The best UK VPN in 2024

best UK VPN
(Image credit: ExpressVPN)

As a member of the Five Eye Alliance and increasing the scope of its Investigatory Powers Act 2016 earlier this year, the UK government has some of the most thorough surveillance capabilities the world over. It's little wonder that residents are looking towards the best UK VPNs in order to protect their privacy.

And even if you're not somebody who's concerned about being monitored, you may be tempted to download one of the best VPN services for your streaming needs. Whether that be to unlock foreign catalogs of shows and films from platforms around the globe, or for those times that you're travelling abroad and want access to BBC iPlayer, ITVX, Channel 4 and your other favorite domestic broadcasters.

However, finding a VPN that ticks all the right boxes can be a tough task. That's why I've put today's top VPN providers to the test from my base in the UK. I've compared their features, pricing, unlocking power, and security features to help you pick out your perfect match – with my three absolute favorites immediately below.

My top 3 best UK VPNs today

1. NordVPN – the best UK VPN more than 440 servers dotted across the British Isles

1. NordVPN – the best UK VPN
Whether you're looking to unblock BBC iPlayer abroad or get hold of a British IP address, NordVPN makes it easy. The provider has more than 440 servers dotted across the British Isles across London, Manchester, Edinburgh, and Glasgow. Avid streamers will appreciate how NordVPN unblocks international streaming libraries with ease, too.

I also like that NordVPN has its very own built-in antivirus tools that'll watch your back as you go about your day-to-day browsing. Take NordVPN for a risk-free test drive with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

2. ExpressVPN – the best VPN appsincluding London, the Docklands, and Wembley

2. ExpressVPN – the best VPN apps
Connecting to a server in the UK has never been easier, thanks to ExpressVPN's stylish apps. Take your pick of locations, including London, the Docklands, and Wembley, and stay up to date with UK spots and streaming content even if you're on the other side of the globe.

ExpressVPN has a higher price point than my other picks but, in my opinion, it justifies the expense with tons of security tools and battle-tested encryption. Try before buying with a handy 30-day money-back guarantee.

3. Surfshark – the best budget VPN212 UK servers in 4 locations

3. Surfshark – the best budget VPN
Want a British IP address but don't want to break the bank? Speedy Surfshark could be your match made in heaven, with 212 UK servers in 4 locations. Although it's a budget pick, Surfshark has a wealth of premium tools, including impressive unblocking power that'll help you access movies and TV from overseas.

I love that Surfshark gives users unlimited simultaneous connections, too, which means you can secure all of your gadgets with a single plan. See for yourself with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Recent updates

After the big change earlier in the year where NordVPN leapfrogged ExpressVPN into the top spot, I've now added Private Internet Access to my top 5 thanks to its overall performance and great range of UK-based servers. Outside of that, I've brought all of the facts and figures up-to-date – for example, NordVPN's bolstered server count and increase from six to 10 simultaneous device allowance.

The best UK VPNs of 2024

Why you can trust Tom's Guide Our writers and editors spend hours analyzing and reviewing products, services, and apps to help find what's best for you. Find out more about how we test, analyze, and rate.

I've brought together my years of VPN testing and expertise to round up the five best UK VPNs on the market today. Privacy and security are a top priority of course, but I've also factored in how good each service is at unblocking content in and outside the UK, how easy they are to use, and any historical issues I think are still worth knowing about. 

All of the VPNs on this page are safe to use and very effective at what they do, so which ever you choose, you can feel comfortable knowing your online privacy is being protected by a quality product.

NordVPN: the best VPN overall

NordVPN on a range of devices

(Image credit: NordVPN)

1. NordVPN

A super fast, security-focused UK VPN

Available on: Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux | Average UK speeds on 1Gbps line: 950Mbps | Simultaneous connections: 10 | Streaming sites unblocked: Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, BBC iPlayer, ITVX, C4, 9Now, 10 play | Number of servers: 6,400+ | Server locations: 110+

Great for streaming
Extraordinary UK speeds
Superb security features
Apps can be awkward
Subscribe if:

✔️ You're a big streamer: NordVPN is my number one choice for streaming Netflix, BBC iPlayer and most other platforms you can think of.

