So you like the idea of getting a VPN, but you're not so keen on shelling out for yet another subscription? Thankfully, competition is so hot that the world's top providers are constantly tripping over themselves to try and out-price the rest. That means you can get a brilliant cheap VPN that doesn't compromise in the least on quality.
Taking a look at our guide to the best cheap VPN should be just what the doctor ordered if you like the idea of protecting your online life without paying an arm and a leg. We've focused on the services that offer great prices on one-year or more subscriptions, as that's where the best value lies with the cheapest VPNs.
Plus, they can often be bought through a special deal at a much lower price, making the best cheap VPNs even more attractive.
How to choose the best cheap VPN
Having to pay for a VPN should not be surprising when you consider that you’re getting top-notch performance, security and privacy that free VPN options just can't match. However, it’s definitely possible to sign up for an excellent VPN provider and pay a very reasonable subscription fee, and those are the services we’re pointing out in this article.
A cheap VPN provider is no different to any other in terms of what you’re likely to be looking for: tight security and good levels of privacy, with at least solid speeds on the performance front. And as ever, a wide coverage of devices and platforms with a range of user-friendly clients is welcome.
But more than that, make sure that it serves the purpose you want it to? Big streamer? Make sure it unblocks Netflix, Amazon Prime, BBC iPlayer or whatever your chosen service is. Torrenter? Make sure the service excels there. And if you're more likely to use your VPN on mobile, then be sure that dedicated Android and/or iOS apps are available, too. And remember to look out for a provider that has a money-back guarantee, so you can always quit and get your cash back if you decide you don't want it later.
1. Surfshark is the very best cheap VPN
We're not sure quite how it does it, but we think Surfshark has the competition licked when it comes to mixing quality with affordability. It appears on 'best of' lists all around the internet and yet always manages to score the best prices around.
2. IPVanish - the provider to choose for short term plans
Trusted provider IPVanish isn't usually thought of as cheap, but right now you get unlimited simultaneous connections an introductory price of just $3.49 for your first month. That's a really great price for commitment-phobes or if you just need a VPN for a short time.
3. ExpressVPN - get a great deal on the world's best
OK, so ExpressVPN isn't the among the absolute cheapest VPNs on the market. But, in our view, it is the best. And because TechRadar readers are able to get an extra 3 months free and unlimited secure cloud storage from Backblaze included with an annual plan, we still think it's well worth shouting about.
- Just want the greatest? Or want to know more? Head to our best VPN guide
The best cheap VPN providers in 2021
There's no wonder that Surfshark's VPN stands out so much. As well as the eye-catching name and inviting branding, the incredible sub-$2.50/£2/AU$3.50 a month subscription cost means that it usually swims out on its own in the cheap VPN waters.
And it's not all about the bottom-line cost. The fact that you can use Surfshark on as many of your gadgets and devices as you like at once improves the value even further. There's nothing really stopping you from sharing your login details out among our friends and family if you like (although, at Surfshark's price, you needn't even really bother!).
And what to you get for this meagre sum? Well, honestly, pretty much everything you'd expect from a service that sits so high up in our guide to the very best overall VPN. There are plenty of security protocols available (e.g. OpenVPN, IKEv2 and the new, faster WireGuard) and a kill switch for extra security when the VPN is in use. And its Surfshark's handy 'Quick connect' option will have you connected to one of its 3,200+ servers in pretty much no time at all.
Yes, you can get your VPN cheaper than Surfshark. But to do so, you either have to compromise on quality or crank up the subscription to three years. That's why Surfshark takes the top spot here.
To be quite honest, IPVanish didn't normally used to make it into our best cheap VPN countdown. But it's a fantastic option for commitment-phobes: if you only want access to a premium VPN service for a month, IPVanish will let you do so for just $3.49. That's excellent when compared to most services' one-month tariffs that tend to get up around the $10-mark.
And if you like the idea of adding secure cloud storage to the package, it's teamed up the company's SugarSync provider can be yours for only $1.50 extra.
But before you simply plump for that that 1-monther, it's worth considering IPVanish's 12-month plan. The savings get even greater at that point - you'll pay the equivalent of a mere $2.63 right now. And thanks to its 30-day money back guarantee, you've got nothing to lose if you don't end up liking it.
In terms of VPN providers, IPVanish is a trusty old steed. It's a no-nonsense service that's easy to use and just...works. It has over 1,600 servers spread worldwide and has excellent clients and apps on a whole host of devices. It's almost the very definition of a fully-functioned virtual private network, offering a whole range of security protocols to choose from. IKEv2, OpenVPN (TCP & UDP), L2TP, IPSec and PPTP are all on the list (but still no WireGuard, unfortunately). And even if you're not going to use them all, having so many available is a serious show of security intent from IPVanish.
