Published on: January 7, 2022
Short on time? Here’s the best cheap VPN:
- 🥇 Private Internet Access: Comes with excellent security features, maintains very fast speeds, works with Netflix, support torrenting, provides intuitive apps for all OS, allows 10 simultaneous connections, and offers very cheap pricing plans, which start $2.03 / month.
I spent a couple of weeks researching and testing the top VPN services on the market to find the best cheap VPNs in 2022.
Unfortunately, I learned that many low-cost VPNs aren’t worth the cheap price — they lack essential security and privacy features, don’t come with any extra features, log user data, have slow speeds, don’t work with the top streaming services, and don’t have money-back guarantees.
However, I still managed to find a handful of very good cheap VPNs. In addition to providing budget-friendly prices and lengthy money-back guarantees, all of the VPNs on this list are secure, feature-rich, fast, and good for streaming & torrenting.
Quick Summary of the Best Cheap VPNs:
- 1.🥇 Private Internet Access ($2.03 / month) — Best cheap VPN in 2022.
- 2.🥈 CyberGhost VPN ($3.00 / month) — Great streaming, torrenting & gaming capabilities.
- 3.🥉 PrivateVPN ($2.50 / month) — Secure & intuitive (good VPN for new users).
- 4. CactusVPN ($3.95 / month) — Good for large households (allows unlimited connections).
- 5. ZenMate ($1.99 / month) — Multiple payment options (with unlimited connections).
- Bonus. ExpressVPN ($6.67 / month) — Best overall VPN (for a few extra dollars per month).
- How to Choose the Best Cheap VPN for Your Needs in 2022.
- Comparison of the Best Cheap VPNs.
- Top Brands That Didn’t Make the Cut.
- Frequently Asked Questions about Cheap VPNs.
🥇1. Private Internet Access — Best Cheap VPN in 2022
Private Internet Access (PIA) is my favorite cheap VPN in 2022 — it offers affordable monthly and yearly plans, with prices starting at just $2.03 / month. In addition to offering some of the cheapest plans on the market, PIA also often gives away additional months for free, and its yearly plans also frequently include free encrypted cloud storage.
PIA is also very secure, highly intuitive, really fast (my average speed loss was only 25%), and excellent for streaming and torrenting. It also allows up to 10 simultaneous connections on 1 account, which is above the industry average of 5-7 connections.
What’s more, PIA is one of the most secure VPNs out there. It has industry-standard VPN security features like 256-bit AES encryption (the same encryption used by banks), a kill switch (automatically disconnects you from the internet if the VPN connection fails to prevent your data from leaking on the internet), and full leak protection against DNS, WebRTC, and IPv6 leaks.
PIA also has advanced security features like perfect forward secrecy and RAM-only servers. Perfect forward secrecy changes your encryption keys after each VPN session, preventing hackers from accessing any past or future keys. And RAM-only servers means that no data is stored on the hard drive (and each server is wiped clean of data each time it’s reset).
PIA also offers great extra features, such as:
- Split-tunneling — This feature allows you to choose which apps and IP addresses to route through the VPN, and which ones to route through your local network. PIA offers split-tunneling on Android, Windows, and Macs.
- Ad blocker (MACE) — Blocks ads, trackers, and malicious websites.
- Obfuscation — PIA’s Shadowsocks proxy servers are able to bypass internet restrictions in censor-heavy nations like China and Iran.
- Identity Guard — Lets you see if any of your personal information (email addresses, passwords, date of birth, etc.) has been involved in a data breach.
One of my favorite things about PIA is how all of its apps are fully open-source, which allows anyone to examine its code for holes in security or privacy. And PIA’s no-logs policy has been proven in multiple court documents that it doesn’t store user data, such as IP addresses, websites you visit, and files you download.
Finally, PIA is also one of my top choices for streaming. It works with Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney+, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, and more. And thanks to PIA’s fast speeds, I was able to stream TV shows and movies in HD and 4K quality without any interruptions. PIA has excellent torrenting support as well — it allows torrenting on all of its servers, works with all major P2P clients, like BitTorrent, Deluxe, and Vuze, and allows port forwarding (lets you connect to more peers for even faster download speeds).
PIA accepts 4 credit cards, PayPal, Amazon Pay, and cryptocurrencies, and all of its plans are covered by a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Private Internet Access is the best overall cheap VPN on the market — it’s secure, comes with intuitive apps, maintains very fast speeds, works with all streaming apps, and offers several plans that start at $2.03 / month. PIA also often gives away additional months for free, allows up to 10 simultaneous connections, and backs all of its plans with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
🥈2. CyberGhost VPN — Secure + Great for Streaming, Torrenting & Gaming
CyberGhost VPN offers monthly and yearly subscription plans that start at just $3.00 / month — apart from having some of the cheapest prices around, CyberGhost is also known to give away 3 months for free.
