The awareness of just how vulnerable we are online has caused a recent spike in the number of folks using virtual private networks (VPNs) to access the internet. But with the overwhelming number of services out there, it can be difficult to decide which one is right for you — and what’s the right price to pay for it.
Did You Know: It’s estimated that a little over 30 percent of internet users worldwide use VPN services.
When you’re shopping around for a VPN, you’re likely going to notice a pretty wide distribution of costs. Generally speaking, though, you’re going to be comparing a service’s features to how much a subscription will run you month-to-month. Some services offer more, some charge less, but ultimately this is an exercise in getting the most bang for your buck.
And in the immortal words of Kramer from Seinfeld: “Retail is for suckers.” Why pay more when you can save so easily? Here’s how to find the best deals and discounts on VPN services.
General VPN Savings
Apart from a few outliers, most VPN services are sold via subscriptions — the longer the duration, the more you’re going to save. Most of the time, there will be a month-to-month plan that’ll run between $8 to $15, a year-long subscription that’ll cost about $3 to $6 per month, and a two-year subscription that’ll run between $2 to $4 per month.
VPN Subscription Monthly Fees
|Average Month-to-Month Cost||Average Yearly Cost||Average Two-Year Cost|
|$8 – $15||$3 – $6 per month||$2 – $4 per month|
Sometimes VPN plans will run more like 18 or 36 months, or they might even offer a five-year plan like I saw when I reviewed Ivacy VPN, but generally speaking, the structure is always the longer you use it, the less you’ll pay. This is the first and most consistent way of saving on your VPN purchase — being prepared to sign up for a long-duration subscription.
Now, I know it might be difficult to commit to something long-term, but if you select a service you’re comfortable with that offers the features you’re looking for, you shouldn’t have to change VPNs all that often. Or ever, really. What’s more, most VPN providers offer some sort of money-back trial period — usually between two weeks and a month — for you to decide if the VPN is right for you.
That said, there are always opportunities to save a little more for savvy shoppers.
VPN Deals and Sales
A lot of VPN prices are far from static. Top brands like ExpressVPN, NordVPN, and ProtonVPN are known to offer periodic deals and sales. Sometimes that requires waiting around for the right moment, but other times it can be as easy as Googling the name of the VPN you’re interested in and “sale.”
Most of the time these sales come in the form of tacking on a free couple of months to a subscription plan, effectively lowering the average month-to-month price even further. Or sometimes the provider will just slash the overall price by a certain percentage. The name of the game is to just be vigilant and observant.
While sales can be a little unpredictable, there are times when you know they’re coming, like specifically toward the end of the year. Let’s touch on that next.
VPN Discount Days
Without fail, most major VPN providers offer Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales. These major shopping holidays occur back to back, with Black Friday always occurring the day after Thanksgiving, and Cyber Monday the following week. Generally speaking, VPNs go on sale for one or both of these days, but your better bet is to always check on Cyber Monday.
Did You Know: Philly police officers were the first to call post-thanksgiving sales periods Black Friday in the 1950s. Large crowds of tourists and shoppers came to the city the day after the holiday for the Army-Navy football game, often creating chaos in the metropolis.
Another good time to check for deals is on Prime Day. TunnelBear and ExpressVPN are two services that are available for sale on Amazon, and their prices usually plummet on Prime Day. Keep in mind that this year’s Prime Day is slated for late June, which is two months earlier than expected.
These aren’t the only special days to save on VPNs, though. Certain holidays can also mean discounts for you.
Did You Know: Last year Amazon Prime members saved $1.4 billion dollars on Prime Day.
Seasonal and Holiday Deals
While a VPN might not be high on your list of possible Mother’s Day gifts, and Christmas doesn’t usually bring cybersecurity to mind, traditional holidays are a great time to consider shopping for your VPN service. While you might not find anything on Flag Day, you’d be surprised at the seasonal deals you can get around big-name holidays.
Occasionally you can find a coupon code online for a specific deal a VPN provider is offering. Often, these VPN deals will show up on digital coupon clearing houses like Retail Me Not and Savings.com, but be advised — sometimes those codes are only good for a short window of time or for specific purposes. They won’t always work, but you might get lucky.
FYI: Last year, NordVPN was taking 68 percent off their service price and offering three additional months for free. Those are some pretty significant savings on a really great service — be sure to check out our NordVPN review to see if Nord is the right fit for you.
And while we’re on the subject of savings, there’s one last thing we should discuss.
Another thing to be aware of as you’re shopping around for the perfect VPN is that a lot of these services have partnerships with associated cybersecurity services. For example, when I analyzed IPVanish, I was happy to find they also offered a free subscription to SugarSync, a cloud storage, file sync, and online backup service.
Similarly, while testing Norton for my NortonVPN review, I found that they play really well with Norton’s greater suite of identity theft protections and cybersecurity products. You can read all about it in my NortonLifeLock identity theft protection pricing guide. If you’re on the lookout for these opportunities, you can save quite a bit by bundling services.
So that’s about all except for one last thought for you …
Final Thoughts on VPN Savings
I get it. At the end of the day, everyone wants to save money, and there are numerous ways you can save if you follow the advice I’ve laid out here. A lot of the time, though, to take advantage of these savings means waiting for the right opportunity.
However, don’t be passive in this process. While you’re waiting for the right deal to come down the pike, do your homework. Figure out which service is right for you. A great place to start is by reading our top 10 list of the best VPNs. That way, when the right opportunity presents itself, you’ll be ready.