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Best Cheap VPN in 2022: Budget-Friendly VPNs Compared

With so many VPNs on the market, it can be tricky figuring out which ones offer the best features at the most affordable prices. We've done the legwork for you in this article. Read on to learn about our top five best cheap VPN picks.

Wisdom Sablah
By Wisdom Sablah (Writer)
— Last Updated: 2022-09-05T17:48:00+00:00 Facts checked by Jasna Mishevska

A virtual private network (VPN) reroutes and encrypts your internet traffic, enabling you to use the internet privately and anonymously — whether you want to unblock Netflix or work remotely in a secure environment. But a VPN doesn’t have to leave a dent in your budget. Thanks to competition within the VPN space, the best cheap VPN services now offer top-of-the-line features at cutthroat prices.

Key Takeaways:

  • Using a VPN doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. There are cheap VPNs that offer an excellent blend of speed and security.
  • NordVPN is the cheapest VPN on the market, owing to its impressive array of features at bargain prices. 
  • Surfshark and CyberGhost are much cheaper than NordVPN but are also reliable options. Windscribe is also a standout choice since it allows you to customize your plan to fit your needs. 
  • If you want to sign up for the cheapest VPN long term, PIA is your best bet. It’s also the cheapest monthly VPN.

If you’re on a tight budget, you might be tempted to use a free VPN, but they often come bundled with ads and malware and they’re likely to share your data with advertisers and hackers. Strange as it may sound, there are cheap VPNs that don’t sacrifice security and features for low prices. 

However, finding the cheapest VPNs can be a difficult task; you’ll have to sort through a maze of VPN features and prices. Luckily for you, we’ve done the heavy lifting.

In this article, we’ll dig deep into our top five cheapest VPN picks, showing you their pros, cons, features and, of course, pricing. If you just want to skip to the end, NordVPN is our number one pick.

  • 09/05/2022

    Updated Windscribe pricing: the paid plan increased to $5.75 per month from $4.08. The Build-a-Plan minimum purchase also increased to $3 from $2. Also updated Windscribe’s free data cap to 15GB due to it offering 5GB extra permanently when you tweet about the service.

  • NordVPN offers the best combination of speed and security at hard-to-beat prices. Windscribe is also a good option if you want to customize your VPN plan. Surfshark and CyberGhost are feature-rich alternatives that are worth a shot.

  • Windscribe is the most reliable free VPN, thanks to its excellent security and privacy features. It comes with military-grade encryption and several protocols to keep your data safe. It also has a strict no-logging policy.

  • Cheap VPNs are generally secure to use. Most of them come with military-grade AES-256 encryption alongside other security features like a kill switch, DNS leak protection and various protocol choices. Some VPNs also come with ad and malware blockers to keep you secure while browsing.

Top Cheapest VPNs

  1. 1
    • : PayPal, Credit card, Google Pay, AmazonPay, ACH Transfer, Cash
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  2. 2
    • : PayPal, Credit card
    • : Unlimited
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    $5.75 / month (save 36%) (All Plans)3-day money-back guarantee
  3. 3
    • : PayPal, Credit card
    • : Unlimited
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  4. 4
    • : PayPal, Credit card, bitcoin
    • : 7
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  5. 5
    • : PayPal, Credit card
    • : 10
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What Makes the Best Cheap VPN Service?

When looking for cheap VPN services, you might be tempted to simply scour VPNs and select the ones with the lowest price. However, you’ll need to consider whether you’re getting good value for your money at that price. The providers we’ve listed come with a host of features at great prices, each to a varying degree.

  1. NordVPN — Overall the best cheap VPN
  2. Windscribe — Very customizable option that can you tailor to your needs
  3. Surfshark — Feature-rich VPN that offers good value for the money
  4. CyberGhost — Best cheap VPN service for streaming 
  5. Private Internet Access (PIA) — Best VPN for a long-term commitment

Security and privacy are crucial here. The best cheap VPN services should have the industry-standard AES-256 encryption and a mix of protocol choices, especially OpenVPN and WireGuard.

Look for security features like a kill switch and leak protection (DNS and WebRTC), both of which prevent data leaks. In addition, be sure to find out if the VPN provider has a strict no-logs policy and their history with data breaches.

The server count and distribution are also significant factors. The more server locations a VPN has, the higher the chance of finding one close to you, which will give you better speeds.

What’s more, look for specific kinds of servers. For example, if you’re in a heavily censored region, obfuscated servers are helpful, while dedicated servers are essential for activities that require maximum security.

