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Best VPNs for the UK in 2021


If you live in the UK, you might want to consider signing up for a good VPN to keep your data safe from online snoops. Equally, a VPN is a useful tool for catching up on British TV, such as BBC iPlayer, while you’re abroad.

However, it’s not always that easy to find a reliable VPN for the UK. After all, not all of them are able to unblock UK content, and some aren’t all that secure.

Luckily, there are some working ways for you to choose a reputable provider. We’ll talk you through the best VPNs for the UK and how to choose one.

Best VPN services in the UK

  1. NordVPN - best VPN for the UK
  2. Surfshark - great value VPN for UK users
  3. VyprVPN - great VPN for privacy
  4. ExpressVPN - great VPN speeds for streaming
  5. Windscribe - feature-rich VPN for the UK

How to watch UK TV online from anywhere

Whether you want to access UK content from abroad or you’re planning to improve your online security, getting a reliable VPN is a great idea. Follow these simple steps, and you’ll be set up in no time:

  1. Sign up for a VPN. We recommend NordVPN for the security and ability to unblock the BBC iPlayer.
  2. Download and install the software on your device.
  3. Connect to a server in the UK.
  4. Check to see if you can access UK-specific content, such as BBC iPlayer.
  5. If you’re still blocked from viewing the content in the UK, try clearing your cache or changing the server.

If you want to use your VPN to watch UK content, you may want to connect your VPN on your Wi-Fi router. Then, you’ll be able to access it on any of your devices, including your smart TV or streaming stick.

The best VPNs for the UK - our detailed list

When writing this guide, we tested out many VPNs for the UK before deciding on our favorites. Here are the ones we can recommend.

  • Baseline testing speed: 300 Mbps download/300 Mbps upload

1. NordVPN - best VPN for the UK

NordVPN banner
Based in:Panama
Servers/countries:5,500+ servers in 59 countries
Unblocks Netflix:Yes
Current deal:Now 72% OFF!

Our favorite VPN for the UK is definitely NordVPN. It has a huge range of sophisticated security features, including military-grade 256-bit AES encryption, a customizable kill switch, and protection against IPv6, DNS, and WebRTC leaks. It also operates a no-logs policy, so you can rest assured that your data will remain private.

If you’re a fan of UK content, you’ll be pleased to know that NordVPN can unblock location restrictions on BBC iPlayer with ease (as well as Channel 4, Sky, and ITV Hub). You should also be able to access UK content libraries on all the major streaming services, such as Amazon Prime Video, Disney Plus, and Netflix.

More generally, NordVPN is a great choice for streaming any content, thanks to its fast and reliable speeds. In testing, we found that NordVPN delivered an average speed of 249 Mbps. This is due to NordLynx, which is a modified version of the WireGuard protocol.

NordVPN has an impressive 5,400 servers in 59 countries. And unlike a lot of its competitors, it comes with SmartDNS (SmartPlay), so you can use it on devices that don't support VPN connections.

NordVPN is available for just $3.29 a month, with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

To find out more, check out our full NordVPN review.

2. Surfshark - great value VPN for UK users

Surfshark VPN banner
Based in:British Virgin Islands
Servers/countries:3,200+ servers in 65 countries
Unblocks Netflix:Yes
Current deal:Get Surfshark, now 83% OFF + 3 Months FREE!

If you’re after a cheap VPN that works brilliantly for the UK, you’ll struggle to find a better option than Surfshark. It operates a strict no-logs policy and uses 256-bit encryption, as well as DNS, IPv6 leak protection, and a kill switch. This will keep your online activity completely private wherever you are in the world.

If you’re outside the UK, Surfshark will help you catch up on all the great UK content you want to watch. It can bypass geo-restrictions on BBC iPlayer, Sky, Channel 4, and ITV. And it should also allow you to access UK versions of Netflix, YouTube, and Amazon Prime Video.

Surfshark uses WireGuard, the cutting-edge new tunneling protocol to achieve impressively fast speeds. In our testing, we found it delivered an average speed of 263 Mbps.

