The Best Cheap VPN in 2024

Best cheap VPN being displayed on a laptop screen
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

The best cheap VPNs have come a long way in the last few years. No longer are they unreliable knock-offs of more expensive products – now, some of the very best VPN services cost less than $2 month.

VPNs work by sending your internet traffic through its own encrypted servers before you connect to any website. This hides your activity from any snoopers, and can also virtually relocate you to almost anywhere in the world. However, there are still a lot of dodgy cheap VPNs out there that could pose a risk to your privacy, so doing your research is absolutely vital. That's why I've got hands-on and reviewed dozens of popular providers, testing every feature to make sure they're worth your money.

You can keep reading for my in-depth list of all the best budget VPNs available today. If you just want to know which providers offer the best value for money, though, simply pick from my top 3 directly below:

The 3 best cheap VPNs at a glance

1. Surfshark – Quite simply the best cheap VPN
Starting at just $2.29 a month

1. <a href="" data-link-merchant=""" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Surfshark – Quite simply the best cheap VPN
Starting at just $2.29 a month, Surfshark is one of the cheapest VPNs on the market. Don't be fooled by the price, though – it ranks #3 out of every single VPN I've ever tested.

You'll get rock-solid privacy features, the ability to watch streaming sites like Netflix and BBC iPlayer from around the world, and you can use one subscription on as many devices as you want. You'll also get a 30-day refund period to make sure it works for you.

2.NordVPN: my #1 provider is great value
NordVPN isn't the very cheapest VPN I've tested, but at $3.09 a month

2. <a href="" data-link-merchant=""" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">NordVPN: my #1 provider is great value
NordVPN isn't the very cheapest VPN I've tested, but at $3.09 a month it's incredible value – especially when you consider it's my #1-rated VPN overall. It's super secure, is incredibly fast, and unblocks anything you throw at it.

You can go for the VPN on its own, or upgrade your plan and add a password manager, secure cloud storage, and cyber insurance. There's a 30-day money-back guarantee so you can test it out risk-free.

3. Private Internet Access – Cheap and configurable
Private Internet Access is the perfect VPN if you're interested in customizing your experience, and if saving a couple of pence a month is important to you, it could be a better choice than Surfshark and NordVPN – it's just $2.03 a month

3. <a href="" data-link-merchant=""" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Private Internet Access – Cheap and configurable
Private Internet Access is the perfect VPN if you're interested in customizing your experience, and if saving a couple of pence a month is important to you, it could be a better choice than Surfshark and NordVPN – it's just $2.03 a month.

While its apps aren't quite as intuitive as Surfshark's, PIA has an excellent track record of protecting its users' privacy, and it's quite capable of accessing streaming content, too. A 30-day refund period comes as standard.

Recent updates

My most recent update to this page was fairly significant, and saw NordVPN jump to #2. Its combination of class-leading performance and a fresh deal that brings it to around $3 a month means it's impossible not to recommend. Surfshark stays at #1 thanks to its bargain pricing, while PIA and PureVPN slip down a spot each. Elsewhere, I've made sure all the facts and figures are correct so you can make the most informed decision possible.

The best cheap VPNs in 2024

Why you can trust Tom's Guide Our writers and editors spend hours analyzing and reviewing products, services, and apps to help find what's best for you. Find out more about how we test, analyze, and rate.

All of the following cheap VPNs have been rigorously tested and reviewed by the Tom's Guide VPN team, and I'm confident in recommending them as safe, effective, and good-value tools for staying more private online and unblocking restricted content. 

Surfshark: the very best cheap VPN today

1. Surfshark

Quite simply the best-value VPN available

Number of servers: 3,200+ | Server countries: 100 | Money-back guarantee: 30 days | Maximum devices supported: Unlimited | Unblocks: Netflix, iPlayer, YouTube, Amazon, Disney+, Hulu

Use one plan on as many devices as you want
Class-leading speeds
Attractive apps
Excellent streaming support
Prices rise after first term
Minor kill switch issue
Subscribe if:

✔️ You want the best cheap VPN. When it comes to a balance of performance, privacy, and price, I think Surfshark is just about unbeatable.

✔️ You want searingly fast connections. In my tests, Surfshark was the fastest provider – bar none.

✔️ You want to plug and play. Surfshark's apps are attractive and intuitive, and setup is very simple.

Avoid if:

❌ You want to subscribe and forget. To maintain Surfshark's excellent pricing, you'll have to remember to cancel and resubscribe after your plan has finished, as prices rise after the first term if you let it run.

❌ You need an unbreakable kill switch. While very unlikely in the real world, my testing revealed that under certain conditions the kill switch can allow data leaks.

