The cheapest VPN services if you're on a budget

There are hundreds of commercial VPNs on the market, and higher price doesn’t always equal better quality. Some expensive VPNs are terrible, and there are some cheap VPN services on the market that are mind-blowingly good!

The cheap VPN services we recommend in 2021

These are the best of the cheapest VPN services if you’re on a budget:

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[[post-object type=”gotolink” provider=”privatevpn” class=”btn btn-md btn-primary”]]Try our #1 VPN pick PrivateVPN Today![[/post-object]]

The cheap VPNs that we recommend won’t cost you the proverbial arm and a leg, but they will offer you the same set of features and levels of service that many of the premium providers do. Our experts have searched far and wide for budget VPNs that provide high-quality security and privacy, blazing-fast speeds, and superb unblocking capabilities, all at a cheap monthly price. Read on to find out about the best cheap VPNs in the world.

Before we dive in and look at the best cheap VPNs, it’s important to note that the best way to get the best possible price on a VPN is to subscribe to the service for a longer period of time. The lengthier the subscription you sign up for, the cheaper per month the VPN will be.

Picking a cheap VPN doesn’t necessarily mean that you must also compromise on quality. We test all of our picks to the same standards, regardless of how much they charge per month. We look for:

Provided that a VPN offers all of the above, it is eligible to be recommended in our list of the best cheap VPNs. So, you can rest assured that all our recommendations provide a quality service at a low cost. So, let’s take a close look at our recommended cheap VPNs to use.

The best cheap VPNs to use right now

These are all of the best cheap VPNs on the market today:

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Can VPNs be fast and cheap?

Yes. VPNs that cost less will not necessarily suffer from a budget-level performance. To illustrate the speeds you can expect when subscribing to one of the VPNs recommended in this guide, check out the results of our up-to-date speed tests below.

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How does a VPN affect your speed?

A VPN will never be able to improve your current internet speeds. In fact, you’ll actually experience a fractional loss of speed when connecting to a VPN. This is because a VPN needs to route your traffic further – via the VPN server – and allow time for encrypting your traffic. The speed loss is simply due to the nature of how VPN technology works. The good thing, however, is that high-quality, reliable VPNs offer super-fast servers to minimize this impact and ensure users’ speed loss is negligible. The reality is that fast VPNs are a luxury, whereas slow VPNs will probably just drive you mad. 

If you want to know more, take a look at our VPN speed test guide.

How to get the best price for a VPN

As we stated at the top of this guide, hands down, the best way to get the best possible price on a VPN subscription is to commit for a longer period of time (at least a year). The longer you are willing to commit to a service, the cheaper it becomes. In some cases, it is even possible to get over an 80% reduction in the monthly cost of a VPN if you are willing to subscribe for a full year or longer.

Subscription plans are typically offered in monthly, bi-annual, and annual intervals. However, it is becoming more common for services to offer even bigger VPN deals on two-year subscriptions or longer – so keep your eyes peeled for even better bargains!

What is the average cost of a VPN?

The average cost of a VPN service currently sits at about $5 a month, or approximately $60 annually.

But this figure can vary depending on a number of factors like the service you choose to subscribe to and if you require additional features such as a static IP address. However, as we’ve already noted, the biggest impact on price is the length of time you are willing to commit to the service.

Of course, the longer the subscription that you purchase, the bigger discount you will receive. For this reason, we consider anything in the three dollars per month range to be cheap.

Quality Vs cost 

As with anything in life, there is often a tradeoff between quality and cost. A lower cost upfront may seem appealing at first, but the quality of some cheap VPNs is questionable, to say the least. All the VPNs we recommend above have been vetted to provide the same robust service that you would expect from a premium VPN like [[post-object type=”gotolink” provider=”expressvpn”]]ExpressVPN[[/post-object]].