✔️ You want built-in antivirus: Add an extra layer to your digital privacy with NordVPN's handy antivirus suite.

✔️ You want a balanced VPN: NordVPN offers an impressive blend of price and performance, although other providers are cheaper.

Avoid if:

You want a super-simple UI: The map interface will suit some, but can be tricky to use on smaller screens.

You're a bargain hunter: While NordVPN prices are far from expensive, they still can't match the likes of Surfshark.

Bottom line: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

NordVPN doesn't just talk a big game – it backs it up with some of the quickest speeds available and a whole host of privacy features. If you want a secure VPN for a reasonable price, NordVPN has your back in the UK and beyond.

NordVPN has the best dedicated UK VPN and the best security suite, offering tons of extras you won't find elsewhere – including a password manager, encrypted cloud storage, cyber insurance, a malicious link checker, and more (although these don't all come free).

When it comes down to the essentials, though, NordVPN offers great privacy and security. The provider has proven itself to be reliably secure with frequent independent audits, so you don't have to take its no-logs claims on good faith alone.

There are more than 6,000 NordVPN servers around the world, so no matter where you are (or where you want to appear to be), you'll be spoiled for choice. I'm glad to see that 440 of those are in the UK, based across locations in London, Manchester, Edinburgh and Glasgow. You can choose which city you'd like to connect to or simply let NordVPN pick out the fastest server.

NordVPN is an awesome pick for streaming, too, and tops my rankings for the best Netflix VPN. You'll be able to take your pick of international content libraries with ease, which is great news if you're a fan of US shows. Plus, it will let you access the BBC iPlayer, ITVX and Channel 4 if you find yourself outside of the UK.

The NordVPN desktop apps look great; they're easy to use and relatively free of clutter. You'll be able to take a deep dive into the settings to tailor your experience, like switching up your protocols, and check out the kill switch that'll leap into action if your VPN connection drops.

My NordVPN review found that its mobile apps are functional, too, but I find the interface a little clunky. The map-based location picker has its downsides. Sure, it works well on a larger computer screen, but on mobile, it can leave even the deftest swiper feeling fat-fingered. In practice, though, it's not a huge issue, as you'll usually just set and forget.

A NordVPN plan will bag you 10 simultaneous connections, which should be more than enough to cover your favorite devices. And whoever you share your subscription with will still enjoy lightning-fast speeds that are ideal for streaming.

So if you're looking for a mid-priced product that will keep you protected and enhance your online experience, NordVPN's a very safe bet.

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NordVPN test results
DesignA little crowded, but still easy on the eyes⭐⭐⭐⭐
Ease of useThe map interface is slightly fiddly, but otherwise there aren't any hiccups⭐⭐⭐⭐
PerformanceOne of the fastest VPNs I've tested⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
UnblockingWorks seamlessly with Netflix, BBC iPlayer, ITVX and more⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Security and privacyPacked with features including a kill switch and built-in antivirus⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Customer support24/7 support can troubleshoot even the most techy questions⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
PriceLots of value packed into modest prices⭐⭐⭐⭐

ExpressVPN: the best VPN user experience

ExpressVPN on a range of devices

(Image credit: ExpressVPN)

2. ExpressVPN

The best VPNs apps in the UK and beyond

Available on: Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux (command-line only, routers | Average UK speeds on 1Gbps line: 410Mbps | Simultaneous connections: 8 | Streaming sites unblocked: Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, BBC iPlayer, ITVX, C4, 9Now, 10 play | Number of servers: 3,000+ | Server locations: 160

Excellent UK connections
Reliable servers across the globe
Stellar support
Intuitive apps
Maximum of eight devices
Subscribe if:

✔️ You need proven privacy: ExpressVPN has an unwavering commitment to safeguarding its users with an audited no-logs policy.

✔️ You welcome user-friendly apps: The clever folk behind the scenes work tirelessly on delivering good-to-use apps – and it shows.

✔️ You want to stream international content: It's an outstanding streaming VPN that can unblock virtually any site or app, including overseas Netflix catalogs.

