Even if you are, some things should be considered non-negotiable, including online privacy and security. Therefore, it is worth using a proven paid VPN service. Although the idea of A may sound tempting when you’re short on cash, we advise against the vast majority of them as they are often less secure (however, we recommend sampling premium services for free). Fortunately, buying a basic digital privacy tool for desktop and mobile doesn’t have to drain your bank account. We’ve rounded up our recommendations for the best cheap, privacy-intrusive VPN services available, or functions. Each of these cheap VPN services offers monthly pricing options or, if you prefer, you can pay once for a whole year.
However, there is one thing we advise against: while many VPN providers offer better value for money when buying a subscription of two years or more, you should avoid these types of long-term VPN commitments. Since the VPN market is constantly changing and VPN services change rapidly, we recommend sticking to the plans that are the cheapest based on their annual or monthly rates and have the best money-back guarantees.
Several cheap VPN services offer a fast connection, solid security, and a wide range of privacy features, all for less than half the price of a premium VPN service. You can even connect your ownor for safe browsing on your . We spent a lot of time testing these cheap VPN providers and have compiled a list of great, affordable options. Check out our list of the best cheap VPN services in 2023.
Look at this: Top 5 reasons to use a VPN
- Latest tests: Zero data leaks, Internet speed drop by 19% in fall 2022 tests
- Network: Over 3,200 in 99 countries
- Jurisdiction: the Netherlands
- Price: Unlimited calls for $48 for the first year ($60/year after that) or $13/month. 2-year subscriptions available.
Read our Surfshark VPN review.
Surfshark won CNET Editors’ Choice Best Value VPN in 2022. It offers robust privacy and security features, a polished interface, unlimited simultaneous connections, fast speeds, and an impressive global network of VPN servers at a price much lower than many of its top competitors.
For $60/year – down from an initial price of $48 for the first year – Surfshark offers ad and malware protection, stealth mode, split tunneling and multi-hop connections, plus industry-standard features like DNS leak protection, AES 256-bit encryption and an emergency switch. Surfshark’s apps have been independently audited by cybersecurity experts, and the provider says it doesn’t keep any logs of its users’ online activity. The company is also working on implementing the so-called “Nexus network”, which promises to further enhance user privacy with features such as Dynamic MultiHop, IP Randomizer, and IP Rotator.
Surfshark is a cost-effective option for people who want extra layers of security and different ways to enhance their online privacy with a VPN. And if Surfshark’s Nexus network proves to be as effective as promised, a VPN could be an excellent choice for users with critical privacy needs.
Surfshark also works well for users who just want to unblock geo-restricted content around the world. With servers in 99 different countries, the company has a network that is fast enough for data-intensive activities such as HD video streaming. Surfshark can help you unblock many Netflix libraries and other streaming services like Amazon Prime Video and HBO Max. We had some trouble accessing Disney Plus, but after some trial and error on several servers, we were able to access the streaming platform.
You can get a seven-day free trial for Android, iOS, and macOS if you sign up through the Google Play Store or Apple App Store. But if you bought Surfshark and are not satisfied with the service for whatever reason, the VPN offers a 30-day money-back guarantee.
- Latest tests: No leaks detected, 17% speed drop during fall 2022 testing
- Network: 1859 servers in 67 countries
- Jurisdiction: Switzerland
- Price: $72 for an annual plan or $10 per month
Read our ProtonVPN review.
Proton VPN is a VPN product developed by the Swiss company behind the popular secure email service Proton Mail. The VPN has earned a reputation for top-notch security and maximum transparency. Proton VPN apps are fully open source and the software is also regularly audited to help confirm the security of the VPN for users who don’t have the time or knowledge to check the code.
In addition to security features like a kill switch and DNS leak protection, Proton VPN offers extras like malware protection, Tor over VPN, and a stealth protocol that helps you hide the fact that you’re using a VPN. And if you connect to Proton VPN’s Secure Core servers, you’ll be able to route your traffic through secure data centers located in Switzerland, Sweden, or Iceland before exiting through another location. This provides a critical extra layer of security if you are a user with heightened privacy needs.
