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The 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 VPNs don’t have to be the most expensive. Some very good VPNs are available for cheap prices and offer excellent value for money.

If you’re on a budget, you can get an affordable VPN for as little as $1.66 per month if you sign up to a monthly subscription plan of 12 months or longer.

We tested 68 VPNs specifically to find the best cheap VPNs. We test for security, average speeds, and the ability to unblock streaming websites.

Based on monthly subscription price and value for money, the best cheap VPNs are:

  1. Surfshark: The best overall value for money, from $2.49 per month. Read summary or Visit Surfshark
  2. Private Internet Access: An extremely fast yet affordable VPN, from $2.08 per month. Read summary or Visit PIA VPN
  3. PrivateVPN: The best cheap VPN for streaming, from $1.98 per month. Read summary or Visit PrivateVPN
  4. CyberGhost: A budget VPN that’s safe and very easy to use, from $2.25 per month. Read summary or Visit CyberGhost
  5. VyprVPN: The absolute cheapest top VPN from $1.66 per month. Read summary or Visit VyprVPN

The low-cost VPNs above don’t compromise on quality, either. They’re highly secure, fast, and cost less than $2.49 per month.

In addition to the affordable monthly price, the VPNs above encrypt your web traffic and hide your IP address with 24/7 live chat support and up to 45-day money-back guarantees.

What’s more, they easily bypass region-restricted content on streaming platforms like Netflix, HBO Max and Amazon Prime Video.

If these budget-friendly VPNs are still too expensive for you, consider using a safe free VPN instead. Or, sign up to a VPN free trial to test a paid VPN for free.

Comparison of the 10 Best Cheap VPNs

We’ve put together a table comparing the 10 cheapest high-quality VPNs you can buy.

Use the chart below to compare each VPN based on cheapest monthly price, refund period, money-back guarantee, and free trial availability.

The Top Cheap VPNs: Performance Ratings

Here’s how our five recommended cheap VPNs perform in each key testing area:

To understand how we reviewed the above VPNs, read our testing methodology.

The 5 Best Cheap VPNs in Detail

  1. 1. Surfshark: $2.49 per month

    The overall best cheap VPN for speed, security, and streaming.

    Ranked #1 Best Cheap VPN
    Surfshark app
    (120 user reviews)
    Visit Surfshark


    1. Excellent value for money
    2. Fast connection speeds
    3. Unblocks 30 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

    Overall Cheap VPN Rating: 9.5/10

    This rating is calculated based on the following subcategory ratings. For more information, read our testing methodology.

    • 9.39.3/10
    • 9.89.8/10
    • 9.79.7/10
    • 9.89.8/10
    • 8.68.6/10

    Surfshark is the best cheap VPN of 2021. It offers excellent value for money at $2.49 per month on a two-year subscription, billed at $59.76 the first two years, and annually thereafter.

    For this price it offers reliably fast speeds, strong security, and excellent streaming capabilities that compete with more expensive rivals like ExpressVPN and CyberGhost. If you’re looking for a leading VPN for a low price, Surfshark is a great choice.

    Cheapest Price$2.49/mo over 24 months See all plans
    Money-Back Guarantee 30 Days
    Free Trial Duration7 Days
    Top Download Speedi

    Based on 100Mbps local test connection

    US NetflixYes

    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. There’s also NoBorders mode, which helps to bypass aggressive web censorship in countries like China.

    Excellent streaming capabilities for under $3 per month

    One of Surfshark’s highlights is its ability to unblock 30 international Netflix libraries, as well as BBC iPlayer, HBO Max, and Amazon Prime Video.

    It’s also our top choice for streaming Disney+. 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.

    Based on our testing, you could not get a better VPN than Surfshark for a cheaper monthly price. If you disagree, you can get a full refund using its 30-day refund policy.

  2. 2. PIA: $2.08 per month

    The top choice for low-cost torrenting with exceptional speeds.