It’s also very secure, provides good speeds, and comes with dedicated servers that are optimized for streaming, torrenting, and gaming (it’s one of my favorite gaming VPNs in 2022). And it’s a decent choice for multi-device households, as it supports up to 7 simultaneous connections on 1 account.
CyberGhost has the largest server network on this list (7,600+ servers in 90+ countries) — this allows virtually any user in the world to connect to a nearby server to get fast speeds, and it also helps prevent server overcrowding, which causes slowdowns. And speaking of speeds, CyberGhost only had an average speed decrease of 30% in my tests, which isn’t as fast as Private Internet Access, but it’s still pretty good for all online activities.
In addition to having essential security features like 256-bit AES encryption, a kill switch, a strict no-logs policy, DNS and WebRTC leak protection, as well as advanced security tools like perfect forward secrecy and RAM-only servers, CyberGhost also includes:
- Smart Rules — This feature allows you to customize your CyberGhost VPN security and privacy settings.
- Ad blocker — Blocks ads and malicious content.
- Split-tunneling — CyberGhost only allows you to exclude apps from the VPN tunnel (PIA also lets you exclude IP addresses), and the feature is only available on the Android app.
- NoSpy servers — Located at CyberGhost’s headquarters, these servers are more secure and provide faster speeds.
- My ID Guard — Tracks and alerts you if your email or passwords have been leaked on the dark web.
Moreover, CyberGhost is excellent for streaming and torrenting — it has 50+ dedicated servers across 10+ countries that are optimized for streaming apps like Netflix, and it has dedicated torrenting servers in 65+ countries. While the specialized streaming and torrenting servers worked great in my tests, I slightly prefer Private Internet Access as it conveniently allows streaming and torrenting on all servers.
Unfortunately, CyberGhost doesn’t work in restrictive countries like China and Iran.
CyberGhost accepts credit cards, PayPal, Google Pay, Amazon Pay, and Bitcoin. And it backs all of the yearly plans with a very generous 45-day money-back guarantee (the monthly plan comes with a 14-day money-back guarantee).
CyberGhost VPN includes good security features, has dedicated servers for streaming, torrenting, and gaming, and offers low-cost plans starting at $3.00 / month — plus, its longest plan typically comes with an additional 3 months for free. CyberGhost allows up to 7 simultaneous connections, and it backs all annual plans with a generous 45-day money-back guarantee.
🥉3. PrivateVPN — Great VPN for Beginners
PrivateVPN has budget-friendly plans that start at $2.50 / month, sometimes include free months, and support up to 10 connections.
PrivateVPN also has good security and privacy features, maintains fast speeds (dropping by an average of about 40%), and is extremely easy to use — people who have never used a VPN before will find PrivateVPN very intuitive.
One of the things I love the most about PrivateVPN is that its desktop apps have a Simple View mode that keeps user functions to a bare minimum, only allowing you to choose a server, contact customer support, and review your account — the Advanced View gives users full access to all features and preferences.
And all of PrivateVPN’s plans come with 256-bit AES encryption, a kill switch, a clear no-logs policy, and DNS and IPv6 leak protection (but not WebRTC). However, unlike Private Internet Access and CyberGhost VPN, PrivateVPN is missing advanced security features like perfect forward secrecy, as well as some key extra features like split-tunneling and an ad blocker.
Also, PrivateVPN is not as fast as Private Internet Access — I experienced similar speeds as PIA on local servers, but websites took longer to load and there was some buffering while watching content on distant servers.
PrivateVPN also works with all of the popular streaming services (I was able to access Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney+, Hulu, HBO Max, and more), allows torrenting on all of its 200+ servers in 60+ countries, and bypasses internet firewalls in restrictive countries with its Stealth VPN feature.
PrivateVPN accepts multiple forms of payment, including Bitcoin, and all of its plans come with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
PrivateVPN has several plans starting at $2.50 / month, and it sometimes offers extra months completely free of charge. It has good privacy and security, maintains fast speeds on local servers, and provides user-friendly apps that make it a great choice for people who have never used a VPN. PrivateVPN allows 10 connections and has a 30-day money-back guarantee.
4. CactusVPN — Great for Streaming + Large Households
CactusVPN offers multiple payment plans, with prices starting at $3.95 / month, and it’s one of the rare VPNs that allow unlimited simultaneous connections — meaning you can stream, torrent, browse, and play video games on as many devices as you want at the same time (which is why it’s great for large households or people with a lot of devices).
