The Best Cheap VPN in 2024

Best cheap VPN being displayed on a laptop screen
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Picking up a quality cheap VPN is a very easy way of improving your online privacy without breaking the bank. Some of the best-value options come in at around $2 per month, and are just as good as more expensive options.

It's important to do your research, though. For every cheap VPN that punches above its weight, there are plenty more that aren't worth using – regardless of the price. That's why at Tom's Guide, we've reviewed dozens of VPNs to make sure they perform well in the real world. Privacy, content unblocking and ease of use are top of our list, and on this page, we're also focusing on value for money.

All of the VPNs I feature here have quality privacy features and deliver reliable connections. If you want to read about them in more detail, I've included in-depth reviews of each further down the page. If you just want to know which providers offer the best value for money, though, simply pick from the top 3 directly below.

The 3 best cheap VPNs at a glance

1. Surfshark – the best cheap VPN
$2.19 per month

1. Surfshark – the best cheap VPN
Starting at $2.19 per month, Surfshark is one of the cheapest VPNs on the market. Don't be fooled by the price, though – it ranks #3 out of every single VPN I've ever tested.

You'll get rock-solid privacy features, the ability to watch streaming sites like Netflix and BBC iPlayer from around the world, and you can use one subscription on as many devices as you want. You'll also get a 30-day refund period to make sure it works for you.

2.NordVPN: the best VPN overall
$3.39 per month

2. NordVPN: the best VPN overall
NordVPN isn't the very cheapest VPN I've tested, but at $3.39 per month it's incredible value – especially when you consider it's ranked #1 overall. It's super secure, incredibly fast, and unblocks anything you throw at it.

You can go for the VPN on its own, or upgrade your plan and add a password manager, secure cloud storage, and cyber insurance. There's a 30-day money-back guarantee so you can test it out risk-free.

3. Private Internet Access – Cheap and configurable
$2.19 per month

3. Private Internet Access – Cheap and configurable
Private Internet Access has plenty of customizable features, and if saving a couple of pence a month is important to you, it could be a better choice than Surfshark and NordVPN – it's just $2.19 per month.

While its apps aren't quite as intuitive as Surfshark's, PIA has an excellent track record of protecting user privacy, and it's quite capable of accessing streaming content, too. A 30-day refund period comes as standard.

Recent updates

In my most recent update to this guide, I've made the significant change of replacing PureVPN with PrivadoVPN. PureVPN's prices have risen over the past year, and currently it's above the $2-per-month barrier. If you want to spend that much, there are much better options available, while PrivadoVPN offers an even cheaper option for those on a tight budget. Elsewhere, I've tidied up the layout of the page so it's easier for you to find the information you need.

The best cheap VPNs in 2024

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The very best cheap VPN today

Surfshark VPN App Demo - YouTube Surfshark VPN App Demo - YouTube
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1. Surfshark

Easily the best-value VPN available

Number of servers: 3,200+ | Server countries: 100 | Money-back guarantee: 30 days | Maximum devices supported: Unlimited | Unblocks: Netflix, iPlayer, YouTube, Amazon, Disney+, Hulu

Use one plan on as many devices as you want
Class-leading speeds
Attractive apps
Excellent streaming support
Prices rise after first term
Minor kill switch issue
Subscribe if:

✔️ You want the best cheap VPN. When it comes to a balance of performance, privacy, and price, I think Surfshark is unbeatable.

✔️ You want super-fast connections. In my tests, Surfshark was the fastest provider – bar none.

✔️ You want to plug and play. Surfshark's apps are attractive and intuitive, and setup is very simple.

Avoid if:

❌ You want to subscribe and forget. To maintain Surfshark's excellent pricing, you'll have to remember to cancel and resubscribe after your plan has finished, as prices rise after the first term if you let it run.

❌ You need an unbreakable kill switch. While very unlikely in the real world, my testing revealed that under certain conditions the kill switch can allow data leaks.

Bottom line: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

If you're looking for a cheap VPN that doesn't cut any corners, Surfshark is the best choice. Its privacy features are excellent, and it's very effective for unblocking streaming services that are blocked in your country. There's not a lot it can't do, and it's worth every penny.

