7 Best Cheap (Yet Reliable) VPNs in 2020 — Less Than $4

Lucca RF Last Updated by Lucca RF on October 01, 2020

Top Tip! The best way to ensure you’re paying the lowest possible price for a VPN is to sign up for the longest subscription it offers. To find a service you feel comfortable committing to, test it for yourself risk-free using its money-back guarantee.

There are hundreds of cheap VPNs on the market — but I’m always suspicious of whether they get the job done safely. The last thing I want is to pay for a service (even if it’s cheap) and find out that it doesn’t actually offer what I need.

To prevent you from wasting your time, I tested and compared over 50 low-priced VPNs and separated the cheap and low-quality from the affordable yet high-quality services. If you’re short on time and want my test results right away, Surfshark is the #1 cheap VPN as its low price doesn’t compromise any of its features (like unlimited device connections).

Don’t take my word for it though! Surfshark (and every other VPN on this list) offers a money-back guarantee, so you can test it yourself without losing any of your hard-earned cash.

Get quality features for cheap with Surfshark

Quick Guide: 7 Best Cheap VPNs (All Under $4)

  1. Surfshark ($1.99/month for 2 years) — A premium feature-rich VPN at a ridiculously low price — plus, it offers a 30-day money-back guarantee.
  2. CyberGhost ($2.75/month for 1 year) — Optimized streaming servers for major platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime, and more, but Netflix US servers are often full.
  3. NordVPN ($4.08/month for 1 year) — High speeds and thousands of servers around the world, but only allows up to 6 device connections.
  4. Private Internet Access (PIA) ($2.69/month for 2 years) — Open-source code for more transparency, but based in the US (a part of the 5 Eyes intelligence sharing alliances).
  5. VyprVPN ($2.50/month for 2 years) — Independent server ownership for increased security, but has slower speeds than any other VPN on the list.
  6. PrivateVPN ($3.82/month for 1 year) — 21+ Netflix servers around the world, but a limited server network overall (only 150+ servers).
  7. HMA ($3.99/month for 3 years) — IP Shuffle keeps you safe from trackers, but torrenting isn’t supported.

7 Best Affordable VPNs October 2020

1. Surfshark — Connect an Unlimited Number of Devices ($1.99/month)

Key Features:

  • 1-month, 1-year, and 2-year (best value) plans
  • 1,700+ global servers in 63+ countries
  • Unlimited bandwidth
  • Connect unlimited devices at once
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

Surfshark is the only premium VPN below $2 and is currently even the cheapest one. You can connect an unlimited number of devices on one subscription (which means you can connect your entire family). Although it doesn’t have a 3-year plan, if you sign up for the 2-year plan, you’ll get 83% off.

I tested Surfshark’s unlimited connections on 2 PCs, 2 phones, a Fire Stick 4K, and an iPad. My connection remained reliable on all 6 devices. Even while I was actively streaming on all my devices, my average speed was 112 Mbps — fast enough for UltraHD quality.

When I saw the price of this service I thought it couldn’t possibly have top-grade security features for such a low price, but I was pleasantly surprised. Along with features like AES 256-bit encryption and CleanWeb (which blocks malware, ads, and trackers), Surfshark offers two-factor authentication (2FA) on your account. This feature requires you to enter an extra code before you can log in to ensure that only you (and those you share your account with) can access your account.

Screenshot of Surfshark's 2FA code entry screen.
Use two-factor authentication to keep intruders out of your Surfshark account

The only downside I found with Surfshark is that it has less global servers compared to other premium services like NordVPN and CyberGhost. However, during my tests its servers were never crowded so I could always stream Netflix in Ultra HD quality, download torrents, and browse at fast speeds.

With its money-back guarantee, you can test Surfshark’s performance for yourself (for up to 30 days) before you commit to anything. Requesting a refund is easy with Surfshark’s live chat feature. Although the support team asked why I wanted to cancel my subscription, I had no problem getting my money back (and it only took 4 days!).

Surfshark unblocks: Netflix, Prime Video, Disney+, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, Hotstar, HBO Go, HBO Now, DAZN, and more

Surfshark works on: Windows, Mac OS, Android, iOS, Linux, Fire Stick, PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Samsung Smart TVs, LG Smart TVs, Android TV, Kodi, and selected routers

Secure an unlimited number of devices with Surfshark

2. CyberGhost — Dedicated P2P and Streaming Servers ($2.75/month)

Key Features:

  • 1-month, 6-month, and 1-year (best value) plans
  • 6,500+ global servers in 90 countries
  • No bandwidth caps
  • Secure up to 7 devices at once
  • 45-day money-back guarantee

CyberGhost offers a variety of subscription options but when you sign up for a 1-year plan, you’ll get 79% off and 6 months extra for free. Plus, it has more servers than most other premium VPNs, so you’re guaranteed a fast and secure connection to the country you want.

