Best Cheap VPN (UK) in 2023
After reviewing thirty VPN services, we compared their prices. Here are the best-value VPN deals for UK citizens.
As Business Insider wrote about not too long ago, with someone's IP address a cybercriminal can interact with you.
A VPN (virtual private network) bridges you and your internet service provider (ISP).
This secure ‘tunnel’ shields your browsing activities from prying eyes, including your ISP.
It beats ‘geoblocks’ too: in terms of the best VPN for Netflix, those on this list are mostly suitable choices as, with them, only you will know where you’re located.
If not, a skilled hacker can interfere with your browsing activities, and set blocks. In rare instances, users may be targeted with DDoS attacks, which can lead to identity theft, sabotage and misinformation.
Anyway basically VPNs are important for security and privacy. However trying to pick a solid VPN which isn't expensive is another story.
That's why we've put in some solid research to help you find the best cheap VPNs in 2023...
Table of Contents:
Cheapest VPNs UK in 2023
- NordVPN = fastest cheap VPN / best VPN for streaming Netflix at £3.17
- Surfshark = cheapest at £2.49
- Private Internet Access = best for mobile VPN at £2.44
- Cyberghost = best VPN for torrenting UK at £2.50
- ExpressVPN = best VPN for beating censorship at £6.06
- ✅ TorGuard = heavy-duty VPN at £7.77
- ✅ VyprVPN = good for restricted regions at £4.50
- ✅ Hotspot Shield = free trial offer!
- ✅ IPVanish = must-see alternative at £9.30
- ✅ Bitdefender = cheap surprising VPN at £2.50
Note: prices are for the cheapest monthly plans, some of which are 3 year contracts. Some are converted to GBP from USD and might be off by a few pennies.
1. NordVPN: Fastest Cheap VPN in the UK
While reviewing NordVPN we realized it would have been number one if this wasn't a guide tackling the cheapest VPN around.
You’ll get all of the best security protocols, from OpenVPN to Open Tor. On top of that is Nord’s very own CyberSec.
This firewall system handles adware and malicious websites, which can be a God-send: no need to buy a firewall on top of your VPN, unless you’re doing something particularly risky online. It’ll also stop you from being tracked with cookies and such.
Automated Leak Tests
We’ve said it before: go for one of the hundreds of free VPNs via Android stores and you’ll be putting yourself possibly in greater risk.
Nevertheless, once getting any provider, always test your VPN to make sure it’s not ‘leaking’ (there, we also explain why not leaking is important).
NordVPN automates many of these (and employs a ‘kill switch’ in the event of a leak):
- IPv6 and IPv4
- DNS requests
Super handy, but still run tests, to make sure.
No quibbling: try this for free, with a refund guarantee. If you’re not sold, you'll get your money back as long as you cancel inside of 30-days. Grab this by logging in first. Look for Automatic Payments and cancel. Even faster, ask a live chat rep.
2. Surfshark: Best Cheap VPN UK
This is the overall best for cheapness and security around town.
Special need for speed? With any VPN, there will be some speed decline: it has to set security protocols in place in real-time, to protect you. NordVPN is likely the fastest VPN the UK has, but Surfshark (Surfshark review) holds up strongly (scroll down for it).
Each VPN on our list won’t give you the lags that less trustworthy ones give users (no need to wonder why YouTube’s taking two minutes to load for no reason). Lower the speed drop by choosing a server nearest to your location. You will find 3 servers for the UK: Glasgow, Manchester and London.
If you’re in the UK, any of these will probably do, no matter where you're located. But you can switch, to test what gives you the best response. Surfshark estimates about a 20 to 30% drop in internet speeds.
For those with a strong connection, this won't be a problem for gaming/HD Netflix.
AES 256-Bit Encryption (Very Secure at Upper level)
Grab the above with 2048-bit RSA authentication and 160-bit SHA1 hash algorithm. This provider uses the gold standard in security protocols.
The development team is also very active, keeping the client updated. Not too long ago, they added in two-factor authentication. Servers are constantly updated with new ones becoming available.
They have a ‘no logs’ policy (your browsing info won’t be saved on servers or even tracked), although there is some speculation on whether their declaration of being independently audited was no little more than a PR stunt.
That said, they have a strong reputation and we have no reason to believe anything suspect, though we would like to see a more in-depth audit in the future.
Could Be the Best VPN for Streaming…
We have a lot of strong contenders on this list so this is really splitting hairs.
If you’re enticed by the ability to unblock geoblocked streams such as US Netflix or Hulu, you’ll have no problem with this client...
Just remember that we don't recommend this if you're looking to beat censors in China.
