The best cheap VPN service in 2024

You've probably heard the old saying that if something is too good to be true, it usually is. A little skepticism is healthy—but today's best and most budget-friendly VPNs really are that cheap. For a tiny monthly fee, your VPN will encrypt your web traffic to prevent snooping, let you bypass geo-restrictions and check out international streaming content, and more.

Low prices don't mean low quality, however. I've been reviewing services for years to find the best VPNs in the business—and price is always an important part of the puzzle. My top picks are providers with awesome speeds, security tools, unblocking power, and, of course, the biggest and best VPN deals.

I've focused on the services that offer great prices on one-year or more subscriptions, as that's where the best value lies, and what'll net you the cheapest VPN subscription.

The three best cheap VPNs at a glance

Need a quick answer? Here are my three favorite low-cost VPNs:

1. Surfshark: the best cheap VPN in 2024

1. Surfshark: the best cheap VPN in 2024
Surfshark goes from strength to strength and refuses to compromise its competitive pricing. Sitting at third place in my overall charts, it offers a budget-friendly service that's easy to use and currently stands as one of the fastest VPNs on the market.

You can pick up a basic 2-year plan for $1.99 a month, and enjoy an extra 4 months of coverage for free. Plus, a 30-day money-back guarantee lets you put Surfshark to the test without risking a dime.

2. Private Internet Access: the best cheap Linux VPN

2. Private Internet Access: the best cheap Linux VPN
PIA is a long-time favorite of mine and pretty much unbeatable when it comes to security. It has a proven no-logs policy, a ridiculously vast server network, and sleek apps for all your devices. It's not as quick as NordVPN, but it's still a great pick for more advanced users.

At just $2.03 per month, you can still save 83% of the full cost with its 2-year plan. Make the most of its unlimited simultaneous connections and 30-day money-back guarantee to see why it's neck-and-neck between my top two picks.

3. NordVPN: the best cheap VPN with antivirus

3. NordVPN: the best cheap VPN with antivirus
NordVPN proves that you don't need to pay an arm and a leg for an industry-leading service. With NordVPN, you'll be able to unblock any streaming platform you can imagine and enjoy smooth HD streaming at home, on the go, or even overseas on vacation.

Currently, NordVPN is discounting its 2-year plan by 59%—which works out to a $3.39 monthly subscription fee. You'll also get a built-in ad blocker, antivirus tools, and a 30-day money-back guarantee to check out.

Recent updates

There haven't been any significant changes since my latest VPN test results, and while the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales might be over, plenty of VPNs are still offering generous discounts deep into January.

The 5 best cheap VPNs in 2024

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Let's take a closer look at the best budget VPNs, and see why value for money doesn't have to come at the expense of quality, functionality, or even usability.

The best cheap VPN overall

Surfshark—the best cheap VPN—working across devicesTechRadar Editor's Choice award logo

1. Surfshark VPN

A budget-friendly VPN that's packed with features and super-fast

Overall VPN ranking: 3 | Works on: Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux | Number of servers: over 3,200 | Countries available: 100 | Maximum devices supported: unlimited | Free trial?: 30-day money-back guarantee

My tests showed speeds of over 950 Mbps
Reliably unblocks Netflix and other streaming services
Easy to use for beginners
Extreme stress tests saw cracks in the kill switch
Subscribe if:

✔️ You want the best budget VPN: a low-cost, high-quality option, Surfshark has lots of features, unbelievable speeds, and a reliable network.

✔️ You need a fast VPN: Surfshark clocked in at over 950 Mbps average download speeds in my latest round of testing.

✔️ You want a cheap security suite: much like NordVPN, Surfshark comes with an array of internet security tools to keep you safe.

Don't subscribe if:

 You need a bulletproof kill switch: my testing showed some issues with Surfshark's kill switch on Windows. If an accidental IP leak could put you in danger, we'd recommend Private Internet Access or NordVPN.

❌ You need an unbeatable antivirus: decent protection is one thing, but if you need 100% guaranteed protection, you'll need one of the best antivirus solutions.

Bottom line: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

🔒 Surfshark is my #1 choice for the top cheap VPN. With unparalleled speeds and unlimited simultaneous connections, you get a lot of VPN for a low price. Try for yourself and see why it's my favorite budget VPN with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Want to know more?

Check out our in-depth Surfshark VPN review and see why this super-fast VPN is also my top budget pick.

Surfshark VPN is the best cheap VPN right now thanks to its premium feel and little price—it currently ranks #3 in my list of the best VPNs overall, in fact. It's a feature-rich service with the option to upgrade to a full security suite (including antivirus, ad blocking, and dark web scanning) for only $0.70 extra per month.

It's not all about the bottom-line cost, though. You can use Surfshark on as many devices as you like, for example, and that means you're getting serious value for money when you subscribe. There's nothing really stopping you from sharing your login details with your friends and family to ensure that everyone you love stays safe online.

