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Best VPN for the UK

By Simon Migliano | Updated October 1, 2019

Illustration of the flag of the UK

Whether you live in the UK, are just planning a trip there, or are a UK expat living abroad, using a reliable VPN service is an absolute necessity.

Without a secure VPN, not only will your ISP (Internet Service Provider) be able to monitor and log everything you do online, you’ll also be subject to the intrusive Snoopers’ Charter.

But how do you know which VPN service is best for the UK? That’s where we come in.

We’ve thoroughly tested 74 different VPN services and the five below are the very best for the UK.

These VPNs will keep you safe online and protect your browsing activity with strong encryption. They also have lots of VPN server choice in the UK for the best possible speeds.

Most of our recommended VPN services for the UK will even unblock BBC iPlayer, which currently blocks most known VPNs from accessing its service.

What to Look for in a VPN for the UK

  1. Multiple server options in the UK
  2. Excellent download speeds
  3. Works with Netflix, BBC iPlayer & P2P
  4. Privacy-first logging policy & no IP leaks
  5. Strong privacy and security features
  6. User-friendly apps for popular devices

Wondering why you should trust our reviews?
See How We Review VPNs.

Best VPNs to Connect from (or into) the UK

1. NordVPN

Ranked #1 out of 74 VPNs for UK

  1. 607 servers in the UK
  2. Incredibly fast speeds
  3. Works for Netflix and BBC iPlayer
  4. Torrenting permitted on many servers
  5. Strict zero-logs policy
  6. Simple set-up on all devices
  1. Alternative VPN protocols for Windows & Android require manual config
  2. No city-level UK server selection
  • Best Price

    $3.49/mo over 36 Months

    See all plans

  • Top Speedi

    90Mbps same city speed

    Based on a 100Mbps test connection

  • Servers

    59 countries, 5,300+ servers

  • Compatible with

    • Windows logoWindows
    • Mac logoMac
    • iOS logoiOS
    • Android logoAndroid
    • Linux logoLinux

The Bottom Line

NordVPN is the overall best VPN service for the UK across all platforms.

Not only is NordVPN without doubt one of the fastest VPNs in the UK, it also provides reliable access to popular UK streaming service BBC iPlayer.

Privacy features such as a VPN kill switch will keep you safe online, while NordVPN’s zero-logs policy ensures your personal data is protected.

It’s very easy to download and install NordVPN on all your devices such as Windows, Mac, iOS and Android, and all of the apps are encrypted with top cipher AES-256.

NordVPN’s customer support is very impressive too, with live chat available 24/7 to solve any potential issues you may have while using the VPN service.

As long as you’re happy to only use the OpenVPN connection protocol on Windows and Android, NordVPN could be a very good choice for you in the UK.

We also feel it’s important to make you aware of a security incident involving NordVPN.

In October 2019 it came to light that a NordVPN server had been breached by a hacker. No user information was taken, no data was logged, and the VPN encrypted tunnel wasn’t compromised.

That said, it exploited a worryingly simple vulnerability, and we were disappointed by NordVPN’s delayed response. NordVPN is still a very good VPN, but it’s something to consider before you buy. You can find out more information in our full NordVPN review.

For a more in-depth look, read our full NordVPN review.

2. ExpressVPN

Ranked #2 out of 74 VPNs for UK

  1. Servers in 5 UK locations
  2. Consistently good speeds
  3. Reliable access to Netflix
  4. No torrenting restrictions
  5. Minimal logging policy
  6. Very easy to set up use
  1. Shorter plans are expensive
  2. BBC iPlayer not always available within the UK
  • Best Price

    $6.67/mo over 15 Months

    See all plans

  • Top Speedi

    85Mbps same city speed

    Based on a 100Mbps test connection

  • Servers

    94 countries, 3,000+ servers

  • Compatible with

    • Windows logoWindows
    • Mac logoMac
    • iOS logoiOS
    • Android logoAndroid
    • Linux logoLinux

The Bottom Line

ExpressVPN isn’t the fastest VPN in the UK but it easily offers the most complete package, and only just missed out on the top spot.

