It has been more than two years since the British Parliament passed the Investigatory Powers Act (IPA). The document shocked many British citizens since it meant the end of their privacy. In fact, some reviewers called it the “the most intrusive system found within any democracy throughout history because of the rights it gave to the state agencies and police.”
The IPA, or the “Snoopers’ Charter” oblige Internet companies to log and keep data of their customers for 12 months. It also permits law enforcement and spying agencies to hack users’ devices. It means that they can get access to any personal data of people. First, they did not even need strong reasons for an intrusion. However, the situation is changing gradually.
Therefore, last year the UK high court concluded that the IPA violates the EU legislation. As a result, on October 31, the Data Retention and Acquisition Regulations 2018 came into force. Now, the state may access a person’s private info only if they suspect that the person has committed a serious crime and only after they get permission from the Investigatory Powers Commissioner.
Of course, there is more work to do to press the state to soften its surveillance policy. There are many debates around the definition of “serious crime.” But it is already a huge step forward.
However, if you prefer to act rather than wait, using a reliable UK VPN to guard your privacy might be the right decision. That will help you to protect your banking and insurance info, health records and more. Plus, a VPN can be your best tool to torrent safely, access Netflix as well as utilize the UK streaming platforms (BBC, iPlayer) when staying outside the country.
Top-3 High-Ranked VPNs for UK
No matter what your reasons to use VPN are be sure you pick the right one. We made a list of the best providers which have everything to hide British residents from snoopers.
What is the best VPN in the UK?
Since the state got tough on its citizens, a reliable VPN is the only way for the UK folks to enjoy freedom like the rest of the democratic world. But which provider can you trust?
These are the things to consider when choosing a VPN:
The provider should be headquartered in a different country. Since each state has specific regulations, it is better to choose the one without strict policies regarding torrenting and streaming. And this is an ideal variant to avoid the restrictions put by the Snooper’s Charter.
It should have many servers in the UK. Whenever you travel outside Britain, you will have access to your favorite British content.
The company should have many servers in different countries. This is your way to break online boundaries and get access to geo-restricted content.
The service should be fast and unlimited. In fact, this is the most common requirement one should make for a VPN. Otherwise, the network is useless. Connects to Netflix
Connects to Netflix
ExpressVPN allows P2P sharing so you won’t have any problems with torrenting. Moreover, it will allow you to access the best streaming giants like Netflix or BBC iPlayer.
Users are urged to try the service using apps and manual settings for all known computer platforms (Windows, Mac, Linux, and Chromebook) and mobile devices working on Android and iOS.
Safety & Encryption
ExpressVPN uses a bank-grade 256-bit AES encryption which guarantees top safety. By default, the service is supported by the OpenVPN protocol (it is the best), but you may choose the other ones. For instance, SSTP, L2Tp/IPsec, and PPTP. The company won’t track you or store personal data. It seems fantastic if you are a British resident.
You will appreciate their features such as kill switch, DNS leak protection, a standalone DNS, browser extensions and more.
Ease of Use
ExpressVPN is also very straightforward which makes it a perfect pick for novice users. You won’t have any problems downloading or installing the VPN client to any of your devices. But still, you have issues feel free to contact their customer support through the 24/7 live chat, email or contact form. Or try to find an answer in the huge knowledge base on the website.
ExpressVPN is definitely one of the best services yet one of the most expensive. This is what the provider has to offer:
1 Month – $12.95/month
6 Months – $9.99/month
15 Months – $8.32/month(Save 35%)
Together with traditional payments, the company accepts bitcoins. Feel free to request your money back within a 30-day interim if you are not satisfied with the service.
NordVPN is a perfect pick for the British residents because it can provide top protection of their privacy. The company is based in Panama, the state which has no strict laws regulating VPNs or any types of online activities.
NordVPN has a robust network of 5200+ servers in 62 countries. Moreover, it is possible to use six connections simultaneously so you can use the network with all of your devices running on any OS.
Safety & Encryption
NordVPN takes the issues of safety and security seriously. Its servers use AES 256-bit encryption (with double data protection) and OpenVPN, PPTP, L2TP/IPsec, IKEv2 protocols. The default one varies depending on the version of the app you utilize.
The provider does not keep logs so you may be sure that all of your online activities remain private.
Finally, NordVPN offers plenty of useful features, including kill switch, CyberSec (aka antivirus), a dedicated IP address, double VPN and other.
Ease of Use
It is surprising how NordVPN manages to put so many great features into one package. But the software is easy to download, install, and use. The company also provides good customer support. Feel free to contact them in chat or using the ticket system. The website has much of valuable information too.
With all said, the service could be costly. But this is not the case with NordVPN. In fact, the provider has attractive prices:
1-month plan – $11.95
1-year plan – $6.99/month (Save 41%)
2-year plan – $3.99/month (Save 66%)
3-year plan – $2.99/month (Save 75%)
You can pay using the majority of traditional methods and in cryptocurrencies as well. Also, you get a 30-day money back guarantee.
The company’s main office is in Romania – a country which does not put any restrictions on VPNs. The network of 3000+ servers is ready to protect your privacy. The servers are situated in more than 60 states in different parts of the world.
Safety & Encryption
CyberGhost seals all the traffic with 256-AES encryption and uses reliable OpenVPN, L2TP-IPsec, PPTP. The provider promises not to keep logs, so you can be sure that your online activities stay online.
Some extra features make the VPN more attractive in terms of privacy protection. These are an automatic kill switch, Ghost streaming, split tunneling, website exemption. You may also find a set of desktop features aimed at protecting you from viruses and malware.
