Our NordVPN review has consistently rated these guys as a top VPN provider year after year. The reason being that it is a highly secure service that is packed with security features such as DNS leak protection, stealth mode, a killswitch, double-hop and VPN into Tor.
Add to that a zero-logs policy and well implemented OpenVPN encryption (military grade) and you start to understand why. In the past, NordVPN had at times suffered from erratic connection speed issues. However, more recently this superb VPN appears to have managed to really iron those issues out. The result is a reliable and trustworthy VPN that is good enough to do even the most data intensive of tasks (such as streaming in HD). With NordVPN you get freedom and digital privacy, and users are free to do anything they wish (including torrenting). Admittedly, ExpressVPN is slightly faster and does have more servers, but for the added price the difference is negligible.
Finally, this VPN has a 30-day money back guarantee, so that you can test it without risking your hard earned cash, win!
Based in the British Virgin Islands, ExpressVPN is a popular UK VPN provider, thanks in no small part to its excellent customer service. Our Express VPN review found their service to be very slick and professional, ExpressVPN provides 24/7 support and offers a very generous and a 100% genuine 30-day quibble-free guarantee.
Its Windows, Mac OS X, Android, and iOS software is notable for its ease of use, and ExpressVPN offers a custom firmware for routers. Although not the cheapest VPNs out there, when you consider that a full Smart DNS service is thrown in for free, ExpressVPN works out as great value for money.
Additional features: P2P allowed, mobile apps for all operating systems, five simultaneous connections.
CyberGhost‘s software is easy-to-use while also being veryfully featured. It usesvery strong encryption, and 5 simultaneous connections is generous. Being based in Romania and keeping no meaningful logs is also a big draw. Like ExpressVPN, some minimal statistics are kept, but with no time stamp or IPs recorded, these present no threat to users' privacy.
CyberGhost’s great logging policy, decent local (burst) speeds, and fully featured software are a winning combination. And witha 7-day free premium trial plus 30-day no-quibble money back guarantee, there is zero reason not to give it a whirl.
Server Locations 60
Average Speed 61.97 Mbit/s
Simultaneous Connections 7
Private: Great logs policy
Based in Romania so no government spying!
Good looking and easy-to-use software: Seven simultaneous connections
PrivateVPN is an amazing service from Sweden that users praise regularly. It is a superb choice for use in the UK. It is fast, efficient, easy to use, and extremely reliable. It also provides lightning fast speeds for streaming in HD. PrivateVPN truly is a pleasure to use and has all the important security features you might need. It also has servers in over 50 countries.
Encryption is military grade OpenVPN and this VPN keeps zero logs. Amazingly, this fantastic VPN is also super cheap. Why not try the 30-day money-back guarantee to see why this VPN is proving so popular?
Buffered operates from Hungary. Therefore, it is not required to keep any logs (although it does keep some connection logs for internal use). It also means that this small provider is out of the direct reach of GCHQ and its Fourteen Eyes spying partners. Buffered runs VPN servers in 45 different countries, including the usual favorite locations, and of course has plenty of UK VPN servers.
Its 30-day money-back guarantee is quite generous, but please do be aware that conditions apply. Buffered’s most interesting and unique feature is “port discovery.” This allows you to bypass login requirements when using WiFi at airports, in hotels and so forth, by searching for open ports in the local LAN neighborhood.
Additional features: three simultaneous connections.
Server Locations 45
Average Speed 22.66 Mbit/s
Simultaneous Connections 5
Fast, reliable and secure
Unblocks Netflix US and BBC iPlayer
Peer-to-peer (P2P) is permitted
Excellent website with guides and 24/7 live chat support
Excellent software for Windows and Mac
Rather expensive if you subscribe for one month only (but better value if purchased yearly)
Here at BestVPN.com, we’re fortunate to have some of the VPN industry’s foremost experts as staff members. Based on our detailed VPN reviews and data collected as part of our BestVPN.com Awards process, we’ve carefully considered a range of factors that go into making a great all-round VPN service for the UK.
We recognize that due to the versatility of VPN technology, VPN benefits for one user may miss the mark for another. As such, these top five VPN for UK picks are a consensus choice made after much careful deliberation by the BestVPN.com staff.
For more information about how we review VPNs visit BestVPN.com’s VPN Review Process Overview.
UK VPN FAQs
What is a VPN?
A VPN is a way to connect your computer or mobile devices securely to a “VPN server” run by a commercial VPN provider. Your computer then connects to the internet via this VPN server.
Using a VPN is arguably the single most effective measure you can take to improve your online privacy and security.
The VPN encrypts all data passing between your device and the VPN server. This is sometimes referred to as an “encrypted tunnel.” The VPN hides your data from your Internet Service Provider (ISP), so that it can’t spy on what you do online.
VPN providers usually operate server locations around the world. This is great for avoiding censorship, as you can simply connect to a server located in a country where there is no censorship.