Don't forget that a VPN can pump up your online privacy and security! Give it a go for 30 days and, if unsure, ask for a full refund.
3. Private Internet Access: Best Cheap VPN in the UK for Mobiles
The Terminal List—a thriller written by a Navy SEAL—got a fair amount of press on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast and will be turned into a movie starring Chris Pratt.
In the book, a vengeful father of a murdered wife and child seeks justice. He has to go incognito from the powers-that-be who are hunting him (the very country that he sacrificed to protect, up to the Vice President.)
In the book, the main character uses Private Internet Access as a means of going incognito from his spying eyes tracking him digitally.
Even a real war veteran, one very aware of just how much governments track their citizens, recommends Private Internet Access for on-the-go protection. (If you’re into thrillers, give the book a go too. It’s awesome).
Trusted and Safe to Use
Fortunately, the company does not charge a great deal for their service, despite having proven in court that they do not keep any logs.
What does that mean? Even in the event of surveillance agencies requesting data for reasons of national security, there'll be nothing for them to hand over... All of that, and you only need a tiny 26MB of free space to install this app on your phone or whatever device.
If you want to keep things completely incognito, pay for the VPN using cryptocurrency. It also has its own automated data-leak protection measures in place. A very comprehensive provider especially suited for stealth on-the-go purposes… (be it a cafe with public WiFi or handling sensitive emails).
If you're looking to do some real online shopping, you can choose a protocol like OpenVPN (inside Private Internet Access), which offers the highest level encryption possible, without noticeable drops in speed.
Quickly shift to Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP), whenever you want to do high-def Netflix or gaming, as there’s not much in the way of secure information that needs to be protected.
Lots of flexibility is why this is one of the best UK VPNs around… You also get to imagine yourself as a rogue Navy SEAL agent on the run from corrupt, high-ranking government officials.
Expected speed drops of around 15% on average, but this will obviously depend on what security protocol you choose.
4. CyberGhost: Best Cheap VPN in the UK for Torrenting
Cyberghost has a reputation for ease-of-use due to the custom smart features it employs.
Among them (we’ll talk about torrenting later) is the Best Location feature, which lets you find the optimal server for your specific location.
Simply use the ‘Completely Automatically’ function and it will choose the best country and server combination based on its own internal load balancing system. If you need to give it a nudge, narrow the search down to a specific country. Or do a manual search for one you specifically want to use.
Unblocks Popular Streams
Cyberghost gets a strong customer rating on independent review sites. It's a comprehensive VPN provider that can really do it all.
Among this is the ability to unlock US Netflix libraries, or whatever country you want to access—all without a much noticeable drop in internet speeds.
No matter what country you are accessing from, watch popular streams—ranging from YouTube TV, BBC iPlayer, Disney plus, Netflix, HBO, ESPN, and Netflix. A very solid choice for those who want to do online television streaming.
Best VPN for Torrenting UK
Cyberghost is actually unique in this area. There is no other popular VPN that is specifically designed to carry-out optimized P2P sharing (peer-to-peer downloading).
If you want to download torrents at top speeds, there really is no other VPN we could recommend … even NordVPN—while being reputably fast—does not have optimized servers that give you a clear sense of what will work best for torrenting.
Long Money-Back Guarantee
Along with a completely free 24-hour trial, you will still be able to get a full refund after 45 days of purchasing the VPN
This is a full half-month longer than any other popular VPN. And even though they are giving a generous money-back guarantee, you can still expect all of the cutting-edge features of a top VPN, such as split-tunneling.
5. ExpressVPN: Best VPN UK for Censored States
We've only 6% drops in speeds and a Smart Location tool, ExpressVPN is one of the most popular on the market for a good reason.
Now, we have to mention that this isn't a cheap VPN relatively speaking. It's almost twice as expensive as NordVPN, for example. However, you will find that it gives you a top-to-bottom experience.
With this fast VPN, you can do everything (with one or two exceptions like blocking ads): from locating the optimal server for your location with a single mouse click, to accessing censored sites in highly-censored states (we've written in the past about the work still to do with censorship).
Uses ‘Stealth Servers’ and ‘Symmetrical Encryption’
Symmetric encryption is an extra level of security for your transmitted data. Essentially it means that, to retrieve your data, hackers would need the same key that was used to encrypt your data. It's an almost impossible feat.
Things get even more juicy when you see how effective ExpressVPN is with a list of highly censored states.
ExpressVPN has shown itself to be able to get through China's Great Firewall. It manages this by using something called ‘stealth servers’. Sometimes, VPNs that have this feature are referred to as ‘stealth VPNs’.