    Private Internet Access
    (29 user reviews)
    Visit PIA VPN


    1. Exceptional VPN speeds
    2. Verified no-logs privacy policy
    3. Streams 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. Unstable connections within China
    3. Based in the US (FVEY jurisdiction)

    Overall Cheap VPN Rating: 9.4/10

    This rating is calculated based on the following subcategory ratings. For more information, read our testing methodology.

    • 9.69.6/10
    • 9.79.7/10
    • 9.99.9/10
    • 8.88.8/10
    • 8.58.5/10

    Private Internet Access (PIA) costs $2.08 per month on a two-year subscription, which makes it slightly more expensive than PrivateVPN and VyprVPN.

    However, it’s also one of the fastest VPNs we’ve tested. When connecting locally, we recorded exceptional speeds of up to 98Mbps, which means your speeds when using PIA will be similar to your speeds when not using a VPN at all.

    Cheapest Price$2.08/mo over 26 months See all plans
    Money-Back Guarantee 30 Days
    Free Trial DurationN/A
    Top Download Speedi

    Based on 100Mbps local test connection

    US NetflixYes

    A verified no-logs policy and top security

    PIA doesn’t skimp when it comes to privacy either. Its 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 protocol, AES-256 encryption, and a unique ad-blocker called MACE.

    Works for streaming, but not the best choice

    PIA VPN does work to stream US Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and Hulu. However, it’s less reliable and unblocks less international libraries than other VPNs in this list like PrivateVPN.

    If you’re looking for a cheap streaming VPN, we suggest choosing Surfshark or PrivateVPN. PIA makes a good choice if you prioritise security and privacy instead.

    Over 10,000 VPN servers worldwide

    Private Internet Access offers the largest global server network there is, with over 10,000 servers around the world.

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

    For the price of $2.08 per month (billed as $79.00 the first three 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.

  3. 3. PrivateVPN: $1.98 per month

    The cheapest VPN overall and the best choice for Netflix.

    Image of PrivateVPN's app on mobile
    (1,736 user reviews)
    Visit PrivateVPN


    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. Best cheap VPN for China


    1. Small number of VPN servers
    2. Inconsistent live chat availability
    3. No browser extensions
    4. No Smart DNS feature

    Overall Cheap VPN Rating: 9.3/10

    This rating is calculated based on the following subcategory ratings. For more information, read our testing methodology.

    • 9.79.7/10
    • 9.19.1/10
    • 9.59.5/10
    • 9.19.1/10
    • 8.98.9/10

    PrivateVPN costs just $1.98 per month, or $45.36 every two 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 offers similar speeds too. It’s the best choice for cheap streaming, with dedicated streaming servers and the ability to unblock over 30 Netflix libraries.

    Cheapest Price$1.98/mo over 24 months See all plans
    Money-Back Guarantee 30 days
    Free Trial Duration5 Days
    Top Download Speedi

    Based on 100Mbps local test connection

    US NetflixYes

    Unblocks 30+ Netflix regions & other streaming services

    Despite a small network approximately 150 servers, PrivateVPN offers above-average speeds. In our latest tests, we recorded download speeds of up to 94Mbps, which represents just 6% speed loss.

    This puts it at the higher end of the spectrum with fast competitors like NordVPN and Hotspot Shield.

    One of its best features is its streaming capabilities. PrivateVPN can unblock 32 Netflix libraries on its dedicated streaming servers, and it also works well with BBC iPlayer, DAZN, Hulu, HBO Max, and Amazon Prime Video.

    This means it is both very affordable and also one of the best streaming VPNs on the market.

    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 performance.

    Operating a large VPN server network costs money, which means cheaper VPNs often have smaller networks.

    Small server networks can lead to congestion, which can result in slower speeds.

    Live chat support is not available 24/7 either, unlike 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.

  4. 4. CyberGhost: $2.25 per month

    A safe, affordable VPN with a 45 day money-back guarantee.