Bottom line: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

When you consider the features you're getting for the price, Surfshark is an easy choice for those looking to save money and stay private online – especially with its current price of $2.29 a month. What's more, its streaming unblocking performance is only matched by NordVPN. Worth every penny.

Surfshark has made a real name for itself since its inception in 2018. While it's one of the newer services in the industry, the Netherlands-based VPN has quickly cemented itself as one of the very best, ranking #3 overall regardless of price in my Surfshark review. What's more, although it's undeniably a cheap VPN, it doesn't scrimp on features – the most important of which is security.

Packing 3,200 servers in a huge 100 countries, Surfshark has great global range, and no matter where you are in the world, there's bound to be a speedy server nearby.

Fire up the app, and you'll be protected by the full roster of security features you'd expect from any VPN worth its salt. Built around AES-256 encryption, your data is protected by an uncrackable algorithm, and you'll also have a kill switch to stop your IP address from leaking should the VPN cut out at any time. 

It's worth noting that in my review, I managed to slightly break the kill switch – although unless you're going to be messing around with root processes, this is very unlikely to happen in actual use. This is worth noting, though, since rivals ExpressVPN and NordVPN were untroubled by the same tests.

> Head to the Surfshark website to test out the best cheap VPN

OpenVPN (UDP & TCP) and WireGuard protocols come as standard. While WireGuard is now the default and what the vast majority of users will stick with, it's good to have some options. The legacy OpenVPN still has its uses, especially when trying to avoid detection on networks that ban VPN use, and Surfshark's Camouflage Mode still implements it.

Unblocking global streaming content is now one the most sought-after VPN abilities, and Surfshark is up there with the very best. Featuring on both my streaming and Netflix VPN guides, you'll be able to unblock a huge amount of content, from free live sports streams to global platforms like BBC iPlayer, 10Play, ITVX and many more.

Buffering isn't an issue either, since Surfshark proved to be one of the very fastest VPNs I've ever used. Delivering over 950 Mbps on my 1Gbps line in testing, it's clear that Surfshark has the performance to max out just about any connection you're likely to connect to.

The final bonus is that Surfshark allows subscribers to install and use the apps on unlimited devices. This is far more generous than many more expensive rivals, and really adds value, especially for families and friends.

Overall, Surfshark is a very premium VPN that just happens to have a bargain basement price tag. If you're looking for the very best provider, I'd usually steer you towards NordVPN – but in truth, Surfshark sacrifices very little.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Surfshark test results
DesignAttractive and intuitive apps on all devices⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Ease of useWell-suited to beginners, but not dumbed-down⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
PerformanceThe fastest provider I've tested⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
UnblockingExcellent for streaming and accessing censored content, but fails on a couple of more niche sites⭐⭐⭐⭐
Security and privacyGood underpinnings, but the kill switch needs work⭐⭐⭐⭐
Customer supportHelpful live chat, but articles can be tricky to navigate⭐⭐⭐⭐
PriceUndeniably great value⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

NordVPN: #1 VPN is an absolute bargain

2. NordVPN

The best VPN on the planet is great value

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 security features
Very, very fast
Unblocks tons of streaming sites
Huge range of servers
Interface is a little complex
Subscribe if:

✔️ You want my #1-rated VPN. In my last round of testing, Nord beat out every other VPN for the crown.

✔️ You're a big streamer. Nord's capable of unblocking every streaming site I tried it with

✔️ You want a full security suite. If you're looking for a password manager and cloud storage, you can add them on to your subscription.

Avoid if:

❌ You value simplicity. While not bamboozling, NordVPN's apps aren't the most streamlined.

❌ You torrent a lot. Nord's perfectly capable of protecting you while torrenting, but rivals like Private Internet Access are better suited if this if your #1 priority.

Bottom line: ⭐⭐⭐⭐½

NordVPN is the complete package – and it's a bargain, too! When you consider the amount of features and functionality you get, even on the base subscription, that sub-$3.50 a month price tag starts to look ever so tempting. It's not the very cheapest, but it is the best.

With brand power like no other in the industry, NordVPN is likely the first name you think of when someone says "VPN". That's for good reason too, because in my hands-on NordVPN review, I named it the very best provider on the market.

You get over 6,000 servers in a recently upgraded 110 countries around the world, which means you'll never be far away from a speedy connection. One Nord's biggest flaws previously was its slightly meagre selection of locations, so this upgrade really made a difference.