Elsewhere, Surfshark has more than 3,200 servers in over 60 countries, And it offers unlimited simultaneous connections, so everyone in the house can use it at once. There’s also live chat support available if anything goes wrong.

Considering what you’re getting, Surfshark is incredibly cheap. Prices start at just $2.21 a month with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

To find out more, take a look at our in-depth Surshark VPN review.

3. VyprVPN - great VPN for privacy

VyprVPN banner
Based in:Switzerland
Servers/countries:700 servers in 70 countries
Unblocks Netflix:Yes
Current deal:Get VyprVPN, now 44% OFF the 1-year plan!

VyprVPN is another excellent choice if you’re after a secure VPN that’s excellent value for money. You won’t need to worry about anyone seeing what you’re up to online if you use VyprVPN, because it comes with military-grade AES-256 encryption. It also has a kill switch for added protection.

And, unlike many providers, VyprVPN uses the Chameleon 2.0 tunneling protocol, which works by disguising VPN traffic as regular traffic. Therefore, you can use it to access UK sites in countries that restrict the use of VPNs, such as China.

It can bypass geo-blocks on UK streaming sites and can unblock different content catalogs for Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney Plus, and YouTube.

If you’re using VyprVPN to watch a lot of content, you’ll be pleased to know that it implements the cutting-edge WireGuard protocol to bring you fast and reliable speeds.

One of the downsides to VyprVPN is that it only has just over 700 servers in more than 70 countries worldwide. But the servers we tested worked well. And it comes with up to 5 simultaneous connections, which is pretty generous at this price.

VyprVPN plans start at just $8.33 a month, with a free 30-day money-back guarantee.

To find out more, take a look at our in-depth VyprVPN review.

4. ExpressVPN - great speeds for streaming

ExpressVPN banner
Based in:British Virgin Islands
Servers/countries:3,000 servers in 94 countries
Unblocks Netflix:Yes
Current deal:Get ExpressVPN, now 35% OFF!

Although ExpressVPN is by far the most expensive VPN on our list, it’s still a great option. For one thing, it’s incredibly secure, with DNS, WebRTC, IPv6 leak protection, and 256-bit encryption included to keep your online information safe from online snoops.

It’s also a great choice for watching UK content, as it can bypass region restrictions on BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, Sky TV, and Channel 4. And you should be able to use it to unlock UK versions of major international streaming services, such as Disney Plus, Netflix, and Amazon Prime Video.

But one of the main reasons why ExpressVPN stands out from its competitors is its new Lightway protocol. This means it can deliver extremely fast, smooth streaming, with speeds averaging at 226mbps.

ExpressVPN gives you access to over 3,000 servers in 90 countries, so you’ll always have plenty of options. And you get up to 5 simultaneous connections, so you and a few friends can use it at the same time.

For all this, ExpressVPN is a lot pricier than its competitors, with plans starting from $8.32 a month. However, it does come with a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can test it out first.

To find out more, read our in-depth ExpressVPN review.

5. Windscribe - feature-rich VPN for the UK

Windscribe VPN banner
Based in:Canada
Servers/countries:480 servers in 63 countries
Unblocks Netflix:Yes
Current deal:Get 55% OFF with 1-year plan!

If you’re after a cheap VPN for the UK, you should take a look at Windscribe. It’s affordable, with plans to suit every budget. It’s packed full of features, such as military-grade encryption, a kill switch, and a built-in firewall to prevent leaks.

Windscribe is capable of unblocking pretty much any UK content you might want to watch, including BBC iPlayer, Sky TV, and Channel 4. And it’ll also bypass region restrictions on all the major international streaming services, so you can watch Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Disney Plus.

On the flip side, it’s not as fast as some of the other options on our list, with an average speed of 84 Mbps. However, this should be sufficient for streaming content.

Another compromise you’ll have to make for this price is fewer servers, as Windscribe only has just over 480 servers in 63 countries. But the servers we tested performed well, so this shouldn’t be a major drawback.

One of the best things about Windscribe is that some of its plans come with unlimited simultaneous connections, therefore, the whole family can make use of it.

