5 Best Cheap (Yet Reliable) VPNs in 2021 — Less Than $4
With hundreds of cheap VPNs available, it’s hard to tell if they’re actually any good. I don’t want to pay for a VPN (even if it’s a cheap one!) just to find it compromises my personal information, is too slow for streaming, or simply doesn’t work properly.
To save you time and money, I’ve tested over 50 VPNs with prices less than $4/month to find the best cheap VPNs in September 2021. Every ranked VPN on this list is inexpensive, plus they have top-tier security, fast download speeds for lag-free streaming, and reliable global server connections. After extensive testing, I found CyberGhost is the #1 cheap VPN with an impressive range of premium features at a low price.
You can try out CyberGhost for free for 45 days with its money-back guarantee. You’ll have unlimited access to every feature for the full 45 days — and it’s quick and easy to get a refund before this period ends. I tested it myself and it took only minutes over 24/7 live chat. The money returned to my account in less than a week!
In a Rush? Here Are the Best Cheap VPNs in 2021
- CyberGhost ($2.25) — #1 cheap VPN with top-tier encryption, fast speeds, and great for streaming and torrenting. Try CyberGhost for free for 45 days!
- Private Internet Access ($2.08) — Solid security with an audited zero-logs policy to keep your data safe, but not the best for streaming.
- HMA ($4.99) — Unique features boost privacy and security, but doesn’t provide the fastest overall connections.
- IPVanish ($3.75) — Supports unlimited connections to secure all of your devices, but struggles to access streaming services like Netflix.
- PrivateVPN ($2.50) — Security features allow you to bypass restrictions easily, but a smaller server network than other VPN options.
The Best Cheap VPNs Under $4/Month (Updated in September 2021)
- Subscriptions available from as little as $2.25
- 45-day money-back guarantee for risk-free purchasing
- 6900 servers in 90 countries — huge global network provides reliable connections
- Top-tier encryption and security features protect your data
- Secures up to 7 simultaneous connections
CyberGhost’s high-level security and consistently fast network make it the best cheap VPN with plans starting at just $2.25. While it’s not the cheapest VPN on this list, I was impressed by CyberGhost’s premium quality at such a low price. It’s also one of the easiest to use, making it ideal for users new to VPNs. The interface is simple to navigate on all devices, from Windows and macOS computers to Smart TVs and Amazon Fire stick.
With AES-256-bit encryption, DNS and IP leak protection, and kill switches on all platforms, CyberGhost rivals the security of services that cost twice as much. CyberGhost also blocks ads and tracking cookies to stop your activity being monitored when online. Plus, it automatically redirects your traffic to HTTPS websites as they are more secure. I ran multiple tests to ensure my data was secure when I connected to the VPN servers and CyberGhost passed every leak test, encrypting and protecting my data at all times.
I found CyberGhost is a reliably fast VPN when connected to nearby and optimized servers. I ran speed tests with multiple servers in CyberGhost’s network. The results were impressive — from my base speed of 115Mbps, CyberGhost produced speeds of over 90Mbps when connected to a US server 6,800km away. I noticed a more significant slowdown (to just 41Mbps) with servers further from my location, caused by the increased distance. While this would be a concern for a smaller VPN network, CyberGhost has 6900 servers worldwide so connecting to a server close by is easy.
Fast speeds combined with CyberGhost’s optimized servers make it a great choice for streaming and torrenting. My team and I tested streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, and BBC iPlayer and CyberGhost’s dedicated servers accessed them easily. It’s reassuring to know you can both enjoy the security of an encrypted connection and stream Netflix US without getting the proxy error message. Better still, CyberGhost’s optimized streaming servers provided HD-quality video without lag or buffering.
CyberGhost also offers dedicated torrenting and gaming servers designed for the fastest and most secure connections possible. With these servers, I could safely download torrent files of 5GB in just 7 minutes and play online games without experiencing any lag.
