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5 Best UK VPN Services for 2018

The UK's digital laws are getting more intrusive by the day, so now is the ideal to get a VPN. To match you up with your perfect service, we have put together this guide about using a VPN in England and which providers are up to the task.

VPN for UK

The best VPN for UK

To see a list of our recommended VPNs for the UK, check out the list below. For more in-depth information keep scrolling:

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2. From $2.99 / month
BestVPN.com Score 9.6 out of 10
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3. From $2.75 / month
BestVPN.com Score 9.5 out of 10
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BestVPN.com Score 9 out of 10
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More than any in other country in the (so-called) free world, UK citizens need to protect their online privacy and right to access an unrestricted internet; and their first line of defense should be to use a good Virtual Private Network (VPN).

In addition to having the “the most extreme surveillance in the history of western democracy,” the UK censors a huge number of websites on copyright grounds, and will soon require everyone who watches pornography to prove that they are over 18.

A UK VPN will protect you from government surveillance and unblock censored websites. And just like everywhere else, it will allow you to stream US Netflix, protect you from WiFi hackers, and let you torrent with peace of mind.

We delve into all these points later in this article, but let’s first look at our picks for best UK VPN services in 2018.

Top 5 UK VPN services

1. ExpressVPN

BestVPN.com Score 10 out of 10
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Editor's Choice

Based in the British Virgin Islands, ExpressVPN is a popular UK VPN provider, thanks in no small part to its excellent customer service. 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.

VPN Stats

  • Server Locations 94
  • Average Speed 77.14 Mbit/s
  • Simultaneous Connections 3
  • Jurisdiction British Virgin Islands

Likes

  • Super fast - great for streaming!
  • Very secure 256-bit encryption
  • Unlimited downloading
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • 5* 24/7 customer support
  • Special Deal: Save 49% Today

Dislikes

  • IPv6 WebRTC leaks (fixed by browser extension)
  • A little pricey
  • BVI jurisdiction is not ideal

Features

Port forwarding
Total servers 2000
Countries 94
Simultaneous connections 3
Bare metal or virtual servers A combination
Router Support
Routers Supported Asus RT-AC56R, Asus RT-AC56S, Asus RT-AC56U, Asus RT-AC68U, Asus RT-AC87U, Linksys EA6200, Linksys WRT1200AC, Linksys WRT1900AC 13J1, Linksys WRT1900AC 13J2, Linksys WRT1900ACS, Linksys WRT3200ACM, Netgear R6300v2, Netgear Nighthawk R7000
Allows torrenting
Port selection

Supported platforms

Windows
MacOS
iOS
Android
Linux
Windows Phone

Protocols offered

PPTP
L2TP/IPsec
SSTP
IKEv2
OpenVPN

Privacy

Jurisdiction British Virgin Islands
Logs Traffic
Logs Connections
Logs Timestamps
Logs Bandwidth
Logs IP Address
Logs Aggregated or Anonymized Data
Website tracking? N/A

Performance

BestVPN.com SpeedTest (max/burst) 178.05
BestVPN.com SpeedTest (average) 77.14
Data limits
Bandwidth limits
IPv6 leak detected?
WebRTC leak detected?

Payment

Visa/MasterCard
Amex
Cryptocurrency

Security

Kill Switch
Obfuscation (stealth)
Self-hosted/Proxied DNS Yes
IPv4 leak protection
IPv6 leak protection
WebRTC leak protection

Support

Free trial No
24-hour support
Live chat support
Money-back Guarantee
Money back guarantee length 30

Unblocks:

Netflix
iPlayer

2. NordVPN

BestVPN.com Score 9.6 out of 10
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NordVPN is a great all-round VPN for UK users. Its headquarters are in Panama, which is excellent news for the more GCHQ-phobic out there, as Panama sits well outside The Five Eyes’ area of influence. It also keeps no logs at all, uses strong encryption, and accepts payment via bitcoins. Some may appreciate NordVPN’s “double-hop” VPN chaining feature, although I am dubious about its value. NordVPN's 30-day money-back guarantee means that you have plenty of time to test out this privacy-focused VPN for yourself.