Avoid if:

You're on a budget: Though you're getting plenty of quality, an ExpressVPN subscription isn't cheap.

You want the fastest VPN around: ExpressVPN is no slouch, but NordVPN and Surfshark are way quicker.

Bottom line: ⭐⭐⭐⭐½

ExpressVPN is a service that does it all. From unblocking overseas content to keeping you safe on your own journeys, ExpressVPN has long been one of the very best players in the VPN game.

ExpressVPN gives you everything you need in one tidy package. You'll have access to slick mobile apps as well as options for Windows PCs, Macs, and other devices like Amazon Fire Sticks and routers – plus there's excellent 24/7 support in case anything doesn't work as it should.

Currently, ExpressVPN has servers dotted across 105 countries, including several in the UK, and you'll have no trouble switching between them. You can manually connect to UK locations in London or the Midlands, or let ExpressVPN pair you up with a preselected server.

As you'd expect from one of the market leaders, privacy is a major priority for ExpressVPN. All plans are covered by super tough 256-bit encryption, and a variety of protocols mean you can prioritize speed or security with a few clicks. The impressive performance is also what makes ExpressVPN my favorite torrenting VPN.

I'm always blown away by ExpressVPN's unblocking power – in fact, it'll work with just about any streaming service you can think of, from BBC iPlayer to Netflix, Amazon Prime, and smaller regional platforms. So, no matter where you are in the world, you won't miss out on any of your favorite shows.

Any VPN worth its salt needs to offer a seriously speedy performance, too, and I'm happy to see ExpressVPN is more than capable of handling HD streaming, gaming, and video calls without any hiccups. Connections are also virtually unaffected when using UK servers and remain swift when you hop for a further-flung one. That said, the 410 Mbps I clocked it at falls quite a way short of the incredible 950+ I recorded when testing NordVPN and Surfshark.

It's worth noting that one of the only areas that my ExpressVPN review falls behind is offering additional features to its users, although it's definitely catching up. For example, while you do get the very capable ExpressVPN Keys password manager, rival NordVPN gives you a malicious link checker, an antivirus-like system, and even cyber insurance. If those extras that you may or may not use are important, other VPNs may be worth considering – especially at Express's rather lofty price point.

Despite this, though, ExpressVPN more than makes up for it by offering the most well-rounded service on the market. With polished features, well-designed apps, and an audited privacy policy, it's impossible to go wrong with ExpressVPN.

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ExpressVPN test results
DesignA fantastic and fresh-feeling design across all apps⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Ease of useBeginners will have no trouble accessing features⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
PerformanceA speedy service, although others are quicker⭐⭐⭐⭐
UnblockingUnblocks tons of content in the UK and overseas⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Security and privacyAn audited service with 256-bit encryption⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Customer support24/7 live chat is always on hand to help⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
PriceA pricey option, but packed with value⭐⭐⭐

Surfshark: the best cheap VPN

Surfshark best UK VPN

3. Surfshark

Super affordable and great for streaming

Available on: Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux (GUI) | Average UK speeds on 1Gbps line: 950Mbps | Simultaneous connections: Unlimited | Streaming sites unblocked: Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, BBC iPlayer, ITVX, C4, 9Now, 10 play | Number of servers: 3,200+ | Server locations: 100+

Excellent value
User-friendly apps and clients
Unblocks iPlayer and the rest
We discovered some kill switch issues
Subscribe if:

✔️ You want the best budget VPN: Surfshark plans are seriously cheap – and jam-packed with quality features.

✔️ You need unlimited connections: One subscription is all you need to keep your friends and family's devices secure.

✔️ You want a super-fast VPN: Surfshark's speeds are hard to beat, peaking at a blazing 950 Mbps.

Avoid if:

You rely on your kill switch: I was able to break the Surfshark kill switch, and though this probably won't happen in real life, NordVPN might be the better pick.

Price hikes upset you: Beware that those low low prices  increase at the end of your term.

Bottom line: ⭐⭐⭐⭐½

Surfshark crams a ton of functionality into its bargain subscriptions – so, if you're working with a budget, it's a great pick. Surfshark rounds out its offering with unbeatable speeds and unblocking power, and a broad network of servers scattered around the globe.

