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 99 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.
Take a sneak peek at our top three VPN services for the UK before reading on for a more detailed overview of our top five.
What to Look for in a VPN for the UK
- Multiple server options in the UK
- Excellent download speeds
- Works with Netflix and BBC iPlayer
- Transparent, fair and privacy-focused logging policies
- Useful privacy features
- Well-designed and user-friendly apps
Wondering why you should trust our reviews? Take a look at How We Test VPNs
Read More Information on the Best VPN Services for the UK
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
- 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.
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.
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:
- 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:
- 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.
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.
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