The U.K.’s Investigatory Powers Act allows the U.K. government to access and collect citizens’ data. If you’re using the internet in the U.K., the government might be able to access your data if it so pleases. Using the best U.K. VPN can help protect your privacy, so that no one, including your internet service provider (ISP) and the government, can see what you’re doing online.
Key Takeaways: Best VPN for the U.K.
- The Investigatory Powers Act threatens the privacy of U.K. citizens, but a VPN (virtual private network) can help. VPNs can also help access websites that are geoblocked in the U.K.
- ExpressVPN is the best VPN for the U.K. You might also consider other premium services like NordVPN, Surfshark and CyberGhost depending on your needs and preferences.
- If you’re looking for a free VPN service for the U.K., Proton VPN is your best option.
A virtual private network (VPN) encrypts your internet connection. Even if someone manages to get access to your data, they won’t be able to read it. We recommend ExpressVPN, because it offers top-notch security and fast connection speeds. Alternatively, you might select one of the other top VPNs on this list.
The best VPN services can unblock geoblocked websites and foreign content libraries on streaming services. For example, if you’re in the U.K. and you want to watch a Netflix U.S. show, you’ll need to connect to a U.S.-based VPN server.
05/17/2023 Facts checked
We updated the article to reflect the changes in VPN services.
Windscribe can help acquire a U.K. IP address for free. The service has a free plan with access to its London servers. The free plan offers 15GB of free data, which isn’t exactly ideal if you stream frequently, but Windscribe also has a build-a-plan option that allows you to get unlimited data and access to servers in two more countries for $3 per month.
Yes, it’s worth getting a U.K. VPN to protect your privacy. VPNs encrypt your connection, making your internet activity completely anonymous. Even if the government manages to get their hands on your data, encryption will ensure that the data isn’t readable.
The Top VPNs For The UK
Average speedDownload Speed91 MbpsUpload Speed9 MbpsLatency6 ms
- : PayPal, Credit card, Bitcoin, PaymentWall
- : 5
Average speedDownload Speed94 MbpsUpload Speed9 MbpsLatency7 ms
- : PayPal, Credit card, Google Pay, AmazonPay, ACH Transfer, Cash
- : 6
Average speedDownload Speed96 MbpsUpload Speed9 MbpsLatency121 ms
- : PayPal, Credit card, Google Pay, Amazon Pay
- : Unlimited
- : PayPal, Credit card, Bitcoin, cash
- : 10
Average speedDownload Speed74 MbpsUpload Speed9 MbpsLatency46 ms
- : PayPal, Credit card, bitcoin, Amazon Pay
- : 7
What Makes the Best UK VPN?
The best U.K. VPNs offer fast connection speed, the latest security protocols and the ability to bypass geoblocks. We tested a number of top VPN providers and narrowed the list of the best U.K. VPNs down to the following five:
- ExpressVPN — Excellent combination of speed and security
- NordVPN — Fastest VPN
- Surfshark — Unlimited simultaneous connections
- Proton VPN — Free U.K. VPN
- CyberGhost — Excellent desktop app
Every one of the five services we recommend has U.K. servers (except for Proton VPN’s free version), which means they can help you acquire a U.K. IP address. Whether you want to stay protected when streaming content on BBC iPlayer or encrypt your connection when accessing a geoblocked online banking portal, U.K. servers can help.
Speeds are an important factor to consider when selecting a VPN. Imagine watching your favorite thriller series — you don’t want to have to deal with buffering right when you’re getting to the climax. All VPNs slow your connection slightly, but the best ones ensure this reduction is minimal. The VPN should also be able to effectively bypass geoblocks, including Netflix’s VPN ban.
The 5 Best VPNs for the UK
Below, we discuss the best VPN providers for the U.K. and break down their features and performance. If you don’t want to go through the entire list — we recommend trying ExpressVPN.
More details about ExpressVPN:
- Pricing: $6.66 per month (15-months plan)
- Free plan: None, 30-day money-back guarantee
- Provider website: expressvpn.com
- Fast streaming
- Secure protocols
- MediaStreamer tech
ExpressVPN is the best VPN for the U.K., thanks to its unbeatable combination of speed and security. The VPN lets you switch between multiple security protocols, including OpenVPN and Lightway — ExpressVPN’s proprietary protocol.
Within the app, you get security features like a kill switch (which terminates internet access if the VPN connection drops) and split tunneling (which allows you to route traffic via two tunnels — encrypted and unencrypted). ExpressVPN also offers excellent DNS leak protection and has a strict no-logs policy.
The premium VPN has a well-spread server network, with servers in 94 countries (including the U.K.) — Surfshark is the only VPN on this list with servers in more countries. You can acquire a U.K. IP address using ExpressVPN by connecting to a U.K. server, or you can access geoblocked websites like Netflix U.S. Learn more about ExpressVPN in our in-depth ExpressVPN review.