Try Surfshark on unlimited devices with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

But don't think that the low cost means sacrificing quality or security. Surfshark is as robust as any of my more premium recommendations, offers a wide array of security features as standard, and has a no-logs policy that prevents authorities from seeing what you've used the VPN for.

The list of Surfshark features keeps growing, too. Recently, the provider announced the launch of its Alternative ID functionality which will allow users to create a fictitious identity, complete with an email address, to shore up their security. Though this handy tool is still in beta testing, it's proof of Surfshark's commitment to digital privacy at a time when sites are constantly asking you for your personal information.

There are plenty of encryption protocols to choose from, too, including OpenVPN, IKEv2, and WireGuard—the latest and greatest in the industry today. This lets you customize your experience to get the perfect blend of speed and security, regardless of whether you're streaming Netflix, gaming online, or torrenting large files.

In addition to that customization, you also get a kill switch that cuts your internet if your VPN connection drops, preventing any unencrypted data from accidentally falling into the wrong hands. While I did note some kill switch issues in my latest round of extreme stress testing on Windows, we're confident it will still be reliable for all day-to-day use.

I also love Surfshark's "Quick connect" option, which automatically matches me to the quickest server in just one click—it doesn't get easier than that.

While there are cheaper VPNs than Surfshark (such as PureVPN), choosing them means you have to compromise on quality or crank up the subscription to as much as five years. Put Surfshark to the test with its 30-day money-back guarantee, and see if it's the right service for you—all without risking a penny.

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Surfshark test results:
DesignElegant, simple, and intuitive⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Ease of useGreat for beginners, and seamless connections⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
PerformanceFaster than most of my top picks⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
UnblockingGood content unblocking, but not amazing⭐⭐⭐⭐
Security and privacySome kill switch issues, and the built-in ad blocker and antivirus wasn't as good as I was expecting⭐⭐⭐⭐
Customer supportLots of supporting articles, but awkward to navigate to when you need help on the fly⭐⭐⭐⭐
PriceThe best cheap VPN on the market⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

The best cheap Linux VPN

Private Internet Access app running on mobile, laptop, tablet, and PC

(Image credit: Private Internet Access)

2. Private Internet Access (PIA)

A budget VPN security suite that has proven its no-logs policy in court

Overall VPN ranking: 4 | Works on: Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux | Number of servers: over 20,000 | Countries available: 84 | Maximum devices supported: unlimited | Free trial?: 30-day money-back guarantee

Reliable apps, even for Linux
More servers than almost any other service
A no-logging policy that was proven in court twice
Our tests showed it to be slower than Surfshark and NordVPN
Subscribe if:

✔️ You want a VPN that's proven its claims: PIA has proven its no-logs policy in court—not once, but twice.

✔️ You need the best Linux VPN: GUI apps for the most popular distros and plenty of support.

✔️ You need a cheap torrenting VPN: port-forwarding and a mountain of torrent-friendly servers make PIA an excellent pick for P2P file sharing.

Don't subscribe if:

❌ You want a built-in password manager: unlike ExpressVPN and NordVPN, PIA doesn't come with its own password manager.

❌ You want the fastest VPN: PIA offers good speeds for torrenting, but it's nowhere near what you can expect from NordVPN or Surfshark.

Bottom line ⭐⭐⭐⭐½

🔒 Private Internet Access is a long-standing favorite of privacy purists like myself. See why I love it so much with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Want to know more?

Check out our in-depth Private Internet Access VPN review and see why this low-cost option is also great for Linux.

Private Internet Access is a 10-year veteran of the industry, and over the past few years, it's grown its server count by the thousands. With a wealth of customization and some seriously useful security tools, it's a high-quality service without the premium price tag.

In my most recent testing, I lauded the quality of its clients and apps. PIA made great strides in improving the service, and now comes with a lot of extra features if you want to tailor your VPN protection. However, I did see that it's a little slower than Sufshark and NordVPN.

Try Private Internet Access with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

With its MACE feature, you get built-in threat protection and ad-blocking at no extra cost. So, with a single subscription, you'll have everything you need to protect your device from hackers and secure your digital privacy. PIA engineers even claimed to have fixed a problem gripping the industry: making split tunneling available for MacOS. This functionality is expected to be released sometime in January.

PIA's 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 is constantly upgrading its service, and proven its no-logs claims in court repeatedly.

While it isn't my current go-to pick for streaming content, PIA offers dedicated servers to help you unblock your favorite shows from around the world, and with tens of thousands of servers to choose from, you'll always find one that works. It recently impressed me with a 100% pass rate in my unblocking tests thanks to its dedicated streaming servers. 

In fact, PIA keeps adding more and more servers to its list and recently added Bolivia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Nepal, Peru, Uruguay, and South Korea for users to connect to. Couple that with a server in every state of the US, and you've got an enormous network with plenty of customization.

