The Best VPNs to Reach Around the UK's Incoming Porn Block

By Gizmodo UK on at

The UK's age verification checks for porn are officially happening on the 15th of July, which means you'll need to sign up to one of the multiple types of age checks to prove you're over 18 with documents and whatnot -- or potentially go down to the corner shop and buy a porn pass.

If you don't fancy doing that (and lots of people who are over the legal age understandably don't), the other option is a virtual private network, or VPN, which makes your traffic look like it's coming from another country so you don't have to do the age verification bit.

If you're new to hiding your location this way, we've rounded up some of the best VPNs to use to get around the porn block. Think of them like a condom for your dirty browsing. Enjoy!

NordVPN

Used by several of the Giz UK team, NordVPN is reliable, secure, and fast. It's actually recommended by SpeedTest, the site everyone uses to see if their broadband provider is lying.

It's not the cheapest out there at £9.15 a month, but there are loads of offers available and you can reduce that cost significantly if you're willing to pay for a year or more upfront.

You can use up to six devices on one NordVPN account and it works on loads of platforms, including Linux and Android TV as well as the more obvious ones. If you want the easiest option that's fast and safe, this is the VPN for you. [Sign up here]

TunnelBear

The cutest VPN in the world, TunnelBear shows animations of a bear literally going down a tunnel and surfacing in whichever location you choose. It's a joy to use, including some lovely bear jokes during setup and connection, and is ideal for VPN newbies.

It's fast and secure and has lots of platform options including browser extensions, but doesn't offer much in the way of customisation, so it won't suit advanced users. There are only two subscription offers to keep things simple: both offer unlimited use for 5 devices, but one is paid monthly at $9.99 (about £7.75) a month and one is paid yearly at $4.99 (about £3.90) a month. If you just want to try it out, there's a free option limited to 500MB of data a month.

If you want something easy and adorable, this is your VPN. [Sign up here]

ExpressVPN

Another excellent option, ExpressVPN is well-suited to more advanced users. It works on loads of platforms including Linux and routers, and has browser extensions for Firefox and Chrome. Encryption is strong, and there are tonnes of locations and servers available.

However, you're only allowed three devices at a time, which is a little low considering the $12.95 (about £10) a month price and lack of free trial (though there is a 30-day money back guarantee). That said, you can bring the cost down significantly by subscribing for six months or longer, rather than month-by-month.

Extra features like a kill switch, split-tunnelling and 24-hour live chat tech support make this a comprehensive package for people who want something that works with everything they use. [Sign up here]

IPVanish

As the name suggests, this is a very privacy-focused VPN -- although of course they're all about privacy to some extent. IPVanish doesn't keep logs, and has an impressive 1,300 anonymous servers around the world, which makes it one of the best for things like watching streaming sites in different regions.

It's also good for torrenting, with no speed limits for torrents and unlimited P2P traffic allowed. You can have 10 different devices on the same account, which is great, but the pricing is consequently higher than some other options: $10 (about £7.75) a month if you pay month-by-month, coming down considerably if you'll pay upfront for 3 months or a year. Like ExpressVPN, it has 24/7 live chat support and a money-back guarantee, but only 7 days in this case.

If you're planning to use your VPN for torrenting and international content, this is a strong choice. [Sign up here]

Windscribe

(We could have used an official image like the others, but this meme from Windscribe's Facebook page was too good to skip).

If you've got a lot of devices, this is the VPN for you. Windscribe lets you have unlimited devices on your account (!), and supports lots of platforms. However, speed is really variable, so it's definitely worth giving the free trial a go to see how you get on with it before committing.

Surprisingly, the trial includes 10GB of data a month, so if you're not a heavy user, that might be all you need. If not, it's $9 (about £7) a month, coming down to $4.08 (about £3.16) a month if you pay for a year upfront.

There's also a really interesting custom option whereby you can build your own subscription according to how many locations you need -- each one costs $1 (about 77p) a month. The free trial only gives access to the 10 most popular locations, but it's still well worth a try before paying anything. [Sign up here]

Hide My Ass

With a name like that, how could this be anything but appropriate for porn block busting?

Hide My Ass has a refreshingly down-to-earth approach to VPNs, explaining that without one you're "about as exposed as an evangelical nudist"and amusingly using a disguised donkey as its mascot (they're hiding an ass, get it?).

HMA has servers dedicated to P2P and streaming, a choice of 280 locations (190 countries), and apps for all the big platforms, plus Linux and routers. They offer 7-day tech support, a 30-day money back guarantee if you don't get on with it, and fairly straightforward, speedy connections.

However, you do only get 5 devices for your subscription. Said subscription costs £7.99 month by month, but can be as low as £1.99 a month if you're willing to commit for longer -- we'd say if you're going to go for a longer stretch, 5 devices is OK, but if you're paying the higher price for per-month service then you likely want to go for a service that allows more devices, like IPVanish.

That said, if you want something easy to use with branding that'll make you laugh, this might be the VPN for you. [Sign up here]