Some 16% of Brits use a VPN service to connect to the internet securely and anonymously. If you’re at all interested in technology – or if you’ve used a torrenting site – you’ve probably heard of VPNs. But if not, and you are asking “What is a VPN?” or you’ve always wondered why you might need one, we’re here to explain exactly why.
Let’s start with a quick explanation of exactly what a VPN (Virtual Private Network) is, what a VPN connection is, and what it does.
In the broadest sense, a VPN is a means of privately and securely connecting two or more computers (or networks) over the internet.
For instance, you might be provided with a VPN by your employers so that you can access files on your company’s network when you are away from the office. Once your laptop is connected to the servers at your office via VPN, you are assured of complete security even though the data is travelling over a public network.
When you use a commercial VPN service like the ones featured on Top 5 VPN UK, you will usually be required to download a piece of software, which you then use to sign in and connect to the internet via the VPN.
Most VPN providers have dozens of servers around the world. So if you were sitting at home in the UK but want to appear as if you were accessing the internet from Los Angeles, you can simply connect via the VPN’s LA server. With your VPN unlimited, secure access will help you surf with confidence.
Once connected, all traffic between your computer and the VPN servers is encrypted so that it’s completely secure and private, and from the outside you would appear as an anonymous internet user somewhere in Los Angeles.
There are several good reasons that so many people in the UK are choosing to connect to the web using a VPN, but these really boil down to three main things: security, privacy, and geographical restrictions – the best VPN service for UK will have all three.
Usually, when you connect to the internet, your IP address is visible to all, giving away all kinds of information about where you are, what sites you visit, and lots more. The information can also be used to restrict you from viewing certain sites, either for commercial or political reasons.
A VPN creates a tunnel between you and your VPN provider, which is totally encrypted and invisible from the outside. There are dozens of VPN providers competing for your attention. All of the sites featured here are reputable and reliable and offer many of the same features. However, there are slight differences between them, and which one you choose will depend on what your exact needs are for a VPN service in the UK.
Sad to say, but if you live in the United Kingdom, this should be at the top of your list of reasons to use a VPN when you’re online.
The British government has perhaps the broadest powers of any Western country to spy on, and collect private data from, its own citizens. It is also a world leader in its attempts to censor and control access to the internet. The most obvious example of this is the requirement for British adults to “opt in” with their ISPs if they wish to view adult material.
The encryption provided by a good VPN can go a long way in helping you avoid the attention of the government snoops (not to mention criminal hackers), while the ability to connect to a server in a different country will enable you to bypass the government’s censorship laws.
There a few things you should be looking for if you want to choose a VPN service with the best security and privacy features. The first is a comprehensive range of protocols, such as OpenVPN, PPTP,L2TP/IPsec and SSTP. These are just different ways that your data can be packaged and encrypted, each with its own strengths and weaknesses. Which one you prefer to use will depend on your needs, but you at the least, you’ll want the option to use your preferred protocol. Also check that the VPN router protocols fit your needs, if you decide to use a VPN on your router.
The next most important consideration is whether your VPN service in the UK keeps logs of your personal details and browsing activity. Ideally, your VPN provider will advertise a no-logging policy, which means that it keeps no records. That way the authorities will never be able to coerce them into handing over your details.
Finally, it’s a good idea to opt for a VPN that offers shared servers, which means that your internet traffic will be routed via the same server as hundreds of other customers. This should ensure your anonymity, since it would be practically impossible to differentiate your data from that of all those other users.
Good bandwidth – One of the most important things to look for in a VPN network is unlimited or unrestricted bandwidth. This will allow you to stream HD video or music all day, every day without ever worrying about using up your bandwidth allowance.
Server speed and selection – Obviously the most important consideration is that you are able to connect via a server in the country where the streaming service you wish to access is based (or at least where it allows access from). It’s even better if several servers are offered. This way you can be sure of finding a server with the speeds you need.
Ease of use – The increasing mainstream usage of VPN service in the UK has led to dramatic improvements in the ease of setup and usage of the best VPN services. Ideally, you should look for attractive, user-friendly software that makes it simple to find and connect to a server, without compromising on more advanced features and settings.
Device compatibility – Our featured VPN providers offer wide device compatibility, allowing you to stream from your phone, tablet, games console or smart TV box. Dedicated iOS and Android apps are a big plus, as is support for less used devices and operating systems, such as Blackberry phones or Linux-based PCs.
Take a look at some of our VPN reviews to choose the best VPN for the UK.