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The best cheap VPN services for 2024: Prices and features ranked

Contributions by Rachel Sadler Home Tech Expert
Reviewed by Dr. Phil Legg Professor of Cyber Security at UWE

Many cheap Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) make the user pay in other ways, whether it’s due to lax security, inferior encryption, missing features, or slower speeds. However, the best cheap VPNs are capable of matching up to premium counterparts, offering a cut-price alternative for anyone on a budget. 

With various Virtual Private Networks (VPNs), you don’t have to sacrifice security and privacy if you’re in need of a more affordable provider. The best cheap VPNs still offer competitive services, balancing a budget-friendly price with robust encryption, watertight security measures, and reliable performance.

Cheap VPNs can rival their pricier counterparts in terms of security and privacy features, including independently verified no-logs policies, split tunnelling, and strong kill switches. They should ensure that your online activities and personal information remain private as effectively as more expensive VPN providers. While even the best free VPNs can lack crucial features, some cheap VPNs offer reliable security without breaking the bank. 

We’ve assessed the best cheap VPNs, looking at security and privacy features, speed, performance, and value for money. While NordVPN offers the best overall service of all the providers we’ve tested, Surfshark is firmly at the top for cheap VPNs, delivering an impressive feature-filled performance for a wallet-friendly price.

Our top three VPN providers in 2024

If you happen to be unimpressed by the options listed below, here’s a roundup with our picks for the best VPNs in 2024. While a couple aren’t especially cheap VPNs, we’ve chosen our top three based on different use cases: best value, best all-around package, and our Editor’s Choice, which is our recommendation as the best overall option.

The best cheap VPNs compared

There were several factors we considered when trying to find the best cheap VPN. 

  • Subscription price: a cheap VPN should have a monthly price of less than £2. Typically, to subscribe for the lowest price, you’ll need to sign up for a lengthy plan, which is usually payable in one lump sum upfront. This upfront cost should also be affordable, and ideally no more than £50
  • Privacy: cheap VPNs should never skimp on privacy, and we’ve only chosen providers that use AES-256 – it’s the highest level of encryption and is used by governments and banks to secure sensitive information 
  • Speeds and performance: given we’re looking at cheap VPNs, speed tends to be an issue with some budget providers. We’ve selected affordable VPNs that still offer speeds in excess of 200 Mbps
  • Features: As well as privacy features, does the VPN have any special servers for streaming, or does it allow for easy access to the Tor browser? Does it come with an ad-blocker, and are these features useful? We’ve considered the above when compiling this list of the best cheap VPNs 
  • Security: is one of the most important parts of a VPN service, which is why we’ve only chosen cheap VPNs with a kill switch, split tunnelling and a range of VPN protocols
  • Verified no-logs policy: VPNs should have a no-logs policy, and the best services ensure that this policy is independently audited, but we found not all of the best cheap providers have taken this step
Best for Value Gaming Browsing Beginners Torrenting
Price From £1.79/m From £1.78/m From £1.57/m From £2.50/m From £1.34/m
Free version No No No Yes Yes
Max number of connected devices Unlimited 7 Unlimited 10 Unlimited
Number of servers 3,200+ 11,000+ 1,000+ 330+ 1,000+
AES-256 encryption Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Audited no-log policy Yes Yes Yes No No
Where to buy Get Now Get Now Get Now Get Now Get Now

The best cheap VPNs right now

Our list of the best cheap VPN UK providers only include services with a high level of privacy, top-notch security features, and good performance. These are the best cheap VPNs with seriously low prices available right now.

Surfshark: Best value VPN

surfshark logo white on blue

Lowest price: £1.79 per month | Free version: No | Maximum number of connected devices: Unlimited | Number of servers: 3,200+ | Encryption: AES-256 | VPN protocols: WireGuard, IKEv2 and OpenVPN | No-log policy: Yes | Audited: Yes, by Deloitte | Headquarters: Netherlands

Pros

Unlimited number of connected devices RAM-only servers in 100+ countries worldwide Audited no-logs policy

Cons

Based in the Netherlands (Nine Eyes) Surfshark One features are hidden behind an additional paywall

Why we recommend Surfshark 

Surfshark has built up a solid reputation as one of the best cheap VPNs on the market, although you wouldn’t know that it’s one of the more affordable options without looking at the price tag. 

