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The Best Cheap VPNs of 2023

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Callum Tennent oversees how we test and review VPN services. He's a member of the IAPP, and his VPN advice has featured in Forbes and the Internet Society.

Fact-checked by Simon MiglianoAdditional Testing by David Hughes

The best cheap VPNs have the best quality-price ratio. They’re fast, private, secure, and available at an affordable monthly price.

With the latest deals, you can get a top-rated VPN for up to 85% off, or as little as $2.00 per month on longer-term pricing plans.

Based on our recent tests and research, the best cheap VPNs in 2023 are:

  1. Surfshark – Best Cheap VPN ($2.30/month)
  2. PIA VPN – Best Cheap VPN for Privacy ($2.19/month)
  3. PrivateVPN – Best Cheap VPN for Streaming ($2.00/month)
  4. CyberGhost – Best Cheap VPN for Public WiFi ($2.19/month)
  5. NordVPN – Best Cheap VPN for Security ($3.29/month)

On longer-term plans, all these VPNs cost less than the average best monthly price of a VPN, which we’ve calculated at $4.11.

Comparison of the Best Cheap VPNs

The table below compares these affordable VPNs based on the best monthly price available, pay monthly price, highest discount, refund guarantee period, and free trial length:

These low-cost VPNs don’t compromise on quality. They will protect your internet privacy and security, and unblock streaming platforms like US Netflix, HBO Max, and more.

If these budget-friendly VPNs are still too expensive for you, consider signing up to a VPN free trial to test a premium service for free.

The Best Cheap VPNs: Summary Test Ratings

The table below shows how the five best cheap VPNs we recommend performed in each key testing category:

Why Trust Top10VPN.com?

Unlike many review websites, we’re completely independent and focused on VPN software. We’ve spent thousands of hours testing and reviewing VPNs using our VPN testing process to recommend the best ones.

Following our VPN price analysis, here are key stats about cheap VPNs:

Total Hours of Testing30,000+
Weekly Speed Tests3,000+
VPN Services Reviewed56
Average Pay Monthly Price$11.77
Average Best Monthly Price$4.11
Cheapest Monthly Price (Multi-Year Plan)$1.11

Our Best Cheap VPN Rankings

  1. 1. Surfshark: Overall Best Cheap VPN

    The overall best cheap VPN, highly secure and private. $2.30/month (85% saving).

    Ranked #1 Best Cheap VPN
    Surfshark app
     Rated 4.1 out of 5 
    131 user reviews
    Visit Surfshark

    • The best VPN deal of the moment
    • Fast connection speeds
    • Unblocks 10 Netflix libraries, BBC iPlayer & more
    • GPS spoofing setting on Android app
    • Privacy-friendly logging policy
    • Unlimited simultaneous devices

    • No-logs policy not yet independently verified
    • Kill switch not enabled by default
    • No IPv6 leak protection
    • No port forwarding setting available
    • NoBorders mode not consistent in China
    • Based in Netherlands (EU jurisdiction)

    Overall Cheap VPN Rating: 9.5/10

    This overall rating is calculated based on the following subcategory ratings. To learn more, read our testing methodology for the best cheap VPNs.

    • 9.59.5/10
    • 9.79.7/10
    • 9.89.8/10
    • 9.69.6/10
    • 8.68.6/10

    Surfshark is the best cheap VPN of 2023. If you’re looking for a leading VPN for a low price, Surfshark is a great choice.

    It offers excellent value at $2.30 per month on a two-year subscription, billed at $59.80 the first two years, and annually thereafter.

    The VPN provides reliably fast speeds, strong security, and excellent streaming capabilities that compete with more expensive rivals like ExpressVPN and CyberGhost.

    Cheapest Price$2.30/mo over 26 months See all plans
    Money-Back Guarantee 30 Days
    Free Trial Duration7 Days
    SpeediSpeedBased on 100Mbps local test connection85Mbps
    US NetflixYes
    Servers3,200+
    Countries100
    Logging PolicyNo Identifying Data
    Data LeaksNo

    AES-256 encryption and a zero-logs privacy policy

    Unlike many cheap VPNs, Surfshark is highly-secure. It’s headquartered in the British Virgin Islands, which is an ideal privacy-focused location for a VPN company.

    It operates a zero-logs policy and encrypts your web traffic with the AES 256-bit cipher and a selection of secure VPN protocols including OpenVPN.

