6 Best VPNs For The UK In 2024

6-best-vpns-for-the-uk-in-2024

6 Best VPNs For The UK In 2024

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VPN capabilities and performance levels differ from place to place. Which VPNs are best for U.K. users and expats?

  • Best overall VPN for the U.K.: NordVPN
  • Best for unlimited connections: Surfshark
  • Best for number of VPN servers: Private Internet Access
  • Best for torrenting: ExpressVPN
  • Best for travel in Europe: CyberGhost
  • Best open-source VPN: Proton VPN

The U.K. has earned a reputation in recent years for extensive government snooping on calls and emails. The complaints keep racking up, but little seems to be done about it.

No wonder virtual private networks are so popular in the U.K. They offer users a way to largely avoid falling victim to state-sanctioned spying. The U.K., after all, is part of Five Eyes, which is an alliance aimed at sharing surveillance and intelligence among five English-speaking nations. As well as some level of privacy, VPNs offer U.K. users a way around any restrictions on accessing overseas streaming services.

SEE: 10 Myths about Cybersecurity You Shouldn’t Believe (TechRepublic Premium)

It’s no surprise, then, that VPN usage in the U.K. is relatively high. According to Forbes, 42% of U.K. internet users use a VPN. Most are installed on laptops. But usage on smartphones is quite high, too. They have turned to VPNs to enhance their online privacy, add a layer of security when using public Wi-Fi, protect their personal information, encrypt the data they give and receive, access content from other countries and bypass censorship or other restrictions.

But not all VPNs are created equal. And the breadth of their services and the assurance of anonymity can vary, depending on the service chosen. Here are some of the best VPN services for U.K. users.

1 Semperis

Employees per Company Size

Micro (0-49), Small (50-249), Medium (250-999), Large (1,000-4,999), Enterprise (5,000+)

Large (1,000-4,999 Employees), Enterprise (5,000+ Employees) Large, Enterprise

Features

Advanced Attacks Detection, Advanced Automation, Anywhere Recovery, and more

2 ManageEngine Log360

Employees per Company Size

Micro (0-49), Small (50-249), Medium (250-999), Large (1,000-4,999), Enterprise (5,000+)

Micro (0-49 Employees), Small (50-249 Employees), Medium (250-999 Employees), Large (1,000-4,999 Employees), Enterprise (5,000+ Employees) Micro, Small, Medium, Large, Enterprise

Features

Activity Dashboard, Advanced Threat Analytics, Analytics/Reporting, and more

3 Alyne

Employees per Company Size

Micro (0-49), Small (50-249), Medium (250-999), Large (1,000-4,999), Enterprise (5,000+)

Large (1,000-4,999 Employees), Enterprise (5,000+ Employees) Large, Enterprise

Features

Cyber Security Risk Management, Enterprise Risk Management (ERM), ESG Management, and more

ProductSimultaneous connections# of U.K. and worldwide (WW) servers# of countriesLocation of headquartersPricing
NordVPN6440 U.K. and 6,300 WW111PanamaFrom £3.25 per month
SurfsharkUnlimited200 U.K. and 3,200 WW94NetherlandsFrom £1.70 per month
Private Internet AccessUnlimited1,200 U.K. and 35,000 servers WW91USAFrom £2.03 per month
ExpressVPN8150 U.K. and 3000 servers WW105British Virgin IslandsFrom £5.61 per month
CyberGhost7500 U.K. and 9,600 WW91RomaniaFrom £1.85 per month
ProtonVPN1036 U.K. and 3,000 MW69 countriesSwitzerlandFrom £4.28 per month

NordVPN: Best overall VPN for the U.K.

Figure 1: List of NordVPN servers. Image: NordVPN

NordVPN is a good choice in the U.K. due to the high performance it offers, as well as making it possible to access overseas content by masking a U.K. IP address. Additionally, it is particularly good at providing British travelers with access to U.K. content while they are traveling internationally. Whether it’s BBC iPlayer or access to British sporting events online, NordVPN can do the job. The company has hundreds of VPN servers spread across the U.K. and thousands internationally. Users are unlikely to be very far from a NordVPN connection point. In addition to good British VPN performance, NordVPN is noted for its streaming quality and collection of security features. Its pricing structure is also reasonable.