Surfshark has made a real name for itself since its inception in 2018. While it's one of the newer services in the industry, the Netherlands-based VPN has quickly cemented itself as one of the very best, ranking #3 overall regardless of price in my Surfshark review. What's more, although it's undeniably a cheap VPN, it doesn't scrimp on features – the most important of which is security.

Packing 3,200 servers in a huge 100 countries, Surfshark has great global range, and no matter where you are in the world, there's bound to be a speedy server nearby.

Fire up the app, and you'll be protected by the full roster of security features you'd expect from any VPN worth its salt. Built around AES-256 encryption, your data is protected by an uncrackable algorithm, and you'll also have a kill switch to stop your IP address from leaking should the VPN cut out at any time. 

It's worth noting that in my review, I managed to slightly break the kill switch – although unless you're going to be messing around with root processes, this is very unlikely to happen in actual use. This is worth noting, though, since rivals ExpressVPN and NordVPN were untroubled by the same tests.

> Head to the Surfshark website to test out the best cheap VPN

OpenVPN (UDP & TCP) and WireGuard protocols come as standard. While WireGuard is now the default and what the vast majority of users will stick with, it's good to have some options. The legacy OpenVPN still has its uses, especially when trying to avoid detection on networks that ban VPN use, and Surfshark's Camouflage Mode still implements it.

Unblocking global streaming content is now one the most sought-after VPN abilities, and Surfshark is up there with the very best. Featuring on both my streaming and Netflix VPN guides, you'll be able to unblock a huge amount of content, from free live sports streams to global platforms like BBC iPlayer, 10Play, ITVX and many more.

Buffering won't be an issue either, since in my last round of testing, Surfshark proved to be the fastest VPN I reviewed. Delivering over 950 Mbps on my 1Gbps line in testing, it's clear that Surfshark has the performance to max out just about any connection you're likely to connect to.

The final bonus is that Surfshark allows subscribers to install and use the apps on unlimited devices. This is far more generous than many more expensive rivals, and really adds value, especially for families and friends.

Overall, Surfshark is a very premium VPN that just happens to have a bargain basement price tag. If you're looking for the very best provider, I'd usually steer you towards NordVPN – but in truth, Surfshark sacrifices very little.

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Surfshark test results
DesignAttractive and intuitive apps on all devices⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Ease of useWell-suited to beginners, but not dumbed-down⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
PerformanceThe fastest provider I've tested⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
UnblockingExcellent for streaming and accessing censored content, but fails on a couple of more niche sites⭐⭐⭐⭐
Security and privacyGood underpinnings, but the kill switch needs work⭐⭐⭐⭐
Customer supportHelpful live chat, but articles can be tricky to navigate⭐⭐⭐⭐
PriceUndeniably great value⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Top-rated VPN is an absolute bargain

NordVPN App Demo - YouTube NordVPN App Demo - YouTube
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2. NordVPN

The best VPN on the planet is great value

Number of servers: 6,000+ | Server locations: 140 in 110+ countries | Maximum devices supported: 10 | 24/7 live chat: Yes | 30 day money back guarantee: Yes

Excellent security features
Very, very fast
Unblocks tons of streaming sites
Huge range of servers
Interface is a little complex
Subscribe if:

✔️ You want my #1-rated VPN. In my last round of testing, Nord beat out every other VPN for the crown.

✔️ You're a big streamer. Nord's capable of unblocking every streaming site I tried it with

✔️ You want a full security suite. If you're looking for a password manager and cloud storage, you can add them on to your subscription.

Avoid if:

❌ You value simplicity. While not bamboozling, NordVPN's apps aren't the most streamlined.

❌ You torrent a lot. Nord's perfectly capable of protecting you while torrenting, but rivals like Private Internet Access are better suited if this if your #1 priority.

Bottom line: ⭐⭐⭐⭐½

NordVPN is the complete package – and it's a bargain, too! When you consider the amount of features and functionality you get, even on the base subscription, that sub-$3.50 a month price tag starts to look ever so tempting. It's not the very cheapest, but it is the best.

With brand power like no other in the industry, NordVPN is likely the first name you think of when someone says "VPN". That's for good reason too, because in my hands-on NordVPN review, I named it the very best provider on the market.

You get over 6,000 servers in a recently upgraded 110 countries around the world, which means you'll never be far away from a speedy connection. One Nord's biggest flaws previously was its slightly meagre selection of locations, so this upgrade really made a difference.

