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Best Free VPN for UK

Simon Migliano
By Simon MiglianoUpdated
Illustration of the flag of the UK

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

  1. Has servers in or close to the UK
  2. No IP/DNS leaks & no/minimal logging
  3. Has the biggest data allowance possible
  4. Advanced privacy & security features
  5. No caps on download speeds
  6. 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

Ranked #1 for Free VPN for UK

Works with

Torrenting

Available on

  1. Windows
  2. Mac
  3. Ios
  4. Android
  5. Linux
  1. Two city-level servers in the UK
  2. Excellent local speeds
  3. Simple, user-friendly apps
  4. Unlimited simultaneous connections
  5. Minimal logging policy
  1. 10GB monthly data cap
  2. Unreliable access to streaming
  3. No live chat feature
The Bottom Line

Not only is Windscribe our best overall free VPN, it’s also without a doubt the best free VPN for the UK. 

Two-city level UK servers combined with excellent speeds makes Windscribe a quick VPN for UK-based users. 

The free version of Windscribe also offers loads of extra features like a VPN kill switch and comes with a privacy-friendly logging policy, protecting your personal information.

It’s very secure. A minimal logging policy is important to avoid the intrusive surveillance of the UK government and helpful if you want to torrent, which Windscribe allows on its servers.

It even looks good, with user-friendly, simple-to-use apps. 

The 10GB monthly data cap may seem restrictive, but it is actually one of the most generous on the free VPN market. 

Still, you might have to sacrifice lengthy streaming and torrenting sessions if you’re determined not to spend any money.

Windscribe is a great free VPN service for casual users or VPN newbies, and 100% the most reliable option you could go for.

Ranked #2 for Free VPN for UK

Works with

N/A

Available on

  1. Windows
  2. Mac
  3. Ios
  4. Android
  1. Very quick speeds
  2. No data or speed caps
  3. Server in nearby Netherlands
  4. Minimal logging policy
  1. Three server locations only
  2. No torrenting permitted
  3. No access to streaming
The Bottom Line

ProtonVPN is second in our list for free UK VPNs thanks to its speedy performance, lack of any data limit, and privacy-friendly logging policy

Unfortunately, ProtonVPN has no UK server. That’s not great, but we’ve included it on the list because there’s one in the Netherlands which is so quick that it doesn’t even feel like you’re connecting outside of the UK. 

You can use the free version of ProtonVPN on Windows, MacOS, iOS and Android devices, and all of these use the most secure VPN connection protocol – OpenVPN.

The great thing about ProtonVPN’s free service is that it provides the same sort of security as the premium version, with super strong ciphers and protocols. 

However, unlike with Windscribe, there’s no torrenting permitted on any of ProtonVPN’s free servers. This is disappointing.

Also unlike Windscribe, you can only use ProtonVPN’s free VPN service on one device at a time. For this reason it sits below Windscribe, but ProtonVPN’s free service remains a secure, privacy-friendly option.

Ranked #3 for Free VPN for UK

Works with

Torrenting, Kodi

Available on

  1. Windows
  2. Mac
  3. Ios
  4. Android
  5. Linux
  1. ‘Best location’ option
  2. Excellent local speeds
  3. Minimal logs policy
  4. Advanced privacy features
  5. Secure option for the UK
  1. 2GB monthly data cap
  2. Bad international performance
  3. Five server locations only
  4. No Netflix or BBC iPlayer
The Bottom Line

The free version of Hide.me may not be the best all-round choice for the 

UK, but it’s certainly one of the most secure free VPN services you could opt for. 

This is another free VPN that lacks UK servers but Hide.me’s ‘best location’ option will usually connect UK-based users to the Netherlands for best performance.

The main attractions for Hide.me are its minimal logs policy and advanced features. This means it sits as a secure option for those looking to keep their internet safe, protected and private. 

It’s also a fast VPN when connecting locally. If you’re in the UK and connect to a server within the UK, you can expect very good speeds. 

The problem is that Hide.me is let down by the 2GB monthly data cap, limiting your usage severely.

This data cap prevents any serious torrenting capability and streaming, too. So no Netflix or BBC iPlayer with Hide.me. 

