Can you get a great VPN service that is secure and fast without spending much money?
Answer: Yes, it is possible – but choose carefully.
WARNING: Many cheap (and free) VPNs suffer from two serious problems:
- Reduced security: This can come in the form of IP address leaks, DNS leaks, broken features, and data collection. Many free VPN mobile apps ship with malware to collect your data, as documented in this study.
- Reduced performance: Another problem with some cheap VPNs is reduced performance. This can be seen with slow speeds, connection problems, and poor reliability.
We have thoroughly tested all of the cheap VPNs recommended in this guide. Our recommended cheap VPNs meet the following criteria:
- Cheap prices (under $3.75/month)
- Strong security with no leaks found (no IP address leaks or DNS leaks)
- Good performance throughout the server network (speed and reliability)
- High-quality VPN apps with all features working correctly
- Supports the OpenVPN protocol and strong encryption standards
- A trustworthy and well-established VPN provider with a good track record
- Located in a safe privacy jurisdiction (outside of Five Eyes countries, such as the US and UK) to keep your data secure
So now let’s examine the results!
Here are the best cheap VPN services available now:
1. NordVPN – Best cheap VPN
|Logs||No logs (audited)|
|Support||24/7 Live chat|
NordVPN is a privacy-focused VPN based in Panama that excels in many areas. It is one of the fastest VPNs I’ve tested, nearly maxing out my baseline speed on all servers (150 Mbps). It also offers very strong encryption and some great privacy features. In addition to privacy and security, NordVPN also does very well in the area of streaming, such as with unblocking Netflix, Hulu, and other services.
In terms of price, NordVPN is arguably one of the best deals available. It is among the cheapest VPNs in the premium niche. Here are some of the highlights from my NordVPN review:
- Fastest VPN: NordVPN is one of the fastest VPNs I’ve tested, nearly maxing out my baseline speed of around 150 Mbps with all servers. (It came out on top as the fastest VPN in the NordVPN vs ExpressVPN comparison.)
- Verified no logs: NordVPN has passed an independent audit performed by PWC AG in Zurich, Switzerland to verify that it is truly a no-logs VPN service.
- Security audit: NordVPN has passed an independent security audit performed by Versprite. This also includes ongoing penetration testing to maintain the highest levels of network security.
- Double-VPN servers: NordVPN currently offers 31 different double-VPN servers. These servers will encrypt your traffic across two hops (locations) to offer a higher level of privacy and security.
- Huge server network: NordVPN offers over 5,500 servers in 59 countries. Additionally, it does not have any virtual server locations.
- Reliable apps for all devices: Whether you need a VPN app for your computer, phone, tablet, or router, NordVPN has you covered. They support all major operating systems and platforms.
- Obfuscation features: NordVPN apps come with built-in obfuscation features to conceal your VPN traffic as regular HTTPS encryption. Traffic will be routed through the Obfuscated Servers, even in places where VPNs may be blocked, such as in China (NordVPN is the best VPN for China).
- Strong encryption: NordVPN uses an AES-256-GCM cipher with an HMAC SHA256 hash authentication, and a DHE-4096 key exchange for Perfect Forward Secrecy.
- WireGuard support: Linux users can utilize the WireGuard VPN protocol with the “NordLynx” feature. This will offer very fast speeds and strong encryption (and it being rolled out for other operating systems this year).
- 24/7 support: NordVPN offers 24/7 live chat support. All support is conducted in house by professional technicians (no third-party support).
- Great for Netflix and streaming: NordVPN is one of the best VPNs for Netflix streaming, with support for all major Netflix regions around the world.
- CyberSec ad/tracking blocker: The CyberSec feature blocks tracking, malware, and advertising domains to improve privacy and page load speeds.
- Leak protection: NordVPN incorporates a kill switch in all their VPN apps to keep your traffic secure and ensure no unencrypted data leaks out of the tunnel.
- Best value: NordVPN is the best value available at only $3.49 per month with the 70% off coupon.
- NordVPN’s 70% discount is only available with three-year plans.
Refund policy: All NordVPN subscription plans come with a full 30 day money-back guarantee, even with one-month plans.
See the NordVPN review for detailed test results.
2. Trust.Zone VPN – Low-cost VPN in Seychelles
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Another good low-cost VPN service is Trust.Zone. Trust.Zone is based in Seychelles and offers a basic VPN with some great features at a very reasonable price. It is a no-logs service with strong encryption and good leak protection features.
Here are some highlights from the Trust.Zone review:
- Fast VPN: I was able to achieve speeds close to my baseline speed with most Trust.Zone servers (around 150 Mbps).