When you connect to the internet via a VPN server, anyone on the internet will see the Internet Protocol (IP) address of the VPN server, not your real IP.
How do VPNs work?
To use a VPN you must sign-up to a its service, such as one of those listed above. You then usually just download it software onto your device, select a server location you wish to connect to, and away you go! Alternatively, you can install a VPN on many routers. More on this later.
VPNs are the Swiss Army knife of the internet security and privacy world. They can protect you from hackers, unblock websites, defeat government censorship, prevent blanket government surveillance, help protect against tracking by websites, provide privacy when torrenting, and more.
The only real downside to using a VPN is that it will slow down your internet connection. If you connect to VPN server located geographically nearby in order to access a website also located nearby, then you can expect around a 10 percent hit to the internet speed you get without using VPN. If you connect to a server halfway across the planet, you should expect a much greater hit.
It is also a case that some VPN providers do better than others when it comes to speed performance, which is why every review we publish includes detailed speed tests This is due to factors such as server processing power, available bandwidth, and load (how many other people are using the server at the same time as you).
For an in-depth look at what VPNs are, and they can (and can’t) help you, please check out VPNs for Beginners – What You Need to Know.
What information do UK VPNs keep?
By law, UK VPNs are required to keep the same information that ISPs and other communications providers are. This includes:
Your IP address
Your personal details (address, payment details, etc.)
A log of every website you visit with an associated timestamp. Individual web pages you visit within a website are not required to be logged (although in theory non-HTTPS protected pages visited can be).
As already noted, according to law this information can be freely accessed by a wide range of government bodies.
In practice, the government has been busy over the last year dealing with more pressing matters than implementing the IPA. UK-based VPNs have told us privately that no-one has contacted them to in order to force full compliance with the IPA.
This may well be true but is in defiance of the law as it stands. Indeed, even before the IPA “formalised” the arrangement into law, UK telecoms providers (including VPNs) were unofficially required to keep detailed logs.
Use a VPN to Evade Censorship
UK residents are now required by law to prove that they are over 18 in order to access adult content online. Even more controversially, the new Digital Economy Act requires ISPs to censor websites that feature “non-conventional” sex acts.
It should be stressed that many such “non-conventional” sex acts are perfectly legal. That the UK government can take it upon itself to censor legal content on prurient grounds sets a dangerous precedent for censoring political and social content “for the good of society.”
The UK also leads the world in censoring content that is alleged to infringe copyright.
Use a VPN to Protect Yourself While Torrenting
All major UK ISPs have now agreed to issue “educational letters” to customers who pirate copyrighted content. These letters do, admittedly, lack teeth. A relatively obscure provision of the Digital Economy Act, however, most certainly does not…
Copyright pirates who share infringing material can now be jailed for up to 10 years! The government claims that only large-scale commercial pirates will be targeted, but has refused to set a threshold on how the law can be applied.
“A person…who infringes copyright in a work by communicating the work to the public commits an offense if [the person] knows or has reason to believe that [they are] infringing copyright in the work, and…knows or has reason to believe that communicating the work to the public will cause loss to the owner of the copyright, or will expose the owner of the copyright to a risk of loss.”
This means that, according to the letter of the law, you can be jailed for ten years for peer-to-peer (P2P) downloading a single movie.
It is worth noting here that this provision affects P2P torrenters, but not those who stream via Kodi or streaming websites. This is because with the BitTorrent protocol you are literally sharing files with other torrent users, whereas with streaming you are downloading content only.
Now, here at BestVPN.com we do not condone copyright piracy. To say that we think the threat of 10 years in jail just for downloading a few episodes of Game of Thrones is disproportionate to an obscene degree, however, is something of an understatement!
Use a VPN to Protect You from WiFi Hackers
A VPN will protect you from hackers when using public WiFi hotspots, as your data is secure between your computer and the VPN server. Even if you connect to a fake “evil twin” hotspot, the VPN will protect your data, as it is encrypted.
Use a VPN to Prevent Tracking by Websites
A VPN will help prevent websites from uniquely identifying you and tracking you as you surf the web. They do this to learn your browsing habits, all the better to target adverts at you. A VPN helps because websites you visit will see the IP address of the VPN server, not your real IP. The VPN therefore acts as an IP blocker, helping to keep your identity safe when you surf the web.
Use a VPN to Unblock Netflix
If you connect to a VPN server in another country, as far as websites are concerned you appear to be in that country. This is a great way to access restricted websites that ban overseas visitors, or which have regional restrictions on the content available.
This means you can unblock not only the ever-popular US Netflix, but US cable TV channels such as FOX, ESPN, and CNN (on the geographically-restricted service Sling TV, for example). If you would like to know more about unblocking Netflix on other devices, check out our best five VPNs for Netflix.
British sports fans are also in for a treat when using a VPN. A VPN allows you to unblock live sporting events from around the world, such as the recent Mayweather Vs. McGregor fight. It can also allow you to subscribe to services such as BeIN, which provide a cheap way to watch the English Premier League and other competitions.