    There is a surprising number of additional security and privacy features, too – more than most expensive VPN services.

    These features include MultiHop, which routes traffic through two VPN servers for additional anonymity.

    Unfortunately, Surfshark’s NoBorders mode, which is designed to bypass aggressive web censorship, no longer works so well in China. After a year of testing it on our Shanghai server, we’ve only recorded a 14% success rate getting around the Great Firewall.

    Excellent streaming capabilities for under $3 per month

    One of Surfshark’s highlights is its ability to unblock video content platforms.

    In our tests the VPN accessed 10 different Netflix regions, as well as BBC iPlayer, HBO Max, and Amazon Prime Video.

    The video below demonstrates how easy it is to unblock the American and Japanese Netflix regions using Surfshark.

    Unblocking US Netflix using Surfshark VPN.

    Surfshark is also the best VPN for Disney Plus. It offers a Smart DNS tool for easier use on Apple TV and games consoles like Xbox, PlayStation, and Nintendo Switch.

    You can use Surfshark on an unlimited number of devices, and it has well-designed native apps for Windows, macOS, iOS, Android and Fire OS.

    If you’re not prepared to pay for the VPN service just yet, sign up for Surfshark’s 7-day free trial, or ask for a no-questions-asked refund within 30 days.

  2. 2. PIA: Best Cheap VPN for Privacy

    The cheapest no-logs VPN ideal for private browsing and file-sharing. $2.19/month (83% saving).

    Private Internet Access
     Rated 4.3 out of 5 
    29 user reviews
    Visit PIA VPN

    • Optimized for anonymous torrenting & file-sharing
    • Largest server network: 17,087 servers
    • Extremely fast short-distance speeds
    • Verified no-logs privacy policy
    • Streams US Netflix, BBC iPlayer & Disney+
    • Beats web content filters in China

    • Mac client has usability issues
    • Fire TV Stick app needs improving
    • Smart DNS doesn't unblock streaming apps
    • Based in the US (FVEY jurisdiction)

    Overall Cheap VPN Rating: 9.5/10

    This overall rating is calculated based on the following subcategory ratings. To learn more, read our testing methodology for the best cheap VPNs.

    • 9.59.5/10
    • 9.99.9/10
    • 8.88.8/10
    • 99.0/10
    • 9.39.3/10

    Private Internet Access (PIA) costs $2.19 per month on a 26-month subscription, which makes it the least expensive after PrivateVPN.

    It’s one of the fastest VPNs, with short-distance speeds of up to 93Mbps, and comes with very high security standards. Combined with a no-logs policy, this makes PIA VPN excellent for secure file-sharing.

    Cheapest Price$2.19/mo over 26 months See all plans
    Money-Back Guarantee 30 Days
    Free Trial DurationN/A
    SpeediSpeedBased on 100Mbps local test connection93Mbps
    US NetflixYes
    Servers17,087
    Countries84
    Logging PolicyNo Logs
    Data LeaksNo

    A highly secure and no-logs VPN for torrenting

    PIA doesn’t cut corners when it comes to internet security or privacy.

    The service’s no-logs privacy policy has been verified on several occasions in real-life court cases.

    It also comes with high-end security features including the OpenVPN and WireGuard protocols, AES-256 encryption, a VPN kill switch, and effective IP leak blocking.

    This high levels of security, combined with very fast torrenting bitrates, make PIA VPN an exceptional VPN for anonymous P2P file-sharing.

    The Private Internet Access app lets you customize your VPN encryption settings

    The Private Internet Access software lets you customize many security settings.

    It’s also the best cheap VPN for getting around Chinese web censorship, with a 97% success rate bypassing the Great Firewall.

    17,087 VPN servers worldwide

    Private Internet Access offers access to the largest VPN server network, with 17,087 servers around the world.

    Furthermore, PIA has VPN servers in 50 US states – the highest number offered by a VPN service.

    This helps to account for its exceptional international connection speeds, which aren’t affected by server congestion.

    For the price of $2.19 per month (billed as $56.94 the first two years), Private Internet Access offers exceptional value for money considering its speeds, security, and server network.

    If it doesn’t meet your needs, there’s also a 30 day money-back guarantee. However, PIA does not offer a free trial.