When it comes to data privacy, this VPN is great on 3 fronts: CyberGhost has a strict zero-logging policy, it uses RAM-based servers, and it’s based in Romania (companies in this country aren’t obliged to store user data). RAM-based servers are especially important, as they’re physically unable to write any data to disk — once the server is rebooted, all information is totally wiped. Even if one of CyberGhost’s servers was seized by the authorities, there would be no recoverable data. Even though I’d like to see CyberGhost undergo an independent audit to verify its zero-logs policy, I’m not concerned about my data being stored due to its use of RAM-based servers.
CyberGhost offers a variety of payment methods, including Bitcoin for users who are very privacy-focused. It also offers 2 different money-back guarantee periods; for 1-month subscriptions, you have 14 days to claim a refund; 6-month and longer plans have 45 days to test the service. Either way, you can try CyberGhost risk-free to make sure it’s right for you.
If you change your mind, getting a refund is easy — I tested the process myself and was thrilled to find CyberGhost has a no-questions-asked refund policy. I contacted customer support through the 24/7 live chat and requested a refund, which was promptly approved. Best of all, I had my money back in less than a week.
CyberGhost works on: Windows, Mac OS, Android, iOS, Chromebook, Linux, Chrome, Firefox, Fire Stick, PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Raspberry Pi, Kodi, LG Smart TVs, Apple TV, and Android TV.
CyberGhost unblocks: Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Vudu, SkyTV, HBO Max, ESPN, ZDF, Sling TV, Eurosport, Fox Sport, and more.
September 2021 Update: CyberGhost has dropped prices for a limited time to a crazy $2.25 per month for the 2-year plan (you can save up to 83%)! This is a limited offer so be sure to grab it now before it's gone. See more information on this offer here.
- Security on a budget from as little as $2.08
- 30-day money-back guarantee to test the service risk-free
- Huge global network — 34400 servers in over 78 countries
- Military-grade encryption, zero-logs, and malware protection for data security
- Connect up to 10 devices at the same time
Private Internet Access (PIA) provides the same high-level security as a premium-cost VPN. For just $2.08, PIA offers military-grade encryption, DNS and IP leak protection, a kill switch, and a multi-hop feature (so you can connect through 2 servers instead of 1, making it even harder to trace your activity). Some of these features are only found on much more expensive VPNs, so PIA’s low-cost service is a great choice for security-conscious users.
PIA has developed its own ad, tracker, and malware-blocker called MACE. This blocks sites that host annoying pop-ups and invasive software to protect your privacy and device security.
Even better, PIA has made its source code open and transparent for anyone who wants to look at it. This shows PIA’s commitment to privacy and security — by making the source code openly available, it can be examined for malware, bugs, or any other issues by multiple individuals. This lowers the risk of vulnerabilities, thereby improving overall security.
PIA is also impressive when it comes to speed, making it ideal for HD-quality streaming and fast torrenting. Typically, local servers were much faster than those thousands of km away — my closest server was 106Mbps (a small drop from 115Mbps) while a server in Australia was 85Mbps. Even over this distance, my online activity was still lag-free with no interruptions. If you find your speeds are slower, PIA offers the WireGuard protocol which could help improve speeds.
My team and I tested sites like Netflix, Disney+, and Amazon Prime Video and found PIA could access them effectively. Unfortunately, PIA struggled with some services like Hulu and BBC iPlayer.
If you’d like to test PIA for yourself, the money-back guarantee means you get to try Private Internet Access for free for 30 days. I tested the process myself and it was easy — I just contacted customer service using the 24/7 live chat and asked for a refund. The agent asked if I’d like to troubleshoot but I confirmed my cancelation and had the money back in less than a week.
PIA works on: Windows, Mac OS, Android, iOS, Chromebook, Linux, Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Fire Stick, PS4, Xbox One, Raspberry Pi, Kodi, LG Smart TVs, Apple TV, and Android TV.
