The digital laws in the United Kingdom are getting more intrusive day by day. Hence, maintaining your online privacy is crucial. With the Snoopers’ Charter – an Investigatory Powers Act all alive and kicking since 2016, residents in the UK wish to go completely anonymous online.
The UK’s state of internet freedom is going from bad to worse. In a recent announcement, the UK added an ‘anti-censorship clause’ on their Online Safety Bill, that forbids Britishers from making foul statements on any political opinions and viewpoints.
With no internet security and speech freedom, the citizens have no choice but to use a Virtual Private Network (VPN). In this article, we will highlight the best free VPN services for UK citizens and expatriates alike.
Although free VPN for UK IP addresses do seldom get the job done, they are nowhere near being as efficient as the only VPN premium service provider like ExpressVPN.
ExpressVPN offers 4 speedy servers in the UK. And while it doesn’t offer a free service, you can check out its risk-free 30-day money-back guarantee. ExpressVPN is not only perfect for streaming, but it is also perfect for privacy and securing web hosting sites.
- 3,000+ Servers in 94 Countries
- Hard disk free infrastructure (RAM only)
- 256-bit Military-Grade Encryption
- Excellent unblocking capability for Netflix, Hulu & more
- 5 Multi Logins
- Zero-knowledge DNS
7 Best Free VPNs for UK (2021 In-Depth Analysis)
Using free VPN services can be a bit risky. Sometimes a VPN that doesn’t charge you for the service makes you the product by selling your personal information.
But, something is always better than nothing, and free VPN services will let you improve your online privacy. We tested 40+ best free VPN services to list the most reliable ones out there with and without a data limit. Therefore, the 7 best free VPNs for UK are as follows:
1. Windscribe – 10 GB Data Allowance with 10 Server Locations
Windscribe is an excellent free UK VPN. Its free plan includes 10 servers, including one in the United Kingdom. Its server in UK can be used to unblock geo-restricted British content abroad, though it is not effective for bypassing restrictions on streaming sites such as Channel4, Britbox, and more, but can grant you access to BBC iPlayer and Sky GO easily.
The service imposes a 10 GB per month bandwidth cap, which can run out pretty quickly. However, it’s still much more than many free VPNs that offer a bandwidth as low as 500 MB per month. An added advantage that comes with this service is that you can receive an additional 5 GB bandwidth if you tweet about this service.
Even with a good data cap, this VPN offers inconsistent speeds. We tested this VPN for its speeds and it gave off an average speed of 29 Mbps on our 100 Mbps connection, which is pretty low. Streaming with this VPN led to multiple lags and buffering, which became pretty annoying at one point.
Windscribe’s free VPN boasts advanced security features such as an ad-blocker and Firewall. Its AES-256 encryption and strong no-log policy make Winscribe great for privacy-conscious users in the UK.
Windscribe supports torrent websites, which is a rare ability among free UK VPNs. However, you might experience some major lags and buffers during its service while streaming and buffering altogether.
Furthermore, this VPN offers unlimited simultaneous connections to users on a single account, which can let you protect all the devices you own including Android, iOS, Mac, Windows, Fire Stick, Smart TVs, etc. with Windscribe. So, if you’re looking for free VPNs for iPhone or any other device, then Windscribe’s free version is the one.
In case you need any technical support, you can simply use this VPN’s chatbot. Learn more about this service in our Windscribe review.
- 10 server locations including 1 server in the UK.
- Unlimited simultaneous connections.
- Unblocks BBC iPlayer, YouTube, and Sky Go.
- P2P/Torrenting support.
- Headquarter located in Canada (member of the Five Eyes).
- Inconsistent speeds offered.
2. ProtonVPN – Unlimited Bandwidth with 3 Servers Only
ProtonVPN is the best and completely free VPN for the UK. This free service offers a few servers in 3 countries only. The server locations include Japan, Netherlands, and the United States. Unfortunately, ProtonVPN doesn’t offer any servers in the UK on its free tier.
The highlight of this VPN is that it imposes no bandwidth limit, so you can enjoy its service without running out of data. On the negative side, the service does not unblock most geo-restricted services. We tried to unblock US Netflix, but it was a failed effort. However, it does let you unblock YouTube easily.
We tested this VPN for its speeds on our 100 Mbps internet connection, and it gave off an average speed of 35 Mbps, causing multiple delays while browsing and streaming YouTube videos.
ProtonVPN boasts military-grade AES-256 encryption and a decent logging policy, making it pretty impressive for free users in the UK seeking online privacy. ProtonVPN’s headquarter is based in Geneva, Switzerland. Therefore, it is not legally obliged to store the user logs or share them with any legal authorities.
Combining unlimited data with specific P2P servers makes it one of the best free VPNs for torrenting. However, with its slow speeds, torrenting wouldn’t be too easy.
