No matter what you do online, using a VPN is totally essential to protect your privacy, but that doesn’t mean it has to cost the earth.
We’ve rounded up five VPNs that offer excellent value for money, with not one of them costing more than $3.00 per month.
They all offer excellent speeds and access to all your favorite sites, as well as top-class security features and privacy-friendly logging policies.
Wondering why you should trust our reviews? Take a look at How We Test VPNs
Our top picks offer the best all-round VPN experience at the most reasonable monthly price.
Just because you pay less for a VPN doesn’t mean your performance should suffer. We test the speeds of all our recommendations to ensure they’ll provide a seamless online experience.
We also looked for transparent, privacy-friendly logging policies, as well as security essentials such as a VPN kill switch and protection against DNS leaks.
Providers also earned bonus points for easy access to streaming sites like Netflix and BBC iPlayer, as well as user-friendly apps for a wide range of devices.
Most VPN providers will have a few different pricing options but as a general rule, the longer you sign up for, the cheaper the monthly cost.
This means that the longer you’re willing to commit to, the more money you’ll save. Generally these come in the form of two or three-year plans, which could save you up to 80% (or even more in some cases). Just bear in mind you usually have to pay the full subscription cost upfront, though.
For the more dedicated bargain hunters, there’s also a handful of providers (such as KeepSolid VPN Unlimited) that offer ‘lifetime’ subscriptions. Obviously the saving will depend on how long you use it for, but usually anything longer than five years should save you a huge chunk of money.
Another way of reducing the monthly cost a little more is by using a discount coupon – these are available for most major providers. We’ve rounded up all the best deals and added them to our Coupons Hub to make this process a little easier.
Cheaper VPNs can sometimes operate smaller server networks, so make sure you check all the available locations before you sign up.
Connecting to a server close to your physical location will ensure the best possible speeds, so ideally opt for a provider that at least has a server in your country (or one very close by).
Most VPNs will work on Microsoft Windows, MacOS and Linux machines, as well as iOS and Android mobile devices. However, if you want to use a VPN on anything different, such as a router, games console or streaming device, you need to be sure that the one you choose is compatible.
If a VPN can be installed at router level, it will automatically protect all of the internet-connected devices in your home, so look out for that. If you want to avoid manual configuration, keep an eye out for providers that sell pre-configured VPN routers.
There’s no point choosing a fast, secure VPN if it won’t allow you to access the apps and websites you use on a daily basis.
Not all providers will work with popular sites such as Netflix and BBC iPlayer, but we test all our top picks regularly and publish the results in the Streaming & Torrenting section of our independent VPN reviews.
Even if you’re pretty tech-savvy, the amount of VPN jargon on some providers’ websites can be overwhelming.
Key things to look for are a solid VPN protocol (preferably OpenVPN), top-class AES-256 encryption, and features such as a kill switch and protection against DNS and IPv6 leaks.
An alarming amount of providers claim to be totally zero logs, but unfortunately that is very rarely the case. Most VPNs need to collect at least some connection stats in order to maintain a decent level of performance.
A “no questions asked” money-back guarantee is essentially like a free trial period, as long as it genuinely is no questions asked and isn’t subject to any hidden bandwidth caps or ‘fair usage’ policies.
Most providers will offer a 30-day guarantee, which should be plenty to thoroughly test out the service, but hopefully you won’t need this at all.