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5 Best VPNs for the UK in 2023 — Streaming, Speed & Privacy

While in the UK, accessing content from your home country can be challenging. Services such as Netflix US and Hulu are geo-restricted. Likewise, not all UK content (e.g., BBC iPlayer) is available outside the country.

The UK isn’t the most privacy-friendly country in the world (it’s part of the data-sharing 5 Eyes Alliance). Plus, British telecommunication companies store user data, which the authorities can access anytime without a court order (the so-called Snoopers’ Charter). Cyber threats are on the rise.

A VPN helps you access the content you need and secures your online data. My team and I tested over 80 VPNs for the UK and found the best ones with global server networks to bypass geo-blocks. The recommended VPNs also have fast speeds for quick torrenting, and strong security measures to protect you from snoops.

ExpressVPN is my top pick for the UK. The VPN has ample global servers, including UK locations to watch BBC iPlayer and BT Sports while traveling. Lightning-fast speeds let you stream Premier League interruption-free. Moreover, the service offers military-grade encryption, a kill switch, and a no-logs policy to boost your privacy. You can try ExpressVPN for the UK without risk — it’s backed by a reliable 30-day money-back guarantee.

Get the Best VPN for the UK Now

Short on Time? Here Are the Best VPNs for the UK in February 2023

  1. ExpressVPN — Best overall VPN for the UK with worldwide servers to unblock local and international content, and excellent security for online privacy. You can try it risk-free (it’s backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee).
  2. CyberGhost — Excellent security measures to safeguard your online activity in the UK.
  3. Private Internet Access — High-speed connections to stream UK and worldwide shows without buffering, but based in the US (which isn’t privacy-friendly).
  4. IPVanish — P2P-friendly servers for reliable torrenting in the UK, but cannot unblock all streaming platforms.
  5. PrivateVPN — Easy-to-use apps perfect for beginners in the UK and worldwide, but has a smaller server network.

Try ExpressVPN Risk-Free Today

The Best VPNs for the UK — Full Analysis (Updated in 2023)

All VPNs on my list provide a UK IP address, allowing you to access British sites and services anywhere. The global server networks help you watch TV shows from your home country (like HBO Max), and the great security measures maintain your online privacy.

Plus, the VPNs are easy to use, can be installed on many devices, and come with professional live chat support. The best part is, each service offers a reliable refund policy so you can try them without risk.

1. ExpressVPN — Massive Server Network for Unblocking Restricted Content in and Outside of the UK

  • Server speed and location: The fastest VPN I tested for the UK, with 3,000 servers in 94 countries including the UK (Docklands, East London, London and Wembley)
  • Security and privacy: Military-grade encryption, Lightway protocol, and TrustedServer tech
  • Simultaneous device connections: 5
  • Can stream local and global content: Netflix (US & UK), Sky News, Disney+, Sky Sports, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, RTE, ITV Hub, ESPN+, Discovery, and more
  • Compatible with: Windows, iOS, Android, Mac, Chrome, routers, and more
ExpressVPN Offer February 2023: For a limited time only, you can get an ExpressVPN subscription for up to 49% off! Don't miss out!

ExpressVPN has servers in 94 countries, so you’ll have no issues accessing content while in the UK. I accessed my HBO Max account on a US server. During my tests, the UK servers bypassed tough geoblocks on platforms like BBC iPlayer. In all there are 5 UK server locations. This allowed me to reliably unblock my BT Sports, Sky TV, and Disney+ (including Star TV content) accounts outside the UK.

Military-grade encryption and multiple security protocols safeguard your privacy. OpenVPN and IKEv2 protocols offer safe data transfers, while Lightway (proprietary) secures your connection without compromising speeds. I didn't detect any leaks, meaning my actual location wasn’t revealed. Plus, its kill switch (Network Lock) automatically blocks your internet traffic if the VPN connection drops — it didn’t happen during my tests.

