How Much Is A VPN?

You want to encrypt your web activity, but you don’t want to spend a fortune to do so. We get it, and the good news is that the majority of VPNs are inexpensive. We’ll show you exactly how much VPNs cost, plus some great ways to save.

By
&
Aliza Vigderman Gabe Turner Chief Editor
Last Updated on Feb 10, 2021
By Aliza Vigderman & Gabe Turner on Feb 10, 2021
VyprVPN Connected in Germany
VyprVPN Connected in Germany

How Much Is A VPN?

The cost of VPNs depends on a few factors, such as:

  • Number of devices covered
  • Data usage limits (or lack thereof)
  • Number of servers you can connect to
  • Netflix or torrenting ability
  • Length of contract.

Most VPNs offer discounts if you sign up for longer periods of time, but VPNs on average cost just under $10 if you sign up monthly. However, that cost goes down about a dollar on average if you sign up for a year, and about two-thirds if you sign up for two or three years. Altogether, you can pay anywhere from about $2 to $10 a month, depending on the above factors.

Pro Tip: To get the lowest monthly cost, sign up for a long term length. Typically, as the term length increases, the monthly cost decreases.

Minimum Cost Per Month 1 Month 3 Months 6 Months 12 Months 18 Months 24 Months 36 Months Lifetime (One-Time Fees)
Astrill VPN $20.00 n/a $15.00 $10.00 n/a n/a n/a n/a
Avast SecureLine VPN n/a n/a n/a $3.99 n/a n/a n/a n/a
AVG VPN n/a n/a n/a $4.99 n/a $3.99 $3.99 n/a
Bitdefender Premium VPN $6.99 n/a n/a $2.49 n/a n/a n/a n/a
BlackVPN n/a n/a n/a $5.35 n/a n/a n/a n/a
CyberGhost $12.99 n/a $7.99 n/a $2.75 n/a n/a n/a
Encrypt.me $9.99 n/a n/a $99.99 n/a n/a n/a n/a
ExpressVPN $12.95 n/a $9.99 $8.32 n/a n/a n/a n/a
FastestVPN $10 n/a n/a $2.49 n/a n/a $1.11 n/a
HideMyAss n/a n/a n/a $4.99 n/a n/a $3.99 n/a
Hotspot Shield $12.99 n/a n/a $7.99 n/a n/a n/a n/a
ibVPN $4.95 n/a n/a $3.08 n/a n/a n/a n/a
IPVanish $11.99 $8.99 n/a $6.49 n/a n/a n/a n/a
Ivacy VPN $9.95 n/a n/a n/a n/a $2.25 n/a n/a
IVPN $6 n/a n/a $5 n/a n/a n/a n/a
Kaspersky VPN Secure $4.99 n/a n/a $2.50 n/a n/a n/a n/a
KeepSolid VPN Unlimited $9.99 n/a n/a $4.99 n/a n/a n/a $99.99
Malwarebytes Privacy VPN n/a n/a n/a $5.99 n/a n/a n/a n/a
McAfee Safe Connect VPN $7.99 n/a n/a $1.67 n/a n/a n/a n/a
Mozilla VPN $4.99 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a
NordVPN $11.95 n/a n/a $6.99 n/a $4.99 $3.49 n/a
Norton Secure VPN $5.99 n/a n/a $3.33 n/a n/a n/a n/a
Perfect Privacy $12.99 n/a n/a $9.99 n/a $8.95 n/a n/a
Private Internet Access n/a $9.95 n/a $3.33 n/a $2.69 n/a n/a
ProtonVPN $0 n/a n/a $0 n/a $0 n/a n/a
PureVPN $10.95 n/a $8.33 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a
StrongVPN $10 n/a n/a $5.83 n/a n/a n/a n/a
Surfshark $11.95 n/a n/a $5.99 n/a $1.99 n/a n/a
Trust.Zone $8.88 n/a n/a $3.33 n/a $2.33 n/a n/a
TunnelBear $0 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a
VPNSecure $9.95 n/a $8.32 n/a n/a n/a $2.99 n/a
VyprVPN $12.95 n/a n/a $3.75 n/a n/a $1.66 n/a
Windscribe $9.99 n/a n/a $4.08 n/a n/a n/a n/a
Average Monthly Cost $9.35 $9.47 $9.93 $8.41 $2.75 $3.40 $2.87 $99.99
Average Total Cost $9.35 $28.41 $59.58 $100.92 $49.50 $81.60 $103.32 $99.99

Are Cheap VPNs Worth It?

Some cheap VPNs are worth it, like the ones on our best cheap VPNs list. However, many cheap VPNs aren’t worth it, especially if you can only use them on one device, on servers that don’t allow Netflix, or for a limited amount of data per day. That being said, just because a VPN is inexpensive doesn’t mean it’s bad. There are many affordable VPN options that hit our standards in security, privacy, and speed.

Are Cheap VPNs Secure?

We found no correlation between the level of security and the price of VPNs. Some cheap VPNs are secure, while some expensive VPNs are less secure, and vice versa. In other words, price does not dictate the level of security, so be sure to judge each VPN on its actual features rather than its price tag.

NordVPN CyberSec
NordVPN CyberSec

Can You Get A VPN For Free?

There are both completely free VPNs and VPNs with free trials. While some free VPNs may be suitable for your needs, they often come with limits on things like:

AVG VPN on Mac On App
AVG VPN on Mac On App
  • The amount of data you can use per day
  • The number of devices you can connect
  • The time length you can use the VPN for
  • The number of servers you can connect to.

