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Best Free VPN for UK in 2021

Illustration of the flag of the UK
Simon Migliano Head of Research at Top10VPN

Simon is a recognized world expert in VPNs. He's tested hundreds of VPN services and his research has featured on the BBC, The New York Times, CNet and more. Read full bio

If you live in the UK, you need a VPN. The country is one of the worst privacy offenders on the planet. Laws like the 2016 Investigatory Powers Act allows the government to snoop on and store your data.

VPNs protect your right to privacy by hiding your real IP address and encrypting your data. So it’s not surprising that VPNs are on the rise in the UK. But 72% of users in the country still opt for a free VPN. That’s a problem, because the vast majority of free VPNs aren’t very good. Even worse, they can harm your privacy – as our research shows.

We advise investing in a premium VPN that actually protects your online privacy. Free VPNs are limited by data caps, server restrictions, speed throttling, lack P2P support, and inability to bypass geoblocks for added streaming.

But there are a few trustworthy free VPN services. These VPNs still have limitations, but they represent the best available. We’ve spent thousands of hours testing VPNs from our office in London. Our experts have narrowed down hundreds of VPNs to those that are safe. This means strong security, good reputation, and sensible logging policies.

Whether you want to use a VPN within the UK or get a UK IP address abroad, these free VPNs are the best in 2021:

  1. Windscribe Free: The best overall free UK VPN. Read summary
  2. ProtonVPN Free: Free VPN with unlimited data allowance. Read summary
  3. Hide.me Free: The fastest free VPN in the UK. Read summary

We recommended these free VPNs because they have servers in the UK or nearby countries. They have fewer restrictions and are safe to use. We also check for fast and consistent London speeds. Whether you want to use a VPN within the UK or get a UK IP address abroad, these free VPNs are the best.

5 Best Totally Free VPNs for the UK

  1. 1. Windscribe: The Best Free VPN for UK

    Two UK servers, 10GB data allowance, and reliable access to British streaming services.

    Ranked #1 for Free VPN for UK
    Windscribe mobile screenshots
     100% 
    (2 user reviews)
    Visit Windscribe
    1. Unblocks BBC iPlayer, More 4, ITV Player, BritBox & UK/US Netflix
    2. Torrenting support on UK servers
    3. Generous 10GB data allowance & 10 global servers
    4. Safe logging policy
    5. AES-256 encryption & OpenVPN protocol
    6. Advanced settings & customization available
    1. London speeds are half as slow as paid version
    2. Restrictions to R.O.B.E.R.T feature
    3. No access to WindFlix servers
    4. Based in Canada

    Windscribe is the best free VPN for UK users. It’s the only safe option that unblocks Netflix, both UK and US. It unblocks British streaming services BBC iPlayer, All 4, and ITV Hub. A 10GB monthly data cap is limiting but still generous, and it’s ad-free.

    Data Cap10GB Per Month
    Top Download Speedi

    Based on a 100Mbps test connection

    54Mbps
    Logging PolicyAnonymous Server Usage Data
    JurisdictionCanada (Five-Eyes Member)
    TorrentingPermitted

    Best free VPN for UK streaming & torrenting

    Windscribe’s free version unblocks BBC iPlayer through its UK server. It works despite the broadcaster cracking down on VPNs, so you can still stream shows like Peaky Blinders and Strictly Come Dancing.

    It’s the same with on-demand apps like All 4, ITV Hub, and BritBox. If you’re away from the UK, you can use Windscribe to watch shows like The Great British Bake Off.

    Windscribe Free unblocks All 4 and other British streaming channels

    Windscribe is the only free VPN that works well with Netflix. You can’t use Windscribe’s streaming-optimized WindFlix servers, but its standard server still works with US and UK Netflix. You can also access Japanese and Canadian Netflix, which has the largest library. On top of that, Windscribe’s free version works with Amazon Prime Video and US-exclusive Hulu.