Other features worth looking out for include double VPN servers, split tunneling, and unlimited bandwidth. If a VPN has a host of these features and still comes at a reasonable price compared to a pricier option like ExpressVPN, then it’s worth being tagged as one of the best cheap VPNs.

The 5 Best Cheap VPN Services

Here, we’ll explore the strengths and weaknesses of our top five best cheap VPNs. We’ll also touch on their pricing to help you know if you’re getting good value for the money. Let’s start with our winner — NordVPN

1. NordVPN

NordVPN-app-hong-kong
NordVPN is the best cheap VPN on the market. 

More details about NordVPN:

  • Pricing: $3.49 per month for the two-year plan
  • Provider website: nordvpn.com

Pros:

  • Extremely fast
  • Extensive server network
  • Strict no-logs policy

Cons:

  • Monthly plans are expensive
  • No phone support
  • Dodgy hacking history

If you’re looking for a VPN that you can commit to for the long haul, NordVPN is tough to beat. Considering what you get in return, its two-year plan is a steal. First, NordVPN provides fast connection speeds, second only to ExpressVPN (see our VPN speed comparison). In addition, with over 5,300 servers spread across 60 countries, this VPN service is adept at skirting around geoblocks and blackouts.

NordVPN also boasts a wide range of security and privacy features, including a kill switch, dark web monitoring and an ad blocker. In addition, there’s the surprisingly rare split tunneling, which allows you to specify which apps or URLs get protected by the VPN. The simple Nordlynx protocol, NordVPN’s version of the WireGuard protocol, offers an impressive blend of security and speed and it’s easier to troubleshoot. 

Browse Fast and Securely With NordVPN’s Specialty Servers

Aside from standard servers, NordVPN comes decked with a slew of specialty servers. There are dedicated P2P servers, making NordVPN our best VPN for torrenting. Further, obfuscated servers help conceal your VPN use, while double VPN servers encrypt your traffic twice. All these server options for a few dollars a month are a tempting offer. Learn more in our NordVPN review.

get nordVPN button
NordVPN has a collection of features that give the VPN good value for your money. 

Pricing and Money-Back Guarantee

NordVPN’s monthly plan seems pricey, but you can save a lot of money by opting for the two-year plan, which only costs $3.49 per month. Plus, you get a 30-day money-back guarantee and a 7-day free trial on mobile. 

2. Windscribe

Windscribe VPN app Paris
Windscribe is a cost-effective VPN choice.

More details about Windscribe:

  • Pricing: 15GB free, $1 per location per month
  • Provider website: windscribe.com

Pros:

  • Build-a-plan option
  • Generous free plan
  • Strict no-logs policy

Cons:

  • A little slow
  • Three-day money-back guarantee

Windscribe is our top pick among the best free VPNs. Unsurprisingly, it ranks second on this list too, thanks to its flexible and affordable upgrades. The free plan gives you 15GB of data and 10 server locations, but you can purchase a server location for only a dollar monthly. Windscribe is not entirely upfront with its server collection, but it has servers in over 60 countries and 110 cities.

You’d be forgiven for thinking that Windscribe’s feature set is lacking because it’s so cheap. On the contrary; Windscribe has top features, including AES-256 encryption, a Firewall, split tunneling and unlimited bandwidth as you can see in our Windscribe review.

Affordable and Flexible Upgrades

Windscribe allows you to tailor your plan to your needs, unlike many other VPN services. For instance, instead of purchasing access to a full network of 5,000 servers, Windscribe gives you access to servers within a region — say, the U.S. — for just a dollar. So if you plan to use your VPN only in the States, it’s a useful option.

You can also buy unlimited data and its ad blocker for another dollar. Note that there’s a $3 minimum checkout value.

windscribe home page
Windscribe allows you to upgrade to a Pro plan for just a dollar.

Pricing and Money-Back Guarantee

You can build a Windscribe plan for only a dollar per location each month. If you need access to its full server network, you can get its one-year plan for $5.75 per month. However, this VPN service only gives you a three-day money-back guarantee. 

Free
  • : Up to 15 GB free with email confirmation and Tweet
  • : 15 GB
  • : Unlimited

3. Surfshark

Surfshark VPN spain
Surfshark is very affordable if you opt for a long-term plan. 