Pricing

The Standard plan costs £10.89 per month or £56.83 for the annual plan. The two-year Standard plan costs £78.33 which works out at £3.25 per month. There is also the complete plan at £13.09 per month or £89.85 for the annual plan. The two-year plan costs £132.03. Basic users get a secure, high-speed VPN but are missing malware protection, ad blocking, password management, data breach scanning and 1TB of encrypted cloud storage.

Standout features

NordVPN provides a wealth of security features. These include antivirus, malware detection, data breach scanning, password management, 256-bit encryption, cloud storage, cyber insurance, a way to check malicious links and privacy protection. The company backs this up with independent audits that regularly verify its claim to not keep logs, which can potentially be accessed by unwanted eyes or given to the police when a warrant is issued.

With more than 6,300 NordVPN servers worldwide and the ability to choose the city you prefer to connect to, it has a proven track record when it comes to high performance streaming of services such as Netflix. Brits can also use it to access American TV shows and content that would otherwise be restricted due to their use of a U.K. IP address.

The NordVPN service allows six simultaneous connections and up to 10 devices to be protected. As it is registered in Panama, the company lies beyond the reach of various information-sharing alliances. Users are also unlikely to run into many compatibility issues as it runs well on Windows, MacOS, Android, iOS, Linux and more.

Pros

  • Excellent for streaming Netflix, Hulu, Prime and more.
  • Great U.K. speeds.
  • A wealth of security features.
  • No logs.
  • Outside the jurisdiction of surveillance alliances.

Cons

  • More expensive than some of its rivals.
  • Limited to six simultaneous connections.
  • Some users find its apps awkward to use, especially on smartphones.

Why I picked NordVPN

NordVPN isn’t quite as cheap as some U.K. VPN options, nor does it have the most U.K. servers. But I feel it scores well in most categories, offers plenty of U.K. servers and has the biggest presence in terms of the number of countries covered.

Surfshark: Best for unlimited connections

Figure 2: Surfshark’s CleanWeb feature. Image: Surfshark

Surfshark offers many of the features of NordVPN at a much lower price. It operates around half the servers of its big rival. But it still provides more than 200 U.K. servers and more than 3,000 worldwide. It is good at unblocking overseas movies, TV shows and streaming services. It also allows unlimited simultaneous connections and has decent security and privacy capabilities. As it is based in the Netherlands, however, it can fall victim to the prying eyes of various countries that like to snoop on internet traffic.

Pricing

Surfshark recently cut the price of its two-year subscription to £44.32 for 26 months or £1.70 a month. In comparison, the 12-month plan costs £39.82. This is for the Starter plan, which comes with a VPN, an ad blocker, a pop-up blocker and unlimited simultaneous connections. Further plans are a little more expensive and add more features. But they remain competitively priced.

Standout features

Although Surfshark doesn’t offer quite as many security features as NordVPN, it still has plenty: AES-256 encryption, split-tunneling, leak protection, a whitelister, kill switches if a connection is dropped, and malware and ad protection. It even provides a way to mask VPN traffic as regular internet traffic in case a government likes to block VPNs.

Performance is good, too. It is probably more than sufficient for most users. It is good at unblocking services such as Netflix, BBC iPlayer and Amazon Prime. As for ease of use, users report that Surfshark is simple to navigate and easy to use. There are plenty of apps available that can be shared across as many devices as the user desires.

Pros

  • Unlimited simultaneous connections.
  • Low cost.
  • Good performance.
  • Decent range of security and privacy features.

Cons

  • Doesn’t provide static IP addresses.
  • No free version.
  • Dutch headquarters lie within surveillance alliance jurisdictions.

Why I picked Surfshark

Both Surfshark and Private Internet Access offer unlimited simultaneous connections, but I give Surfshark the nod due to its slightly lower cost and greater number of countries served.

Private Internet Access: Best for number of VPN servers

Figure 3: VPN settings for PIA. Image: PIA

This U.S.-based provider has a no-logs policy that has been verified by third parties. It has a good record of standing up to government agencies that try to bully it into providing user data. In some cases, it has shut down VPN servers rather than comply. However, it is located within the jurisdiction of the Five Eyes.

