The cheapest VPN services if you’re on a budget

The cheapest VPN services if you’re on a budget

April 15, 2024 privacy 0

With VPNs, high costs don’t always equate to high-quality VPN services. While some expensive VPNs are terrible, there are plenty of cheap VPN services that are mind-blowingly good! In this guide, we uncover some hidden VPN gems for people on a tight budget.

The cheapest VPN services in 2024

We’ve put together a list of the five best cheap VPN services below. For more information, and our full list, scroll down for a more in-depth look at each service.

See full list and analysis

Our cheap VPN recommendations allow anybody to get a trustworthy and reliable VPN service without spending over the odds. Best of all, these VPNs provide all the important features needed to give you data security, privacy, and freedom online without any sacrifices. 

All the VPNs featured in this article are hand-picked by our team of experts and offer superb value for money. What’s more, these VPNs come packed with the same features you’d expect from services that are twice as expensive! So, whether your priority is high-quality data security, a robust privacy policy, lightning-fast connection speeds, or the power to unblock virtually any site or service, our budget-friendly VPNs have you covered.

All you need to do is scroll down – but before we dive in, we would like to remind you that the best way to get a cheap VPN is to subscribe to a VPN for a longer period of time.

VPNs give big discounts to customers who subscribe for a year or more, and this is by far the most effective way to massively reduce your VPN costs.

The good news is that in 2024, you don’t have to compromise on the quality of the service to get a cheap VPN. Plus, we test all VPNs using the same rigorous standards, regardless of how much they charge per month. We look for:

So long as a VPN has the features listed above, you can be sure that it’s safe to use and will allow you to enjoy a free, unrestricted web – just as was originally intended! All the VPNs we’ve recommended in this guide meet our criteria for a low cost.

The best cheap VPN in 2024 | In-depth analysis

We recommend the following VPNs if you want a cheap service with premium features.

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What is the fastest cheap VPN?

VPNs that cost less don’t necessarily suffer from subpar performance! To illustrate the speeds you can expect when subscribing to one of the VPNs recommended in this guide, check out the results of our up-to-date speed tests below.

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How does a VPN affect your speed?

One thing a VPN can never do is improve your current internet speeds. In fact, you’ll actually experience a fractional loss of speed when connecting to a VPN. This is because your VPN needs to route your traffic further via the VPN server and encrypt it, too – both of these things take time. So, the loss of speed is simply due to how VPN technology works. The good thing, however, is that high-quality, reliable VPNs offer super-fast servers to minimize this impact and ensure users’ speed loss is negligible.

If you want to know more about VPN speeds and how we test providers, take a look at our VPN speed methodology guide.

How to get the best price for a VPN

As we stated at the top of this guide, hands down, the best way to get the best possible price on a VPN subscription is to commit to a longer period of time (at least a year). The longer you are willing to commit to a service, the cheaper it becomes. In some cases, it is even possible to get more than an 80% reduction in the monthly cost of a VPN if you are willing to subscribe for a full year or more!

Subscription plans are typically offered in monthly, annual, and bi-annual intervals. However, it is becoming more common for services to offer even bigger VPN deals on two-year subscriptions or longer – so keep your eyes peeled for even better bargains!

What is the average cost of a VPN?

The average cost of a VPN service currently sits at about $5 a month, or approximately $60 annually.

But this figure can vary depending on a number of factors, like the service you choose to subscribe to and if you require additional features such as a static IP address. However, as we’ve already noted, the biggest single impact on price is the length of time you are willing to commit to the service.

Of course, the longer the subscription that you purchase, the bigger the discount you will receive. For this reason, we consider anything in the three dollars per month range to be cheap.

Quality Vs cost 

As with anything in life, there is often a tradeoff between quality and cost. A lower cost upfront may seem appealing at first, but the quality of some cheap VPNs is questionable, to say the least. All the VPNs we recommend above have been vetted to provide the same robust service that you would expect from a premium VPN like [[post-object type=”gotolink” provider=”expressvpn”]]ExpressVPN[[/post-object]].

