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How Much Does a VPN Cost?

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 Migliano

Our Verdict

The average cost of a good VPN service is $4.11 per month on a yearly or multi-year subscription. But, the average VPN price rises to $11.77 on a pay monthly basis.

illustration of a man purchasing a VPN from a computer screen that is designed like a vending machine

How much a VPN costs varies widely based on the VPN service you choose and the length of your VPN subscription plan.

Almost all high-quality VPNs require signing up to at least a 12-month plan in order for you to access the cheapest monthly price available.

Luckily, most VPNs offer some form of money-back guarantee or free trial, allowing you to try a VPN for free before buying it.

As is often the case, the best VPN isn’t necessarily the most expensive one. It depends on what you want to use it for, and what your budget is.

Typically, any VPN that costs under $3.00 per month is cheap, while we consider more expensive any VPN priced over $6.00 per month.

There’s also the option of using free VPNs, but be careful as many free VPNs are not safe to use.

In this guide we’ll compare the price of our 20 top-rated paid VPNs, and the cheapest pay monthly VPNs.

Why Trust Us?

We’re fully independent and have been reviewing VPNs since 2016. Our advice is based on our own testing results and is unaffected by financial incentives. Learn who we are and how we test VPNs.

Price Comparison of the Top 20 VPNs

After analyzing the cheapest available price of each of our 20 highest-rated VPNs, the average monthly cost of a VPN is now $4.11. This has risen from the previous average of $3.94.

However, paying on a month-to-month basis, the average price of a VPN rises to $11.77 (previously $11.34).

VPN Price Comparison Table

The table below compares the prices of the top 20 VPN services we’ve reviewed:

As the table above shows, price isn’t always an accurate indicator of quality within the VPN market.

That said, the best VPNs aren’t free. You’ll have to pay a modest monthly fee to protect your online privacy, security, and freedom.

To get the highest discount on a VPN subscription plan, you’ll have to commit to at least a 12-month contract, payable upfront.

Buying a VPN subscription can therefore represent a meaningful investment, so do your research. Start by reading our VPN reviews of the 65 VPNs we’ve tested and analyzed.

Alternatively, explore the best cheap VPNs that strike the right balance between price and quality of service.

Based on our recent research and tests, we recommend Private Internet Access, which costs $2.03 on a 26-month subscription.

Cheapest Pay Monthly VPN Prices Compared

If you don’t want to commit to a long-term VPN subscription, you have the option of paying on a rolling monthly basis.

The table below compares the VPN services with the cheapest month-to-month prices:

Currently, Mullvad ($5.50) offers the cheapest pay monthly subscription plan.

EXPERT ADVICE: Some VPNs, such as VPN Unlimited and FastestVPN, offer lifetime VPN subscriptions below $100.00. They are great deals, but there are no guarantees the service will be good, or even operate, years from now.

Factors Affecting the Cost of a VPN

There are a number of factors that affect the monthly cost of a VPN subscription plan. Below is a list of the main ones:

Length of Subscription Plan

The length of your subscription plan is the single biggest factor affecting the cost of a VPN.

As we’ve shown further up this article, the monthly cost of a VPN often decreases with longer subscription plans.

For instance, here are NordVPN’s different pricing plans:

  • 1-month plan: $11.99/month
  • 12-month plan: $4.99/month (39% discount)
  • 2-year plan: $3.29/month (60% discount)

Out of the top 20 VPNs we’ve analyzed, pay-monthly plans range from $3.24 to $30.00. The average pay monthly price is now $11.77, up from $11.34.

As for longer-term plans, the monthly price ranges from $2.00 to $12.50. The average yearly/multi-year price of a VPN is $3.96 per month.

Number of Devices Covered

Most VPN services let you use their product on a set number of devices, regardless of your chosen subscription plan.

However, some VPN providers, like TorGuard, change their pricing based on how many devices you want to use the VPN with.