Surfshark is an incredibly good value proposition for anyone wanting to strike a balance between price and performance. Available for less than £2/$2.50 a month, it delivers unbeatable value for money while providing a fully-featured UK VPN service.

For me, Surfshark's speed and unblocking power set it apart from its competitors – it's an awesome choice if you want to watch UK TV abroad. Surfshark is more than capable of unblocking Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and regional platforms, and actually does better than some other, more expensive VPNs.

Surfshark reached speeds of around 950 Mbps during my tests, making it one of the fastest VPNs I've encountered. Naturally, this is good news if you plan to do any torrenting, streaming, or online gaming.

Each Surfshark app is well thought out and easy to navigate. The clients are all pretty similar, sharing a stable interface, so you shouldn't have any trouble swapping from desktop to mobile, even if you're totally new to the VPN world. Digging into the settings is also straightforward, and you'll be able to swap protocols and check out Surfshark's stacked roster of features.

A handy Whitelister lets you pick and choose which sites and apps use the VPN connection and which don't, the CleanWeb feature gets rid of annoying ads and trackers, and the Surfshark kill switch will prevent your details from falling into the wrong hands if your VPN connection drops – though it's worth noting that I was able to break the kill switch when I pushed it to its limit during testing.

As per my Surfshark VPN review, one of the provider's most useful features is its unlimited simultaneous connections, meaning you'll only need one subscription to keep all of your devices secure – whether you're in the UK or traveling overseas. That'd be impressive on its own, but considering how Surfshark is one of the best cheap VPNs on the block, it's extra proof of its commitment to providing privacy for just about everyone. 

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Surfshark test results
DesignAll apps are simple, clean, and minimalistic⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Ease of usePerfect for VPN newbies⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
PerformanceA lightning-fast provider on par with NordVPN⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
UnblockingOne of the best unblocking VPNs on the market⭐⭐⭐⭐
Security and privacyKill switch has its issues, but otherwise rock solid⭐⭐⭐⭐
Customer support24/7 support is available, as well as a plethora of articles⭐⭐⭐⭐
PriceSuper-low prices that don't skimp on quality⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

The best of the rest

PIA on a range of devices

(Image credit: Private Internet Access)

4. Private Internet Access

Privacy-focussed VPN that also excels for streaming

Available on: Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux (GUI) | Average UK speeds on 1Gbps line: 330 Mbps | Simultaneous connections: Unlimited | Streaming sites unblocked: Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, BBC iPlayer, ITVX, C4, 9Now, 10 play | Number of servers: 10,000+ | Server locations: 150+

Great value pricing
Strong on streaming
Proven privacy policy
Slower connection speeds than the competition
Subscribe if:

✔️ A huge server selection appeals: PIA's servers cover 91 countries, all 50 US states and locations in London, Manchester and Southampton. 

✔️ Price is a key consideration: PIA has got really aggresive of late when it comes to pricing, meaning you can take advantage and pick up a bargain.

✔️ You value your privacy: PIA's robust privacy policy has been tested twice in the courts and prevailed both times.

Avoid if:

You have a need for speed: The top speeds we recorded in our testing are well down on the fastest out there.

❌ You want an easy ride: PIA is jam-packed with customizability, but that can be a bit intimidating for new users.  

Bottom line: ⭐⭐⭐⭐½

Private Internet Access sits in our top 5 overall VPNs and is a natural fit here, too (unless top speeds are your main consideration). It's nice to use, boasts tons of servers and the bargain pricing packs in a fair few features.

Private Internet Access (PIA) wasn't always among my favorite VPNs, but the provider has really made massive strides in recent years. Now, you'll see it featured in a wide variety of Tom's Guide's 'best VPN for...' guides and would make an excellent UK VPN, too.

There are several areas that stand out for praise in my Private Internet Access review, and they start with privacy. The clue's kind of in the name that the provider would take this aspect seriously, and it guarantees zero logging. Sure, any company can claim that. But PIA has been challenged twice in the U.S. courts and come through without having to reveal any user information. That certainly puts our mind at rest.