Finding VPN offers

Many VPNs offer great VPN deals that often run around major holidays throughout the year. If you want to find the best VPN deal in January, just check the previous link and find a deal that suits you best. Chances are, many of those deals will still be active, allowing you to score an awesome January VPN deal and get a world-class VPN service at a discount. If, for some reason, a particular VPN deal is no longer active, you can always get in touch with the VPN’s customer support staff and see if you can still take advantage of the deal.

What is the cheapest monthly VPN plan?

If you’d rather not commit to a long-term deal with a VPN, it’s still possible to pay for a one-month subscription and snag a bargain – just be aware that the savings won’t be as substantial as those illustrated above.

We recommend ProtonVPN as the cheapest monthly VPN


The good news is that you can get your hands on a reliable and budget-friendly VPN like [[post-object type=”gotolink” provider=”protonvpn”]]ProtonVPN[[/post-object]] and pay a one-off fee of $5 for a month’s worth of access to the service.

This is a great deal, especially when you consider ProtonVPN’s secure encryption, expansive network of servers, and speeds that can more than handle an HD movie marathon. ProtonVPN also has no trouble unblocking the likes of Netflix and Prime Video, so it’s basically all you need from a VPN tied up in an affordable and contract-free package.

[[post-object type=”gotolink” provider=”protonvpn” class=”btn btn-md btn-primary”]]Get ProtonVPN Monthly[[/post-object]]

If you’d like to compare ProtonVPN against some alternatives, we’d also recommend checking out [[post-object type=”gotolink” provider=”privateinternetaccess”]]Private Internet Access[[/post-object]] or [[post-object type=”gotolink” provider=”surfshark”]]Surfshark[[/post-object]]. Both of these picks are solid, but ProtonVPN remains the standout choice for anyone looking to pay monthly for a service without breaking the bank.


Other cheap short-term subscription options

Free trials

If you want an even shorter subscription, and would rather not part with a penny, we’d recommend looking for a VPN free trial as a possible solution. We’ve even done the legwork for you and rounded up all the best VPN free trials worth testing out.

3-day subscriptions

A few services, notably [[post-object type=”gotolink” provider=”airvpn” ]]AirVPN[[/post-object]], now offer 3-day subscriptions for just $2.25 per month – ideal if you have already used up all the free trial VPN accounts.

[[post-object type=”gotolink” provider=”airvpn” class=”btn btn-md btn-primary”]]Try AirVPN for 3-days[[/post-object]]

The ExpressVPN free hack

Finally, it is possible to get a premium service like [[post-object type=”gotolink” provider=”expressvpn” ]]ExpressVPN[[/post-object]] for free for 30 days by taking advantage of the money-back guarantee. This does require you to pay for the service initially, but this money will be given back to you at the end of the 30 days if you decide to get a refund.

[[post-object type=”gotolink” provider=”expressvpn” class=”btn btn-md btn-primary”]]Try ExpressVPN for 30-days[[/post-object]]

How to get the best VPN deal?

If you want to score an awesome deal on a VPN subscription (and who doesn’t?), it’s definitely worth checking out whether the provider you’re considering is running a special offer. By taking advantage of a promotion, you can get your hands on a premium VPN service for a lot cheaper than you’d normally be able to! These deals often run alongside major holidays throughout the year.

Are cheap lifetime VPNs worth it?

Short answer? No. The longer answer is that another gimmick that might appeal to you if you’re looking to keep costs low is the proposition of a lifetime VPN subscription (especially with some offering a lifetime service for as low as $30). But, while a lifetime VPN subscription sounds like an awesome deal on paper – it isn’t. The economics aren’t sustainable, and these offers should be viewed with a healthy dose of suspicion.

VPN companies have a lot of overheads, and in order to sustain their operations and provide adequate service, they require a regular source of income. If all their users pay for their VPN with a single one-time fee, that company will run out of money sooner rather than later – meaning that the service will either shut down entirely or begin extracting profit from users by selling their data. Either way, for these reasons, a lifetime VPN subscription usually spells disaster. 

Instead of a lifetime VPN subscription, we recommend you stick to a trustworthy, cheap VPN like the providers listed in this article. These VPNs may run tight margins, but they also keep their services running optimally for their users.