CyberGhost is a good choice as it has 70+ dedicated P2P servers optimized for downloading torrents. I tested these servers for myself and got speeds of over 72 Mbps on average. Plus, I was able to download a 2.6GB movie in under 5 minutes!

Unblocking content from around the world is also super easy with CyberGhost’s optimized streaming servers. These servers are designed to connect you to platforms like Netflix US, Eurosport, and ARD (plus many more). When I tested CyberGhost with Netflix, buffering took 5-10 seconds — but once my show loaded I had zero interruptions.

Screenshot of CyberGhost streaming Stranger Things on Netflix
Screenshot of CyberGhost streaming Stranger Things on Netflix

I streamed Stranger Things with zero interruptions using CyberGhost’s Netflix US server

Unlike other VPNs on this list, CyberGhost offers a long 45-day money-back guarantee, so you can try it for over a month completely risk-free. I can confirm that getting a full refund is a hassle-free process as I tested this for myself. All you have to do is contact customer support through live chat and answer a couple of questions.

CyberGhost unblocks: Netflix, Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, Vudu, SkyTV, HBO Go, ESPN, ZDF, Sling TV, Eurosport, Fox Sport, and more

CyberGhost works on: Windows, Mac OS, Android, iOS, Chromebook, Linux, Fire Stick, PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Raspberry Pi, Kodi, LG Smart TVs, Apple TV, and Android TV

Stream easily with CyberGhost’s dedicated servers

CyberGhost's Latest Deal October 2020: Get an 18-month subscription for the price of the 12-month plan — which means you get 6 months completely free! Prices start at only $2.75/month. See more information on this offer here.

3. NordVPN — High-Speed Servers for Fast Streams and Downloads ($4.08/month)

Key Features:

  • 1-month, 6-month, and 1-year (best value) plans
  • 5,700+ global servers in 59 countries
  • Unlimited bandwidth
  • Protect up to 6 devices at once
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

NordVPN is one of the top VPNs on the market, yet it comes at a lower price and offers you multiple options for saving on your plan. When you sign up for a longer plan, you get a discounted price — 65% on a 1-year plan and 24% on a 6-month plan.

I compared the speeds of every VPN on this list and NordVPN was consistently the fastest. When I connected to servers in Germany and the UK, I retained speeds of over 200 Mbps. While my speeds slowed down when I connected to the US and Canada, they were more than fast enough for streaming in Ultra HD quality (over 100 Mbps).

Screenshot of NordVPN servers being speed tested, reaching 246 Mbps in the UK and 209 Mbps in Germany.
NordVPN’s local UK and Germany servers reached over 200 Mbps

NordVPN’s SmartPlay technology ensures it can unblock restricted content around the globe. I previously tested NordVPN with Netflix in countries like the US, UK, and Japan — I connected to each Netflix country with no problems.

You can stream, torrent, and browse for free for up to 30 days with NordVPN’s money-back guarantee. To ensure that you’ll really get your money back, I tested NordVPN’s money-back guarantee. At first, the support team tried to give me an extended trial period — but they initiated my refund right away after I told them I wasn’t interested in the extension. I got my money-back in 6 business days.

NordVPN unblocks: Netflix, Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, Disney+, Vudu, SkyTV, HBO Go, HBO Now, Sky, SHOWTIME, DAZN, ESPN, YouTube TV, and more

NordVPN works on: Windows, Mac OS, Android, iOS, Windows Phone, Chromebook, Linux, Chrome, Firefox, Fire Stick, and Android TV

Try NordVPN’s high-speed servers today

4. Private Internet Access (PIA) — Open-Source Code for Added Transparency ($2.69/month)

Key Features:

  • 1-month, 1-year, and 2-year (best value) plans
  • 3,200+ global servers in 46 countries
  • Limitless data usage
  • Watch on up to 10 devices at once
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

The longest plan PIA offers is 2 years — but if you choose this option, you’ll get up to 73% off!

