5 Best VPNs for the UK in 2023

No matter where you’re from, you have to protect yourself online. This is even more important for UK citizens, as many UK companies are required to share their users’ data with the government, including ISPs, social media platforms, online stores, and more. There are also hackers and malevolent sites that want to collect your data by enticing you to click on bad links or open risky websites. If you want to make sure you’re safe while accessing the Internet, you’ll need a suitable UK VPN.

In addition to increasing privacy and security, the best VPN providers allow you to easily mask your location while you’re traveling and access content that is only available at home in the UK. By using the best VPN with most countries and servers, people worldwide can also get a UK IP address to watch geo-restricted UK streaming services like BBC iPlayer. 

This article will recommend the 5 best UK VPN providers and compare their main features. We’ll also show you step-by-step how to set up a UK VPN, explain why you need one, discuss whether using a free VPN is a good idea, and more.

So, without further ado, let’s begin!

How to Get a UK VPN

To get a UK VPN, you’ll need to find a reputable British VPN provider and subscribe to it. Then, connect to a VPN server that suits your needs best. Here’s everything you’ll need to do:

  1. Subscribe to a suitable British VPN (we recommend ExpressVPN).
  2. Download and install the VPN app on the device(s) you want to protect.
  3. Launch the VPN app and sign in to your account to get started.
  4. Connect to a VPN server in the UK (or anywhere else you want).
  5. Now, your online activity will be encrypted and protected at all times.

If you want to use your UK VPN to stream content or access websites only available in the UK, you’ll need a UK IP address. To get one, make sure to connect to a UK-based VPN server.

Best VPN for the UK

The best VPN for the UK must have servers based in the UK so that you can connect to them and get a UK IP address. It must also offer a wide server network, which will allow you to access content from all over the world and bypass various geo-restrictions. You should also get strong security and privacy features from the best UK VPN, such as military-grade encryption, a no-logs policy, leak protection, etc. Lastly, the best VPN in the UK must offer reliable customer support that is available 24/7.

Based on the criteria mentioned above, these are the 5 best UK VPN providers:

  1. ExpressVPN – Our #1-Rated UK VPN
  2. NordVPN – Best UK VPN for Enhanced Privacy
  3. CyberGhost VPN – Best VPN for the UK with Specialized Servers
  4. Private Internet Access – British VPN with the Largest Server Network
  5. Surfshark – Best VPN in the UK for First-Time Users

1. ExpressVPN – Our #1-Rated UK VPN

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ExpressVPN is the best UK VPN because it comes with lightning-fast servers both in and outside of the UK. The provider has numerous servers in multiple UK locations, including in the Docklands, East London, London, the Midlands, and Wembley. So, you can choose which location suits you most and access all kinds of UK-exclusive content. In total, ExpressVPN has over 3,000 servers spread across 94 countries, allowing you to easily access all kinds of geo-restricted content.

The provider will unlock many different British channels and streaming platforms, including Netflix UK, BBC iPlayer, ITV, Channel 4, BT Sports, Now TV, and more. Better yet, you can stream all your favorite content with no buffering thanks to ExpressVPN’s high speeds. 

According to tests conducted by our team, ExpressVPN is the fastest VPN on the market. So, if you want to stream, game, torrent, and browse the Web with no lagging at super-fast speeds, this is the ideal provider for you.

ExpressVPN also offers excellent privacy and security features such as military-grade encryption, a no-logs policy, full data leak protection, a threat manager, and more. 

With ExpressVPN, you can connect 5 devices simultaneously, including your phone, tablet, laptop, desktop, router, and gaming console. The provider is also compatible with many different operating systems and protocols.

Furthermore, you can try ExpressVPN risk-free for 30 days thanks to its money-back guarantee. And if you don’t like what it offers, simply request a refund via its 24/7 live chat feature.