> NordVPN is my #1 VPN – get it from $3.09 a month

NordVPN supports the fully secure OpenVPN, IKEv2 and NordLynx protocols – the latter of which is based on the speedy WireGuard protocol. And speedy NordLynx is. In my testing it topped out at over 950 Mbps on my 1 Gbps connections. If I had a faster line, I reckon it'd go even faster.

Those speeds also tie in really nicely with Nord's exceptional streaming power. I test VPNs with a number of Netflix locations, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, and a ton more smaller sites, and Nord regularly comes out at the very top. 

With split tunneling, a kill switch and AES-2256 encryption, the privacy basics are covered, but Nord offers a little more than you might expect. The Double VPN and Onion over VPN modes offer enhanced security – and although these are almost certainly overkill for day-to-day tasks, if you need it, you have it. 

Nord's apps are very stable and are available on a huge range of devices, which is great if you want to stream using something like a Fire Stick VPN. However, while I like how they look on larger screens, it's worth noting that on handheld devices, Nord's map-based interface can be a little full-on. I typically recommend ExpressVPN for those looking for an iPhone VPN – but then again, it is more than twice the price...

Overall, NordVPN outdoes Surfshark, but it can't be ignored that it's around a dollar a month more expensive. Even at that price, though, I think it's an excellent deal, and if your budget can stretch I highly recommend it.

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NordVPN test results
DesignFun interface but might seem a little crowded for some users ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Ease of useThough simple to use, the map-like design might not work for everyone ⭐⭐⭐⭐
PerformanceOne of the fastest with an average speed of 950 Mbps⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
UnblockingEffortlessly unblocks most content streaming platforms⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Security and privacyStrong encryption with additional features like Threat Protection for safe streaming⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Customer supportReliable 24/7 customer support⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
PriceProvides ample value for the price.⭐⭐⭐⭐

Great prices and tons of customisation

3. Private Internet Access

A powerful and configurable cheap VPN

Number of servers: 10,000+ | Server countries: 91 | Money-back guarantee: 30 days | Maximum devices supported: Unlimited | Unblocks: Netflix, iPlayer, YouTube, Amazon, Disney+

Huge number of servers
Privacy-focused service
Browser extensions are excellent
Very useful for streaming
Not quite as fast as the competition
Subscribe if:

✔️ You want an impeccable no-logs policy. PIA has proved it stores no user info in court twice.

✔️ You're a big torrenter. Advanced features like port forwarding offer extra features for users who really know what they're doing.

✔️ You want a powerful browser extension. The browser extension offers tons of features not offered by other providers.

Avoid if:

❌ You love streaming. While PIA is good for streaming, Surfshark unblocks a much wider range of services.

❌ You're a novice. While the apps aren't incredibly complicated, those looking for an easy life might prefer a simpler option.

Bottom line: ⭐⭐⭐⭐½

Private Internet Access is a well-trusted VPN provider that's great for torrenting, is super secure, and can also unblock tons of streaming sites. Its apps are powerful and customizable, and while Surfshark offers a marginally better package overall, PIA is a very solid choice that may suit those looking to delve into the settings a little more.

Just like with Surfshark, calling Private Internet Access a 'cheap VPN' feels like it's doing the veteran provider a disservice. Yes, it's an absolute bargain with prices hovering around the $2-a-month mark, but it's also one of the best services I've reviewed – and has been for a long time.

Headline figures that include over 10,000 servers in 91 countries worldwide, with at least one in each state of the US, show that PIA is no bargain basement throwaway, and over the years it's proved itself to take its customers' privacy seriously. In fact, it's the only VPN provider that's had its zero-logging policy proved in court not once, but twice

It has all the basics like AES-256 encryption and a kill switch covered, but VPN aficionados will also appreciate the inclusion of more niche features like port forwarding – making PIA an excellent torrenting VPN

In my Private Internet Access review, I also found that PIA's browser extensions were a cut above, offering tons of functionality not often found in other Chrome VPNs.