Best VPN for Streaming
ExpressVPN is the best VPN for U.K. streaming, thanks to fast connection speeds and its unmatched ability to unblock streaming websites like Netflix, Max and Hulu. To further improve your streaming experience, ExpressVPN has a feature called MediaStreamer (learn more in the ExpressVPN MediaStreamer guide).
The MediaStreamer feature allows you to stream geo-restricted content without encrypting your connection. When you’re streaming, you don’t need top security, and the lack of encryption improves performance.
ExpressVPN’s superior performance and feature set make it a premium VPN, and this reflects in its pricing. The best deal (the annual plan) costs $6.66 per month. Shorter-term plans are also available. The six-month plan costs $9.99 per month, while the monthly plan costs $12.95. If you’re not feeling confident about ExpressVPN, you can try it out risk-free using the 30-day money-back guarantee.
More details about NordVPN:
- Pricing: $3.59 per month (two-year plan)
- Free plan: None, 30-day money-back guarantee
- Provider website: nordvpn.com
- Fastest VPN
- Top-notch security
- Unblocks streaming apps
- No specialty servers on NordLynx
NordVPN is the fastest VPN on the market, according to our speed tests. It matches ExpressVPN in a number of areas, including its ability to bypass geoblocks. One of the best things about NordVPN is that its best deal costs considerably less than ExpressVPN’s best deal.
The service has a massive server network, with over 5,000 servers spread across 60 countries, including the U.K. You can use NordVPN to acquire a U.K. IP address and access local websites securely, or connect to a foreign server to unblock websites only available in that region — NordVPN is great at bypassing geoblocked websites, according to our tests.
The app includes NordVPN’s proprietary protocol inspired by WireGuard, called NordLynx. NordLynx is faster and offers better security, but doesn’t work along with one of NordVPN’s specialty server types. NordVPN also has a kill switch, split tunneling and excellent DNS leak protection. Read more about NordVPN’s feature set in our NordVPN review.
NordVPN’s specialty servers make your connection even more secure. The service includes four types of specialty servers: double VPN, Onion Over VPN, P2P and obfuscated. These servers protect you against any existing or future invasive policies the government implements in the U.K.
All of these specialty server types secure your VPN connection even further, but they each do it in different ways. For example, double VPN routes your internet traffic via two VPN servers.
NordVPN’s best value plan (the two-year plan) costs $3.59 per month. Alternatively, you can opt for one of the shorter-term plans. The annual plan costs $4.99 per month, while the monthly plan costs $12.99. Like ExpressVPN, NordVPN offers a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can try the service risk-free.
- Unlimited GB
- Unlimited GB
More details about Surfshark:
- Pricing: $2.49 per month (two-year plan)
- Free plan: None, 30-day money-back guarantee
- Provider website: surfshark.com
- Fast servers
- Low cost plans
- Extensive feature set
- High latency
Surfshark hasn’t been around for as long as other premium services like ExpressVPN and NordVPN, but don’t let that fool you — this is one powerful VPN. It has a well-spread server network with servers in 100 countries, including the U.K.
The VPN service is already fairly low-cost, but you can reduce the per-user cost even further by taking advantage of Surfshark’s unlimited simultaneous connections. You can share your account with a friend or colleague — and you won’t have to worry about any negative impact on the performance, since Surfshark also offers unlimited bandwidth.
Surfshark offers great security, too. The VPN secures your connection using protocols like OpenVPN, IKEv2 and WireGuard. It has a transparent no-logging policy, so rest assured, your data is safe with Surfshark. Learn more about Surfshark in our Surfshark review.
Surfshark has an extensive toolbox that includes features you won’t find on many premium VPNs. For example, Surfshark’s powerful malware and ad blocker CleanWeb 2.0 blocks ads not just in your browser, but across all apps on your device.
The app also includes an IP rotation feature, which allows you to automatically change your IP address every few minutes while keeping your virtual location unchanged. There is also a double VPN feature — referred to as MultiHop servers in the Surfshark app.
Surfshark is a pocket-friendly service, with its best deal (the two-year plan) costing $2.49 per month. The annual plan costs $3.99 per month, while the monthly plan costs $15.45. Like other premium VPNs, you can use Surfshark’s 30-day money-back guarantee to try the VPN out and request a refund if you’re not fully satisfied.
- Unlimited GB bandwidth, Unlimited devices, Secure VPN, Ad blocker, Cookie pop-up blocker.