Proton VPN is currently the third-fastest VPN we’ve tested and does a good job of unblocking content from various streaming providers, including Netflix.
And while it’s not the cheapest on this list, Proton VPN is cheaper than IPVanish in the long run if you choose to stay with the provider for more than a year. For $72 a year or $10 a month, Proton VPN offers 10 simultaneous connections and over 1,800 servers in 67 countries. You can get a full refund within 30 days of your purchase if you are not satisfied.
Proton VPN is also on our list of the best cheap VPNs thanks to its impressive free tier. Proton Free VPN does not include torrent support or access to Secure Core servers, but does not limit speed, data or usage time. Free users are allotted one connection at a time and access to approximately 100 servers in three countries (USA, Netherlands, Japan).
- Latest tests: No leaks, 58% speed drop in Spring 2022 testing
- Network: 2,000+ servers in 75 locations in 52 countries
- Jurisdiction: United States
- Price: Unlimited calls for $12/month, $30/quarter, or $48/year ($90/year after first year)
Read our IPVanish review.
It’s not the fastest VPN in the world, but IPVanish is an excellent VPN for casual users that offers plenty of speed for things like streaming and video conferencing. However, in our tests, we encountered problems with the fast connect feature, which did not always connect us to the fastest server available. If you’re looking for the fastest server, we recommend manually connecting based on the current server load readings displayed in the Locations section of the IPVanish app.
IPVanish’s starting annual rate is equivalent to Surfshark’s $48 the first year, but then jumps to $90. Unlike most other VPN providers, IPVanish also offers a quarterly subscription plan for $30 every three months. The provider’s 30-day money-back guarantee, however, only applies if you purchase an annual plan, so you’d be out of luck if you bought a monthly or quarterly subscription and decided the service wasn’t right for you. Other providers have softer free trial offers.
IPVanish joins Surfshark as one of the few VPN providers to offer unlimited simultaneous connections, so it’s a good option if you have a large family or multiple devices that you want to secure simultaneously with a single VPN account. The VPN kill switch worked well during our tests, and the newly redesigned apps were very easy to use. With IPVanish, you get access to over 2,000 servers in over 75 locations, plus 24/7 support via live chat, email, or phone.
- Latest tests: No leaks, 23% speed drop in Spring 2022 testing
- Network: 893 servers in 39 countries
- Jurisdiction: Sweden
- Price: $5 per month
Along with Proton VPN, Mullvad is another open source VPN provider that offers its services at competitive prices. Mullvad’s simple pricing structure is significantly different from most others. The service costs $5 per month whether you use it for a month, a year, 10 years or more. Mullvad doesn’t offer any sales or discounts at any time of the year – just a flat fee of $5 for any number of months you want to use. That works out to $60 per year, which equates to Surfshark’s cheapest annual price on this list, not including starting prices.
And because Mullvad says it tries to know as little as possible about its customers, it has completely eliminated recurring subscriptions, so it can’t keep payment details longer than absolutely necessary. You can even send Mullvad a cash envelope to pay for the service. Mullvad automatically generates a random 16 digit account number when you sign up and you can prepay for one, two, three, six or 12 months at a time. The company is so focused on security and privacy that you don’t need to provide any personal information when you sign up – no email address or username is required.
DNS Leak Protection and Kill Switch are enabled by default and cannot be turned off. Other security features include split tunneling (but only on Windows, Linux, and Android devices), ad and tracker blocking, and multi-hop connections. Mullvad also offers a Shadowsocks proxy to help users bypass firewalls and avoid Internet censorship.
In addition to being safe, Mullvad is fast, only dropping 23% of our usual internet speed in our most recent tests. However, it is not optimized for international streaming of geo-restricted content. We were able to access Netflix but not Disney Plus when we connected to the Mullvad servers during our testing.
However, the apps are polished and user-friendly, so novice and casual users should have no problems using the service, even if it is geared more toward the tech crowd. Mullvad is a well-established VPN provider that has been around since 2009, long before any other VPN on this list. It’s a great option for budget-conscious VPN users who appreciate the extra attention to privacy and appreciate simplicity and simplicity. Read our Mullvad VPN review.
For more information, please check, and because of their privacy sins.