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Best Cheap VPNs of 2021

Illustration of a Podium Displaying First, Second and Third Place
Headshot of Top10VPN.com Site Editor Callum Tennent

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

The best VPN services don’t have to be the most expensive ones. In fact, some of our highest-rated VPNs are also cheap on a monthly basis, if you’re willing to sign up to a longer-term subscription plan.

A cheap VPN doesn’t have to compromise on quality, and the five below feature robust encryption and security, and fast download speeds. Some can even unblock video content platforms like Netflix, Disney+, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime Video and Hulu.

The five best ‘cheap’ VPNs in 2021 are:

  1. Surfshark: One of the best VPNs at a very low price – from $2.21/month. Read summary
  2. PrivateVPN: Cheap VPN that unblocks 20+ Netflix libraries – from $1.98/month. Read summary
  3. CyberGhost: A budget VPN very easy to use – from $2.75/month. Read summary
  4. Private Internet Access: Very fast and highly secure VPN – from $2.69/month. Read summary
  5. NordVPN: Extremely fast yet affordable VPN – from $3.71/month. Read summary

Despite their low monthly cost, the best cheap VPNs perform very highly. Not only do they give you fast, unrestricted and anonymous internet access on all popular devices, they also come with 24/7 live chat support and generous money-back guarantees.

However, you will have to sign up to long-term subscriptions in order to benefit from the cheap monthly prices. And you’ll have to pay the subscription fee upfront. If you find these VPNs too expensive, consider using a safe free VPN instead. Or, you can always sign up to a VPN free trial before buying a full VPN subscription.

Wondering why you should trust our reviews?
See How We Review VPNs.

5 Best 'Cheap' VPNs (January 2021)

1. Surfshark: Best Cheap VPN

The overall best 'cheap' VPN from $2.21/month.

  1. Excellent price-quality ratio
  2. Fast connection speeds
  3. Unblocks 15 Netflix libraries
  4. Works well with BBC iPlayer
  5. Privacy-friendly logging policy
  6. Unlimited simultaneous devices
  1. Some restrictions on torrenting
  2. Minor delay connecting to servers
  3. No-logs policy not yet independently verified
  • Best Price

    $2.21/mo over 27 months

    See all plans

  • Top Speedi

    85Mbps same city speed

    Based on a 100Mbps test connection

  • Servers

    66 countries, 3,200+ servers

  • Compatible with

    • Windows logoWindows
    • Mac logoMac
    • iOS logoiOS
    • Android logoAndroid
    • Linux logoLinux

The Bottom Line

Ranked #1 Best Cheap VPN

Surfshark is the best cheap VPN of 2021 and is excellent value for money at $2.21 per month. This is on a two-year subscription, billed at $59.76 the first two years, and annually thereafter.

It’s a highly-secure VPN service, headquartered in the British Virgin Islands, which is an ideal privacy-focused location for a VPN company. It operates a zero-logs policy and it encrypts its connections with the AES 256-bit cipher and various secure VPN protocols, including OpenVPN.

Surfhsark also comes with additional security and privacy features including the MultiHop, which routes your traffic through two different VPN servers, and the NoBorders mode, to bypass aggressive web censorship in countries like China.

However, one of Surfshark’s standout highlights is its ability to unblock 15 Netflix regions, as well as BBC iPlayer and Amazon Prime Video.

Surfshark works on Windows, macOS, iOS, Android and Fire OS. The service also comes with a Smart DNS tool for easier use on Apple TV and games consoles like Xbox, PlayStation and Nintendo Switch. And you can use Surfshark on an unlimited number of devices.

In summary, there is no better VPN than Surfshark at a cheaper monthly price. You won’t be disappointed with this VPN service, but if you happen to not enjoy using it then don’t forget that it comes with a no-questions-asked 30-day refund policy.

For a more in-depth look, read our full Surfshark VPN review.

2. PrivateVPN: Best for Netflix

The cheapest Netflix VPN from $1.98/month.