Outside of that, there's your choice of AES-128 or AES-256 encryption, proprietary DNS servers, access to integrated ad and tracker blockers, and a reliable kill switch tool to ensure that your traffic isn't leaked when the internet connection drops. It even brought in independent auditors Deloitte to give its systems the seal of approval.

Perhaps privacy isn't the number one focus in your mind when selecting a UK VPN, and streaming capabilities are much more important. The good news is that PIA is strong in that department, too. From unlocking overseas Netflix and Amazon Prime Video catalogs from the UK, to seamlessly accessing BBC iPlayer and ITVX when on holiday, PIA is well up to the task.

One criticism we levelled at PIA was that the sheer amount of features on offer may actually be too many for those who are new to VPNs. The likes of ExpressVPN and Surfshark endeavour to ease inexperienced users into their tools with a little more consideration than PIA.

It feels less harsh to downgrade PIA on the basis of its connection speeds. It maxed out at 330 Mbps when tested on our 1Gbps line. That's by no means slow, but is way behind the 950+ Mbps results we extracted from NordVPN and Surfshark.

Another comparison you'll inevitably make, though, is price – and that might just swing the balance back in PIA's favor. It has slashed prices on its multi-year plan, bringing it all the way down into line with Surfshark. That's incredibly competitive, especially when you consider that a single subscription covers as many devices at once as you like.

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Private Internet Access test results
DesignCustomize your apps to your heart's content⭐⭐⭐⭐
Ease of useWealth of settings may overcomplicate things for some users⭐⭐⭐
PerformanceBehind the rest on speed⭐⭐⭐
UnblockingUnblocks all the major services we test on⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Security and privacyPIA's privacy policy has been tested and has passed with flying colors⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Customer supportPlenty of helpful guides and live chat available⭐⭐⭐⭐
PriceExtremely competetive – PIA is a bargain⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

CyberGhost on a range of devices

5. CyberGhost

A stylish UK VPN service that you can try risk-free for 45 days

Available on: Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux | Average UK speeds on 1Gbps line: 760Mbps | Simultaneous connections: 7 | Streaming sites unblocked: Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, BBC iPlayer, ITVX, C4, 9Now | Number of servers: 9,000+ | Server locations: 100

Lengthy guarantee period
Optimized for streaming and torrenting
Impressive speeds
Support could be improved
Subscribe if:

✔️ Simple is better: CyberGhost apps are straightforward and clutter-free, making them ideal for VPN newcomers (and tech veterans.)

✔️ You want plenty of time for testing: A 45-day money-back guarantee gives you over a month to take CyberGhost for a test drive.

✔️ You're looking for affordable quality: CyberGhost will only set you back around $2/month, making it one of the cheapest VPNs out there.

Avoid if:

You rely on online support: CyberGhost's support site isn't as well-stocked with resources as others.

You have lots of devices: You'll only get 7 simultaneous connections with CyberGhost, which may not be enough to cover the whole family.

Bottom line: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

CyberGhost is a tried and tested provider that boasts some of the best apps on the market – and a sprawling network of servers around the globe. However, there are better VPNs out there if you're going to be streaming regularly.

One of the first things you'll notice when you boot up your CyberGhost app is just how many servers there are to choose from – more than 9,000 in 100 countries, in fact. This spread of servers means you'll never have trouble accessing content from overseas, or avoiding blocks, and three of those server locations are in the UK (Berkshire, London, and Manchester, plus another in the Isle of Man).

One of my favorite features is the CyberGhost server filtering system. If you're looking for a server that's best suited to, say, streaming Netflix, you can filter them to only display those that will deliver the best Netflix experience. This is a relatively nice-to-have feature, but it does make CyberGhost one of the most streamlined services I've used.

BBC iPlayer and ITVX area easily unblocked by CyberGhost from overseas, as are other international streamers like Hulu and 9Now. I wasn't able to access Australia's 10 play in my latest round of testing, though.

When I looked into it for my CyberGhost review, I discovered a privacy policy that promises not to log any identifying information. While that's all well and good, I'd love to see it undertake an independent audit to remove any doubt.