Another drawback of this VPN is that while it offers compatibility with all popular devices like Android, iOS, Windows, Mac, etc, it offers only a single device connection. To learn more about this VPN, check out our ProtonVPN review.
- Headquartered in Geneva (safe jurisdiction).
- Unlimited data allowance
- Multiple security features including a kill switch and ad-blocker.
- A few servers in 3 locations are offered only.
- Doesn’t unblock popular streaming services.
3. TunnelBear – 500 MB Data Every Month with 23 Servers
TunnelBear is a popular free UK VPN. It is a pretty capable VPN with cross-platform compatibility and a server network encompassing 23 distinct server locations including 1 server in the UK.
The greatest drawback of this VPN is that it only offers 500 MB of free data per month. However, you might get 1 GB of data more if you tweet about TunnelBear. But, if you have moderate to high VPN usage requirements, TunnelBear won’t be suited for you. Instead, you can go for a provider with unlimited bandwidth like ProtonVPN.
Even with this data cap, we tried testing this VPN’s unblocking capabilities. While it didn’t unblock any UK-based streaming service, it did grant access to HBO GO and YouTube with an average speed of 49 Mbps on a 100 Mbps connection, which is way better than the VPNs listed above.
This VPN supports a no-data policy and is probably one of the only few free VPN providers that have been audited by a third party. It further offers an internet kill switch, AES 256-bit encryption, and more to protect your internet traffic.
It supports torrenting and with speeds better than the VPNs mentioned above, file-sharing is relatively easier with TunnelBear.
This VPN connection is compatible with many devices and operating systems. For example, if you’re looking for a free VPN for Ubuntu, Linux, iOS, Android, Mac, or Amazon Fire TV Stick, you need to try Tunnelbear. It further offers 5 multi-logins so you can connect these many devices on your connection all at once. Go through our TunnelBear review for more details.
- Multiple servers in 23 locations, including the UK.
- P2P/File-Sharing supported.
- Unblocks HBO GO and YouTube.
- Offers 1 GB more upon tweeting about the service.
- Offers 500 MB/mo data only.
- Headquartered in Canada (member of the Five Eyes)
4. Hotspot Shield – 500 MB Data Per Day with 1 US Server Only
Hotspot Shield is another great choice for the UK. This free VPN offers only one server location on its free plan in the US.
Unfortunately, its free version only offers a 500 MB data limit per day, so you can only stream for about 30 minutes before running out of data. And then you will have to wait the next day to get 500 MB more. That’s not it. This VPN barely unblocks any streaming service other than YouTube, which makes it useless if your core purpose is streaming.
However, this VPN offers an average speed of 55 Mbps on a 100 Mbps connection, making general browsing relatively easy. Also, we noted that these speeds made this provider the fastest free VPN on our list.
Hotspot Shield’s privacy features aren’t too bad either. It offers a kill switch, AES 256-bit encryption, and more. It further offers perfect forward secrecy, which keeps your data private each time you log in.
A downside of this VPN is that its free tier is supported by ads, so during streaming, you will experience frequent pop-ups and ads that become annoying.
While it offers five simultaneous connections, they won’t be of much use as the bandwidth is too low. For more information about this service, check out our Hotspot Shield review.
- Offers great security features including a kill switch, AES 256-bit encryption, perfect forward secrecy, and more.
- 5 simultaneous connections.
- Only one server location (the US).
- 1 device connection.
- Supported by ads.
- 500 MB data per day only.
5. UrbanVPN – Unlimited Data with 80+ Server Locations
UrbanVPN is one absolutely free VPN for the UK. It offers 80+ free servers in multiple locations, including the UK. However, its top locations include the United States, France, Canada, Belgium, and Argentina.
This VPN offers unlimited bandwidth to users. But unlike ProtonVPN that does the same, this VPN actually unblocks American Netflix and Amazon Prime for users. We tested its UK server, but it was only good for streaming YouTube.
However, the VPN, on my 100 Mbps connection, gave off an average speed of 45 Mbps. We were impressed that the VPN could let us access streaming sites like Netflix with such average speeds too.
Owned by “Urban Cybersecurity” and being operated from the US, this provider wouldn’t be your first choice when it comes to anonymity and user data protection.
The downside is that it has a shady logging policy and uses a P2P-style network architecture which further questions user privacy and security.
This VPN offers unlimited simultaneous connections, which is quite good if you want to connect this VPN to all your devices. If you are willing to overlook the doubtful privacy in favour of its effectiveness for streaming services, UrbanVPN is a free option to get a UK IP address. Find out more about this VPN in our UrbanVPN review.
Again, to reiterate, paid services are always the best option.
- Unlimited free data
- Servers in 80+ countries including the UK.