More details about Surfshark:

  • Pricing: $2.49 per month for the two-year plan
  • Provider website: surfshark.com

Pros:

  • Unlimited connections
  • Access to major streaming sites
  • Decent speeds

Cons:

  • Still a relatively new service

Although Surfshark only entered the VPN scene in 2018, it’s carved out quite a reputation as a cheap VPN provider with all the bells and whistles. Its monthly plan is not exactly pocket-friendly, but its two-year plan is the cheapest on our list — much less than NordVPN’s. It’s one of the VPNs we recommend if you want to make a long-term commitment. 

We can’t talk about Surfshark without mentioning its ever-growing server list: 3,200 servers in 65 countries. Add the fact that it comes with secure and fast protocols (including WireGuard), AES-256 encryption, double VPN, obfuscated servers, and ad and malware blocker known as CleanWeb and a strict no-logs policy and you’ve got a solid VPN on your hands. There are also some interesting extras like a cookie pop-up blocker. 

Enjoy Unlimited Simultaneous Connections, Data and Bandwidth

With a Surfshark subscription, you can connect an unlimited number of devices at once, so it’s a great choice for family use. Plus, Surfshark comes with unlimited bandwidth and the data necessary for data-heavy streaming for the whole family. Get a detailed breakdown in our Surfshark review

surfshark no-logs policy
Surfshark offers VPN users unlimited simultaneous connections. 

Pricing and Money-Back Guarantee

Surfshark’s best plan is the two-year plan which will set you back $2.49 each month. You get a 30-day money-back guarantee with each plan. There’s also a seven-day free trial on all apps. 

4. CyberGhost

Cyberghost ios app
CyberGhost is one of the cheapest VPNs out there and it also has some of the best streaming performance on the market.

More details about CyberGhost:

Pros:

  • Large server network
  • Streaming-optimized servers
  • 45-day money-back guarantee

Cons:

  • Inconsistent speeds

If you’re looking for a solid yet budget-friendly VPN service, it’s hard to ignore CyberGhost. Aside from Private Internet Access (PIA), it’s the only VPN on this list with a three-year plan, which comes at a greatly discounted price as we mentioned in our CyberGhost review. So if you want to take a chance on a low-cost VPN long-term, it’s worth a look.

As far as features go, CyberGhost is reasonably well stocked, from AES-256 encryption to an automatic kill switch. CyberGhost also impresses with around 7,800 servers in 91 countries, making it a good choice for bypassing geoblocking, though it didn’t quite make the top five in our fastest VPN guide

Streaming-Optimized Servers

One of CyberGhost’s biggest draws is the addition of streaming-optimized servers that can unblock major streaming services like BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime Video and Netflix, as well as regional streaming sites. These servers are designed to help you watch high-resolution videos without buffering, though in our testing we found little difference between them and the regular servers. 

cta cyberghost
CyberGhost has a collection of streaming-optimized servers at affordable prices. 

Pricing and Money-Back Guarantee

CyberGhost’s bargain deal is the three-year plan, which is the real money-saver at around $2.30 per month. If you want to take it for a spin, there’s a seven-day free trial on mobile and one day on desktop.

Furthermore, you get a 14-day money-back guarantee for the monthly plan and a 45-day money-back guarantee for the six-month and above subscriptions. See our CyberGhost alternative guide for more options.

5. Private Internet Access

Private Internet Access app
PIA has some of the cheapest long-term plans on the VPN market.

More details about PIA:

Pros:

  • Extremely affordable choice
  • No data/bandwidth limits
  • Very customizable

Cons:

  • Poor live customer support

Looking at pricing alone, Private Internet Access (PIA) has the cheapest monthly and two-year plan on our list. That’s why we recommend PIA for long term signups in our PIA review.

However, as we’ve mentioned earlier, there’s more to the best cheap VPN than low prices. Despite having servers in 84 countries, PIA didn’t break into the top 10 in our VPN speed tests. 

That said, PIA is a robust VPN in terms of security with features like an advanced kill switch, dedicated IP addresses, an ad blocker, many protocol options, and multi-hop connections. PIA also makes it clear that it doesn’t log any customer traffic. 

Cheap VPN for Netflix

If you’re looking for a VPN to get past Netflix geoblocks, PIA is a useful option. It unblocks Netflix without a struggle for streaming in HD without buffering issues and lags, earning it an honorable mention in our best VPN for Netflix guide. It also unblocked Amazon Prime Video with ease, although it found it hard with Hulu and BBC iPlayer.

pia website
Private Internet Access has one of the cheapest monthly plans on the VPN market.

