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The best cheap monthly VPN plans in 2021

Cheap monthly VPN
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When searching for the best VPN, working out which is best value can be a real minefield. While you will save money going for the longest plan you can (sometimes up to 80% or more), many prefer to go for a cheap monthly VPN to regain some
freedom.

That’s down to the fact that not everyone wants to commit to two or more years with the same provider – this is tech after all, and a huge amount can change in a matter of months – and others may only need to use a VPN for a short time. So, cheap monthly VPN plans are in higher demand than you might think.

Another reason to get a monthly VPN is to give yourself a chance to test a service before you invest more money in it. Although most providers offer 30-day money-back guarantees, that still requires you to pay an upfront fee that can sometimes reach $100 or more. Not everyone has that kind of money lying around – even if you're guaranteed to get it back if you decide to claim a refund.

NB: The VPN deals we're looking at here are paid on a monthly basis. You'll almost certainly save money overall with longer plans (check out our cheap VPN guide for that), but here we're prioritising the freedom that comes with monthly payment.

1. IPVanish – Unrivalled value with 1-month VPN plan
IPVanish is great value whichever plan you go for. Whether it's the $3.49 one-month option or the excellent one-year plan for just $2.63 a month, it's got a great price for anyone – plus every plan is covered by a 30-day money-back guarantee so you can try before you commit.View Deal

2. ProtonVPN – Tons of options from just $5 a month
While ProtonVPN is well known for its free option, its paid plans are powerful and excellent value, offering top-notch security along with good streaming access. And, starting off at just $5 a month with no price increases or contract, there's a real bargain to be had here.View Deal

3. ExpressVPN – The best VPN available on a 1-month plan
It's not the cheapest, but if you want the best of the best, we wholeheartedly recommend ExpressVPN. At $12.95 a month with no commitment it's not bad value – and if you do want to commit, you can save 49% and get three months free on a 12-month plan.View Deal

The best cheap monthly VPN plans today

IPVanish best cheap monthly VPN

(Image credit: IPVanish)

1. IPVanish

Great value for a monthly VPN

Number of servers: 1,600+ | Server countries: 75+ | Single-month price: $4.99 ($9.99 thereafter) | Money-back guarantee: 30 days | Maximum devices supported: Unlimited | Unblocks: Netflix, YouTube, Amazon, Hulu, Disney+

Unlimited device connections
Powerful, in-depth apps
Great for Netflix and others
Price increases after first month/year

US-based IPVanish has been around since 2012, and in that time it's amassed a strong following and forged a reputation for privacy. However, if you're on the lookout for a cheap monthly VPN, it's also a great option.

In our IPVanish review we noticed that its monthly VPN plans are much more competitive than the other premium, big-name providers, and at $3.49 it's more than three times cheaper than many competitors. 

Perhaps you're going on a trip outside your country and want to access TV and the Internet like you would at home, or maybe you just want to test the waters and see if IPVanish is for you. Either way, IPVanish deal offers a cheap way to do so.

It's worth noting that the cheapest deal available from IPVanish is the one-year plan – just $2.63 a month – so if you want maximum savings you won't have signed three years of your life away. And, if that sounds like a better deal, it's also covered by a 30-day money back guarantee so you can make sure you like the service before you commit.

But, while IPVanish is cheap, we wouldn't be recommending it if it wasn't any good to use. You'll get tons of servers worldwide, excellent AES-256 encryption and powerful apps for just about any device – plus, with unlimited connections, you really can get cover on every device in your household.

For Anglophiles or those in the UK, do be aware that in our testing IPVanish had trouble unblocking BBC iPlayer, so unfortunately you'll 'only' have access to US Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, YouTube, and some other regional streaming providers.

For just $3.49, though, there's not a lot to complain about here.