If transparency is a priority for you, PIA is a good choice as it has open sourced all of its client software. Open-source code allows independent verification to confirm there’s no malicious code running on any app or browser extension you use. PIA also offers customizable security features — you can choose from 4 different levels of encryption.

Screenshot of PIA connection settings showing customizable features
You can customize your security in app settings with PIA

As for streaming, when I tested PIA with Netflix, I got mixed results. 7 out of 11 times, when connected to a PIA server I couldn’t even load the Netflix homepage. For 2 of my tests, I could load the page, but I could only stream without seeing the Netflix proxy error message once (and I experience more than 15 seconds of buffering).

You can try PIA out with its 30-day money-back guarantee. To request a refund, contact customer support through the live chat.

PIA sometimes unblocks: Netflix and BBC iPlayer

PIA works on: Windows, Mac OS, iOS, Linux, Android, Chrome, Firefox, and Opera

Stay private with PIA’s open-source apps

5. VyprVPN — Owns Every Server It Runs on for Improved Security ($2.50/month)

Screenshot of VyprVPN vendor user interface on smartphone, tablet, and desktop
Screenshot of VyprVPN vendor user interface on smartphone, tablet, and desktop

Key Features:

  • Monthly, 1-year, and 2-year (best value) subscriptions
  • 700+ global servers in 60+ countries
  • Uncapped bandwidth
  • Stream on up to 6 devices at once
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

With VyprVPN you have 3 options — a monthly, 1-year, or 2-year plan. You can save 80% by choosing the 2-year plan and 71% by choosing the 1-year option (the monthly plan doesn’t include discounts).

While many VPN providers rent servers from third-parties, VyprVPN owns all its own servers. This means it’s in direct control of the server hardware and software so your personal data remains secure.

VyprVPN’s servers are pretty good at unblocking streaming services, including Netflix, Prime Video, and Hulu. I tested VyprVPN’s access to Netflix US, UK, Germany (and more) and apart from 20+ seconds of initial buffering, I could stream in high quality with no interruptions.

Screenshot of VyprVPN unblocking Netflix Germany and streaming The Irishman.
VyprVPN gave me consistent access to Netflix US, UK, Germany, and Canada

The biggest downside is speed. My average speed was below 20 Mbps (much slower than the other VPNs on this list), but still fast enough for basic browsing and streaming.

With its money-back guarantee, you can try VyprVPN’s independent server network for up to 30 days and check its streaming capabilities for yourself.

VyprVPN unblocks: Netflix, Hulu, Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, Disney+, Eurosport Player, HBO GO, ESPN+, and more

VyprVPN works on: Windows, Mac OS, Android, iOS, Chromebook, Linux, PS4, Xbox One, Apple TV, Android TV, Fire Stick, and Kodi

Try VyprVPN’s privately-owned server network

6. PrivateVPN — Stealth VPN and API Proxy to Bypass VPN Blocks ($3.82/month)

Screenshot of PrivateVPN vendor user interface on smartphone, tablet, and desktop
Screenshot of PrivateVPN vendor user interface on smartphone, tablet, and desktop

Key Features:

  • 1-month, 3-month, and 1-year (best value) plans
  • 150+ global servers in 60 countries
  • No bandwidth restrictions
  • Watch on up to 6 devices at once
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

With PrivateVPN, you can sign up for a shorter period of time as it has both a 1-month and 3-month option. However, the 1-year plan offers the most savings (65% off) — plus you’ll get 1 extra month for free!

PrivateVPN offers unique security features like Stealth VPN and an API proxy that you can use to avoid the Netflix proxy error or go undetected from a restricted network in countries like China.

PrivateVPN also offers over 21 servers for Netflix alone (and over 20 for other streaming services).

Screenshot of PrivateVPN's Windows app showing its optimized streaming servers.
Access your favorite streaming services from anywhere with PrivateVPN

I tested PrivateVPN with some of the most popular Netflix countries (like the US and UK) and all of them streamed in high-quality with under 10 seconds of buffering.

While PrivateVPN’s servers offer consistent speeds, it only has 150 servers (the smallest amount on this list).

You can try PrivateVPN for free for 30 days with its money-back guarantee.