For example, it’s one of the fastest providers on the market right now, recording speeds in excess of 430 Mbps while I was connected to servers found in the UK. Performance tends to be one of the ways in which low-cost VPNs are found wanting, but you won’t need to worry about the prospect of lag or slowdown while connected to Surfshark. 

It’s one of the most affordable VPNs on the market, and also one of our best VPN providers – simply because its price is low without cutting corners when it comes to features. Surfshark’s security and privacy features include everything you’d expect to find from a good VPN provider – an audited no-logs policy, AES-256 and a decent selection of VPN protocols.

What to expect from Surfshark:

The ability to use an unlimited number of devices with a single account is always helpful, while it comes with a no-logs policy that has been verified by Deloitte. Cure53 has audited Surfshark’s server infrastructure, ensuring that there are no configuration hiccups. 

Most cheap VPNs will cut corners to some extent, but Surfshark is able to come up with the goods when it comes to both speeds and streaming. The VPN works well with a long list of UK streaming services, and the same goes for various international platforms. This includes Prime Video, Disney+, BBC iPlayer, and more, so it’s a great option for secure streaming support from multiple locations. 

Cost

Subscription Term Price
Monthly £12.29 ($15.38) / month
12 months £2.29 ($2.87) / month (£32.06/$40.12 up front)
24 months (+2 months free) £1.79 ($2.24) / month (£46.54/$58.24 up front for 26 months)

Speed test results

Best cheap VPNs testing Surfshark on laptop
I conducted several speed tests while connected to various Surfshark servers around the world (Independent Advisor/Ookla)
Download speed (Mbps)Upload speed (Mbps)Latency (ping)Percentage of base download speedPercentage of base upload speed
No VPN590.68204.693.00
UK to UK433.14246.5411.0073%120%
UK to US367.2520.26130.0062%10%
UK to Aus241.048.69326.3341%4%

Date tested: 17/03/24

Surfshark key features:

  • Privacy and security: Surfshark’s VPN has a long list of notable security boosting features on offer, including DNS leak protection, obfuscation, and a solid kill switch. It’s now based in the Netherlands, which could be improved by switching to a non-EU jurisdiction. Regardless, the provider has been fully audited for added peace of mind, and it uses RAM–based servers which can be wiped easily. You’ll also be able to pay for the service with cryptocurrencies, which helps to improve anonymity if that’s your main aim.

(Rating:) 4/5

  • Pricing, value for money, & support: it’s fair to say that Surfshark offers good value for money with longer subscriptions. 24 months works out to roughly £1.79 per month at the current time of writing for a Surfshark Starter account, while Surfshark One+ is £3.49 per month paid upfront. However, multiple tiers might be confusing for new users, while monthly subscriptions have become pricier in recent months. Surfshark comes with a simple 30-day money-back guarantee, while live chat support is always available.

(Rating:) 5/5

  • Speeds and performance: VPN speeds in excess of 433 Mbps make Surfshark one of the fastest providers on the market. As we’ve mentioned, it’s comparable to many of the best VPNs in terms of speeds and reliability, including nippy US server connections via the UK. 

(Rating:) 5/5

  • Streaming and torrenting: Surfshark is surprisingly adept at accessing the majority of popular streaming services, whether they’re based in the UK, or in a range of locations worldwide. There aren’t any servers optimised for the task, but you’ll only need to click and connect with the majority of streaming platforms. Surfshark also allows for P2P connections, so it scores highly. 

(Rating:) 4/5

  • Servers and compatibility: over 3,200 servers is great for a budget service, while Surfshark is compatible with various mobile and desktop devices, along with TVs, routers, browsers, and more. Unlimited connections are always going to be helpful for the average user, as anyone can share an account with others if they prefer to do so. 

(Rating:) 4/5

  • Features and limitations: some additional online security features and software are hidden behind an extra paywall, although it’s nothing essential if you just want a trustworthy VPN for a low price. Surfshark One extras include a private search engine, antivirus, real-time breach alerts, webcam protection, and more. Surfshark Starter accounts are the most affordable option, offering an ad-blocker along with one of the best cheap VPNs on the market. 

