Protecting yourself against hackers and nosey governments doesn’t necessarily mean splurging excessively on expensive premium VPNs. At least, not when you’re able to get hold of the best cheap VPN that gives its pricier counterparts a good run for their money.
But in a saturated market where VPNs are attracting subscribers with various features, it’s hard to separate good and cheap VPNs from their subpar competitors. Some cheap VPNs may lack the security and features that you need, so it’s important to do your research.
You don’t want to save a few bucks on a VPN only to realize that it doesn’t support access to Netflix. That will be disappointing if you’re hoping to tune in to your favorite series while traveling abroad. Neither do you want to be limited by slow downloads, as some best cheap VPNs are known to be.
But all hope is not lost if you’re hoping to tighten your purse strings while staying protected on the Internet. Some VPNs are affordably priced while having strong fundamentals in security and privacy.
What we’re saying is that for a minimal amount of dollars, you will be able to protect information sent and received on your device with military-grade encryption and IP address cloaking. Besides, you'll also have the peace of mind that none of your online activities are being logged by the VPN provider.
To save you time, we’ve done the research for the best cheap VPNs on your behalf. In this article, we’ll cover the following:
The Best Cheap VPN Services in 2021
After combing through potential candidates, here are the VPNs that require a minimum investment and yet provide the essential features you ought to have to stay safe on the Internet.
Did we mention that one of the cheapest VPNs is also one of the most reliable? NordVPN features over 5,700 servers in 60 countries and commands above-average connection speed. Users are protected by AES-256 encryption and the OpenVPN protocol.
You’ll get access to Netflix, P2P, and have the assurance of a strict no-logging policy. Besides, NordVPN is located in Panama, where it is not obliged to share data with government agencies.
It offers a premium subscription at only $2.99 per month when you sign up for a 3-year plan. On top of that, you’re backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee policy to allow you to try NordVPN without any worries.
- 3-year plan: $2.99 per month
- 2-year plan: $3.99 per month
- 1-year plan: $6.99 per month
- 1-month plan: $11.95 per month
Ivacy is a relatively unknown VPN in the industry, but it has been around since 2007. Being affordable doesn’t stop it from providing a decent VPN experience to its users. For a relatively unknown VPN, it has impressive connection speed across its network of 1,000+ servers in over 100 countries.
You’ll have uninterrupted access to Netflix and other popular streaming services like Hulu, Amazon Prime, and HBO. It is also the pioneer of the split tunneling technology, where users are allowed to choose which connections go through the VPN tunnel.
You can enjoy immense savings by paying $2.25/month for Ivacy’s 2-year plan. It supports various payment options and offers a 30-day money-back guarantee on its plans.
- 2-year plan: $2.25 per month
- 1-year plan: $3.33 per month
- 1-month plan: $9.95 per month
Surfshark has risen as a newcomer to being a trusted VPN in the industry with economical pricing. It offers total security and anonymity to subscribers with industrial-grade encryptions and protocols.
On top of the strict no-logs policy, Surfshark is based in the British Virgin Islands, which is considered a safe region where no data-retention laws apply. It supports Netflix and P2P with a considerably fast connection.
SurfShark has free trials on iOS, macOS, and Android platforms. Besides, it also has a 30-day money-back guarantee on all of its affordable subscription plans.
- 24-months plan: $1.99 per month
- 12-months plan: $5.99 per month
- 1-month plan: $11.95 per month
CyberGhost completes this list of cheap VPNs that are ideal for students or travelers who want internet safety without incurring excessive expenses. Located in Romania, subscribers are given the assurance of absolute privacy.
The CyberGhost software is surprisingly easy to install and use, and customer support comes in the form of a 24/7 live chat. A minor let down is that it doesn’t support torrenting and connection speed is, at best, moderate.
Subscriptions are priced from $2.75 per month with frequent promotions for additional values. They also offer a 45-day money-back guarantee, giving you plenty of time to try Cyberghost and all its features.