It’s headquartered in the British Virgin Islands, outside the 5/9/14 Eyes Alliances (data-sharing network). This means your data isn’t shared with any third parties. An audited no-logs policy means that the VPN doesn’t log your sensitive data. ExpressVPN's TrustedServer technology — RAM-only server network — clears your data with every reboot. Plus, you can pay with Bitcoin for an additional layer of privacy.

Ultra-fast connections allow you to watch shows and movies in 4K. I didn’t even notice the VPN was connected while watching Sherlock on BBC iPlayer, without any buffering. My average download speed on the UK server was 80 Mbps (25 Mbps is required for UHD streaming). With unlimited bandwidth, you can binge-watch as many shows as you like without sacrificing security.

Torrenting is also supported on every server. Use Split Tunneling to route your torrent client through the VPN tunnel, while using the regular connection for smooth video calls. This spared me a lot of time, as I didn’t need to keep switching the VPN on and off for specific apps. It also worked well with Kodi.

The apps have a simple interface. It took me 5 minutes to download and set up ExpressVPN on my Mac. Plus, MediaStreamer lets you stream US content on devices that aren’t usually compatible with a VPN (like Smart TV, Apple TV, and gaming consoles). You can also contact customer support via the 24/7 live chat tool if you ever get stuck.

A slight con with the service is its expensive cost. The most affordable subscription starts at $6.67/month. However, ExpressVPN regularly offers generous discounts that bring the price down. I got 49% off my 12-month subscription with 3 extra months of free service, making it a great deal.

There’s also a trustworthy 30-day money-back guarantee. The refund process is hassle-free, so you can easily get your payment back if the service doesn’t suit you. I canceled my subscription via a live chat tool. After answering a few questions about my overall experience, my cancelation was quickly approved. My refund arrived within 3 days direct to my bank account.

Try ExpressVPN Today

2. CyberGhost — Excellent Security to Keep You Safe While Browsing in the UK and Abroad

  • Server speed and location: Blazing-fast speeds on 9,753 servers in 91 countries (including Berkshire, London and Manchester)
  • Security and privacy: AES 256-bit encryption, WiFi protection, and a no-logs policy
  • Simultaneous device connection: 7
  • Can stream local and global content: Netflix (US & UK), Sky News, Disney+, Sky Sports, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, RTE, ITV Hub, ESPN+, Discovery, and more
  • Compatible with: Windows, iOS, Android, Mac, Chrome, routers, and more
February 2023 Deal: CyberGhost is currently offering 84% off its most popular plan! Take advantage of this offer now and save more on your CyberGhost subscription.

CyberGhost uses advanced protocols (Wireguard, OpenVPN), 256-bit AES encryption (2,048-bit RSA keys) and MD5 HMAC authentication to protect you. I tested CyberGhost’s DNS/IP leak protection and my location wasn’t exposed. Plus, you can enable the kill-switch and WiFi protection to automatically launch the VPN when you connect to a public WiFi. This helped me safely access my Barclays e-banking services even on public WiFi networks.

Like ExpressVPN, the service has a strict no-logs policy. It’s based in privacy-friendly Romania — I had no worries about my data being shared with anyone. You can also activate the “Block content” feature to block DNS domains used for ads, trackers, and malware.

The VPN has optimized servers for streaming, torrenting, and gaming. Each one is listed and labeled in the app according to the service or activity it’s optimized for. I accessed my Netflix US account, and streamed Schitt's Creek in UHD without buffering. The network of servers in 91 countries includes 3 locations in the UK. Now TV worked well, and there are even dedicated servers for services like BBC iPlayer, Sky Go, and Channel 4 (All 4).

Speeds are very impressive, too. I downloaded torrent files while streaming a live football game in HD at the same time. Netflix US streaming smoothly from the UK, and I got an average of 60 Mbps speeds on the UK servers. The VPN also doesn’t have any bandwidth limits, letting you download as much as you want.

I found the app interface easy to use. The setup process took me just 6 minutes, and CyberGhost offers 24/7 live chat if you run into issues. Plus, it offers helpful guides on how to use the VPN on all your devices, including Android TV, Fire TV, and Fire Stick.