By using a stealth VPN, any traffic that is passing through your provider is disguised as normal web traffic. It doesn't matter if network admins and firewalls see your traffic, it will still appear to be everyday data.
ExpressVPN can bypass the admins of some of the most censored countries in the world, including:
- The UAE
If you’ve not heard of this feature before, it essentially means you can use your VPN connections for a specific portion of your browsing activity.
You could, say, use a VPN to watch US YouTube while not having it connected for when you are doing online banking (we talk more about using VPNs for online banking in the FAQ Section, as there may be difficulties).
If you've ever used a VPN extension, you may have experienced something similar to split tunnelling. VPN extensions may allow you to connect to the VPN in individual tabs on a browser. But you can leave other tabs unconnected.
Another benefit of this is that you do not drain the bandwidth of your VPN, instead distributing it between your ISP and VPN strategically.
6. TorGuard: VPN With Lots of Extras
TorGuard is a top-rated virtual private network that offers a wealth of useful extras. There are no logs or leaks, and it has more than 3,000 servers in more than 50 locations.
It also has an internal encrypted DNS and allows for up to eight simultaneous connections, making it ideal for frequent international travellers. WireGuard, a tunnelling protocol, and the Stealth proxy are two examples.
As it has been claimed to work in several famously restricted countries, such as China (though this cannot be verified), it has gained a reputation as a reliable VPN for torrenting and even international travel.
Top Security 👓
TorGuard is a well-known provider of cybersecurity services, protecting individuals and organizations alike. While their overall statistics are great, the emphasis of this evaluation will be on their VPN.
More than 3,000 servers spread over 50 countries make up the service's network, which boasts both lightning-fast connections and a wide variety of customization choices.
With TorGuard, you can expect mind-blowing speeds and a wealth of sophisticated tools and features that provide you freedom of movement. Its capabilities stand out for business travellers who must visit nations with stringent privacy and security regulations.
Well-Reputed Name in the Industry for Advanced Users 🗿
There are, however, a few problems. TorGuard VPN is not as user-friendly as the top VPN services available today, particularly for those with less technical experience.
Moreover, the service's geo-unblocking capabilities, a feature valued by many customers, fall short of expectations.
If you are still wondering whether or not TorGuard VPN is right for you, read on for a more in-depth analysis of the service's benefits and drawbacks.
This service has inadequate unblocking capabilities, and inexperienced users may have trouble with its complex applications.
Travel internationally with protection!
7. VyprVPN: Strong VPN for Bypassing Censorship
In restricted countries, the most stringent privacy controls may only be avoided by paying a premium.
VyprVPN is one of the best VPNs for bypassing censorship in places like China because to its strong but user-friendly mobile applications. However, its price is higher than that of its rivals.
VyprVPN, headquartered in Switzerland, is a contender for the title of best VPN because to its extensive network of 700+ servers in 70+ different countries.
With over 60 nations to choose from, your options span the globe from Asia to Oceania to the Middle East to South and Central America and Africa.
Fully Privacy-Friendly 🙌
If you are looking for a VPN service, one of the safest options is VyprVPN. On that note, the Chameleon protocol it employs makes it very difficult for your Internet service provider or government to decipher and stop your data.
For those living in nations where access to the internet is limited, this is a welcome alternative.
VyprVPN also has a zero-logging policy, so none of your information will ever be kept or analyzed. It provides round-the-clock service with servers in more than 70 countries.
When it comes to security and functionality, VyprVPN is hard to beat. The fact that VyprVPN owns all the servers it employs means that you are protected from unauthorized access or interference from outside parties.
Mixed Bag that Keeps Your Data Private 🛄
Even still, VyprVPN is not perfect; it has problems with the kill switch and has trouble streaming and unblocking prohibited material.
But VyprVPN excels at protecting user anonymity and provides rock-solid encryption to do so. VyprVPN furthermore operates its own zero-knowledge DNS service, which completely eliminates the possibility of any third-party interference.
If security is your only concern, VyprVPN is a good choice; nonetheless, it is difficult to suggest VyprVPN above the competition because of the latter's lower price, superior app design, quicker connections, and more robust streaming capabilities.
Browse without your data being logged.
8. Hotspot Shield: Fast Streaming VPN
One of the few available free VPNs, the Hotspot Shield service is lightning quick, and the AES-256 encryption is good enough for the military.
Additionally, it supposedly does not keep any kind of logs, which means none of your information should ever be recorded. Streaming video sites and services like Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, and Amazon Prime Video can all be accessed from anywhere using Hotspot Shield.
