How Much Does a VPN Cost? Full 2024 Guide

Raven Wu
Raven Wu Writer
Updated on: June 16, 2024
Fact Checked by Eric Goldstein
Raven Wu Raven Wu
Updated on: June 16, 2024 Writer

VPN prices vary a lot, ranging from just a few dollars to $15 or more per month. The cost depends on a lot of factors, and one of the main ones is the plan length that you choose. Long-term plans are typically much cheaper than short-term plans — for example, you’ll pay around $5 a month for a 2-year plan with a top VPN, and about $12 on average a month if you opt for a monthly plan.

However, picking the right VPN is more than just looking at the price — just because a VPN is more expensive or has longer-term plans than another VPN doesn’t automatically mean it offers better value. You’ll need to make sure that it offers excellent security, a large server network, fast speeds, and apps for all of your devices for a reasonable price. You should also consider things like streaming and torrenting support if you want to protect your traffic while watching your favorite shows or sharing P2P files.

The bottom line is you can get a top-notch VPN for a very affordable price, and most of the best VPNs come with a money-back guarantee, so you can try them out risk-free to find out if they suit your needs.

Currently, the best value VPN is ExpressVPN — it has the fastest speeds, provides top-tier privacy and security features, and offers easy-to-use apps for all major operating systems. It’s also got great support for all sorts of online activities, including streaming, torrenting, gaming, bypassing censorship, and more.

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How Much Is a VPN?

The average cost of a VPN ranges between $2 – $15 and more a month, depending on what you’re getting. All top VPNs encrypt your traffic and change your IP address, protecting your privacy and anonymity online. Beyond that, though, some VPNs maintain faster speeds, have different advanced security features and extras (like an ad blocker), and come with varying degrees of streaming, torrenting & gaming support. All of these factors can play a part in how much the VPN costs and whether or not it offers a good value.

However, the price often has little to do with the quality of the VPN. For example, Private Internet Access, one of the best VPNs on the market, offers plans that start at only $2.03 / month. For comparison, Astrill VPN, which is far inferior in terms of performance and features, costs $12.50 / month — and that’s its cheapest plan!

A top VPN offers excellent features for a reasonable price. Our #1 pick is ExpressVPN — it comes with the fastest speeds on the market, advanced security and privacy features, torrenting support on all servers, streaming support for 100+ streaming services, and it even works in restrictive countries like China and Iran (not many VPNs do that). Its plans start at just $6.67 / month, which is very affordable considering that you’re getting the best value on the market in 2024!

Comparison of the Best VPN Prices in 2024

VPN Starting Price Best Deal Number of Devices Money-Back Guarantee
1.🥇ExpressvPN $6.67 / month 49% 8 30 days
2.🥈Private Internet Access $2.03 / month 83% Unlimited 30 days
3.🥉CyberGhost VPN $2.03 / month 84% 7 Up to 45 days
4. NordVPN $3.39 / month 45% 10 30 days
5. Surfshark $2.19 / month 86% Unlimited 30 days
6. PrivateVPN $2.00 / month 83% 10 30 days
7. Proton VPN $4.49 / month 55% 10 30 days (prorated)
8. TunnelBear $3.33 / month 67% Unlimited
9. VyprVPN $3.00 / month 50% 10 30 days
10. IPVanish $2.19 / month 83% Unlimited 30 days

How to Choose the Best VPN in 2024

  • Choose a provider with fast speeds. This ensures that you enjoy smooth streaming, gaming, and browsing without buffering or lag. I’ve tested dozens of VPNs and can confirm that ExpressVPN consistently delivers the fastest speeds.
  • Get a VPN with strong privacy and security features. Make sure that the VPN you pick comes with industry-standard VPN security features. These include 256-bit AES encryption, which is the same encryption used by militaries, and a strict no-logs policy to ensure the provider doesn’t keep logs of your online activities. In addition, look for a kill switch, which shuts down your internet if your VPN connection drops to prevent accidental data leaks.
  • Pick one with a large server network. I only recommend getting a VPN that offers servers in countries located all over the world. This way, you can always find a nearby server to connect to for the best possible speeds.
  • Find a VPN with feature-rich and user-friendly apps. Not all VPNs have good apps for every platform. For example, some providers lack essential security features or bonus features on iOS and macOS. You also want to avoid providers with cluttered or confusing interfaces that might make their apps difficult to navigate.
  • Consider the provider’s streaming and torrenting support. If you’re into streaming, you’ll want to get a VPN that works with streaming platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime. Similarly, for users who often download torrents, it’s crucial for the VPN to support P2P traffic.
  • Check if it works in restrictive countries. If you live or plan on traveling to countries with stringent online censorship, you’ll need a VPN that’s good at bypassing censorship.
  • Evaluate its overall value. Look for a VPN that comes with many bonus features, offers flexible plans with reasonable prices, accepts multiple payment methods, and backs all subscriptions with a money-back guarantee.