    Great for getting cheaper Netflix

    The savings don’t end with the VPN itself, though – you can also use Private Internet Access to get cheaper Netflix.

    You can sign up for a Netflix account using its Ukraine server for a 50% discount compared to an account in the US.

  3. 3. PrivateVPN: Best Cheap VPN for Streaming

    The cheapest VPN overall, optimized for unblocking streaming platforms. $2.00/month (85% saving).

    Image of PrivateVPN's app on mobile
     Rated 4.9 out of 5 
    1,735 user reviews
    Visit PrivateVPN

    • Very affordable on a 3-year subscription plan
    • Unblocks 14 Netflix regions, HBO Max, Hulu & more
    • Very quick short-distance connection speeds
    • Doesn't collect any web usage logs
    • Allows torrent traffic on all servers
    • User-friendly applications ideal for beginners

    • Only 200 VPN servers
    • Inconsistent live chat availability
    • Unreliable long-distance speeds
    • No VPN browser extensions & no Smart DNS
    • Logging policy needs to be more detailed
    • No WireGuard protocol

    Overall Cheap VPN Rating: 9.4/10

    This overall rating is calculated based on the following subcategory ratings. To learn more, read our testing methodology for the best cheap VPNs.

    • 9.59.5/10
    • 9.59.5/10
    • 9.19.1/10
    • 9.89.8/10
    • 8.98.9/10

    PrivateVPN costs just $2.00 per month, or $72.00 every three years. This makes it one of the cheapest VPN available, and excellent value for money.

    It doesn’t compromise on quality, either. PrivateVPN is just as secure as Private Internet Access and delivers similar speeds too.

    PrivateVPN is the best choice for cheap streaming, with dedicated streaming servers and the ability to unblock over 14 Netflix libraries.

    Cheapest Price$2.00/mo over 3 years See all plans
    Money-Back Guarantee 30 days
    Free Trial Duration7 Days
    SpeediSpeedBased on 100Mbps local test connection94Mbps
    US NetflixYes
    Servers200
    Countries63
    Logging PolicyNo Logs
    Data LeaksNo

    Unblocks 14 Netflix regions and other streaming services

    PrivateVPN is very affordable, and also one of the best streaming VPNs on the market.

    Its streaming capabilities are impressive. PrivateVPN can stream 14 Netflix libraries on its dedicated streaming servers, and it works well with BBC iPlayer, Hulu, HBO Max, and Amazon Prime Video.

    Accessing a TV show on Netflix Canada using PrivateVPN

    PrivateVPN is a great budget VPN for Netflix.

    However, the VPN’s small network of 200 servers leads to inconsistent international streaming speeds at times.

    OpenVPN encryption and zero-logs

    PrivateVPN is very safe. It uses AES-256 encryption, the OpenVPN protocol, and robust IPv4, IPv6, and DNS leak protection.

    It doesn’t collect activity or connection logs and it also operates its own DNS servers, which is added peace of mind especially if you want to torrent without breaking the bank.

    This level of privacy and security is to be expected from the most costly VPN services, so it’s impressive that PrivateVPN offers such effective security for such a small price tag.

    There’s a seven-day free trial, too, which is the absolute best available. There are no data caps and no payment details are necessary to sign up. Subscribe and you have 30-days to get your money-back if you don’t like it.

    A smaller server network than competitors

    The downside to using PrivateVPN is that it has a much smaller server network than its rivals, which sometimes impacts its speed performance.

    Operating a large VPN server network can be very expensive, which means cheaper VPNs often have smaller networks.

    Live chat support is not available 24/7 either, unlike other top-rated VPNs. If you have a problem using PrivateVPN and you can’t find a solution online, you’ll have to email customer support and wait for a response.

  4. 4. CyberGhost: Best Cheap VPN for Public WiFi

    A secure, affordable VPN with a 45-day money-back guarantee. $2.19/month (84% saving).

    CyberGhost app
     Rated 4.7 out of 5 
    340 user reviews
    Visit CyberGhost

    • Automatic WiFi protection setting
    • Very large network of 9,769 servers
    • Works with US Netflix, Hulu & Disney+
    • 24-hour, three-day & seven-day free trials
    • Good same-country connection speeds
    • User-friendly apps for popular devices

    • International speeds have worsened
    • Browser extensions only cover four countries
    • Doesn't work in high-censorship countries
    • No OpenVPN protocol on Mac and iOS

    Overall Cheap VPN Rating: 9.3/10

    This overall rating is calculated based on the following subcategory ratings. To learn more, read our testing methodology for the best cheap VPNs.