    But Windscribe Free is half as fast as the premium VPN. So there may be some buffering required. On local London connections, the free version downloads at 54Mbps on our 100Mbps line. In contrast, the paid version reaches 95Mbps. Either way, it’s more than enough for HD streaming.

    Windscribe Free is a safe choice for UK torrenters. It supports P2P activity across the majority of its servers, including its UK one. Those that aren’t P2P-optimized are marked with an icon.

    Windscribe has high-end encryption that will protect your data from UK government snooping. There’s a kill switch to make torrenting safe. It uses the best AES-256 cipher and comes with a selection of top security protocols, including OpenVPN. This protocol balances security and performance very well.

    Screenshot of the Windscibe settings menu

    Windscribe Free has additional security preferences

    Even on its free version, Windscribe has plenty of security settings. You can take control of your online privacy through custom DNS, automatic or manual IP selection, firewall modes, and SOCKS5 Proxy options.

    You also get access to Windscribe’s bespoke malware blocker, R.O.B.E.R.T. Overall, it’s an impressive package for a service that doesn’t cost a thing.

    Windscribe has a minimal logging policy. It only records the total amount of bytes transferred in a 30-day period and timestamps of your last activity. This privacy policy will shield you from intrusive UK ISPs like Virgin, BT, Sky, and TalkTalk.

    On top of that, there’s DNS and IP leak protection, and fast-enough speeds for quick downloads. This makes Windscribe safe and the best free VPN for UK torrenting.

    10 free global servers and 10GB free data

    Windscribe limits free use of its VPN to 10GB of data a month. This means that you’ll have to ration your streaming and downloading. But it’s one of the most generous data allowances from a free service. Compare this to TunnelBear, which only permits 500MB a month on its free service. We’re glad to see there are no intrusive pop-up ads, either.

    It comes with 10 global servers to connect to, including secure IPs in:

    • Canada
    • France
    • Germany
    • Hong Kong
    • Netherlands
    • Norway
    • Romania
    • Switzerland
    • UK

    Windscribe has two free UK servers. Both are in London, listed as ‘Crumpets’ and ‘Custard’. This is twice as many free UK servers as any other VPN on this list. As the leader in UK servers, Windscribe spreads user load to avoid congestion. You can also select ‘Best Location’ to connect to the most optimal server.

    Screenshot of Windscribe Free MacOS VPN app

    Windscribe Free has two UK servers and a ‘best location’ option

    Windscribe also has a free browser extension for Chrome, Firefox, Opera, and Microsoft Edge. This is useful for light browsing of the web. There’s no sign-up necessary. You can install it without an account, it has one free UK server, and it’s limited to 2GB per month.

    This is by far the best free VPN for the UK. It’s safe and you can stream British TV. Torrenting is allowed and there are no pop-up ads. Sign up is simple enough too — you just have to head to the website and create an account. No payment details are required.

  2. 2. ProtonVPN: Safest Free VPN for UK

    The safest free VPN for the UK, unlimited data, but bad for streaming & torrenting.

    ProtonVPN Mobile Screenshot
     100% 
    (3 user reviews)
    Visit ProtonVPN
    1. Zero data restrictions
    2. The safest and most private free VPN
    3. No payment info required
    4. Transparent service and company
    5. Eight servers in nearby Netherlands
    6. Good local speeds
    1. No access to Netflix, BBC iPlayer, or other streaming services
    2. Torrenting blocked
    3. No UK servers (only three locations overall)
    4. Long-distance speeds are slow
    5. Only one connection allowed
    6. Support only available through email

    ProtonVPN’s free service is the safest and most private free VPN for the UK. It’s a zero logs service and the company has an excellent reputation. It’s also based in Switzerland, which is a privacy haven. Although it’s useless for streaming and torrenting, ProtonVPN Free is a good choice if privacy is your main concern.