  1. Very good value for money
  2. Consistently fast speeds
  3. Unblocks 32 Netflix regions & BBC iPlayer
  4. No web usage logs
  5. Torrenting allowed on all servers
  6. Works in China
  1. Small number of VPN servers
  2. Inconsistent live chat availability
  3. No browser extensions
  4. No Smart DNS feature
  • Best Price

    $1.98/mo over 24 months

    See all plans

  • Top Speedi

    94Mbps same city speed

    Based on a 100Mbps test connection

  • Servers

    60 countries, 150+ servers

  • Compatible with

    • Windows logoWindows
    • Mac logoMac
    • iOS logoiOS
    • Android logoAndroid
    • Linux logoLinux

The Bottom Line

Ranked #2 Best Cheap VPN

PrivateVPN suits beginners and experienced users alike, and costs only $1.98 per month, in other words $45.36 ever two years.

Despite its small number of servers, it’s an impressively fast VPN that unblocks 32 Netflix libraries on it’s dedicated streaming servers. It also works well with BBC iPlayer, Hulu, HBO and Amazon Prime Video.

As far as security goes, PrivateVPN is a very safe no-logs VPN. Security highlights include AES-256 encryption, OpenVPN protocol, an effective VPN kill switch, and robust IPv4, IPv6, and DNS leak protection. It also operates its own DNS servers, which is added peace of mind especially if you want to torrent with a VPN.

The downside to using PrivateVPN is that it has a much smaller server network than its rivals, which could impact performance in the near future as it acquires more customers.

Moreover, live chat support is not available 24/7, unlike many other top 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.

For a more in-depth look, read our full PrivateVPN review.

3. CyberGhost: Best for Ease-of-Use

Fast VPN ideal for beginners from $2.75/month.

  1. Great value for money
  2. Fast same-country speeds
  3. Works with Netflix & Disney+
  4. Very large server network
  5. User-friendly apps for popular devices
  6. Anonymous dedicated IP addresses
  1. Not good in high-censorship countries
  2. Torrenting doesn’t work in Australia
  3. Slower international speeds
  • Best Price

    $2.75/mo over 3 years

    See all plans

  • Top Speedi

    87Mbps same city speed

    Based on a 100Mbps test connection

  • Servers

    90 countries, 6,700+ servers

  • Compatible with

    • Windows logoWindows
    • Mac logoMac
    • iOS logoiOS
    • Android logoAndroid
    • Linux logoLinux

The Bottom Line

Ranked #3 Best Cheap VPN

CyberGhost is more expensive than Surfshark and PrivateVPN, costing $2.75 per month on a three-year plan. But, it’s still a great budget VPN.

It’s one of the easiest VPNs to use and it currently has one of the best Fire Stick TV app interfaces. It works very well with US Netflix, Hulu, HBO and other US streaming platforms. It’s also very good for torrenting, as long as you’re not based in Australia (it’s not allowed on Australian servers).

CyberGhost is also a very secure VPN service that doesn’t collect any personally-identifiable web logs. It protects its VPN connections using AES 256-bit encryption, and it also has a VPN kill switch (called ‘Secure Connect’) for unexpected VPN connection drops.

One of CyberGhost’s strengths is the size of its server park: it counts 6,700+ servers across 90 countries. That’s the second biggest server network after Private Internet Access.

Sadly, CyberGhost VPN isn’t a good choice for bypassing aggressive web censorship. If you’re based in, or travelling to, China, Turkey or the UAE, then use Surfshark or PrivateVPN instead.

For a more in-depth look, read our full CyberGhost VPN review.

4. PIA VPN: Best for P2P

Great torrenting VPN from $2.69/month.

  1. Exceptional VPN speeds
  2. Verified no-logs privacy policy
  3. Unblocks US Netflix, BBC iPlayer & Disney+
  4. Ideal for anonymous torrenting
  5. User-friendly apps for popular platforms
  6. Largest server network: 10,000 servers
  1. Fire TV Stick app needs improving
  2. Unreliable in China
  3. Based in the US (FVEY jurisdiction)
  • Best Price

    $2.69/mo over 26 months

    See all plans

  • Top Speedi

    89Mbps same city speed

    Based on a 100Mbps test connection

  • Servers

    72 countries, 12,204 servers

  • Compatible with

    • Windows logoWindows
    • Mac logoMac
    • iOS logoiOS
    • Android logoAndroid
    • Linux logoLinux

The Bottom Line

Ranked #4 Best Cheap VPN

Private Internet Access is one of the fastest VPNs you can get. 

