Your internet service provider knows every single website you visited this week. They know what you searched for, they know what you watched, they know what you listened to. They even know you’re looking for a VPN right now.
Now consider this — they aren’t the only ones that have access to what you’re doing online. Add to that bad actors like identity thieves and hackers, and you’ll start to really understand the need to protect yourself.
FYI: Worried you don’t have the background knowledge you’ll need to make a smart decision on which service is right for you? Check out our in-depth VPN guide to learn everything you’d ever want to know about virtual private networks.
VPNs do exactly that. They hide your traffic from onlookers, and make it so your data is unreadable should it fall into the wrong hands. Some of these services can get a little pricey, though. Where does that leave the frugal VPN shopper looking for a cheap VPN?
With plenty of affordable options, actually! There are loads of high-quality VPNs on the market today that aren’t going to break the bank. Here are the best cheap VPNs in 2021.
Before we look at each of these individually, keep in mind that these numbers represent the best monthly price offered by each VPN provider. To see these costs, you’ll have to sign up for a significant subscription duration — anywhere from a few months to a couple of years. But really, these cheap VPN services won’t set you back more than a few bucks per month.
Pro Tip: You can learn more about how these subscription plans are set up in our guide to VPN pricing.
So without further ado …
Our number one pick for best value, VyprVPN gives you everything you need — like powerful protections, a user-friendly mobile app, and WireGuard protocol support — for a fraction of the cost of the bigger names.
You know the saying “you get what you pay for”? Most of the time that’s a snarky thing to say to someone who went for the cheapest option, and their decision failed spectacularly.
This was not at all our experience here. When we reviewed VyprVPN, we were a little skeptical at first. Since they’re so cheap, we were expecting to find a VPN that was barely functional. Instead, we found a well-rounded service that was just as secure as it was easy to use.
And when we say secure, we mean seriously secure. VyprVPN offers 256-bit encryption, and when we put it to the test, there were no signs of any weaknesses in Vypr’s security posture.
Now we can’t tell you Vypr’s got all the bells and whistles, but if you’re looking for a VPN that checks all the right boxes for your average internet denizen, you can’t go wrong here.
And the price? It’s cheap! This VPN costs less than $2 a month. Granted, you have to sign up for 36 months to realize those savings (read more about that in our guide to VyprVPN costs and services) but in the “what you’re getting” vs. “what it costs” equation, Vypr is the clear winner. If you get any cheaper, you’re looking at free VPNs.
Great for media enthusiasts, CyberGhost’s optimizations allow for stellar streaming and browsing experiences. Also, with the right subscription plan, this VPN is really cheap.
Like we said above, CyberGhost is one of our favorite VPNs for streaming, but that’s not all they’ve got going for them.
While we wouldn’t call their features “robust,” the features we consider critical were all there and functioned well. One of our favorite tests — if you can call it a test, really — is to run a VPN in the background for a few days and see if it gives us any trouble. Despite its namesake, CyberGhost never launched a proverbial chair across the room. It didn’t even go bump in the night. Its connection was secure and stable, and in our CyberGhost review, we never noticed issues with our performance while it was running.
Similar to VyprVPN, you’ll have to sign up for a pretty long subscription package to realize their best savings — more on that in our CyberGhost pricing and plans breakdown — but at $2.25 per month for 39 months, it’s easily one of the cheapest VPN services on the market.
Surfshark is an all-around solid VPN that offers some of the more advanced features of its competitors at a deep discount — it’s a great choice for any budget.
If you’re looking for a Cadillac but only want to pay Kia prices, Surfshark is a great option for you. If you read our Surfshark review, you’ll see they offer a lot of similar features to some of the industry’s top services — we’re talking things like multi-VPN functionality, geographic-specific protections, even censored internet bypasses — at such affordable prices we didn’t believe Surfshark at first.
What sounds too good to be true usually is, but for the most part, Surfshark exceeded our cost-based expectations. While they’re not without their flaws, their security is strong, their desktop and mobile clients are intuitive and well designed, and their list of features was impressive.
And at $2.49 per month for 24 months, they have one of the most affordable pricing packages in the industry. Check out our complete guide to Surfshark’s costs to learn more, and also read our Surfshark Vs. ExpressVPN comparison to see what paying a little more per month will get you.
The simple answer to this question is actually, well, another question. How much do you value your safety and security online? If you do at all, the answer is a resounding “yes!” VPNs are definitely worth the money.
Now you can spend a considerable chunk of change on some of the more advanced VPNs out there, but unless you’re planning on going to North Korea for spring break, some of their protections might be a little overkill.
