Have you ever thought how much money you spend on the VPN features you have never used? For my trips around the world, I’ve spent hundreds of dollars to test the VPN services. I noticed that some of them are cheap VPNs, but some of them are really expensive.

So, I decided to compare cheap VPN services with the lowest prices per month ($3-3.5) and find out which 5 of them are the best to use for privacy and security in 2019.

For this rating, I took into account the following criteria:

  • Price;
  • Jurisdiction;
  • Servers;
  • IP leak test results;
  • Torrents/ Netflix;
  • Security;
  • Privacy;
  • How to use it for free;
  • Platforms.

Got interested? Then keep on reading to find out the following:

And finally, you’ll be able to Compare 5 Best Cheap VPNs on your own!

Without further ado, let’s start!


What is the best among Top 5 Cheap VPNs?

Well, I personally used and tested 41 VPN services with a different cost. I carefully compared them all according to the 9 criteria mentioned above. Here are the 5 best cheap VPN services that passed my tests and are worth using.

1. NordVPN ($3.49 per month) – #1 out of 41 tested

NordVPN tariff plans

  • Jurisdiction: the jurisdiction is offshore (Panama), located out of 5/9/14 ‘’Eyes’’. The country laws don’t oblige the provider to keep logs about users’ activities.
  • Servers: the server network is the richest among the budget VPNs – 5247 servers in 60 countries. The servers are very fast both for surfing the network and video streaming.
  • IP leak test results: I tested about 20 different servers and didn’t detect any IP leaks. All tests identified the IP addresses of the provider’s servers.
  • Torrents/ Netflix: torrenting is allowed via dedicated P2P servers. The tested servers easily unblocked major torrent trackers. All popular Netflix versions (US, CA, UK) are available via NordVPN servers.
  • Security: advanced 256-bit AES encryption and protocols (Ikev2/IPSec and OpenVPN). Dedicated servers with advanced protection: Double VPN, obfuscated servers, Tor over VPN.
  • Privacy: thanks to no-logging policy of the provider (proved by a third-party audit) and its offshore jurisdiction, I can enjoy private use of the Internet. In addition, there is an in-built Kill Switch feature that protects against IP leaks.
  • How to use it for free: it’s possible not only to save money on the monthly pricing but also to refund money after the first 30 days of your subscription.
  • Platforms: has apps for all operating systems and browser addons; works almost on all platforms.

Why I ranked NordVPN #1? Excellent features and performance, affordable price for a long-term period (3 yeas), opportunity to save money (30-day money refund)!

Learn more information in my review of NordVPN or you may

 

Visit NordVPN

 

to subscribe for this affordable service.


2. CyberGhost ($2.75 per month) – #2 out of 41 tested

CyberGhost cheapest price

  • Jurisdiction: the provider is based in Romania, out of 5/9/14 ‘’Eyes’’. Good location for being private on the network.
  • Servers: like #1 NordVPN, it has a large server park in 60 countries, but the number of servers is fewer –3700 by the moment. The speeds on the most of the servers are average.
  • IP leak test results: the IP leak tests were successfully passed, my IP wasn’t revealed to the network.
  • Torrents/ Netflix: works well both for torrents and Netflix. They are available through special servers. Though the speeds are average, it’s possible to find the one with fast performance.
  • Security: strong 256-bit encryption key and OpenVPN and L2TP/IPSec are applied for all devices.
  • Privacy: a combination of no-logging policy and VPN-friendly jurisdiction along with the additional features (automatic kill switch and IP/DNS leak protection). Great!
  • How to use it for free: it has the longest money-refund period – 45 days. It’s a wonderful opportunity to save save your money.
  • Platforms: compatible with all operating systems, browser and apps (full list of CyberGhost apps).

Why I ranked NordVPN #1? Advanced features, the servers don’t leak IPs, but the speeds are average. The best price for a 3-year plan + fully refundable for 45 days!

Learn more information in my review of CyberGhost or you may

 

Visit CyberGhost

 

to subscribe for this affordable service.