(Rating:) 3/5

Overall score: 25/30

Final verdict:

Surfshark ticks every box if you’re in need of the best cheap VPN for the UK, or pretty much anywhere else on the planet. There are thousands of servers to pick from in 100+ countries, while speeds match up to the fastest providers in the business. Surfshark works well with various streaming platforms, and it has been fully audited, including its infrastructure and its logging policy. You can connect with an unlimited number of devices, while features include an ad-blocker, obfuscation, and much more. It’s fair considering the low asking price for longer subscriptions. 

Read our full Surfshark VPN review.

Today’s best Surfshark deals
Surfshark 24 month £1.79 /Month
£1.79 /Month
Surfshark 12 month £2.29 /Month
£2.29 /Month
Surfshark 1 month £12.29 /Month
£12.29 /Month

CyberGhost: Best for streaming and gaming

cyberghost logo

Lowest price: £1.78/m | Free version: No | Maximum number of connected devices: Seven | Number of servers: 11,000+ | Encryption: AES-256 | VPN protocols: OpenVPN, IKEv2, WireGuard | No-log policy: Yes | Audited: Yes, by Deloitte | Headquarters: Bucharest, Romania

Pros

User-friendly apps with labelled streaming servers 11,000+ RAM-only servers in 100+ countries Extended 45-day money-back guarantee for subscriptions longer than six months

Cons

One-month plan only has a 14-day money-back guarantee Limited to seven simultaneous devices

Why we recommend CyberGhost 

If you’re planning to use a cheap VPN for intensive tasks like streaming, torrenting, or gaming, look no further than CyberGhost. It has similar streaming capabilities when compared to other top providers, but goes one step further, thanks to labelled servers that make it easy to access popular platforms with a couple of clicks. This includes the likes of BBC iPlayer and Netflix, with hundreds of streaming services to pick from at any given time. 

Meanwhile, connection speeds of roughly 361 Mbps ensure that you won’t have to worry about any buffering whilst streaming, and it also helps to lower latency during online gaming sessions. 

What to expect from CyberGhost:

CyberGhost is an especially user-friendly provider, with features including split tunnelling, a kill switch, and DNS leak protection. Over 11,800 servers are found in 100+ countries worldwide, which is one of the more expansive networks you’ll find on the market. Given the sheer scale of the operation, they’re never likely to be overloaded due to too many users connecting at the same time. 

As well as a vast network, speeds are quick enough for anything from streaming live 4K channels to smooth online gaming, with fast uploads and low latency via nearby servers. This isn’t always the case, as server numbers don’t necessarily equate to faster speeds.

Cost

Subscription Term Price
Monthly £10.89 ($13.63) / month
6 months £6.19 ($7.75) / month (£37.14/$46.48 up front)
24 months (+2 months free) £1.78 ($2.23) / month (£49.92/$62.47 up front for 28 months)

Speed test results

Best cheap VPNs testing Cyberghost on laptop
CyberGhost returned mixed results during my speed tests (Independent Advisor/Ookla)
Download speed (Mbps)Upload speed (Mbps)Latency (ping)Percentage of base download speedPercentage of base upload speed
No VPN595.33201.753.00
UK to UK361.70292.8511.6761%145%
UK to US166.9840.43121.0028%20%
UK to Aus115.4122.79361.3319%11%

Date tested: 17/03/24

CyberGhost key features:

  • Privacy and security: being based in Romania is a strong point, especially compared to some of the other VPN HQs seen on this list. CyberGhost has been independently audited, and comes with a strong selection of features that are designed to improve online security. This includes AES-256 encryption, a Content Blocker for ads and malware, wifi protection, and RAM-only servers. 

(Rating:) 4/5

  • Pricing, value for money, & support: one-month plans only have a 14-day money-back guarantee, which is lower than the industry standard of 30. However, more affordable longer plans come with a 45-day guarantee, along with significant savings. At £1.78 per month at the current time of writing, CyberGhost is certainly on the cheaper end of the scale when looking at two-year deals, while support staff are on hand 24/7 if you happen to have any questions relating to the service.  

(Rating:) 4/5

  • Speeds and performance: download and upload speeds were impressive whilst connected to UK VPN servers, although CyberGhost couldn’t replicate similar results from the United States, or Australia. There’s a lot of distance between my device and physical servers found halfway around the world, but other providers haven’t struggled in a similar fashion. In any case, local speeds are good enough for a cheap VPN, and shouldn’t cause any slowdown while in use. 

