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The best cheap VPN providers 2020

cheap VPN
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Good news - the best VPN providers in the world don't necessarily need to be the most expensive. In fact, some of the finest services out there are also some of the most affordable ones. Plus, they can often be bought through a special deal at a much lower price, making the best cheap VPNs even more attractive.

Paying for a VPN is not surprising when you consider that you’re paying for top-notch performance, security and privacy. Some free VPN options are decent enough, but none are this good. However, it’s definitely possible to get a good VPN provider and pay a relatively cheap subscription fee, and those are the services we’re pointing out in this article.

So if you like the idea of protecting your online life without paying an arm and a leg, taking a look at our guide to the best cheap VPN should be just what the doctor ordered. We've focused on the services that offer great value on one-year or more subscriptions, as that's where the best value lies with the cheapest VPNs.

How to choose the best cheap VPN

A cheap VPN provider is no different to any other, really, 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.

The best cheap VPN providers in 2020

Surfshark VPN

(Image credit: Future)

1. Surfshark

A fantastic product that's one of the cheapest around

Number of servers: 1000+ | Server locations: 60+ | IP addresses: N/A | Maximum devices supported: Unlimited

So incredibly cheap
Connect unlimited devices
Fast connections
May be too basic for some users
Android app isn't as good as others

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/£2 a month subscription cost means that it's swimming 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 UDP and TCP, IKEv2) 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 1,000+ servers in pretty much no time at all.

Surfshark | 2 years | $11.95 $1.99 per month | 84% saving
Surfshark is certainly doing its best to show the rest of the competition up when it comes to cost. A solitary payment of $47.76 will give you two years of outstanding VPN service - that's the equivalent of less than $2 per month. Astonishing value!
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CyberGhost VPN

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

2. CyberGhost

An amazing array of features for such a low price

Number of servers: 5,700+ | Server locations: 110+ | IP addresses: N/A | Maximum devices supported: 7

Superb value for money
Strong performance in our tests
An array of smart features
Interface not as usable as others

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, BBC iPlayer, YouTube, etc.

CyberGhost is equipped with one of the most vast quantities of servers out there - over 5,500 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.


(Image credit: NordVPN)

3. NordVPN

One of the biggest names in the VPN business

Number of servers: 5,500+ | Server locations: 55+ | IP addresses: N/A | Maximum devices supported: 6

Excellent on both mobile and desktop
Double data encryption
Solid performance
Can sometimes be fiddly to use

Not only do you get a rather 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. 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.

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.


Hotspot Shield VPN

(Image credit: Future)

4. Hotspot Shield

Fast, affordable and with a fantastic free version

Number of servers: 3,200+ | Server locations: 70+ | IP addresses: N/A | Maximum devices supported: 5

Give it a try for free
Straightforward usability
Fast speeds
Lacks notable features
Can't unlock some streaming services

Hotspot Shield has an excellent reputation, thanks in no small part to its fantastic 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 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.

The drawback to that extra protection means that you'll end up with a smaller range of devices on which you can use Hotspot Shield (only those that support its Windows, Mac, Android or iOS apps). Limiting, but not insurmountable, if you were only really going to use your VPN on laptop, desktop or mobile anyway.


private internet access

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

5. Private Internet Access

A marvellous option for mobile

Number of servers: 3,300+ | Server locations: 50+ | IP addresses: N/A | Maximum devices supported: 10

Up to ten devices covered by sub
Brilliant apps and extensions
Above average speed
Not the best on Windows
Not as intuitive as some

If you've long purveyed lists of the greatest VPN providers, you'll have likely run into the product from Private Internet Access before. So you may be surprised to also discover that it's also one of the most affordable options, too!

Just like any VPN worth its salt, you can use PIA with Windows, Mac, Android, iOS and Linux. And it also features admirable browser extensions for the likes of Chrome, Firefox and Opera. It's in the services, app, indeed, that you really start to see the added value - there's a kill switch that vibrates when your network connection drops and plenty of added extras for power users to explore and take advantage of.

Our tests showed that PIA's speeds are fast, security is strong, and interface is easy to use. What more could you ask for at this price!?


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 providers 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 normal 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.