Are cheap VPN services safe?

Yes, if you’re careful. There are plenty of cheap VPN services out there that have a terrible reputation, but lots of expensive options are just as useless! In the VPN industry, the price of a service is not necessarily always a proper representation of the level of security and the overall quality you’re going to get (though admittedly some of the more expensive VPNs are well worth the price). 

What to avoid when picking a VPN on a budget:

  • VPN logs – Some VPNs keep VPN logs and have bad privacy policies. All the VPNs in this article keep no invasive logs that could put you at risk.
  • Malware & spyware – Some VPNs have malware or spyware in their VPN apps, particularly free services. We have tested all the services in our list for malware and can confirm that they are free of malware and completely safe to use.
  • Lack of vital features – Often Cheap VPNs lack vital features needed to keep your data private. All of our picks have the features you need to stay secure and still unblock content.
  • Leaks – A VPN with performance issues, such as IP leaks, is a massive concern because it means that the VPN isn’t protecting you (even though it is connected and you think it is). All the Cheap VPNs in this article have been tested and do not have IP leaks, DNS leaks, or WebRTC problems.

All the VPNs in this article are well-known and trusted brands that have demonstrated their worth, year after year. They all have a proven track record for being both cheap and safe, so regardless of the provider you opt for, you know you’ll be receiving a stellar service.

Using a budget VPN in restrictive countries?

The cheap VPNs listed in this article have servers all over the world. This means that they’re perfect for folks living anywhere! However, if you are using a VPN in countries such as China or the UAE (where censorship is a major issue), you will need a VPN with specific features to help you bypass government censorship. If this situation applies to you, we would recommend sticking with [[post-object type=”gotolink” provider=”nordvpn”]]NordVPN[[/post-object]], [[post-object type=”gotolink” provider=”cyberghost”]]CyberGhost[[/post-object]], and [[post-object type=”gotolink” provider=”privatevpn”]]PrivateVPN[[/post-object]], as these services provide all the privacy features you’re going to need to evade such heavy-handed censorship measures.

How do VPNs work?

In a nutshell, the VPN software encrypts the internet traffic from your device, and changes your IP address by routing your connection through a server owned by the VPN provider. This allows users to unblock content that isn’t ordinarily available in their region. VPNs also encrypt all traffic going to and from the user’s device, via a VPN tunnel, which vastly improves internet security and privacy.

Will a cheap VPN work for streaming?

Yes. The cheap VPNs we have recommended in this guide all have fast servers in upwards of 50 countries. This allows you to get an IP address in many locations around the world. This is great news because it means you can access your usual home streaming services while traveling abroad.

You can even use a VPN to bypass streaming blocks at work, in school, or on public wifi. If the local network has blocked Netflix, YouTube, TV services, social media, games sites, or anything else – simply connect to a VPN server to bypass those blocks.

Thanks to the encryption provided by the VPN, your employer will not be able to tell that you are accessing restricted content!

The only caveat is that not all VPNs work with all streaming services. We recommend that you check the VPN has servers in the counties you require access. You can also use our platform-specific lists, such as Best VPN for Netflix or Best VPN for iPlayer, to find a VPN known to work.

Alternatively, you can test the VPN with your own streaming services using the money-back guarantee. This will let you watch your favorite shows at work, or test the VPN to access your favorite streaming services while on vacation.

Finally, it is important to remember that slow VPNs will impact the quality of your video streams. Many VPNs introduce additional latency and overhead, which can slow down your internet connection and cause buffering. That is why we recommend sticking to our recommended VPNs, which all have fast servers for streaming – despite being relatively cheap!

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Methodology: our process for recommending the best cheap VPNs

Everyone has a different budget when it comes to selecting a VPN, and each user will have distinct features and requirements they look for. To ensure our readers don’t compromise quality for a lower price, we’ve included VPNs that tick some of the most sought-after requirements.

To ensure we deliver to all of our users, we have a set of criteria we look for that we’ve used to determine the best free VPN. These include:

These are only a handful of what our researchers look for, but you can find the entire checklist of criteria in our VPN testing methodology.

