Online privacy has never been more important. Now, thanks to the best cheap VPN services, it's incredibly accessible too. Starting from around $2 a month, even some of the very best VPNs of 2023 are absolute bargains – so there's no excuse to stay unprotected.
However, doing your research is vital. While some cheap VPNs provide world-class performance, others are underpowered and could even pose a threat to your privacy. That's why we've got hands-on with hundreds of providers and tested every aspect of them – on this page, we're only recommending the services that really impressed us and offer incredible value.
So, here we'll be running down the very best cheap VPNs that prove you really can afford to protect yourself while online.
What makes a great cheap VPN?
As well as being affordable, the VPN you choose should offer top-quality protection. Security and privacy are our top priorities when considering products for this guide, and even at this price point you can get the very best if you shop smart.
You'll also want a solution that's easy to use. That's why we've chosen VPNs that work on multiple devices and are simple to use, most with just a click of a button. And for users that travel and want to tap into global streaming services, we look at how well each VPN unblocks popular services like Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Amazon, and Disney+.
Thanks to its incredible current deal, we currently rank Surfshark as the best cheap VPN. It has a great track record of content unblocking, delivers unbelievable speeds, and a single plan can be used on unlimited devices. However, there are several more worth considering – all you need to do is pick which is right for you!
1. Surfshark – Quite simply the best cheap VPN
Surfshark has been one of the best cheap VPNs for a long time now, and that's thanks to its excellent apps, great streaming performance, good privacy credentials and, frankly, bargain price. It's currently just $2.30 a month, and you can test the service risk-free for 30 days and claim back your money if you're not satisfied.
2. Private Internet Access – Cheap and configurable
In a close second place is PIA, and if you're looking for the very cheapest VPN worth getting, it's right here. At a stunning $2.03 a month (including 3 months free), it's a proper bargain, and it offers a load of in-depth configuration, too. Plus, you'll get a 30-day money-back guarantee to help make up your mind.
ExpressVPN – The best VPN overall
It's not the cheapest, but if you want the best of the best, we wholeheartedly recommend ExpressVPN. Ranked #1 out of every VPN we've tested, it'll protect you when browsing, can unblock tons of streaming sites, and Tom's Guide readers can even save a bit of cash by claiming 3 months free on the 12-month plan.
The best cheap VPNs today
Surfshark has made a real name for itself since its inception in 2018, and 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. What's more, although it's available at a bargain price, it doesn't scrimp on features – the most important of which is security.
Fire up Surfshark and you'll be protected by a full complement of security features, including OpenVPN UDP & TCP and WireGuard protocols, a private DNS, double-hop VPN using an AES-256 encryption, plus a kill switch. On top of that, there's also a zero-logging policy, so no data is kept on you anywhere, and Surfshark is the only true fake GPS VPN available – there's an inbuilt GPS spoofer to trick apps and games.
Despite that excellent security, when using WireGuard the experience remains swift no matter where you are in the world, thanks to Surfshark's 3,200+ servers spread across more than 100 locations. That great selection of servers also helps with delivering excellent streaming power, giving access to US Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Disney+, and more.
However, one of Surfshark's real party pieces is its unlimited simultaneous connection policy. So, even if your household has 20, 30, or even 50 devices you'd like to protect with a VPN, you can do it with Surfshark for just $2.30 a month.
And, on that note, you'll have a fine choice of apps for tons of devices too. While they're not quite as in-depth as some of the pricier competition, Surfshark's apps have tons of features, and pretty much everything the vast majority of users will need from a VPN.
Get the the world's best cheap VPNs
It's no surprise you'll find Surfshark on many of our other top VPN lists – while it's seriously cheap, it also provides a premium service that's better than much of the competition, regardless of price. Sign up for the 2-year plan and get 2 months free – all for just $2.30 a month.
From a relatively new face on the block to a seasoned veteran, Private Internet Access (PIA) has been a user favorite since 2010 – and it's easy to see why.
With a monstrous server count that reportedly tallies above 10,000, finding a reliable, uncongested location to connect to is super simple. And, since it boasts at least one server in every state of the US, it's a great choice for a US VPN.
In our most recent Private Internet Access review, it 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.