When connecting locally, it probably is the fastest available, with barely any speed loss.

It doesn’t skimp when it comes to privacy either. This is a solidly no-logs VPN. 

If you don’t believe us, PIA has been verified as such in multiple court cases.

PIA also releases an annual transparency report, which you can read here.

Private Internet Access keeps absolutely no logs at all. Even if you don’t believe us, you can believe the (multiple) court cases and seizures of the servers that verify it.

It also comes with high-end security features: OpenVPN protocol, AES-256 encryption, and a bespoke ad and malware blocker called PIA MACE. You can find out more about that here.

All of which is great. But PIA doesn’t forget that you might just want to put your feet up and binge-watch Netflix: you can do that on a number of servers without hassle. 

The server network here is smaller than the competition, but it’s not bad and $2.69 per month (billed as $79.00 every three years) remains excellent value for money. 

For a more in-depth look, read our full Private Internet Access review.

5. NordVPN: Best for Speed

Extremely fast VPN from $3.71/month.

  1. Excellent value for money
  2. Superb VPN speeds
  3. Unblocks Netflix, BBC iPlayer & Disney+
  4. Audited no-logs policy
  5. Large server network
  6. Custom apps for many devices
  1. Little protocol options on Windows & Android
  2. Fire TV Stick won't unblock Netflix
  3. Smart DNS works inconsistently
  4. The most expensive on this list
  5. Doesn't work well with Hulu
  • Best Price

    $3.71/mo over 24 Months

    See all plans

  • Top Speedi

    93Mbps same city speed

    Based on a 100Mbps test connection

  • Servers

    59 countries, 5,533 servers

  • Compatible with

    • Windows logoWindows
    • Mac logoMac
    • iOS logoiOS
    • Android logoAndroid
    • Linux logoLinux

The Bottom Line

Ranked #5 Best Cheap VPN

NordVPN is a quality all-round VPN service worth the $3.71 per month it charges on a two-year subscription plan ($89.00 upfront every two years).

It is the most expensive option on this page, however you do get an extremely fast VPN service across a wide server list. This makes streaming Netflix and BBC iPlayer fast and stable. And you can also torrent on on most of its servers.

With NordVPN, you’re paying for guaranteed privacy. When it comes to your data, NordVPN is 100% no-logs and it was even the first VPN to undergo a third-party audit to confirm it.

More evidence of its commitment to privacy can be found where it’s set up: in the privacy haven that is Panama. There’s no way that privacy-unfriendly nations or intelligence-sharing networks such as Five-Eyes can touch your sensitive personal information, as Panama has absolutely zero legal obligation.

However, it’s important to make you aware of a security incident involving NordVPN. In October 2019 it came to light that a NordVPN server had been breached by a hacker. No user information was taken, no data was logged, and the VPN encrypted tunnel wasn’t compromised. That said, it was a worryingly simple vulnerability and we were disappointed by NordVPN’s delayed response.

Nevertheless, NordVPN has introduced numerous security measures since the security incident, and it is without a doubt one of the best affordable VPNs available in 2021.

For a more in-depth look, read our full NordVPN review.

FAQs About Cheap VPNs

How Much Does a VPN Cost?

A one month VPN subscription approximately costs $10.00, but you can get a better monthly price by signing up to an annual, or longer, subscription plan. Some VPN services even offer lifetime subscriptions.

Taking Surfshark as an example, its one-month subscription price is $11.95, but if you subscribe for two-years, the monthly prices comes all the way down to $2.21.

For a full overview of how much VPNs cost, check out this dedicated guide.

EDITORIAL TIP: If you want to use a VPN either sporadically, or for a limited amount of time, without spending money, you have options. You can either use a safe free VPN, and accept its limitations, or trial a VPN for free, but for a short period of time.

Are VPNs Worth the Money?

If you value your privacy and internet security, VPN services are almost certainly worth the money.

Obviously, some VPNs are better value than others, which is why we exist — to provide trustworthy guidance on choosing the best VPN for your needs. We firmly believe that even an expensive VPN is worth the money, so long as it does what it’s meant to do: enhancing your online privacy and security.