    CyberGhost app
    (313 user reviews)
    Visit CyberGhost


    1. Great value for money
    2. Fast same-country speeds
    3. Works with US Netflix, Hulu & 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
    4. No OpenVPN protocol on MacOS or iOS

    Overall Cheap VPN Rating: 9.2/10

    This rating is calculated based on the following subcategory ratings. For more information, read our testing methodology.

    • 9.49.4/10
    • 8.68.6/10
    • 9.69.6/10
    • 9.59.5/10
    • 8.88.8/10

    CyberGhost costs $2.25 per month on a three-year 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 on this list, but it’s good for streaming, torrenting, and browsing the web securely.

    Cheapest Price$2.25/mo over 3 years See all plans
    Money-Back Guarantee 45 Days
    Free Trial Duration1 Day
    Top Download Speedi

    Based on 100Mbps local test connection


    A good choice for low-cost entertainment

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

    It currently has one of the best native Firestick application interfaces, and our tests have shown it works very well with US Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Hulu.

    Unlike PrivateVPN, CyberGhost comes with a Smart DNS feature. This increases its compatibility across devices, meaning that you can enjoy streaming services on up to seven different devices. You can also install CyberGhost’s free browser extension for quick streaming access.

    It’s also a top choice for torrenting, as long as you’re not based in Australia, as its Australian servers don’t allow P2P traffic.

    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.

    One of CyberGhost’s strengths is the size of its server network: it has 6,900 servers in 91 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 7,400 servers in 91 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’re travelling to China, Turkey or the UAE, we recommend using Surfshark or PrivateVPN instead.

    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.

  5. 5. VyprVPN: $1.66 per month

    The absolute cheapest top VPN available.

    Screenshot of VyprVPN's Mobile App
    (62 user reviews)
    Visit VyprVPN


    1. The cheapest quality VPN
    2. Owns a massive server network
    3. Anti-censorship Chameleon protocol
    4. Proven no-logs policy
    5. US Netflix & BBC iPlayer access
    6. Swiss jurisdiction


    1. Slower speeds compared to competition
    2. No browser extensions
    3. No Smart DNS
    4. iOS app is less advanced

    Overall Rating: 9.1/10

    This rating is calculated based on the following subcategory ratings Learn more

    • 9.89.8/10
    • 8.58.5/10
    • 9.99.9/10
    • 9.49.4/10
    • 6.36.3/10

    Although VyprVPN isn’t the best VPN on this list, it is the cheapest, and it’s still a very strong VPN. For a balance of price and quality, this is easily one of the best VPNs.

    Speeds are slower than the competition, but it makes up for it with a clear commitment to user privacy.

    Cheapest Price$1.66/mo over 36 months See all plans
    Money-Back Guarantee 30 Days
    Free Trial DurationN/A
    Top Download Speedi

    Based on 100Mbps local test connection


    Budget-friendly privacy solution

    Even though it only costs $1.67 per month, VyprVPN has a top-tier privacy policy. It’s clearly written, transparent, and your online activity cannot be traced to you.

    Its no logs claims have been studied and proven thanks to an independent audit. VyprVPN was one of the first VPNs to commission a logging audit.

    Its security suite is industry-standard across the board. Encryption is via AES-256 and it uses OpenVPN and WireGuard protocol. A kill switch is included, too, for extra protection.

    Then there’s the bespoke VyprDNS, a default in-house DNS service that can bypass ISP censorship and doesn’t keep any logs of IP addresses or geolocation data. It’s a feature that makes VyprVPN really safe.

    300,000 IP addresses in 70 locations

    Even though VyprVPN is extremely cheap, a subscription grants you access to a huge 300,000 IP addresses in 70 locations. This is a huge server network that provides reliable connections across the globe.

    Like IPVanish, VyprVPN owns its server network with no third-parties involved. This is an expensive, privacy-friendly investment from a VPN provider so it’s great to see the subscription price remain so low.

    However, there aren’t many city-level options. You can only choose specific cities in the US and Australia. Also network speeds aren’t as fast as we’d like to see.