PIA unblocks: Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, Vudu, SkyTV, HBO Max, ESPN, ZDF, Sling TV, Eurosport, Fox Sport, and more.
September 2021 Update! For a limited time only, save 77% on PIA's 2-year plan + get an additional 2 months free! Hurry and check out the deal here!
- Feature-packed with low cost starting at $4.99
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- Solid global network with 1100 servers in more than 210 countries
- Top-tier encryption, plus unique features like Smart Kill Switch and IP Shuffle
- Secures up to 5 devices simultaneously
HMA’s focus on high-quality security at a low price sees it packed with unique features not offered by other premium VPNs. I’m particularly impressed with its IP Shuffle and Smart Kill Switch features.
IP Shuffle randomizes your server IP address at regular intervals while you’re connected, making it harder to trace your online movements. I like that I can configure IP Shuffle as often as I want and that I didn’t experience any connection interruption while my IP address changed.
The Smart Kill Switch works like a regular kill switch, only it activates for specific apps so you can guarantee data security without having to encrypt your entire connection. I used this with my torrent client so I could browse the web unencrypted while maintaining high-level security during P2P file-sharing.
Unfortunately, these unique features aren’t available on all of HMA’s apps. While HMA is one of the best VPNs for Windows users, it lacks a reliable kill switch for macOS and iOS — in fact, HMA’s iOS app doesn’t include the Smart Kill Switch, split tunneling, or IP Shuffle either. I’d like to see HMA bring more well-rounded security to iOS instead of relying on Apple’s in-built protection.
Despite these limitations, I was pleased to find HMA works well to access streaming sites and download torrents without issues. Overall, my speeds were fast — during my tests, my speeds never dropped below 92Mbps which is fast enough for streaming, torrenting, and browsing lag-free.
My colleagues and I tested multiple streaming sites and found HMA was good at bypassing Netflix’s tough restrictions, but struggled with Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, and Hulu. If you have issues accessing these services, I recommend contacting HMA’s live chat so an agent can recommend a suitable server.
You can test HMA for free for up to 30 days with the money-back guarantee. While you do need to pay upfront, claiming a full refund is as easy as filling out a request form on the website. When I tested this, I received an approval email in less than 12 hours and I had my money back in a week.
HMA works on: Windows, Mac OS, Android, iOS, Chromebook, Linux, Fire Stick, PS4, Xbox One, Raspberry Pi, Kodi, LG Smart TVs, Apple TV, and Android TV.
HMA unblocks: Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, HBO Max, ZDF, Sling TV, Eurosport, Fox Sport, and more.
September 2021 Update! HMA has dropped prices for a limited time to a crazy $2.99 per month with the 3-year plan (you can save up to 75%)! This is a limited offer so be sure to grab it now before it’s gone. See more information on this offer here.
- Plans from as little as $3.75
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- Reliable global network with 1300 servers in 75 countries
- High-level encryption, leak protection, and kill switch for data security
- Protect all of your devices with unlimited connections
IPVanish offers unlimited device connections, which is unusual for a premium VPN. You can protect all of your devices for as little as $3.75, making it an affordable choice if you have multiple devices.
I was concerned multiple devices would significantly slow my connection, but IPVanish surprised me — my speeds averaged 92Mbps, even with 5 simultaneous connections. Additional devices did affect my slowdown, but only marginally. I could still stream, torrent, and browse without any lag.
With these speeds, I could use IPVanish for HD-quality streaming and fast torrenting. During tests, my colleagues and I found IPVanish could access Netflix and Disney+, but had issues with services like Hulu and Amazon Prime Video. If you’re looking for a cheap VPN specifically for streaming, I’d recommend CyberGhost.
To ensure IPVanish’s encryption is high-quality, I ran leak tests and found there were no data leaks at all. The apps also feature a kill switch and the ability to “scramble” OpenVPN traffic, making it look like regular internet traffic and disguising your VPN use. This feature could be useful if you’re visiting a country with strict internet regulations — however, my colleagues in China found IPVanish didn’t work there, so it may not be effective at bypassing all restrictions.