> NordVPN is my #1 VPN – get it from $3.09 a month

NordVPN supports the fully secure OpenVPN, IKEv2 and NordLynx protocols – the latter of which is based on the speedy WireGuard protocol. And speedy NordLynx is. In my testing it topped out at over 950 Mbps on my 1 Gbps connections. If I had a faster line, I reckon it'd go even faster.

Those speeds also tie in really nicely with Nord's exceptional streaming power. I test VPNs with a number of Netflix locations, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, and a ton more smaller sites, and Nord regularly comes out at the very top. 

With split tunneling, a kill switch and AES-2256 encryption, the privacy basics are covered, but Nord offers a little more than you might expect. The Double VPN and Onion over VPN modes offer enhanced security – and although these are almost certainly overkill for day-to-day tasks, if you need it, you have it. 

Nord's apps are very stable and are available on a huge range of devices, which is great if you want to stream using something like a Fire Stick VPN. However, while I like how they look on larger screens, it's worth noting that on handheld devices, Nord's map-based interface can be a little full-on. I typically recommend ExpressVPN for those looking for an iPhone VPN – but then again, it is more than twice the price...

Overall, NordVPN outdoes Surfshark, but it can't be ignored that it's around a dollar a month more expensive. Even at that price, though, I think it's an excellent deal, and if your budget can stretch I highly recommend it.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
NordVPN test results
DesignFun interface but might seem a little crowded for some users ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Ease of useThough simple to use, the map-like design might not work for everyone ⭐⭐⭐⭐
PerformanceOne of the fastest with an average speed of 950 Mbps⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
UnblockingEffortlessly unblocks most content streaming platforms⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Security and privacyStrong encryption with additional features like Threat Protection for safe streaming⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Customer supportReliable 24/7 customer support⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
PriceProvides ample value for the price.⭐⭐⭐⭐

Private Internet Access: affordable customisation

3. Private Internet Access (PIA)

A powerful and configurable cheap VPN

Number of servers: 10,000+ | Server countries: 91 | Money-back guarantee: 30 days | Maximum devices supported: Unlimited | Unblocks: Netflix, iPlayer, YouTube, Amazon, Disney+

Huge number of servers
Privacy-focused service
Browser extensions are excellent
Very useful for streaming
Not quite as fast as the competition
Subscribe if:

✔️ You want an impeccable no-logs policy. PIA has proved it stores no user info in court twice.

✔️ You're a big torrenter. Advanced features like port forwarding offer extra features for users who really know what they're doing.

✔️ You want a powerful browser extension. The browser extension offers tons of features not offered by other providers.

Avoid if:

❌ You love streaming. While PIA is good for streaming, Surfshark unblocks a much wider range of services.

❌ You're a novice. While the apps aren't incredibly complicated, those looking for an easy life might prefer a simpler option.

Bottom line: ⭐⭐⭐⭐½

Private Internet Access is a well-trusted VPN provider that's great for torrenting, is super secure, and can also unblock tons of streaming sites. Its apps are powerful and customizable, and while Surfshark offers a marginally better package overall, PIA is a very solid choice that may suit those looking to delve into the settings a little more.

Just like with Surfshark, calling Private Internet Access a 'cheap VPN' feels like it's doing the veteran provider a disservice. Yes, it's an absolute bargain with prices hovering around the $2-a-month mark, but it's also one of the best services I've reviewed – and has been for a long time.

Headline figures that include over 10,000 servers in 91 countries worldwide, with at least one in each state of the US, show that PIA is no bargain basement throwaway, and over the years it's proved itself to take its customers' privacy seriously. In fact, it's the only VPN provider that's had its zero-logging policy proved in court not once, but twice

It has all the basics like AES-256 encryption and a kill switch covered, but VPN aficionados will also appreciate the inclusion of more niche features like port forwarding – making PIA an excellent torrenting VPN

In my Private Internet Access review, I also found that PIA's browser extensions were a cut above, offering tons of functionality not often found in other Chrome VPNs.

> Head to the Private Internet Access to test out this quality cheap VPN

PIA also proved pretty useful when it came to unblocking streaming services, with US Netflix, Disney+ and Amazon Prime posing no problem. As an improvement from last time, it also works as a BBC iPlayer VPN, which will appeal to Brits abroad. However, a few less popular Netflix locations were unavailable

It's worth noting that PIA isn't perfect. In my last round of speed testing, WireGuard speeds peaked at around 360 Mbps, which is mid-pack at best. The likes of Surfshark, ExpressVPN and NordVPN are much faster.

It's also worth noting that while the apps are seriously powerful, they're not exactly simple, which could prove a challenge for newbies to VPN. However, if you're keen to explore things like port forwarding and connection automation, there aren't a lot of providers that come close to PIA's customization. 