> Head to the Private Internet Access to test out this quality cheap VPN

PIA also proved pretty useful when it came to unblocking streaming services, with US Netflix, Disney+ and Amazon Prime posing no problem. As an improvement from last time, it also works as a BBC iPlayer VPN, which will appeal to Brits abroad. However, a few less popular Netflix locations were unavailable

It's worth noting that PIA isn't perfect. In my last round of speed testing, WireGuard speeds peaked at around 360 Mbps, which is mid-pack at best. The likes of Surfshark, ExpressVPN and NordVPN are much faster.

It's also worth noting that while the apps are seriously powerful, they're not exactly simple, which could prove a challenge for newbies to VPN. However, if you're keen to explore things like port forwarding and connection automation, there aren't a lot of providers that come close to PIA's customization. 

While others may offer a slightly better service for those looking for an ultra-simple experience, Private Internet Access is affordable, secure, and perfect for experts.

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Private Internet Access test results
DesignAttractive apps that offer tons of functionality⭐⭐⭐
Ease of useNot too complex, but could be a challenge for newbies⭐⭐⭐
PerformanceMid-pack speeds won't slow you down, but you won't be breaking records⭐⭐⭐
UnblockingHuge range of servers, but some Netflix locations are unavailable⭐⭐⭐⭐
Security and privacyComprehensive and trustworthy, with a proved zero-log policy⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Customer supportGreat support with well-written guides⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
PriceOffers incredible value⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Other cheap VPNs I've tested

PrivadoVPN interface on Android, iOS, macOS, Windows

(Image credit: PrivadoVPN)

4. PrivadoVPN

The best cheap VPN below $2 per month

Number of servers: Hundreds | Server countries: 49 | Money-back guarantee: 30 days | Maximum devices supported: 10 | Unblocks: US + JP Netflix, iPlayer, Amazon, YouTube, Disney+

Unbeatable price for an effective VPN
The best free plan I've tested
Easy to use
Some Netflix libraries are unavailable
Apps are solid, but basic
No independent audit yet
Subscribe if:

✔️ You want a balance of very cheap and decent performance. PrivadoVPN is the cheapest VPN that doesn't make too many compromises.

✔️ You value simplicity. Simple apps mean getting protected online is a breeze.

Avoid if:

❌ You demand a independent audit. While audits aren't the be-all and end-all of a VPN, I'd appreciate it if PrivadoVPN subjected itself to one.

❌ You need tons of server locations. Privado's relatively small pool of servers doesn't affect its speed, but you're limited to only 48 countries.

Bottom line: ⭐⭐⭐½

PrivadoVPN makes a very good impression, and at the sub-$1.50-per-month price range, there's no better service. You will have to make a couple of sacrifices – namely a wide selection of server locations and no independent audit – but it's a capable VPN that's worth considering if you're on a very tight budget.

I'll forgive you if you haven't heard of PrivadoVPN before – but it's a relatively new service that's been making waves. It's probably best known for its free version, which tops my list of the best free VPNs, but it's also a great choice if you're looking for an unlimited VPN on a budget.

We'll start off with the price: $1.48 per month on the two-year plan. That's incredibly cheap, and undercuts Surfshark, Private Internet Access, even perennial bargain purveyors PureVPN. But surely you'll be getting a low-rent product for that?

Well, if all you're looking for is a reliable and speedy VPN that's easy to use, it's perfect. It offers AES-256 encryption, supports WireGuard, OpenVPN, and IKEv2 protocols, and in my speed testing it matched NordVPN at a blistering 950 Mbps. The kill switch is effective, and you can also use split – called SmartRoute here – to choose which apps are protected by the VPN and which aren't.

Of course, there are a few sacrifices to be made. The biggest is probably the slim server network of just 49 countries. The Americas, Europe, and Asia are well-served, with servers in most of the big locations, but Africa and the Middle East will have to make do with just a single location in South Africa. Not a great UAE VPN, then.

It also hasn't been independently audited, which some privacy obsessives won't look kindly upon. However, I've seen no evidence that it's not following its privacy policy, so I wouldn't worry too much about this – especially if you're just looking for cheap and easy day-to-day protection.

PrivadoVPN is pretty good for streaming, only missing out on a few Netflix libraries and the British streaming site Channel 4 in my testing. Combined with those fast speeds, it's a great tool to have on hand.

Overall, PrivadoVPN is unbeatable for the price, and its searing connection speeds will go a long way to impressing casual users. For full-fat VPN protection, I'd go with NordVPN or Surfshark, but Privado's not far behind.

