The best cheap monthly VPN plans in 2024

Cheap monthly VPN
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Signing up for a cheap monthly VPN can often be a smart move. While the best prices are found on long-term plans, many people don't like the idea of committing to two or more years with the same provider. What's more, if you only need the best VPN for a month or so to access content from home while you're abroad, a monthly VPN plan is a no-brainer.

Some top quality cheap VPNs start at less than $10 a month, so testing out a few monthly VPNs in succession to find your favorite doesn't have to be expensive. And, of course, once you've found one you like you can lock in for a couple of years to secure the very best deal.

Whatever your reasons for wanting to bag a cheap monthly VPN, I've pulled together the best short-term VPN deals from our long list of hand-tested and approved providers. All you need to do is test them to find out which is right for you!

The best 3 cheap monthly VPNs at a glance

1.Proton VPN | 1 month | $9.99

1. Proton VPN | 1 month | $9.99
Proton VPN is a top-tier provider that offers a fast, privacy-focused service that's great for just about everything. With excellent streaming unblocking abilities alongside powerful apps, it's my top pick for a cheap monthly VPN.

A single-month plan is $9.99, which is much cheaper than elite rivals like NordVPN, ExpressVPN and Surfshark, and as a Tom's Guide reader, you can also get an extra 64% discount on longer plans if you fancy.

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2. Hide.me | 1 month | $9.95
Hide.me is a good VPN that scored an impressive 4/5 in our independent testing. It's fast, has tons of configuration options that experts will like, and also comes with a mega 2TB of free cloud storage. 

It's great overall value, and the current Hide.me deal is just $9.95 for a single month, and longer plans are excellent value, often dropping below $3 a month.

3.NordVPN | 1 month | $12.99

3. NordVPN | 1 month | $12.99
NordVPN is my #1 VPN overall, and in my testing it outperformed the competition in just about every area. It can unblock anything you want, has excellent privacy, and is one of the fastest services I've ever tested.

At $12.99 on the 1-month plan, it's a little more expensive than the others in this guide, but I think it's worth the extra couple of dollars considering how well it performs. You can also save a hefty chunk of cash if you do decide to subscribe for longer.

Recent updates

My most recent update to this page has seen the order get shaken up considerably. Proton VPN now sits at #1 thanks to its combination of excellent performance and great value on the 1-month plan. NordVPN now features as the premium pick in place of ExpressVPN thanks to its excellent performance my last round of testing, and Bitdefender – despite being the cheapest option here – drops to #4 because it simply isn't as powerful as the competition.

The best cheap monthly VPN plans today

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Proton VPN: The best cheap monthly VPN

Proton VPN on a range of devices

(Image credit: Proton VPN)

1. Proton VPN

Excellent privacy with bargain 1-month plans

Number of servers: 5,000+ | Server countries: 91 | Maximum devices supported: 10 | Single-month price: $9.99 | 30-day money back guarantee: Yes | Unblocks: Netflix, iPlayer, Amazon, Disney+

Very secure
Unlimited bandwidth
Good features on all devices
Complex customer support

In my Proton VPN review I found that the Swiss-based privacy provider has made tons of improvements recently, and it sits firmly near the top of lots of my VPN guides. Paired with the fact you can get a single month for less than $10, it's easy to see why it's my top pick here.

Most importantly, Proton VPN offers excellent privacy. With support for both OpenVPN and WireGuard protocols, you can tailor your connection depending on what you're looking to do, and connection speeds of up to 950 Mbps are absolutely searing. To put that into perspective, most households have WI-Fi that maxes out at around 100 Mbps, so Proton certainly won't be slowing you down.

While somewhat busy, Proton VPN's apps are intuitive and easy to use. With options for mobile and desktop, as well as a dedicated Linux VPN, it's great for just about anyone. What's more, with the power to unblock just about every streaming site I tested it with, it's great for watching TV and movies at home and abroad.

One perk of Proton VPN is that you're not limited to a specific amount of time or data use each month. All users of all plans have unlimited bandwidth – even Proton VPN Free. And, on paid plans, you can connect up to 10 different devices at one time, so everything and everyone in your home can be protected.