Private Internet Access is strong when it comes to the quantity of servers under its control — 35,000 beats everyone else. Its extensive customization features may be attractive to certain users who may then be willing to pay more for it than others in this guide.

Pricing

Pricing starts at £2.71 per month based on a one-year subscription.

Standout features

PIA is strong on privacy and is one of the rare VPNs that are based on open source. Its features include AES 256-bit encryption, a kill switch, obfuscation (making it harder for apps and services to realize you’re using a VPN), multi-hop to route your traffic through another server for stronger encryption and split tunneling for users who want to use a VPN for some applications and not for others. This VPN is noted for streaming and unblocking content that has geographical protection.

Performance is adequate, but not as good as some of its rivals. But it offers unlimited simultaneous connections and supports pretty much all platforms. Linux users find it easy to use as it has a familiar interface, but non-Linux users may struggle.

Pros

  • Unlimited simultaneous connections.
  • More servers than any other VPN provider.
  • High level of customization.

Cons

  • Complex dashboard.
  • No free version.
  • Headquarters fall under surveillance alliance jurisdiction.
  • Performance is less than that of some other VPNs.

Why I picked Private Internet Access

Nobody comes close to PIA when it comes to the sheer quantity of servers available all over the world. Coupled with low cost and unlimited simultaneous connections, this VPN has plenty going for it.

ExpressVPN: Best for torrenting

Figure 4: ExpressVPN’s dashboard. Image: ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN is pricier than its rivals but makes up for it with a raft of top security features. It is excellent at helping British road warriors and expats keep up-to-date with home-grown streaming content and sports channels. The company also provides plenty of apps and works across almost all platforms and devices. Users can connect manually to plenty of U.K. locations, too, if they wish.

Pricing

ExpressVPN offers a monthly, six-month and 12-month plan. A monthly plan starts at $6.60 for a 12-month plan and rises to £10.76 if paid month to month. Prices may vary based on short-term discounts. The lowest amount found so far for longer contracts, based on discounts, is £5.61.

Standout features

Users can determine whether to prioritize speed or security to suit their online and privacy needs with ExpressVPN. The performance is good enough that many use it for torrenting. Its speed makes it a good choice for advanced users and for those who are into online gaming and use streaming services extensively.

The company goes to great lengths to protect user privacy, despite being located in the British Virgin Islands. It has a verified no-logs policy and the most servers of any VPN provider. Ease of use is another ExpressVPN strength. Security features include 256-bit encryption, a password manager and a kill switch.

Pros

  • Extensive VPN server network.
  • Not under any surveillance alliance jurisdiction.
  • No-logs policy.

Cons

  • Only eight simultaneous connections.
  • No static IP addresses.
  • Not the cheapest VPN.

Why I picked ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN is the priciest VPN on our list. That said, some are just as expensive or more so if you pay for them month to month. ExpressVPN is a very good VPN with wide coverage. Users seem especially impressed by its torrenting performance.

CyberGhost: Best for travel in Europe

Figure 5: CyberGhost’s Favorites list. Image: CyberGhost

CyberGhost is a decent VPN and has more than 9,000 servers around the world. As it is based in Romania, it provides excellent privacy protection and has the bulk of its servers in Europe. This makes it one of the best selections for Brits frequently traveling to or living in Europe.

This VPN service also provides access to certain servers that are optimized for gaming and streaming or have added security features. Some servers are specifically recommended for Netflix, for example. Beyond that, it comes with content-blocking, but it can sometimes struggle to unblock certain services, particularly when the user is outside of Europe.

Pricing

Pricing per month for 24 months works out at £1.85 a month (includes three extra months free). If you pay it month to month, the rate shoots up beyond £10.

Standout features

The company has more than 500 servers in three U.K. cities. Brits located in Europe can specify the type of server they want to access, such as one optimized for Netflix or even one known as the NoSpy server. As it is in Romania and not in a colocation provider, it is pretty much out of the reach of government tentacles.

It has a strong privacy and no-logs policy; however, these are not independently audited. Its security features are adequate, as is its performance. But neither comes near what is offered by some of its rivals.

Pros

  • Specialized servers for streaming, gaming, torrenting and privacy.
  • Easy to use and learn.
  • Inexpensive.
  • Dedicated IP addresses are available.