- Strong encryption: Data is secured with an AES-256-CBC cipher, SHA256 authentication, and an RSA-2048 handshake.
- Leak protection: Leak protection (kill switch) features are available with the Windows and Android clients.
- Streaming support: You can stream Netflix, Hulu, and other services through Trust.Zone servers (no blocks).
- Dedicated IP: Trust.Zone offers very affordable prices on dedicated IP addresses in different countries.
- Free Trial: You can get a three day free trial here – and no payment info is required.
The main drawbacks I found are:
- Limited on features compared to other leading VPNs
- No custom VPN clients for Mac OS and iOS (but can be used through third-party apps)
FREE TRIAL: If you want to give Trust.Zone a test run, you can do so completely free for 3 GB of bandwidth or 3 days, whichever comes first, with the free trial.
10% OFF Coupon Code: For an additional 10% off your order, use the coupon code RESTOREPRIVACY10
See my Trust.Zone review for more details.
3. VPN.ac – Security-focused VPN that’s affordable
VPN.ac is a Romania-based VPN that is focused on security. They offer very secure VPN apps and a dedicated bare-metal server network with great speeds. Although it is not as fully-featured as NordVPN (above), VPN.ac is still a decent option at a reasonable price.
Here are some highlights from the VPN.ac review:
- Secure apps: Apps for desktop and mobile devices come with built-in leak protection and support for different VPN protocols and encryption options.
- Double-VPN servers: VPN.ac currently offers 22 different double-VPN servers that encrypt your traffic over two separate hops.
- Browser extensions: Secure proxy browser extensions are available for Firefox, Chrome, and Opera browsers.
- Obfuscation: VPN.ac offers obfuscation features to cloak VPN traffic and a lineup of obfuscated servers.
- Full WireGuard support: WireGuard servers are live and you can now use this protocol with desktop and mobile operating systems.
- Secure servers: VPN.ac runs only dedicated bare-metal servers in their network.
- Fast speeds: In my tests, speeds were great with VPN.ac throughout the server network.
- The main drawback with VPN.ac is the connection logs. These connection logs are erased daily and do not include any activity (no browsing data). This is explained more on the VPN.ac website.
- Another drawback with VPN.ac is that it does not work well for Netflix and other streaming services.
Refund policy: All subscriptions come with a 7 day refund window.
See the VPN.ac review for detailed test results.
4. VPNArea – Good all-around inexpensive VPN
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Another reliable cheap VPN service is VPNArea. While it may not get as much attention os other big-name VPN services, VPNArea does very well in terms of performance and privacy features. It is a no logs VPN provider based in Bulgaria, which is an excellent privacy jurisdiction. VPNArea apps utilize strong encryption with good leak protection features.
Here are some highlights from the VPNArea review:
- Secure apps: VPNArea offers built-in leak protection settings on desktop and mobile apps to secure data.
- Dedicated IPs: VPNArea offers dedicated IPs as an additional add-on with different countries around the world.
- Ad blocking: The ad-blocking feature allows you to block ads and tracking through the DNS servers.
- No logs: VPNArea is a no-logs VPN service, although it has not undergone a no-logs audit like NordVPN.
- Netflix support: You can stream UK Netflix and US Netflix through the VPNArea streaming servers.
- Competitive prices: VPNArea has dropped prices down to only $2.99 per month for the three-year plans.
- Dedicated P2P servers: If you need the best VPN for torrenting, VPNArea may be a good option with their dedicated P2P servers.
- Limited number of Netflix servers available
- Desktop apps feel a bit clunky, but still work well
Refund policy: VPNArea offers a 30 day refund policy with one-year and three year plans, and a 14 day refund window with one-month plans.
See the VPNArea review for detailed test results.
5. VyprVPN – Reliable and inexpensive VPN in Switzerland
|Logs||No logs (audited)|
|Support||Chat and email|
Next up is VyprVPN, a lower-priced VPN service based in Switzerland. VyprVPN is a no logs VPN provider with simple and reliable applications for all major operating systems and devices. It performed well in testing and offers some great features.
Here’s an overview from the VyprVPN review:
- Good speeds: VyprVPN offers good speeds and reliability throughout the server network.
- Obfuscation features: The VyprVPN apps include an obfuscation feature to hide VPN traffic and get through VPN blocks. This is called the Chameleon protocol.
- Self-owned servers: VyprVPN owns all servers in its network and does not rely on any third parties for infrastructure. (However, VyprVPN does utilize virtual server locations.)
- Secure apps: The desktop and mobile VyprVPN apps include built-in leak protection settings (kill switch).
- Good for streaming: VyprVPN works well with streaming Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, and more.
