Black Friday – it’s a festival of spending that we all know we shouldn’t really get sucked in by, but I’m yet to meet someone who can pass up a genuine bargain when they see one.
When it comes to browsing the likes of Walmart Black Friday deals and Amazon Black Friday deals, it’s often quite clear how much each individual product has been discounted. From that you can deduce whether or not it’s as much of an ‘UNMISSABLE DEAL’ as the retailer proclaims it to be.
However, when it comes to software and subscriptions – and the best VPN services in particular – things tend to become a little more opaque.
The problem with VPN pricing
Industry-wide, pricing is somewhat deceptive. Monthly figures are given for year-long plans that require one-off payments, and discounts given in percent are calculated compared to expensive one-month plans which very few users would consider buying unless trialling the software. Historic pricing for longer plans is also nigh-on impossible to find.
Despite these widespread issues with the industry, though, VPNs are invaluable tools that offer myriad uses – it can just be tricky to figure out whether the Black Friday VPN deals floating around the web really are great value.
As VPN Editor of Tom’s Guide, I test and write on VPNs day-in, day-out. Thanks to this, I’ve got years of fluctuating price data tucked away in my little brainbox, just waiting for the moment when it’d finally be useful. And boy, has that day come.
Here, I’ll be running down all the VPN deals we’ve been covering on Tom’s Guide in the run-up to Black Friday, giving a little insight into each provider’s pricing over the last year or so, and rating each deal out of 10.
If you’re in the market for a VPN, hopefully this quick guide will offer some insight into whether now is a good time to sign up to a particular provider, or if you can prioritize other purchases now and bag the same deal on a VPN at any time throughout the year.
How I've rated the deals
In my ratings, I'll be considering a number of things. First of all, I'll take into account how attractive the deal is on face value. Then I'll consider the difference, if any, in price between the current deal and what I've seen in the past. Unsurprisingly, I'll also be taking into consideration the quality of the VPN itself too.
The list will be ordered from best to worst, but if you're considering signing up, bear in mind that price isn't the only factor to consider when purchasing. Make sure your chosen provider ticks all the boxes you need it to, and don't be afraid of making use of the 30-day refund guarantee all of these providers offer.
Deal: 5 years for $1.13 a month with code TECH15 ($67) (opens in new tab)(opens in new tab)
Coming close to the fabled $1 a month barrier, the headline price is eye-catching and outdoes just about every other VPN on the market. And, even though it's a long plan at 5 years, the initial outlay of $67 should be manageable enough for most people.
What's interesting is that this is a genuine Black Friday VPN deal. Although PureVPN is always great value, this 5-year plan is often unavailable to purchase – and when it is, it sits closer to $2 a month.
Looking back to last year, I remember a very similar deal being offered, and while it lasted until the holidays, it was gone by the New Year. In short, if you want to save serious money and you're willing to settle with a provider that sits at around #10 in our overall ranking of quality, snap this up.
10/10 – Head to the PureVPN website to sign up (opens in new tab)
Deal: 2 years + 2 months free for $2.05 a month ($53) (opens in new tab)(opens in new tab)
Surfshark is another provider that's known for offering great prices all year round, and its current deal is certainly tempting at $2.05 a month.
Compared to the competition – and barring PureVPN's ridiculous pricing – this is up (or down) there with the cheapest monthly VPN prices on the market. The inclusion of two free months helps drop that headline figure a little, and you'll see more of this in deals to come.
However, unlike some providers, Surfshark has cut the price as well as offering a freebie. A month or so ago, Surfshark was already offering two months free, but charging $2.30 a month. So, with this deal, it's actually offering some genuine extra value.
What's more, I rate Surfshark as one of the top three providers on the market, so if you're willing to sacrifice the length of time you're covered for in return for world-class performance, this is the one to choose.
9.5/10 – Head to the Surfshark website to sign up (opens in new tab)
Private Internet Access
Deal: 2 years + 4 months free for $2.03 a month ($57) (opens in new tab)(opens in new tab)
Looks familiar, doesn't it? Private Internet Access's current deal is almost like-for-like with Surfshark's, although you'll get four months for free, not two. Those extra couple of months will see you through into April 2025 rather than February, but in practice it's not a huge differentiating factor.
What is a little more notable is that the overall discount PIA is offering isn't quite as impressive. Before this deal was launched, PIA had been sat at $2.19 a month for quite a while. Admittedly, that was on a 3-year plan and required a heftier outlay, but in terms of overall bargain value this isn't quite as strong.
However, whichever way you slice it, it's still seriously good value – especially if you're looking for a capable torrenting VPN which has a bunch of extra features rarely seen from mainstream providers.
9/10 – Head to the Private Internet Access website to sign up (opens in new tab)
Deal: 2 years + 4 months free for $2.03 a month ($57) (opens in new tab)(opens in new tab)
It feels like I'm seeing double, but no, CyberGhost really is offering exactly the same deal as PIA.
That's not quite as surprising as you might think, since both providers, along with ExpressVPN, are owned by parent company Kape Technologies.
While it's generally assumed that ExpressVPN is more independent, CyberGhost and PIA often share pricing structures, and although entirely conjecture, possibly share development teams and tech.
What's more, CyberGhost's previous pricing was much the same as PIA's before the launch of this campaign. So, with that in mind, the only difference is the quality of the product – and in my last round of reviews PIA came out marginally on top (although both are top-tier services).
8.5/10 – Head to the CyberGhost website to sign up (opens in new tab)
Deal: 1 year + 3 months free for $3.19 a month ($47) (opens in new tab)(opens in new tab)
IPVanish is offering something slightly different this Black Friday, opting for a short-term plan at a pretty decent price.
With three months tacked onto a single-year plan, the $3.19 a month price tag is appealing . Although it's not quite as temptingly low as PureVPN, it gives users flexibility and doesn't tie them up for a huge amount of time.
The discount isn't absolutely mega, though, as I've seen IPVanish's 1-year plan fluctuate within the mid-$3 range for about as long as I can remember. Plus, it's worth noting that although there's smaller outlay, for just $7 more upfront you could get almost double the coverage from a higher-rated VPN like Surfshark.
7.5/10 – Head to the IPVanish website to sign up (opens in new tab)
Deal: 2 years + 3 months free for $2.99 a month ($80) (opens in new tab)(opens in new tab)
Blink and you'll miss it – oh, wait, you already have...
Last week, NordVPN was offering Tom's Guide readers an exclusive discount that dropped the price of this plan down to a very appealing $2.49 a month.
For a VPN with the pedigree of Nord, that's really very good value.
With that fresh in my mind, $2.99 a month doesn't exactly look steep, but I'm well aware of the deals that the Panama-based provider is capable of offering. It's also not far off the the regular prices NordVPN offers throughout the year.
But, as the biggest VPN in the world, the Nord brand carries some significant clout and if you need a VPN right now, I wouldn't blame you if you chose to go with Team Blue. And of course, you're still getting a bit of a saving.
7/10 – Head to the NordVPN website to sign up (opens in new tab)
Deal: 2 years + 6 months free for $3.99 a month ($119) (opens in new tab)(opens in new tab)
Proton VPN isn't known for being incredibly cheap or ever offering discounts on it products, so I'm pleased to see the Swiss provider getting involved with Black Friday this year.
This very much is a Black Friday special too, and don't expect it to stick around for long. Proton definitely values itself and believes users are willing to pay a little more for its superior service (just like a certain provider we'll see in a moment).
However, at a chunky $3.99 a month, it's certainly no bargain, and an initial outlay well into three figures could put off some users.
For some there will be a few very good reasons to choose Proton VPN, and I personally appreciate its commitment to user privacy and unique features like its Secure Core servers. Those looking to save big, though, ought to look elsewhere.
6/10 – Head to the Proton VPN website to sign up (opens in new tab)
Deal: 1 year + 3 months free for $6.67 a month ($99.95) (opens in new tab)(opens in new tab)
It may well be the top pick in terms of quality and overall performance, but ExpressVPN is steadfast in its attitude to promos and discounts. As in, it never offers them.
What you see today is what you'll get all year round with the ultra-premium VPN. As a token of gratitude, ExpressVPN does offer 3 months free to Tom's Guide readers, as well as a year's subscription to Backblaze could storage. But no matter how it brands it, this quite simply isn't just for Black Friday.
In terms of deals, it's one of the priciest out there – but in my experience you do get what you pay for. After all, I rank it as the #1 best VPN service for a reason. Just like Proton VPN, though, if you're looking for a bargain I'd advise you to scroll back up to the top and take your pick.
4/10 – Head to the ExpressVPN website to sign up (opens in new tab)