Hide.me: fast, secure, and great value

Hide.me cheap monthly VPN

(Image credit: Future)

2. Hide.me

Mega monthly value from the techie's favorite

Number of servers: 2,000+ | Server countries: 75 | Single-month price: $9.95 | 30-day money back guarantee: Yes | Maximum devices supported: 10 | Unblocks: Netflix, iPlayer, YouTube, Amazon Prime, Disney+

Powerful, customizable apps
Fast connections
Excellent short-term deal
Apps could appear complex to casual users
Not as intuitive as some

In my Hide.me review, I was seriously impressed by the Malaysia-based VPN's performance, and for those that like to tinker with their software, it's an absolute goldmine.

With more customization options than just about any other VPN on the market, it's clearly geared toward an audience that knows what it's doing. However, although the apps take some getting used to, it's still a fine choice if you want to simply plug and play. Don't think that you'll have to set anything up from scratch to get a good experience.

In terms of connection speeds, Hide.me is pretty fast – although at around 690 Mbps, it can't keep up with Proton VPN. However, it is great for streaming, unblocking Netflix, Disney+, BBC iPlayer, and more in my rigorous testing, and those speeds won't be slowing you down.

When it comes to general ease of use, it's worth noting that bigger names like ExpressVPN and NordVPN do edge ahead, but on one-month plans, they're also quite pricey.

So, if you're in the market for a fast, effective cheap monthly VPN, Hide.me is a great choice.

Ivacy: excellent value with usable apps

Ivacy vpn review - devices

(Image credit: Ivacy)

3. Ivacy VPN

A decent pick for bargain TV streaming

Number of servers: 6,500+ | Server countries: 60+ | Maximum devices supported: 10 | Single-month price: $9.95 | 7-day money back guarantee: Yes | Unblocks: Netflix, iPlayer, Amazon, Disney+, Hulu

Good privacy features
Includes malware protection
Unblocks most TV streaming services
Variable guarantee
No audits of any kind

Ivacy is one of the most recent VPN services to rank on this guide, and offers both good privacy protection and malware detection. Your online activity won't be tracked thanks to the serviceable VPN, but viruses and other online threats won't have an easy time infecting your device either.

The apps have the important security features you need, like an automatic kill switch and split tunneling. Ivacy is also decently fast. Our in-house tests showed top speeds of around 630Mbps, so you shouldn't have to worry about slowdown while connected – although there are plenty of providers that offer higher peak speeds.

Ivacy hasn't undergone any third-party audits of its services, which is becoming the norm for most high-end VPN providers, but in my Ivacy review it proved itself to be reliable and secure. Plus it doesn't keep any records of your personal information, so there isn't a way to trace online activity back to you at all.

One impressive feature of Ivacy VPN is the number of TV streaming services it unblocks. This includes Netflix in just about every country, BBC iPlayer, Amazon, Disney+, and Hulu.

While there are a fair few providers I'd choose over Ivacy, its one-month plan is excellent value, and if you like the service it's an incredibly cheap VPN if you don't mind signing up for a long time – the five-year plan is around $1 a month.

Bitdefender Premium VPN: cheap and basic cover

Bitdefender vpn cheap monthly vpn

(Image credit: Future)

4. Bitdefender VPN

Antivirus star takes on VPN

Number of servers: 1,300+ | Server countries: 48 | Maximum devices supported: 10 | Single-month price: $6.99 | 30-day money back guarantee: Yes | Unblocks: BBC iPlayer

Fair amount of servers
Very simple and very cheap
P2P auto-protection
Zero extra features
Can't access Netflix, Prime Video, Disney+

Bitdefender is a market leader when it comes to antivirus software, but it has also had Bitdefender Premium VPN hanging around for a while – and for the right person, it's not a bad option. 

Built around Hotspot Shield's Catapult Hydra protocol, Bitdefender VPN offers decent speeds, similar to what Hotspot Shield can make. However, that reliance on Hotspot Shield does mean Bitdefender suffers some of Hotspot Shield's limitations – although it does operate separately and follows its own logging policy.

