If you’re new to VPNs then choosing one might be difficult. There are hundreds of VPN providers on the market, many not at all as robust or as reliable as they claim to be. Trust is often a hard thing to place, and no provider—other than through testimony—can give you any reason to take their word for it.
Thankfully, our experts are on a mission to research and test VPNs to make your job just that little bit easier. Well, a lot easier in fact. Because we don’t just test the more established providers, we test them all. And we keep testing them to make sure our reviews are always accurate. Let’s get into it. Below are our top five recommendations for your perusal.
Which VPN service is the best for the UK?
At the moment, our top recommendation for the UK is ExpressVPN because it’s the best all-round option for privacy, speed, and bypassing Geo-restrictions. Coming in at a close second is IPVanish, a reliable VPN service that is particularly useful for torrenting and P2P. Third in rank is the incredibly speedy VyprVPN. The following are brief reviews of the VPN service. For more information, visit our in-depth expert reviews.
ExpressVPN offers unmatched, all-round attention to privacy, speed, and performance. It has servers in more than 90 countries across 145 cities and is available to anyone anywhere with an internet connection. Linux, Windows, Mac and mobile users can benefit from its services because it’s available on all platforms. It’s available as a browser extension, on VPN routers and possible for smart TVs.
Online security never really been your thing? There are tons of easy-to-follow online tutorials to get you up and running. If you have problems or any questions about the service, take comfort in ExpressVPN’s 24/7 live chat. We’ve all had an immediate technical problem past office hours at some point. That’s no issue here. You get impressive overall performance along with P2P support, as well as an automatic kill switch that keeps your IP safe in case the VPN network drops.
ExpressVPN is pricey, however, and only supports three simultaneous connections. Nonetheless, it’s the perfect service if you’re looking for a highly-secure, super-fast VPN provider.
Even though the service doesn’t offer a free trial period, it makes up for it with a no-questions-asked 30-day money-back guarantee if you’re unsatisfied with the service.
Packages available are as follows:
- 12-month plan: $8.32/mo billed $99.95 every 12 months
- 1-month plan: $12.95/mo billed $12.95 every month
- 6-month plan: $9.99/mo billed $59.95 every 6 months
As mentioned earlier, IPVanish is a great VPN and probably the best for torrenting.
Unlike many VPN providers who are in the business of cheaply made products or free plans, IPVanish sets itself apart through quality service. Like pretty much all VPNs, it claims to be the ‘the world’s fastest’, but there might be some truth here. It boasts a 60-country server network with 1000+ servers, 40000+ shared IPs, five simultaneous connections, unlimited P2P traffic, and a no-logs policy.
While some people might have an issue with the higher-than-average price tag, it’s clear that IPVanish’s quality platform, choice of server locations and loyalty to privacy and performance are worthy of biting the bullet.
To be fair to its competitors, some of our tests found that it was more prone to the occasional network failure than its rivals. But it’s worth pointing out that these failures on a whole, with the right provider, are unlikely. If you find yourself unsatisfied, get reimbursed with the 7-day money-back guarantee.
The subscription options offered by IPVanish are as follows:
- 1-year plan: $6.49/mo billed $77.99 every 12 months
- 1-month plan: $10/mo billed $10 every month
- 3-month plan: $8.99/mo billed $26.99 every 3 months
Superb for security and performance.
The privacy laws in Switzerland, where VyprVPN is based, are ideal to say the least. But what makes Vypr favorable is its independent stance on the market. It operates and manages its own hardware and network so there’s no double-dealing with third parties. One of the most defining qualities of this service is its performance – VyprDNS houses its servers in more than 73 countries, and users are protected by homegrown Chameleon technology, an automatic kill switch and flexible connection options for easy use.
While it’s independent, though, it does maintain some logs on things like connection times. And it’s also important to mention that this VPN doesn’t offer a money-back guarantee, but rather a three-day free-trial period.