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PrivadoVPN test results
DesignDecent, but pretty rudimentary⭐⭐⭐
Ease of useVery easy to navigate use⭐⭐⭐⭐
PerformanceOne of the very fastest⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
UnblockingA decent performance, but misses out on a few Netflix locations⭐⭐⭐⭐
Security and privacyGood basics, but an audit would be appreciated⭐⭐⭐
Customer supportSupport site is slim, but live chat and decent email support make up for it⭐⭐⭐
PriceIncredible value considering what you're getting⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
CyberGhost VPN App Demo - YouTube CyberGhost VPN App Demo - YouTube
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5. CyberGhost

Streaming-focused cheap VPN with long warranty

Number of servers: 9,000+ | Server countries: 91 | Money-back guarantee: 45 days | Maximum devices supported: 7 | Unblocks: Netflix, iPlayer, YouTube, Amazon, Hulu

Tons of servers
Useful filter system for streaming & P2P
45-day money-back guarantee
WireGuard speeds of up to 730Mbps
Interface can be clunky at time
Subscribe if:

✔️ You want a recognized brand. CyberGhost has been around for a long time, and has developed a good reputation in the industry.

✔️ You like to keep it simple. The apps are clean and clear, making it easy for beginners and experts alike.

✔️ You want a long trial period. With a 45-day money-back guarantee, CyberGhost offers a longer trial period than any other VPN.

Avoid if:

❌ You want to watch Disney+. Although CyberGhost is good for unblocking most sites, it failed in my tests with the House of Mouse's service.

❌ You'll need support. CyberGhost's support site isn't quite as comprehensive as the rivals'.

❌ You have tons of devices. Unlike most other VPNs, CyberGhost limits the number of installations rather than simultaneous connections.

Bottom line: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

CyberGhost is reliable, has excellent apps on most operating systems, and is an absolute bargain. The limited installation policy is a pain if you've got a lot of devices, and the lack of support for Disney+ is unfortunate, but overall it's reliable and easy to use.

CyberGhost is a Romanian-based VPN service that offers a staggering 9,000+ servers across more than 90 countries – which gives you tons of scope for finding a quality connection anywhere in the world. 

Like all the rest, CyberGhost uses super secure AES-256 encryption, and also offers a number of protocols, including the ubiquitous OpenVPN and WireGuard. It doesn't stop there, though. You'll also get automated HTTPS redirection and optional data compression for when on mobile – find out more in my full CyberGhost VPN review.

Since its update to CyberGhost 8, the apps have been greatly improved, and they're now a pleasure to use. Simple connection options mean that beginners will find it easy to get going, while there are a good few options for more advanced users to get stuck into.

> Head through to CyberGhost's website to check out the latest deals

CyberGhost has positioned itself as a streaming VPN, and in my testing it performed pretty well. With access to plenty of services like Netflix US, BBC iPlayer, Hulu and HBO Max, there's plenty to choose from, and the apps themselves offer dedicated servers and a smart filtering system to get the best results. 

However, it does lag behind the very best, as I was unable to unblock Netflix UK and Disney+. It'll be worth considering if you're going to want to watch any of these – if so, I recommend Surfshark as the best cheap VPN for streaming.

When it comes to connection speeds, CyberGhost has lost a little ground. In my last round of testing it peaked at 630Mbps when using WireGuard, and while this isn't slow by any means, a year or two ago it was one of the fastest. However, be aware that speeds can fluctuate day to day, and while I spread my testing over a number of days and times, you may get different results.

Although CyberGhost isn't quite up there with the best, it's a fantastic choice for those looking to stream and torrent without breaking the bank – and you'll also be covered by an unusually long 45-day money-back guarantee, so you'll be able to test it thoroughly before committing.

