What’s not to love about the UK? It’s posh, culturally exquisite and known for being the pinnacle of liberation in modern society.
Yet the recent proposals for regulation and censorship in the UK may put free speech under the the thumb of the government. That’s not all, the UK government has a long history of conducting unlawful mass surveillance operations against their citizens.
In these state of affairs, the most effective way to deal with censorship and surveillance is to use VPN services.
Let’s start with a brief overview of the VPNs we’re going to cover in this blog…
- PureVPN – The best UK VPN for fast speed, privacy, and ability to remove content censorship.
- Surfshark – Highly affordable VPN top-notch features starting from just $1.99/mo.
- Ivacy – Well-rounded VPN that works well with streaming services while improving privacy.
- ExpressVPN – One of the most reliable VPN but expensively priced
- CyberGhost – A budget VPN service with over 5,600 servers in 90 countries.
- NordVPN – A strong VPN service with over 5,000+ servers in over 50 countries.
PureVPN is the recommended choice as the best VPN for UK. The provider has all the right features to tackle censorship and surveillance in the UK with a huge server diversity and privacy-enabling features.
Best UK VPN Services
The following VPN providers are some of the best paid VPN services that are highly competent when it comes to escaping state surveillance and censorship in the UK:
PureVPN offers 168 dedicated servers in the UK. In total, the provider has over 2000 servers in over 140+ countries. If you’re visiting outside UK for a while, you can count on PureVPN’s British servers to bring you access to locally available websites and streaming services like BBC iPlayer.
You may also use PureVPN to gain access to US Netflix if you connect to the American servers. Since the Netflix library is smaller in the UK as compared to the US, this VPN can come in very handy for UK streaming fans.
Feature-wise PureVPN is very capable. It offers features like kill switch, split tunneling, DNS and IPv6 leak protection, full P2P support and a whole slew of other privacy-oriented features. Coupled with its no-logging policy and offshore jurisdiction in Hong Kong, PureVPN is an excellent choice to stay away from GCHQ’s surveillance in the country. It is due to these factors that PureVPN has built a good reputation with positive reviews.
You can get PureVPN for $1.32/mo , which is highly affordable for a VPN of this quality. Users also get a 30-day money-back guarantee and 5 simultaneous connections.
- 168 servers in the UK alone
- Split-tunneling feature
- Stealth VPN browser
Surfshark offers UK servers in the cities of London, Manchester, and Glasgow. In total, the provider has 1000+ servers in 60+ countries. Overall, the server network is strong enough to unblock websites both within and outside the UK. You can also rely on Surfshark to unblock torrent websites as well as popular streaming services including Hulu, Netflix, and BBC iPlayer.
The provider is one fastest VPN in the whole industry. In addition, it comes with tons of features like kill switch, MultiHop, AES-256 encryption, and CleanWeb to keep you safe from relentless GCHQ spying. Not only that, Surfshark is headquartered in the British Virgin Islands and doesn’t keep any logs.
Their 24 months plan only costs $1.99/mo and offers users the benefit of unlimited simultaneous connections. This is why the provider has received rave reviews for its service quality.
- Fast speed
- Works with torrents and streaming sites
- No logs retained
Ivacy has 58 servers in the UK. With these serves, expatriates can easily gain access to geo-restricted UK websites that do not work overseas. There are more than 1,000+ servers in its network encompassing 100+ countries. Many of these servers are p2p-friendly and are also optimized for streaming.
The provider offers fast and stable connections that are particularly important to enable seamless streaming. The fast speeds also come in handy for torrenting. Advanced features such as DNS secure, kill switch, and IPv6 protection keep your identity hidden from UK government agencies.
You can get Ivacy for $2.25/mo . With 30-day money-back guarantee and 5 simultaneous connections, there are few VPNs as valuable as Ivacy. This is one of the reasons that makes Ivacy highly rated among reviewers.
- Unblocks streaming apps and torrenting websites
- Fast server speeds
- Highly affordable
ExpressVPN has 3,000+ servers in over 94 countries, including the UK. In all servers, ExpressVPN uses AES-256 encryption and supports torrenting as well as streaming. As such, it is a powerful VPN for the British whether it is privacy you are seeking or the ability to bypass restrictions on the web.
ExpressVPN is also among the very few zero-logging VPNs in the industry. They operate from the British Virgin Islands (BVI) and don’t have to abide by most data retention laws. Since BVI is beyond the jurisdiction that applies to GCHQ, the provider has no obligation to retain user data or hand it over to British agencies.
Furthermore, the service is slick, super-fast and offers tons of features that work as advertised. The only downside to this service is that it is relatively expensive, priced at $8.32/mo . Nonetheless, it is worth the money if you’re serious about strengthening your online privacy and attain better internet accessibility, as noted in this ExpressVPN review.
- Based in British Virgin Islands
- Superior performance in streaming and general browsing
- Minimal server downtime
CyberGhost offers 461 servers in the UK. These include servers in cities of Berkshire, London, and Manchester. On the whole, CyberGhost has a network of 5,600+ servers in 90 countries. Suffice it to say, getting over restrictions in the British cyberspace is no problem with this VPN.
In terms of security features, CyberGhost comes packed with features like OpenVPN, DNS leak protection, location spoofing and kill switch with all subscription plans. The provider also doesn’t log user data as they operates from the data retention free jurisdiction of Romania. This makes it beneficial for British users that want to evade the spying antics of their government.
Speaking of subscription plans, CyberGhost is currently available for $2.75/mo . Users get 45-day money-back guarantee with this plan in addition 7 simultaneous connections. As a result, CyberGhost is a well-received service among reviewers.
