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Best VPN for the UK

Simon Migliano
Simon MiglianoUpdated

Unless you use a VPN in the UK, the intrusive Snoopers’ Charter means you will be subject to government surveillance and unwanted data collection by your ISP. Not every VPN works well with Netflix and BBC iPlayer and there’s even risks to your data privacy with lower quality services. We constantly test each VPN to give you impartial, up-to-date reviews to make it simple to find the right one for you.

The best VPN services for the UK allow you to enjoy private, encrypted browsing along with worldwide access to your favorite sites and apps. Thousands of hours of speed tests using UK servers means you can rely on our VPN picks to be capable of HD streaming.

The 5 Best VPN Services for UK
  1. NordVPN
  2. ExpressVPN
  3. HideMyAss!
  4. CyberGhost
  5. IPVanish
Read on for our detailed analysis of each VPN.
Our pick for the UK
1
NordVPN
Our rating: 5
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Very fast zero-logs VPN. HD streaming & extra privacy features.

Best price
$2.75 per month
Money-back guarantee
30 Days
Customer Support
24/7 live chat support
No. of Server Locations
60 Countries
Simultaneous Connections
6
What we like
  • Ultra fast speeds - 355Mbps local average
  • High speed access to Netflix, iPlayer and more
  • P2P and torrenting permitted on many servers
  • Easy-to-use apps. Simple set-up on all devices
  • Connect securely to 60 countries
  • Specialty servers optimized for individual needs
What we like less
  • Slow email support
  • Browser extensions are proxies
  • No city-specific servers
  • Extra protocols require manual config
Bottom Line

Nord is our top pick for the UK in terms of pure speed combined with reliable access to BBC iPlayer and Netflix, along with top notch privacy performance. It’s also much cheaper than its closest rival ExpressVPN on its longest plan.

NordVPN is the undisputed UK speed champ with an incredible combo of 355Mbps down and 232Mbps up on local connections.

It’s not on the same level for US connections but still delivers a speedy 71Mbps into New York. These kinds of speeds are perfect for torrenting and HD/4K streaming.

The strict zero logs policy and VPN killswitch are also appealing from a privacy perspective and for P2P users.

It’s not quite the perfect package as there’s no city-level server choices, protocol switching is manual and support for the wider universe of devices is limited. Customer support can also be slow.

If all you care about is speed, privacy and streaming then at $2.75 per month on a three-year subscription, NordVPN is a bargain.


Read our full review on NordVPN

2
ExpressVPN
Our rating: 5
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Incredibly fast and ultra secure. HD streaming. 24/7 live chat support.

Best price
$6.67 per month
Money-back guarantee
30 Days
Customer Support
24/7 live chat support
No. of Server Locations
94 Countries
Simultaneous Connections
3
What we like
  • Very fast speeds, average of 54Mbps globally
  • Reliable access to Netflix and iPlayer
  • No restrictions on P2P traffic
  • Very easy to use. Instant set-up on all devices
  • Connect securely to 90+ countries
  • Chrome, Firefox and Safari browser extensions
What we like less
  • Price could be lower on shorter plans
  • Three simultaneous connections only
Bottom Line

ExpressVPN may not be the absolute fastest VPN on UK servers but it’s easily the best all-round service and the most complete package. It misses out on top spot as its UK performance didn’t quite justify the higher price compared to NordVPN.

Local connections top 142Mbps down, which is plenty fast enough for high bandwidth multi-tasking and a torrent-friendly 104Mbps for uploads. It really shines though on international connections, particularly in the US (109Mbps) and Singapore but just very consistently fast across the entire network.

Access to Netflix and BBC iPlayer is equally reliable and support for streaming devices is second-to-none, including a dedicated Amazon Fire TV app.

The apps are simple yet powerful, featuring a VPN kill switch. The logging policy is sensible, collecting anonymous usage stats only in order to maintain performance across the huge global network.

Customer care is best-in-class with 24/7 live support and friendly, helpful agents. It’s not the cheapest option but you can bring the monthly fee right down to $6.67 on a 15-month plan, which is great value for such an all-round performer.


Read our full review on ExpressVPN

3
HideMyAss!
Our rating: 4.5
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Extremely fast VPN. Quick, easy HD streaming and 24/7 live chat.