What PIA is most famed for, though, is its wide selection of security and privacy features, with some in-depth options not often offered elsewhere. Alongside the classic 256-AES encryption, PIA also has an effective kill switch, and remarkably powerful browser extensions, and those looking for a torrenting VPN may also appreciate the Port Forwarding function.
Overall we were very impressed with PIA, but there are a couple of negatives to note. PIA hasn't yet undergone an independent audit of its servers, and while OpenVPN speeds are very good, topping out at over 400Mbps, and WireGuard speeds are also decent at around 510Mbps, many other VPNs scored better. PIA has never been the very fastest VPN, but it's a significant jump from our last round of testing where PIA had top speeds of only 320Mbps.
No other cheap VPN at this price can compete with PIA though, and while Surfshark offers a slightly better service overall, Private Internet Access is even more affordable.
Sign up now on the PIA website
Thanks to its incredibly cheap introductory deal, PureVPN is easily the cheapest VPN worth actually using right now. While it can't match up to the likes of Surfshark, PIA, NordVPN and ExpressVPN, it's still a reliable provider that we're happy recommending.
Let's get to the meat of it – PureVPN is currently offering incredible deals on its 5-year and 1-year plans.
If you fancy bagging the cheapest monthly price, the 5-year plan is just $1.33 a month, which is $79.95 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, we wouldn't even suggest you consider it, but in practice, it's quite capable. You'll be able to unblock iPlayer from outside the UK along with Netflix, Amazon, and Disney+, but most impressively it's passed an independent zero-logging audit, meaning it doesn't store any logs of your activity.
Speeds are a little lower than the very fastest, coming in at 640Mbps, a significant decrease from the 840Mbps speeds from our last round of testing, but that won't affect usage in practice. For the price, PureVPN is an incredible deal and is well worth testing out.
Sign up to the 5-year plan at $1.33/mo or the 1-year plan for $1.99/mo + free password manager
CyberGhost is a Romanian-based VPN service that offers a staggering 8,900+ servers across more than 90 countries – which gives you tons of scope for finding the best connection. Security is also tight with a selection of protocols for you to pick from, plus automated HTTPS redirection and optional data compression for when on mobile – find out more in our full CyberGhost VPN review.
CyberGhost's real power lies in its streaming VPN and torrenting functionality. While the apps aren't the very best, they do offer an excellent filtering system that helps users identify and connect to servers that will perform best at a certain activity.
These filters include the best servers for Netflix and torrenting, which for some will be a very useful feature that's lacking from pretty much any other VPN service available – cheap or not.
In our latest review, we found that connection speeds have slowed a bit, but are still decently c. Now CyberGhost reaches top speeds of 730Mbps when using WireGuard.
Although CyberGhost's user experience isn't quite up there with the best, it's a fantastic choice for those looking to stream and torrent without breaking the bank – and you'll also be covered by an unusually long 45-day money-back guarantee, so you'll be able to test it thoroughly before committing.
Sign up now on the CyberGhost website for just $2.03/mo
Ivacy is the newest VPN service to be added to our best cheap VPN guide. It's one of the few VPNs that include antivirus that detects and blocks malware threats as you securely browse online.
Our tests show you'll be well protected using this VPN, and you won't have to deal with a slow connections while using it. Its top speed easily reaches 630Mbps. This is a bit faster than average for a VPN, though there are other providers, like CyberGhost, that are considerably faster.
When you connect to Ivacy, you have the option to be automatically connected to the fastest available server, or choose one yourself. There are over 5,700 servers located in more than 100 countries, so you're sure to find the best one for your situation.
If you travel away from home, you can use Ivacy to unblock your TV streaming accounts to watch your favorite shows. During testing, we were able to unlock Netflix in the United States, Australia, Japan, and the United Kingdom. Hulu, Amazon, and Disney+ are also accessible.
Ivacy's biggest draw is its price, and it has one of the best long-term plans that starts at just over $1 per month. However, you are locked into a 5-year commitment. Its monthly plan is a bit hefty at $9.95, though the 1-year plan is reasonably priced at around $4 per month.
With each plan, you are given a money-back guarantee, but the terms of this guarantee vary. You get 30 days to check out the 5 and 1-year plans, but only 7 days to back out of a monthly plan.
Sign up for Ivacy now and take advantage of its $1/month plan
OK, ExpressVPN isn't quite as cheap as some of the other VPNs on this list, but we think the package it offers makes its worth its slightly higher price tag. In fact, our ExpressVPN review found it to be the best service we've ever tested.