Did You Know: Journalists in hostile regimes and activists who need to remain anonymous for their safety and freedom rely on VPNs to keep them protected.
There’s always the impulse in the cybersecurity world to automatically find the shiniest, best product on the market and fork over your entire paycheck for it, but in the VPN world that’s often unnecessary. Sure, we’d like to have the protection of a product that would safeguard a journalist team exposing a corrupt regime, but if you’re just using your VPN to watch Canadian Netflix, you might be paying too much.
As you can see from the list above, some really solid VPNs cost pocket change per month, and they’re so easy to use these days — literally, you turn them on and they run in the background. Add to that the staggering costs of identity theft and other malicious online activities, our question — at the risk of sounding too dramatic — is why wouldn’t you?
This depends heavily on which VPN services you’re looking for, and how long you’re wanting to sign up. Generally speaking, most VPNs offer a month-to-month rate, and subscription packages for longer durations. Monthly will run you anywhere from $8 to $15 — some will be higher, some will be lower, depending on the features.
FYI: Most VPNs offer free trial periods or money-back grace periods. Use these to your advantage before making a long-term selection.
Subscription packages can change pretty dramatically depending on the provider and the subscription term. Like we mentioned above, VyprVPN ends up being pretty cheap if you sign up for three years. That’s a little on the lengthy side, though. More middle-of-the-road VPNs offer six-month or one-year terms for $3 to $6 dollars per month. Some offer longer terms, which will run you maybe $2 to $4 per month. Typically, the longer you sign on for, the cheaper it becomes.
We’re glad you asked. If you check out our guide to the best VPN deals and sales, you’ll see there are tons of money-saving options you can take advantage of when you’re shopping around.
For one, buy for the long haul. VPNs are something you should be using for years and years, and purchasing accordingly will save you a bundle in the long run.
FYI: Make sure you choose a VPN that updates frequently. Cybersecurity threats are constantly evolving — your VPN provider should be working to keep ahead of the curve.
You should also check for seasonal deals and sales around major holidays and shopping events like Black Friday and Cyber Monday. We’ve seen crazy half-off deals and huge savings on traditional subscription plans. If you time it right, you can spend pennies on the dollar for top-performing VPNs like ExpressVPN or NordVPN. Better yet, head over to our updated NordVPN deals page to find the best discounts.
Now, if you decide to splurge and can drop $11.95 or $12.95 per month for NordVPN or ExpressVPN respectively, we think you’ll really like the added protections and functionality these VPNs offer. They aren’t cheap, but they’re the best in the game. Check out our ExpressVPN review and our analysis of NordVPN for the full scoop.
As our lives increasingly take place in digital spaces, it’s becoming more important than ever to take precautions to protect ourselves. You have deadbolts on your doors, you keep your important documents in locked drawers, and you want to secure your internet connection.
We understand wanting to save some money where you can — we’re pretty thrifty ourselves — but when it comes to your security you can never be too careful. We’re not suggesting that you have to buy the top-of-the line VPN with the services you’ll never use, but you shouldn’t pick a free one that might barely function. A great place to start your search is our guide to the top 10 best VPN services.
This should always be your primary concern. Look at the provider's security policy, understand what personally-identifying information they keep, what data they collect on their customers, and how they keep it.
A lot of folks want to use a VPN to stream content without geo-restrictions or protect their privacy while torrenting. If you fall into either of those camps, seek out a VPN service that is optimized for them. There are plenty of great ones on the market.
If you travel to places where the internet is heavily regulated, consider a VPN with bypasses in place. Higher-end VPNs offer obfuscation to prevent governments from identifying VPN protocol traffic on their networks.
Also called a zero-log policy, this means the VPN does not collect information on the traffic routed through its network. Make sure this isn’t just lip service, though. Just because a provider says it isn’t logging doesn’t mean that’s always the case. Look for third-party verification where possible.
There are a lot of different VPN protocols out there — some work better for certain applications than others. OpenVPN is the industry standard, but that’s quickly losing ground to WireGuard. The more protocols the provider supports, the better.
It’s important to consider where the provider is located. Certain countries are obligated to participate in international data-sharing agreements with law enforcement agencies. Places like Switzerland and the British Virgin Islands are preferable to the U.K. and U.S. when it comes to privacy.
In the same vein, make sure you’re selecting a service that provides a decent app for your mobile device of choice. You’re most at risk when you’re using your phone to connect to sensitive information on an unsecured network, but adding a VPN to the mix will dramatically improve your security posture.
A few VPNs on the market today offer networks built of RAM-only servers. Since RAM requires power to store information, everything contained on the server is irretrievably gone. These networks are the gold standard of the VPN industry.