Our experts rate every VPN based on its performance in a number of subcategories specific to the UK. When combined, these ratings allow us to calculate an overall UK rating based on our research.
We test every VPN from our office in London, where we get accurate data on UK performance.
Our top testing priorities for a UK VPN are:
- A large number of fast and anonymous UK servers
- Access to BBC iPlayer, All 4, ITV Hub, UK Netflix, and more
- P2P-enabled servers in the UK or nearby countries
- No logs policy, VPN kill switch, and no IP leaks
- Native apps for popular devices
- Value for money & refund guarantees
For a more detailed look at the science behind our rating system, read the following methodology to learn about each testing subcategory and what percentage of the overall UK rating it accounts for.
1. UK Speeds: 30%
Minimum Requirement: Average local download speeds above 70Mbps.
We Recommend: Average local download speeds of 80Mbps or higher.
Fast internet speeds are a must-have when it comes to the effective performance of any VPN. We reward the VPNs that come out on top when testing its local UK speeds.
We run speed tests from London and calculate the average speed loss when compared to our internet connection without a VPN. The less difference between our internet speed when running a VPN and not running the VPN the higher the score is.
We also run long-distance speed tests to ensure that the VPN provides fast international connections. We test speeds connecting to Frankfurt, New York, Sydney, Singapore, Tokyo, and Toronto to get a solid idea of its long-distance capabilities.
In both cases, the smaller the overall speed loss the higher we score the VPN. This ensures buffer-free streaming, quick downloads, no lag, and a generally smooth online experience.
2. UK Servers: 30%
Minimum Requirement: Some servers in or around the UK.
We Recommend: An expansive and diverse server list within the UK.
The more UK servers a VPN has, the better its overall performance will be. A small amount of servers can lead to network congestion, slowing your speeds.
We discover how many individual servers make up its UK infrastructure. The higher the number, the higher the score.
The UK is rarely as covered when it comes to VPN servers as the US is. So we look for the standouts that have multiple UK cities available to connect to, ideally in each UK country: England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland.
3. Logging Policy: 20%
We Recommend: A zero-logs logging policy with evidence to prove it.
Privacy policies are essential when judging the quality of a VPN. This is especially so in the UK, which has some of the most intrusive cyber surveillance on the planet.
4. UK Streaming: 10%
Minimum Requirement: The VPN works with some popular UK streaming services.
We Recommend: The VPN can access all UK streaming services, including BBC iPlayer.
A VPN is a great tool for entertainment as well as privacy. You can use a VPN to access British streaming services from abroad.
Therefore we test each VPN with some of the most popular UK streaming services, including BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, All 4.
We also test to see whether it can access international services, like US Netflix from the UK, Disney+ and HBO Max. UK residents often want access to these US-exclusive streaming sites.
The more channels the VPN can stream, the better its streaming rating is. BBC iPlayer is notoriously tricky to access from abroad, so we reserve special praise for VPNs that provide consistent, easy access to that platform.
5. UK Torrenting: 10%
Minimum Requirement: The VPN has some working P2P-friendly servers in or around the UK.
We Recommend: All UK servers are P2P-friendly and the VPN has leak protection.
We test the VPNs on platforms like Bittorent and Utorrent to see whether it can share files quickly.
Once confirming that it works, we also inspect the VPNs security features to ensure there is no chance of an IP or DNS leak. This includes features like leak protection and a kill switch.
The best VPNs for UK torrenting feature split tunneling, fast P2P speeds, and robust security all round, including AES-256 cipher for encryption and OpenVPN or WireGuard for security protocol.