VPN price comparison

The cheapest monthly VPN plan

If you are not willing to commit to a longer-term deal with a VPN, it is still possible to pay for a one month VPN subscription and snag a bargain, just be aware the savings will not be as substantial as the savings illustrated above.

We recommend PrivateVPN as the cheapest monthly VPN

PrivateVPN on Windows

The good news is that our overall best cheap VPN [[post-object type=”gotolink” provider=”privatevpn”]]PrivateVPN[[/post-object]] also happens to be the cheapest monthly VPN at just $7.12 per month.

This is a great deal, considering PrivateVPN offers excellent speeds, an expansive network of servers, and it has proven to be a real demon at unblocking all major streaming services and websites. So, it really is all you need from a VPN tied up into an affordable package.

[[post-object type=”gotolink” provider=”privatevpn” class=”btn btn-md btn-primary”]]Get PrivateVPN Monthly >>[[/post-object]]

If you would like to compare it against some alternatives, we can also recommend checking out [[post-object type=”gotolink” provider=”ivacy”]]Ivacy at $9.95 p/m[[/post-object]] or [[post-object type=”gotolink” provider=”vpnarea”]]VPNArea at $9.90 p/m[[/post-object]]. Both of these picks are solid, but PrivateVPN remains the standout choice for anyone looking to pay for a service montly without breaking the bank.

Other cheap short term subscription options

Free trials

If you need a VPN subscription for even shorter than a month, we would recommend looking for a VPN free trial as a possible short-term solution. We have done the legwork and collected all the best VPN free trials worth testing out for you.

3-Day subscrptions

A few services, notably [[post-object type=”gotolink” provider=”airvpn” ]]AirVPN[[/post-object]], now offer 3-day subscriptions for just $2.25 per month – ideal if you have already used up all of your free trial VPN accounts.

[[post-object type=”gotolink” provider=”airvpn” class=”btn btn-md btn-primary”]]Get AirVPN for 3-days >>[[/post-object]]

The ExpressVPN free hack

Finally, it is possible to get a premium service like [[post-object type=”gotolink” provider=”expressvpn” ]]ExpressVPN[[/post-object]] for free for 30-days by taking advantage of the money-back guarantee. This does require for you to pay for the service initially, but this money will be given back to you at the end of the 30-days if you decide to get a refund.

[[post-object type=”gotolink” provider=”expressvpn” class=”btn btn-md btn-primary”]]Get ExpressVPN for 30-days >>[[/post-object]]

January VPN deals

If you want to score an awesome deal on a VPN in the new year, it’s definitely worth it to check out whether a VPN you’re considering purchasing is running any special deals in January. By taking advantage of a January VPN deal, you can get your hands on a premium VPN service for a lot cheaper than you’d normally be able to!

How to find the best VPN deal

Many VPNs offer up amazing Black Friday deals that often extend into the new year. If you want to find the best VPN deal in January, just check the previous link and find a deal that suits you best. Chances are, many of those deals will still be active, allowing you to score an awesome January VPN deal and get a world-class VPN service at a super discount. If for some reason, a particular VPN deal is no longer active, you can always get in touch with the VPN’s customer support staff and see if you can still take advantage of the deal.

Are cheap lifetime VPNs worth it?

No, this is another gimmick that might appeal to you if you’re looking to keep costs low, which is the proposition of a lifetime VPN subscription (especially with some offering a lifetime service for as low as $30). But, while a lifetime VPN subscription sounds like an awesome deal on paper, the reality is that it isn’t sustainable and should be viewed with a healthy dose of suspicion.

VPN companies have a lot of overheads, and in order to sustain their operations and provide adequate service, they require a regular source of income. If users pay for their VPN with a small one-time fee, the VPN company is sure to run out of money sooner rather than later – meaning that the service will either shut down entirely or begin extracting profit from users by selling their data. Either way, for these reasons, a lifetime VPN subscription usually spells disaster. 

Instead of a lifetime VPN subscription, we recommend you stick to a trustworthy, cheap VPN like the ones listed in this article. These VPNs may run tight margins, but they also keep their services running optimally for their users.

