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The best cheap VPNs of 2021: What are your options?

A cheap VPN service can be just as good as an expensive one. Here are a few to consider, starting at under $2 per month.

Published onJuly 1, 2021

Nord VPN app on phone stock photo

We aren’t a fan of free VPN services, but you don’t need to spend an arm and a leg to get a great virtual private network (VPN) either. Lots of cheap services do the job just as well, if not better, as their more expensive counterparts. However, getting a great deal often means paying upfront for one, two, or even three years. Compared to a monthly subscription, this can save you more than 80%. Here are our picks for the best cheap VPNs around.

Read more: The best VPN services you can get

The best cheap VPNs:

  1. Surfshark
  2. Ivacy VPN
  3. VyprVPN
  4. NordVPN

Editor’s note: We’ll be updating this list of the best cheap VPNs regularly as new options launch.

1. Surfshark VPN

  • Jurisdiction: British Virgin Islands
  • Logs: No logs
  • Simultaneous connections: Unlimited
  • Encryption: AES-256, OpenVPN, IKEv2
  • Servers: 3,200+ in 65 countries
  • P2P: Yes (all servers)
  • Streaming: Yes
  • Price: $2.49 — $12.95

Surfshark hasn’t been around for that long, but the VPN service provider has been making waves since its launch. In a lot of ways, Surfshark brings together some of the best features of competing VPNs to provide a complete package.

To start with, it comes with a strict no-logging policy. Surfshark also utilizes the most secure encryption standards and VPN protocols. It’s also one of the most feature-packed VPN services you can get. This includes an ad-blocker, a kill switch, and multi-hop servers. The Camouflage Mode hides the fact that you’re connected to a VPN, and “NoBorders” lets you use it in restricted regions.

Apart from mobile and desktop apps, you can also get Surfshark on Linux systems, streaming devices, smart TVs, and gaming consoles. Chrome and Firefox extensions are available, and you can also directly set it up on a VPN router. What makes Surfshark stand out from the crowd even more is the fact that it allows unlimited simultaneous connections, so you won’t have to worry about leaving a device unprotected.

Surfshark comes with one of the highest monthly rates for a VPN at $12.95. It becomes one of the cheapest, though, priced at $6.49 per month for an annual plan and just $2.49 per month if you opt for a two-year plan. The latter is a no-brainer. But if you’re worried about such a long-term commitment, a 30-day money-back guarantee means that you can give it a shot first to see if it suits your needs.

2. Ivacy VPN

ivacy vpn
  • Jurisdiction: Singapore
  • Logs: No logs
  • Simultaneous connections: 5
  • Encryption: AES-256, OpenVPN, IKEv2
  • Servers: 1,000+ in 50+ countries
  • P2P: Yes (limited servers)
  • Streaming: Yes
  • Price: $1.33 — $9.95

Ivacy is one of the best cheap VPNs you can get, particularly if you opt for the special offer available with a long-term five-year subscription. That said, money isn’t the only factor to consider.

The VPN service is based in Singapore. It isn’t technically a part of the 5-eyes alliance, but it is considered a third-party contributor, which may be a problem for some. However, a strict no-logging policy might help alleviate some of that concern.

It’s P2P-friendly, but you’ll need to connect to a limited number of dedicated servers. Again, that’s not really an issue since there are enough servers available and it actually helps to know which ones to connect to. It’s definitely important to keep in mind, though, so you don’t end up doing something while connected to the wrong location.

Easy-to-use apps are available for all major platforms like iOS, Android, Windows, and macOS. It can also be installed on streaming devices, gaming consoles, and Wi-Fi routers. It’s also one of the few to offer a Microsoft Edge browser extension. The mobile and Windows apps are simplistic but work well. However, there are quite a few problems with the Mac app, so this isn’t the best option for Apple users.

Ivacy is far from perfect, but the apps, connection speeds, stability, and the number of servers are getting better every day. Where this VPN service stays unbeatable is in the pricing department. A $9.95 monthly plan gets heavily discounted to $3.50 per month with the 1-year option ($42 billed annually).

You can get it for an even cheaper $2.45 monthly charge ($59 billed every two years). You can save even more with a $1.33 monthly cost ($80 every 5 years). Granted, five years may seem like a stretch, but even the yearly and 24 month plans are the cheapest around.

3. VyprVPN

vypr vpn feature
  • Jurisdiction: Switzerland
  • Logs: No logs
  • Simultaneous connections: 5
  • Encryption: AES-256, Chameleon, OpenVPN, IKEv2
  • Servers: 700+ in 70+ countries
  • P2P: Yes
  • Streaming: Yes
  • Price: $1.66 — $12.95

VyprVPN completely overhauled its business model and, more importantly, its privacy policy a few years ago and has quickly become of one the best cheap VPN services you can get.

The service went from one that keeps connection logs to now featuring a strict no-logging policy that has been independently audited. It also comes with a proprietary VPN protocol called Chameleon that lets you use it in restricted regions like China.

Its server list is somewhat limited compared to some of the more popular options out there, and the connection speeds aren’t the fastest either. However, in my experience, it was still fast enough to comfortably stream high-quality videos and do everything else I’d normally do.

You won’t find an extensive list of supported devices either. But the popular operating systems are all covered, including Android, Windows, macOS, and iOS. You can find the VyprVPN app on some smart TVs and directly install it on a Wi-Fi router as well.