Connecting to any of ExpressVPN’s UK servers will provide quick, reliable speeds, plenty fast enough for Full HD streaming on Netflix. Sometimes you’ll struggle to watch BBC iPlayer if you’re physically located in the UK, but it should be possible from abroad.

The ExpressVPN custom apps are simple yet powerful with a VPN kill switch, and we like its privacy-friendly minimal logging policy.

You can install ExpressVPN on an very long list of platforms, including the Amazon Fire TV Stick, and it uses the most secure connection protocol, OpenVPN.

ExpressVPN’s 24/7 live chat feature will come in use if you ever experience any issues, too – we’ve never been left waiting longer than a few minutes for a response.

True, ExpressVPN isn’t the cheapest VPN service out there, but it’s certainly worth paying that little bit extra for.

For a more in-depth look, read our full ExpressVPN review.

3. CyberGhost

Ranked #3 out of 74 VPNs for UK

  1. 1075 VPN servers in 3 UK locations
  2. Very fast download speeds
  3. Quick, easy access to Netflix & iPlayer
  4. Optimized torrenting servers
  5. Complete zero-logs policy
  6. Simple set up on all platforms
  1. Apps could do with a makeover
  • Best Price

    $2.75/mo over 3 years

    See all plans

  • Top Speedi

    87Mbps same city speed

    Based on a 100Mbps test connection

  • Servers

    89 countries, 6,200+ servers

  • Compatible with

    • Windows logoWindows
    • Mac logoMac
    • iOS logoiOS
    • Android logoAndroid
    • Linux logoLinux

The Bottom Line

CyberGhost is an excellent budget VPN service for the UK, competing with our top two VPN picks on several key fronts.

Not only is CyberGhost very quick on its UK servers, it also provides optimized streaming servers that work well with BBC iPlayer.

A zero logs policy and first-party DNS servers make CyberGhost a top privacy pick for UK users, along with other useful extras such as a VPN kill switch.

CyberGhost’s apps use the highest possible level of encryption (AES-256) and most secure protocol (OpenVPN), too – not to mention you can use the VPN on up to seven devices at once.

What’s more, CyberGhost’s customer support team is on hand 24/7 to answer any questions you may have about this VPN service, and they’re always helpful and responsive.

The one downside is that CyberGhost’s apps can occasionally be a little unresponsive, but don’t let that put you off this otherwise excellent VPN for the UK.

For a more in-depth look, read our full CyberGhost review.

4. IPVanish

Ranked #4 out of 74 VPNs for UK

  1. 100 UK servers in 3 cities
  2. Impressive download speeds
  3. Currently working for Netflix
  4. Torrenting allowed on all servers
  5. Completely zero-logs policy
  6. Simple set-up on all devices
  1. Apps not very user-friendly
  2. Short seven-day refund period
  3. Blocked by BBC iPlayer
  • Best Price

    $4.12/mo over 12 months

    See all plans

  • Top Speedi

    84Mbps same city speed

    Based on a 100Mbps test connection

  • Servers

    50 countries, 1,300 servers

  • Compatible with

    • Windows logoWindows
    • Mac logoMac
    • iOS logoiOS
    • Android logoAndroid
    • Linux logoLinux

The Bottom Line

IPVanish is our top VPN pick for torrenting and Kodi in the UK thanks to its consistently impressive speeds.

IPVanish is also a totally no-logs VPN, not even collecting connection metadata of its VPN users in the UK, keeping you super safe online.

The custom IPVanish apps could be more user-friendly but come with powerful privacy features, including DNS leak protection and a VPN kill switch.

IPVanish also uses the highest possible level of encryption, AES-256, and the most secure VPN connection protocol, OpenVPN, to protect your confidential data.

One major downside for UK-based users, though, is that IPVanish won’t unblock BBC iPlayer – this has been the case for a very long time.

If that isn’t important to you, though, IPVanish is a very reliable VPN service to use in the UK.