IPVanish offers multiple subscriptions, with the longest plan being the most cost-effective. Plus, for a small price increase you can also subscribe to its VPN and storage plan, giving you access to 500GB of cloud storage — ideal for storing sensitive information and documents away from your device.
I recommend you try IPVanish for free with the 30-day money-back guarantee. This means you can try out the service and still get a full refund. IPVanish has the easiest cancelation too — just visit the Subscription settings in your account and click “Cancel Now.” I had my money back in less than an hour!
IPVanish works on: Windows, Mac OS, Android, iOS, Chromebook, Linux, Fire Stick, PS4, Xbox One, Raspberry Pi, Kodi, LG Smart TVs, Apple TV, and Android TV.
IPVanish unblocks: Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, HBO Max, ZDF, Sling TV, Eurosport, Fox Sport, and more.
- From as little as $2.50 — cheapest VPN on this list!
- 30-day money-back guarantee, but only if you’ve used less than 100GB data
- 200+ servers in over 63 countries — small but sturdy network
- High-level encryption and unique security features for data protection
- Secures up to 6 devices at the same time
PrivateVPN is the cheapest option on this list and it has some unique security features that boost your online mobility. I particularly like its Stealth VPN feature, which disguises your VPN connection as regular traffic. This can help you bypass blocks if you visit countries with strict internet regulations like China and Turkey.
Even without using StealthVPN, PrivateVPN is excellent at accessing your favorite streaming services. My colleagues and I tested services like Netflix, Disney+, and Amazon Prime Video and PrivateVPN worked with them all. Content was streamed in HD-quality as local download speeds were fast, never dropping below 78Mbps. However, speeds slowed significantly when connecting to distant servers — I had a drop of almost 70% for servers 15,000km away.
I was impressed by PrivateVPN’s commitment to privacy. It has a kill switch on all apps in case the VPN connection is interrupted. I also ran leak tests to ensure its encryption would protect my data and found PrivateVPN had zero IP or DNS leaks.
The only real downside is PrivateVPN’s small server network. With just over 200 servers, I experienced congestion and slowdown when connecting at peak traffic times. As PrivateVPN acquires more users, this congestion could get worse unless it expands its network rapidly.
You can try PrivateVPN risk-free with its money-back guarantee and get 30 days to see if it’s right for you. If not, you can claim a full refund if you’ve used less than 100GB of data. I contacted a live chat agent who promptly processed my refund — I had my money back in less than a week.
PrivateVPN works on: Windows, Mac OS, Android, iOS, Linux, Fire Stick, PS4, Xbox One, Kodi, Smart TVs, and routers.
PrivateVPN unblocks: Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, HBO Max, Sling TV, Fox Sport, and more.
Quick Comparison Table: The Best Cheap VPNs in 2021
Every VPN on this list is low-cost with high-quality security and solid speeds. To help you make your decision, I’ve compared each VPN so you can easily see which service offers the best value for money and has features suitable for your needs. CyberGhost is the overall winner with the best service at a low price.
|Lowest Price||Latest Discount||Best Value Plan||Device Limit||Money-Back Guarantee|
|Private Internet Access||$2.08||83%||3-year plan||10||30|
How I Tested & Ranked the Best Cheap VPN
These are the criteria I looked at when I ranked the best VPNs in 2021:
- Cheap prices — Every VPN on this list is available for less than $4 per month, depending on which plan you choose. Every service is high-quality, safe, and affordable when compared to premium VPNs, which can average around $7 a month.
- Speed and servers — I prioritized VPNs with reliable server networks that won’t slow your speeds by more than 20%. These VPNs offer global connections and consistently good performance.
- Security features — Some cheap VPNs compromise your safety with poor security, exposing you to hackers and trackers, logging your information, or leaking your data. Every VPN on this list has top-tier encryption, leak protection, and zero-logs policies to protect your data and devices.