    • 9.49.4/10
    • 9.69.6/10
    • 9.59.5/10
    • 8.88.8/10
    • 8.88.8/10

    CyberGhost costs $2.19 per month on a 26-month plan, which makes it cheaper than Surfshark but more expensive than PIA and PrivateVPN. Either way, CyberGhost is still a great budget VPN.

    It’s particularly useful for beginners looking for a user-friendly, cost-effective service. It’s not the fastest VPN we’ve tested, but it’s good for streaming, torrenting, and browsing the web securely.

    Cheapest Price$2.19/mo over 26 months See all plans
    Money-Back Guarantee 45 Days
    Free Trial Duration1 Day
    SpeediSpeedBased on 100Mbps local test connection89Mbps
    US NetflixYes
    Servers9,769
    Countries90
    Logging PolicyNo Identifying Data
    Data LeaksNo

    Wide device compatibility

    CyberGhost is one of the easiest VPNs to use, and it’s ideal if you’re specifically looking to use a VPN for streaming.

    It currently has one of the best native Fire TV Stick app interfaces, and our tests show it works very well with US Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Hulu.

    Unlike PrivateVPN, CyberGhost comes with Smart DNS functionality to use the VPN with Apple TV and games consoles.

    You can also use a single CyberGhost subscription on up to seven devices at once. Moreover, you can install CyberGhost’s free browser extension for quick streaming access.

    Good security with an effective kill switch

    Despite the low price, CyberGhost is also a very secure VPN that doesn’t collect any personally-identifiable connection logs.

    It protects your browsing activity using AES 256-bit encryption, and it also has a VPN kill switch that shields your identity in the event of an unexpected connection drop.

    CyberGhost's VPN connection settings

    CyberGhost’s connection settings.

    One of CyberGhost’s strengths is the size of its server network: it has 9,769 servers in 90 countries. It’s one of the largest server networks of any VPN, even though it doesn’t own its network.

    At 45 days long, it has the most generous money-back guarantee you can find. It’s good for beginners or casual VPN users, but not the best value for money you can find.

    One of the largest VPN server networks

    One of CyberGhost’s strengths is the size of its server network: it has 9,769 servers in 90 countries.

    This is the second biggest server network on offer after Private Internet Access.

    Despite the global server network, it isn’t a good choice for bypassing aggressive web censorship.

    If you need a VPN to use in China, Turkey or the UAE, we highly recommend using PrivateVPN, instead. It also bans torrenting on a surprisingly large number of server locations.

    Overall, CyberGhost is a reliable budget VPN with user-friendly apps. It’s good for beginners or casual VPN users, but not the best value for money you can find.

    As cheap as it is, if you’d rather try CyberGhost before subscribing then read our guide on how to get a CyberGhost free trial.

  5. 5. NordVPN: Best Cheap VPN for Security

    A great all-round VPN with excellent security features. {best_price-nordvpn}}/month (60% saving).

    NordVPN Mobile App Screenshot
     Rated 4.7 out of 5 
    246 user reviews
    Visit NordVPN

    • Advanced security features like multihop & diskless servers
    • Audited no-logs policy & safe jurisdictoin
    • Very fast speeds across 5,613 servers
    • Unblocks Netflix, BBC iPlayer & Disney+
    • 7-day free trial on Android
    • High compatibility with most devices

    • Renews at a much higher monthly cost
    • PayPal unavailable as a payment method
    • Fire TV Stick not very reliable Netflix
    • Unreliable at bypassing web blocks in China
    • Fixed size of PC & Mac applications

    Overall Cheap VPN Rating: 9.2/10

    This overall rating is calculated based on the following subcategory ratings. To learn more, read our testing methodology for the best cheap VPNs.

    • 8.58.5/10
    • 9.59.5/10
    • 9.79.7/10
    • 9.89.8/10
    • 9.59.5/10

    NordVPN is a high-quality VPN in every category: speed, security, privacy, and more. However, it costs $3.29 per month on a two-year plan, which makes it slightly more expensive than the other top cheap VPNs.

    It’s still an affordable option overall, and it’s a very good choice if you’re willing to pay slightly more for advanced security settings and features.

