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How Much Does a VPN Cost?

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 cheapest average price of a good VPN is approximately $3.96 per month on a yearly or multi-year subscription. However, the average price of a VPN rises to $11.32 when paying on a monthly basis.

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

The cost of a VPN varies widely based on the VPN service you choose and the length of your subscription plan.

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

However, most VPNs offer some form of money-back guarantee or free trial, meaning you can try a VPN for free before you buy.

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 any VPN priced over $6.00 is considered more expensive.

There’s also the option of using free VPNs, but the majority of these will put you at greater risk than not using one at all.

In this guide we’ll first compare the price of the best 15 VPNs, and the cheapest pay monthly VPNs.

Finally, we’ll consider whether using a VPN is worth the money.

Price Comparison of the 15 Top VPNs

Below is a table comparing the prices of the top 15 VPN services we’ve reviewed and rated:

VPN Service Price (per month) Length of Plan Money-Back Guarantee Our Ranking
ExpressVPN $6.67 15 months 30 days #1
NordVPN $3.30 24 months 30 days #2
CyberGhost $2.25 36 months 45 days #3
IPVanish $3.75 12 months 30 days #4
Surfshark $2.30 27 months 30 days #5
PrivateVPN $2.00 24 months 30 days #6
PIA $2.03 24 months 30 days #7
Windscribe $4.08 12 months 3 days #8
ProtonVPN $4.99 24 months 30 days #9
VPNArea $3.21 36 months 30 days #10
Astrill $10.00 12 months N/A #11
HideMyAss $2.99 36 months 30 days #12
VPN.ac $3.75 24 months 7 days #13
FastestVPN $1.11 36 months 15 days #14
Hide.me $4.99 26 months 30 days #15

A money-back guarantee is similar to a free trial, but you need to pay for the duration of the subscription first and then claim a refund.

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

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

Based on the cheapest price for each of our top 15 VPNs, the average monthly cost of a VPN is $3.96. Paying for a month at a time, the average price rises to $11.32

To get the best deal on a VPN, you’ll almost always need to commit to at least a 12-month contract, and often payable up front.

Purchasing a VPN can therefore feel like quite an investment, so it’s worth doing your research.

Luckily, we’ve done the hard work for you. We regularly test and review over 68 VPN services, all listed in our VPN reviews section.

Alternatively, see our list of the best VPNs overall, which have excelled in our multiple VPN tests.

Cheapest Pay Monthly VPN Prices Compared

If you’re not willing to commit to a long-term subscription, there’s also the option of paying on a rolling monthly basis.

For an overview of the most affordable VPNs, read our list of the best cheap VPNs.

Below is a table comparing the VPNs with the cheapest month-to-month prices:

VPN Service Single Month Cost Netflix US Works in China Our Ranking
Mullvad $5.80 Yes* Unreliable #19
AzireVPN $6.08 Unreliable No #23
CactusVPN $6.99 Yes Unreliable #26
AirVPN $8.33 No Yes #21
PrivateVPN $8.49 Yes Yes #6
Trust.Zone $8.88 Unreliable Unreliable #27
Windscribe $9.00 Yes Unreliable #8
VPN.ac $9.00 Yes Yes #13

* Only Mullvad’s US servers in San Jose and Charlotte unblock Netflix.

Pay-as-You-Go Plans

Mullvad VPN logo in horizontal orientation.

Mullvad is unique among VPN services in that it doesn’t offer any long-term subscription plans. You simply pay a fee of $5.80 each month, which you can cancel anytime.

As you can read in our Mullvad review, the VPN is one of the most privacy-conscious services we’ve tested. You can even pay for it in cash to maximize your anonymity.

Be aware, though, that Mullvad isn’t great for streaming, and it doesn’t work reliably in China or other high-censorship countries. It is, however, an excellent VPN for torrenting and P2P file-sharing.

EXPERT ADVICE: Some VPNs, such as KeepSolid Unlimited, offer a lifetime subscription option. We don’t recommend this, as there’s simply no telling if the service provider will still be around in a few years, or if it will still be any good.

Can You Get a Safe VPN for Free?

If you’re not ready to commit to a long-term plan, another option is to try a VPN for free by taking advantage of a free trial or money-back guarantee.

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

Many VPN free trials, such as PrivateVPN, don’t require submitting payment details up front, so testing the service carries no financial risk.

100% Free VPNs

Windscribe's free VPN download banner

There’s also the option of using a completely free VPN that won’t cost you anything, ever.

Sadly, most free VPNs do little or nothing to safeguard your online privacy, and some are a greater risk to your safety than not using a VPN at all.

For example, Hola VPN collects huge amounts of data on all its users and even lets other people in the network use your IP address for their own activity.

Like a worrying number of so-called free VPNs, Hola isn’t actually a true VPN. It’s a network of proxy servers that falsely advertises itself as a VPN service, but won’t deliver the levels of privacy, security, and freedom expected from a VPN.

That being said, there are selected good free VPNs. They come with drawbacks, such as data limits and slow speeds, but at least they are safe to use.

Are VPNs Worth the Money?

We think A high-quality VPN is worth paying for, and it won’t break the bank, either.

For a few dollars per month, a VPN hides your web activity from ISPs, governments, snoopers, and hackers.

A VPN also lets you bypass web censorship, transfer data securely, torrent files safely, and access geo-restricted web content from other countries.

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

The hardest part is choosing the right VPN for you, and deciding how much to pay. Ultimately, this comes down to why you want to use a VPN, and doing appropriate research.

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