Are cheap VPN services safe?

Yes, if you’re careful. There are plenty of cheap VPN services out there that have a terrible reputation, but, at the same time, lots of expensive options are just as useless! In the VPN industry, the price of a service is not necessarily always a proper representation of the level of security and the overall quality you’re going to get (though admittedly some of the more expensive VPNs are well worth the price). 

What to avoid when picking a VPN on a budget:

  • VPN Logs – Some VPNs keep VPN logs and have bad privacy policies. All the VPNs in this article keep no invasive logs that could put you at risk.
  • Malware & Spyware – Some VPNs have malware or spyware in their VPN apps, particularly free services. We have tested all the services in our list for malware and can confirm that they are free of malware and completely safe to use.
  • Lack of vital features – Often Cheap VPNs are lacking vital features that are needed to keep your data private. All of our picks have the features you need to stay secure and unblock content.
  • Leaks – A VPN with performance issues, such as IP leaks, is a massive concern because it means that VPN isn’t protecting you (even though it is connected and you think it is). All the Cheap VPNs in this article have been tested and do not have IP leaks, DNS leaks, or WebRTC problems.

All the VPNs in this article are well-known and trusted brands that have demonstrated their worth, year after year. They all have a proven track record for being both cheap and safe, so regardless of the provider you opt for, you know you’ll be receiving a stellar service.

Using a budget VPN in restrictive countries?

The cheap VPNs listed in this article have servers all over the world. This means that they are perfect for people living anywhere! However, if you are using a VPN in countries such as China or the UAE (where censorship is an issue), you will need a VPN with specific features that will help you bypass government censorship. If this situation applies to you, we would recommend sticking with [[post-object type=”gotolink” provider=”nordvpn”]]NordVPN[[/post-object]], [[post-object type=”gotolink” provider=”cyberghost”]]CyberGhost[[/post-object]], and [[post-object type=”gotolink” provider=”privatevpn”]]PrivateVPN[[/post-object]], as these services provide all the privacy features you’re going to need to evade such heavy-handed censorship measures.

Free Vs Cheap VPNs

Although there are free VPN services on the market; the vast majority of them are extremely risky to use. The free VPNs that we recommend are all quality providers, but they usually have download limits and connection speed restrictions. As a result, you will never get the kind of performance from a free VPN as you do from a cheap VPN. Alternatively, if you are unsure whether or not to sign up for a long-term contract, we recommend that you check out a VPN’s free trial to determine if it’s worth signing up to.

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Why do I need a VPN?

When you visit websites, they automatically detect your home IP address. This unique address can be used to track you – so that online services know when you return. On top of that, unless you use a VPN, your ISP can track your web history (and metadata) and pass that info to the government for surveillance purposes.

Nobody likes being tracked, regardless of what they do online, and a VPN is the ideal solution to protect against online tracking. With a VPN, you’ll gain solid digital privacy for yourself and your family. What’s more, VPN encryption also protects you from other online threats like hacking. 

What are the most important benefits?

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What else can I use a VPN for?

In addition to protecting your data and digital privacy and giving you access to more online content, such as unblocking YouTube videos unavailable in your region, government-censored news and websites, and geo-blocked sports streams, a VPN can also be used in a number of other ways!

Cheap VPNs for safer torrenting

If you often download TV shows and movies, or even software via BitTorrent; you really should use a VPN. Piracy is a crime and without a VPN you will be caught out easily.

With a VPN, you can avoid copyright violation notices for torrenting. All the cheap VPNs in this article permit P2P downloading; which means they are all valid options if you want a VPN for torrenting

To learn more about torrenting and VPNs, check out:

Gaming online with a cheap VPN

A VPN is a great partner for any online gamer. It allows you to broaden your horizons and play against the best from around the globe by connecting to VPN servers in different countries. What’s more, it can help you save additional money when purchasing games online, by giving you access to Steam and other online storefronts in other countries.