PrivateVPN unblocks: Netflix, Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, Disney+, Hulu, HBO Go, HBO Now, DAZN, ESPN, Sky, Sonyliv, Yle, and NBC

PrivateVPN works on: Windows, Mac OS, Android, iOS, Chromebook, Linux, PS4, Xbox One, Fire Stick, and Android TV

Bypass VPN blocks with PrivateVPN

7. HMA — IP Shuffle Feature for Protection From Trackers ($3.99/month)

Screenshot of HMA vendor user interface on smartphone, tablet, and desktop
Screenshot of HMA vendor user interface on smartphone, tablet, and desktop

Key Features:

  • 1-year and 3-year (best value) subscriptions
  • 1,000+ global servers in 190+ countries
  • No data limits
  • Protect up to 6 devices at once
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

If you want the most savings, you should sign up for HMA’s 3-year plan — you’ll pay 67% less.

HMA offers standard protection plus extras (like a free web proxy and WebRTC test) in case you need them. It also has an IP Shuffle feature which periodically changes your IP address to keep you safe from hackers.

Screenshot of HMA's IP Shuffle setting, allowing users to periodically change their IP address.
With its IP Shuffle feature, HMA periodically changes your IP address

Be sure to turn on the automatic kill switch when using this feature so your data doesn’t leak during IP changes. I ran DNS leak tests to check if the automatic kill switch actually worked — and HMA passed all my tests.

Screenshot of HMA passing a DNS test while connected to an Albanian server.
With IP Shuffling active, HMA passed all DNS tests

Sadly, HMA doesn’t support torrenting, so if downloading torrents is high on your priority list I’d go with NordVPN instead.

Make sure HMA is right for you (before you commit) with its 30-day money-back guarantee — and test its IP Shuffle feature for yourself!

HMA unblocks: Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, Prime Video, and more

HMA works on: Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, Linux, Android TV, and select routers

Get IP shuffling and avoid trackers with HMA

Comparison Table of Cheap VPNs

Although each VPN on this list is cheap, I compared each service according to 5 different factors to help you find the one that offers the best value for money.

Lowest monthly cost Money-back guarantee Simultaneous device connections Server number Average speeds
Surfshark $1.99 30 days Unlimited 1,700+ 112 Mbps
CyberGhost $2.75 45 days 7 6,500+ 95 Mbps
NordVPN $4.08 30 days 6 5,700+ 172 Mbps
Private Internet Access (PIA) $2.69 30 days 10 3,200+ 144 Mbps
VyprVPN $2.50 30 days 5 700+ 40 Mbps
PrivateVPN $3.82 30 days 6 150+ 91 Mbps
HMA $3.99 30 days 5 1,000+ 76 Mbps

Surfshark is the winner as it has the lowest overall cost and allows you to connect an unlimited number of devices.

What to Look for When Choosing a VPN

Although you want an affordable VPN, you don’t want to sacrifice any features that will give you a better experience. You should consider the following when you choose a VPN:

  • Server speeds — How quickly can you download, stream, and browse? Is there any lag? Is the connection stable?
  • Unblocking streaming services — Which services can it unblock and how reliably can it do so? Can it unblock popular streaming services like Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and Prime?
  • Security features — Which encryption protocols are used? Are you protected from data leaks? How strong is the no-log policy? Which additional security features (like Tor servers or IP shuffling) are implemented?
  • Customer support — How easily can you get help? Are the FAQs and guides available useful?

Common FAQs: Cheap VPNs

🙃 Are free VPNs really dangerous?

Using a free VPN isn’t always dangerous. However, I advise against using them since they:

  • Have limited speeds and bandwidth, meaning long loading times and buffering when streaming
  • Can have difficulty unblocking popular streaming platforms such as Netflix, Prime Video, and HBO
  • Track and sell user activity and data, which makes you more vulnerable to identity theft
  • Sell free users’ bandwidth to premium users
  • Insert ads (and trackers) into web pages based on your user data

You don’t have to pay a lot for premium protection. Each VPN on my list is high-quality and affordable. NordVPN reliably unblocks streaming services (like Netflix) and offers unlimited bandwidth, high speeds, and advanced security features.

Even better, every VPN on this list offers a money-back guarantee so you can try the service risk-free before committing to a plan. I tested this myself by requesting a refund through NordVPN’s customer live chat — my refund was approved in minutes and I had my money back in less than a week!

Screenshot of NordVPN refund being approved through live chat
Getting a refund from NordVPN is a simple process

Try NordVPN for free for 30 days

😅 Are cheap VPNs safe?