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CyberGhost test results
DesignGood, intuitive design⭐⭐⭐⭐
Ease of useA couple of complexities, but largely very easy to use⭐⭐⭐⭐
PerformancePretty fast, but can't compete with Surfshark⭐⭐⭐⭐
UnblockingGood specialized unblocking features, but lacking a few key services and locations⭐⭐⭐
Security and privacyGood basics with a Deloitte audit⭐⭐⭐⭐
Customer supportLive chat agents are helpful, but support site is lackluster⭐⭐⭐
PriceOne of the best value VPNs out there⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Ivacy on a range of devices

(Image credit: Ivacy)

6. Ivacy VPN

Incredibly cheap, but with compromises

Number of servers: 5,700+ | Server countries: 100+ | Money-back guarantee: 7 days; 30 days | Maximum devices supported: 10 | Unblocks: Netflix, iPlayer, Amazon, Disney+, Hulu

Inexpensive long-term plans
Unblocks geo-specific content
Includes malware protection
No security/privacy audits
Variable guarantees
Subscribe if:

✔️ You want an absolute bargain. On longer plans, Ivacy is incredibly cheap. Simple as that.

✔️ You enjoy streaming content. Ivacy is remarkably effective for unblocking global streaming content. 

Avoid if:

❌ You want maximum privacy and security. With some faults in the apps and kill switch, for those looking for reliable protection, I'd recommend Surfshark or PIA.

❌ You don't want a long-term plan. While Ivacy's long-term plans offer crazy value, you have to commit for a long time to get it.

Bottom line: ⭐⭐⭐½

Ivacy is a decent VPN for general protection when browsing and unblocking streaming services. However, for that looking for really comprehensive protection, the kill switch issue and generally underwhelming apps will be red flags. For most, I'd say go for Surfshark, or even PrivadoVPN for similar value.

Ivacy is well-known to be an absolute bargain, and it would be remiss of me not to include it in my best cheap VPN guide. It's one of the few VPNs that includes antivirus that detects and blocks malware threats as you securely browse online. 

My tests show you'll be well protected using this VPN, and it's well-suited for day-to-day use. Its top seeds reached 630Mbps in my last round of testing. This is decent, though there are other providers, like Surfshark, that are considerably faster.

When you connect to Ivacy, you have the option to be automatically connected to the fastest available server, or choose one yourself. There are over 5,700 servers located in more than 100 countries, so you're sure to find the best one for your situation.

If you travel away from home, you can use Ivacy to unblock your TV streaming accounts to watch your favorite shows. During testing, I was able to unlock Netflix in the United States, Australia, Japan, and the United Kingdom. Hulu, Amazon, and Disney+ are also accessible.

However, it's not all good news. In my full Ivacy review, I noticed a few issues with the apps. First off, the kill switch wasn't rock-solid, and this risks your data leaking should the VPN drop its connection. The apps themselves are also just a little troublesome, and privacy experts won't like the fact that the service hasn't been externally audited.

Ivacy's biggest draw is its price, and it has one of the best long-term plans that starts at just over $1 per month. However, you are locked into a 5-year commitment. Its monthly plan is a bit hefty at $9.95, though the 1-year plan is reasonably priced at around $4 per month. 

With each plan, you are given a money-back guarantee, but the terms of this guarantee vary. You get 30 days to check out the 5 and 1-year plans, but only 7 days to back out of a monthly plan.

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ExpressVPN test results
DesignUsable, but apps are dated and unintuitive⭐⭐
Ease of useNot the easiest to use⭐⭐
PerformanceSpeeds are fair, but nothing impressive⭐⭐⭐
UnblockingSurprisingly effective⭐⭐⭐⭐
Security and privacyKill switch issues and lack of an audit means I'd only recommend for light use⭐⭐
Customer supportLive chat is quite good, but written guides are flimsy⭐⭐⭐
PriceThe cheapest of them all, but perhaps with good reason⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Tested by

These are the experts who have tested, reviewed, and ranked the best cheap VPNs in this guide:

Headshot of Tom's Guide VPN Editor Mo Harber-Lamond
Mo Harber-Lamond

Mo is VPN Editor at Tom's Guide. He's covered VPNs since 2020, and in that time he has helped test and review over 100 providers. Mo handles the day-to-day testing of VPNs, making sure that they work for real people in real situations. He also undertakes ongoing streaming testing to make sure these services can unblock everything they claim, and produces video content to discuss and demonstrate the software.

Anthony Spadafora
Anthony Spadafora

Anthony Spadafora is the Senior Security and Networking Editor at Tom’s Guide where he covers everything from data breaches and malware to password managers. He also undertakes VPN testing for Tom's Guide and TechRadar, which includes running all of our US-based speed tests.