    No
    Top Download Speedi

    Based on a 100Mbps test connection

    60Mbps
    Logging PolicyAnonymous Server Usage Data
    JurisdictionSwitzerland (Privacy Haven)
    TorrentingRestricted

    Safe, transparent & reputable free VPN for UK

    ProtonVPN’s safe privacy policy applies to its free version. This logging policy is close to zero-logs. It doesn’t collect information that could compromise your anonymity. It only collects the timestamps of your last successful login attempt. This is there to protect users from brute force password attacks.

    With no IP address recorded, you’re safe from the British government’s snooping. You’re also safe from the UK’s surveillance partners in the Five Eyes.

    PrivateVPN is based in Switzerland. This country has some of the world’s best privacy laws. And it sits outside EU data retention practices. It’s a privacy haven.

    The security package is almost exactly the same as the paid ProtonVPN service. It comes with a kill switch, AES-256 encryption, and OpenVPN (except on MacOS). There’s also DNS and IPv6 leak blocking and a split tunneling feature. You’ll be safe from UK hackers with ProtonVPN.

    Screenshot of ProtonVPN Free Settings Menu in App

    ProtonVPN Free has an identical security suite to its paid version

    The only feature missing from ProtonVPN free are the Secure Core servers. This is a multi-hop feature that routes traffic through multiple servers for additional security.

    The company behind ProtonVPN has an excellent reputation in the online security world. It is an active advocate for privacy. Its VPN source code has been published, making it transparent and open source.

    A third-party security audit has also been conducted of its VPN services. This was done by SEC Consult to verify ProtonVPN’s safety. There are none of the risks that come with downloading suspect free VPNs.

    No data restrictions but useless for streaming and torrenting

    There are 16 free servers to connect to when using ProtonVPN free. This includes eight in the Netherlands, five in the US, and three in Japan. There are no UK servers, which isn’t ideal. But the Netherlands is a neighboring country and makes up for it.

    Testing performance, from London we recorded 60Mbps download speeds. This is a good result. But traffic is often congested thanks to its small number of servers. You can also expect 21Mbps on US connections and 19Mbps for Japan.

    Torrenting is blocked on all of ProtonVPN’s free servers. You can’t stream UK TV with it, either. With no UK servers, you can’t access streaming services such as BBC iPlayer and All 4.

    We tested its free US server on Netflix, HBO Max, Amazon Prime Video, and Disney+. It doesn’t work with any. Windscribe is better for streamers and torrenters.

    P2P warning pop-up on ProtonVPN Free app

    ProtonVPN Free does not permit P2P traffic

    ProtonVPN has no restrictions on data use. You won’t be able to stream, but you can browse the web endlessly. This gives ProtonVPN an advantage over many other free VPNs.

    ProtonVPN’s free version is perfect for safe browsing of the web in the UK. It’s a lifetime service and, with no data caps, is ideal for long-term security. But it’s not viable for streaming or torrenting. Sign-up is easy, with no payment details required.

  3. 3. Hide.me: Fastest Free VPN for UK

    Fast London speeds, good security, safe torrenting.

    Hide.me mobile screenshots
     100% 
    (1 user reviews)
    Visit Hide.me
    1. Fast UK speeds, no speed throttling
    2. 10GB free data per month
    3. Good security package
    4. P2P supported on free servers
    5. Based in privacy-friendly Malaysia
    6. Live-chat support
    1. Streaming unsupported
    2. Long-distance connections are poor
    3. One device limit
    4. Advanced configurations unavailable
    5. No WireGuard protocol

    Hide.me free has no speed restrictions. So its free version is just as fast as the premium one. It has no free servers in the UK but still delivers the best London speeds of any free VPN. This is thanks to a fast Netherlands server. But it’s not recommended for longer-distance connections. It has advanced security features and 10GB of data per month absolutely free. You can also torrent safely on P2P-optimized servers.