It's also worth noting that CyberGhost's support system isn't nearly as good as ExpressVPN's and others. You won't be left in the lurch if something goes wrong, but it is possible that it'll take a little longer for any problems to be rectified – and this could be a deal-breaker for VPN newbies who expect to call on customer support at some point.

Although it can't quite meet the measure of my other top UK VPN picks, CyberGhost is still a reliable service that's made a name for itself and is a mainstay in the industry.

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CyberGhost test results
DesignSleek and simple, with plenty of customization⭐⭐⭐⭐
Ease of useIdeal for beginners and VPN experts⭐⭐⭐⭐
PerformanceDecent speeds that are outpaced by industry leaders⭐⭐⭐⭐
UnblockingGood, but can't access all major platforms despite its dedicated servers⭐⭐⭐⭐
Security and privacyA strong privacy policy, although lacking an audit⭐⭐⭐⭐
Customer supportResponses could be quicker and more thorough⭐⭐⭐
PriceA budget-friendly provider⭐⭐⭐⭐

What's the fastest UK VPN?

A standout VPN won't make you sacrifice speed for privacy – and all of our top picks are quick enough to keep up with torrenting, online gaming, and video calls. Tons of people are using their VPNs primarily for streaming these days, too, so your service needs to be able to load HD and 4K content without buffering for what feels like an eternity.

Testing each VPN's performance is part of my review process, and I use a variety of tools to get accurate readings, including the Ookla SpeedTest website and CLI, nPerf, Netflix's Fast, and others. Then, I take the average (median) of each provider's results to get a clear idea of their speed range, and repeat my tests during the morning and evening to ensure they're accurate.

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VPN ProviderWireGuard or proprietaryOpenVPN
1. Surfsharkover 950 Mbps (maxed out our testing)640 Mbps
2. Mullvadover 950 Mbps (maxed out our testing)410 Mbps
3. Proton VPNover 950 Mbps (maxed out our testing)400 Mbps
4. Windscribeover 950 Mbps (maxed out our testing)240 Mbps
5. PrivadoVPNover 950 Mbps (maxed out our testing)220 Mbps
6. NordVPNover 950 Mbps (maxed out our testing)110 Mbps
7. Norton VPNover 950 Mbps (maxed out our testing)240 Mbps
8. PureVPN880 Mbps210 Mbps
9. Atlas VPN785 MbpsN/A
10. IPVanish770 Mbps230 Mbps
11. CyberGhost760 Mbps360 Mbps
12. FastestVPN730 Mbps170 Mbps
13. AirVPN710 Mbps300 Mbps
14. Hide.me690 Mbps210 Mbps
15. Hotspot Shield600 MbpsN/A
16. VyprVPN590 Mbps145 Mbps
17. TunnelBear480 Mbps180 Mbps
18. ExpressVPN410 Mbps210 Mbps
19. StrongVPN395 Mbps210 Mbps
20. Astrill VPN390 Mbps (unstable speeds)N/A
21. Private VPN350 Mbps125 Mbps
22. Private Internet Access330 Mbps270 Mbps
23. Mozilla VPN360 MbpsN/A
24. Google One345 MbpsN/A
25. UltraVPN300 MbpsN/A

^ Back to the top

How I test UK VPN services

When it comes to recommending a product that users will entrust with quite possibly every byte of their online life, I have to be absolutely sure that my choices are correct and thoroughly tested.

Unlike some sites, we don't simply reel off a spec sheet and declare the provider with most impressive claims the winner. Instead, we have a dedicated team in-house that gets hands-on with all the providers listed (and more). 

Every six months, after scouring the website for new claimed features or changes in policy, we sign up to a plan and install it on a range of devices. The Windows app sees the most rigorous testing, and it's here that we'll try to break the kill switch, ensure any leak protection is working correctly, and measure connection speeds.

The other apps, including the Mac VPN, iPhone VPN, and Android VPN also see comprehensive testing, and we'll check every available setting in every app to make sure it's functioning as promised by the provider.

As we use the apps, if anything appears to be behaving strangely we'll investigate that. We might dig into the source code, or view the contents of its RAM. This general usage stage is also how we make decisions on aesthetics and ease of use – although these naturally have to be more subjective.