Best price
$5.99 per month
Money-back guarantee
30 Days
Customer Support
24/7 live chat support
No. of Server Locations
190+ Countries
Simultaneous Connections
5
What we like
  • Great speeds - 147Mbps UK average
  • Easy, high speed access to Netflix
  • Connect securely to over 190 countries
  • Easy-to-use apps with simple set-up
  • Specialty servers optimized for streaming
  • P2P/torrenting permitted on many servers
What we like less
  • BBC iPlayer is blocked
  • Based in the privacy-unfriendly UK
  • Collects detailed connection logs
  • No native apps for streaming devices
Bottom Line

HideMyAss! has the most server locations of any VPN service. If you want to be able to disguise your location to appear in almost every country in the world then HMA! is the only choice. It’s also pretty fast on US connections and into Australia.

You can expect zippy downloads at 147Mbps while uploads are 108Mbps. There’s faster options but that’s plenty for most people. It is perfectly adequate internationally out of London without standing out.

The good for streaming includes reliable Netflix access and optimized servers, the not-so-good are a lack of native apps for streaming devices and blocked iPlayer.

P2P users note that HMA! does poorly for privacy, as it’s based in the privacy-unfriendly UK and keeps detailed logs of connection metadata for up to three months.

The apps are some of the best-designed and most easy-to-use around and customer support is quick and helpful. Go with HMA! if server choice and a great app are priorities.


Read our full review on HideMyAss!

4
CyberGhost
Our rating: 4.5
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Fast zero-logs VPN with great privacy features. Good choice for streaming fans.

Best price
$2.75 per month
Money-back guarantee
30 Days
Customer Support
24/7 live chat support
No. of Server Locations
60 Countries
Simultaneous Connections
7
What we like
  • Fast download speeds - 213Mbps UK average
  • Quick, easy access to Netflix, iPlayer and more
  • Optimized servers for torrenting and P2P use
  • Simple set-up on most popular devices
  • Connect securely to 60 countries
  • Strict zero-logs policy
What we like less
  • Server network could be bigger
  • Apps could be slicker
Bottom Line

Cyberghost is our budget VPN pick for the UK. Despite being super cheap it competes with its more premium rivals on several key fronts, especially streaming and privacy.

UK downloads are way above average at a speedy 213Mbps while uploads are an effective if less impressive 93Mbps. Internationally, speeds are middle of the road but sufficient for most needs.

Access to Netflix, BBC iPlayer and other streaming services is rock solid thanks to dedicated streaming servers.

A strict zero logs policy and first-party DNS servers make CyberGhost a top privacy pick, along with the automatic killswitch and other useful extras.

The apps are fairly user-friendly but there are slicker alternatives out there. At $2.75 on a 12-month plan though, it’s incredible value and easy to overlook the shortcomings, especially if you are a heavy P2P user.


Read our full review on CyberGhost

5
IPVanish
Our rating: 4.6
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Super fast zero-logs VPN. Great for P2P. Lots of extra privacy features.

Best price
$4.87 per month
Money-back guarantee
7 Days
Customer Support
24/7 live chat support
No. of Server Locations
61 Countries
Simultaneous Connections
10
What we like
  • Fast download speeds - 201Mbps UK average
  • Top class upload speeds and latency
  • Strict zero-logs policy
  • P2P and torrenting permitted on all servers
  • Simple set-up on popular devices
  • Connect securely to 61 countries
What we like less
  • Inconsistent access to major streaming services
  • Short refund period (7 days)
Bottom Line

IPVanish is a top pick for the UK, especially for Kodi and torrenting, due to excellent speeds, zero logging and extensive privacy tools.

Download speeds on UK servers are a superb 201Mbps but uploads are even faster at 339Mbps in our tests, making P2P a breeze. Internationally it’s less exciting but it will do the job. Netflix and iPlayer access are inconsistent, which is a shame as it’s otherwise fantastic for streaming.

The desktop apps could be more user-friendly but make up for it with powerful privacy features, including IPv6 leak protection and a killswitch. The Amazon Fire TV native app is a big plus although IPVanish does lack browser extensions or support for other streaming devices.