Are Cheap VPNs Worth Buying?

I’d tread with caution, as some cheap VPNs come with many serious downsides. For example, they may have very slow speeds, which ruin your browsing, streaming, torrenting, and gaming experience. Plus, some lack important security and privacy features.

That said, the price tag isn’t always a direct reflection of quality. There are many budget-friendly VPNs that I’d readily recommend, such as Private Internet Access whose plans cost at as little as $2.03 / month, CyberGhost VPN, which starts at $2.03 / month, and Surfshark, whose plan starts at $2.19 / month — these VPNs strike a good balance between quality and affordability and hit essential benchmarks for speeds, security, ease of use, etc.

If your budget is a concern, you can also check out our best VPN deals page, which is constantly updated with the latest verified coupons and promo codes for the top VPNs in the industry.

Should I Trust a Free VPN?

There are a few decent free VPNs, but I don’t usually recommend using one, as they’re often very limited. For example, a lot of free VPNs restrict the number of server locations you access, enforce daily or monthly data caps, have very slow speeds, don’t allow streaming and torrenting, and lack useful extra features like an ad, tracker, and malware blocker.

The biggest problem with a lot of free VPNs is poor privacy and security. This includes weak encryption, insecure VPN protocols, and missing essential security features like full leak protection and/or a kill switch. What’s worse, some free providers earn revenue by collecting and selling your data, like your email address and browsing activities, to third-party entities, jeopardizing your privacy.

Investing in a paid VPN saves you a lot of time and trouble. Plus, many paid VPNs come with money-back guarantees, so you can test out their services risk-free. But if you really want to get a free VPN, I recommend checking top brands like ExpressVPN and Private Internet Access.

Free & Cheap VPNs to Avoid

  • Hola VPN. Hola VPN’s free plan offers only basic or outdated VPN protocols (it’s missing OpenVPN and WireGuard) and keeps a ton of logs on your online activities, including the websites you visit and the files you download. Because it’s actually a P2P proxy service, your IP address can also be used by other Hola VPN users to perform illegal activities.
  • Phone Guardian. Phone Guardian doesn’t really work like a VPN, despite how it’s advertised. It won’t hide your IP address, and it doesn’t encrypt all of your internet traffic. It also collects data on your app usage and browsing habits and has awful customer support — its website does a poor job explaining what the app does, its support library is barebones, and the contact email listed in its FAQ section doesn’t work.
  • SuperVPN. SuperVPN’s free plan has in-app ads. It also lacks basic security features like 256-bit AES encryption and a kill switch, logs your IP address (and possibly your online traffic), and has even leaked user data in the past.
  • AceVPN. AceVPN has 20 server locations, which is below the industry average, only allows you to torrent on 1 server, and doesn’t even have a kill switch. On top of that, you have to manually configure it on your device — there are no dedicated apps for any OS.
  • TouchVPN. This free VPN has servers in an impressive 80+ countries, but it collects your IP address and information about the sites you’ve visited.