- Defeats ISP throttling.
- Unlimited simultaneous connections.
- Let’s free users access Netflix and Amazon Prime.
- Shady logging policy.
6. Hide.Me – 10 GB Monthly Data Cap with 5 Server Locations
Hide.Me is also one of the top free VPNs to use in the UK. This VPN offers 5 server locations on its free version in the Netherlands, Singapore, US East, US West, and Canada. However, it has no servers in the UK. UK users will have to subscribe to its paid version to get access to UK servers.
This VPN boasts a 10 GB data limit per month which can be used to enjoy a few movies and TV shows for 3-4 days. I tested all its servers and can easily say that the VPN might have buffered a bit, but it did unblock HBO GO, along with other leading digital publisher like Netflix, and Amazon Prime for me.
While testing this VPN for speeds, it gave off an average speed of 45 Mbps on our 100 Mbps base internet connections, and let us enjoy Netflix and other services with just a few lags.
As for security, the VPN comes with all the basic security features that a VPN offers. These include a kill switch to disconnect you from the internet in case the connection drops, AES 256-bit encryption, and DNS leak protection.
Furthermore, it doesn’t collect your logs at all. If you want an all-rounder VPN with a secure connection and a good amount of data, the Hide.Me should be a significant consideration. For more information about this VPN, just go through our Hide.Me review.
- 10 GB per month bandwidth.
- Unblocks Netflix, HBO GO, and Amazon Prime.
- Offers security features like no-logs, kill switch, and more.
- Offers only 5 free servers.
- Comes with a single device connection.
7. Speedify – 2 GB Data Cap Each Month with Servers in 53 Countries
In the last place, we have Speedify, which is yet another decent free VPN for the UK. This VPN offers servers in 35 countries that allow you to stay secure while residing in the UK.
This VPN’s free version offers a 2 GB data limit to users which is typical of free services. we tested this VPN to check out its unblocking capabilities, and it could only unblock HBO GO and YouTube for us.
One great this about this VPN is that it offers torrent-friendly servers to users. With a speed of 40 Mbps on a 100 Mbps connection, there might be a few lags when users try streaming or torrenting with this service.
Speedify is known to keep users secure. This VPN offers a built-in kill switch, but only for its iOS users. However, its AES 256-bit encryption and DNS leak protection are compatible with all supported operating systems.
Even though the service is headquartered in the US – a member of the Five Eyes, the VPN has a strict zero-logs policy. To learn more about this VPN service, just check out our Speedify review.
- 2 GB per month bandwidth.
- Unblocks HBO GO and YouTube.
- Offers security features like a kill switch, zero-logs, and more.
- Offers torrent-friendly servers.
- Offers a single device connection.
- Headquartered in the US (member of the 5 Eyes).
Problems with free VPNs in the UK
Free UK VPNs are no doubt attractive as they cost nothing – but it also means that these “free UK VPN providers” make profits in some other ways. And that is mostly through logging user data and selling it to third parties.
Free VPNs limit speed and bandwidth which makes them impossible to use. As Daniel Markuson, Digital Privacy Expert at NordVPN says, “there is no such thing as a free lunch. If a user does not pay for a service, there must be an alternative price to be paid. And very often, it’s privacy.”
Free Virtual Private Networks also:
- Collect user logs and sell data to third party advertisers
- offers limited servers
- offers limited bandwidth and data
Some benefits of Premium VPNs:
Free VPNs can never be better than paid for services. Let’s check out why:
- Unlimited data and widespread network with servers in almost all of the major countries.
- High-speed network connections with server load-balancing.
- 100% secure with a strict no-logging policy for complete internet privacy.
- Compatible with all major operating systems and devices.
- 30-day money-back guarantee and 24/7 live chat support.
So, before going for free versions of VPNs, it’s worth knowing about paid for services that won’t break your wallet and give you much better speed, security, and performance. We highly recommend ExpressVPN as the best premium VPN for the UK. This VPN client offers 3000+ servers, unblocks multiple geo-restricted streaming sites, works great with torrenting, and comes with multiple security features including a kill switch, split tunnelling, MediaStreamer, and more.
ExpressVPN comes at a fantastic price of $6.67/mo with a 49% discount. It also comes with a risk-free 30-day money-back guarantee so users can easily test its service.
Testing Methodology – How we Tested the Free VPNs for UK
Before testing the free VPNs for UK, we needed to look over multiple factors on which we wanted to test the VPNs. After putting in a few days, we set up criteria and tested 40+ free VPNs on it. The criteria included the 5 following factors:
1. Servers – We wanted the free VPNs to have multiple servers across the world, and those too that are effective in their service. While free VPNs only offer limited servers, we listed all the VPNs that offer effective servers to users in the UK.