- 3-year plan: $2.75 per month
- 2-year plan: $3.69 per month
- 1-year plan: $5.99 per month
- 1-month plan: $12.99 per month
Fast, simple, and cheap can be used to describe SaferVPN. At only $2.50 per month on its 3-year plan, you’ll have a VPN that is optimized for speed without compromising on security. It has an easy-to-use interface that lets you connect to the VPN hassle-free.
With more than 700+ servers in 34 countries, you get to enjoy blazing speed when connected to SaferVPN. It’s an ideal budget-friendly VPN that allows you to enjoy uninterrupted gaming or streaming experience.
- 3-year plan: $2.50 per month
- 1-year plan: $5.49 per month
- 1-month plan: $12.95 per month
Cheap vs Top Tier: Is There a Difference?
It’s a mistake to assume that cheaper VPNs are typically inferior to their higher-priced counterparts. Qualities of VPNs should be judged by the underlying technology and features that power them and not by pricing strategies.
To state our point, let’s take ExpressVPN, arguably the leading VPN provider in the industry. Subscription for ExpressVPN starts at $8.32 per month, which is considerably pricey compared to our choice of cheap VPNs.
With the difference in pricing aside, ExpressVPN uses AES-256 bit encryption and OpenVPN protocol, which is the same underlying technology used by the cheaper VPNs like NordVPN and CyberGhost.
ExpressVPN is well-known for its streaming performance but you’ll have comparable performance when subscribing to NordVPN or the lesser-known but reliable Ivacy.
Perfect Privacy, which starts at $10 per month, is positioned as a premium VPN that allows unlimited connections but has an average connection speed and lower server counts compared to our list of best cheap VPNs.
At a much lower price, you’ll have a similar or better performance with cheap and good VPNs. And, to be frank, it’s unlikely that you’ll connect to more than 5 devices on a single VPN account. There’s no reason to spend more for features that you don’t need.
How Much is Your Free VPN Really Costing You?
If you’re thinking of saving a couple of dollars or so and opting for a free VPN, you’ll be making a critical mistake. Free VPNs, unlike cheap VPNs, are generally inferior in terms of security and privacy.
Without a base of paying subscribers, free VPNs often resort to in-app advertisements and lack the budget to implement top-notch security for its users. Not only will you be annoyed by the ads, but using a free VPN may compromise your privacy and security on the Internet.
Without proper protection from a free VPN, you can become a target for hackers. Losing precious data on your computer, or a leak of confidential information is too much of a price to pay because you wanted to save a couple of dollars and not subscribe to a reliable, yet affordable, VPN.
You’ll also want to be on your toes if you’re using free VPNs for torrenting. While torrenting isn’t illegal, downloading and sharing copyrighted content is. Some countries have harsh penalties for offenders who share copyrighted products.
There have been cases where individuals breaching the Digital Millennium Copyright Act were fined up to $80,000 per file that they shared or downloaded. While we’re not condoning sharing copyrighted files, it’s wise to invest in a paid and affordable VPN as an essential precaution.
While it’s true that there’s a price to pay for staying safe on the Internet, it doesn’t need to be expensive. Cheap and good VPNs aren’t a myth. You shouldn’t dismiss a VPN as being inferior just because it’s priced cheaper than others.
We’ve made our point that some cheap VPNs, particularly those that we recommend, are on par, if not better than VPNs that are generally more expensive. What’s important is that the VPN is inherently secure, and your privacy is protected.
On the other hand, we strongly discourage you from using a free VPN. The risk of security flaws and privacy leak issues isn’t worth the couple of dollars that you may save each month. Being targeted by hackers isn’t fun, and getting entangled in potential lawsuits sounds like a nightmare.
Don’t take internet safety for granted but stop putting your trust in free VPNs. We’ve found the cheapest yet reliable VPNs on the Internet. Sign up now and enjoy massive savings while staying safe online.