    Data Cap10GB Per Month
    Top Download Speedi

    Based on a 100Mbps test connection

    72Mbps
    Logging PolicyAnonymous Server Usage Data
    JurisdictionMalaysia (Privacy Haven)
    TorrentingPermitted

    Netherlands server delivers fast speeds in UK

    Hide.me is the fastest free VPN for the UK. 72Mbps connecting from London is a very strong score for a free service. But your speeds will depend on whether you are close to a free server. Hide.me’s ‘Best Location’ option from London will connect you to the Netherlands.

    Hide.me has free servers in North America and Europe:

    • Germany
    • Canada
    • Netherlands
    • USA East
    • USA West

    But there are none in Asia, South America, or Oceania. This is not as global or diverse as Windscribe. We’d only recommend Hide.me free if you’re from Western countries.

    With 10GB of free data, you can browse the web safely for a long time. And unlike other VPNs, once this data expires you can still use the service. The difference is that you’re restricted to one server decided for you.

    You can’t use any of this data to stream, though. All of Hide.me’s streaming servers are unavailable. British TV shows and Netflix are unavailable.

    You can only use Hide.me’s free service on one device at any time. On its paid version you can use it on 10 simultaneous devices. It also doesn’t allow you to use WireGuard protocol. But it is ad-free.

    You can use Hid.me free across a number of devices. This includes Windows, MacOS, Android and iOS. But also Amazon Fire TV Stick, Linux, Kodi, and Apple TV.

    Strong security package

    Even without WireGuard, Hide.me free offers a robust security package. It has the industry-standard AES-256 encryption cipher to protect your data. And OpenVPN protocol is available, which is the industry-standard. There is also a Stealth Guard feature so you can decide which apps only work when Hide.me is connected.

    There’s built-in leak protection, including IPv6 leaks, and custom DNS functionality. A kill switch protects your IP address from accidental exposures, too. This is useful if you’re torrenting. Hide.me does include P2P-optimized servers with its free service.

    Hide.me free has extensive security settings

    The company behind Hide.me is reputable and scandal-free. It has been audited and its privacy policy is very safe. Connection data is erased every few hours.

    So Hide.me will protect you against UK ISPs and unwarranted government spying. The fact that it’s based in Malaysia adds to this. It’s a privacy-haven. The UK’s intelligence partners in The Five Eyes don’t have any power here.

    Overall, Hide.me free is good for safe and fast browsing in the UK. It won’t work with any streaming services, but you can use it to torrent.

Best Free UK VPN Comparison Table

We’ve put together a table to compare the viable free VPNs. You can see if there are UK servers and what its London speeds are like. There’s also information about data caps and streaming capabilities.

How We Test & Review Free VPNs for the UK

We follow a strict, scientific process when we review VPNs. We’re diligent when it comes to free VPNs due to the security issues. What we look for in free VPNs for the UK includes:

1. Safe Logging Policies, Reputable Companies, Strong Security

Privacy and security is our top concern. Many free VPNs fail to meet the basic standard for online security. So we ensure our suggestions are as safe as a paid VPN.

We examine privacy policies in detail. We want them to be zero-logs or close to it. This is important in the privacy-unfriendly UK. We also investigate the company behind each VPN. They should be trustworthy.

The VPN itself should be equipped with good security features. Poor encryption methods and outdated protocols won’t do. We like to see OpenVPN and WireGuard, and AES-256 encryption. Additional leak-protection and things like port forwarding go a long way, too.

2. Minimal Restrictions & No Ads

All free VPNs come with drawbacks and restrictions. Paid services are better in every way. But we pick free VPNs with as few downsides as possible.

We avoid free VPNs that throttle speeds. The more servers the better, too. Free VPNs can offer data between 500MB to 10GB a month. We value those with generous data caps, or none at all.

Free VPNs should be easy to download with minimal information required. Ideally, they will feature no ads that interrupt your experience.

