How much does a VPN cost?

If you’re looking for a VPN, you’ll no doubt have plenty of questions. Does it have servers in my country? Is it fast? Will my data be secure? This is all part and parcel of the decision making process and helps you identify the right VPN for you. Another perfectly valid question is “how much does a VPN cost?” The answer is “it depends!”.

Expect to pay roughly $10 for a single month of VPN use, with steep discounts if you subscribe for a year or longer. Of course, free VPNs do exist, but they come with a long list of security, privacy, and performance issues, and won’t work with most streaming services.

There’s no shortage of options. Whether you’re on a tight budget or looking for the best VPN money can buy, you’re sure to find a VPN that meets your requirements. In this post, we’ll compare some free and paid VPNs, monthly and annual plans, and more in order to give you a clear picture of how much a VPN costs.

How much does a VPN cost?

VPN prices vary significantly based on a multitude of factors which we’ll cover throughout this post. A VPN subscription can cost anywhere from $2–$13 USD a month. The biggest factor is the length of the subscription you choose. The longer your VPN subscription, the less you’ll pay each month, but you’ll pay more upfront.

Most VPN providers offer monthly and annual plans. However, some also have multi-year (two or more years) subscription plans. If you only commit for a single month, you can expect to pay around $10–$13. Although monthly plans are more expensive, they provide greater flexibility because you’re free to switch providers at short notice. If you opt for a year’s subscription (or more), you’ll pay far less each month but you’re locked in for that time and have to pay the full amount up front.

Below, we’ll provide a table of our top-rated VPN providers and their respective pricing at the time of writing.

Here’s how much the best VPNs cost:

VPN1 month3 months6 months1 year2 years3 years
NordVPN (Standard)$12.99N/AN/A$4.99$3.79N/A
Surfshark (Starter)$15.45N/AN/A$3.99$2.39N/A
Atlas VPN$11.99N/AN/A$4.08N/A$1.83

The above shows that a one month subscription can cost anything from $10–$15. A one-year subscription averages around $4 a month (although ExpressVPN is twice that price). Two year plans are increasingly common and even more affordable at just $2–$4 a month on average. Three month, six month, and three year subscriptions are relatively uncommon, but offer increased flexibility.

We should point out that some VPNs such as NordVPN and Surfshark offer not only different subscription lengths but also different tiers. In the table above, we’ve referenced NordVPN’s Standard plan and Surfshark’s Basic plan. However, in both cases you can find more expensive plans with a number of extra features included.

PrivateVPN has the most affordable single month subscription at just $9.90. It’s also the only VPN covered to offer a three-month option. CyberGhost is the only VPN with a six month subscription plan. When it comes to annual plans, Surfshark’s is the most affordable ($3.99 a month) although if you choose a two year subscription, CyberGhost is cheapest ($2.11/month). Finally, Atlas VPN has a very affordable three-year deal that costs $1.83 per month.

Why not just use a free VPN?

Free VPNs have too many limitations compared to quality paid VPNs. In particular, free VPNs don’t offer as many servers (or server locations), and this limits the content you can unblock. Free VPNs also attract a lot of users who put a heavy load on servers. Bandwidth throttling is common in order to manage this, resulting in very slow speeds.

Another key difference between paid VPNs and free VPNs is that the latter tend to be very light on features. Sometimes these aren’t essential, but if a free VPN doesn’t offer certain security features such as a kill switch, it’s best avoided. Many free VPNs don’t provide adequate protection and some compromise your privacy by logging and selling your browsing data. All in all, free VPNs are extremely limited and are not worth the risk.

How can I get a paid VPN for free?

We don’t recommend free VPNs, but you can technically get a paid VPN for free. The best VPNs come with money-back guarantees of at least 30 days. Subscribe to the VPN, then claim your refund before the 30-day guarantee expires. We’ve tested the money-back guarantees of all the VPNs recommended in this article.

How can I save on a VPN subscription?

The longer you commit to a particular VPN, the more you can save. Many VPN services now offer two or even three-year plans which can work out as little as $2–$3 a month. You can also save on a VPN subscription by waiting for sales. Black Friday is a particularly good time to subscribe because most VPN providers offer very attractive Black Friday discounts. Sales also happen around Christmas and New Year.

How do I buy a VPN?

It couldn’t be easier to purchase a VPN and sign up for an account.

Here’s how to buy a VPN (and sign up for an account):

  1. Go to the website of the VPN provider.
  2. Click the “Get” button, which is usually in the top right corner.
  3. Select your preferred subscription plan.
  4. Proceed to the checkout page and enter your email (required for account activation) and payment details.
  5. That’s it! You’re now signed up and ready to download and install the VPN app.

Almost all VPNs accept credit cards. Some accept Paypal, and a fair number even take cryptocurrency.

VPN cost: FAQs

Which VPN is cheapest for a single month?

Of our top-rated VPNs, PrivateVPN is the cheapest for a single month. A single month costs $9.90, which is $3 less than the likes of NordVPN, ExpressVPN, and CyberGhost. However, of all of the VPNs we’ve reviewed, Mullvad has the cheapest monthly subscription price at just €5 (approximately $5.24). While there are things we like about Mullvad, just because a VPN is the cheapest, doesn’t necessarily make it the best choice.

Which VPN has the cheapest monthly rate on average?

Atlas VPN is one of only a small number of providers to offer a three year subscription plan. While this is a very long time to commit to a service, you can save a lot in the long run. Atlas VPN bills you $71.52 for the first three years, which is $1.83 a month. The closest another of our top-rated VPNs comes to this is PrivateVPN, which also has a three-year plan. With PrivateVPN, you’re billed $72 for three years ($2 a month).