Another thing that sets it apart from the competition is that it uses SmartDNS instead of its VPN to access streaming services (you use the VPN for all of your other online activities) — thanks to its SmartDNS, CactusVPN is able to access a whopping 340+ streaming sites from 10+ countries.
And since SmartDNS doesn’t use encryption, it provides even faster speeds than a VPN. In my tests, I watched content on tons of different streaming apps (Netflix, Amazon, HBO Max, etc.) in HD and 4K quality without any interruptions or lag. Plus, I really like how simple it is to toggle back-and-forth between the SmartDNS and the VPN — it takes just one click!
That said, when using the VPN, I had much slower speeds than with Private Internet Access — websites took a couple of seconds to load, videos buffered as I skipped through them, and there was noticeable lag while I was gaming.
When it comes to security, CactusVPN has 256-bit AES encryption, a kill switch, and a no-logs policy, and it also has split-tunneling (for Android only) and obfuscation — which hides your online activities from your ISP, but it doesn’t work in restrictive countries.
However, unlike CyberGhost VPN, CactusVPN has a very small server network (only 39 servers in 22 locations). While the servers are spread out around the world, users in some regions like Africa, South and Central America, and the Middle East may have difficulty connecting to a fast server.
CactusVPN accepts multiple payment methods and backs all plans with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
CactusVPN’s plans start at min $3.95 / month, and it’s one of the only VPNs on the market to offer unlimited simultaneous connections. It uses SmartDNS to access 340+ streaming services, including Netflix and Amazon Prime, but it has the smallest server network on this list and its VPN’s speeds are not as fast as other VPNs I recommend. CactusVPN covers all plans with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
5. Zenmate VPN — Secure VPN with Multiple Plans
ZenMate VPN offers a 2-tier pricing plan, often gives away free months, and also allows unlimited VPN connections. While both its plans are pretty cheap (and you can opt for monthly or annual subscriptions), I don’t like that the plans don’t include the same features — the other VPNs on this list offer the same functionality across all plans, which I find to be way more convenient.
ZenMate’s entry-level Pro plan costs $1.99 / month — it has split-tunneling (Whitelister), a malware blocker, and a tool that clears your browsing history and cookies (Stealth Connection). Plus, there’s streaming support, but this plan only gives you access to ZenMate VPN’s browser extensions, and not the mobile or desktop apps.
To get access to the mobile and desktop apps and torrenting support, you need to purchase the Ultimate plan, which costs $4.49 / month — but I don’t like how this plan is missing Whitelister, the malware blocker, and Stealth Connection.
On the other hand, ZenMate VPN is very secure — it has essential security features, as well as perfect forward secrecy and RAM-only servers. And it’s one of the few VPNs (other than ExpressVPN and CyberGhost VPN) that provide encryption on its browser extensions.
I also like that ZenMate VPN allows P2P traffic on all 4,000+ servers in 80+ countries, but it also includes dedicated servers in 50+ countries that are optimized for torrenting. Plus, ZenMate VPN has optimized streaming servers that work with Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney+, and many other sites.
ZenMate VPN accepts credit cards and PayPal, and it backs all plans with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
ZenMate VPN has 2 cheap subscription plans that include different features. The Pro plan ($1.99 / month) comes with streaming support, and has extra features like split-tunneling, but it only allows you access to the browser extensions. The Ultimate plan ($4.49 / month) adds access to the mobile and desktop apps and torrenting support, but it doesn’t include the extra features. ZenMate allows unlimited simultaneous connections, and it backs all purchases with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Bonus. ExpressVPN — Best Overall VPN for a Few Extra Dollars
ExpressVPN may cost a little more than the other VPNs on this list, but it provides the best value on the market — plus, with our exclusive 49% discount, you can get it for $6.67 / month, which is a pretty good deal. And I’ve often seen ExpressVPN give away additional months for free.
ExpressVPN has robust security features, maintains the fastest speeds on this list, works with 65+ streaming services, allows P2P traffic on all of its 3,000+ servers network in 90+ countries, and lets you connect up to 5 devices — it’s ranked #1 on our list of the best VPNs in 2022, and it’s also our top choice for watching Netflix, torrenting, and even gaming.
ExpressVPN covers all plans with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
ExpressVPN is the best VPN on the market in 2022. While it’s a bit more expensive than the other VPNs on this list, it provides the best overall value. With prices starting at $6.67 / month, ExpressVPN has top-notch security features, lightning-fast speeds, works with 65+ streaming sites, allows P2P traffic on all of its 3,000+ servers in 90+ countries, and allows up to 5 simultaneous connections. All of its plans are covered with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
How to Choose the Best Cheap VPN for Your Needs in 2022
- Pricing. All of the VPNs on this list offer very cheap pricing, especially on long-term plans — Private Internet Access is my top pick for the best cheap VPN, whereas ExpressVPN is my overall favorite VPN in 2022 (but it’s pricier than the other options on the list).