Just $3.49 for one month of unlimited VPN usage
From the one-year deal at $2.63 a month to a single month for $3.49, IPVanish offers excellent value no matter which plan you choose. Do be aware that prices rise after the first instalment, so getting a year will bag you longer-term savings – but even for one month, it's great value.View Deal

ProtonVPN best cheap monthly VPN

(Image credit: ProtonVPN)

2. ProtonVPN

Serious security from $5 a month

Number of servers: 1,000+ | Server countries: 54+ | Single-month price: $5 / $10 | Money-back guarantee: Max 30 days (minus time used) | Maximum devices supported: 5 | Unblocks: Netflix, iPlayer, YouTube, Amazon, Hulu, Disney+

Basic plan is very cheap
Premium offers excellent streaming
Audited apps for security
Great mobile offerings
No live chat

ProtonVPN is well known for its excellent free VPN service, and it tops our list of most recommended no-fee providers. However, it also offers a bunch of different paid plans (explore them all in our ProtonVPN review), which can be configured at different prices and lengths of time, making for a dizzying choice.

If you want to go as cheap as possible, it's worth considering the Basic plan. At just $5 paid monthly ($4/mo paid annually), you'll get decent speeds, two simultaneous connections, torrent support and zero logging as standard. However, the biggest thing you're sacrificing is streaming support.

If you want to watch overseas Netflix, iPlayer, Hulu, Disney+ or just about anything else, you'll have to pay $10 a month – which drops to $8/mo paid annually. You'll also get access to Tor over VPN and ProtonVPN's Secure Core servers.

While $10 seems like a bit of a jump, it's still considerably cheaper than the vast majority of other paid-monthly services. The biggest issue we usually have is the fact you save very little when committing for a year or more, but in this case that's not an issue.

If you really want to push the boat out, you can spend $30 a month on a Visionary account, which gets you 10 simultaneous connections plus a premium ProtonMail plan – but the $10 plan is probably the most useful option. For those who don't mind missing out on streaming, though, there's a bargain to be had in the Basic plan.

Sign up now on the ProtonVPN website

PureVPN best cheap monthly VPN

(Image credit: PureVPN)

3. PureVPN

Super cheap week-long trial

Number of servers: 6,500+ | Server countries: 140+ | Single-week price: $0.99 ($3.33 a month thereafter) | Money-back guarantee: 31 days | Maximum devices supported: 10 | Unblocks: Netflix, YouTube, Hulu, Disney+

Great price to test out the service
Tons of servers
Useful apps
Not as great for streaming as others

OK, we know this is a weekly plan, not a cheap monthly VPN plan, but it's excellent value if you just need quick VPN cover for a long weekend away or a short work trip.

With some improvements in our latest PureVPN review, the service isn't bad, and this week-long plan is rock bottom at just $0.99. For that you'll get a fully featured service that's capable in all the important areas, plus a real bonus is the privacy audit, and PureVPN is verified as zero-logging.

While seven days might not be enough for many, handing over less than a dollar to either test the service or use it for a short period makes a lot more sense than shelling out double figures only to cancel and claim back when you're done. And, if you like PureVPN, longer plans are good value too.

One area that does slightly let PureVPN down, though, is its streaming performance. It's great for Netflix, YouTube, and Disney+, but in our testing it failed to access Amazon Prime and BBC iPlayer.

But overall, for 99 cents you can't really go wrong.

Sign up now on the PureVPN website

Windscribe best cheap monthly vpn

(Image credit: Windscribe)

4. Windscribe

One-month plans are super affordable

Number of servers: Undisclosed | Server countries: 63 | Single-month price: $9.00 | Money-back guarantee: 3 days (but free version is available) | Maximum devices supported: Unlimited | Unblocks: Netflix, iPlayer, YouTube, Amazon, Hulu, Disney+

Excellent for streaming
Easy to trial with free version
Cheap monthly VPN plan
Apps lack depth

Known for its powerful free option, Windscribe also offers an excellent, fully-featured paid VPN service that can often get sidelined by the more premium providers out there – find out more in our Windscribe review.

However, now we're looking at cheap monthly VPN plans, Windscribe is firmly in the limelight. Its $9 price tag is absolutely standard and not subject to any short-term discounts, so there won't be any surprises if you head back here in a couple of weeks.

In terms of functionality, Windscribe is excellent for streaming, unblocking the full gamut of providers including, iPlayer, Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu and more, which is seriously impressive performance. Do be aware, though, that this is only available with the paid version – the free version isn't nearly as powerful.