Free Vs cheap VPNs

Although there are free VPN services on the market; the vast majority of them are extremely risky to use. The free VPNs that we recommend are all quality providers, but they usually come with download limits and connection speed restrictions. As a result, you will never get the kind of performance from a free VPN as you do from a cheap VPN. Alternatively, if you are unsure whether to sign up for a long-term contract, we recommend that you check out a VPN’s free trial to determine if it’s worth signing up.

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Why do I need a VPN?

When you visit websites, they automatically detect your home IP address. This unique address can be used to track you – so that online services know when you return. On top of that, unless you use a VPN, your ISP can track your web history (and metadata) and pass that info to the government for surveillance purposes.

Nobody likes being tracked, regardless of what they do online, and a VPN is an ideal solution to protect against online tracking. With a VPN, you’ll gain solid digital privacy for yourself and your family. What’s more, VPN encryption also protects you from other online threats like hacking. 

What are the most important benefits?

See how the top five cheap VPN services compare with each other based on the benefits mentioned above.

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What else can I use a VPN for?

In addition to protecting your data and digital privacy and giving you access to more online content, such as unblocking YouTube videos unavailable in your region, government-censored news and websites, and geo-blocked sports streams, a VPN can be used in several other ways!

Cheap VPNs for safer torrenting

All of our hand-picked VPN recommendations support P2P file sharing – and it’s vital that you use a VPN when you’re torrenting. Your torrenting activity can, unfortunately, be targeted by cybercriminals and other digital nasties, and your ISP may even resort to throttling your connection if it figures out that you’re torrenting.

The VPNs in this list can help keep your online activities private without hugely impacting your download speeds – it’s a win/win!

To learn more about torrenting and VPNs, check out some of our other articles:

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Gaming online with a cheap VPN

A VPN is a great partner for any online gamer. It allows you to broaden your horizons and play against the best from around the globe by connecting to VPN servers in different countries. What’s more, it can help you save additional money when purchasing games online, by giving you access to Steam and other online storefronts in other countries.

With speed being crucial to a good online gaming experience, you will want to ensure that your VPN is up to the task and won’t slow you down. We would recommend studying the speed test table that we covered earlier in this guide to understand the speeds you can expect from your chosen service.

To learn more about this, take a look at our best VPNs for gaming guide, or our best VPNs for steam guide to learn how to snag a bargain online.


Below, we’ve tackled some of your most frequently asked questions regarding cheap VPNs – as well as some issues we see cropping up regularly on sites like Reddit. If there’s anything we’ve missed, or if you have a question of your own, feel free to reach out to our team.

[[post-object type=”accordion” question=”Are cheap VPNs secure?” answer=”A cheap VPN can absolutely be secure. However, it’s worth bearing in mind that there are plenty of untrustworthy cheap VPNs out there too – and these services do little to shore up your digital privacy. This is why it’s important to choose wisely when picking out a reliable cheap VPN. The good news is that we’ve done the legwork for you! All of the VPNs in this guide boast top-notch encryption, a full raft of security features, and a price tag that won’t break the bank.” /]]

[[post-object type=”accordion” question=”Are VPNs legal?” answer=”Yes, VPNs are legal in most countries around the world. There are a handful of authoritarian-governed countries where VPNs are restricted, or even outlawed, but usage is perfectly legal everywhere else. This is because there’s nothing inherently illegal about using a VPN – and VPNs are, in fact, important tools used by businesses and consumers around the world to facilitate communication and safeguard digital privacy.” /]]

[[post-object type=”accordion” question=”Can I pay for a VPN monthly?” answer=”You certainly can! Most commercial VPNs will allow you to pay for a single-month subscription – but it’s important to remember that you may end up paying double (or even triple) the amount for the VPN in the long run. This is because VPNs offer their biggest discounts on their more long-term plans, and it’s why we recommend opting for one if you’re looking for real value for money. Alternatively, check out our <a href=’/vpn/comparison/best-vpn-free-trial’>VPN free trial guide</a> to see how you can put services to the test without risking your cash.” /]]

