February 4, 2019
If you’re looking to keep your data secure and your internet use private, without spending a premium, you’ll need the best cheap VPN service available. With this guide, you should have all you need to start your search.
You can spend under $3 per month and get a great VPN service. Our thorough testing has revealed the best VPN brands to choose, which will protect your privacy, open up overseas streaming services, and give you great value, too.
Here, we’ll cover the top ten VPN offerings to consider when on a budget, and explain which features of a VPN are the most essential.
In this guide:
Click each VPN service named here in order to jump directly to our full review. Otherwise, you can scroll down a little to view a graph of the top ten best cheap VPNs, comparing the features and price plans that each has to offer.
- PureVPN – for just $2.80 per month, this is the best cheap VPN you can choose
- NordVPN – another great option at $2.99 a month, offering a super quick connection
- Private Internet Access – $2.91 a month will net you great security with an intuitive interface
- Ivacy VPN – Not the fastest, but good for those who keep things simple; only $3.33 a month
- Windscribe – Fast, secure and just $4.08 a month, but not the easiest if you’re a VPN newbie
- Torguard – Versatile, great for video streaming, costs $4.12 per month
- Proton VPN – A strongly secure, feature-rich option that costs $4 a month
- Hide Me VPN – A slower but serviceable VPN at $4.99 per month
- AirVPN – Dependable and feature-heavy, but with a $8.32-per-month price tag
- IPVanish – A high-end VPN with near-unbeatable features, speed and support, but a pricey $6.49 per month
Finding and ranking the absolute cheapest VPNs wouldn’t be much of a challenge: Their price plans are all available online. But you don’t want the cheapest. You want the best cheap VPN service – the one that balances its cost against the quality of its security, speed, features, and support team.
Following a raft of rigorous testing, Tech.co has ranked the best cheap VPNs available on the market, and listed them in the graph here. All these options should satisfy most, but our reigning champion for high quality at a low monthly cost is PureVPN, with NordVPN finishing in second place.
Scroll horizontally to view full table on mobile devices
|PureVPN||NordVPN||Private Internet Access||Ivacy VPN||Windscribe||TorGuard||Proton VPN||Hide Me VPN||AirVPN||IPVanish VPN|
|No. of devices||5||5||5||10||5||5||10||5||5||5|
|No. of servers||750||3605||3035||450||480||3000||112||150||60||1000|
|Ease of use||★★★★★||★★★★★||★★★★☆||★★★★☆||★★★★★||★★★★☆||★★★★★||★★★★☆||★★★☆☆||★★★★★|
|Help & Support||★★★★☆||★★★★☆||★★★★☆||★★★★☆||★★★☆☆||★★★☆☆||★★★★☆||★★★☆☆||★★★☆☆||★★★★★|
|Value for Money||★★★★★||★★★★☆||★★★★☆||★★★★☆||★★★★☆||★★★★★||★★★★☆||★★★★★||★★★★☆||★★★★☆|
|Price per month||$2.80 (1-year plan)||$2.99 (3-year plan)||$2.91 (2-year plan)||$3.33 (2-year plan)||$4.08 (1-year plan)||$4.12 (2-year plan)||$4 (1-year plan)||$4.99 (1-year plan)||$2.78 (2-year plan)||$6.49 (1-year plan)|
|Discounts||See offers||See offers||See offers||See offers||See offers||See offers||See offers||See offers||See offers||See offers|
A simple, cheap and effective VPN
PureVPN earns our top recommendation handily. The service will cost you less than three dollars a month, but it delivers on every level, from ease of use to depth of functionality. It also excels in the strength of its security, which includes extra antivirus and adblocking technology that other VPNs won’t include. One useful feature is the ability to convert your PC into a VPN hotspot, which you can then connect to other devices.
While it’s pretty fast – certainly enough for most users – PureVPN isn’t the absolute fastest. You’ll also need to use its browser extension in order to unlock Netflix, but even that isn’t much of a ding, as only a few VPNs can unlock Netflix at all.