Ease of Use
When using CyberGhost, you won’t face any problems. With just one tap or click you will get instant VPN protection which will satisfy all your needs in terms of privacy.
The customer service is also impressive. CyberGhost is ready to help via live chat or email. You can communicate with real people (not chatbots) 24/7. In fact, the team speaks 4 languages, so the provider is truly global. If you prefer to solve problems yourself, use their detailed guidelines provided on the website.
CyberGhost is a bit more expensive than some other providers. But if you trust them completely consider purchasing a plan for several years to save some cash. The offers are:
1 Month – $12.99
1 Year – $5.25/month
3 Years – $2.50/month (Save 81%)
You can pay with a banking card, in bitcoins, through Webmoney or PayPal. The one-month package goes with a 14-day money back guarantee, while the other offers allow 45 days to see whether you want a refund.
Don’t hesitate to check IPVanish if you plan to use VPN for streaming and torrenting on regular computers (Macs, Windows) and mobile devices. IPVanish owns a network of 1,100+ servers in 60+ countries in all corners of the world. Majority of reviewers admit that all the servers provide high speeds no matter what the time is.
Safety & Encryption
The provider uses the standard AES-256 encryption with OpenVPN, L2TP/IPsec, and IKEv2 protocols. They also guarantee that they won’t record any of your data so no need to worry that anybody will find out what you are doing online. In fact, IPVanish says it serves global citizens looking to bypass government censorship. Perfect for British residents!
Ease of Use
Simplicity is another thing which makes IPVanish good. Once you’ve made an account, you will be able to set up the app in seconds. Note that you will need to reboot your computer when you are finished with the installation.
If you need help, it will take time since there is no live chat or possibility to call. The customer support is limited to email form on the website.
The provider has moderate pricing policy. You may choose from the following offers:
1 Month – $10.00/month
3 Months – $8.99/month (Save 17%)
1 Year – $6.49/month (Save 46%)
The payment options are limited to banking cards and PayPal. Note that the company is ready to return you the money within one week, so there are no risks.
The provider operates 2000+servers in 140+ countries. In fact, geographic variation is quite impressive. Some servers are virtual but they give the same benefits as physical ones, including high speeds.
PureVPN works well with all known platforms on both computers and mobile devices. P2P, torrenting and even Netflix are not a problem for the provider. However, you need to know which servers are optimized for these services.
Safety & Encryption
Every server supports all security protocols, including OpenVPN (by default), L2TP/IPSec, PPTP, SSTP, and IKEv2. The network supports all encryption levels from No Encryption to SSL or AES 256-bit encryption.
Besides, PureVPN has some amazing features to guarantee top security to their customers. These are killswitch, split tunneling, content and URL filters, AppBlocker, and more.
Probably, the only thing which might make you doubt is their logging policy. Although the company says it doesn’t keep any logs, it did manage to help FBI to catch a cyberstalker giving a hard time to a young woman.
Ease of Use
Like the majority of VPNs, PureVPN is quite simple. You won’t encounter any problems installing and setting up.
The customer support is also quick. You can contact them through a live chat. However, the answer is often not enough to solve your issue. Plus, they might ask to refer to their support section on the website which is pretty organized and comprehensive though.
If you wish to give PureVPN a try, here are the offers for you to choose from:
1 Month – $10,95
3 Months – $8/month (save 27%)
1 Year – $3,33/month (save 73%)
The variety of payment is impressive and includes common methods (banking card, PayPal, payment wallets), crypto coins, gift cards, and blue snap. Note that you get one-month money back guarantee with every single offer.
Strict UK Laws: How VPN can help?
The IPA has only formalized the government’s right to keep an eye on its citizens on the Internet. In fact, the UK’s GCHQ intelligence agency was watching everybody online long before that.
Now, all providers of communications services in the UK should keep much of the users’ data. It means that VPNs must log the following info:
- IP addresses
- Personal data
- Websites users visit
Many government agencies can access all of this information. Despite the changes made in autumn of 2018, the state still has broader access to private info than we’d desire.
Of course, you might think there is nothing to worry about. Most likely, you won’t do anything illegal. But do you like the idea that someone has access to your banking info or medical records? So, using a powerful VPN is the only way to protect your data and be with the rest of the democratic world in terms of privacy.
Torrenting and Copyright Violation
The UK is one of the strictest countries when it goes about copyright. In fact, you can even end up in prison for watching or sharing copyrighted material. The term can be rather impressive too – 10 years.
Even though it is hardly possible that ordinary people will be punished so severely, many individuals are concerned about potential hazards coming from copyright trolls. In fact, we’ve already seen the cases when they sent warnings to people that had nothing to do with copyrighted content or threatened court action if a person wouldn’t pay them.
So, who will guarantee they won’t start threatening with a ten years imprisonment and demand even larger sums of money for simple torrenting? That is another reason to opt for a VPN.
Is it illegal to use a VPN in the UK?
The short answer is NO. There is no single law prohibiting such service in the UK. However, you should be very careful with the provider. If you choose the British one, remember that it is subject to the national legislation and thus, must give out your private information to surveillance agencies upon request.
Even though the UK is a democratic country, it appears to be tough on its citizens. Most likely, the government has reasons to be so strict, but this does not make the situation better. No one likes to have the Big Brother watching them. So, a VPN seems to be the only way to protect your privacy and not allow anybody to spy on you.
Although choosing a right provider may take time and effort, it is worth it. The proper VPN for UK will make your online life more full by breaking restrictions and boundaries without any legal consequences.