Cons

  • Support is not as strong as that of other VPN providers.
  • Seven simultaneous connections.

Why I picked CyberGhost

With its headquarters in Romania and most of its servers in Europe, CyberGhost is the obvious choice for Brits traveling to or living in Europe.

Proton VPN: Best open-source VPN

Figure 6: Proton VPN’s dashboard. Image: ProtonVPN

Proton’s claim to fame is its Proton Mail service, which provides great levels of privacy and encryption for those using email. Anyone sending sensitive emails can use it to mask the content and prevent it from being intercepted and read. The company has added other services, such as a VPN. As such, its VPN is good but not the best. Its main audience is likely to be either those already using Proton Mail or those favoring open-source tools.

Proton provides VPN users with a network of around 3,000 servers. For highly sensitive traffic, its Secure Core service routes network traffic through countries like Switzerland and Iceland that lie outside the surveillance territories. The company is especially strong on anonymity and is based in Switzerland. But it doesn’t have an especially strong server footprint in the U.K.

Pricing

Pricing starts at £4.28 per month for two years and rises based on shorter contracts. Users pay more for the professional version.

Standout features

Proton VPN uses AES 256-bit encryption, a malware blocker, good customer support, unlimited data and no ads. It allows up to 10 devices to connect simultaneously and can run most platforms (Windows, MacOS, ChromeOS, Linux, iOS and Android).

As an open-source tool, its code is open to inspection. If desired, users can install Proton VPN onto their router to protect all devices connected to that Wi-Fi network. Its free plan is also better than many, so some users may be happy to take advantage of it rather than pay a subscription.

Pros

  • Secure Core servers located in countries that are not part of surveillance alliances.
  • Good free version with unlimited data.
  • Open source.

Cons

  • No static IP addresses.
  • 10-device limit.
  • Complicated interface.

Why I picked Proton VPN

There are two open-source VPNs on the list, but Proton VPN comes out ahead due to its track record within the open-source world. Its Proton Mail service is trusted around the world for privacy, and its newer VPN service follows in that tradition.

How to choose a VPN

When choosing a VPN, there are many factors to consider. The first is cost. If someone rarely ever uses a VPN, a free version such as Proton VPN may be good enough. As more features and higher levels of security, privacy and performance are added, the price tag tends to rise. Enterprise VPNs are pricier than consumer level products, but some users may need that level of sophistication. Users should carefully evaluate what they need so a) they don’t pay for far more than they need and b) pay too little and end up lacking vital features.

Expats who use a VPN regularly or Brits who travel frequently should be happy to pay more for better coverage and service. Each service covered here has its pros and cons. Some are better than others in specific locations. Check candidates to see how well they serve the areas you frequent.

Security and privacy are further factors to consider. Why pay more for top-notch security when your traffic is not that sensitive? On the other hand, if you demand complete privacy and freedom from any and all snooping, choose the service that offers the best independently verified, no-logs policies and a quantity of servers in locations that will protect your data.

Open source versus proprietary, too, may factor into the equation. There are a few open-source tools out there. Those familiar and comfortable with open source should evaluate those tools to see if they meet their needs. Those not so familiar with open source should probably download a free version to see whether they are able to use it easily.

Users who mainly use a smartphone should also pay attention to how well the proposed VPN functions on an Android or an iPhone. Most of these tools do well on each, but there are some variables to consider.

Methodology

Our buyer’s guides and recommendations are born out of extensive research, real-world testing and expert analysis. Each VPN on this list was evaluated by our team against key factors like price, features, support, coverage, number of servers, security and more. Further, user reviews and analyst reports were also taken into account in selecting our top U.K. VPN picks.

Also Read

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  • Top 7 Multicloud Security Providers for 2024
  • How Can Businesses Defend Themselves Against Common Cyberthreats?
  • Quick Glossary: Cybersecurity Countermeasures
  • Cybersecurity: More Must-Read Coverage

We may earn from vendors via affiliate links or sponsorships. This might affect product placement on our site, but not the content of our reviews. See our Terms of Use for details. VPN capabilities and performance levels differ from place to place. Which VPNs are best for U.K. users and expats? Best overall VPN for…