Read the full PureVPN review
- Unbeatable value
- Intuitive interface
- Strong feature set
- Fast, but not the fastest
- Only unlocks Netflix via browser
Save on your subscription to PureVPN with this deal
A great-value VPN from a trusted name
NordVPN runs 3,600 servers in 62 countries across the globe, the most of any service on this list. And despite that impressive reach, it also offers one of the least expensive plans out there, at $2.99 a month – provided you sign up for a three-year commitment. Its service offers plenty of features, alongside the name-brand, high quality security that any VPN user is looking for.
It’s speedy, too: Even with transatlantic server link, it keeps steady at about 50% of normal connection speeds. Fast, secure, and inexpensive: That’s a trifecta any VPN user can love.
Read our full NordVPN review
- Packed with features
- Standout value
- Doesn’t unblock all streaming services
- Requires a little technical knowledge
See the most discounted deals for NordVPN plans
Private Internet Access
A secure, low-cost VPN
Private Internet Access is another service in the very short list of VPNs that will cost you less than $3 a month on a long-term payment plan. And once again, it operates on an impressive amount of servers: More than 3,081 servers across 28 countries.
Speeds are just okay, however. The user interface on the PC app is also a little clunky, with a lot of user-unfriendly text and options.
Read our full Private Internet Access review
- Solid features
- Good prices
- A little user-unfriendly
- Average speeds
Find Private Internet Access online through this button
A cheap VPN with a strong privacy focus
Privacy is often one of the top concerns of anyone considering a VPN, and Ivacy delivers privacy in abundance. It’s also very nearly the cheapest VPN on this list, at $3.33 a month under a two-year plan.
However, the service is just average at a few other factors: Its speeds can be choppy, and its range of features is limited. In other words, if you’re a hands-on tinkerer who wants to put in the work to get the best possible experience, Ivacy isn’t for you. However, if you enjoy a secure but simple service at a great price, this one works great.
Read our full review of Ivacy VPN
- Attractive pricing
- Simple interface
- Erratic speeds
- Connections can be slow
Use this offer for the best prices on Ivacy VPN
Technical, but with great VPN features
Windscribe is a great VPN for hands-on techies who want all the bells and whistles. It offers granular settings that let users pick out their own server location and protocol, and delivers access to Netflix in regions that would otherwise be locked.
Another bonus: The free tier. Functionality is still limited, but it’s better than most free options from other VPN services, and you can use it indefinitely.
The downside to the level of detail Windscribe offers, however, is that it can all get a little intimidating pretty quickly, so newbies won’t be fans.
Read our full Windscribe review
- Flexible features
- Solid free plan
- Unlocks Netflix
- Requires technical know-how
Follow this link for the best deals on Windscribe VPN
An outstanding VPN for the security-conscious
TorGuard – named after its focus on privacy for BitTorrent users – is indeed a very secure option for anyone, and offers the advanced settings that a peer-to-peer file-sharing power user might enjoy.
The price tag is $4.12 a month under a two-year plan. While this is certainly not the cheapest plan available, Tech.co’s testers loved TorGuard’s privacy and general ease of use so much that they gave it a full five stars for its cost-value ratio. In other words, it’ll cost a buck a month more than the cheapest options, but it’s worth the price.
Read the full TorGuard review
- Global presence
- Advanced functionality
- Impressive security
- Not for newbies
- Awkward sign-up process
Sign up for Torguard VPN today
A good VPN all-rounder at a decent price
Proton VPN is another service with detailed settings. Its interface includes regular statistics, such as the user’s current download/upload speeds. Users can also jump between different profiles, with a different protocol, server type and location pre-set for each profile.
However, you won’t be able to get past Netflix, and it’s not the speediest VPN out there. It’ll cost $4 a month for just a one-year plan, meaning that you won’t need to commit a very large lump sum in order to get a very good monthly price.
Word of warning: Look up which features you can expect from which plan before you sign up. Some features are only available in the premium plans, and at $10/month and $40/month, Proton VPN’s premium prices are sky-high.
