Unlike with a lot of top tech, getting one of the very best VPN services doesn't mean you'll also have to pay top dollar. Competition is so hot that the world's top providers are constantly tripping over themselves to try and outprice the rest. That means you can get a brilliant cheap VPN that doesn't compromise on quality.
Taking a look at our guide to the best cheap VPNs below is highly recommended 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.
And this is one example where 'cheap' doesn't also mean bad quality. The VPNs below are all services that have performed well in our tests and are great tools for encrypting your internet traffic, getting around geo-blocked apps, and streaming shows, movies and sports from abroad.
Plus, they can often be bought through a special deal at a much lower price, making the best cheap VPNs even more attractive.
Today's best cheap VPNs:
Surfshark - the very best cheap VPN (opens in new tab)
We're not sure quite how it does it, but Surfshark has taken the industry by the scruff of the neck in the last few years to offer a VPN that goes big on quality and value. Sitting at 3rd place in our overall chart it currently costs from $2.30 per month thanks to a special offer that throws in an extra two months for free, plus a completely free upgrade to its Surfshark One antivirus package, too.
PIA - pushing Surfshark all the way (opens in new tab)
Private Internet Access has made great strides in our last couple of VPN testing rounds, and now it has complemented its excellent apps and monumental server count with a fantastic price. At a mere $2.19/pm for 26 months, it now even manages to undercut Surfshark. If it just manages to improve its speeds and geo-unblocking, it could take the top spot in this list.
ExpressVPN - get a great deal on the world's best (opens in new tab)
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 backup from Backblaze included with an annual plan, we still think it's well worth shouting about.
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.
The best cheap VPN providers in 2022(opens in new tab)
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 generally either have to compromise on quality or crank up the subscription to three years. That's why Surfshark takes the top spot here.
(opens in new tab)
A service that does exactly what it says in the name, Private Internet Access has been around for years but has only recently really been climbing our VPN rankings. It's now closer than ever to closing in on Surfshark on this cheap VPN guide.
In our most current testing, we lauded the quality of its clients and apps. Not only are they easy and friendly to use, but they really pack in the extra features for anybody who wants to fully customize their VPN experience.
Its best pricing is dependent on you being happy enough to commit to it for the next couple of years (and pay upfront for the privilege), but any qualms should be quelled by the fact that PIA just keeps on improving.
In terms of streaming, it keeps adding more and more services to its 'unblock' list (most recently it has upped its game as a BBC iPlayer VPN). And its recent redesign shows - superficially at least - that this is a provider that is investing in the future.
(opens in new tab)
NordVPN recently got a bump up our cheap VPN chart thanks to a price reduction on its best value 2-year plan (now more than 70% off the regular monthly price).
So not only do you get a very affordable VPN with NordVPN (providing you avoid the monthly subscription), you also benefit from a service with excellent security. The provider offers a number of ‘Double VPN’ servers which route your data through not one but two separate VPN servers. There is also an option to send encrypted traffic over the Onion network for an additional layer of security, plus an automatic kill switch, and more.
NordVPN supports all kinds of platforms and devices with easy-to-use clients (or setup guides), and it allows P2P traffic for those who like to use their VPN for torrenting. We found performance was very good too, delivering above-average speeds in our testing, and another plus point is that this provider has a ‘zero logs’ policy that's fully audited by PricewaterhouseCoopers no less.
A definite bonus is the existence of a 30-day trial (in the form of a money back guarantee) to give the service a spin before you subscribe.
NordVPN | 2 years | $3.29/pm | 60% off (opens in new tab)
NordVPN goes big on discounts with its multi-year plan. If you commit to Nord's excellent service for the next two years, it will slash 60% off the regular cost - it's one of the best prices we've seen yet for NordVPN. Plus, for an extra few dollars, you can also add extra security tools like a password manager, data breach scanner and encrypted cloud storage.
You'll notice pretty quickly that PureVPN has a lower star rating and ranking than the other providers on this list. But the prices it offers are so good, it would be remiss of us not to feature this still-premium service on a list of cheap VPNs.
It's reasonable all-year around, but comes into its own around Black Friday and Cyber Monday at which time it really throws some jaw-dropping prices into the mix. Last year saw it throw out a stunning 88% discount - incredible pricing as long as you were happy to sign up to a 5-year subscription. That offer has now expired, but it remains brilliantly priced - especially as you can get an extra 15% off when you enter TechRadar's exclusive Tech15 coupon code at the checkout.
If price was the only positive about PureVPN, we wouldn't feature it on this list at all. Thankfully, there are plenty of other praises to sing. For starters, it boasts upwards of 6,000 servers around the world, your sub covers 10 devices at once and it had a good run at unblocking geo-restricted streaming services - Netflix US, Disney+ and BBC iPlayer were all on the success list.
So where does it trip up? Speed was the first and most notable downfall (it doesn't carry WireGuard), coming up much slower than the competition on this list. That isn't a disaster, but it may mean you don't want to have PureVPN connected all the time as it may negatively impact your web use. The apps and client could do with some UX improvement, too, and the general scruffiness of the support site doesn't fill us with much confidence.
But, as we say, PureVPN will do just fine for a lot of people. And, at this price, we can understand why you'd go for it.
PureVPN | 2 years | $1.69 a month with code 'tech15' (opens in new tab)
PureVPN may not be the most impressive VPN out there, but its prices certainly catch the eye. Using discount code tech15, you can currently get an extra 15% off its two-year plan, bringing it down to essentially $1.69 a month, paying $40 for the 2-years.
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 for 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 - around 8,000 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 (opens in new tab) on offer.
CyberGhost | 39 months | $2.29 per month | 82% saving (opens in new tab)
CyberGhost is a very affordable VPN - just so long as you're willing to commit. Sign up for 36 months and it will chuck in an extra three for free, meaning that the effective cost comes down to a rather spectacular $2.29 / £1.75 per month.
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 very best VPNs 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 (opens in new tab) 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, including an extra three months FREE! (opens in new tab) 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 backup from trusted brand Backblaze absolutely free of charge.