- Unlimited GB
- Everything in Starter, plus Antivirus protection, Identity protection, Email Breach and Credit Card Alerts, Online Alias
- Unlimited GB
- Everything in One, plus Data removal
- Unlimited GB
4. Proton VPN
More details about Proton VPN:
- Pricing: $4.99 per month (two-year plan)
- Free plan: Yes, limited to 3 server locations
- Provider website: protonvpn.com
- Free unlimited data
- Fast connection speeds
- Excellent interface
- Only 3 free server countries
Proton VPN is the best free VPN, thanks to its generous free plan, great security and fast connection speeds. We typically don’t recommend free VPNs because most are insecure and slow, especially the ones found on our list of the worst VPNs. Proton VPN is one of the few exceptions, and it’s secure, fast and reliable.
As a free user, you’ll have access to servers in three countries: the U.S., the Netherlands and Japan. If you want to access the U.K. server to acquire a U.K. IP, you’ll need the paid version. The paid version offers access to servers in 67 countries.
Proton VPN is the best option for those looking to access geoblocked websites for free, especially streaming websites. As a free user, you get unlimited data and bandwidth, so you can stream without worrying about running out of data. This makes Proton VPN stand out because free VPNs generally can’t get into geoblocked websites and don’t offer free unlimited data.
If you want to unlock full access to Proton VPN, including servers in more countries, you’ll need the paid plan. The best value plan (the two-year plan) costs $4.99 per month. Shorter-term plans are even more expensive. The annual plan costs $5.99 per month, while the monthly plan costs $9.99. There’s a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can try the service risk-free.
More details about CyberGhost:
- Pricing: $2.37 per month (two-year plan)
- Free plan: None, 45-day money-back guarantee
- Provider website: cyberghostvpn.com
- Excellent desktop app
- VPN automation features
- 45-day money-back return
- Slow download speeds
CyberGhost offers one of the largest server networks of any VPN on the market. It has over 9,000 servers spread across 116 server locations in 91 countries, including the U.K.
The VPN app also offers excellent privacy and security. The desktop app offers four VPN protocols: OpenVPN, WireGuard, IKEv2 and L2TP. Mobile users can only use OpenVPN and WireGuard. That’s a little surprising given how mobile users can improve performance using IKEv2.
The service’s website claims to have streaming-optimized servers, but we couldn’t unblock Netflix or Amazon Prime Video using them. CyberGhost isn’t the fastest VPN either, so you might experience occasional buffering even when streaming local content on BBC iPlayer. For what it’s worth, the app does have an attractive desktop app.
CyberGhost lets you configure “smart rules,” which are essentially a way to automate repetitive VPN tasks. For example, you can create a rule that triggers CyberGhost to automatically connect to a server in a specific location when you launch the browser or when your device starts up.
CyberGhost is the cheapest service on this list. The best deal (the two-year plan) costs just $2.37 per month. If you want to opt for a short-term plan, the six-month plan costs $6.99 per month, and the monthly plan costs $12.99 per month. If you want to try the service before committing, it offers a longer-than-average 45-day money-back guarantee, though the monthly plan has a 14-day money-back guarantee.
Why Should You Use a UK VPN?
The Investigatory Powers Act (dubbed the “Snoopers’ Charter” because of its invasive nature) allows MI5, MI6, GCHQ and the police to hack into your computer with a warrant. It also mandates that internet and communication service providers retain a British user’s browsing information for 12 months.
In addition to protecting your privacy, a VPN helps you access websites that are geoblocked in the U.K. and foreign content libraries on streaming platforms like Netflix. For example, if you’re an anime fan, connecting to a Japan server will help you access your favorite anime shows on Netflix Japan.
Any U.K. internet user who wants to ensure complete privacy and anonymity online should use a U.K. VPN. When you encrypt your connection using a VPN, nobody, including the government or the ISP, can read your data. This allows you to surf the internet in the U.K. without worrying about invasion of privacy from bodies administrating the Investigatory Powers Act.
Can You Use a Free VPN for the UK?
Yes, you can use a free VPN like Proton VPN for the U.K. if you have the paid subscription. Note that using any random VPN service you find on Google can be a bad idea. Many free VPNs are unsafe and slow, and some may even infect your computer with malware. It’s best to use a trustworthy VPN if you go the free route, like Proton VPN.
Using a VPN service helps protect your data from internet service providers and the U.K. government. However, not all VPNs offer great security and fast speeds. Many fail to bypass geo-restrictions, making them unsuitable for streaming.
All of the VPNs in this guide offer excellent security, and most offer fast connection speeds. ExpressVPN is the best U.K. VPN because it offers an extensive feature set and terrific performance. However, if you’re on a budget, you might consider other services like NordVPN, Surfshark or CyberGhost. Proton VPN is an excellent free choice.
For an article that looks at how to access Egyptian streaming and news sites, check out our piece on the best VPN for Egypt.
Have you used a U.K. VPN before? Which one, and was the VPN able to bypass restrictions on websites like Netflix, Max and Disney Plus? Let us know in the comments below, and as always, thank you for reading.