If you're looking for software to stream with, then we'd suggest looking elsewhere on this guide - IPVanish struggled in our tests with some key platforms. But you may be comforted to know that this company is based in the US, rather than some faraway clime.
If Surfshark's appeal is its sheer simplicity, CyberGhost takes the plaudits for being such a thorough package at such a low price.
But if that sounds like it's going to be complicated to use, then please don't misunderstand us. We're really fond of how easy this provider makes it to connect to just the right server for your purpose. That means that if your main purpose for getting a VPN is streaming, CyberGhost will actively help you select the ideal server for watching Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, etc.
CyberGhost is equipped with one of the vastest quantities of servers out there - over 6,000 in 110+ countries at last count. That does sometimes mean that speeds aren't up to the same pace as, say those of ExpressVPN. But you can discover all this for yourself with CyberGhost's generous 45-day money back guarantee - one of the lengthiest VPN free trials on offer.
CyberGhost | 39 months | $2.25 per month | 82% saving
CyberGhost is a pretty affordable VPN at the best of times - but it just recently slashed the price of its long-term plan down to a remarkable new low! It means your next three year (plus three months extra) of VPN is sorted for less than $90.
Hotspot Shield has an excellent reputation, thanks in no small part to its tempting free offering. But assuming that a mere 500MB of VPN use per day isn't enough for you (and it won't be if you want to stream and download music and movies while connected), then it doesn't actually cost that much more to upgrade to its premium service.
We like the way that Hotspot Shield doesn't merely rely on the usual security protocols used by other VPNs - its developers have produced their own snazzily-named Catapult Hydra protocol, which not only seeks to keep you and your data secure but also ensures consistently rapid connection speeds.
But Hotspot has become more than a simple one-tricky pony (although a very fast one) in recent times. It's now among our top three overall favorite providers, due to its fantastic user experience across a range of devices and its much improved performance in our streaming service unblocking tests.
The cherry on top? Hotspot Shield has an exclusive price in place just for TechRadar readers. If you're happy to commit to a three year subscription, the effective monthly cost falls all the way down to $2.49. That's a tremendous price on a VPN that sits on our VPN podium.
Hotspot Shield | 3 years |
$9.99 $2.49/pm | 75% saving
The reduction here is clearly very eye-catching, and you can't really argue with an effective monthly cost of just $2.49 - you have to pay the full $90 upfront, but can cancel for a full refund within the first 45 days.
Swiss-based VyprVPN feels like a familiar old name in the VPN game. And it remains one of the best in the business, only just missing out on our overall top 10 of the hundreds that we test.
The reason it makes this list is thanks to its incredibly priced multi-year plan. If you're happy to commit for the next three years, then Vypr asks for a flat $60 upfront. That's the equivalent of only $1.66 per month - a price that no other top VPN can get even close to matching.
But it's not all about the dollars and cents (few, as they are). As we say, VyprVPN has a strong reputation in this field, and was especially impressive in our testing when it came to streaming. From Netflix and Disney Plus, to BBC iPlayer and Hulu... we found that Vypr was up to the task of unlocking the lot so that we could watch content in just about every geo-restricted region.
It may not have some of the features of some competitors and its 700-strong server list looks on the low side in comparison, but this is still a friendly, easy-to-use VPN. Oh, and did we mention the price!?
VyprVPN | 3 years |
$12.95 $1.66 per month | 89% saving
You can now get a scarcely believable 89% off VyprVPN plans, thanks to its multi-year pricing. At $60 USD for 36 months you get a fast VPN that's superb for streaming. Unlimited data usage and up to five simultaneous connections.
But what if I just want the best overall VPN?
It's always nice to save money and know that you've bagged a bargain, but sometimes it's also worth investing in the very best. One look at our guide to the best VPN services will show that the current market-leader is ExpressVPN.
There are multifarious reasons why this is the case (check out our ridiculously in-depth ExpressVPN review to discover them all), but it boils down to the obvious things - the super fast connection speeds even to far away servers, the robust no-logging security, the incredible 24/7 customer support to get you out of the tightest binds, the sheer simplicity to use...the list goes on.
And although it can't boast the best cheap VPN prices, ExpressVPN does at least offer TechRadar readers 49% off the monthly rolling cost when you sign up for a year, as well as an extra three months FREE! Plus, you can give it a try for 30 days and cancel at any time to get a full refund.
What's more, ExpressVPN has now made the deal sweeter still by throwing in a whole year of unlimited cloud storage from trusted brand Backblaze absolutely free of charge,