For example, here’s how many devices each TorGuard different Anonymous VPN plan covers:

  • Anonymous VPN: up to 8 devices
  • Anonymous VPN Pro: up to 12 devices
  • Anonymous VPN Premium: up to 30 devices
The TorGuard pricing page

The TorGuard pricing page.

Alternatively, you could consider a VPN with an unlimited device allowance.

Streaming (Netflix) Support

Most VPNs provide streaming support across their standard plans, however some don’t.

VPN providers like TorGuard charge more if you seek streaming support with your VPN subscription.

Number of Servers

Not all VPN services give you access to the same number of servers across all plans.

There are some providers that increase the monthly subscription price based on bigger server ranges.

Sometimes, a more expensive VPN plan can also include access to faster servers (10Gbps or higher), and Multi-hop (DoubleVPN) servers.

Additional Features

Additional features like Dedicated IP and Residential IP typically come at an extra cost.

If you want these services, VPN providers like CyberGhost and Windscribe charge an extra fee on top of your subscription plan.

Moreover, companies like IVPN, only offer additional features like multi-hop servers with their IVPN Pro plan, not their standard plan.

The IVPN pricing page

The IVPN pricing page.

Are VPNs Worth the Cost?

Not all VPNs are worth the cost, but we strongly believe a high-quality VPN is worth paying for. And, it won’t break the bank, either.

For a few dollars per month, a VPN changes your IP address to:

  • Hide your web activity from ISPs, snoopers, and hackers.
  • Conceal your P2P file-sharing activity.
  • Encrypt your data transfers on insecure WiFi networks.
  • Access geo-blocked streaming content.
  • Unblock censored web content.

Simply put, a VPN safeguards your privacy, security and internet freedom for as little as $2-3 per month. That’s great value.

Choosing the right VPN based on your budget can be tricky, though. We’ve prepared a VPN buying guide to help you get started.

The VPN features to consider when choosing a VPN are:

  • Security
  • Privacy
  • Streaming capabilities
  • Speed
  • Device compatibility
  • Advanced features
  • Price

How VPN Price Affects Performance

It not always easy to see how a VPN’s subscription price corresponds to its quality. With so many variables to consider, it’s tough to know if the most expensive VPNs actually offer a better service.

To help you figure it out, we’ve created a chart comparing the cheapest monthly price of the best VPNs against their overall rating.

The VPNs towards the top-left of the chart provide the worst value, whilst those towards the bottom-right offer the best value:

VPN Price vs Performance Comparison Chart

As you can see, our VPN cost analysis reveals a strong correlation between price and performance — particularly among the top five VPNs. The more the VPN costs, the better it performs on average.

Can You Use a VPN for Free?

If you’re not ready to commit to a long-term plan, you have three options:

  1. Get a genuine VPN free trial
  2. Take advantage of money-back guarantees
  3. Use a completely free VPN

VPN Free Trials and Money-back Guarantees

VPN free trials let you test a fully featured VPN for a defined amount of time. Typically, this is five to seven days.

The best, such as CyberGhost’s free trial, don’t even require submitting payment details up front. Testing these services carries no financial risk.

Other free trials ask for payment details upfront, and if you don’t cancel the trial in time, you will be charged a subscription cost.

For example, you can get a Surfshark free trial for seven days, but you need to submit payment information.

The main difference between a true free trial and a money-back guarantee is whether or not you have to make a payment first.

With a money-back guarantee, you have to pay a subscription cost upfront. However, the highest-rated VPNs offer no-questions-asked refund policies.

In other words, money-back guarantees let you trial a VPN risk-free for up to 45 days.

Completely Free VPNs

The Windscribe free iOS app for iPhone and iPad

The Windscribe free iOS app for iPhone and iPad.

You also have the option of using a completely free VPN.

Sadly, most free VPNs don’t safeguard your internet privacy and security. Some free VPNs are even dangerous to use.

That being said, there are selected good free VPNs to choose from. They are restricted by data caps, slow speeds, and limited streaming capabilities, but at least they are safe to use.