When you put all of the above together with unlimited simultaneous connections, it's clear to see why PIA is nipping at the heels of Surfshark for first place. Use one of the most trusted and proven VPN services to protect every device you own, as well as everyone you know, all on a single plan, and with a month of risk-free protection.

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Private Internet Access test results:
DesignLots of customization, but could do with some attention to detail⭐⭐⭐⭐
Ease of useNot the best for beginners, but great for advanced users⭐⭐⭐
PerformanceGood speeds, but generally average compared to industry leaders⭐⭐⭐
UnblockingDedicated streaming servers and tens of thousands of servers to help you unblock anything and everything⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Security and privacyThe latest and greatest in VPN tech, and a proven no-logging policy⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Customer supportA mass of knowledge online and expert support on-hand at all times⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
PriceBudget-friendly and offering plenty of value for money⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

The best cheap VPN security suite

(Image credit: Future)

3. NordVPN

A full VPN security suite that offers budget pricing options

Overall VPN ranking: 2 | Works on: Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux | Number of servers: over 5,595 | Countries available: 60 | Maximum devices supported: 6 | Free trial?: 30-day money-back guarantee

Packed with security tools and features
The fastest VPN in my testing
Excellent for streaming and unblocking content around the world
Apps can be fiddly to use for beginners
Subscribe if:

✔️ You want an all-in-one security suite: NordVPN comes with ad blocking and malware protection as standard with its VPN subscription.

✔️ Streaming Netflix is your primary use case: access streams from around the world with NordVPN—the service that currently tops my list as the best VPN for Netflix.

✔️ You want a blend of cost and quality: tonnes of features, additional security tools, and competitive pricing make NordVPN one to watch.

Don't subscribe if:

❌ You want a super simple interface: NordVPN's map-style interface can be fun, but if you want a plain design without the bells and whistles, my other top picks all have cleaner apps.

❌ You want to access content everywhere: servers in 60 locations are hardly stingy, but NordVPN still falls short in terms of countries and locations when compared to my other recommended providers.

Bottom line ⭐⭐⭐⭐½

🔒 NordVPN strikes the perfect balance between security, usability, performance, and unblocking capability. See for yourself with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Want to know more?

Check out our in-depth NordVPN review for a closer look at this all-in-one security solution.

NordVPN got a bump up in my cheap VPN chart thanks to a price reduction on its 2-year plan. So, not only do you get a very affordable VPN, but you also benefit from a service with excellent security, and with the level of customization on offer, you can upgrade to include even more tools and services for just a fraction more. 

NordVPN offers a number of "Double VPN" servers that route your data through not one but two separate VPN servers. This boosts your anonymity and makes it much harder for anyone to track what you get up to online. I also like that it's one of a handful of VPNs to offer Tor over VPN servers—which act as an additional layer of protection.

Try NordVPN's full security suite with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

With an automatic kill switch and robust encryption protocols, you can be certain your data is always protected, and if not, it won't let you continue with a false sense of security.

Couple that with built-in threat protection, password management, and encrypted cloud storage, and NordVPN secures its spot as an impressive all-in-one privacy and security solution. If you want to cut the cost of multiple separate subscriptions and invest in one single toolkit, NordVPN offers the best value for money.

A subscription to NordVPN also gives you the opportunity to check out new features and tools as they're announced—like NordLabs. Touted as a space to create, test, and launch cybersecurity tools, it's an awesome example of NordVPN's active involvement in combating the ever-evolving tide of security threats. Sonar, an AI-powered tool against phishing, was the first project released in September.

NordVPN supports all major platforms with easy-to-use clients (or setup guides) and allows P2P traffic for those who like to use their VPN for torrenting. Check out its specialty server list for use-case-specific servers.

I found that it doesn't disappoint when it comes to performance, either, delivering the fastest speeds in my latest round of testing. Another plus point is that this provider has a zero-logs policy that's fully audited by PricewaterhouseCoopers no less. This means NordVPN does exactly what it says on the tin. No sharing your information, or watching what you're doing, unlike some of the more unscrupulous VPN services out there.

Take advantage of its 30-day money-back guarantee, to compare it to Surfshark and Private Internet Access without risking a penny.

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NordVPN test results:
DesignA fun design that can be a little busy for some people⭐⭐⭐
Ease of useEverything is easy to find, but the map interface can be off-putting, and there isn't much attention to detail⭐⭐⭐
PerformanceThe fastest VPN in my latest round of testing⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
UnblockingPerfect for Netflix and other streaming sites⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Security and privacyEvery bit as strong as ExpressVPN⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Customer supportFriendly, supportive and professional⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
PriceFantastic value for money⭐⭐⭐⭐

The cheapest premium VPN

PureVPN VPN apps working on desktop, laptop, smartphone and tablet

(Image credit: PureVPN)