[[post-object type=”accordion” question=”Are low-cost VPN services reliable?” answer=”They are, though we’d suggest sticking to the VPNs featured in this guide if you’re looking for an inexpensive provider that’s the full package. We’ve put countless budget VPNs to the test over the years, and have come across lots of shoddy services that could put your data privacy at risk. It’s not worth taking a gamble on these VPNs, even if they’re dirt cheap, which is why we recommend choosing one of our top picks. They each run a tight ship, and you’ll benefit from a premium VPN experience without the premium price tag.” /]]

[[post-object type=”accordion” question=”Do cheap VPNs offer port forwarding?” answer=”Typically, <a href=’/vpn/guides/vpn-port-forwarding-guide’>port forwarding</a> tends to be a feature provided by the more costly VPNs. NordVPN does provide port forwarding, luckily, and Ivacy also offers it as a bolt-on feature at extra cost.” /]]

[[post-object type=”accordion” question=”Do cheap VPNs offer dedicated IP addresses?” answer=”You may be able to get your hands on a cheap <a href=’/vpn/comparison/best-vpns-static-ips’>VPN with a dedicated IP address</a>. However, you may need to be prepared to pay extra for a dedicated IP – so be sure to consider your budget before buying!” /]]

[[post-object type=”accordion” question=”Do cheap VPNs limit bandwidth?” answer=”Some cheap VPNs may limit your bandwidth, however, those that we’ve hand-picked in this article all offer unlimited downloads and cap-free bandwidth to their users.” /]]

[[post-object type=”accordion” question=”Can I get cheap a VPN for one week?” answer=”No. Most commercial VPN providers will offer a single month as the shortest period available. The VPNs we’ve recommended all offer a money-back guarantee, however, and some of these last up to 30 days. If you only need a VPN for a week, it might be a good idea to pay for a premium service and simply request a refund once you’re done.” /]]

[[post-object type=”accordion” question=”Why are most good VPNs expensive?” answer=”Most good VPNs are expensive because running a VPN business (properly) is expensive. Good VPNs have large server networks which are very expensive to develop and manage, the expertise of their employees costs too, of course, and these services have to constantly upgrade and improve their services to stay on top of the game.

This is why one should be suspicious of VPN providers that are free or too cheap – it’s very likely that they skimp on the quality of service, or worse even, your security. That being said, the VPNs in this article have been in business long enough to find a smart way to make their services available for less money – especially if you subscribe for a long-term plan.” /]]

[[post-object type=”accordion” question=”Can I use a cheap VPN for streaming?” answer=”Yes. Unlike free VPNs, some cheap VPNs do offer strong geo-spoofing capabilities and fast speeds sufficient to enable a smooth streaming experience. The cheap VPNs in this article have been tested with leading streaming platforms like Netflix, <a href=’/vpn/comparison/5-best-vpns-amazon’>Amazon Prime</a>, and Disney+, and we can confirm that they work with them seamlessly. They can access plenty of catalogs in a blink of an eye, and you won’t be facing annoying ads or buffering.” /]]

[[post-object type=”accordion” question=”How can I save money on a VPN?” answer=”To spend less on a VPN, consider opting for a long-term subscription. Most VPNs offer considerable discounts if you subscribe for a whole year, or longer. if you’re not sure you want such a commitment, you can look out for short-term promotions, coupon codes, and free trials. Some VPNs offer significant sales during holiday seasons and on Black Friday or Cyber Monday. Those are all excellent opportunities to try a VPN for less and then decide whether you should commit long-term” /]]

[[post-object type=”accordion” question=”Do cheaper VPN services come with risks?” answer=”Some cheap VPN services come with lower speeds, fewer servers, and potentially weaker security features. But, this is not always the case. There are a few reputable VPN services that offer long-term discounts without compromising on performance and security. You can see these services above.” /]]

[[post-object type=”accordion” question=”How good is customer support for cheap VPNs?” answer=”While some cheaper VPNs may not offer 24/7 customer support, others still provide excellent support through email, ticket systems, and even live chat. VPNs in this article all provide professional support and offer budget-friendly options.” /]]


Now that we’ve covered the best and most budget-friendly VPN services out there, and exactly what they can do, let’s review our top picks:

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