It's on this list, though, thanks to the fact that it's super cheap no matter what length contract you go for. One month comes in at just $6.99, but commit for a year and that drops to just $2.49.

No, it's not the most fully featured service, but if you're not looking for a VPN to streaming extra Netflix content and just want the extra online privacy they can provide, Bitdefender's a decent choice.

Mullvad: Super security, but lacks streaming

Mullvad on a laptop

(Image credit: Future)

5. Mullvad VPN

Fast and cheap

Number of servers: 800+ | Server countries: 38 | Maximum devices supported: 5 | Single-month price: $5 | 30-day money back guarantee: Yes | Unblocks: N/A

Very private
Excellent speeds
Leak protection
Doesn't support any TV streaming
Lackluster support

Mullvad is the cheapest VPN in this guide. Its monthly VPN price is €5/mo ($4.91/mo). And if you decide to go with a 1-year plan, it's still the same monthly price. Even Mullvad's decade plan works out to €5/mo. It's a killer deal no matter how long you use it.

This VPN is very serious about privacy. It doesn't log anything you do online, doesn't keep your personal information, and even accepts cash payments through the mail to ensure your financial information can't be leaked. Our tests proved Mullvad's overall security while connected to the VPN.

Mullvad is one of the fastest VPNs out there. It tops out with impressive speeds of 950 Mbps. This is about the same as Proton VPN, and much quicker than the average VPN.

The biggest drawback of Mullvad is that it's no good as a streaming VPN. This means if you travel you'll need to make sure your favorite shows are set to record so you don't miss them – and you won't be able to tap into global content from the comfort of your home.

NordVPN: best overall, and great value

6. NordVPN

The very best VPN I've tested

Number of servers: 6,000+ | Server locations: 140 in 110+ countries | Maximum devices supported: 6 | 24/7 live chat: Yes | 30 day money back guarantee: Yes

Excellent focus on security
Impeccable streaming performance
NordLynx delivers incredible speeds
Tons of servers
Interface is a little complex

In my full NordVPN review I found that the biggest name in VPN is also the best. Who'da thunk it? With unbeatable speeds, excellent privacy features, good apps across tons of devices and a vast server selection, not a single rival can currently touch it.

with over 6,000 servers scattered across 110 countries, it's unlikely you'll be far from a speedy connection – and in fact Nord has recently increased its network. That addresses one of my previous gripes about the service, and I'm glad to see improvements being consistently made.

With split tunnelling, a kill switch, excellent encryption and additional features like Onion over VPN and Double VPN, Nord has a good range of privacy tech. The main protocol you'll be using is NordLynx, which is a modified version of WireGuard, although OpenVPN and IKEv2 are also available should you need them.

As I mentioned, Nord's apps are very good, but I think they could be a little easier to use. Proton VPN actually outdoes Nord here, with a better implementation of a map-based interface. That said, this is unlikely to be a dealbreaker for many people – and that this is one of my biggest issues with the service is rather demonstrative.

When it comes to streaming, NordVPN is untouchable once again. With a perfect record in my last round of testing, it was able to unblock every streaming site I pitted it against, including Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Disney+, and tons of smaller regional sites.

Of course, when it comes to cheap monthly VPN prices, NordVPN doesn't quite deliver – at $12.99 a month it's marginally more expensive than the rest on this list. However, if you want the very best on the market, I highly recommend it.

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 Proton VPN. Its current offer is seriously attractive on one-month plans, plus it’s one of the top VPNs around. I’ve also included my #1-rated VPN NordVPN 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 some providers like Proton VPN 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.

Mo Harber-Lamond
VPN Editor

Mo is VPN Editor at Tom's Guide. Day-to-day he oversees VPN, privacy, and cybersecurity content, and also undertakes independent testing of VPN services to ensure his recommendations are accurate and up to date. When he's not getting stuck into the nitty-gritty settings of a VPN you've never heard of, you'll find him working on his Peugeot 205 GTi or watching Peep Show instead of finally putting up those shelves.