How safe a VPN is depends on 2 main factors:

  1. Jurisdiction (Where is the VPN company located?)
  2. Logging (Is any user activity stored by the VPN company?)

Various countries have formed intelligence-sharing alliances, known as the 5, 9, or 14 Eyes. Using a VPN that’s based in one of these countries is risky as the Eyes intelligence agencies are known to apply pressure to companies to get the information they want.

The VPNs from my list that are located in a 5 Eyes, 9 Eyes, 14 Eyes country include:

  • PrivateVPN — Based in Sweden
  • Private Internet Access (PIA) — Based in the US
  • HMA — Based in the UK

Of the VPNs on my list, only 1 has had issues with logs in the past:

  • HMA — Handed logs to US authorities in a hacking case. HMA publicly states that VPNs are not to be used for illegal activity (such as torrenting copyrighted material) and that it will cooperate with law enforcement if served with a court order.

🤓 Will a cheap VPN slow down my internet?

Cheap VPNs are capable of reaching extremely fast speeds, as you can see in the table below. I tested 4 locations to see how my VPN picks compare.

I’m based in Central Europe and my speed without a VPN is around 250 Mbps. Your own speeds will vary based on where you are.

US UK Germany Canada
Surfshark 56 Mbps 151 Mbps 169 Mbps 72 Mbps
CyberGhost 49 Mbps 61 Mbps 97 Mbps 175 Mbps
NordVPN 116 Mbps 246 Mbps 209 Mbps 120 Mbps
Private Internet Access (PIA) 184 Mbps 133 Mbps 147 Mbps 114 Mbps
VyprVPN 18 Mbps 16 Mbps 113 Mbps 14 Mbps
PrivateVPN 66 Mbps 49 Mbps 161 Mbps 91 Mbps
HMA 62 Mbps 96 Mbps 88 Mbps 60 Mbps

NordVPN has the overall highest speeds, with an average speed of 172 Mbps across the 4 countries I tested. During my tests, every VPN (apart from VyprVPN) reached speeds fast enough to stream, download, and browse quickly and without interruption.

Want to test these speeds for yourself? Each VPN on this list offers a money-back guarantee so you can connect to the most important servers for you and see how fast they get.

Get the fastest speeds with NordVPN

🤩 Can I use a cheap VPN in China?

Yes, but not all of them will work. Only 3 VPNs on this list can help you bypass online censorship in China — NordVPN, VyprVPN, and PrivateVPN.

Remember that VPNs offer different server locations. If you’re trying to connect to a specific country, make sure the VPN you choose has servers there.

😎 Is a yearly subscription really better than a monthly subscription?

All of my VPN recommendations are more affordable on a yearly rather than monthly basis.

For example, I did the math and NordVPN’s annual plan is 41% cheaper than buying its monthly plan separately. In fact, over 3 years NordVPN’s monthly plan would cost 242% more compared to its dedicated 1-year plan!

Lowest monthly cost
(as part of a yearly plan)
Individual monthly cost
Surfshark $1.99 $11.95
CyberGhost $2.75 $12.99
NordVPN $4.08 $11.95
Private Internet Access (PIA) $2.69 $9.95
VyprVPN $2.50 $12.95
PrivateVPN $3.82 $8.10
HMA $3.99 N/A

If you only need a VPN for a short period of time, a 1-month subscription may be worth it, but for the long-term annual plans offer much bigger savings. Before you make a decision on the length of the plan, I recommend trying the service for yourself with its money-back guarantee.

😉 Is it safe to torrent with a cheap VPN?

Yes, it’s safe to torrent with cheap VPNs. Every VPN on this list supports torrenting except for HMA.

HMA has been known to contact users and inform them of DMCA takedown requests made by copyright holders. This means you get one warning before your account is permanently disabled. It won’t give your information to the copyright holder, but it’s still not a VPN I’d recommend for torrenting.

Torrent safely with NordVPN

Get Fast Speeds, Strong Security, and Easy Access to Streaming Sites With a Cheap VPN

All the VPNs on this list offer premium VPN features at a cheap price.

Of the VPNs I tested, Surfshark is my top choice. With reliably high speeds, thousands of secure servers, and access to multiple popular streaming services, it’s a VPN that covers all your needs. Try it for yourself with its 30-day money-back guarantee.

Save money and stay secure with Surfshark

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Lucca RF
Written By Lucca RF
Lucca is a tech writer with a focus on cyber security, cryptocurrency, and logistics. He has been researching government overreach via digital surveillance for several years now, and his interest in VPNs and online safety goes hand-in-hand with this.