VPN Stats

  • Server Locations 62
  • Average Speed 59.23 Mbit/s
  • Simultaneous Connections 6
  • Jurisdiction Panama

Likes

  • Based in Panama (great for privacy)
  • Six simultaneous connections
  • Works with US Netflix and BBC iPlayer
  • Dedicated IPs (cost extra)

Dislikes

  • IPv6 leak in macOS IKEv2 app

Features

Port forwarding
Total servers 4568
Countries 62
Simultaneous connections 6
Bare metal or virtual servers Combination
Router Support
Routers Supported Raspberry Pi Tomato Synology DD-WRT AsusTOR AsusWRT AsusWRT-Merlin pfsense D-Link Linksys TP-Link OpenWRT belkin DrayTek Qnap Arris TOTOLink Mikrotik Huawei Tenda WD MikroTik IPFire TRENDnet EdgeRouter GLiNet NetDuma Fortinet Sabai ubee
Allows torrenting
Port selection

Supported platforms

Windows
MacOS
iOS
Android
Linux
Windows Phone

Protocols offered

PPTP
L2TP/IPsec
SSTP
IKEv2
OpenVPN

Privacy

Jurisdiction Panama
Logs Traffic
Logs Connections
Logs Timestamps
Logs Bandwidth
Logs IP Address
Logs Aggregated or Anonymized Data
Website tracking? Google Analytics

Performance

BestVPN.com SpeedTest (max/burst) 229.99
BestVPN.com SpeedTest (average) 59.23
Data limits
Bandwidth limits
IPv4 leak detected?
IPv6 leak detected?
WebRTC leak detected?

Payment

Visa/MasterCard
Amex
Cryptocurrency

Security

Kill Switch
Obfuscation (stealth)
Self-hosted/Proxied DNS Yes
IPv4 leak protection
IPv6 leak protection
WebRTC leak protection

Support

Free trial Yes - 3 Days
24-hour support
Live chat support
Money-back Guarantee
Money back guarantee length 30

Unblocks:

Netflix
iPlayer

3. CyberGhost

BestVPN.com Score 9.5 out of 10
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CyberGhost‘s software is easy-to-use while also being very fully featured. It uses very 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 fantastic security features are a winning combination. With a 7-day free premium trial plus 30-day no-quibble money back guarantee, there is zero reason not to give it a whirl if you want a VPN for the UK.

VPN Stats

  • Server Locations 60
  • Average Speed 61.97 Mbit/s
  • Simultaneous Connections 7
  • Jurisdiction Romania

Likes

  • Private: Strong no logs policy
  • 45-day money-back guarantee
  • Based in Romania so no government spying!
  • Good looking and easy-to-use software: Seven simultaneous connections
  • Friendly Live Chat support
  • Peer-to-peer (P2P) torrenting allowed

Dislikes

  • Not much

Features

Port forwarding
Total servers 2750
Countries 60
Simultaneous connections 7
Bare metal or virtual servers A combination
Router Support
Routers Supported Any router with VPN capabilities
Allows torrenting
Port selection

Supported platforms

Windows
MacOS
Android
Linux
Windows Phone

Protocols offered

PPTP
L2TP/IPsec
SSTP
IKEv2
OpenVPN

Privacy

Jurisdiction Romania
Logs Traffic
Logs Connections
Logs Timestamps
Logs Bandwidth
Logs IP Address
Logs Aggregated or Anonymized Data
Website tracking? Trackers used

Performance

BestVPN.com SpeedTest (max/burst) 132.01
BestVPN.com SpeedTest (average) 61.97
Data limits
Bandwidth limits
IPv4 leak detected?
IPv6 leak detected?
WebRTC leak detected?

Payment

Visa/MasterCard
Amex
Cryptocurrency

Security

Kill Switch
Obfuscation (stealth)
Self-hosted/Proxied DNS Yes
IPv4 leak protection
IPv6 leak protection
WebRTC leak protection

Support

Free trial No
24-hour support
Live chat support
Money-back Guarantee
Money back guarantee length 45

Unblocks:

Netflix
iPlayer

4. PrivateVPN

BestVPN.com Score 9 out of 10
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PrivateVPN is an amazing service from Sweden that users praise regularly. It is a superb choice for use in the UK as it is fast, efficient, easy to use, and extremely reliable. PrivateVPN truly is a pleasure to use and has all the important security features you might need. Encryption is OpenVPN and they 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?