With a wide range of server locations, you'll be able to find a great connection. And while overall connection speeds have dipped a bit – down to 560Mbps from 630Mbps – it's still fast enough to keep you connected and browsing without any disrupting lag.
Express's apps are also incredibly easy to use, but under the surface you'll find a huge amount of powerful features. There's a wide range of protocols, split tunneling, a kill switch, and the VPN also uses 'Perfect Forward Secrecy', which uses a brand-new key each time you connect, as well as changing it every hour when you're connected.
The big news, however, is that ExpressVPN has partnered with premium cloud backup provider Backblaze to offer a year's free backup, as well as the regular three months free of VPN.
You'll also be able to stream from plenty of Netflix locations, as well as access Hulu outside the US and iPlayer from outside the UK – plus, its great selection of mobile VPN apps means you can cover just about every device you own, no matter what it is.
Even cheap VPNs need great support, and Express has the best in the business – the live chat works very well with replies coming in seconds, and no matter what your issue is, the operator will be able to help.
The only downside is the fact that Express is a little more expensive than other services, but when you consider what you're getting, we reckon it's worth the investment.
Get 3 free months of ExpressVPN
Tom's Guide readers signing for a full 12 months on ExpressVPN will get three months additional coverage absolutely FREE. Backed up by a 30-day money-back guarantee plus free Backblaze, you'll even be able to get a refund if you don't like the service – but we're sure you will.
What is the best cheap VPN?
From our in-depth review process, we can confidently say that Surfshark is the best cheap VPN on the market. It has excellent apps for tons of devices, is impeccable for unblocking streaming sites, and has top-notch privacy and zero-logging credentials.
However, closely following it is Private Internet Access. It's slightly cheaper, and in most areas is a comparable service – so if saving every possible penny is important to you, then PIA is a good choice.
Is a cheap VPN worth it?
If you pick the right one, it certainly is. While some cheap services might not have many servers, provide poor connection speeds or, at worst, leak sensitive data, all of the options on this list provide premium-quality VPN protection for a great price.
If you really can only spare $2.50 a month, Surfshark is the absolutely the best cheap VPN – and will even leave you some change. However, if you can spare a little more we'd steer you towards ExpressVPN. Although you might be spending a few extra dollars a month, Express's functionality is class-leading, is top of our best VPN services guide, and now offers a year of Backblaze backup absolutely free.
Are cheap VPNs secure?
While quality varies a lot in the VPN market, the services on this list are all reliable, secure VPNs that we rank among the top VPNs no matter the price.
All feature at least AES-256 encryption, most have extra features to keep you and your data private, and most will also work well as a Netflix VPN, Suffice to say, if you pick your cheap VPN from this list, your data will be as secure as it would be with any other VPN
Can you get a VPN for free?
It's not impossible to get a decent free VPN, but if you do you'll be sacrificing a lot in terms of performance and, in some cases, security.
Free services still have to make money, so if users aren't paying the provider directly with a subscription, it uses other techniques to earn revenue. Often you'll find the VPN might inject ads into pages you're browsing, and in the worst case it may well be selling your data.
Also, many free providers offer paid options as well, so the free versions are limited to encourage you to upgrade. You may find your connection speeds are throttled, and you'll usually have a data limit which is measured in MB rather than GB.
While free options are available, if you're looking to stream TV or use a VPN daily, it's worth pikcing up a cheap service like Surfshark rather than risking it – at least you know where your provider is making its money if you pay for a subscription.
Why are VPNs so expensive?
In actual fact, while some VPNs can be fairly pricey, on the whole they're one of the cheaper digital subscription services – especially if you go with one of our recommended cheap VPNs.
However, good VPNs aren't free because they need constant maintenance to ensure their servers are running reliably and securely, and technical teams to keep updating the service to ensure you can still access sites that actively block the use of VPNs – think Netflix and BBC iPlayer.
Also, none of the VPNs on this list will show you any sort of advertising when you're using it, and you'll also have unlimited bandwidth and data to use. Therefore, the only place they make their money is from user subscriptions, and starting at less than $2.50 a month, we think that's a pretty reasonable price to pay for total internet anonymity and data security.