It’s extremely important that a VPN works properly considering over 30% of the world’s population uses one, as shown in the graph below:

Chart showing the growth in the % of global internet users aged 16-64 growing steadily from 2017-2019

With over 2.4 billion people potentially using a VPN on a regular basis, it’s fundamental that a VPN fulfils its primary function to: hide your real IP address, encrypt your web connections, and unblock websites, ideally bypassing the most aggressive web censorship. If you value using the internet privately, securely, and without restrictions, then a VPN is definitely worth the subscription cost.

Which VPNs Offer a Lifetime Subscription?

The cheapest way to get a VPN, at least in the long run, is a lifetime subscription — one payment and you’re set forever. But, not many VPNs offer this option.

One we’ve reviewed that does is KeepSolid VPN Unlimited, which offers a lifetime subscription for $199.99 paid upfront. You can read our review of VPN Unlimited here.

KeepSolid VPN Unlimited Logo

There are potential drawbacks to choosing a lifetime subscription, though. VPN technology is constantly changing, and the gap between good and bad services is widening. Before spending hundreds of dollars on a lifetime subscription, do your research and understand if the VPN service is well placed to keep up with industry advancements. Just because a VPN is good now, it doesn’t mean it’ll be the case in a few years.

There’s always the option to go for a five-year subscription, which is also long, but not as long as a lifetime. This is offered by the following VPNs:

The three VPN services above are not the best, but they’re not the worst either. Depending on what you need a VPN for, they could be a good option for you.

Are There Any Pay as You Go VPNs?

For those who are put off by long-term contracts, but also want to keep the monthly cost as low as possible, Mullvad VPN could be the right choice. The VPN service is unique because it offers a one flat-rate payment plan of $5.80 per month.

Mullvad VPN Logo

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 simple, cheap and reliable VPN for most purposes, although it doesn’t unblock Netflix.

Read more about this VPN in our Mullvad VPN review.

What's the Best Cheap Netflix VPN?

Unblock Netflix from abroad.

If you’re paying for a Netflix subscription, we understand if you don’t want to pay more just to access its ‘hidden’ content. If that’s the case, the cheapest VPNs we recommend for Netflix fans are currently PrivateVPN, and Surfshark.

PrivateVPN, in particular, is a great VPN for unblocking Netflix. It costs $1.98 per month, and it unblocks over 30 Netflix regions, which is only surpassed by Windscribe.

To learn more about Netflix and VPNs, read our guide on the best VPNs for Netflix.

Can You Get a Cheap VPN for Fire TV Stick?

Yes, you can. 

Many VPNs come with custom apps for the very purpose of Fire TV Stick. 

But, as always, some are more affordable than others.

But which ones?

Illustration of a TV running Fire TV

Although NordVPN is our number one on this list, we can’t recommend it as the best cheap VPN for Fire TV Stick. 

That’s for the simple reason that its Fire TV Stick app doesn’t work to unblock streaming sites, nor does using it on your router. 

Instead, for this purpose, we recommend PrivateVPN

It’s as cheap as $2.88 per month ($43.20 every 15 months) but comes with a dedicated Fire TV Stick app. 

It has servers optimized for streaming, permits torrening, and unblocks Netflix and Kodi. It’s also a no logs VPN.

No doubt: PrivateVPN is the best cheap VPN for Kodi.

Surfshark is a strong contender too, if you want to choose the very cheapest option on this list that’s also good for Fire TV Stick. It comes with a custom app and has a nice, user-friendly approach.

We have a list of the best VPNs for Fire TV Stick here.

Which Cheap VPNs Work in China?

China has the most aggressive and sophisticated internet censorship regime in the world.

The Chinese governments Great Firewall hunts down and removes any VPN that doesn’t conform to its standard of censorship. 

As a result, many VPNs simply don’t work in China, even very good ones. 

Take from this list, for example, Private Internet Access. It’s a top VPN, but has patchy access and is too unreliable for us to recommend as a VPN for China.

 

Illustration Depicting a VPN Circumventing the Great Firewall of China

But don’t think that you need to splash tonnes of cash to grant yourself access to the free web again.

PrivateVPN has a stealth VPN protocol that still beats the censors. It’s a cheap VPN that works in China, and we think $2.88 a month is absolutely worth it for your internet freedom.

If you want to know which VPNs we recommend overall, head to our guide for the best VPN for China

About the Author


  • Callum Tennent

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