VPN Stats

  • Server Locations 60
  • Average Speed 58.97 Mbit/s
  • Simultaneous Connections 6
  • Jurisdiction Sweden

Likes

  • 30-day money back guarantee
  • Servers in 56 countries
  • Strong OpenVPN encryption
  • Zero logs
  • 24/7 customer support

Dislikes

  • Not much

Features

Port forwarding
Total servers 100
Countries 60
Simultaneous connections 6
Bare metal or virtual servers A combination
Router Support
Allows torrenting
Port selection

Supported platforms

Windows
MacOS
iOS
Android
Linux
Windows Phone

Protocols offered

PPTP
L2TP/IPsec
SSTP
IKEv2
OpenVPN
Other protocols IPSec, Shadowsocks

Privacy

Jurisdiction Sweden
Logs Traffic
Logs Connections
Logs Timestamps
Logs Bandwidth
Logs IP Address
Logs Aggregated or Anonymized Data
Website tracking? Google Analytics

Performance

BestVPN.com SpeedTest (max/burst) 327.86
BestVPN.com SpeedTest (average) 58.97
Data limits
Bandwidth limits
IPv4 leak detected?
IPv6 leak detected?
WebRTC leak detected?

Payment

Visa/MasterCard
Amex
Cryptocurrency

Security

Kill Switch
Obfuscation (stealth)
Self-hosted/Proxied DNS Proxy
IPv4 leak protection
IPv6 leak protection
WebRTC leak protection

Support

Free trial Yes - 7 days
24-hour support
Live chat support
Money-back Guarantee
Money back guarantee length 30

Unblocks:

Netflix
iPlayer

5. Hotspot Shield

BestVPN.com Score 8.9 out of 10
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This VPN provider is a super-fast service that is perfect for anybody in the UK that wants to do a lot of gaming or streaming in HD. Although the free version of Hotspot Shield does collect some data from users (and serve ads), this is not true of the premium "elite" service. Although Hotspot Shield does not implement OpenVPN (our recommended protocol), it does use a custom protocol that relies on relies on the OpenSSL library (the same as used by OpenVPN), an enhanced TCP handshake, and AES-128 data encryption. The result is that Hotspot Shield is a fast, reliable, and secure VPN that is perfect if you're looking for a great all-around UK VPN.

VPN Stats

  • Server Locations 27
  • Average Speed 22.66 Mbit/s
  • Simultaneous Connections 5
  • Jurisdiction USA

Likes

  • Fast speeds
  • App for windows, Mac OS X, iOS and Android
  • Browser extensions for Chrome and firefox
  • Seven-day free trial
  • 45 day money back guarantee

Dislikes

  • Based in the US
  • Some invasive policies even on elite

Features

Port forwarding
Total servers 300
Countries 27
Simultaneous connections 5
Bare metal or virtual servers A combination
Router Support
Routers Supported -
Port selection

Supported platforms

Windows
MacOS
iOS
Android
Linux
Windows Phone

Protocols offered

PPTP
L2TP/IPsec
SSTP
IKEv2
OpenVPN
Other protocols Hydra and Hexa (proprietary technology)

Privacy

Jurisdiction USA
Logs Traffic
Logs Connections
Logs Timestamps
Logs Bandwidth
Logs IP Address
Logs Aggregated or Anonymized Data
Website tracking? Google Analytics

Performance

BestVPN.com SpeedTest (max/burst) 22.66
BestVPN.com SpeedTest (average) 22.66
Data limits
Bandwidth limits
IPv4 leak detected?
WebRTC leak detected?

Payment

Visa/MasterCard
Amex
Cryptocurrency

Security

Kill Switch
Obfuscation (stealth)
Self-hosted/Proxied DNS Yes
IPv4 leak protection
WebRTC leak protection

Support

Free trial Yes - 7 days
24-hour support
Live chat support
Money-back Guarantee

Unblocks:

Netflix
iPlayer

Why do I need a VPN?

A VPN is a technology that helps you to stay secure and private on the internet. It creates a secure encrypted connection between your device and a VPN server run by a VPN provider. This means that:

  1. Your internet service provider (ISP) cannot see which websites you visit
    All your ISP can see is that you connected to a web address that (if it even bothers to look it up) belongs to a server run by a VPN company.
  2. Your ISP cannot see any of your data
    As it is encrypted between your device and the VPN server. Between this and point 1, your ISP has no idea what you get up to online.
  3. The UK government doesn’t know what you get up to online either
    The government’s bulk surveillance program relies on ISPs to keep logs for 12 months. So if your ISP has no idea what you get up to online, then neither will the government.
    Gchq Spooks
  4. You can bypass all forms of censorship
    Circumvent draconian censorship simply by connecting to a VPN located somewhere that does not restrict the internet (or require proof of identity to access porn).
  5. Hackers and dodgy WiFi hotspot operators can’t snoop on what you do online
    Because all your data is securely encrypted, you don’t need to worry about hackers or insecure hotspots.
  6. Torrent safely
    Because peers and anyone else watching on the internet will only see the IP address of the VPN server, not your real IP address, you can torrent in peace. For more information see our best VPN for torrent sites guide.
  7. You can access services such as US Netflix, Hulu or HBO
    Access services unavailable in the UK, simply by connecting to a VPN server in the US (for example). Similarly, accessing Netflix through a US VPN server lets you watch twice as much stuff as using the British version of the service.