PROS

  • Lightning-fast UK servers
  • Can unblock various British programs
  • Military-grade encryption
  • No-logs policy and leak protection
  • Covers 94 countries worldwide

CONS

  • Not the largest server network

2. NordVPN – Best UK VPN for Enhanced Privacy

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NordVPN is another excellent UK VPN that is especially great for those looking for high-end privacy. With NordVPN, you can connect to over 440 different servers in the UK and switch between them whenever one becomes overcrowded. You can also use NordVPN’s 5,400+ servers in 60 countries to access geo-restricted content all over the world. 

With NordVPN, you’ll get access to a unique feature that not many other VPNs offer: Double VPN. This provides you with an extra layer of privacy by routing your traffic through 2 different VPN servers, which encrypts it twice instead of once. The provider also offers a no-logs policy, leak protection, anti-malware, an ad-blocker, and other excellent security features. 

As for speed, NordVPN isn’t as fast as ExpressVPN, so be prepared to experience medium-fast speeds with this provider. Regardless, it’s still suitable for streaming and a smooth online browsing experience. 

Like ExpressVPN, NordVPN offers a 30-day money-back guarantee, which allows you to try out its services risk-free. It also has 24/7 customer support reachable via the live chat option on its official website.

PROS

  • Excellent privacy
  • Double encryption
  • No-logs policy
  • 440+ servers in the UK
  • 24/7 customer support

CONS

  • Offers medium connection speeds

3. CyberGhost – Best VPN for the UK with Specialized Servers

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CyberGhost has one of the largest server networks on the market. It employs more than 9,700 servers in 91 countries, and you can choose from 790 UK servers located in 3 different cities.

Almost all of the provider’s servers are optimized for P2P file sharing, and there are thousands of servers optimized for streaming that support 4K. CyberGhost has strong content-unblocking capabilities, allowing you to access all kinds of geo-restricted streamers, including BBC iPlayer, Netflix UK, Netflix US, Hulu, Disney+, HBO Max, and more.

Even though this provider has one of the largest server networks on the market, it’s still not as fast as ExpressVPN. Thus, you can expect medium-fast Internet connection speeds on more remote servers and slightly faster speeds on servers closer to you. 

You can connect up to 7 devices simultaneously with CyberGhost, which is more than what both ExpressVPN and NordVPN offer. It is compatible with multiple devices, operating systems, routers, and protocols. 

CyberGhost offers a 45-day money-back guarantee on all its longer-term plans and a 14-day money-back guarantee on its monthly plan, so you can try out its services risk-free. Also, it has 24/7 customer support available via live chat.

PROS

  • Specialized servers for streaming
  • Wide server network
  • 790 UK servers
  • Military-grade encryption
  • No-logs policy

CONS

  • Average Internet connection speeds

4. Private Internet Access – British VPN with the Largest Server Network

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Private Internet Access (PIA) is another excellent British VPN provider that has the largest server network on the market, offering a whopping 35,000+ servers in 84 countries worldwide. Thus, PIA will unblock many different streaming platforms, such as multiple Netflix libraries, Amazon Prime, Disney+, and HBO Max. It also offers a wide range of UK servers, specifically in London, Southampton, and Manchester, so you can easily access UK content like BBC iPlayer from anywhere.

Another unique aspect to PIA is its customization capability. You can change your VPN settings to make it more security- or speed-oriented, you can tweak VPN protocols, and more. Some of the security and privacy features that you’ll get without optimizing your VPN settings include AES 256-bit encryption, a no-logs policy, private DNS, anti-tracking software, a kill switch, and more. 

However, it does come with a downside: it offers medium Internet connection speeds that are slower than all the other VPNs on our list. And if you max out your security settings, the speed will decline even further. If you want to optimize your speed instead, you’ll have to decrease your security settings. Moreover, since PIA requires optimization, it’s not as suitable for beginners as it is for more advanced users who know their way around a VPN. 

You can simultaneously use PIA on 10 devices, including your PC, laptop, phone, tablet, and router. You can also download it on multiple operating systems, including Windows, Linux, and macOS. 