So while free VPNs may work in some cases, if you need a VPN for long-term use across all of your devices, you will most likely want to pay for a VPN subscription.

Why Are VPNs So Expensive?

While some VPNs are expensive, most are not, costing about $10 with a month-to-month subscription. The most expensive VPN that we’ve tested is AstrillVPN, which costs $20 per month, about twice as much as the average. With a six-month plan, it costs $15 a month, still about a third more expensive than the six-month average. Even its year-long plan costs $10 a month, while the average monthly cost of annual plans is $8.41. We’re not sure why Astrill VPN’s pricing is so high, especially since we’re not in love with their logging policy, as we mentioned in our Astrill VPN review. However, Astrill VPN is in the minority. Most VPNs are reasonably priced, so you can expect to pay an average of under $10 a month no matter the term length.

Astrill VPN for Mac
Astrill VPN for Mac

How To Save On VPNs

That being said, there are some ways to save on VPNs. You can check for VPN deals, VPN Black Friday deals in particular. Many VPNs offer student discounts, for those of us still in school. But the easiest way to save on VPNs is simply to sign up for as long a term as possible, as longer plans are usually discounted. With VPNs, it pays to commit.

What To Look For In A VPN

Now that we’ve assuaged your VPN pricing concerns, let’s talk about what to look for in a VPN, pricing and all.

Servers

Obviously, you want to make sure that the VPN has servers near you, whether you need a VPN for France, a VPN for Singapore, or even a VPN for the United Arab Emirates. The closer you are to a server, the faster your speeds will be, which brings us to our next points…

Speed

Especially if you’re using a VPN for gaming, you want a VPN with fast upload and download speeds and little latency. If the VPN has a free trial period, we recommend doing speed tests with a free online site like SpeedTest.net.1

Device Compatibility

Of course, it’s important that the VPN is compatible with your devices; there are VPNs for Macs, VPNs for Windows, VPNs for iPhones and VPNs for Androids, among other operating systems. Some VPNs even work with routers so that you can cover all of the devices on your network with just one connection.

Kill Switch

An essential feature of any VPN is a kill switch, which will close all web activity if the VPN fails. Most VPNs have kill switches these days, but make sure to double check.

Surfshark Kill switch
Surfshark Kill switch

Streaming and Torrenting

If you want a VPN for entertainment purposes, make sure you get a VPN that supports streaming or torrenting. There are also VPNs that work with the best streaming services like HBO Max, Prime Video and Hulu, but it’s important to check for compatibility before buying.

FYI: Some streaming services like Netflix block certain VPN IP addresses, which is why not all VPNs will work with all streaming services.

IP Addresses

We prefer VPNs with dynamic IP addresses that change every time you connect. However, some VPNs offer static or dedicated IP addresses, which some users may prefer.

Pricing

Pricing isn’t just about the bottom line. You should also consider what you actually get with a subscription, including:

  • Number of devices you can connect overall
  • Number of devices you can connect at the same time
  • Number of server switches
  • Data limit, if any
  • Capabilities of servers (Netflix compatibility, etc.).

While there are many long-term options available, on average, expect to spend about $10 per month on a VPN.

Security

The entire point of a VPN is to make you more private and secure online, so pay special attention to the following factors:

  • Encryption methods: Look for VPNs that use AES-256, the current standard in encryption.2
  • DNS leaks: Make sure the VPN has no DNS (Domain Name Server) leaks, meaning that your Internet Service Provider (ISP) can’t see the websites you visit.
  • WebRTC leaks: The VPN should also not leak your private IP address, which you can test out by doing a WebRTC leak test (to find out how, use our VPN guide).
  • Privacy policy: Your VPN shouldn’t be logging any more information than it needs to uphold your subscription, which is limited to your basic name and payment information. It should definitely not log your web activity or IP address, as that defeats the purpose of the VPN itself.
  • Privacy jurisdiction: Finally, make sure that your VPN is headquartered in a country that’s a non-member to Five Eyes, Nine Eyes and 14 Eyes. These international surveillance alliances make it legal for member-countries to spy on their citizens.

Recap

Although many believe that VPNs cost a ton of money, there are a number of affordable options on the market, not to mention free options. All in all, with so many options, you can choose how much you want to spend, from just over $1 per month with FastestVPN’s three-year plan all the way up to $20 a month with Astrill VPN’s monthly plan. There are truly options for every budget, so don’t let pricing get in the way of your privacy online.

Frequently Asked Questions

If you’ve still got questions, we’ve got answers about VPNs and their bottom lines.

  • How much does a VPN cost?

    On average, VPNs cost around $10 per month. However, they are cheaper if you sign up for a longer term contract; on average, annual contracts cost $8.41 when broken down monthly, while two-year contracts cost $3.40 on average monthly.

  • Is a VPN worth the money?

    Not all VPNs are worth the money. There are expensive VPNs and affordable VPNs, all with varying features and capabilities, so it’s important to evaluate all VPNs on an individual basis.

  • How do I buy a VPN?

    To buy a VPN, go onto a VPN provider’s website, choose your plan, and enter in your name and payment information to purchase.

  • How do I get a VPN for free?

    To get a VPN for free, log onto a free VPN provider’s website and download the app. Some free VPNs include Surfshark, TunnelBear, Windscribe, Hotspot Shield and ProtonVPN.

Citations
  1. Speedtest. (2021). speedtest.net/

  2. ATP. (2019). Secure your data with AES-256 encryption
    atpinc.com/blog/what-is-aes-256-encryption