Monthly subscriptions are a bit expensive with a short money-back period. However, its longer-term plans are cost-effective starting at $2.19/month, and give you an extended money-back guarantee. For the most affordable option, I recommend the 3-year plan.

With a reliable 45-day money-back guarantee you can try CyberGhost out for free. I tested the policy by filling out the convenient online web form for a refund. It took me only 5 minutes, and the money was back in my PayPal account in just 4 days.

Try CyberGhost Today

3. Private Internet Access (PIA) — Super-Fast Connections to Watch UK and International Content Interruption-Free

  • Server speed and location: Impressive speeds with 29,650 servers in 84 countries (including London, Manchester, and Southampton)
  • Security and privacy: Automatic kill switch and a no-logs policy
  • Simultaneous device connections: 10
  • Can stream local and global content: Netflix (US & UK), Sky News, Disney+, Sky Sports, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, RTE, ESPN+, Discovery, and more
  • Compatible with: Windows, iOS, Android, Mac, Chrome, routers, and more
February 2023 Update: PIA doesn't usually have deals or discounts (it's already so affordable), but right now you can get a new subscription for a crazy 83% off!

Private Internet Access offers speedy connections for streaming your favorite shows without interruptions. All servers are sorted by latency, so you can see the fastest one immediately when you open the list. I ran multiple speed tests on PIA — my average download speed was 50 Mbps. PIA was fast enough for me to stream The Vicar of Dibley on my Netflix UK account while traveling abroad.

The VPN allows P2P file sharing on all its. It also gives you unlimited bandwidth, port forwarding (redirects communication requests), and SOCKS5 (routes data packets through a server), making torrenting fast and reliable. Plus, the global server network let me access my Amazon Prime Video and Hulu subscriptions right from the UK.

Servers spread across 84 countries do a great job of unblocking global services from the UK. HBO Max (notoriously hard to access outside permitted countries) worked within seconds. Equally, I had no issues getting on to BBC iPlayer and catching up on tennis from abroad.

Fully customizable settings let you tailor the security to your liking. There are multiple protocols (like OpenVPN, IKEv2, and WireGuard), and I could even select my encryption algorithm. PIA offers both AES 128-bit encryption (faster but also secure) and AES 256-bit (slightly more secure). Additionally, MACE is a useful ad tracker and malware blocker that prevents annoying ads from popping up.

If the VPN connection drops (didn’t happen while I tested), you’ve got the kill switch to back you up, too.

I was disappointed to see that PIA is based in the US — the heart of the 5 Eyes Alliance. However, the VPN has a strong no-logs policy that has been proven in court multiple times. This means that none of your information gets collected or shared. Plus, it also lets you pay with Bitcoin — an alternative way to make secure and private payments.

You can get PIA for just $2.19/month. All plans offer the same features (including 24/7 live chat). I recommend getting the 3-year plan for the best value for money.

A reliable 30-day money-back guarantee allows you to get a refund hassle-free. All I had to do was request a refund through email. My request was processed quickly by the support team, and I got my money back on my credit card in 5 days.

Try PIA Today

4. IPVanish — P2P-Friendly Network for Reliable Torrenting in the UK and Abroad

  • Server speed and location: Fast speeds with 2,000 servers in 75 countries (including Birmingham, Glasgow, London, and Manchester)
  • Security and privacy: A kill switch and leak protection
  • Simultaneous device connections: Unlimited
  • Can stream local and global content: Netflix (US & UK), Sky News, Disney+, BBC iPlayer, RTE, ITV Hub, ESPN+, Discovery, and more
  • Compatible with: Windows, iOS, Android, Mac, routers, and more
IPVanish February 2023 Deal: It's hard to find active IPVanish offers so I was really surprised to find this one! Click here to get 66% off your IPVanish subscription today! Discount automatically applied (no code required).