(Rating:) 4/5

  • Streaming and torrenting: arguably the best VPN for streaming in terms of usability, you’ll find a selection of labelled CyberGhost servers to pick from that can be used to access a wealth of content securely. This includes multiple streaming platforms based in the UK, the US, Spain, Switzerland, Germany, Italy, France, Denmark, Belgium, Singapore, Canada, Japan, Sweden, South Korea, Brazil, Finland, the Netherlands, Norway, Australia, India, Turkey, Austria, Ireland, and Romania. Given CyberGhost also has P2P-optimised servers, it earns a perfect score. 

(Rating:) 5/5

  • Servers and compatibility: CyberGhost apps and support are available for MacOS, Linux, PC, Chrome, Firefox, Android, iOS, routers, smart TVs, and more. It can be used with up to seven devices per account, which isn’t the most generous offering, but 11,800+ servers is a massive network, including lots of optimised options. CyberGhost is especially user-friendly.

(Rating:) 4/5

  • Features and limitations: it is missing out on a few advanced privacy features seen elsewhere, including no double VPN, obfuscated, or Tor servers. This means it might be better to look elsewhere if you’re in need of MultiHop support, or if you’d like to hide VPN usage from your ISP. However, CyberGhost is perfect for tasks like secure streaming, and will be helpful if you’re in need of a budget provider that can get the job done to a high standard. You’ll also be able to get a dedicated IP address for an extra monthly fee. 

(Rating:) 2/5

Overall score: 23/30

Final verdict:

CyberGhost is one of the best cheap VPNs on the market, and its dedicated streaming, gaming, and torrenting servers are one of the main features that sets it apart from competitors. The provider packs a lot into the service, all for a reasonable price if you sign up for a two-year deal. You’ll also be able to test it out properly given it comes with a 45-day money-back guarantee. CyberGhost’s local speeds are quicker than many expensive alternatives, and it’s a solid option for a number of different scenarios.  

Read our full CyberGhost review.

Today’s best CyberGhost deals
CyberGhost 2 year £1.78 /Month
£1.78 /Month
CyberGhost 1 year £6.19 /Month
£6.19 /Month
CyberGhost 1 month £10.89 /Month
£10.89 /Month

PrivadoVPN: Best for beginners

Lowest price: £2.50 / month | Free version: Yes | Maximum number of connected devices: 10 | Number of servers: 330+ | Encryption: AES-256 | VPN protocols: WireGuard, OpenVPN and IKEv2 | No-log policy: Yes  |Audited: No | Headquarters: Switzerland

Pros

Robust free tier with streaming support Intuitive apps for mobile and desktop devices Solely uses physical servers for advanced security

Cons

Lacks an audited no-logs policy Collects some basic logging information (device identifiers, email address, payment data)

Why we recommend PrivadoVPN 

PrivadoVPN has quickly established itself as a solid option for anyone in need of a low-cost provider. It comes with streaming support as standard, while features include an ad-blocker, split tunnelling, and access to a SOCKS5 Proxy. In terms of performance, UK server speeds of 408 Mbps are quick enough for the majority of online tasks.

What to expect from PrivadoVPN:

The service only has servers in 49 countries, which means you’ll have to look elsewhere if you’re in need of an IP address from a more obscure location. Even so, Privado is one of the few VPNs to solely use physical servers, rather than virtual options that are actually located elsewhere. 
A number of budget providers also offer a free tier, and Privado is no exception. Typically, free tiers are used to give a taster, capping speeds and bandwidth, or withholding features in an effort to convince users to opt for a paid version of the app. In this instance, the free version of Privado gives the user 10 GB of data every 30 days.

Cost

Subscription Term Price
Monthly £10.99 ($13.75) / month
12 months £2.50 ($3.13) / month (£30/$37.54 up front)
24 months £1.99 ($2.49) / month (£47.76/$59.76 up front)

Speed test results

Best cheap VPNs testing PrivadoVPN on laptop
PrivadoVPN had great speeds compared with other VPNs I’ve tested recently(Independent Advisor/Ookla)
Download speed (Mbps)Upload speed (Mbps)Latency (ping)Percentage of base download speedPercentage of base upload speed
No VPN432.90291.114.67
UK to UK408.78182.0829.0094%63%
UK to US299.5648.81134.0069%17%
UK to JP68.4518.22320.6716%6%

Date tested: 8/03/24

PrivadoVPN key features:

  • Privacy and security: PrivadoVPN offers AES-256 encryption, and a selection of secure protocols to pick from. However, while it comes with a no-logs policy, it has yet to have been audited by an independent third-party. Privado is based in Switzerland, benefiting from strong privacy laws, but we’d advise to stick with an audited alternative if you’d prefer the safest possible option. However, it’s unreasonable to expect every cheap VPN to be independently audited, especially given that it can be an expensive endeavour. 