- Value. I only recommend VPNs that support multiple platforms and devices, offer flexible payment methods, and allow you to connect at least 5 devices at once (CactusVPN and ZenMate offer unlimited connections).
- Security. All the VPNs on this list include industry-standard security features, such as 256-bit AES encryption, a kill switch, leak protection, and a strict no-logs policy.
- Speed. While all VPNs slow down your internet connections due to the encryption process, the VPNs here maintain fast speeds across all servers (they didn’t decrease my speed overall by more than an average of 43%).
- Streaming and torrenting. All of the VPNs on this list work with top streaming services, including Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, and Disney+, and each of these VPNs supports torrenting.
Comparison of the Best Cheap VPNs in 2022
|VPN||Starting Price||Money-Back Guarantee||Number of Devices|
|1.🥇 Private Internet Access||$2.03 / month||30 Days||10|
|2.🥈 CyberGhost VPN||$3.00 / month||45 Days (Yearly Plans)||7|
|3.🥉 PrivateVPN||$2.50 / month||30 Days||10|
|4. CactusVPN||$3.95 / month||30 Days||Unlimited|
|5. ZenMate||$1.99 / month||30 Days||Unlimited|
|Bonus. ExpressVPN||$6.67 / month||30 Days||5|
Top Brands That Didn’t Make the Cut
- ProtonVPN. ProtonVPN has excellent security and privacy features and very fast speeds. However, I don’t like ProtonVPN’s tier-based pricing model, which only provides access to all its tools on its most expensive plans. Also, Proton’s Plus plan, which offers the best value at $8.00 / month, is pricey when compared to top competitors.
- IVPN. IVPN is fast, secure, and user-friendly, but it doesn’t work with top streaming sites and has a higher monthly price (starting at $6.00 / month) than most top VPNs.
- Boleh VPN. BolhVPN is fast and good for torrenting, but it’s not user-friendly, doesn’t work with a lot of streaming sites (including Netflix), it may log your data, and it’s pricey (the cheapest plan costs $9.99 / month).
Frequently Asked Questions about Cheap VPNs
What’s the best cheap VPN?
Private Internet Access (PIA) is my top choice for the best cheap VPN in 2022. Private Internet Access has excellent security features, very fast speeds, works with all of the top streaming apps, supports torrenting on all servers in 75+ countries, and offers very cheap prices, which start at $6.67 / month.
While Private Internet Access is the best budget-friendly VPN, there are other good cheap VPNs out there. CyberGhost VPN is excellent for streaming, and PrivateVPN is very user-friendly. CactusVPN works with 340+ streaming sites and allows unlimited simultaneous connections, and ZenMate VPN offers multiple payment options (and also allows unlimited connections).
Are cheap VPNs safe?
It depends on the VPN. Many cheap VPNs aren’t safe and some low-cost VPNs are actually dangerous — they lack essential security features, may log your online traffic, and leak your personal data on the internet.
However, all of the cheap VPNs I recommend are very safe. They have industry-standard security features (256-bit AES encryption, a kill switch, and a strict no-logs policy), protection against DNS, WebRTC, and IPv6 leaks, advanced security features like perfect forward secrecy, and also include extra features like split-tunneling and an ad blocker.
How to get a cheap VPN?There are 3 very quick and simple steps to get a cheap VPN in 2022:
- Pick a reputable VPN. Choose a good VPN that offers cheap pricing (I recommend Private Internet Access, which starts at $2.03 / month).
- Download and install the VPN app. It typically takes just a couple of minutes to download and install a cheap VPN on your devices — all you have to do is follow the in-app instructions. If you plan to install the VPN on multiple devices, check to see the number of simultaneous connections the provider allows — Private Internet Access allows up to 10 connections.
- Connect to a VPN server. Open the app, scroll through the list of server locations, and connect to a server — you can either use the quick-connect tool to connect to the fastest server based on your location, or you can manually choose any server.
Do cheap VPNs work with Netflix and other streaming platforms?
Most cheap VPNs don’t work with Netflix and other popular streaming apps, but all of the VPNs I recommend are able to access Netflix and other streaming platforms.
Private Internet Access works with streaming apps on all of its servers, while CyberGhost VPN has dedicated servers that are optimized for working with 50+ streaming services. PrivateVPN supports streaming on all servers, CactusVPN uses SmartDNS to access 340+ streaming services, and ZenMate VPN also works with Netflix.