Windscribe offers brilliant value for money. It even has a free version, with a monthly data cap of 10GB. And prices for a single server start at just $1 a month.

If you want to find out more, read our in-depth Windscribe VPN review.

6. CyberGhost VPN - truly global VPN coverage

CyberGhost VPN banner
Based in:Romania
Servers/countries:6,900+ servers in 90 countries
Unblocks Netflix:Yes
Current deal:Get CyberGhost VPN, now 83% OFF + 2 Months FREE!

If you want a VPN that combines impressive security with great global coverage, CyberGhost might be the perfect solution for you. It offers military-grade 256-bit encryption to protect your online information from cybercriminals and other third parties. And it operates a strict no-logs policy.

CyberGhost can also unblock content on all the UK streaming platforms we’ve tested it on, such as BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, or Channel 4. You can also use it to access different content libraries on Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Disney Plus. Better yet, the app will tell you which servers unblock which streaming platforms.

If you plan to do a lot of binge-watching, you’ll also be pleased to know that CyberGhost uses WireGuard to deliver extremely fast download speeds.

But one of our favorite things about CyberGhost is that it’s a truly global VPN service, with more than 7,000 servers in 91 countries. It’s also wonderfully easy to use, so it’s an ideal choice for beginners. Plus, it comes with up to 7 simultaneous connections.

Prices for CyberGhost are pretty reasonable, with plans starting from $2.25 a month, with a 45-day money-back guarantee in case you change your mind.

For more information, read our in-depth CyberGhost VPN review.

7. Hotspot Shield VPN - simple VPN for the UK

Hotspot Shield VPN banner
Based in:United States
Servers/countries:1,800 servers in 85 countries
Unblocks Netflix:Yes
Current deal:Save up to 40%!

If you’re after a simple, easy VPN solution for UK use, Hotspot Shield might be exactly what you need. Its apps are minimal and intuitive, and it comes with lots of top-notch security features to keep your online information protected.

And if you want to use it to watch UK content, Hotspot Shield will help you bypass region restrictions on BBC iPlayer. It can also give you access to Netflix. However, when it comes to unblocking other streaming services, it can be a bit hit and miss. Still, it does come with a 45-day money-back guarantee, so you can test it out to see if it will unblock the content you want to watch.

Hotstpot Shield's Hydra tunneling protocol is one of the best for delivering great connection speeds. It's particularly good on less-reliable connections.

The service has more than 1,800 servers in over 80 countries worldwide. However, it’s worth noting that Hotspot Shield is based in the US, which isn’t a privacy-friendly country.

It’s also fairly expensive, with prices starting from $6.99 a month, although there is also a limited free version.

To find out more, have a look at our Hotspot Shield VPN review.

How we selected and tested these VPNs

When choosing the best VPNs for the UK, we tested out many VPNs to see how they performed in the following categories:

  • Security: Arguably, the most important function of a VPN is its ability to keep your information safe from prying eyes while you’re browsing the internet. So, for each VPN provider on our list, we looked at a variety of factors, including security features, where the VPN provider is based, and whether or not it operates a no-logs policy.
  • Speed: You don’t want to deal with buffering or poor video quality when you’re online. Therefore, we chose VPNs that offer fast and reliable speeds.
  • Good for streaming: If you want a VPN for UK use, chances are you’ll want to use it to watch some content. Hence, we chose VPNs that can unblock BBC iPlayer, along with different versions of Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.
  • Customer support: If you have any problems with your VPN, it’s always good to have help at hand. Each of the VPNs on our list offers customer support to help with any issues you may have.
  • Price: As with any long-term subscription, price is a critical factor. This is why we’ve chosen a variety of options to suit your budget.

How to choose the best UK VPN

Whether you’re a UK resident who wants to protect their online information, or you’re outside the UK looking for an easy way to watch British content, a VPN is what you need. But how do you choose the right one?

Unfortunately, not all VPNs can bypass geo-restrictions on UK content. In fact, streaming services, such as BBC iPlayer, Sky, and Channel 4 have blocked lots of VPN IP addresses from accessing their content. Perhaps, more troublingly, not all VPNs are as secure as they sound. Some actually log user information and sell it to third parties.