For a more in-depth look, read our full IPVanish review.

5. PrivateVPN

Ranked #5 out of 74 VPNs for UK

  1. 6 VPN servers in 2 UK cities
  2. Very reliable download speeds
  3. Works with Netflix & BBC iPlayer
  4. All UK servers P2P-friendly
  5. Strict zero-logs policy
  6. User-friendly custom VPN apps
  1. Small number of IP addresses
  2. Live chat not available 24/7
  • Best Price

    $1.89/mo over 2 years

    See all plans

  • Top Speedi

    86Mbps same city speed

    Based on a 100Mbps test connection

  • Servers

    59 countries, 150+ servers

  • Compatible with

    • Windows logoWindows
    • Mac logoMac
    • iOS logoiOS
    • Android logoAndroid
    • Linux logoLinux

The Bottom Line

PrivateVPN is a reliable, cheap VPN service for the UK, even if it does lag behind our top picks when it comes to performance.

It’s still very quick, though – speeds on all of PrivateVPN’s UK servers are ideal for streaming, and it works with BBC iPlayer and Netflix too.

PrivateVPN’s strict zero-logs policy and range of security extras such as a VPN kill switch will go a long way to keep your online activities private while you’re connected.

Torrenting is permitted on all of PrivateVPN’s UK servers, and all of the custom apps are encrypted with the ‘unhackable’ cipher AES-256.

PrivateVPN users can choose between servers in London and Manchester, but the rest of its server network is pretty small compared to its rivals.

It’s not the very best choice for the UK, but PrivateVPN certainly provides a comprehensive and secure VPN solution.

For a more in-depth look, read our full PrivateVPN review.

Popular Questions

Why Do I Need a VPN in the UK?

While you may not think of the UK as a heavily censored nation, there are actually several reasons you need to use a VPN in the country:

  1. Protect yourself from UK surveillance laws

    The UK has some of the most intrusive surveillance laws in the world, and online privacy is decreasing by the day.

    Not only are UK ISPs (Internet Service Providers) and telecoms companies forced to log all of your browsing history and make it available to the government, they can also monitor the details of all your text messages, emails, and phone calls.

    A secure VPN service will hide your true IP address, making it impossible for any of your online activity to be linked back to you.

  2. Keep your browsing activity private on public WiFi

    When out and about in the UK, many internet users rely on public WiFi hotspots. Unfortunately, however practical these may be, they’re also very insecure, and can expose all of your online activity to potential hackers or snoopers.

    Using a VPN service is the only way to protect yourself on unsafe WiFi networks, whether you’re in the UK or anywhere else in the world for that matter.

  3. Access restricted sites and apps

    Depending on the country you’re located in, there will be certain apps and websites you may not be able to access. One of the most common examples of this is popular streaming site BBC iPlayer, which is currently only accessible in the UK.
    Screenshot of the BBC iPlayer error message saying BBC iPlayer only works in the UK
    The only way to stream BBC iPlayer from outside the country is to use a VPN to give yourself a UK-based IP address, and this method applies if you want to access geo-restricted content elsewhere in the world, too.

  4. Avoid overblocking by UK ISPs

    UK ISPs also actively block access to a wide range of sites deemed ‘inappropriate’ by the government, but have been recently accused of overblocking, meaning UK-based IP addresses could be unable to access completely harmless sites.

    Using a VPN service will allow you to bypass these content blocks and access the unrestricted internet, even if you are based in the UK.

What is the Five Eyes Alliance?

The Five Eyes Alliance involves five of the most powerful English-speaking nations in the world:

  • Australia
  • Canada
  • UK
  • US
  • New Zealand

The pact between these countries means that they freely share surveillance data with one another, so one nation could pressure another to hand over any VPN logs retained under their jurisdiction.

We’d advise against choosing a VPN service based in any of these countries, unless it’s totally zero-logs or only collects data that couldn’t in any way be used to personally identify you.

How Do I Get a UK VPN?

Getting a VPN in the UK is easy. Just choose a VPN service that provides VPN servers in the UK, sign up for a subscription of any length, and you’re good to go.

Screenshot of the UK server information on NordVPN's website

All you need to do is then 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 in the UK?

If you want to try out a few VPN services before committing to a paid subscription, there are a handful of free VPNs that work well in the UK.

Our top pick for free VPNs in the UK is Windscribe, as not only does it offer two city-level VPN servers in the UK, it also has one of the most generous data caps we’ve seen from a free VPN service, at 10GB per month.

You can read our Windscribe Free review here.

Other free VPN services we’ve reviewed and would recommend for the UK are:

For more information you can take a look at our list of the top free VPNs for the UK.

Are VPNs Blocked in the UK?

No, VPNs are not blocked in the UK. The only potential issue you may have with your VPN service being blocked is if you attempt to access popular UK streaming site BBC iPlayer.

This service is known for blocking VPN services with UK-based IP addresses, as users often attempt to access content from outside of the UK, which is against iPlayer’s terms of service.

Screenshot of BBC iPlayer's terms of service

Other than that, you shouldn’t have any problems with UK websites blocking you because you’re using a VPN.

If you’re specifically looking for a VPN service that will allow you to access BBC iPlayer, take a look at our top VPN picks for iPlayer here.

Is It Illegal to Use a VPN in the UK?

It is completely legal to use a VPN service 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:

  1. China
  2. Russia
  3. Turkey
  4. Iran
  5. Oman
  6. 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:

  1. Belarus
  2. Iraq
  3. Turkmenistan
  4. North Korea

If you need to connect in to the UK from one of these locations, be sure to check out our ‘Are VPNs Legal?’ guide 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).

Is Torrenting Illegal in the UK?

No, torrenting is not illegal in the UK.

It is illegal, however, to torrent copyrighted material, no matter where you are in the world. This still applies if you use a VPN, so be aware that if your chosen VPN service keeps logs and you choose to ignore copyright restrictions, you could be faced with a DMCA notice – or even legal action.

If you’re planning on using a VPN to torrent in the UK, we’d recommend choosing one with a zero-logs policy and excellent download and upload speeds.

The best VPN service for torrenting in the UK is ExpressVPN, but NordVPN and IPVanish are two more great options.

What Is the Best UK VPN for TV?

All of our top VPN recommendations for the UK can be used to protect your smart TV, meaning you can stream all of your favorite shows over a secure, encrypted connection.

Access to specific UK-based streaming sites varies from one VPN service to the next, but four out of our five top picks successfully unblock BBC iPlayer without any issues.

For best results, choose a VPN service that offers dedicated streaming servers, such as CyberGhost or PrivateVPN, although the best VPN for UK Netflix is currently ExpressVPN.

Screenshot of CyberGhost's dedicated streaming servers

You can also take a look at our best VPNs for streaming here.

What Is the Best UK VPN for iPhone?

Chances are, you won’t just be using a VPN on your laptop or Mac, and you’ll want to install it on your phone, too.

Our top pick for the UK, NordVPN, is also our top pick for iPhone users thanks to its sleek, user-friendly iOS app and choice of UK servers. We’d also recommend ExpressVPN, CyberGhost and PrivateVPN.

The story is much the same for Android users – again, NordVPN is most likely the best option for you if you’re based in the UK.

All of our top VPN picks for the UK provide custom apps for both iPhone and Android users, so as long as you opt for one of our recommendations you shouldn’t have any issues.

What Is the Best VPN for UK Expats?

UK residents who move abroad are often looking for ways to connect back in to the UK, usually as a way of accessing content that they’re no longer able to view in their new location.

One popular VPN service for expats living abroad is My Expat Network, but we found it to be distinctly average compared to our top picks for the UK, not to mention overpriced.

If you’re a UK expat then you should opt for one of the five recommendations above, especially if you’re mainly looking to stream media from sites like BBC iPlayer over a secure, encrypted connection.

About the Author

  • Simon Migliano Head of Research at Top10VPN

    Simon Migliano

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