Common Purchasing Mistakes & How to Avoid Them

  • Buying a cheap VPN to save money. Opting for the cheapest option without considering security, speed, and features may leave you disappointed at best and compromise your privacy and security at worst. Remember that the most important thing you can do before purchasing a product is research — and if you don’t know enough about VPNs to do that, our website is a good starting point.
  • Ignoring privacy policies. It’s a good practice to read the VPN’s privacy policy to see what types of data it collects, how it stores this data, and whether or not the provider will share this information with third parties. I always recommend VPNs that follow a strict no-logs policy.
  • Overlooking server locations. Choosing a VPN without a diverse range of server locations limits your ability to achieve optimal connection speeds, especially if it doesn’t have servers that are near your location or if you’re often traveling. This usually means you won’t be able to bypass geo-restrictions when abroad.
  • Failing to research the VPN’s features. Not all VPNs support streaming, torrenting, and/or are good for bypassing censorship. If you need one or more of these features, here are the best streaming, gaming, and torrenting VPNs.
  • Not checking for a free trial or a money-back guarantee. Most top providers offer a money-back guarantee, meaning you can get a full refund on your purchase if you do so within the stated period of time. You should take advantage of this to test the VPN’s performance and features before committing long-term.

How to Purchase & Install a VPN

  1. Go to the VPN provider’s website. Type the provider’s name in any search engine or click on our affiliate link. A button to get the VPN should be prominently displayed on the home page. Click it to proceed.
    How to Purchase & Install a VPN
  2. Select a plan. The longest-term plan typically provides the best value.
    How to Purchase & Install a VPN
  3. Enter your payment details. Most VPNs accept credit/debit cards. Some accept PayPal and cryptocurrencies. You might also need to provide a valid email address.
    How to Purchase & Install a VPN
  4. Download and install the app. The on-screen instructions on the installer will guide you through the whole process. It should take just 2–3 minutes to install.
    How to Purchase & Install a VPN
  5. Open the VPN app. Sign into your account on the app, choose a VPN server from the list, and click on the Connect button. And you’re all set!
    How to Purchase & Install a VPN
  6. Download the app on other devices. Visit the VPN’s official website and download the VPN to the rest of your devices.
    How to Purchase & Install a VPN
  7. Connected to a server. I typically recommend picking a local or a nearby server for the best possible speeds. A lot of top VPNs also recommend the most suitable server location for you! How to Purchase & Install a VPN

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it worth paying for a VPN?

Yes, it’s definitely worth getting a top VPN for better online privacy and security. A VPN encrypts your traffic, which makes all of your online activities unreadable to third parties like ISPs, governments, and advertisers. It also masks your IP address by assigning you an IP address that belongs to the VPN server you connect to, so every site you visit online sees that IP address, and not yours. While it doesn’t safeguard passwords or credit card details, it protects you from unauthorized surveillance and IP address tracking.

How much does a VPN cost per month?

A VPN plan can cost anywhere from a few dollars to $15 or more a month — it mostly depends on whether you opt for a monthly plan or a longer-term plan, which are typically cheaper. Long-term plans, which usually range from 1 to 3 years, cost an average of $2-6 a month. For comparison, monthly plans cost around $12 and more. Some providers also offer 3-month and 6-month plans, which are cheaper than the monthly plans but more expensive than the yearly plans.

Are paid VPNs better than free VPNs?

Yes, I would generally avoid using free VPNs. This is because they usually come with many constraints, such as limited server locations, slow connection speeds, and restrictions on data usage. They might not support activities like streaming or torrenting and often lack bonus features like ad, tracker, and malware blockers. Free VPNs are also worse at safeguarding your privacy and security.

Paid VPNs offer superior performance and security and include more useful features. The VPNs I recommend have competitive pricing plans, maintain fast speeds, offer great security and privacy features, and most come with a money-back guarantee.

Which VPN provides the best value?

I recommend getting ExpressVPN. Its plans start at $6.67 / month and include servers in 105 countries, the fastest speeds on the market, and top-tier security features. Additionally, it has user-friendly apps for all major platforms, including iOS, Android, Windows. All of its plans are backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee.

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About the Author
Raven Wu
Raven Wu
Writer
Updated on: June 16, 2024

About the Author

Raven Wu is a freelance writer, editor, and translator. He is a strong advocate of internet freedom and is very passionate about technology, and he’s honed his craft by researching and writing about a variety of other topics including education, literature, health, pop culture, and games. Outside of work, he's an amateur novelist and history enthusiast who enjoys hard games, spicy food, and thinking way too hard about everything.

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