Best VPN services of 2017: What’s the best VPN in the UK?

There are many and varied hazards online, most of which can be avoided if you use a virtual private network (VPN). If you’re a regular user of wireless hotspots, especially open ones in places such as coffee shops, you may well be surprised by just how vulnerable much of your data is. 

Best VPN services of 2017: What's the best VPN in the UK?

Think of the numerous passwords you’ve typed, the credit card details you’ve entered and the innumerable usernames you have thrown out into the ether – all of this is susceptible to criminals looking for an unencrypted way into your personal life.

READ NEXT: What is a VPN?

VPNs are also an essential tool for those living in countries with severe online restrictions, such as the People’s Republic of China. For those of us with less online fencing to deal with, VPNs serve as a way to access content from other nations without region blocking, with many paid-for VPNs overtly stating just how well they can access American Netflix in the UK. If you’re a British license fee payer, you can also access BBC services like News Online without ads.

VPNs are also incredibly easy to install. We’ve got a simple guide for you here.

If your company or ISP blocks certain applications – Skype, for instance, or certain types of websites – you can use a VPN to circumvent those blocks. But what is the best VPN? Well, not all VPNs are created equal… 

The best VPN in the UK for 2017

ServiceStarting priceFree trial?Score
hma-largeHide My Ass!£59.88/yrNo4/5
hotspot_shield_icon_large_greyHotspot Shield£71.88/yrYes4/5
purvpn-thumbnail-iconPureVPN£70.80 for two yearsNo5/5

Best VPNs 2017: How VPNs work

VPNs open a secure “tunnel” between your laptop, phone or tablet and the VPN provider. The data in this tunnel is encrypted end-to-end, and therefore unreadable to anyone who happens upon that data who might want to snoop on it.

That includes your ISP, the government, and hackers who might want to steal your credit card or bank login details. That’s not to say a VPN isn’t crackable, just that it’s a lot more difficult to do. 

There are also various types of VPN. You can create your VPN using your home router. This creates a private network for you and your family to connect to. You can install VPN software, or download VPN apps to your smartphone. Alternatively, if you have Kodi, or an Amazon Fire TV Stick, it’s possible to install a VPN app directly onto these devices which will allow you to access content from outside of your region. These tend to be VPNs that are available more widely, but work specifically with the devices. IPVanish is a good example, as is Open VPN. 

An alternative to VPNs are proxies. Whereas VPNs routes all traffic through the VPN server, including programs and applications you’re using on laptop or phone, proxies act like filters for the web only.

A proxy applies only to your internet browser, regardless of the browser used. The added security, speed, and location information only apply to web pages. A proxy will ignore all other applications being used. 

The trouble is, with so many of these tools plying their wares across iOS, Android, Windows, and others, how on earth do you choose between them? Is it okay to use a free VPN, or should you pay? This is where our guide to the best VPNs of 2017 comes in.

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