IPVanish allows you to use its servers for torrenting. I had no issues using uTorrent, Vuze, or Deluge. This is thanks to IPVanish’s dedicated SOCKS5 proxy servers and unlimited P2P traffic. During my tests on IPVanish, I securely downloaded a 1 GB file in about 5 minutes. Plus, you don’t need to worry about interrupted downloads with the unlimited bandwidth.

Advanced security and privacy features help to protect you against cyber threats. The VPN uses AES 256-bit encryption and SHA512 authentication. An automatic kill-switch and Perfect Forward Secrecy (encryption key switching) make it extra secure. Additionally, its advanced protocols (OpenVPN and Wireguard) let me securely access my HSBC banking app from the US.

Unlimited simultaneous connection support means you can cover all your devices with one subscription. I used IPVanish on 14 devices at once (including my Windows phone, Fire Stick, and iPhone) and didn’t experience any dropped connections. Plus, the service offers 24/7 live chat support and customer service via phone in 6 countries (the UK included).

A small problem with the VPN is that it doesn’t unblock all streaming services such as Amazon Prime Video. However, a global network of servers across 75 countries lets you unblock many other platforms. I accessed my Netflix UK, YouTube, and Spotify accounts while outside the country without issues.

The subscription plans start at only $3.33/month. I recommend getting the annual plan as it offers the best value compared to the monthly one.

You can test IPVanish for free using its 30-day money-back guarantee. I claimed a refund online by accessing the subscription settings of my account and simply canceling. My request was processed in seconds, and the money was credited back to my bank account in a week.

Try IPVanish Today

5. PrivateVPN — User-Friendly Apps That Are Great for New VPN Users in the UK

  • Server speed and location: Decent speeds on 200 servers in 63 countries (including London and Manchester)
  • Security and privacy: AES 256-bit encryption and a no-logs policy
  • Simultaneous device connections: 10
  • Can stream local and global content: Netflix (US & UK), Sky News, Disney+, Sky Sports, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, RTE, ITV Hub, ESPN+, Discovery, and more
  • Compatible with: Windows, iOS, Android, Mac, routers, and more

PrivateVPN has unique app modes for beginners and advanced users. The simple mode allows you to get started right away with no configuration. The advanced mode gives you great control over the VPN settings. While testing PrivateVPN’s simple mode, I connected to a London server within seconds.

I was impressed by PrivateVPN’s customer support. It consists of developers that answer any technical questions with 22/7 live chat. There’s an extensive knowledge base on the website — including setup guides, troubleshooting advice, and numerous tutorials — if you want to learn more about the VPN.

Moreover, the VPN has a strict no-logs policy — your sensitive information isn’t collected or stored. PrivateVPN’s IP/DNS/WebRTC leak protection, encryption, and kill switch help keep me protected from any privacy breaches.

One minor issue is that PrivateVPN has a small network of servers. However, I unblocked many major platforms. There are servers in London and Manchester, so you can still watch The Great British Bake Off or the Premier League outside the UK. Plus, I was able to access my Netflix US and Hulu accounts with the US server.

You can get PrivateVPN just for $2/month. I recommend getting the 3-year plan as it’s affordable and saves you the most in the long run.

There’s also a trustworthy 30-day money-back guarantee. This means, getting a refund is easy if you’re not 100% happy with the VPN. After testing the VPN for a few weeks, I requested a refund using the live chat tool, and I received the money in my PayPal account after 8 days.

Try PrivateVPN Today

Quick Guide: How to Set Up a VPN for the UK in 3 Easy Steps

  1. Download a VPN. I recommend ExpressVPN with its global server network (including UK servers) to unblock local and international content. You can try ExpressVPN with confidence as it’s backed by a trustworthy 30-day money-back guarantee.
  2. Connect to a server. Choose a location based on the content you need. For instance, if you want to access your Netflix UK account, connect to a server in the UK.
  3. Start browsing. Now you can safely access local and global content from anywhere.