    Cheapest Price$3.29/mo over 2 years See all plans
    Money-Back Guarantee 30 Days
    Free Trial Duration7 Days
    SpeediSpeedBased on 100Mbps local test connection98Mbps
    US NetflixYes
    Servers5,613
    Countries59
    Logging PolicyNo Logs
    Data LeaksNo

    Committed to internet security and privacy

    NordVPN’s software comes with a wide selection of advanced security features.

    The VPN’s main protocols, OpenVPN and WireGuard (branded as NordLynx) deliver fast and secure connections encrypted using the AES-256 cipher.

    Furthermore, the VPN includes a kill switch on all its applications, to prevent your IP address from leaking in the rare event the VPN disconnects.

    NordVPN's kill switch settings on its Windows client

    You can choose between a system and application level kill switch on NordVPN.

    Moreover, the VPN service uses diskless servers that never store any data locally.

    All these settings, combined with its audited no-logs policy, make NordVPN one of the most secure and private VPNs we’ve reviewed.

    For a slightly higher price, NordVPN offers extremely fast international speeds across a wide server list.

    In fact, it’s the fastest VPN we’ve tested connecting to nearby VPN servers. Locally, it recorded a speed loss of just 2%.

    NordVPN speed test results

    NordVPN is extremely fast on short-distance connections.

    Connecting internationally, NordVPN’s speed loss was 33%, which beats most competitors. In comparison, Surfshark’s speed reductions was 38%, while PIA’s 14%.

    A good low-cost choice for streaming

    These high speeds make NordVPN a good choice for unblocking streaming content quickly and reliably.

    In our latest tests, the VPN unblocked 11 Netflix regions including the US, UK, Japan, Brazil, India, and South Korea.

    NordVPN is also the best VPN for BBC iPlayer, and very good choice for Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, HBO Max, and Hulu.

    The VPN unblocked all these streaming platforms on all the devices we tested. This includes our Fire TV Stick, and our Apple TV, through the use of NordVPN’s Smart DNS service.

Other VPNs We Considered

The five VPN services we recommend in this guide ranked the highest based on our price-quality assessments.

Having tested and reviewed 56 VPN services overall, some very popular VPNs didn’t make the cut, often because of how much they cost.

Below are five popular VPNs we don’t consider to be affordable enough to qualify as a top-rated cheap VPN.

ExpressVPN

Pay Monthly Price: $12.95

Best Price: $6.67/month over 15 months

Overall Cheap VPN Rating: 8.8/108.8

Price: 7.5/107.5

Logging Policy: 9.6/109.6

Security & Encryption: 9.6/109.6

Streaming: 9.9/109.9

Speed & Reliability: 9.9/109.9

Atlas VPN

Pay Monthly Price: $10.99

Best Price: $1.99/month over 3 years

Overall Cheap VPN Rating: 8.8/108.8

Price: 9.4/109.4

Logging Policy: 8.5/108.5

Security & Encryption: 7.0/107.0

Streaming: 9.2/109.2

Speed & Reliability: 9.8/109.8

IPVanish

Pay Monthly Price: $10.99

Best Price: $3.33/month over 12 months

Overall Cheap VPN Rating: 8.7/108.7

Price: 8.0/108.0

Logging Policy: 9.9/109.9

Security & Encryption: 9.6/109.6

Streaming: 7.0/107.0

Speed & Reliability: 9.1/109.1

ProtonVPN

Pay Monthly Price: $9.99

Best Price: $4.99/month over 2 years

Overall Cheap VPN Rating: 8.7/108.7

Price: 7.5/107.5

Logging Policy: 9.8/109.8

Security & Encryption: 9.0/109.0

Streaming: 9.5/109.5

Speed & Reliability: 9.8/109.8

PureVPN

Pay Monthly Price: $10.95

Best Price: $1.99/month over 2 years

Overall Cheap VPN Rating: 8.0/108.0

Price: 8.0/108.0

Logging Policy: 7.5/107.5

Security & Encryption: 8.3/108.3

Streaming: 5.0/105.0

Speed & Reliability: 8.6/108.6

The Cheapest Pay Monthly VPN

The longer you subscribe to a premium VPN, the greater the monthly saving.

But maybe you only want a VPN for a short period of time, for instance if you’re travelling abroad.

Based on our latest analysis, the best cheapest pay monthly VPN is Mullvad.