Then comes the streaming tests. We'll use each VPN with all the big streaming sites from a number of locations to ensure it's working as claimed. As Netflix is still hugely popular and somewhat troublesome when it comes to VPNs, we test the biggest providers every month to make sure my recommendations are still relevant.


Are VPNs legal in the UK?

In short, yes – VPNs are totally legal in the UK. There are no laws in place restricting how citizens or visitors use them, but do be aware that any illegal activity undertaken while using a VPN is still illegal.

What makes a great UK VPN?

Security and privacy always come first, so ensure that your chosen service is guaranteed to keep you safe online – the Tom's Guide team has verified that all our recommendations are rock-solid with hands-on testing. Excellent connection speeds are also a must-have for most users, and streaming performance is a bonus many will appreciate.

It's worth considering what devices you'll be using your VPN on. For example, if you're an iPhone user, having good performance on iOS will be a must. Thankfully all the providers I've recommended here offer great mobile apps alongside powerful desktop clients.

NordVPN tops my list. It combines slick apps with flawless privacy credentials and streaming performance to provide the best all-round VPN for the UK. However, other providers might take your fancy, so be sure to check out our in-depth reviews for more information.

Why do I need a UK VPN?

There are a few reasons you might want a UK VPN. Firstly, if you're in the UK, you're probably aware that our government can be a little nosy to say the least. If you want to keep your search history and online activity private, a VPN is an essential tool.

Other Brits might just want to have access to overseas streaming media. While we've got iPlayer and the UK library on Netflix, having a VPN can give you access to the world's media, including foreign Netflix and even services like Hulu if you've got a subscription.

Finally, if you're abroad, you might want to hop onto iPlayer, but you'll find that you'll be unable to access it. iPlayer also has some of the strictest VPN blocking tech in the streaming industry, so only the best can bypass this and get you watching abroad. Thankfully, every VPN on this list can do that for you.

Can I get a free UK VPN?

Free services can be double-edged swords – while they can offer some of the benefits of a paid-for VPN, they're never the whole package.

One of the best is Proton VPN Free which, although it's still nowhere near as good as the paid product.

While useful for very infrequent use, they're no good for streaming and torrenting, and you'll soon find yourself on the hunt for the best UK VPN – even if it'll cost you a couple of quid a month.

How do UK VPNs unblock Netflix?

Netflix has different libraries for many countries around the world, and these libraries are only accessible to those in that country. This is a problem for holidaymakers, and many others just want to watch shows they’re not ‘allowed’ to.

A VPN can relocate you to any country you want, and the best will do this in a way that’s undetectable by the streaming service. Once you’ve done that, you’re free to watch whatever you want.

Should I use a UK-based VPN?

Seeing as the UK has some of the nosiest online laws in the world – and is a member of the notorious Five Eyes alliance – true privacy nuts are likely to avoid VPNs based in the UK.

While there's not a huge amount anyway, the most well-known UK-based VPN is HideMyAss. HMA doesn't often feature on my roundups of top VPN services, but that's because the competition is just so strong. However, while it's UK-based, it does have a fairly robust no-logging policy, which means that even if the UK government decided to stick its oar in and demand information, HMA wouldn't have anything to hand over.

A no-logging policy is especially important for a VPN based in a country with stricter data laws – the UK being one of them – so when you're making your decision that should be factored in.


We test and review VPN services in the context of legal recreational uses. For example:

1. Accessing a service from another country (subject to the terms and conditions of that service).

2. Protecting your online security and strengthening your online privacy when abroad.

We do not support or condone the illegal or malicious use of VPN services. Consuming pirated content that is paid-for is neither endorsed nor approved by Future Publishing.

Mo Harber-Lamond
VPN Editor

Mo is VPN Editor at Tom's Guide. Day-to-day he oversees VPN, privacy, and cybersecurity content, and also undertakes independent testing of VPN services to ensure his recommendations are accurate and up to date. When he's not getting stuck into the nitty-gritty settings of a VPN you've never heard of, you'll find him working on his Peugeot 205 GTi or watching Peep Show instead of finally putting up those shelves.