Pricing and Money-Back Guarantee

PIA’s best plan is the two-year plan at just over $2 a month, although its monthly plan is still the cheapest we’ve seen. You get a 30-day money-back guarantee in case you want to take it for a spin. 

Cheap vs Free VPNs

Free VPNs are hard to resist, but such VPNs usually have several drawbacks. For starters, they don’t often have a no-logging policy, meaning that your data might end up in the hands of advertisers and third parties. Even worse, free VPNs might come with malware and ads, which can both interrupt and compromise your internet traffic.

That said, there are a few free VPNs we recommend. First on the list is Windscribe, which gives 15GB free, although its server locations are limited. Tunnelbear is another good choice, although you only get 500MB per month.

If unlimited data is a big draw for you, then you’ll love ProtonVPN, but be ready to work with only three server locations and slow speeds. Read our Surfshark vs ProtonVPN guide to learn how ProtonVPN compares to one of the best cheap VPNs.

Why Get the Best Affordable VPN Over a Free One?

Most free VPN providers try to nudge customers to a paid plan by limiting features, which can jeopardize your security in the long run. For instance, you’d be hard-pressed to find a free option that offers a trove of server locations and unlimited bandwidth and data. However, a cheap VPN removes such limitations and gives you a mix of security and performance features to help you browse with peace of mind.

Are Cheap VPNs Safe?

In general, cheap VPN providers give you all the nuts and bolts to help you stay safe while browsing. There’s typically the military-grade AES-256 encryption, which is virtually impossible to crack. You also get handy security features like an automatic kill switch and DNS leak protection as well as protocols like OpenVPN and WireGuard.

Some cheap VPNs have a double VPN feature that encrypts your traffic twice, adding an extra layer of security. Many cheap VPNs have a strict no-logs policy and are registered in countries like Panama and the British Virgin Islands, which have no mandatory data retention laws. However, be prepared to subscribe for the long term to get the best deal possible.

Why Are VPNs So Expensive?

Most VPNs offer reasonable prices, although a couple of VPNs are exorbitant. Take Astrill, for instance: It’ll cost you $25 a month, making it the most expensive VPN we’ve ever reviewed. However, it’s not clear why this VPN service costs this much since it doesn’t offer any extraordinary features. In fact, because Astrill VPN collects customer information, we don’t recommend it.

Note that Astrill is certainly an outlier. Most paid VPNs will set you back between $9 and $12 per month for monthly plans. If you opt for two-year or three-year plans, you’ll get steep discounts that can allow you to get a good VPN for just a few dollars.

Another VPN service provider that’s often tagged as expensive is ExpressVPN. However, unlike Astrill VPN, ExpressVPN provides good value for the money and ranks at the top of most of our lists. If you have the funds, it’s certainly a VPN we recommend. Read our ExpressVPN review to learn more. 

How to Get the Best VPN for Less

Most VPNs offer steep discounts on long-term plans, especially on the first year of service. Take ExpressVPN for instance. Its one-year plan will set you back $12.95 per month, but you’ll pay about half of that figure ($6.67 per month) on the 15-month plan. 

You get even bigger discounts with two-year and three-year plans. For example, PIA’s monthly plan costs $11.99 per month. However, the two-year plan costs just $2.13 — a whopping 80% savings.  So if you want to get the best VPN for less, opt for long term plans.

Final Thoughts

You might be tempted to think that a cheap VPN offers inferior features, but that’s far from the truth. NordVPN, our best cheap VPN service, packs a suite of security and performance features at bargain prices. It’s the best option if you want a VPN for crypto trading and a great Binance VPN, thanks to its excellent security features.

If you’re traveling abroad and want a cheap app to bypass censorship, NordVPN is the best VPN for Telegram and a great option for other social media platforms. Similarly, Surfshark has a host of features and simultaneous unlimited connections that make it worthwhile.

If you want a big bang for your buck, Windscribe is hard to beat, and CyberGhost stands tall as our cheapest VPN for sports and unblocking streaming platforms like Netflix and BBC iPlayer. If you want to pay up front for the next two or three years, you’ll find Private Internet Access’s steep discounts hard to resist.

You can learn how these VPNs stack up against each other in our Surfshark vs PIA and Surfshark vs Windscribe guides.

Have you ever paid for a VPN? Which ones delivered the best value for your money? Which VPN services are you thinking of trying out? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below, and as always, thanks for taking the time to read. 

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