    VyprVPN has improved its streaming abilities and is now able to unblock US Netflix on its US servers alongside a selection of other international libraries, including Canada, Japan, and the UK, providing substantially more content than would be otherwise allowed.

What is the Cheapest VPN?

From our rankings, VyprVPN is the cheapest monthly VPN available at just $1.66 per month on a three-year subscription, or $60.00 every three years.

This is fantastic value for money when you consider all the features VyprVPN offers.

The VPN delivers good average download speeds, a safe privacy policy, AES-256 encryption, and streaming capabilities.

Overall, VyprVPN offers more than most competitors for a very affordable price.

Regardless of our ranking, the absolute cheapest VPN on the market is FastestVPN. It only costs $1.11 per month, paid as $39.95 every three years.

Even better, it actually has a lifetime subscription plan for just $20.00. With this one payment you will have a quality VPN for life.

The five cheapest VPNs are:

  • Fastest VPN: $1.11
  • ZenMate: $1.64
  • VyprVPN: $1.66
  • ZoogVPN: $1.87
  • PrivateVPN: $1.98

All these VPNs are cheaper than {{best_price-private-vpn}} per month on their best price deals.

You can compare this cost to the most expensive VPNs on the market.

The most expensive VPNs are:

  • Astrill VPN: $10.00
  • Perfect Privacy: $8.95
  • Encrypt.me: $8.33
  • ExpressVPN: $6.67
  • X-VPN: $5.99
  • ProtonVPN: $4.00

What’s the fastest cheap VPN?

Affordable VPNs don’t always perform worse than expensive VPNs. In fact, some of the cheapest VPNs on this list are also some of the fastest VPNs you can buy.

Based on our latest speed tests, PrivateVPN is the fastest cheap VPN available. We recorded average download speeds of 94Mbps (6% speed loss) when connected to a nearby server, which is almost as fast as not using a VPN at all.

Surfshark and Private Internet Access also average at 93Mbps, though Surfshark has measured more reliable speeds over the previous eight-week period.

Here’s a graph comparing the average download speeds of the five best cheap VPNs over the past eight-weeks:

VPN Speed Performance Comparison Chart

What’s the Cheapest Monthly VPN Subscription?

VPNs offer discounts on the monthly subscription price the longer you subscribe to the service.

But maybe you only want a VPN for a short period of time, perhaps for the purpose of a safe trip abroad. You may not want to commit to a two or three year deal, which is much cheaper in the long run but takes payment in one large sum.

When it comes to the cheapest one-month-only VPN, these are 10 best options, all priced under $10.00:

  • AirVPN: $8.33
  • HideMyAss: $4.99
  • IVPN: $6.00
  • Mullvad: $5.95
  • PrivateVPN: $8.49
  • ProtonVPN: $6.63
  • StrongVPN: $3.50
  • TorGuard: $9.99
  • Trust.Zone: $8.88
  • Windscribe: $9.00

How to Get a VPN for the Best Price

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 75% if you subscribe to the service for 12 months or longer.

Can You Get a Cheap Short-Term VPN Subscription?

Long-term subscriptions aren’t the only way to get a great VPN for a low price. You can also take advantage of the following methods to get a high-quality VPN without paying too much:

1VPN 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. If you’re interested, check out our list of the best VPN free trials.

2Money-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 this money within 30 days if you contact customer support. Read our guide explaining how to get ExpressVPN for free to learn more.

3Use a Pay-As-You-Go VPN

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 $5.95 per month.

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. You can read more in our updated Mullvad VPN review.

Are VPNs Worth the Money?

Virtual Private Networks are a fundamental tool for anyone concerned about their online privacy, security, or freedom.

If you value any of these ideals, then a high-quality VPN is definitely worth the price of a cup of coffee.

Unfortunately, not every user can afford to pay for expensive VPN services. That’s why it’s important to reward the VPNs that offer a secure and effective experience for an affordable price.

Value for money is important, too. Some VPNs are extremely cheap but they are slow and can’t bypass aggressive geo-restrictions.