- No cryptocurrency payment options.
Refund policy: All plans come with a 30 day refund window.
See the VyprVPN review for detailed test results.
6. AirVPN – Secure and cheap VPN in Italy
AirVPN is a privacy-focused VPN service based in Italy. It has a great reputation within the privacy community and an excellent track record going back many years. AirVPN offers good VPN clients for all devices and operating systems with built-in leak protection features. The server network consists only of dedicated bare-metal servers.
Although AirVPN has a lot to offer, it also has a few drawbacks. Speeds aren’t as good as some of the best VPN services and support can be hit or miss. It’s also not the most user-friendly service, but once you get everything configured it works pretty well.
Overview of AirVPN:
- Fully-featured open source clients: The AirVPN client is open source and available for Windows, Mac OS, Linux, and Android. It incorporates strong leak-protection features.
- Strong encryption: Air VPN encrypts traffic with an AES-256-GCM cipher together with a 4096-bit RSA key and SHA384 authentication.
- Secure servers: AirVPN runs only dedicated bare-metal servers in secure data centers around the world.
- IPv6 support: IPv6 is supported throughout the server network.
- No logs: AirVPN is a no-logs VPN service.
Here are the drawbacks of AirVPN:
- VPN clients are not very user-friendly
- Speeds can be hit or miss (variable)
- Support can be abrasive
- Limited refund policy (below)
Refund policy: Refunds are limited to only 3 days and/or 5 GB of data transfer.
Drawbacks with some cheaper VPN providers
When choosing a cheap VPN service, you really need to be careful.
With more people turning to VPNs for privacy, security, and online freedom, there are numerous shady and unknown VPNs coming on the market. Below are just a few issues that plague some cheap VPN services:
- Traffic leaks – Many cheap VPNs do not offer adequate leak protection. This means the VPN may be leaking your IP address and/or DNS requests, thereby rendering the VPN useless.
- Broken features – Many cheap VPN services advertise features that simply do not work well. Examples of this include faulty kill switches and split tunneling features. (See for example with PureVPN.)
- Data collection – Some cheap and free VPN services collect data, which is sold to third parties for profit. Betternet is one example of this.
- Poor support – Delayed and inadequate customer support is another issue that plagues many of the low-priced VPN services.
The point here is to use caution when selecting a good VPN for your needs. Granted, there are good cheap VPN services on the market, but you need to be selective.
What about free VPN services?
Some people looking to save money may be tempted to use free VPN services – despite the known risks. This is generally a bad idea because it raises two important questions:
- What is the business model of the free VPN?
- How is the free VPN covering the costs of app development, support, and server hosting?
The answer to both of these questions is usually as follows: the free VPN is monetizing the user by collecting and selling data to third parties.
One interesting study found that 38% of free Android VPN apps contained malware, and over 80% leaked sensitive user data.
If something is free, you are probably the product, but there are a few free trial VPN services service may be worth considering.
Low-price VPNs via discounts and coupons
As mentioned above, some of these VPN services are offering discounts and coupons.
VPN coupons and discounts are a great way to secure a cheap VPN service without breaking the bank. While many VPNs are fairly expensive and do not offer any major discounts or coupons, there are a few that offer some great deals.
For example, our top recommendation, NordVPN, occasionally offers bundled deals and discounts. I keep track of these on the NordVPN coupon page.
What about renewal prices?
Many cheap VPN services offer consistently low prices where the renewal price is the same as the sale price (no changes). Others, however, may renew for a higher price when the first billing cycle ends.
Just be sure to read the specifics of the deal you are signing up for so there aren’t any surprises.
Do you get what you pay for with cheap VPNs?
Perhaps you are wondering: With cheap VPNs, do you get what you pay for?
The short answer is: it depends.
The key question here is value: what you get for your money.
Some VPNs are extremely expensive, such as Perfect Privacy coming in around $10 per month. Other VPNs fall in the middle, such as ExpressVPN at $6.67 per month when you use the ExpressVPN coupon. At the other end of the spectrum are free VPN services, which are generally not worth the risk.
Cheap VPNs take the middle ground and offer good value for your money. In other words, you can still get a pretty good VPN without breaking the bank.
Comparison table of Cheaper VPN services
To wrap up this guide, below is a comparison table of the best cheap VPN services. Of course, there are other cheap and inexpensive VPNs out there, but the ones below meet our standards, have been thoroughly tested, and offer a great value for your money.
At the end of the day, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to achieve more privacy and security online. A cheap VPN service will get the job done, with money to spare.
(30 day refund)
(10 day refund)
(7 day refund)
(7 day refund)
(30 day refund)
(3 day refund)