In terms of subscription plans, it has a monthly and an annual option for both its basic and premium plans – billed as follows:
- Monthly plan: $12.95/mo billed $12.95 every month
- Annual plan: Billed $80 every 12 months
- Monthly plan: $9.95/mo billed $9.95 every month
- Billed $60.00 every 12 months
Some users may take issue with it being based in Central America, but NordVPN offers top-tier security. The products if offers hits the mark, and in many cases is superior to those based outside the US. Choose NordVPN and expect a 2048-bit encryption, 3500+ servers in 60+ countries to connect to, powerful DNS leak protection, up to six simultaneous connections, an optional dedicated IP address, an automatic kill switch, a variety of payment options—including Bitcoin— and encrypted proxy extensions for Firefox and Chrome browsers. Now that’s a mouthful of perks.
It performed well in our tests, with great short-distance speeds and more-than-acceptable long-distance results. Its handy ‘SmartPlay’ feature is designed to circumvent region-based restrictions and unblock a variety of streaming services, so it’s a good choice for the everyday user too.
NordVPN’s subscriptions are:
- 1-month plan: $11.95/mo billed $11.95 monthly
- 2-year plan: $3.29/mo billed $79.00 every 2 years
- 1-year plan: $5.75/mo billed $69.00 every 12 months
The popularity of this Canadian-based VPN service comes from many of its features, not least of which is its highly intuitive user interface. The software is easy on the eyes and easy to crack. Even your nan could use it. There are several low-level options for taking charge of connection settings and making it more suitable to your usage. Tech-savvy users might find it a little off-putting, however, and may perhaps prefer something with a little less simplicity.
Our tests found that the performance over short distances is great, with solid connection speeds in Canada and the States. However, long-distance connections to countries in other continents like Malaysia are considerably slower.
Price plans are:
- Monthly plan: $9.99/mo
- 12-month plan: $5/mo billed $59.99 every 12 months
What to look for in the right VPN service for the UK
- Server Network: Make sure the VPN provider has well-maintained servers in the region or country you’re interested in. Note that, although having multiple servers in a given country helps manage the network load, it doesn’t necessarily guarantee superior performance. In other words, a few hundred more servers in a certain location doesn’t necessarily translate to a better-quality network.
- Simultaneous Connections: The current industry standard is three-to-five connections, which allows you and your family and friends to have a VPN connection on desktop, tablet, and phone at the least. Well, theoretically. It’s worth knowing that some providers limit these connections to the account holder and they implement fair usage to prevent anyone from monopolizing resources. That means you might not get away with letting the entire family stream and download content separately.
- VPN Protocols: Some leading providers give a list of all the connection protocols they rely on. For secure and fast connections, aim for OpenVPN and IKEv2. Older protocols such as PPTP and SSTP may be available and useful for certain purposes. OpenVPN may also include UDP and TCP. Although it’s not necessary for you to be familiar with the low-level details of these protocols, having extra options is often useful depending on your individual need for speed or reliability.
- Logging Policies: Every provider will claim to not log any of your online activity, but some may keep minimal data. Your provider may keep a record of your login dates and data usage, and then delete everything after you close the session. Some record the servers you used and incoming IP addresses, and then store the data for months. Be sure to check the terms of service before subscribing.
- VPN Clients: The software that manages your VPN connections impacts the value4 as it determines usability. Every provider has a client with a connect/disconnect button and a list of servers. But that’s not all you need. To help you choose the best server, some clients display the ping time and server loads, and others let you favorite certain servers. If you’re a bit more tech-savvy, you may want a client that lets you tweak low-level details.
- Price: Be wary of alarmingly cheap products, unless maybe it’s a known-and-trusted provider with a flash sale or something similar. Though you might find that in many cases, you’re unknowingly singing up for a renewal of the service at full price once your subscription is up. Some don’t include the tax in the initial price and others might restrict your usage based on their ruling. It really pays to take a minute and read the fine print. And use PayPal. It makes it easy to cancel your subscription.