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Best VPN for the UK

Callum Tennent
By Callum TennentUpdated
Flag of UK

Regardless of whether you live in the UK, or are just planning a trip there, using a VPN is absolutely crucial.

Without one you’ll be both subject to the intrusive Snoopers’ Charter, and at the mercy of your Internet Service Provider (ISP) which will monitor and log all the websites you visit.

We’ve tested 99 VPN services and the five below are the best VPNs we recommend for the UK. These VPNs will keep you safe online and the will unblock BBC iPlayer, which currently blocks most VPNs from accessing its service.

The Most Important Factors When We Review a VPN for the UK

  1. Multiple server options in the UK
  2. Works with Netflix and BBC iPlayer
  3. Fast, reliable speeds in the UK
  4. Useful privacy features
  5. Transparent, fair and privacy-focused logging policies
  6. Well-designed and easy to use apps

Wondering why you should trust our reviews? Take a look at How We Test VPNs

Read More Information on the Top 5 Best VPN Services for the UK

Ranked #1 out of 99 VPNs for UK

Works with

Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Sky, HBO, Torrenting, Kodi

Available on

  1. Windows
  2. Mac
  3. Ios
  4. Android
  5. Linux
  1. 296Mbps local average
  2. Easy access to Netflix and BBC iPlayer
  3. Torrenting permitted on many servers
  4. Simple set-up on all devices
  5. Strict zero-logs policy
  1. Slow email support
  2. Extra protocols require manual config
The Bottom Line

Nord is our top pick for the UK in terms of pure speed combined with reliable access to popular streaming services.

It’s the undisputed UK speed champ with an incredible combo of 296Mbps down and 189Mbps up on local connections.

The zero logs policy and kill switch are appealing from a privacy perspective, making up for slow email response times.

Ranked #2 out of 99 VPNs for UK

Works with

Netflix, Hulu, Sky, Now TV, HBO, SlingTV, Torrenting, Kodi

Available on

  1. Windows
  2. Mac
  3. Ios
  4. Android
  5. Linux
  1. Very fast speeds - 172Mbps locally
  2. Reliable access to Netflix & iPlayer
  3. No restrictions on P2P traffic
  4. Very easy to use
  5. Minimal logging policy
  1. Expensive on shorter plans
  2. Three simultaneous connections
The 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.

Local connections top 172Mbps down, which is plenty fast enough for high bandwidth multi-tasking and a torrent-friendly 111Mbps for uploads.

The apps are simple yet powerful, featuring a VPN kill switch. The logging policy is sensible, collecting anonymous usage stats only.

Ranked #3 out of 99 VPNs for UK

Works with

Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Sky, HBO, Torrenting

Available on

  1. Windows
  2. Mac
  3. Ios
  4. Android
  5. Linux
  1. 235Mbps UK average speeds
  2. Quick, easy access to Netflix
  3. Optimized servers for P2P use
  4. Simple set-up on popular devices
  5. Zero-logs policy
  1. Server network could be bigger
  2. Apps could be slicker
The Bottom Line

Cyberghost is our budget VPN pick for the UK, competing with its more premium rivals on several key fronts, especially streaming and privacy.

UK downloads are a speedy 235Mbps while uploads come in at 127Mbps.  Optimized P2P servers are great but only available on Windows and MacOS.

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

Ranked #4 out of 99 VPNs for UK

Works with

Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, HBO, Torrenting, Kodi

Available on

  1. Windows
  2. Mac
  3. Ios
  4. Android
  5. Linux
  1. 253Mbps UK average download speeds
  2. Currently working with Netflix
  3. P2P permitted on all servers
  4. Simple set-up on popular devices
  5. Zero-logs policy
  1. Apps not very user-friendly
  2. Short refund period (7 days)
  3. Blocked by BBC iPlayer
The 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 253Mbps and uploads came in at a pretty impressive 169Mbps in our tests, making P2P a breeze.

The desktop apps could be more user-friendly but make up for it with powerful privacy features, including IPv6 leak protection and a kill switch.

Ranked #5 out of 99 VPNs for UK

Works with

Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Sky, HBO, Torrenting, Kodi

Available on

  1. Windows
  2. Mac
  3. Ios
  4. Android
  5. Linux
  1. Reliable speeds of 121Mbps in the UK
  2. Easy access to Netflix & iPlayer
  3. All UK servers P2P-friendly
  4. User-friendly custom apps
  5. Strict zero-logs policy
  1. Small number of individual servers
The Bottom Line

PrivateVPN is a reliable, budget-friendly alternative for the UK, even if it does lag behind our other top picks for speeds.

Performance is good across the server network, and local downloads – 121Mbps in London – are great for streaming.

PrivateVPN’s strict zero-logs policy and range of security extras will go a long way to keep your online activities private.

How We Picked the Best VPN for the UK

Speed and privacy are the two most important factors whenever we look for an ideal VPN, and it’s no exception when picking a provider for the UK.

We’ve chosen providers with lots of server choice in the country – a guaranteed nearby connection means minimal wait times and flying speeds.

We regularly check speeds on UK servers to monitor VPN performance and we test VPN apps on all popular devices: PCs, Macs, iPhones, Android smartphones and Firesticks.

Advanced features such as a VPN kill switch and protection against DNS leaks are added bonuses, along with servers optimized to unlock popular streaming sites such as Netflix and BBC iPlayer.

 

Do I Need a VPN in the UK?

While the UK may not be a nation under censorship, it’s actually one of the most heavily surveyed in the world – online privacy is decreasing by the day.

Not only does the law permit blanket surveillance of all citizens’ communications, Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and telecoms companies are also forced to log all web browsing history along with details of emails, text messages and phone calls to make them available to the government.

Internet users in the UK also rely heavily on public WiFi hotspots when out and about and, although these can be practical, they’re also incredibly unsafe, exposing all of your online activity to potential hackers.

Using a VPN is the only way to protect yourself whether you’re at home or in public.

How to Choose a VPN for the UK: 8 Tips

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.

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.

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.

Nearly all VPN providers will claim to be ‘zero logs’, however 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.

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.

If there’s anything being logged that shouldn’t, we make sure that you’ll know about it.

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.

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).

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 extensive hands-on testing of each VPN app in the the Ease of Use part of its review.

Even the most expensive VPN plans can be made affordable by taking out a longer subscription.

Don’t bother with a one-month plan – 12-month plans typically offer the best value and you can reduce the risk of buyer’s remorse by choosing one with a long refund period.

We’d advise a 30-day no-questions-asked guarantee – they essentially act as a free trial period.

Make the right choice, though, and you hopefully won’t be thinking about a refund at all.