- No logs
- 45-day money-back guarantee
- 7 simultaneous connections
NordVPN is offering 587 servers within the UK. The provider has a large base of 5,000+ total servers distributed in over 50 countries. NordVPN is efficient for watching unblocking restricted streaming apps such as BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime Video, and more.
Besides servers, NordVPN offers privacy features like Killswitch, torrenting support, IP leak protection combined with a super easy to use interface. Nord also doesn’t log user data and since they operate from Panama, they’re free from most data retention laws. This puts subscribers of the service under a safe haven, far away from the spying glasses of GCHQ and other data-gathering agencies in the UK. This is why the service is still reviewed favorably.
Other than that, NordVPN is super affordable as well, costing $3.49/mo . You can avail a refund within 30 days of your subscription if you’re not satisfied for any reason.
- 587 UK servers
- Wide range of privacy features
- 6 simultaneously connections
Free UK VPN 2019
While I generally only recommend using paid VPNs, there are few free VPN for the UK that I’m personally okay with. The only issue you’re going to face with free VPNs is obviously limited bandwidths.
If you don’t feel like spending money and are okay with limited featrues and data caps, you can go through the list below:
- Hotspot Shield
For more information, see this article about free VPN services.
Why you Need A VPN in the UK
The UK government has been giving several reasons for British citizens to gravitate towards VPN services:
Online Privacy and Anonymity in the UK
As I said earlier, the UK is now no longer a safe place for internet users. In fact, it is far from anything but safe. Ever since the United Kingdom passed the Investigatory Powers Act 2016 aka the Snooper’s charter, investigative agencies have been pounding down on unsuspecting internet users.
Well, unlike a routine investigation which requires a warrant, Snooper’s charter allows unprecedented access to all sorts of confidential data, all without the need of a warrant.
If you’re wondering about what information can the government track, then buckle up I’m gonna give you a rundown of just a few:
- Online Chats
- Browsing history
- Social media
- Online transactions
Now I don’t know about you guys but this seriously freaks me out every time I’m in the UK. And that’s not all, I have barely scratched the surface.
This is the biggest reason why I never travel without the best UK VPN. Because who knows, who might be watching you right now?
The UK has strict anti-piracy laws and many of these websites remain banned in the country. VPNs can help you gain access to these torrent websites. More importantly, these services enhance your security and ensure that your identity remains hidden from authorities that might be snooping in on your online activities.
Using VPNs has become even more important considering the increasing penalties for piracy in the UK as those found guilty may be jailed for up to 10 years in the worst case scenario. Therefore, British citizens should use VPNs as an insurance policy against the possibility of running into legal troubles.
Websites and services blocked in the UK
Even though the UK doesn’t block websites as aggressively as some middle eastern countries, there are actually quite a few websites and services blocked in the United Kingdom.
In fact, all major ISPs like BT Group, EE, Sky Broadband, Talk Talk and Virgin Media are constantly blocking websites, especially those associated with torrenting. Likewise, the court has ordered FAPL and broadcasting companies to put a stop to fully loaded streaming devices, including Kodi. What this means is that Kodi users in Britain can no longer watch their favorite TV shows, movies or other content online.
In this scenario, you have no option left other than a British VPN to access Kodi media content in the country securely.
How to Watch British Streaming Channels Abroad
British shows, dramas, and cinema have a huge following across the whole globe. Unfortunately, some of the most popular over the top streaming British streaming channels such as BBC’s iPlayer, Channel 4, and ITV Hub remain inaccessible outside the UK.
In order to access these services within the UK, you will need to have a UK IP address. Here’s how you can obtain a UK IP address overseas with a VPN:
- Subscribe to a VPN service with servers in the UK
- Download and install the VPN app on your system/device.
- Launch the VPN app and enter your login credentials.
- After successfully signing in, connect to a UK server.
- Access to app or website of your favorite British streaming service to gain access overseas
Things to consider when choosing the best VPN UK
Before purchasing any VPN service, you should consider a few basic features. To make it easy for you, here are a few pointers you should look out for when choosing any premium VPN service:
VPN protocols are pretty much the most important aspect of any VPN service. After all, they are responsible for keeping your privacy intact. Some of the must-have VPN protocols are OpenVPN, L2TP/IPsec, PPTP, and few others.
Servers are also very crucial for good performance. The more servers you get, the faster your connection is going to be. Besides, having a larger server base means you’ll be able to access a whole range of geo-restricted contents.
Multi connections are an absolute must-have feature as you wouldn’t necessarily want to get different subscriptions for different devices. A premium VPN service allows upwards of 5 simultaneous connections per subscription plan. In the case of Surfshark, you can get unlimited simultaneous connections.
No logs is the whole essence of any VPN service. You would want to look for a provider that doesn’t log your data. Typically it is impossible, however, there are few that log less to nothing of your private information.
Payment modes are just as crucial as protocols or logging policies. You would want to consider a VPN provider that supports anonymous payments like cryptocurrencies. After all, the less information you give out about yourself the safer you are.
Kill switch is also a must-have feature in any VPN service. This feature can protect your IP address from leaking in case your VPN connection drops. If yours doesn’t offer one just don’t get it.
If you want to avoid the UK’s rather authoritarian and intrusive online policies, then a reliable VPN is an absolute must. PureVPN is one of the best choices as UK VPN because it protects users from spying agencies with its no logging policy and strong encryption protocols. It is also well-equipped to deal with increasing censorship in the UK.
Leave a comment below and join the discussion about UK’s worsening online privacy situation.