Tips on How to Choose the Best VPN for the UK

All the listed VPNs have great unblocking capabilities, fast speeds, and advanced security features. However, if you want to run the tests yourself, here are the criteria I used when testing VPNs for the UK:

  • Global server network (including UK servers) — To access worldwide and UK content, pick a VPN with a widespread server network and servers in the UK.
  • Fast speeds — To prevent constant buffering while streaming or lag while gaming, you need a VPN with fast servers and unlimited bandwidth.
  • Strong security and privacy features — Choose a VPN with AES 256-bit encryption, a no-logs policy, and a kill switch to stay safe online.
  • Easy-to-use apps — Select a service with a straightforward interface and easy setup (for platforms like Android, iOS, and Windows), and live chat support in case you need it.
  • Trustworthy money-back guarantee — Make sure the VPN you’re considering offers a trustworthy money-back guarantee so that you’re not stuck with it if it doesn’t meet your needs.

Try ExpressVPN Risk-Free Today

FAQs on Using a VPN for the UK

Is it legal to use a VPN for the UK?

Yes, using a VPN in most countries (including in the UK) is legal. The services are designed to help you stay protected against online threats. A reliable VPN also helps you to unblock your favorite streaming services.

Some countries (like China and Russia) restrict or ban the use of VPNs. So, it’s better to check the laws regarding VPN use in your location as they can change.

Is it safe to use a UK-based VPN?

Choosing a VPN based in the UK might be risky. The UK has strict data retention laws that a UK-based VPN will be subject to. However, a tried-and-tested VPN with a no-logs policy provides ample protection.

If you still select a UK VPN, make sure it has a strict no-logs policy, so none of your data can be shared with third parties.

Which VPN has the best mobile app (Android or iPhone) for the UK?

ExpressVPN has the best mobile app for the UK. It has intuitive apps that let you access British and worldwide content with ease. Moreover, ExpressVPN offers blazing-fast speeds for interruption-free streaming and high-level security features to safeguard your private information.

Why should I use a VPN for the UK?

To get an IP address from another country and access the content you need. That means you can use services from your home country if you’re visiting the UK, or access UK services if you’re abroad. The best VPNs for the UK offer a seamless streaming experience.

Additionally, the UK is part of the 5/9/14 Eyes intelligence alliances (data-sharing pacts) and subject to growing cyber threats. A VPN can help you stay safe online by encrypting your traffic and using advanced security features to protect you from snoops.

Can I use a free VPN for the UK?

Yes, but it’s not recommended. Free VPNs can’t guarantee your privacy — some even share your information with third parties for a profit. Just use a premium VPN with a reliable money-back guarantee instead.

Free VPNs rarely have the resources to continuously improve their service and can’t reliably unblock geo-restricted content. They may have vague privacy policies and insufficient security measures. Many even deliberately restrict their services — including speed, bandwidth, data usage, and servers — so you’re forced to upgrade to a paid version.

Try ExpressVPN for the UK Now

The Bottom Line

A VPN helps you access the content you need in the UK and abroad. Thanks to global server networks, you can bypass geo-blocks and access your favorite platforms like BBC iPlayer and Netflix US. Additionally, to maintain your privacy you need a solid VPN with the most advanced security and privacy features.

My top choice for the UK is ExpressVPN. Its fast, widespread network easily unblocks international content and enables buffer-free streaming. Plus, its high-end encryption and solid no-logs policy boosts your online privacy. You can try ExpressVPN for the UK with confidence — it’s backed by a tried-and-tested 30-day money-back guarantee. Getting a refund is hassle-free if you’re not 100% happy with the service.

To summarize, here are the best VPNs for the UK

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VPNs can help you hide this information from websites so that you are protected at all times. We recommend ExpressVPN — the #1 VPN out of over 350 providers we've tested. It has military-grade encryption and privacy features that will ensure your digital security, plus — it's currently offering 49% off.

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About the Author

Husain was swayed towards the world of tech with his first job at a CRM and ventured into the world of cybersecurity with VPN reviews, app testing, and detailed guides.

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