Find out which VPN service is right for you, and whether you need to pay for the service, with this guide.
A virtual private network, or VPN, is the best tool to protect your personal information when online. The question is: which VPN is best for you? We have compared the best VPNs (both paid and free) in the UK to give you an answer.
A VPN is essentially a connection method used to boost the security and privacy of private and public networks, like the internet. VPNs are becoming more and more popular, as an increasing amount of our everyday life now takes place on the web.
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So how exactly does a VPN work? Privacy is improved by replacing the user’s initial IP address with one from the VPN provider. Those subscribed to a VPN can obtain an IP address from any gateway city the VPN service provides. This means that your identity, and activity, is protected from prying eyes. Without a VPN you are basically cruising the online world exposed. A VPN keeps you covered up by hiding your IP address, hiding your location, and encrypting your data transfers.
A VPN is also useful when you want to unblock, stream and watch US Netflix or US Amazon Prime Video content from the UK, an area which IGN has also covered.
You should now be clear on what exactly a VPN is and what it does — but should you pay for one? The answer to that question really depends on what your priorities are. A paid VPN is probably going to have the edge on most features, which is normal. That’s why you pay the money, after all.
A paid VPN will likely be faster, available in more locations, and offer greater support. This isn’t always the case, though. If anonymity is your top priority, then a free VPN may be the better option, as a free VPN provider won’t usually ask you to sign up to use its service.
Before making your decision, you should think carefully about what you want from a VPN and which aspect of the service you want to prioritise. The good news is that we have done the hard work and lined up the best options for you to consider.
TL;DR – These are the Best VPNs
NordVPN – The Best VPN for Security
Consistently one of the most popular services for staying protected online.
Number of servers: 5,800+ ● Server locations: 60 ● Maximum devices supported: 6 ● Money-back guarantee:30 days ● Free version:No
NordVPN is consistently one of the most popular services for securing your online identity and activity. NordVPN now has over 5000 servers all around the world, making it one of the largest VPN services in the world, too.
Privacy is an important issue when it comes to VPNs, and NordVPN is serious about keeping your information private. NordVPN states that the company does not insert ads into your web traffic, and does not profit from the sale of user data. As well as that, NordVPN only collects aggregated app-crash statistics and voluntary diagnostic data, which means the service doesn’t collect any personally identifiable information. Good news for everyone.
NordVPN’s service is consistent across every platform on which it’s offered, and includes ad blocking as a welcome bonus. You can also connect up to six devices at the same time, which is useful for larger families.
You can now purchase NordVPN for three years for around £3 a month, which is a pretty good deal. Even if NordVPN doesn’t work out for you, they have a 30-day money-back guarantee. You can either be impressed with the service, and continue with your plan, or you can get out for free.
CyberGhost VPN – The Best VPN for New Users
A service that combines usability with unique tools and powerful features, for great results.
Number of servers: 4,200+ ● Server locations: 60+ ● Maximum devices supported: 7 ● Money-back guarantee:45 days ● Free version:No
CyberGhost VPN is a service that combines a lot of the essentials to deliver a complete protection package. It’s available in loads of locations, it’s not restrictive, and it’s discreet.
CyberGhost has over 3800 servers worldwide, doesn’t place restrictions on browsing habits, and utilises 256-AES bit encryption to hide your browsing data from ISPs. So you can rest assured that your sensitive data is secure with CyberGhost VPN.
CyberGhost can usually be picked up for just £2.10 a month, depending on what deal is being offered. If the price is too high for you, then chances are CyberGhost will offer a special discounted price soon enough. Just keep your eyes on the site for any deals. If you do go with CyberGhost, then you do get a 45-day money-back guarantee. It’s not free but it is low-risk.
TunnelBear VPN – A VPN with a Simple Interface
Offering a truly free VPN service, with a lot to like.
Number of servers: N/A ● Server locations: 22 ● Maximum devices supported: 5 ● Money-back guarantee:30 days ● Free version:Yes
TunnelBear is one of a few VPN providers that offers a truly free VPN service. The free version of TunnelBear does restrict users to only 500MB of data per month, though. It’s worth considering whether 500MB is enough data for your online needs, and you may find yourself glancing at the paid options, particularly if you find TunnelBear to be a usable service.
If you choose to pay for the service, the limitations associated with the free plan are removed, such as the download limit, the number of server locations, and the amount of possible connected devices. This can be picked up for under £50 a year.
Windscribe VPN – Free VPN with a Large Data Cap (10GB)
Windscribe offers up an intriguing alternative to expensive VPN services.
Number of servers: 600+ ● Server locations: 60+ ● Maximum devices supported: Unlimited ● Money-back guarantee:30 days ● Free version:Yes
If you opt for a free VPN plan, you generally have to be willing to make some considerable compromises. You will usually need to be open to lower data transfer limits, restrictions on speeds, and limited locations.
Windscribe offers up an interesting alternative, though, as it doesn’t really follow these unwritten rules of a free VPN. Windscribe gives you a decent 10GB per month data allowance if you register your email address. That is a lot more than the 500MB you get with Tunnelbear’s free service. Speeds are average, but also pretty usable, making Windscribe one of the best free VPNs on the market.
Windscribe is not the complete package, as there are always downsides to a free service. Free services are always limited in terms of location, and Windscribe is no different. You only get access to eight countries, for instance, but that’s actually fine if you aren’t a regular traveller.
Windscribe is a strong free service, but if you do require a more complete service, spending £7 gets you a month of unlimited access to locations in over 60 countries around the world. If you pay for a year upfront, the price drops to just over £3 a month.
ExpressVPN – The Most Diverse VPN
Distribution of servers and a stylish interface make the higher price worthwhile.
ExpressVPN has a really strong distribution of servers and a slick interface, plus it allows BitTorrent and other P2P services. So the higher price you have to pay may be worth it.
ExpressVPN has servers in 160 locations, covering 94 countries. This list includes China, Russia, and Turkey, three countries that have notably repressive control over the internet. It’s not all good news, though.
ExpressVPN does limit you to three simultaneous connections from different devices, which is less than some of its competitors. Three connections is probably plenty for one user, however. If you are using a VPN for a household, then another service may be better suited.
ExpressVPN includes multi-device support, a lot of servers, good geographic distribution, BitTorrent support, and a nice interface. It is however a little more expensive than some, at around £10 a month. This price does drop if you commit to 12 months.
There is no free trial available, but there is a 30-day money back guarantee.