While others may offer a slightly better service for those looking for an ultra-simple experience, Private Internet Access is affordable, secure, and perfect for experts.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Private Internet Access test results
DesignAttractive apps that offer tons of functionality⭐⭐⭐
Ease of useNot too complex, but could be a challenge for newbies⭐⭐⭐
PerformanceMid-pack speeds won't slow you down, but you won't be breaking records⭐⭐⭐
UnblockingHuge range of servers, but some Netflix locations are unavailable⭐⭐⭐⭐
Security and privacyComprehensive and trustworthy, with a proved zero-log policy⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Customer supportGreat support with well-written guides⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
PriceOffers incredible value⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Other cheap VPNs I've tested

PureVPN on a laptop screen

(Image credit: Future)

4. PureVPN

Just about the cheapest VPN on the market

Number of servers: 6,000+ | Server countries: 65+ | Money-back guarantee: 31 days | Maximum devices supported: 10 | Unblocks: US Netflix, iPlayer, Amazon, YouTube, Disney+

Incredibly cheap
Plenty of servers worldwide
US Netflix, Amazon, Disney+, and iPlayer access
Zero-logging audit
Apps aren't as good as the competiton
Subscribe if:

✔️ You want a balance of very cheap and decent performance. PureVPN is the cheapest VPN that doesn't make too many compromises.

✔️ You like streaming. Powerful unblocking means you'll be able to watch tons of geo-restricted content.

✔️ You want an audited zero-logging VPN. PureVPN has proven that its zero-logging policy is up to scratch with an independent audit.

Avoid if:

❌ You want a premium experience. While it's very usable, PureVPN feels cheaper than Surfshark or PIA.

❌ You're a Mac user. PureVPN's Mac app simply isn't as good as the competition.

Bottom line: ⭐⭐⭐½

While it's not the best provider I've ever tested, PureVPN is pretty solid and offers incredible value. I'd steer you towards Surfshark or PIA if you're looking for an impeccable product, but at $1.66 a month on the 5-year plan or $1.99 a month on the 1-year plan, it's very tempting indeed.

Thanks to its incredibly cheap introductory deal, PureVPN is easily the cheapest VPN worth actually using right now. While in my PureVPN review it didn't match up to the likes of Surfshark, PIA, NordVPN or ExpressVPN, it's still a reliable provider that I'm happy recommending.

Like all good VPNs, PureVPN is based around AES-256 encryption and has an audited zero-logging policy – so even if it's ordered to share your activity, it won't have anything to divulge. 

It apps are also fairly easy to use, but it's worth noting that they're not as intuitive as Surfshark, and there are a few UX issues I'd love to see remedied. What's more, the Mac VPN app is pretty thin in terms of features compared to the Windows VPN option.

Let's get to the meat of it, though – PureVPN is offers incredible deals on its 5-year and 1-year plans.

If you fancy bagging the cheapest monthly price, the 5-year plan is just $1.83 a month, which is $109 all-in. 

For those looking for shorter-term cover, the 1-year plan will be more appealing. At $1.99 a month, or about $25 all-in, it's pretty eye-catching, and what's more, Tom's Guide readers will also get PureKeep, PureVPN's password manager, for free.

Of course, if PureVPN was a load of rubbish, I wouldn't even suggest you consider it, but in practice it's quite capable. In terms of streaming performance, you'll be able to unblock iPlayer from outside the UK along with Netflix, Amazon, and Disney+, and while simple, the apps will keep you private and secure.

Speeds are a little lower than the very fastest, coming in at 650Mbps, which is good but not exactly groundbreaking. However, that won't affect usage in practice. For the price, PureVPN is an incredible deal and is well worth testing out.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
PureVPN test results
DesignDecent, but pretty rudimentary⭐⭐⭐
Ease of useFairly easy to use, but some app niggles may irritate⭐⭐⭐
PerformanceFairly fast, but still mid-pack at best⭐⭐⭐
UnblockingQuite comprehensive unblocking, bested only by more expensive providers⭐⭐⭐⭐
Security and privacyGood basics plus an audited no-logs policy, but I did find an issue with the kill switch⭐⭐⭐⭐
Customer supportSupport site isn't really up to scratch, but enough to get by⭐⭐⭐
PriceInsane value, especially on long-term plans⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

5. CyberGhost

Streaming-focused cheap VPN with long warranty

Number of servers: 9,000+ | Server countries: 91 | Money-back guarantee: 45 days | Maximum devices supported: 7 | Unblocks: Netflix, iPlayer, YouTube, Amazon, Hulu