It has safety measures including a kill switch and protection against viruses. It is worth noting that the subscription plans provide access to more than 115 server locations in more than 80 countries, whereas the free plan just gets you access to one.
Fast Netflix Experience 📺
Hotspot Shield may not be the overall quickest service available, but it makes up for this with a plethora of features, and applications for just about everything.
Ways it excels are its user-friendly interface, the ability to unblock Netflix, and a reliable support staff to back you up if you run into any trouble. Disadvantages include limited customization, recording issues of varying severity, and lukewarm documentation.
While some of its rivals provide more setting options, Hotspot Shield's speed and power more than make up for this, making it a solid choice for users of all experience levels.
Worldwide Servers 🛰️
More than 1,800 servers in more than 80 countries and 115 locations worldwide make up Hotspot Shield's primary service today.
Their servers are all peer-to-peer (P2P) ready and protected by anti-malware and anti-phishing software to ensure your online safety. You can protect just about everything with it since they have programs for Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS.
Hotspot Shield justifiably has a reputation as a top VPN service.
9. IPVanish: VPN with a Free Trial
IPVanish VPN is a torrent-friendly VPN with a quick and easy setup for any device, so you can surf the web securely no matter what you are using.
There are no data limits, and you may connect an unlimited number of devices for only $39.99 (£32.95) a year. For further security, it has a network of more than 40 thousand IP addresses.
If you want unlimited bandwidth and connections for a reasonable monthly cost, IPVanish VPN is your best option.
Independently Audited 📚
IPVanish has almost everything covered, what with its more inexpensive UI, increased number of unblocked TV streaming providers, and enhanced security measures.
The United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia are just three of the many countries where this VPN's hundreds of servers may be found. IPVanish not only provides independently certified, high-quality privacy and security features, but also includes the top-tier antivirus software VIPRE as part of its package.
IPVanish provided the FBI with user records a few years ago. Consumers started to doubt the company's commitment to user privacy, leading to a decline in both use and trust.
Strong Support Team 📞
Finally, IPVanish's customer support seems all-encompassing, with several how-to tutorials, competent live chat service, and a toll-free number accessible during business hours.
IPVanish is a strong VPN that falls short in a few little ways. And if you get it at a sale price, it is a great deal all around.
In general, IPVanish offers a solid set of functionality that improves with time. IPVanish is among the most secure VPNs available now due to its extensive collection of security features.
Although the applications are not for casuals, IPVanish is hard to recommend thanks to its reliable speeds over a global P2P-friendly server network, unlimited simultaneous device connections, and efficient customer care.
10. Bitdefender: Strong Security Cheap VPN
Bitdefender is a top VPN service because it provides reliable security no matter how or where you access the web.
It offers everything you need to keep your devices safe and secure when working, gaming, browsing the web, shopping, or streaming at home, at a neighbourhood café, or abroad.
It is one of the cheapest premium VPNs, with a year subscription for only $29.99 (£24.76), a renewal costing $49.99 (£41.27), or monthly at just $6.99 (£5.77).
Simpler VPN 🌴
If you are looking for a straightforward method to protect your online privacy, Bitdefender Premium VPN is a great choice. It lacks several features that power users would find essential, but it gets the job done and is fast enough for most people.
Bitdefender Premium VPN's protocol, the purpose-built and amazing Catapult Hydra protocol, is powered by technology from VPN provider Hotspot Shield. The only Bitdefender-made components are the programs you use.
When using Hotspot Shield, your data is never sent to them; it is merely the technology they are using.
Worth a Shot 🏹
Bitdefender VPN is not a complicated service, which may be a dealbreaker for advanced users.
It is not the best service out there, but it might be appealing if all you need is inexpensive, basic online security with decent speeds and acceptable content-unblocking performance.
Bitdefender VPN is not as feature-rich as its rivals, and power users likely will not find enough to their liking.
Instead, we suggest trying ExpressVPN or NordVPN. However, the antivirus giant's entry into VPN has acceptable connection speeds and several truly helpful features in-app, so we are not ready to write it off just yet. It is definitely worth a shot.
Solid, cheap VPN for essential security.
Buying Guide 💳
Best cheap VPN in the UK for 2023 = Surfshark
Surfshark offers the full menu, despite being a relatively new provider. You’ll get solid speeds and strong uptimes. A while ago, there were issues with device compatibility. We’re happy that the VPN now supports all of the popular platforms. You’ll also have unlimited simultaneous connections (any number of devices with a single account).