Customer support is so-so. IPVanish isn’t cheap but it only requires a 12-month commitment to slash the monthly price by 60% to a reasonable $4.87. If P2P is your priority then IPVanish is a cracking choice for the UK.


Read our full review on IPVanish

How we picked the best VPN for the UK

Our top picks for the UK have performed the best in our speed tests both on local and international server connections. They also provide the most consistent access to major streaming services, such as Netflix. We also look for fair and transparent logging policies along with advanced privacy features such as DNS and IPv6 leak blocking to make sure you’re always protected online. We go hands on with the apps so we can share what they are really like to use and even put customer support through its paces.

We are always testing all the VPNs on our site to make sure our reviews and recommendations for the UK are always updated. We run regular speed tests using UK servers connecting to our global network to monitor VPN performance in that country. We try out the apps on a range of devices to give you the fullest picture.

Do I need a VPN in the UK?

The UK actually has one of the most extreme surveillance regimes in the world. The Investigatory Powers Act, commonly known as the Snoopers’ Charter, permits blanket surveillance of citizens’ communications. ISPs and telecoms companies are forced to log all all web browsing history along with details of emails, text messages and phone calls and make it available to the government. This data is routinely made available to huge array of government departments and staff within them.

The UK also has punitive copyright laws with penalties of up to 10 years for people who share infringing material.

Using a VPN provides an encrypted connection to the internet via a VPN server. This means that your ISP can only log your visit to that server and is unable to see your ultimate destination. Given that you assume the IP address of that VPN server as you browse the web, you can only be traced back to that server and no further by third parties.

A VPN will also protect you when you use public Wi-Fi. These hotspots may be convenient but unless you use a VPN, the lack of encryption leaves your data vulnerable to hackers.

How to choose a VPN: 8 Tips

  • What’s the server coverage like in the UK?

    Physical proximity to a server makes a big difference to speed and latency even more so. In a densely populated country as the UK, it’s well worth checking that there are servers in suitable locations, especially if you don’t live near London.

  • Does it offer good performance on its UK servers?

    More servers tends to mean less congestion and therefore improved speeds, however this isn’t always the case. Check out our independent speed test results to get the best idea of what performance is like in specific locations. We test connections from the UK to the most popular global destinations so you can actually see which VPN is fastest for your needs.

  • Will it work with your favorite websites and apps?

    Enjoy watching Netflix and iPlayer? Not every provider will work with these apps, especially since the recent VPN crackdowns. We’re constantly testing whether each provider is working with Netflix and other popular sites, and we share these results with you in our VPN reviews.

  • What is their logging policy?

    Nearly all VPN providers will claim to be ‘zero logs’, however unfortunately this is rarely the case. In order to maintain a high level of performance across a global server network, most providers will need to collect at least some basic connection metadata from their customers, such as the amount of bandwidth used. We look through all the privacy policies so you don’t have to, and summarize them in plain English in the logging policy section of our VPN reviews. Ideally you want a VPN provider that collects a minimal amount of logs, and nothing that could be used to personally identify you. Better still, a provider that doesn’t collect or store any logs is the best option, however these are few and far between.

  • Does it work on your preferred devices?

    Almost all VPN software will work on Windows, Mac and Linux machines, along with iOS and Android mobile devices. However, some VPN services are also compatible with other internet-connected items, such as routers, games consoles and streaming devices, such as the Amazon Fire Stick.

  • Check the number of simultaneous connections

    Do you want to protect your family’s devices as well as your own? Look for as many connections as you are likely to use at the same time (most providers will allow around 3-5 simultaneously).

  • Are their client apps and software easy to use?

    No-one likes a clunky, confusing app. Look for a VPN with software that’s well-designed, simple and powerful and you will be much more likely to use it all the time. We share the results of our hands-on testing of each VPN app in the the Ease of Use part of its review. We spend all day testing VPN apps, so hopefully we know a thing or two!

  • Finally, check the price and money-back guarantee

    Even the most expensive VPN plans are very affordable but you will likely have a budget in mind. 12-month plans typically offer the best value and you can reduce the risk of buyer’s remorse by choosing a VPN with a long refund period, preferably 30 days and with no questions asked. These guarantees are much more common than traditional free trials but are essentially the same thing.