Lastly, PIA allows you to try its services risk-free with its 30-day money-back guarantee, and it offers 24/7 live chat support to all users.

PROS

  • 35,000+ servers in 84 countries
  • Many customization opportunities
  • 10 simultaneous connections
  • No-logs policy
  • Great encryption

CONS

  • Better for more advanced users
  • Slower compared to other providers

5. Surfshark – Best VPN in the UK for First-Time Users

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Surfshark is a beginner-friendly UK VPN suitable for both first-time and more advanced users. It offers easy-to-use apps with a simple interface and allows you to connect to a VPN server with just a few clicks.

This provider covers more than 100 countries with its 3,200+ servers, including the UK. Surfshark has 360 servers in the UK, located in London, Manchester, Glasgow, and Edinburgh. You can use it to access all the popular streaming platforms, like BBC iPlayer, HBO Max, Netflix, Hulu, Hotstar, Disney+, and many more. 

Surfshark is among the fastest VPNs on the market, coming close to ExpressVPN in speed. It also offers excellent security and privacy features, which include its unique Nexus technology. This feature changes your IP address every now and then to avoid tracking without interrupting the VPN connection. The technology also includes dynamic multi-hop, which allows you to choose how to connect to a certain server. For instance, you can decide to connect to the US through Sweden. This allows you to hide your real location more effectively.

In addition to its Nexus technology, Surfshark offers military-grade encryption, a no-log policy, private DNS, leak protection, and more. 

With Surfshark, you can connect as many devices as you want and protect all of them simultaneously. You can try Surfshark risk-free for 30 days and get a full refund if you don’t like its services. The provider’s support team is always available via its 24/7 live chat.

PROS

  • Beginner-friendly interface
  • Fast Internet connections
  • Excellent security and privacy
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

CONS

  • Not suitable for P2P sharing

Why Do You Need a UK VPN?

You need a UK VPN to access content that is only available in the UK, like BBC iPlayer, Absolute Radio, STV Player, BBC Sports, Sky Sports, and many more. This requires connecting to a UK-based server and getting a UK IP address. Other reasons why you need a UK VPN are the following:

  • Accessing Content Unavailable in the UK – With the best VPN in the UK, you can access both UK-exclusive content and content unavailable in the UK. For example, you can access content only available in the US by connecting to a US-based server. The same goes for every other country that offers geo-restricted content.
  • Protecting Yourself Online – A VPN will encrypt your Internet connection, hiding your traffic from third parties and hackers who want to monitor it. With a UK VPN, your personal information will be protected, and you’ll be able to use the Internet safely, even on unsecured public networks. 
  • Avoiding ISP Throttling – Another reason why many people use VPNs is to avoid ISP throttling, which is when your ISP purposely slows down your Internet after it detects that you’re using a lot of data at once. A VPN can help you avoid this by hiding your online activity and preventing your ISP from seeing it.

Which Websites Are Blocked in the UK and Why?

The UK is widely known for overblocking of online content, and we're not just referring to pirate sites (which were an obvious target).

In an attempt to filter content not suitable for children, UK ISPs have imposed filters that sometimes affected completely safe and unrelated websites. Why? Well, certain keywords on these websites (related to drugs, alcohol, sex, etc.) triggered the automatic filtering system.

In some cases, the pages affected were aimed at helping young people cope with problems associated with these topics. Charities and businesses alike have had their websites not appear for subscribers of various UK ISPs, like Sky, Virgin Media, and several others. Because yes, these filtering rules aren't even consistent across multiple operators.

More importantly, the UK government has put Ofcom in charge of regulating the Internet. These regulations involve the removal of vaguely defined "abusive, harmful, and illegal content" - especially on social media, which civil rights advocates worry will be used to crack down on freedom of speech online.