Notflix 2Note that all these streaming services try to block VPN users, so take advantage of any free trials and/or money back guarantees to ensure that a VPN service works for the content you want to accesses before stumping up your hard-earned cash. As you can see, VPNs are pretty darn handy!

Internet service provider blocks

Internet service providers in Britain with over 400,000 subscribers are subject to a court order from the UK government that forces them to block websites deemed to be illegal. The ISPs that are subject to the court order are:

  • BT Group
  • EE
  • Sky Broadband
  • Talk Talk
  • Virgin Media

By using a VPN you can bypass any blocks implemented by your ISP.

UK Surveillance

Even before the Investigatory Powers Act 2016 formalized the government’s mass surveillance powers into law, the UK’s GCHQ intelligence agency spied on just about everything everybody did online.

Under the IPA, UK communications providers (which includes all UK VPN services) must log extensive metadata. 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).

This information is available to a very large number of government bodies with very little oversight. Indeed, it is primarily this lack of any meaningful oversight that recently caused a UK High Court to rule the IPA incompatible with European law and require that it be rewritten by the start of November 2018.

At time of writing, the law is still very much in place and the government has given no indication about how it will respond to this ruling. So if you do not want the government to know everything you do online, then use a VPN (but not a British VPN)!

Quick view

The UK is fast becoming a Big Brother state in terms of both mass government spying and internet censorship. Even if you have nothing to hide (and is this ever really the case?), it is important to push back if we are to avoid a very dark future. Using a VPN is a very effective way to do this. Or you can just use one to watch US Netflix – it’s your choice!

Editor's Choice 1. From $6.67 / month
BestVPN.com Score 10 out of 10
Visit Site   Read Review
2. From $2.99 / month
BestVPN.com Score 9.6 out of 10
Visit Site   Read Review
3. From $2.75 / month
BestVPN.com Score 9.5 out of 10
Visit Site   Read Review
4. From $2.73 / month
BestVPN.com Score 9 out of 10
Visit Site   Read Review
5. From $3.88 / month
BestVPN.com Score 8.9 out of 10
Visit Site   Read Review

Written by: Douglas Crawford

I am a freelance writer, technology enthusiast, and lover of life who enjoys spinning words and sharing knowledge for a living. You can now follow me on Twitter - @douglasjcrawf.

2 Comments

  1. Diane Delaney
    on November 4, 2017
    Reply

    I see that Express VPN is your top recommendation but being based in The British Virgin Islands does this mean it is under UK jurisdiction ? ie Five Eyes ?

    1. Douglas Crawford replied to Diane Delaney
      on November 4, 2017
      Reply

      Hi Diane, I bring up this issue in my ExpressVPN Review (see Privacy section), and also asked about it in an interview I did with David Lang, Communications Manager at ExpressVPN... Q: ExpressVPN is incorporated in the British Virgin Islands (BVI). I understand that the legal situation is very murky (at best!), and that the BVI regulates its own internal affairs and has no mandatory data retention laws. But it is a British overseas territory and therefore operates under the jurisdiction and sovereignty of the UK government. It seems reasonable to me, then, to assume that the UK government, which is extremely hostile to privacy and is a key member of the NSA-led Five Eyes spying alliance, can put pressure on the BVI government and businesses. What are your thoughts on this? A: I would say the situation is very clear: Although BVI has the word “British” in it, the government of the BVI effectively operates with full sovereign powers and little oversight from the UK. BVI legislators are democratically elected by BVI citizens, and the judicial system is also independent from the UK. Unlike many countries which infringe on individuals’ right to privacy, the BVI is an offshore jurisdiction renowned for data protection laws. We carefully took our users’ privacy into consideration when we chose this jurisdiction. There are no data retention laws in the BVI and for us to consider a court order legally binding, it would need to come from a BVI court. The British Virgin Islands don’t have any foreign intelligence operations and therefore are also not part of the Five Eyes spying alliance. We also are aware of zero incidents of the UK government directly pressuring BVI companies to cough up data on their customers, as they simply lack jurisdiction for making such requests. A BVI company can produce records or evidence about its customers only if ordered to do so by the BVI High Court. And fortunately, because we don’t log or monitor traffic data on our VPN servers, we don’t possess information that would be useful for us to produce were such an order to be made.

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