Finally, let’s talk about the price. VyprVPN, in its previous iteration, was one of the more expensive services around. While that’s still true as far as the monthly plan is concerned — $12.95 per month — things have completely changed with its long-term options. You can get VyprVPN for just $3.75 per month with the yearly plan ($45 billed annually) or $1.66 with a three-year commitment ($60 billed every 36 months).

4. NordVPN

nord vpn feature
  • Jurisdiction: Panama
  • Logs: No logs
  • Simultaneous connections: 6
  • Encryption: AES-256, OpenVPN, IKEv2/IPSec
  • Servers: Around 5,500 in 59 countries
  • P2P: Yes (dedicated servers)
  • Streaming: Yes
  • Price: $3.71 — $11.95

NordVPN is all about providing as many security features as it possibly can. The company is based in Panama and your online activity stays completely private since it doesn’t keep any activity or connection logs. Nord also utilizes the best encryption protocols and you don’t have to worry about IP and DNS leaks either.

Beyond that, you can take advantage of specialty servers for P2P and Anti-DDoS. For even more security, you have the Double VPN feature. Apart from a network kill switch, NordVPN also comes with an App Kill Switch that lets you set certain apps to automatically close if the VPN connection drops.

The apps also recognize if you are in a restricted location and load obfuscated servers. Finally, its CyberSec feature blocks ads and protects your device from malware as well. Despite the heavy security features, NordVPN manages to offer good speeds and low latency.

It’s also one of the few VPN services to offer both a free seven-day trial and a 30-day money-back guarantee. NordVPN is also quite affordable, with multiple long-term plans with increasing discounts. If you’re ready to commit long-term, you can get NordVPN for as low $3.67 per month ($99 billed every two years). The annual subscription goes for an also affordable $4.92 per month, while a single month will set you back $11.95. It’s not as cheap as the others on this list, but it’s the VPN with the most to offer.

However, it would be remiss of us to not mention the breach that NordVPN suffered a couple of years ago and disclosed only after being called out for a lack of transparency. No user activity was leaked, but the breach of trust because of a failure to publicly disclose any information is the biggest issue NordVPN is fighting back from now.

They have since conducted multiple audits, raised its data server standards, and put a few other things in place to continue to provide a secure and private service. With that in mind, NordVPN is definitely worth considering.

The best free VPN services to consider


We are looking for VPNs that can help you save money, and of course, nothing is cheaper than free. However, I generally don’t recommend using a free VPN, because there’s a lot such services can do with your data. You may not be paying money, but the cost could be with regard to your data and privacy.

That said, the few good options available are essentially free versions of paid VPNs. There are often severe restrictions on accessibility and data usage, but what isn’t compromised is privacy. These are some free VPNs worth considering.

  • Windscribe — Windscribe offers an impressive 10GB of data per month, but with a catch. You will have to provide an email address to get a higher data cap. If not, you can still enjoy up to 2GB of secure browsing for free with this service. It doesn’t have a lot of servers, but it doesn’t limit access to them in any way.
  • Hotspot Shield — Hotspot Shield’s data cap of 15GB per month seems plenty, but the unfortunate catch is the 500MB per day limit. Connection speeds are capped at just 2Mbps as well. You can’t manually select a server, but some users may appreciate having the guesswork taken out of the process. You will have to deal with ads with this free VPN, though.
  • Proton VPN — Proton VPN completely flips the script. There is no data limit, but you get access to only three server locations. What makes Proton VPN one of the best free options is the fact that the company is known for its privacy products, so you don’t have to worry about your data being misused.

While these are some of the best free VPN services, don’t forget to check out even more options in our comprehensive roundup.

Are lifetime VPN subscriptions worth it?

VPN stock photo 3

A lifetime VPN subscription usually brings to mind the old adage of “if it’s too good to be true, it probably is.” That certainly seems relevant when looking at a single charge equivalent to what you’d otherwise pay to get you anywhere between three months to one year with other premium VPN services out there.

A lifetime commitment is really long, but there is an issue with what that term entails. In a few cases, a “lifetime” is used to describe long-term subscription options of three to five years. Some services leave it open-ended to truly imply a lifetime, whether that of yourself or of the company. The latter brings up another problem, though. Nothing is guaranteed and there is a chance that the VPN company might shut down before you get your money’s worth.

Most VPN services that offer lifetime subscriptions bank on extremely attractive price points to attract customers, but there has to be a catch. Running a VPN service is expensive when you consider the continuous need for expansion, app development, and stronger security features. More nefarious players might leverage user data to make up the difference.

Even if that isn’t the case, there will likely be some performance issues down the road. Features change, and the reason you wanted a VPN in the first place may no longer be available.

As is true with anything else, it is important to do your research. If a lifetime subscription seems far cheaper than it should be, look into why. Check the company’s privacy policy and see if they keep any logs or other personal information. See what features it provides and whether it even meets your VPN requirements.

I would recommend NordVPN’s 2-year plan or IvacyVPN’s 5-year option instead of a VPN that offers a lifetime subscription. However, one service worth considering is VPN Unlimited. It offers a relatively affordable annual plan and also comes with a lifetime subscription priced at $200. Various deals and offers ensure that you can usually get the lifetime plan for as low as $40 as well.

These are the best cheap VPNs available in our opinion, although there are plenty of others to choose from. Looking for an option for gaming? Check out our guide to the best VPNs for gaming.