Read our full Proton VPN review
- Robust features
- Detailed interface
- Great for expert users
- Intimidating for newbies
- Mediocre speed
- Costly premium plans
Try this button to review the plans Proton VPN offers
Hide Me VPN
A little on the slow side compared to other VPNs
Hide Me VPN runs slow, and at $4.99 a month under a one-year plan, it’s not the cheapest VPN around, either. It is secure, however, and easy to set up and use. It offers a free plan that’s reasonably good, too, which makes its speed issues a little easier to put up with.
One big boon of using this service: It’s good at unlocking most video streaming sites, although it can’t crack Netflix.
Read our full Hide Me VPN review
- Fast set-up process
- Decent free plan
- Low cost-to-value ratio
Follow this if you're interested in trying Hide Me VPN now
A speedy VPN at a decent price
AirVPN has a great range of features. It’s pretty speedy, and will keep your data private. Better yet, it costs just $2.78 under a two-year plan, making it officially the cheapest VPN on this list!
But there’s a catch. It’s a pretty technical VPN is use, and you’ll need a little technical knowledge to even download the right version for the right operating system. The support options are limited to online forums or email, and limited support probably isn’t what you want for a service that’s already so tough to understand.
Read our full review of AirVPN
- Cheap, flexible plans
- Good encryption
- Good speeds
- Technical to use
- No mobile app
Follow this link to find AirVPN's top deals today
Excellent, but pricier than rival VPNs
IPVanish is an all-around great VPN service. Speeds are reasonable, your privacy is protected with rock-solid security, and the features include a lot of granular settings. You can search the available server list in multiple ways, from country or city to the individual server’s response time. It’s a professional service, and comes with a top-notch support team to boot.
So why’s it at the bottom of our list? It’s simple: At $6.49 a month, IPVanish is more than twice as expensive as the best cheap VPN services we’ve listed earlier. It’s a great VPN, and certainly worth the money – but it’s just not that cheap.
Read the full IPVanish review
- Detailed features
- Strong security
- Great support team
- A little pricier than the rest
- Can intimidate newbies
Hit this button for reduced prices on IPVanish
When you’re combing through the options in search of the perfect VPN for you, the cost shouldn’t be your only consideration. After all, it doesn’t matter how little you’re paying if the service you get doesn’t let you browse the internet the way you want.
You’ll need a VPN that’s fast enough, gives you enough data, and lets you use the devices you own, from laptops to phones to tablets. Here are the biggest features to consider:
- Number of devices covered by plan — Most plans will cover up to five devices. Depending on the size of your family, you might need more or fewer.
- Reasonable data limits — After you’ve passed your monthly data cap, your bandwidth could be throttled, depending on your VPN’s policy.
- Number of servers used — With more servers, you’ll be able to connect faster; with a greater number of countries, you’ll be able to access more region-locked content.
- Killswitch — This is an essential security function: A killswitch automatically shuts down your internet if your secure VPN connection drops, ensuring that you never browse unsecured.
- Help and support options — Is the service’s support team available by email, phone, and/or live chat? Do they have a solid reputation? Are you a self-starter who needs an extensive online help center?
Why You Should Avoid Free VPNs
If cheap VPNs are good, free VPNs must be better, right? Not quite.
Just as you might be skeptical of a free lunch, or a free car that’s not from Oprah, the selection of free VPNs out there leaves a lot to be desired. Granted, it’s not impossible to find one that works. But the inevitable trade-offs include data limitations and device limitations, which often allow you to only use one phone or a single browser securely. You’re also likely to face additional banner ads or pop-ups for the privilege.
Worst of all, security standards generally aren’t as great for free VPNs as for paid ones. You won’t necessarily see your data breached, but you can’t be quite as sure that you’re safe. The Hola VPN hack is just one recent example of a free VPN that failed at the one thing its users trusted it to do: Keep their data secure.
While plenty of free online services are worth checking out, VPNs are one sector that you’ll likely want to open your wallet for.
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