- Streaming — Every VPN listed can reliably access streaming services like Netflix, Disney+, and Amazon Prime Video so you can watch your favorite content through a secure connection.
- Torrenting — All of the above services support torrenting, though some are better than others. High-level encryption will protect your data from hackers while P2P file-sharing and download speeds are consistent.
- Customer support — I tested the customer support methods to ensure you can get help quickly when you need it. The VPNs on this list have live chat support, FAQs, and setup guides available.
3 Top Tips: How to Get Premium VPNs for Cheaper
There are a couple of ways you can get premium VPNs for a cheaper price.
1. Sign up for a Free Trial
Some VPNs offer free trials of their services — CyberGhost, for example, offers new users a completely free 24-hour trial. You don’t even need to enter payment details to access the full service for a whole day. This is a great option if you need a very short-term VPN, but it’s not ideal for fully testing the service as 24 hours isn’t long enough to explore every feature.
2. Take Advantage of Coupons and Deals
If the VPN you’re considering seems expensive, it’s always worth checking if there are any active coupons or discount codes available. Many services regularly have cheap VPN deals to make them more affordable and tempting for new subscribers. You can check out the latest coupons and discount codes on our regularly updated page.
3. Get a Long-Term VPN Subscription
The best way to get the cheapest deal is by subscribing to a long-term plan. For example, if you subscribe to CyberGhost’s 2-year plan, the monthly price reduces by 83% of its month-to-month service! All VPNs will offer a discount for longer-term plans, so it’s worth checking them out to see if you can get a premium VPN for cheaper.
FAQ: Best Cheap VPNs in 2021
Are cheap VPNs safe?
It depends — some cheap VPNs are safe and other cheap services carry risks. After thorough testing, I can confirm that the cheap VPNs in this list are all safe, free from vulnerabilities and malware, and will securely encrypt your connections.
Some cheap VPNs aren’t able to provide high-quality encryption, security, and privacy features. These services can leave your data and devices exposed to hackers and trackers, compromising your security. Plus, these cheap VPNs might even use your data as a source of revenue — logging your activity while connected to the server and selling it to third-party advertisers!
Not all inexpensive VPNs are safe, but some are just as safe as their more expensive counterparts. The price of a VPN isn’t always a good indication of how well it works — a cheap service like CyberGhost has a high level of encryption and security that rivals premium-priced VPNs.
I recommend using caution and researching your chosen service before purchasing a cheap VPN. Alternatively, you can test one of the VPNs in this article to see if it’s right for you — you can try CyberGhost for free for 45 days and get a full refund if you change your mind.
Will a cheap VPN slow down my internet?
Not necessarily — cheap VPNs are capable of reaching very fast speeds, as you can see in the table below. However, even the best cheap VPNs will occasionally cause your speeds to slow down. This may be due to the distance between your device and the server, a high level of traffic, or purely because your connection has to pass through a layer of encryption.
To give you a better idea of service speeds, I tested each cheap VPN and connected to 4 different servers — Canada, Germany, the UK, and the US. My base speed without a VPN connection is around 115Mbps, which is fast enough for UltraHD video streaming. Your own speeds will vary based on your standard internet speed. Here are the results:
|Private Internet Access||93Mbps||68Mbps||106Mbpst||94Mbps|
Every VPN on this list was fast enough to stream, torrent, and browse in multiple locations without any issues. Even with the slowest connection, I didn’t notice any lag or interruption. If you’d like to test these speeds for yourself, you can do so risk-free as every VPN offers a money-back guarantee.
Do cheap VPNs offer features like dedicated IPs and port forwarding?
It depends — a cheap but quality VPN like CyberGhost offers both dedicated IPs and port forwarding as it’s a more complete premium service, whereas IPVanish doesn’t offer either option. CyberGhost’s port forwarding comes as standard, but expect to pay extra for a dedicated IP address that only you can use.