2. Speeds – Free VPNs are difficult to list when it comes to speeds. Most free VPNs offer below-average speeds and become the cause of lags and delays on the connection. However, all the VPNs mentioned in this guide offer average speeds to users.
3. Security – Since security is a primary purpose for all VPN users in the UK, we tried to find the VPNs that offer efficient security features. These include a no-logs policy, kill switch, AES 256-bit encryption, and more. All the VPNs in our guide offer the following features and are actually good at it.
4. Unblocking capabilities – Many free VPNs are unable to unblock geo-restricted websites and streaming services. Therefore, we needed to test every free VPN service around to list down the VPNs that actually unblock geo-restricted services.
5. Device connections – Another significant factor that we tested the VPNs on is device connections. We wanted to list down VPNs that offer multi-logins to users. However, we could only find a few free services that do so.
3 Reasons Why you Need a Free VPN Service for the UK
While the reasons to get a free VPN for UK are numerous, let’s look at 3 significant reasons why we need a free service for the UK:
1. State surveillance
In 2016, the British parliament passed the Investigatory Powers Act, which basically gives a legal cover to pervasive mass surveillance. This bill gives a free hand to institutions such as the GCHQ to snoop on British residents. VPNs can help enhance your privacy and keep you secure from spying agencies and protect you online to some extent,
2. Safe torrenting
The UK government has strict copyright laws, and the perceived violators get shut down constantly. The penalty for digital piracy through torrents was increased to a maximum of 10 years in 2017. As such, users must stay safe while downloading legal torrent files, and VPNs can be beneficial in this regard.
3. Staying safe over public Wi-Fi
Public Wi-Fi hotspots are notoriously unsafe and are full of security holes that hackers can exploit. VPNs add strong encryption to your data over public Wi-Fi, ensuring your private information and activities remain secure from any unauthorized third parties.
Best Free Services for Other Regions
In case you’re visiting another country from the UK, here are a few free VPN guides for other countries:
- Best free VPN for China
- Best free VPN for the Philippines
- Best free VPN for Canada
- Best free VPN for Australia
You can find a reliable paid for service as well as free VPNs offering free account in our exclusive guides.
FAQs – Best Free VPN for UK
Here are a few frequently asked questions of free VPNs for UK:
How to get a UK VPN for free?
Is it illegal to use a free VPN in the UK?
In the United Kingdom, there is no active ban on VPN. In fact, this is the case in most countries around the world. Nonetheless, using a VPN for illegal purposes can get you in trouble in the UK and elsewhere. As they say, with a great VPN comes great responsibility. Hence, use the best free VPN like Hotspot Shield for the UK for yourself wisely and with utmost care.
Can I stream Netflix with a Free UK VPN?
Yes, you can stream Netflix with a free UK VPN. However, considering the bandwidth limit, very few servers, and constant slow speed issues that you will encounter with a free VPN, it would be best to opt for a premium VPN provider for streaming purposes.
Are free UK VPNs dangerous?
Using a free VPN is a risky business in the UK. While the government has strict control over the internet, you might not want your VPN to leak your data to them while you’re accessing geo-blocked content. For instance, you might not want to use a less renowned VPN like Kaspersky secure connection.
Therefore, it’s always better to subscribe to a paid version of a reliable VPN service for the UK. Our top recommendation is ExpressVPN, which offers 3000+ servers worldwide and 4 in the UK. It is the most recommended VPN by most international media groups.
Are free VPNs safe in the UK?
It depends on the VPN you choose for yourself. Most free VPNs are known to log your data and sell it to third-party advertisers. They also often leak your data to your internet service provider and your government. Therefore, it’s always better to avoid free services in the UK and opt for a trusted VPN service like ExpressVPN.
Which is the best free VPN for torrenting in the UK?
Windscribe is the only free VPN for torrenting we recommend in the UK, as it can unblock most torrent websites and allow file-sharing on a secure connection. However, its speeds are a bit inconsistent and might offer you poor speeds during peak hours.
Final Thoughts – Free VPN UK
With strict online surveillance and a lack of speech freedom in the UK, all users need to protect themselves using a VPN. However, a free British VPN is something we do not personally recommend to anyone since many of these have been involved in stealing our data or fill up devices with malware, and many of them don’t even offer a UK server with their free version.
Despite this, some reliable free UK VPN services can save you from mass surveillance, the best among these being Windscribe, but it comes with limited bandwidth and only 10 servers across the world. Hotspot Shield is also a good option, but still, you will have to deal with limitations.
However, if you’re looking for the perfect balance between affordability, unblocking power, strong privacy, and unlimited data in the UK, ExpressVPN is the best available choice you can currently have with a 30-day money-back guarantee period.
Is a free VPN worth it? What other free VPNs you’d like us to add to this guide. Let us know in the comments below.