Mullvad VPN isn’t as good as the five best cheap VPNs we recommend in this guide, however it’s very secure and private.

Mullvad VPN

Pay Monthly Price: $4.85

Overall Cheap VPN Rating: 8.4/108.4

Price: 7.5/107.5

Logging Policy: 9.7/109.7

Security & Encryption: 9.3/109.3

Streaming: 3.0/103.0

Speed & Reliability: 8.6/108.6

The table below shows the cheapest pay-monthly VPN plans currently available, all priced $10.00 or under.

The Absolute Cheapest VPNs

Outside of our rankings, the absolute cheapest (safe) VPN is FastestVPN. It only costs $1.11 per month over three years ($39.95 upfront), for a saving of 75%.

FastestVPN even offers a lifetime VPN subscription plan for just $20.00.

Purely looking at price, the five cheapest VPNs right now are:

  • FastestVPN: $1.11 per month
  • Ivacy: $1.00 per month
  • PureVPN: $1.99 per month
  • ZenMate: $1.51 per month
  • ZoogVPN: $1.87 per month

While these VPNs cost less than $2.00 per month (on longer-term plans), they significantly under-perform versus our top-rated most affordable VPNs.

How We Test the Best Cheap VPNs

Price does not always indicate better VPN security, speed, or streaming capabilities.

In fact, we have given low ratings to some of the most expensive VPNs on the market.

On the flip side, just because a VPN is cheap doesn’t stop it from being worthy of recommendation.

To identify the best cheap VPNs, we test each VPN’s performance in a number of key areas related to affordability, value, and overall capabilities.

We reward the VPNs that offer the highest quality service for the lowest price. The quality-price ratio is crucial to determine the best cheap VPNs.

We give every VPN a rating out of ten in each of the key areas, and then combine those ratings to calculate an overall ‘cheapness’ rating.

For cheap VPNs, we test for:

  • A monthly subscription price of under $3.00 per month.
  • Affordable short-term subscription prices (12 months or less).
  • Exceptional long-term cost saving, like a lifetime subscription.
  • A money-back guarantee, free trial period, or free version.
  • A no-logs privacy policy and robust security suite.
  • AES-256 encryption, leak protection, and the OpenVPN protocol.
  • Fast local and international connection speeds.
  • A diverse server network in global locations.

Here’s a more detailed look at our key decision-making areas, what goes into them, and how they’re weighted:

1. Price: 40%

Minimum Requirement: A monthly price of $3.50 or less.
We Recommend: $2.50 a month or less.

The most important data point for a cheap VPN is the lowest price per month you can buy it for.

We work out the monthly price based on the VPNs best deal, which most often come with longer-term subscriptions.

Some VPNs charge as much as $10 a month for a subscription, even on multi-year deals. When it comes to our cheap VPN recommendations, we’re looking for a maximum of $3.00 per month on its best price deal.

The very cheapest VPNs on the market get the highest rating, irrespective of quality. The more expensive the VPN, the lower the rating.

We’ve researched the prices of all the major VPN services and our team works hard to keep this information up to date.

Alongside the VPNs cheapest monthly cost, we also factor in the length of the subscription, the other available pricing plans, whether there are cost-effective alternate plans like a lifetime offer, and whether the VPN has a money-back guarantee or free trial option.

2. Logging Policy: 20%

Minimum Requirement: A plain-language policy with anonymized connection logs only.
We Recommend: A zero-logs policy with strictly no activity or connection logs.

While cost is important, when we recommend the best cheap VPNs we take into account how well it protects your privacy.

We only recommend VPNs that you can trust not to log your personal information. To do this, we conduct a detailed analysis of every VPN’s privacy policy. We read the small print to ensure there are no hidden catches.

The best VPNs don’t keep any connection logs that could be used to identify you. Ideally, the VPN should have a zero-logs policy which has also been verified by an independent third-party audit.

3. Encryption & Security: 20%

Minimum Requirement: AES-256 encryption, OpenVPN protocol, IP & DNS leak protection.
We Recommend: AES-256 encryption, multiple protocols, leak protection, VPN kill switch.

Any VPN we recommend needs to be secure and safe to use. There’s no point using a VPN just because it’s cheap if it’s going to leak your IP and fail to encrypt your traffic.