Aside from the wide variety of websites censored by these Internet operators, UK users can't use regionally exclusive streaming websites like Hulu, HBO Max, and the like. The websites may not be blocked, but their services are unavailable to people outside the US.

Then there are a host of US news websites blocked in Europe, thanks to the lingering effects of the EU GDPR. Most of these have since been resolved, but a few smaller papers and business websites remain unreachable outside the US. This may affect expats from the US who want to follow local news from back home. Not to mention businesses looking to expand in the area.

Can I Get Around the UK Porn Ban With a VPN?

The UK government has tried (unsuccessfully, so far) to implement an AgeID system to watch porn online in the UK. While the idea has been shot down a few times, it's still on the table since more and more countries start to implement age verification systems of their own.

Despite the good intentions behind the bill (preventing children from accessing pornography), people were not particularly happy about having to give their personal information to a porn site. Not to mention the possibility of having their viewing habits stored in the cloud, with the potential to be leaked online. And who would?

Fortunately, if such a law does pass anytime soon, you can always use a UK VPN and connect to a country where age verification isn't required. It's a good idea to use VPN anyway, as your browsing habits can't be recorded and stored by your UK ISP.

Can I Use a Free VPN in the UK?

Yes, you can use a free VPN in the UK. However, doing so might not be the best idea. Free VPNs are extremely limited, and most can’t bypass any of the VPN-detection technologies many platforms and websites have in place. So, using one might not even get you access to the content you want to see. 

Free VPNs also offer minimal resources, such as low data caps, slow Internet connection speeds, and small server networks. Unfortunately, the data caps that most free VPNs offer are usually not enough for a normal day of web browsing, so you’ll end up using up the data much faster than you think. 

Furthermore, most free VPNs collect users’ data and sell it to third parties in order to make some money. So, free VPN providers can’t protect you online, defeating the whole purpose of using a VPN in the first place. 

Final Thoughts

With a UK VPN, you can protect your personal information online and make sure that it doesn’t fall into the hands of any ISPs, governments, or nefarious individuals. In addition, you’ll be able to access UK content that isn’t available elsewhere. A UK VPN can also provide you with a UK IP address, allowing you to access UK-exclusive content from virtually everywhere in the world.

We recommend ExpressVPN to everyone that needs a UK VPN, as it is the fastest, most secure VPN on the market, with plenty of servers in the UK. It will protect your data, bypass different VPN-detection technologies, and give you access to content from the UK and all over the world. 

FAQ

Are VPNs Legal in the UK?

Yes, VPNs are legal in the UK. You can use them for streaming, gaming, torrenting, and browsing without any legal restrictions.

Should I Use a VPN If I Live in the UK?

Yes, you should use a VPN if you live in the UK. It will protect your private information and ensure that none of your data gets leaked, as well as allow you to access geo-restricted content from many other countries.

What British TV Channels Can I Watch Online with a VPN?

British TV channels you can watch online with a VPN include all the BBC networks, Sky, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5, Eurosport, BT Sport, and more.

What Is the Best VPN to Use in the UK?

The best VPN to use in the UK is ExpressVPN. It has multiple servers in the UK and can give you access to all kinds of UK-exclusive content. It also offers servers in many other countries worldwide, allowing you to unblock content that is otherwise unavailable in the UK. 

How Do I Get a UK VPN?

To get a UK VPN, you need to subscribe to a suitable VPN provider. Then, you have to download its VPN app and connect to a UK server or a server in any other country where you want to access content.

How to Unblock Netflix US From the UK?

The UK version of Netflix has tons of amazing content. However, despite having a slightly larger Netflix library than the US, there are still a few shows only available overseas - and vice-versa. Already a paying customer of Netflix? Then it's time to expand your library by accessing US Netflix with a VPN.

To watch American Netflix, simply launch your VPN (we recommend ExpressVPN for the job) and connect to a US server. Keep in mind that you'll lose access to Netflix UK shows while connected, which is easily reverted by turning off your VPN.

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