Best cheap VPN UK for streaming Netflix = NordVPN
NordVPN unblocks all major Netflix libraries around the world. They’ll even provide dedicated apps compatible with all sorts of streaming devices, including Android TV boxes, Smart TVs, FireStick and Fire TV.
Surfshark officially unblocks 10 Netflix libraries: Canada, US, UK, Australia, Singapore, Italy, South Korea, Germany, Japan, and Norway. It may also work with other Netflix regions.
Which is better: NordVPN or ExpressVPN? = [Depends]
A common question online. In short: ExpressVPN offers better functionality; NordVPN offers better value. You’ll save almost 50% with NordVPN and all are fast, safe, and full-featured. Both give you great speeds, unrestricted access to blocked content, plus military-grade security.
What is the fastest VPN? [ExpressVPN and NordVPN]
- NordVPN – you’ll get just a 2% speed drop. It’s the fastest VPN on this list.
- ExpressVPN – is a hair’s breadth away with a 3% speed drop.
- Private Internet Access – is the third-closes with a 22% speed drop.
The only way to know is to try it out and always remember that each VPN gives you a money-back guarantee. Try it out no-risk and see if you get any buffering issues while using your favorite online streams.
VPNs Explained (Technical Section) ⚙️
VPNs Secure ‘Endpoints’ for You
VPNs are a type of business or personal ‘endpoint’ security (see the technical section of this guide, for more). Endpoint security is more important ever and increasingly so.
VPNs carry out this function through a kind of endpoint ‘tunnel’ that encrypts data as you access it. For certain types of IoT devices, it's an extra layer of protection, reducing the threat pathways that a cyber criminal might exploit.
In layman's terms, there are more cyber risks. Commercial VPN services are more in-demand because people realize even everyday internet use should be better encrypted, whether you are using an encrypted or unencrypted internet port.
VPN Tunnelling Explained (How a VPN Tunnel Usually Works):
#1 First, the VPN creates a data access point between the VPN network and your client machine. At the VPN point, data is encrypted and sent into cyberspace.
#2 There's a second point in the VPN network that decrypts that data so that it can be sent to the relevant Internet resource, which could be a web server, company intranet, email server.
#3 The internet resource sends its own data back to an access point in your VPN network, where it is encrypted.
#4 That encrypted info is tunneled through the internet, to a second point in the VPN network where the data is decrypted and sent to your client device. By this back and forth encryption / decryption at different access points or ‘endpoints’, you can talk with the Internet indirectly.
Types of VPNs (VPN Security Protocols)
Different VPNs may offer different encryption technologies, protocols and standards.
Keep in mind that the point-to-point tunneling is not recommended if you want any real level of security (as opposed to just something that fixes Netflix geo-blocking, for instance). If you need security, don’t choose a VPN if it only uses PPTP.
Point-to-Point Tunneling (PPTP): A standard data encryption protocol around since the mid-nineties. While it doesn't actually encrypt, it does data packet tunneling and uses a GRE protocol for encapsulation.
It's one of the fastest protocols, but the lack of encryptions makes it relatively insecure. Bruce Schneier is one such security expert who has come to that conclusion
Internet Protocol Security (IPSec): A superior option compared to PPTP. IPSec is an amalgamation of separate protocols and capabilities. It does packet encapsulation using the ESP protocol. You have the option to choose AES-CBC, AES-GCM, 3DES-CBC, or SHA1/SHA2 for the encryption. The security level amounts to military-grade.
Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol (L2TP): Can be used in conjunction with IPSec, to bolster your security. This is relatively quite a fast protocol.
Secure Shell (SSH): Can manage both encryption and tunneling processes in a VPN network.
Is It Worth Paying for a VPN?
In truth, DDoS (distributed denial-of-service) attacks aren’t likely for most users. Many people seek online privacy and protection, while going about online activities, in order to not be tracked by the government.
Oftentimes, there’s collaboration between your ISP and government. This can lead to very productive things like ISPs removing internet data caps during the Covid-19. These governments also tend to sneak in extra surveillance measures, to add to those already in place.
Presently, there are reports of the UK—one of the most heavily surveilled countries in the world—increasing bodies who can grab data communications from UK mobiles and phones, as well as ISPs, under the Investigatory Powers Act or IPAct.
Plus, if you want to access geoblocked content (e.g. Hulu or US Netflix), a VPN comes in very handy.
As a quick summary:
- Surfshark is the best cheapest VPN in the UK.
- NordVPN is the fastest cheap VPN (UK).
- Private Internet Access is the best for on-the-go stuff e.g. mobiles, public WiFi.
If you are still unsure of what provider to choose, keep in mind every provider offers a money-back guarantee.
You Might Also Like: