Good news - the best VPN providers in the world don't necessarily need to be the most expensive. In fact, some of the finest services out there are also some of the most affordable ones. Plus, they can often be bought through a special deal at a much lower price, making the best cheap VPNs even more attractive.
Paying for a VPN is not surprising when you consider that you’re getting top-notch performance, security and privacy that free VPN options just can't match. However, it’s definitely possible to sign up for an excellent VPN provider and pay a relatively cheap subscription fee, and those are the services we’re pointing out in this article.
So if you like the idea of protecting your online life without paying an arm and a leg, taking a look at our guide to the best cheap VPN should be just what the doctor ordered. We've focused on the services that offer great value on one-year or more subscriptions, as that's where the best value lies with the cheapest VPNs.
How to choose the best cheap VPN
A cheap VPN provider is no different to any other in terms of what you’re likely to be looking for: tight security and good levels of privacy, with at least solid speeds on the performance front. And as ever, a wide coverage of devices and platforms with a range of user-friendly clients is welcome.
But more than that, make sure that it serves the purpose you want it to? Big streamer? Make sure it unblocks Netflix, Amazon Prime, BBC iPlayer or whatever your chosen service is. Torrenter? Make sure the service excels there. And if you're more likely to use your VPN on mobile, then be sure that dedicated Android and/or iOS apps are available, too.
1. Surfshark is the very best cheap VPN
We're not sure quite how it does it, but Surfshark really does have the competition licked when it comes to mixing quality with affordability. It appears on 'best of' lists all around the internet and yet always manages to score the best prices around. We're certainly not complaining!
2. IPVanish - limited time discount and free cloud storage
IPVanish isn't always the cheapest VPN around, but until September 28 it has a fantastic offer that changes all that. Its annual plan is down to a mere $3.25 per month and it also throws in 250GB of cloud storage absolutely free. A real tempter, but it ends on September 28.
3. ExpressVPN - get a great deal on the world's best
OK, so ExpressVPN isn't the among the absolute cheapest VPNs on the market. But, in our view, it is the best. And because TechRadar readers are able to get an extra 3 months free with an annual plan, we still think it's well worth shouting about if you're looking for a great value plan.
- Just want the greatest? Or want to know more? Head to our VPN guide
The best cheap VPN providers in 2020
There's no wonder that Surfshark's VPN stands out so much. As well as the eye-catching name and inviting branding, the incredible sub-$2.50/£2/AU$3.50 a month subscription cost means that it's swimming out on its own in the cheap VPN waters.
And it's not all about the bottom-line cost. The fact that you can use Surfshark on as many of your gadgets and devices as you like at once improves the value even further. There's nothing really stopping you from sharing your login details out among our friends and family if you like (although, at Surfshark's price, you needn't even really bother!).
And what to you get for this meagre sum? Well, honestly, pretty much everything you'd expect from a service that sits so high up in our guide to the very best overall VPN. There are plenty of security protocols available (e.g. OpenVPN UDP and TCP, IKEv2) and a kill switch for extra security when the VPN is in use. And its Surfshark's handy 'Quick connect' option will have you connected to one of its 1,000+ servers in pretty much no time at all.
Surfshark | 24 months |
$12.95 $2.49 USD per month | 81% saving
Surfshark is certainly doing its best to show the rest of the competition up when it comes to cost. A solitary payment of $59.76 will give you two years of outstanding VPN service - that's the equivalent of less than $2.50 USD per month. Astonishing value!
In terms of VPN providers, IPVanish is a trusty old steed. It's a no-nonsense service that's easy to use and just...works. It has over 1,500 servers spread worldwide and has excellent clients and apps on a whole host of devices. It's almost the very definition of a fully-functioned virtual private network.
If that all sounds a little vague, allow us to elaborate. For starters, it offers a whole range of security protocols to choose from. IKEv2, OpenVPN, TCP, UDP, L2TP, IPSec and PPTP are all on the list. And even if you're not going to use them all, having so many available is a serious show of security intent from IPVanish.
If you're looking for software to stream with, then our testing showed IPVanish to easily unblock the likes of Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video and more - it just doesn't tend to shout about it! And you may be comforted to know that this company is based in the US, rather than some faraway clime.
The 24/7 live chat support is a perk, as is the 30-day money back guarantee. But the reason we're featuring it so high in our cheap VPN guide at the moment is its terrific limited time offer. Until the end of the month, it has really brought down the pricing on its annual plan AND is throwing in free cloud storage from SugarSync up to a colossal 250GB. Welcome to the list, IPVanish!
If Surfshark's appeal is its sheer simplicity, CyberGhost takes the plaudits for being such a thorough package at such a low price.
But if that sounds like it's going to be complicated to use, then please don't misunderstand us. We're really fond of how easy this provider makes it to connect to just the right server for your purpose. That means that if your main purpose for getting a VPN is streaming, CyberGhost will actively help you select the ideal server for watching Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, YouTube, etc.
CyberGhost is equipped with one of the most vast quantities of servers out there - over 6,000 in 110+ countries at last count. That does sometimes mean that speeds aren't up to the same pace as, say those of ExpressVPN. But you can discover all this for yourself with CyberGhost's generous 45-day money back guarantee - one of the lengthiest VPN free trials on offer.
Not only do you get a rather affordable VPN with NordVPN (providing you avoid the monthly subscription), you also benefit from a service with excellent security. The provider offers a number of ‘Double VPN’ servers which route your data through not one but two separate VPN servers. There is also an option to send encrypted traffic over the Onion network for an additional layer of security, plus an automatic kill switch, and more.
NordVPN supports all kinds of platforms and devices with easy-to-use clients (or setup guides), and it allows P2P traffic. We found performance was very good too, delivering above-average speeds in our testing, and another plus point is that this provider has a ‘zero logs’ policy.
A definite bonus is the existence of a 30-day trial (in the form of a money back guarantee) to give the service a spin before you subscribe.
Hotspot Shield has an excellent reputation, thanks in no small part to its fantastic free offering. But assuming that a mere 500MB of VPN use per day isn't enough for you (and it won't be if you want to stream and download music and movies while connected), then it doesn't cost that much more to upgrade to its premium service.
We like the way that Hotspot Shield doesn't merely rely on the usual security protocols used by other VPNs - its developers have produced their own snazzily-named Catapult Hydra protocol, which not only seeks to keep you and your data secure but also ensures consistently rapid connection speeds.
The drawback to that extra protection means that you'll end up with a smaller range of devices on which you can use Hotspot Shield (only those that support its Windows, Mac, Android or iOS apps). Limiting, but not insurmountable, if you were only really going to use your VPN on laptop, desktop or mobile anyway.
But what if I just want the best overall VPN?
It's always nice to save money and know that you've bagged a bargain, but sometimes it's also worth investing in the very best. One look at our guide to the best VPN services will show that the current market-leader is ExpressVPN.
There are multifarious reasons why this is the case (check out our ridiculously in-depth ExpressVPN review to discover them all), but it boils down to the obvious things - the super fast connection speeds even to far away servers, the robust no-logging security, the incredible 24/7 customer support to get you out of the tightest binds, the sheer simplicity to use...the list goes on.
And although it can't boast the best cheap VPN prices, ExpressVPN does at least offer TechRadar readers 49% off the normal cost when you sign up for a year, as well as an extra three months FREE! Plus, you can give it a try for 30 days and cancel at any time to get a full refund.