What Is The Best VPN for the U.K. in 2020?
NordVPN is the best choice for a VPN to protect your online activities from prying eyes while in the U.K. The provider offers speedy connections, comprehensive privacy protections and some of the best customer support around. By using NordVPN to protect your internet travels, you’ll keep your information safe from prying eyes when connecting from inside the United Kingdom.
The provider’s encrypted connections are also a great way to protect yourself when you’re using your computer or mobile device on an open Wi-Fi hotspot network at your local tea room.
About the United Kingdom
The United Kingdom (U.K.) is a sovereign country in western Europe. It’s located northwest of the European mainland. The country has an area of 242,500 square kilometers (93,600 sq mi) and is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, granting it the 12th-longest coastline in the world.
The country has an estimated 65.5 million citizens. The capital of the United Kingdom is London, which is also its largest city, with a population of 10.3 million. The U.K. is the world’s sixth-largest economy by nominal GDP and is the ninth-largest economy when measured by purchasing power parity.
The U.K. is a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary democracy. The current rule of the land is Queen Elizabeth II, who took the throne on February 6, 1952.
Top 5 Best VPNs for Use in the U.K.
Why Do You Need a VPN in the U.K.?
Internet users in the United Kingdom require the services of a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to protect their online activities from the prying eyes of governmental agencies, hackers and even their own Internet Service Provider.
The United Kingdom is a member of Five Eyes, an alliance made up of the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Australia. The members of this alliance have agreed to share information about their citizens, which is collected by each country’s intelligence agencies. This information can include a citizen’s online activities.
In the wake of 9/11 and other terrorist attacks around the globe, the surveillance powers of law enforcement agencies in the U.K. have been greatly expanded. The Investigatory Powers Act 2016 requires Communication Service Providers (the U.K. version of Internet Service Providers found in the United States) to retain U.K. internet users’ “internet connection records” for one year.
While the act only requires providers to save records listing which websites were visited and not which individual pages on the site were visited (or users’ full browsing histories), police and intelligence officers can view the connection records without needing to have a warrant in hand.
Authorities allowed to access the internet records without the need for a warrant include Metropolitan Police Service, London Police, Scotland Police, Royal Navy Police, Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Justice, the Gambling Commission and many more.
In addition to keeping your browsing activities safe from the U.K. government agencies listed above, a VPN allows users to safely browse the internet while connected to open Wi-Fi hotspots, such as those found in coffee and tea shops, hotels and other public spaces.
The layer of encryption a VPN adds to your connection keeps your personal information, such as shopping, banking and credit card information, safe from those who would want to access that info for nefarious purposes.
A VPN also makes a great tool for opening up access to content that may normally be blocked from users in the U.K., such as Netflix and Hulu content based in the United States, Spotify music streaming and much more.
In addition to blocking websites containing what is considered to be illegal content in the United Kingdom (which can include child porn, other forms of porn, copyrighted material, hate speech, extremist materials and more), the U.K. government’s blocking can also inadvertently block innocent websites.
A VPN can help a user get around roadblocks, enabling access to geo-blocked content such as Netflix and gaming servers, as well as those innocent sites that were collateral damage of the government’s blockade.
Choosing the Best VPN for Use in the U.K.
When making a decision about which VPN is right for your needs, there are a good number of factors to consider. Any VPN provider worth your consideration should offer fast connections, good customer support and privacy protections, and wide-ranging global server coverage.
In this section of the article, I’ll share the features that deserve close consideration when researching a VPN subscription. Each section will include information about why a particular feature is important, and I’ll also share a list of my top 10 VPN services, ranked according to how well the provider performs in that category.
How well a VPN provider protects your privacy is an important consideration, no matter what purpose you intend to use your VPN-protected connection for. When I say “privacy,” I’m not referring to encrypted connections, but instead to how well a provider protects your personal information, which can include billing info and any information related to your online antics.
Always take a look at which country a provider is located in, whether that country requires VPNs to retain user usage logs, and if they accept privacy-protecting forms of payment such as Bitcoin or merchant gift cards.
Below, you’ll see VPN providers listed in order of those that offer the best privacy protections down to the worst.
No matter what online activities you plan on using a VPN for, a fast connection will always make them more enjoyable and aid your productivity.
To arrive at the rankings listed below, I first measured my usual ISP-only connection speed (using the Speedtest website for all tests). Then, I connected to each individual VPN provider and once again measured my connection speed. I calculated the speed percentages by comparing the ISP-only speeds and the VPN connection speeds.
The list below ranks the VPN providers in order of the fastest speeds to the slowest.
Never consider a VPN provider that doesn’t offer a “kill switch” option for their apps. A kill switch automatically disconnects your internet connection if the connection to your VPN provider is lost. This keeps your connection from being laid bare, opening up your connection to prying eyes that want to monitor your online activities and steal your personal information.
“Kill switch” is a simple “yes/no” type of feature. So, the list below is sorted alphabetically. Only VPN Unlimited doesn’t offer kill switch protection.
Other Factors to Consider
While I would always hope that your experience with your VPN of choice is always jammy and ducky, chances are better than good that you’ll need to contact your provider’s customer support agents about a connection or billing issue. When that time comes, you’ll want to be secure in the notion that you’ll receive a prompt and knowledgeable reply.
Ideally, your VPN of choice will offer the holy trinity of support. This includes live support text chat, a trouble ticket submission system and a support library. It should be noted here that none of the VPN providers on this list offer phone support.
The VPN providers in the list below are ranked from best to worst levels of support. The scores were determined according to the types of support they offer, as well as how fast and accurately the support agents replied.
While I’m sure there are folks that are reading this right now to whom money is no object. However, I would also venture to say that most of us need to keep an eye on our budgets, so price is an important consideration when deciding on a VPN provider.
While you want to find a reasonable price for a VPN service, don’t fall into the “cheaper is always better” trap. Make sure a provider isn’t cutting corners anywhere important, such as in customer support, connection speed or global server coverage in order to offer that attractive low price.
Pro tip: many VPN providers periodically offer special subscription deals. Such deals can greatly reduce the amount you’ll pay for VPN service. Those deals do often require customers to commit to an extended period of service. However, if you can spring for extra money up front, you’ll save a nice piece of change in the long run. Visit the providers’ websites to learn about their current deals. Links to provider websites are included in the table below.
Please note that month-to-month subscriptions are available from all of the providers listed below, which is an attractive option for users unable to pay upfront for an extended subscription. Also please note that paying monthly will likely cost more in the long run.
*The prices in the table reflect the monthly cost when paying for an annual subscription. (Annual Subscription Price / 12 Months.)
Global Server Coverage
The fastest connection speeds in the world are absolutely no good at all if you can’t access the content you want to read or watch or listen to. Comprehensive global server coverage is an absolutely important category to pay attention to when making a VPN decision.
A VPN can allow users to appear as if they are located in another country, which usually opens up any content that might normally only be accessible by residents of that country. That greatly increases the available amount of content from services like Netflix, Spotify and many others.
The list below is sorted according to the VPN provider’s global server coverage, from best down to worst.