However, there are many great VPNs out there that will protect your online privacy and help access the UK content you want to watch. And luckily, there are plenty of useful online reviews where VPN experts have tested out a range of providers to help you find a solution that’s ideal for UK use. We’ve included a list of our favorites further up this guide for you to check out.

If you’re ready to test one out, most VPNs have a 30-day money-back guarantee included. This means you can pick one and try it out for yourself before you commit to a long-term payment.

Why do I need a VPN in the UK?

The UK belongs to the 5-Eyes intelligence alliance, an international intelligence-sharing group. This, along with local laws that force ISPs to collect user data, makes it hard for UK residents to maintain their privacy. Therefore, you should probably think about getting a VPN to hide your sensitive information.

A VPN will encrypt your data to keep your information safe, even if you’re connected to public Wi-Fi. And, if you choose a VPN with a no-logs policy, you’ll be safe in the knowledge that your data will never be sold to advertisers or given to authorities.

Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in the UK have been known to throttle your connection speeds for particular sites and services. Using a VPN can prevent this from happening by making sure your ISP can’t see what you’re up to.

On the other hand, if you’re from the UK but living abroad, you’ll need a VPN to help you bypass geo-restrictions on all your favorite British streaming services. With a good VPN, you’ll be able to access BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, Channel 4, Sky TV, and more from wherever you are in the world.

You may even be able to access UK versions of Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Disney Plus from outside the country. This is also useful for non-UK citizens who want to watch all the latest British content.

Fastest VPNs for the UK

In our tests, we found that Surfshark and Hotspot Shield provided the fastest speeds overall, with an impressive average of 263 Mbps and 261 Mbps respectively.

Hot on their heels, NordVPN came in third place, with speeds averaging at 249mbps. And it’s worth noting that this is the most secure VPN we’ve tested.

However, it’s important to be aware that the speeds you get may vary based on your ISP, your initial connection speed, and the distance between you and your provider’s server.

To find out more, please take a look at the speed section in our reviews of each VPN provider.

Can I use a free VPN for the UK?

While there’s nothing to prevent you from using a free VPN for the UK, this is certainly not something we’d recommend doing. First and foremost, free VPNs tend to make their money by tracking users’ data and selling it to third parties. Therefore, if you’re looking to improve your online privacy, a free VPN is likely to do more harm than good.

If you want a VPN so you can watch UK content, you should know that most free VPNs have been blocked by BBC iPlayer, as well as by other international streaming services. It happens because free VPN providers don’t tend to rotate IP addresses, making it easy for streaming services to identify them as VPNs. Free VPNs also usually have really slow download speeds, so expect lots of buffering.

A slightly better alternative is a freemium service, which is a free version of a reliable, paid-for VPN. They don’t have as many features as the paid-for options, and they often come with monthly data caps. But they’re a much safer option than a free VPN provider.

Windscribe’s freemium service is pretty good, and it has a monthly data cap of 10GB. Alternatively, if you want to try one that doesn’t come with a data cap, we’d suggest opting for ProtonVPN or Atlas.

Conclusion

If you live in the UK, it’s a sensible idea to invest in a reliable VPN. If you want to guarantee your sensitive information is safe from prying eyes, we strongly recommend signing up for one so that your data is encrypted.

On the other hand, if you’re living abroad and want to catch up on all the best UK content, a VPN can help you bypass region restrictions. This means you can watch BBC iPlayer, Sky, Channel 4, and ITV Hub from anywhere in the world. It can also unblock UK versions of Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Disney Plus.

Similarly, if you’re in the UK and want content from other countries, a VPN will help you watch any streaming service you like, including Hulu, HBO Now, and DAZN.

FAQs


More VPN guides from CyberNews:

Best VPNs for Canada: get a Canadian IP address
Best VPNs for Australia: stream Australian video content with a VPN
Best VPNs for BBC iPlayer: watch BBC iPlayer from anywhere!
Best VPNs for Amazon Prime Video: unblock all the content you want

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