With speed being crucial to a good online gaming experience, you will want to ensure that your VPN is up to the task and won’t slow you down. We would recommend studying the speed test table that we covered earlier in this guide to understand the speeds you can expect from your chosen service.

To learn more about this, take a look at our best VPNs for gaming guide, or our best VPNs for steam guide to learn how to snag a bargain online.

FAQs

The questions below are popular questions about cheap VPNs that we get asked here or have seen people asking on Reddit and in other places. If you have any other questions, drop us a message below!

[[post-object type=”accordion” question=”Are cheap VPNs secure?” answer=”Yes, a cheap VPN can indeed be secure. That said, there are also cheap VPNs on the market that aren’t secure at all and will do little to nothing to protect your privacy online. That’s why it’s extremely important to choose wisely when it comes to selecting a secure, cheap VPN. The good news is that we’ve already done all the work for you in this guide. Each of the VPN providers listed above is cheap in addition to being highly secure. If a VPN is not secure, then it wouldn’t be eligible for inclusion in our list of the best cheap VPNs.” /]]

[[post-object type=”accordion” question=”Are VPNs legal?” answer=”Yes, in the vast majority of the world, VPNs are perfectly legal. Certain authoritarian-governed countries, however, may restrict or even outlaw VPN use. But in most countries around the world, there is nothing illegal about using a VPN. In fact, a VPN is an indispensable online privacy tool that is used all over the world by businesses and consumers alike.” /]]

[[post-object type=”accordion” question=”Can I pay for a VPN monthly?” answer=”You can, as commercial VPNs will allow you to pay for a single month subscription if you so choose. However, keep in mind that you may end up paying double, or even triple, for the VPN in the long run if you subscribe to a monthly subscription plan. Because of this, we recommend opting for longer subscriptions to get the most value for your money and making use of <a href=’/vpn/comparison/best-vpn-free-trial’>VPN free trials</a> to try before you buy.” /]]

[[post-object type=”accordion” question=”Are low-cost VPN services reliable?” answer=”We’d urge you to pick a VPN from this list if you’re looking for a cheap, reliable service. We have worked hard to test and review as many inexpensive VPNs as possible over the past several years. During this time, we’ve seen lots of cheap VPNs that provide a shabby service that could put your data privacy at risk. The VPNs we recommend here all run a tight ship, and you’ll be able to benefit from a premium VPN experience without paying a premium for it.” /]]

[[post-object type=”accordion” question=”Do cheap VPNs offer port forwarding?” answer=”Typically, <a href=’/vpn/guides/vpn-port-forwarding-guide’>port forwarding</a> tends to be a feature provided by the more costly VPNs. NordVPN does provide port forwarding, luckily, and Ivacy also offers it as a bolt-on feature at extra cost.” /]]

[[post-object type=”accordion” question=”Do cheap VPNs offer dedicated IP addresses?” answer=”You may be able to get your hands on a cheap <a href=’/vpn/comparison/best-vpns-static-ips’>VPN with a dedicated IP address</a>. However, you may need to be prepared to pay extra for a dedicated IP – so be sure to consider your budget before buying!” /]]

[[post-object type=”accordion” question=”Do cheap VPNs limit bandwidth?” answer=”Some cheap VPNs may limit your bandwidth, however, those that we’ve hand-picked in this article all offer unlimited downloads and cap-free bandwidth to their users.” /]]

[[post-object type=”accordion” question=”Can I get cheap a VPN for one week?” answer=”No. Most commercial VPN providers will offer a single month as the shortest period available. The VPNs we’ve recommended all offer a money-back guarantee, however, and some of these last up to 30-days. If you only need a VPN for a week, it might be a good idea to pay for a premium service and simply request a refund once you’re done.” /]]

Conclusion

Now that you have all the information you need to make a cost-effective buying decision, let’s review our top cheap VPN picks:

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