3. Surfshark ($1.99 per month) – #3 out of 41 tested

Surfshark cheapest price

  • Jurisdiction: this VPN provider is under the jurisdiction of the British Virgin Islands, which is an offshore territory with no laws on keeping logs about users’ activities.
  • Servers: the number of servers is quite poor (but it’s being extended) 800. Most of the servers performed well, but the speeds aren’t fast in comparison with NordVPN.
  • IP leak test results: the VPN service is good at hiding IP addresses. My IP was not leaked to the network.
  • Torrents/ Netflix: unblocks both Netflix and torrents. IP leak and security test proves that it’s a good service for P2P-sharing. Some servers are slow for streaming on Netflix, but I managed to find several fast servers.
  • Security: 256-bit AES encryption and IKEv2/IPsec are used by default. OpenVPN, which has the best performance and security, is available as well.
  • Privacy: the provider doesn’t track users’ activities and IPs. In addition, its apps provide a kill switch feature, Multihop (connection via several countries), NoBorders mode (for countries with censorship) and private DNS/IP leak protection when using IPv4.
  • How to use it for free: 7 days for with no credit card and 30 days are fully refundable.
  • Platforms: apps for all operating systems, browsers, smart TVs and consoles. (all apps are on Surfshark’s website).

Why I ranked Surfshark #3? Great privacy and security functions, successful test results, 7+30 days of free use! It might be the first, but the server network and speeds can’t be compared with #1 NordVPN.

Learn more information in my review of Surfshark or you may

 

Visit Surfshark

 

to subscribe for this affordable service.


4. Private Internet Access ($1.99 per month) – #4 out of 41 tested

PIA cheapest price

  • Jurisdiction: it’s a US-based provider (5 ‘’Eyes’’). Not recommended for torrenting.
  • Servers: the number of servers is similar to CyberGhost – 3307, but the number of countries is only 32 (NordVPN has them in 60 countries). The servers are very fast and secure. Good for online streaming.
  • IP leak test results: no IP leaks were detected while I was testing PIA’s servers. Great job!
  • Torrents/ Netflix: torrenting is allowed and the servers are fast, but I don’t recommend it because of the US jurisdiction. Netflix is unblocked and works without lagging of internet connections.
  • Security: three protocols (PPTP, L2TP/IPSec and OpenVPN (preferable)) and military-grade encryption are available. You can choose different levels of security by choosing protocols. Additional features: multiple VPN gateways and blockers of ads, trackers and malware.
  • Privacy: logs aren’t kept, but the provider is under the jurisdiction of the USA which is one of the ‘’5 Eyes’’ alliance.
  • How to use it for free: no free trial VPN, but you can refund the money for the first 7 days.
  • Platforms: multiple compatibility (operating systems, browsers, routers, but it’s not compatible with smart TVs and other platforms). PIA apps and configurations.

Why I ranked PIA #4? Very fast speeds and security speeds, good overall performance for Netflix, but its jurisdiction is not recommended for torrents.

Learn more information in my review of PIA


5. VPN Unlimited ($2.78 per month) – #5 out of 41 tested

VPN Unlimited cheapest price

  • Jurisdiction: based in the USA, which is in ‘’5 Eyes’’ Alliance. Not good enough for anonymous torrenting.
  • Servers: 400+ servers in 70+ locations – the smallest number of servers among the cheap VPNs from the rating. Most of the servers aren’t the fastest ones, but the speeds are average if comparing with the rest 4 providers.
  • IP leak test results: no IP leaks were detected. Good results!
  • Torrents/ Netflix: works well for Netflix, but the server park is quite poor, it may be blocked by Netflix. Not recommended for torrents as it is under the jurisdiction of the US (5 ‘’Eyes’’).
  • Security: strong encryption (256-bit AES) and two advanced protocols (OpenVPN for Windows/Android and IKEv2 for Mac and iOS).
  • Privacy: according to the Privacy Policy of the provider, the logs are collected automatically. I don’t recommend it for torrenting.
  • How to use it for free: 7 days of a free trial and 7-day money-back guarantee.
  • Platforms: works on all popular OSes and platforms (all VPN Unlimited apps).

Why I ranked VPN Unlimited #5? Affordable price along with advanced security, but it’s not good for privacy and its server park is poor.

Learn more information in my review of VPN Unlimited.


What Do You Need to Know About Cheap VPN?

In this section I decided to give you some practical suggestions from my experience and a few answers to the questions you may ask.


Why I Chose the 9 Criteria to Rank Cheap VPN Services?

Any user has its own needs while looking for a VPN service. I took into account my personal experience of using VPN and believe that the criteria I used are the major ones to comparison:

What price is the cheapest?