3. UK Servers, Safe Torrents & Access to Streaming Services

For a free UK VPN, it’s best to have UK servers included. If they’re not available, we look for neighboring countries. This way you can get optimal performance.

Many VPN users want to access restricted streaming services. So we recommend those that are reliable at unblocking British streaming. This includes BBC iPlayer, All 4, ITV Hub, and BritBox.

People also want to share files anonymously. The UK’s Digital Economy Act gives ISPs the power to monitor your internet. They can throttle your torrenting and ban you. UK ISPs currently block over 2,000 domains. Therefore, P2P-optimized servers are an important feature.

Free UK VPN FAQs

Are Free VPNs Safe in the UK?

Many free VPNs are not safe, especially in the UK. People download free VPNs thinking they’re safe from monitoring and hacking. But they’re not. Many other free VPNs are designed to collect, store, and sell your data. Some even inject malware.

The three VPNs that we list on this page are certifiably safe. We’ve performed in-depth research into their effectiveness and performance. They will protect your right to privacy from data-gathering UK ISPs. And they’re from respected privacy companies. So you can download them knowing there’s no viruses or trackers.

There are other free VPNs that pose no threat to you. This includes free services from TunnelBear, Hotspot Shield, and Avira Phantom Free. Even though they’re safe, we don’t recommend these for the UK. Data restrictions are too strict. Or they don’t include UK servers.

Which Free VPNs Should I Avoid?

As a rule of thumb, you should avoid all free VPNs that don’t come from established companies.

Thousands of unchecked “VPNs” end up on the App Store and Google Play Store. Even if they’re not actively harmful, most are simply bad. They collect logs, sell your data, or just don’t work.

There are a number of free VPNs that you should not use. Although not exhaustive, the list includes:

  • Archie VPN
  • Earth VPN
  • Hola Free VPN
  • SuperVPN Free VPN Client
  • Thunder VPN
  • UFO VPN
  • VikingVPN
  • VPN Proxy Master

What Is the Best Free UK VPN for My Device?

The choices on this list are compatible with Windows, Android, MacOS, and iOS (iPhone and iPad). You can install free versions of Windscribe, Hide.me, or ProtonVPN on all these devices.

The best free UK VPN across these devices is Windscribe. All of its apps are user-friendly, especially after a recent update. However, split tunneling is only available on its Android app.

Browser Extensions

Browser extensions can be useful for safe lightweight browsing of the web. They unblock websites and change your IP. But they’re proxies, so don’t have encryption to protect you like a full VPN.

Windscribe has a very popular browser extension for Chrome and Firefox. It’s a completely free proxy and ad blocker with free London servers available. You have to upgrade to access Manchester and Edinburgh servers. It’s also useful that Windscribe also explains the difference between VPNs and extensions.

 

Windscribe’s free Chrome browser extension

Hide.me has a free browser extension for anonymous browsing, too. There is no registration required, or data cap. It’s available on Chrome and Firefox browsers. But it doesn’t have a UK server. For this reason, Windscribe is more useful.

ProtonVPN does not have any browser extensions.

Amazon Fire TV Stick

Windscribe has the best Firestick app. It’s currently our top free suggestion for the streaming device. It’s easy to use, fast, and unblocks BBC iPlayer. It’s limited to 10GB per month of streaming, so we recommend streaming in SD.

Hide.me also has an Amazon Fire TV Stick app. It’s free to test and easy to use. It’s also fast, which is good for streaming. And like Windscribe, it’s limited to 10GB.

ProtonVPN has unlimited data allowance, which makes it useful for Fire TV Stick users. But it doesn’t have a native app. If you’re prepared to sideload the VPN’s APK file or install it on your router, ProtonVPN has the benefit of no restrictions.

However, it doesn’t unblock global Netflix libraries. Due to its poor streaming capabilities, we recommend Windscribe.

Both Windscribe and Hide.me can be downloaded directly onto your Fire TV Stick from the Amazon app store.

