Using a UK VPN is a super simple way of staying protected from the country's state-sanctioned spying. The UK's Investigatory Powers Act allows some of the world's most invasive government surveillance, and it's a founding member of the notorious Five Eyes Alliance, so taking precautions is a must for anyone who values their privacy.
Using the best VPN for the UK isn't just for staying private and secure, though. Quality services will allow you to stream content from overseas, and if you're a Brit abroad, watch BBC iPlayer anywhere in the world.
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.
The 3 best VPNs at a glance
1. ExpressVPN – the best UK VPN overall
ExpressVPN can do it all – streaming, location spoofing, torrenting, and keeping you anonymous online, but what makes it truly great is that it pulls together that power in a simple, intuitive package.
You can try ExpressVPN for yourself, thanks to its 30-day money-back guarantee, and even grab an extra 3 months free. Essentially, it's the only UK VPN you need.
2. NordVPN – big name is excellent for UK streaming
You might recognize NordVPN from its TV ads and sports sponsorships, but it's certainly not all bark and no bite. With excellent encryption and easy-to-use apps, it's one of the best ways to secure yourself online, and unblock BBC iPlayer abroad.
NordVPN is an awesome all-rounder that won't break the bank. You can check out its features for just a few dollars a month and enjoy a 30-day money-back guarantee.
3. Surfshark – A premium service for a bargain price
Don't be fooled by the price – Surfshark is no Poundland VPN. In fact, even without its tempting pricing it'd still be a top contender, with unlimited connections on one plan, excellent speeds, and top-class content unblocking.
The sub-£2-a-month cost is the icing on the cake – and you'll even get 3 months free to take the service for a test drive on your own devices.
In my most recent update to this page I slightly updated the layout to make it simpler for you to find the information that's important to you, and I've also gone through the facts and figures to ensure everything on this page is correct. There have been no changes to the rankings, with ExpressVPN still providing the best service, although NordVPN and Surfshark are very worthy rivals.
The best UK VPNs of 2024
Why you can trust Tom's Guide
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.
ExpressVPN: The best VPN overall
The very best UK VPN available
Available on: Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux | Average UK speeds on 1Gbps line: 560Mbps | Simultaneous connections: 8 | Streaming sites unblocked: Netflix, iPlayer, YouTube, Amazon, Hulu, Disney+ | Number of servers: 3,000+ | Server locations: 160
✔️ Only the best will do. ExpressVPN tops my overall VPN rankings – it's the total package on any device.
✔️ You want airtight security. With top-notch encryption, a kill switch, and a built-in password manager, you're all set.
✔️ You want to stream international content. ExpressVPN is an outstanding streaming VPN that can unblock virtually any site or app, including Netflix.
❌ You're working with 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.
ExpressVPN is hard to beat, and that's because it's a service that does it all. From unblocking overseas content to keeping you safe on your own journeys, ExpressVPN has set the bar across the industry.
ExpressVPN tops my list of UK options because it 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 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 a market leader, 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.
It's worth noting that one of the only areas ExpressVPN 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.
|A fantastic and fresh-feeling design across all apps
|Ease of use
|Beginners will have no trouble accessing features
|A speedy service, although others are quicker
|Unblocks tons of content in the UK and overseas
|Security and privacy
|An audited service with 256-bit encryption
|24/7 live chat is always on hand to help
|A pricey option, but packed with quality features
NordVPN: The best UK VPN + security suite
A super-fast, and security focused, UK VPN
Available on: Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux | Average UK speeds on 1Gbps line: 820Mbps | Simultaneous connections: 6 | Streaming sites unblocked: Netflix, iPlayer, YouTube, Amazon, Hulu | Number of servers: 5,500+ | Server locations: 80+
✔️ You're a huge Netflix fan. NordVPN is my number one choice for streaming HD Netflix content in the UK (or anywhere else.)
✔️ 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 awesome blend of price and performance, although other providers are cheaper.
❌ You want a super-simple UI. The map interface is fun, but can be tricky to use on smaller screens.
❌ You have a lot of devices. Currently, NordVPN gives users 6 simultaneous connections – I'd recommend Surfshark if you need support for unlimited devices.
If ExpressVPN is the best dedicated UK VPN, then NordVPN is the best UK security suite. While Team Red is marginally more usable when it comes to the VPN side of things, NordVPN offers 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 5,500 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 – and just like ExpressVPN, you can choose which city you'd like to connect to, or let NordVPN pick out the fastest server.
NordVPN is an awesome pick for streaming, too, and even 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, and still have access to BBC iPlayer 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.
NordVPN's mobile apps are functional, too, but the interface is 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 6 simultaneous connections, and while that should be more than enough to cover your favorite devices, it might not work for a full household of gadgets – and since ExpressVPN upped it limit to 8, Nord is just about the least generous VPN on the market in this regard.
Still, whoever you share your subscription with will still enjoy lightning-fast speeds that are ideal for streaming, and if you're looking for a mid-range product that will keep you protected, Nord's a safe bet.
|A little crowded, but still easy on the eyes
|Ease of use
|The map interface is slightly fiddly, but otherwise there aren't any hiccups
|The fastest VPN I've tested
|Works seamlessly with Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and more
|Security and privacy
|Packed with features including a kill switch and built-in antivirus
|24/7 support can troubleshoot even the most techy questions
|Lots of value packed into modest prices
Surfshark: The best cheap UK VPN
Super cheap and great for streaming
Available on: Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux | Average UK speeds on 1Gbps line: 950Mbps | Simultaneous connections: Unlimited | Streaming sites unblocked: Netflix, iPlayer, YouTube, Amazon, Disney+, Hulu | Number of servers: 3,200+ | Server locations: 100+
✔️ 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.
❌ 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.
❌ You're a frequent torrenter. Surfshark can handle P2P traffic, but ExpressVPN is my number one torrenting pick.
Surfshark crams a ton of functionality into 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.
One of Surfshark's most useful features, however, 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.
|All apps are simple, clean, and minimalistic
|Ease of use
|Perfect for VPN newbies
|A lightning-fast provider on par with NordVPN
|One of the best unblocking VPNs on the market
|Security and privacy
|Kill switch has its issues, but otherwise rock solid
|24/7 support is available, as well as a plethora of articles
|Super-low prices that don't skimp on quality