A low initial cost might seem tempting, but not every cheap VPN will offer the same level of quality as the five we have recommended on this list.

Free vs Cheap VPNs

There are hundreds of free VPNs out there, but only a small number are actually effective at encrypting your data or hiding your IP address.

In fact, dozens of the most popular free VPN services are actually dangerous to use. Using a free VPN, you’re at much higher risk of activity logging, invasive advertising, and IP address leaks.

Even the most effective free VPNs will be slower, more insecure, and less configurable than a good cheap VPN.

Free VPNs usually have data caps and speed restrictions, while the small cost involved in subscribing to a cheap VPN allows you to bypass these frustrating limitations.

If you’re really interested in getting a VPN for free, we suggest checking out our list of safe free VPN services.

However, if you’re really concerned about privacy, security, and streaming, we recommend subscribing to a cheap VPN.

What’s the Average Price of a VPN?

On average, a one-month VPN subscription costs $10.00. However, you can get a cheaper monthly price by signing up to an annual or biennial subscription plan.

Surfshark, for example, has a one-month subscription price of $12.95. If you subscribe for two-years, the monthly price drops all the way down to $2.49.

We consider a cheap VPN to cost less than $3.00 per month on a two or three-year subscription.

To understand more about VPN pricing and value for money, read our guide to how much VPNs cost.

Are Lifetime VPN Subscriptions Worth It?

If you plan on using a VPN for a long time, the cheapest option is to opt for a lifetime subscription.

With lifetime plans, you simply pay one fee and you gain access to the premium VPN forever. However, not many VPNs offer this option.

KeepSolid’s VPN Unlimited offers a lifetime subscription for $99.99 upfront. Be careful, though – VPN Unlimited is neither the fastest nor the most secure VPN around. To find out more, read our full VPN Unlimited review.

FastestVPN offers a lifetime deal for only $20.00. Even though it’s not competing with the very best VPNs, this is well worth the money. Read more about it in our FastestVPN review.

Two screenshots of FastestVPN's mobile app side by side

FastestVPN offers a lifetime subscription for $20.00.

There are some drawbacks to choosing a lifetime VPN subscription. VPN technology is constantly changing, and the gap between good and bad services is always widening.

Before spending large amounts on a lifetime subscription, do your research and understand if the VPN you’ve chosen is likely to keep up with the increasingly sophisticated competition.

Just because a VPN is good now, it doesn’t mean it’ll be secure or effective in a few years.

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 fast and safe.

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

We reward the VPNs that offer the highest quality service for the lowest price.

We give every VPN a rating out of ten in each of the key areas, and then combine those ratings to generate 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: 30%

Minimum Requirement: A monthly price of $3.00 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. Value For Money: 20%

Minimum Requirement: Performance and features that justify the VPN’s cost.
We Recommend: Performance capabilities that exceed what you’d typically get from a VPN at that price.

Low cost isn’t the only important thing. It’s important to ask whether the VPN offers great value for money.

When assessing value for money, we’re looking at the trade-off between performance and cost.

We rate a cheap VPN that doesn’t perform well lowly in our value for money ratings. A more costly VPN that justifies its price tag can have a higher rating, however.

We’ve been testing VPNs for a long time, so we have a good idea of what to expect from a service in any given price range. We know when VPNs are providing bang for your buck.

We consider a range of factors, such as streaming ability, the number of simultaneous connections allowed, investment in security, and any additional features (e.g. kill switch, port forwarding, split tunneling, etc.).

3. 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.

4. 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.

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 will cause your internet speed to drop by just a few percentage points when connecting to nearby servers. You should be able to establish international connections with enough bandwidth to stream Netflix in Ultra HD quality.

The Best Cheap VPNs by Category

For those on a budget, we’ve put together a table that shows which cheap VPN is best suited for your tailored needs:


Additional research by David Hughes

About the Author

  • Headshot of Top10VPN.com Site Editor Callum Tennent

    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