We look for secure encryption ciphers like AES-256 and a safe protocol like OpenVPN, WireGuard, or IKEv2. We run regular packet-inspection tests to ensure the VPN isn’t exposing your activity to ISPs, hackers, or other eavesdroppers.

We also conduct IPv4, IPv6, DNS, and WebRTC leak tests to ensure that absolutely no personal information is on show.

The best VPNs should also include a VPN kill switch. This protects your identity by stopping your internet connections if the VPN connection ever drops, even for a moment.

4. Streaming: 10%

Minimum Requirement: Unblocks Netflix USA.
We Recommend: Unblocks multiple streaming platforms around the world.

We have active subscriptions to many popular streaming services, such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, HBO Max, Disney+, and BBC iPlayer.

We run weekly tests to see which VPNs can bypass streaming geo-restrictions, and which can’t

Our minimum requirement is that a VPN can unblock the American Netflix library from overseas.

In addition, we test if a VPN can unblock other popular platforms like Disney+, HBO Max, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, and more.

5. Speed: 10%

Minimum Requirement: Local download speeds above 60Mbps and respectable international speeds.
We Recommend: Local download speeds above 80Mbps and fast international connection speeds.

Even cheap VPNs can be fast. All VPNs slow down your connection speed to some degree. But with the best cheap VPNs the speed loss is barely noticeable.

We conduct regular manual speed tests, alongside our automated VPN speed test tool. Taken together, these tests provide us with an accurate picture of how fast the VPN is.

For cheap VPNs, we’re interested in local connection speeds (good for regular browsing and torrenting downloads) and longer-distance speeds (good for unblocking Netflix libraries).

The fastest VPNs won’t reduce you internet speed by much at all. You’ll able to establish international connections with enough bandwidth to stream Netflix in Ultra HD quality.

The Best Cheap VPNs by Category

If you’re on a tight budget, we’ve put together a table showing which cheap VPN is best suited for your specific needs:

  • Android: Surfshark
  • Apple TV: Surfshark
  • Australia: PIA VPN
  • BBC iPlayer: PrivateVPN
  • Canada: PIA VPN
  • China: PIA VPN
  • Disney+: Surfshark
  • Fire TV Stick: Surfshark
  • Gaming: Surfshark
  • HBO Max: Surfshark
  • Hotstar: Surfshark
  • Hulu: CyberGhost
  • iOS: Surfshark
  • Line TV: CyberGhost
  • Linux: PIA VPN
  • Kodi: PrivateVPN
  • macOS: Surfshark
  • Netflix: PrivateVPN
  • Russia: PrivateVPN
  • Torrenting: PIA VPN
  • Turkey: PrivateVPN
  • UAE: PrivateVPN
  • USA: PIA VPN
  • UK: Surfshark
  • Windows: Surfshark

How to Get a VPN for Less (or Free)

The easiest way to get the cheapest possible price on a VPN subscription is to choose a longer subscription plan.

VPN subscriptions tend to come in three lengths: monthly, annual, and two-year. Typically, the longest subscriptions are the cheapest.

In fact, you can reduce the monthly subscription price of most VPNs by over 80% if you subscribe to the service for 12 months or longer.

Long-term subscriptions aren’t the only way to get a great VPN for less. The following methods also allow you to use a high-quality VPN without paying too much or at all:

1. VPN Free Trials

If you want to use a VPN for less than 30 days, you can use a VPN free trial to test out a premium VPN service for a limited amount of time.

2. Money-Back Guarantees

It’s also possible to get a top VPN like ExpressVPN or NordVPN for free using their 30 day money-back guarantee.

You’ll need to purchase a subscription upfront, but you’ll be refunded within 30 days by contacting customer support.

Using this method you can use top VPNs like ExpressVPN for free for up to 30 days.

3. Pay Monthly VPNs

If you don’t want to subscribe to a long-term contract, but you also want to keep the monthly cost as low as possible, Mullvad VPN could be the right choice.

Mullvad VPN is unique because it offers a flat-rate payment plan of $4.85 per month.

Mullvad Pricing Model

Mullvad uses a flat-rate pricing model

That’s one of the cheapest rolling monthly fees for a good VPN. Moreover, it doesn’t require any long-term commitments.

Mullvad is a relatively cheap and reliable VPN for most purposes, although it doesn’t unblock Netflix. You can read more in our updated Mullvad VPN review.