Kodi

Kodi is a popular media player. Many like to watch movies and sports through its add-ons. ISPs sometimes fine people for using it, or block traffic. So it’s important to be protected by a VPN.

Windscribe is the best option for UK Kodi users. It has good speeds, free P2P servers, and strong security. A manual setup guide is available on its website. But with only 10GB of data available, you may run out quickly.

Hide.me free is another safe option for UK Kodi users. It has OpenELEC “Kodi” and LibreELEC “Kodi” installation options. On the other hand, ProtonVPN isn’t a good choice for UK Kodi users.

Linux

For Linux, Windscribe free is the best. Like most VPNs, it doesn’t have a GUI. But it does have a functional terminal that’s easily downloaded.

 

Windscribe Free is available on Linux

You can also use Hide.me free. But it requires manual configuration. Hide.me provides instructions, but the complexity might put off casual users.

The same applies to ProtonVPN. There is a manual workaround but it’s only a command-line tool. It is not a proper VPN app.

Can I Use a Free VPN to Watch British TV?

The only free VPN you can use to watch British TV is Windscribe.

Windscribe free works to unblock BBC iPlayer, BritBox, All 4, and ITV Hub. By downloading the free version you can watch UK’s favorites like The Great British Bake Off, Top Gear, Peaky Blinders, and Doctor Who.

It’s limited to 10GB per month, so you cannot stream shows endlessly. But Windscribe is reliable at getting around British georestrictions.

Can I Use a Free VPN to Torrent in the UK?

As with streaming, Windscribe is the best free VPN for torrenting in the UK. A close second is Hide.me free, which includes P2P-optimized servers. Both are safe to use.

But we strongly advise against torrenting with any other free VPN. Most are insecure and won’t protect anonymity. There is rarely P2P support and speeds are slow, or your data capped. You won’t be able to download much at all.

Our research has discovered that 25% of free Android VPNs have DNS and IP leaks. More so, 85% ask for privacy-unfriendly permissions that are open to abuse.

Free services are often only free for the purpose of logging your data. They contain trackers and malware. Simply put, most can’t be trusted.

Which UK VPNs Don’t Require Payment Information?

Free VPNs should be easy to install and private. The less information they want from you the better, including payment details.

You don’t need to provide payment information to access free versions from Windscribe, ProtonVPN, or Hide.me. All you have to do is download the app and select the free option. It’s very simple.

Hide.me lets you choose between its free version and premium on installation

With no payment details required, you don’t have to remember to cancel. You can rest assured that you won’t be accidentally upgraded to a paid version.

There are other free VPNs that don’t require payment details. But it might ask for intrusive permissions. Or it might log your data so it can be sold. Only complimentary services from established VPN companies can be trusted. If there are subscription-based options, it’s clear how the company is making its money.

How to Get a Free UK VPN

It’s very easy to get a free UK VPN. There are hundreds of free VPNs on the App Store and Play Store, which you can download in an instant. We advise against installing most of them.

Instead, it’s best to download software from an established VPN company that you can trust.

For example, to get Windscribe (free version):

  1. Head to Windscribe’s website.
  2. Select ‘Download Windscribe’ on the home page.
  3. Choose your device of use. Windscribe apps are available on MacOS, Windows, iOS, Android, and Linux.
  4. Once downloaded, open the installation file and add to your device applications.
  5. Open the Windscribe application.
  6. You will be redirected to the Windscribe website to create an account.
  7. Once you’ve generated a username and password, you will be able to log-in to Windscribe with this account—completely free.

To get a UK IP address, head to Windscribe’s free London server and select the ‘Connect’ button. You can use our IP address checker to confirm that you’re connected to the UK.

About the Author


  • Simon Migliano Head of Research at Top10VPN

    Simon Migliano

    Simon is a recognized world expert in VPNs. He's tested hundreds of VPN services and his research has featured on the BBC, The New York Times, CNet and more. Read full bio