ExpressVPN best cheap monthly vpn

(Image credit: ExpressVPN)

5. ExpressVPN

The very best isn't bad value either

Number of servers: 3,000+ | Server countries: 94 | Single-month price: $12.95 | Money-back guarantee: 30 days | Maximum devices supported: 5 | Unblocks: Netflix, iPlayer, YouTube, Amazon, Hulu

The very best service available
Excellent apps for almost everything
Great support
Superb for streaming
Not the absolute cheapest

If we're honest, it's unusual for ExpressVPN not to top one of our guides, and when you read our ExpressVPN review you'll know why. However, when it comes to cheap monthly VPN plans it's simply not a class-leader. However, we had to fit it in somewhere, because firstly it's still competitively priced, and secondly it's hands-down the best VPN service on the market today.

At $12.95 it's just slightly cheaper than other premium rivals such as CyberGhost and Surfshark (the latter incidentally going from very expensive to very cheap as you commit for longer). However, absolutely on merit, ExpressVPN is still worth considering even if you only want to pay month-by-month.

You'll get over 3,000 servers worldwide, almost all of which deliver searing speeds, and you'll also get unrivalled streaming power, P2P support on every server and proven, audited security features. You really do get what you pay for.

Express is also super simple to use, but provides a ton of configuration for even the most seasoned VPN user. So, if you can afford the price (or are willing to commit after testing) and want the very best, we recommend it over all others.

Sign up now on the ExpressVPN website

Hotspot Shield best cheap monthly VPN

(Image credit: Hotspot Shield)

6. Hotspot Shield

Super fast with a great free option

Number of servers: 1,800+ | Server countries: 80+ | Single-month price: $12.99 | Money-back guarantee: 30 days | Maximum devices supported: 5 | Unblocks: Netflix, iPlayer, YouTube, Amazon, Hulu

Paid version is incredibly fast
Free version is useful
Great for streaming
Premium plans are pricey month-to-month
Reported logging issues

So, the paid version of Hotspot Shield isn't that affordable if you want a no-commitment one-month plan – it'll set you back $12.99 every month. However, it features here thanks to its excellent free version, which can give you a really good indication of whether you'll like the 'real' VPN if you invest.

Because that's why a lot of people are looking for cheap monthly VPNs: they want to test out a service before they put a whole wad of cash on the line. So, if that's you, Hotspot's free version is the perfect way to get to know it.

Day to day, Hotspot Shield is great for a ton of VPN uses. You'll be able to stream from almost any site, stay anonymous, and you'll get extras like a 1Password subscription – plus it's an incredibly fast VPN. So, if you don't mind having a few limitations in terms of data usage, we'd recommend checking out the Hotspot Shield free version before paying for the unlimited version.

Sign up now on the Hotspot Shield website

Cheap monthly VPN FAQ

What makes a great cheap monthly VPN?

Well, it’s got to be cheap when paid monthly – obviously. But, apart from that, you shouldn’t have to sacrifice streaming power or online privacy, and the best cheap monthly VPN services can certainly deliver.

Currently, the best cheap monthly VPN is IPVanish. Its current sale offers good value on one-month plans, plus it’s one of the top VPNs around. We’ve also included our #1-rated VPN ExpressVPN here – while it’s not the cheapest month-to-month, it’s not the most expensive either, and it’s quite simply the best service on the market.

Why are monthly VPNs so expensive?

Like almost any other industry, VPN providers want to keep hold of their customers for as long as possible, out of reach from their competitors. 

Therefore, long-term plans are made incredibly appealing, and short-term plans are expensive. It could also be argued that having an expensive short plan makes a cheaper long-term plan look more appealing – but that's a different story...

The long and short of it is that cheap monthly VPN plans are hard to find, but a few providers like IPVanish and ProtonVPN deliver genuinely good-value plans that you don't have to commit to for years to get.

Should I test with a free version first?

If your chosen VPN provides a free option, of course, download it and install the software to get a feel for it.

However, be aware that you'll be getting a restricted version, possibly with bandwidth or data limits, or you might be blocked from streaming sites.

If you want to test those elements of a VPN, you'll want to sign up for a month to get used to the service. If you don't like it, most providers offer at least a 30-day money-back guarantee, and if you do like it, you can then sign up for longer and save a whole load of money.