Are VPNs legal in the UK?
Yes. There is nothing illegal about using a VPN in the UK. Indeed, use of VPNs by both private citizens and businesses who use the technology for secure networking is so common that it is in no way regarded as dodgy or suspect.
Of course, what you are doing with the VPN may be illegal. Watching copyrighted content is a good example of this.
How to Setup a VPN for the UK
Most VPNs these days offer custom apps for the major platforms. To use a VPN, all that is usually required is:
Register an account with your chosen VPN provider.
Download the relevant client or app for your device(s). Most providers send a confirmation email upon registration that contains all the links you’ll need. If not, a Downloads area should be clearly labeled on the website.
Install and run the app. You’ll be likely be prompted to enter your account details on first run.
The exact details of how custom clients and apps are used varies a great deal. Check out our individual VPN provider reviews for in-depth looks at their software.
If your platform isn’t supported, your VPN provider will provide detailed manual setup guides for configuring your devices using its inbuilt VPN client or third-party software. Some providers offer better guides than others, but all get the job done.
Get a Faster UK VPN
When it comes to internet speeds, faster is always best! Unfortunately, even the fastest VPN will slow down your internet connection a little.
This is primarily due to the fact that diverting your internet traffic through a VPN adds extra distance for the data to travel, and that encrypting/decrypting data takes processor time. Many VPNs will slow your internet down dramatically.
Some VPN providers, however, have invested heavily in good infrastructure. Usually, this means fast servers, though some providers even have their own network infrastructure.
With such a service and connected to a nearby VPN server, you can expect to enjoy 85%+ of your normal connections speeds when using the VPN. Note that the further away the server you connect to, the slower your internet will be.
For UK users, most locations in Europe will provide only minimal slowdown while also preventing blanket government surveillance of your internet activity.
On the other hand, if you wish to access services from specific locations you should connect to a VPN server as close as possible to that location for the fastest VPN speeds possible. UK users wishing to access US streaming servers should choose US East Coast servers. Servers in located New York and New Jersey are optimal because they are as close to the UK as is it possible for US servers to be.
Best VPN Protocols to Use in the UK
A VPN protocol is the set of instructions used to negotiate a secure encrypted connection between two computers. A number of such VPN protocols are commonly supported by commercial VPNs. The most notable of these are Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP), OpenVPN, Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol (L2TP) and Internet Key Exchange version 2 (IKEv2).
This is an old VPN protocol that hasn’t been considered secure for years and should, therefore, be avoided.
This is usually implemented with the Internet Protocol Security (IPsec) authentication suite (L2TP/IPsec). It is most certainly not secure against the NSA, but for most purposes is generally regarded as being secure if openly published pre-shared keys aren’t used. Compared with PPTP, L2TP is very secure.
A new standard that is increasingly popular because it is both fast and secure. How secure it is against the likes of the NSA is unknown, however. Mobile users may even prefer it to OpenVPN thanks to its improved ability to reconnect when an internet connection is interrupted.
This open source and now fully audited protocol is widely regarded as the most secure and versatile VPN protocol available (if well implemented). My general recommendation is to use an OpenVPN network whenever possible. Be wary, however, about the much-advertised use of 256-bit AES encryption. This is indeed a gold-standard cipher, but simply saying “256-bit” is in itself fairly meaningless. The devil is in the detail.
For more information on this subject please check out VPN Encryption: The Complete Guide, which is designed to be as layman-friendly as possible
Unblock British Websites to Watch UK TV
This article is primarily aimed at Brits, who do not need a VPN to access British websites such as BBC iPlayer and All4. These services, however, are world renown for the high-quality of their programming and for the fact that they are free at point of service.
The BBC has a unique funding model: all UK residents who own a TV are required to pay for a TV licence. One side-effect of this is that anyone in the UK can watch the BBC’s online catch-up service, iPlayer, for free.
In theory, to do this you must now be a member of a household that has paid its TV licence. However, currently, the only check on this is that website visitors are asked to click on a button saying “I have a TV licence. Watch now.”
Use of BBC iPlayer will soon also require that you register with the service, but registered emails will not be tied to TV licence ownership. In fact, even a disposable email address will work just fine.
All of which means that overseas viewers can easily watch high-quality BBC content on iPlayer for free. All you need is a UK IP address, which using a UK VPN server provides.
Much like US Netflix, iPlayer does try to block VPN users from accessing its service, but these blocks are much less effective than those of Netflix. Most VPNs and UK VPN servers continue to work with BBC iPlayer.
It might also be worth noting that if you like BBC iPlayer, All4 is another UK streaming service that provides some great content. As with BBC iPlayer, it can be easily accessed using a UK VPN server.
Are you a British citizen? Then congratulations! You are one of the most surveilled and censored citizens in the so-called free world. Yay! Good news is that, as long as you stay well away from British VPNs, a VPN will protect your privacy and unblock the web. There also many other VPN benefits!