I analyzed the prices of 40+ VPNs and found out that the cheapest monthly cost is about $3, which is available only for long-term plans (1-3 years). The prices for 1-month subscriptions are usually higher for most VPN services.

Why is jurisdiction?

The country where a VPN provider is registered is extremely important as it defines the logging policy of the providers. While travelling, I did an in-depth research of data retention laws and came to the conclusion that the VPNs from 5/9/14 ‘’Eyes’’ aren’t good for privacy and torrenting.

How many servers and what speeds?

The server network defines your opportunities with VPN. Most of the top providers offer 3000+ servers, so you can easily find fast servers. Just imagine what you can do with a VPN service with only 100 servers? Almost nothing! Why to pay money for nothing?

Why is IP leak?

One of the major functions of Virtual Private Network is to hide your IP. That’s why if a VPN service leaks IPs, it’s useless and you’ll waste your money.

Why are torrents/ Netflix?

I analyzed user reviews on Reddit, and most users set up VPN software to watch US Netflix abroad or download torrents anonymously. So, I believe that these features are must-have.

Why is security and privacy?

If you just need to unblock geo-restricted site, you can use free proxies. They work quite well for this. VPN is not just an unblocking tool, it makes your personal data private and the use of the Internet more secure.

How to use for free: why?

Many providers offer free trial periods or opportunities to refund money for the first several days after subscribing. Why not save even more money?

What platforms?

Taking into account that lots of modern VPN services are compatible with major operating systems, browsers, routers and other platforms, I prefer to pay for the service which is compatible platforms.


Cheap VPN vs. Free VPN

You may think: ‘’Why should I pay anything for VPN if I can use it free of charge?’’

It’s not a good idea. Why?

  • Free services aren’t completely free. Its providers don’t charge you, but you pay another price. They collect data about you and sell it to advertising companies.
  • You also risk when using such services (third parties may interfere into your data, malware infections, frauds, malicious ads, selling of bandwidth, etc.).

‘’Cheap’’ Monthly VPN Service: Why are so Expensive?

Unfortunately, you can really save money on a monthly price only by subscribing for a long-term period (1-3 years). The costs of 1-month subscriptions often strain the wallet. One of the most expensive monthly subscriptions belongs to ExpressVPN ($12.95 per month). The average prices for monthly subscriptions are $9-$10.


Find Cheap VPNs via Deals

VPN providers often offer deals, discounts and coupons. Using them you can save up to 75%. For example, one of the best discounts for a 3-year plan is offered by Nord VPN: you’ll save 75%.


Cheap VPN services according to ‘’Reddit’’ users

As a user, I always discuss pros and cons of VPNs with other users. I believe that Reddit is the best place to find all answers to any questions. I decided to do a research and find out what ‘’budget’’ VPNs are recommended on Reddit.

The major subreddits from my research:

Good affordable VPNs according Reddit are (Top 3):

Other recommended services:

  • Proton
  • CyberGhost
  • WannaFlix
  • Premium Tech VPN
  • X-VPN
  • Mullvad

Best Cheap VPNs: key highlights

Hope the article was useful for you. Let me remind what you’ve learnt from the article:

I ranked them according to the 9 criteria:

  • Price;
  • Jurisdiction;
  • Servers;
  • IP leak test results;
  • Torrents/ Netflix;
  • Security;
  • Privacy;
  • How to use it for free;
  • Platforms.

It’s better to use a ‘’budget’’ services than a completely free service. Remember: you aren’t a product!

And finally, you can always find a VPN you can afford via deals and discounts.


Compare 5 Best Cheap VPNs

Here is a comparison chart of ‘’budget’’ VPN services (out of all 41 VPN reviews I’ve done).

NordVPN CyberGhost SurfShark PIA VPN Unlimited
Price $3.49 $2.75 $1.99 $3.49 $2.78
Based in Panama Romania BVI USA USA
Servers 5200/
Fast
3700/
Average
800/
Average
3307/
Fast
400+/
Average
IP Leak Test Good Good Good Good Good
Torrenting/
Netflix
Both Both Both Both Both
Security features Advanced Advanced Advanced Advanced Advanced
How to use for free 30 days 45 days 7 days + 30 days 7 days 7 days + 7 days
Privacy No logs No logs No logs No logs Logs kept
Platforms All OSes, routers, browsers, others All OSes, routers, browsers, others All OSes, routers, browsers, others All OSes, routers, browsers All OSes, routers, browsers, others