Still, as security goes, it’s a good choice – equal to the premium version. It features top cipher AES-256 and an array of encryption protocols to choose from, including our favorite: OpenVPN.

The privacy policy is minimal, with information collected only for troubleshooting purposes but none of it identifiable or permanently stored. 

Overall, this is a decent free VPN option for those who just want to browse the web safely and privately. 

Ranked #4 for Free VPN for UK

Works with

N/A

Available on

  1. Windows
  2. Mac
  3. Ios
  4. Android
  1. UK server
  2. Reliable download speeds
  3. Minimal logging policy
  4. Kill switch and DNS leak protection
  5. Nicely designed
  1. 500MB monthly data cap
  2. No access to streaming
  3. Lacks live chat support
The Bottom Line

TunnelBear’s free VPN is a good choice for casual VPN users in the UK thanks to its secure, high-performance server in the country.

Outside of the UK, it also provides one of the biggest server networks we’ve seen from a complementary service, with 22 countries worldwide, including the US, Australia, and many more.

Aimed more at VPN beginners, TunnelBear offers a user-friendly experience, along with a minimal logging policy.

TunnelBear Free’s data cap is painfully stingy, though, at just 500MB per month. This is by far the worst feature of TunnelBear’s free app; it’s not a free VPN for streaming or torrenting.

Still, TunnelBear’s free VPN has an independently audited privacy policy along with first-party DNS servers. There’s also a VPN kill switch to keep you safe online.

TunnelBear’s free VPN apps can be installed on all the popular platforms: Windows, MacOS, iOS, and Android. Each one is also encrypted with top cipher AES-256. 

We’d recommend TunnelBear to VPN newbies who like a nicely designed service and who aren’t looking for a lot of bandwidth each month. Just don’t expect to put your feet up and watch BBC iPlayer or Netflix. 

Ranked #5 for Free VPN for UK

Works with

N/A

Available on

  1. Windows
  2. Mac
  3. Ios
  4. Android
  1. Consistently reliable speeds
  2. Strong encryption
  3. Good privacy policy
  4. Chrome browser extension
  5. User-friendly VPN apps
  1. 1GB monthly data cap
  2. No manual VPN server selection
  3. No kill switch
  4. No torrenting or streaming
The Bottom Line

The free version of Avira Phantom VPN is a simple, straightforward VPN service that provides a basic level of privacy.

We’ve included it at number five due to its strong privacy policy and a decent level of security, even if the lack of kill switch is a cause for concern. 

All of Avira’s free VPN apps use the secure OpenVPN protocol (apart from iOS which uses IKEv2) and are protected with the ‘unbreakable’ cipher AES-256.

Avira only offers one available server and you have no choice which server it connects to. When we tested from London, we connected to Manchester. It’s 200 miles away, but still within the same country and shouldn’t affect performance and speed too much. 

Because of its one server location, Avira won’t do much for your streaming and torrenting needs. More than that, you only get 1GB of VPN data per month. So while Netflix is unlocked, you’ll only be able to watch a couple of episodes every 30 days. 

That’s if you give Avira your email address, though. That 1GB becomes just 500MB of data if you don’t. 

Avira is best for light browsing and little more. It will keep your web surfing safe from prying eyes, but don’t look for much more when it comes to a UK VPN.

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.

Screenshot of the Investigatory Powers Act 2016

Investigatory Powers Act 2016

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.

Yes, VPNs are perfectly 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:

  • China
  • Russia
  • Turkey
  • Iran
  • Oman
  • 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:

  • Belarus
  • Iraq
  • Turkmenistan
  • 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. 

Netflix Logo with Barbed Wire Across It

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.

Screenshot of BBC iPlayer-min

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. 

Woman Holding a Credit Card as She Uses a Laptop

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.Amazon Fire Stick Advertisement

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.

3Turbo VPN

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.

4Thunder VPN

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.

5Snap VPN

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.

About the Author


  • Simon Migliano Head of Research at Top10VPN

    Simon Migliano

    Simon leads our investigations into VPN safety and internet freedom research. His work has been featured on the BBC, CNet, Wired and The Financial Times. Read full bio