 TV shows and nearly 2,500 movies on UK Netflix. If you live outside the UK or perhaps you’re an expat living abroad, you may want a VPN that’s good for unblocking and accessing your favorite UK Netflix content.
We understand that alongside the Netflix subscription fee, it would be good to avoid further costs and get a free VPN for UK Netflix. Unfortunately, most free VPNs come with serious limitations of data or restrict its dedicated streaming servers for paid subscriptions.
Hide.me, for example, deliberately reserves access to Netflix for its paid subscribers.
For this reason, when it comes to streaming UK Netflix, we recommend premium VPNs. You can see the best overall VPNs for Netflix in our helpful guide.
If you really don’t want to pay, your best bet is Windscribe, with its 10GB of monthly data available to use towards streaming. The problem is: we’ve not had much success in our streaming tests lately when trying to unblock Netflix via Windscribe.
Best Free UK VPN for BBC iPlayer?
To access BBC iPlayer with a free VPN service, it needs to offer a UK-based server to connect to.
That excludes Hide.me and ProtonVPN, but not our #1 – Windscribe. In our tests, we managed to access BBC iPlayer on its ‘Best Location’ server, although it’s not guaranteed to work every time.
When it comes to streaming, free VPN services are extremely limited. If you want the best experience, we do recommend a premium service, and we have a guide to help you decide which VPN is the best for BBC iPlayer in particular.
Are There Free UK VPNs for Windows PC?
Yes, most VPNs are applicable with Windows and have custom apps designed for it. This extends to free VPNs.
Windscribe – our #1 recommendation for free UK VPNs – has a perfectly good Windows app and so it’s worth looking into as your free VPN for Windows.
If you’re willing to spend money, though, then you need to check out our definitive list to the best VPNs for Windows.
What is the Best Free UK VPN for Apple Mac?
Windows dominates the desktop market, but the Mac fanatics among you may want to know what the best free VPN for the UK is.
Most VPNs come with apps designed for Apple MacOS.
If you want to know the best free UK VPN for Apple Mac, we recommend the best VPN on this list, Windscribe Free.
It’s worth consulting our above choices to really compare and contrast in relation to your needs.
Can I Get a Free UK VPN Without Using a Credit Card?
We all love freebies, but we all know the horror of having to insert payment details for a service you have no intention of paying for.
Reminding yourself to cancel within a certain time frame is often a risky business to the forgetful among us.
To get around this, it’s best to find a free VPN that doesn’t require you to insert any payment details at all to access it.
We took this into consideration. All of our recommendations for the best free UK VPN, including Windscribe, ProtonVPN, TunnelBear, Hide.me and Avira, require no credit card details whatsoever to subscribe, or any other payment you may use.
So simply choose between these VPN services and make a choice with no worries of being accidentally charged.
Which Free VPN Will Access UK Websites?
To access UK websites, websites and content exclusive to residents of the UK, you need a UK IP address.
Say you’re travelling abroad and want to keep up to date with your newspaper headlines or access UK Netflix, a VPN is the solution. It can connect to whichever international IP address is available on the VPN service.
All you need to consider is: does this free VPN have a UK server? Two that do not are ProtonVPN and Hide.me. Do not download these free VPN services.
Windscribe has two UK servers on its free service, so that’s your best bet.
Which is the Best Free UK VPN for Fire Stick?
The Fire TV Stick is Amazon’s biggest seller, and one of the most popular streaming devices in the world.
We think you should use a VPN when using the Fire TV Stick as you can unlock content from popular streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and BBC iPlayer. If you need to access geo-specific streaming content, using a VPN will help you to unblock it.
More importantly, you should install a VPN on your Fire TV Stick to keep you safe online. VPNs encrypt internet traffic, which prevents hackers from stealing your personal information.
VPNs also prevent your ISP or targeted ads from tracking your activities online.
It’s especially important to use a secure and trusted VPN if you use Kodi on your Fire TV Stick.
Windscribe Free and Hide.me Free can be downloaded directly onto your device from the Amazon app store in just a few clicks.
We recommend these free VPN services as other VPNs such as ProtonVPN require manual configuration to use Fire TV Stick, which is a bit tricky. If you do want to do this, it’s worth checking out our guide How to Install a VPN on a Router for instructions.
If you’d like to compare more VPN services and read more about the best free VPN for Fire Stick, we recommend you consult our list to the best free VPN for Fire Stick.
Free UK VPNs to Avoid
If you’re looking to use a free VPN in the UK, it’s important to avoid the very bad and outright deceptive ones.
These five are some of the worst of the worst.
1Hola Free VPN
Hola Free VPN is one of the most popular ‘free VPN’ services we’ve seen, but that doesn’t mean you should use it.
It’s actually an extremely insecure peer-to-peer proxy network that’s being incorrectly marketed as a VPN, when it actually doesn’t provide any encryption whatsoever.
Hola Free VPN also monitors everything you do online, including the websites you visit, and has been known to sell user bandwidth without consent. Avoid Hola at all costs.
2VPN Proxy Master
VPN Proxy Master is a very unreliable free VPN service that has a company history of sending confidential user information to China.
There’s no information to tell how VPN Proxy Master is encrypted, and your IP address is collected and stored for an indefinite period, which is bad news for privacy.
VPN Proxy Master’s apps are inundated with loads of pop-up ads and reminders to rate the company in the App Store, too. Not worth the time taken to download it.
We can’t recommend Turbo VPN to anyone who values their privacy. Not only does it send user information to China, it also incorrectly brands itself as a no-log network.
Turbo VPN offers no privacy features, and customer support is non-existent – the apps are full of annoying pop-up ads, too.
It’s a potentially dangerous free VPN service that outright lies to its users.
Thunder VPN is without doubt one of the worst free VPN services we’ve tested.
This Android-only free VPN uses a sub-standard connection protocol (SSL), lacks essential privacy features, and ignored our requests when we asked more questions about encryption.
Like most free VPNs, Thunder VPN claims to be no-logs but does in fact collect lots of information, including your IP address, ISP, VPN server location, and loads more.
Snap VPN is an incredibly untrustworthy free VPN service that funnels all of your personal data through China and logs tons of unnecessary information.
We also noticed that appears to be almost identical to two other VPN services in this list, Turbo VPN and VPN Proxy Master, suggesting they’re all potentially owned by the same company.
Even for a free VPN, Snap VPN’s approach to privacy is totally unacceptable, and we wouldn’t advise taking a chance on it when there are much better options out there.
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