If a dedicated IP isn’t in your budget, some cheap VPNs like PrivateVPN offer static IP addresses. The difference here is that all users have access to these IP addresses, and static IPs often get blacklisted due to heavy traffic.
When it comes to port forwarding, it’s worth considering whether or not you really need this feature. While it’s useful for hosting a game or web server, port forwarding opens up access to your network from potentially malicious actors. As such, many VPNs won’t offer this service as it’s too much of a security risk.
Which cheap VPNs offer lifetime subscriptions?
None of the cheap VPNs on this list offer a lifetime subscription. However, these services offer long-term plans of up to 3 years so you can maintain protection for a considerable amount of time. Plus, the longer you subscribe to a VPN, the lower the monthly cost is.
I wouldn’t recommend getting a lifetime subscription due to how rapidly VPN technology changes. A solid VPN now might not be as effective in 5 years, so locking yourself into a lifetime plan limits your options — not to mention the initial cost can be very high. Before choosing any VPN subscription, it’s important to make sure the service is capable of maintaining high standards and keeping up with (or exceeding) industry standards.
Can I get a cheap VPN for just 1 week?
No, the majority of VPNs don’t offer a week-long subscription. The shortest subscription period offered by the best cheap VPNs is a month.
However, all of the above VPNs come with a money-back guarantee when you subscribe to a plan. If you only need a VPN for a week, it might be worth signing up for a month-long subscription and requesting a refund after 7 days. These money-back guarantees are available for at least 30 days, so you have the option to use the VPN for a month or longer before claiming a refund.
Which cheap VPN is best for torrenting safely?
Based on my tests, the best cheap VPN for torrenting is CyberGhost. It has fast download speeds and optimized servers specifically for torrenting. During tests, I downloaded a 5GB file in just 7 minutes. Plus, CyberGhost passed every data leak test to keep me secure from potential hackers and trackers while file-sharing.
However, the #1 all-round VPN for torrenting is ExpressVPN. While you do need to pay a little more than CyberGhost, ExpressVPN’s fast speeds are unrivalled, you can torrent on all its global servers (not just a selection), and its no-logs policy has been independently verified and even proven in a real-world case.
Are there any VPNs that are free?
Yes, there are free VPNs but the majority aren’t safe to use. One of my main criteria when choosing a cheap (but safe) VPN is top-tier security that protects my data and devices. Free VPNs often engage in shady practices, like injecting tracking ads into your browser and logging your data to sell to third parties — after all, if the service is free, you end up being the product.
Worse still, some free VPNs have been known to infect devices with malware and spyware designed to steal your sensitive data. This puts you at risk of fraud and identity theft which is something a VPN is supposed to protect you from.
There are some safe free VPNs available that operate as a limited version of the full service. These “freemium” VPNs impose strict data caps and server restrictions so you can’t use it as much as you want. You won’t be able to stream or torrent easily, and you’ll find your speeds are slow due to heavy server congestion.
Considering you can get a premium VPN for less than $4 a month, I recommend paying for a service that protects your data. A VPN like CyberGhost maintains high-level encryption at a low price, so you don’t have to spend a fortune for top-tier security. If you change your mind after testing the service, you have 45 days to request a refund and get your money back, no questions asked.
You Don’t Have to Choose Between a Quality VPN and a Cheap Price
It’s possible to get a premium VPN without paying a premium price, but it’s important to choose carefully. There are hundreds of cheap or free VPNs that won’t protect your data, leaving you exposed to hackers and trackers. Worse still, there are VPNs specifically designed to log your data and sell it for profit, or even steal your information for fraudulent purposes. Fortunately, every VPN on this list is highly secure, reliable, and affordable.
Of all the VPNs I tested, CyberGhost emerged as the best cheap VPN. It has top-tier security, consistently fast speeds, and it works with all the most popular streaming services. It even has a no-questions-asked money-back guarantee so you can try CyberGhost for free for up to 45 days and get a full refund if you change your mind.