How to choose a cheap VPN

Just because you're looking for a cheap VPN doesn't mean you should compromise on features, performance, or privacy. Some of the best value VPNs are far better than providers twice their price. 

The most important step is considering what you plan on using your VPN for. Are you a TV addict who wants more content from around the world? An excellent VPN for streaming like Surfshark will likely fit the bill. Do you want your chosen provider's no logs policy to have been proven in court? PIA might appeal more.

It's also important to be aware of your expertise. Some VPNs are more complex than others, so if you're a newbie, it might be worth forgoing advanced customization for a simple and effective solution that you know is just going to work.

For most people, I think Surfshark fits the bill – it's cheap, simple to use, very secure and also offers plenty of extra features that experts will appreciate. I've also written up a guide on how to use a VPN if you want a concise explanation.


What is the best cheap VPN?

From my in-depth review process, I can confidently say that Surfshark is the best cheap VPN on the market. It has excellent apps for tons of devices, is impeccable for unblocking streaming sites, and has top-notch privacy and zero-logging credentials.

However, closely following it is Private Internet Access. It's slightly cheaper, and in most areas is a comparable service – so if saving every possible penny is important to you, then PIA is a good choice.

Is a cheap VPN worth it?

If you pick the right one, it certainly is. While some cheap services might not have many servers, provide poor connection speeds or, at worst, leak sensitive data, all of the options on this list provide premium-quality VPN protection for a great price.

If you really can only spare around $2 a month, Surfshark is the absolutely the best cheap VPN. However, if you can spare a little more I'd steer you towards NordVPN. Although you might be spending a few extra dollars a month, Nord's functionality is class-leading, is my most-recommended VPN, and also has a bunch of added extras you can buy to tailor your experience.

Are cheap VPNs secure?

While quality varies a lot in the VPN market, the services on my list are all reliable, secure VPNs that I rank among the top VPNs no matter the price.

All feature at least AES-256 encryption, most have extra features to keep you and your data private, and most will also work well with Netflix, Suffice to say, if you pick your cheap VPN from this list, your data will be as secure as it would be with any other VPN.

Can you get a VPN for free?

It's not impossible to get a decent VPN for free, but if you do you'll be sacrificing a lot in terms of performance and, in some cases, security.

Free services still have to make money, so if users aren't paying the provider directly with a subscription, it uses other techniques to earn revenue. Often you'll find the VPN might inject ads into pages you're browsing, and in the worst case it may well be selling your data.

Also, many free providers offer paid options as well, so the free versions are limited to encourage you to upgrade. You may find your connection speeds are throttled, and you'll usually have a data limit which is measured in MB rather than GB. 

While free options are available, if you're looking to stream TV or use a VPN daily, it's worth picking up a cheap service like Surfshark rather than risking it – at least you know where your provider is making its money if you pay for a subscription.

Why are VPNs so expensive?

In actual fact, while some VPNs can be fairly pricey, on the whole they're one of the cheaper digital subscription services – especially if you go with one of my recommended cheap VPNs. 

However, good VPNs aren't free because they need constant maintenance to ensure their servers are running reliably and securely, and technical teams to keep updating the service to ensure you can still access sites that actively block the use of VPNs – think Netflix and BBC iPlayer.

Also, none of the VPNs on this list will show you any sort of advertising when you're using it, and you'll also have unlimited bandwidth and data to use. Therefore, the only place they make their money is from user subscriptions, and starting at less than $2 a month, I think that's a pretty reasonable price to pay for total internet anonymity and data security.


We test and review VPN services in the context of legal recreational uses. For example:

1. Accessing a service from another country (subject to the terms and conditions of that service).

2. Protecting your online security and strengthening your online privacy when abroad.

We do not support or condone the illegal or malicious use of VPN services. Consuming pirated content that is paid-for is neither endorsed nor approved by Future Publishing.

Mo Harber-Lamond
VPN Editor

Mo is VPN Editor at Tom's Guide. Day-to-day he oversees VPN, privacy, and cybersecurity content, and also undertakes independent testing of VPN services to ensure his recommendations are accurate and up to date. When he's not getting stuck into the nitty-gritty settings of a VPN you've never heard of, you'll find him working on his Peugeot 205 GTi or watching Peep Show instead of finally putting up those shelves.