(Rating:) 3/5

  • Pricing, value for money, & support: as it’s available for under £2 per month when looking at two-year deals plans, it’s fair to say that Privado offers great value for money if you’re willing to sign up for a while. Support includes a ticketing system, alongside 24/7 live chat. You’ll also be able to test the free version for yourself at no risk, and it’s ideal for light usage. Privado comes with a standard 30-day money back guarantee, so it scores high marks here. 

(Rating:) 5/5

  • Speeds and performance: PrivadoVPN has proven to be one of the fastest providers on the market, with speeds in excess of 400 Mbps via UK servers. There was significant slowdown while connected to a faraway location in Australia, indicating that there are some limitations, but it’s still a solid result for a cheaper provider. 

(Rating:) 4/5

  • Streaming and torrenting: even PrivadoVPN’s free servers can be used to test its streaming capabilities, and it works with a long list of platforms in regions like the US and the UK. The same goes for P2P activities, although there are no specific servers dedicated to either task. 

(Rating:) 3/5

  • Servers and compatibility: with fewer servers and locations to choose from, there are better options than PrivadoVPN if you need to get an IP address from multiple regions. For example, UK VPN server locations are limited to London and Manchester. Privado deploys roughly 800 servers in total, although I had to contact support staff to confirm numbers. It comes with apps iOS and Android, along with support for routers, Windows, Linux, MacOS, Chrome, and Firefox. You’ll be able to use one account with up to 10 simultaneous devices. 

(Rating:) 3/5

  • Features and limitations: even with a number of notable features on offer, a lack of an audited no-logs policy is a major limitation when compared to the best affordable VPNs on the market. You’ll find parental controls and an ad blocker to compliment the kill switch and split tunnelling, but the app itself is a little sparse otherwise. Judging PrivadoVPN solely from a budget perspective, it’s not the worst result when factoring for a lower asking price. 

(Rating:) 3/5

Overall score: 21/30

Final verdict:

PrivadoVPN might not offer as many server locations or simultaneous device connections (10) as some of its competitors, but longer subscription plans are very reasonably priced. It offers a solid level of security with a zero-logs policy and is headquartered in Switzerland. PrivadoVPN is a good choice for both general online privacy concerns and bypassing geo-restrictions.

Read our full PrivadoVPN review.

Today’s best PrivadoVPN deals
PrivadoVPN 2 year £1.99 /Month
£1.99 /Month
PrivadoVPN 12 month £2.50 /Month
£2.50 /Month
PrivadoVPN 1 month £10.99 /Month
£10.99 /Month

Private Internet Access: Best for browsing

Private Internet Access review featured thumbnail

Cheapest price: £1.57 per month  | Free version: No | Maximum number of connected devices: Unlimited | Number of servers: 1,000+ | Encryption: AES-256 | VPN protocols: OpenVPN, WireGuard, IKEv2 | No-log policy: Yes | Audited: Yes | Headquarters: United States

Pros

Unlimited simultaneous device connections Independently audited no-logs policy Advanced features include port forwarding, MultiHop, and obfuscation

Cons

Headquartered in the US (Five Eyes) US-focused service

Why we recommend Private Internet Access 

Private Internet Access (PIA) is indisputably one of the cheapest VPNs you’re likely to find, especially if you’re willing to sign up for a significantly longer period of time. Coming in at £1.63 per month at the current time of writing, it’ll be tough to find a reputable provider that can match their current pricing strategies. With strong security, various notable features, and streaming support, it’s a solid package for anyone in need of an affordable VPN. 

What to expect from Private Internet Access:

PIA might be one of the cheapest VPNs to make the list, but it measures up to alternatives like Surfshark in many respects. For example, both allow for unlimited device connections using one account, and can be used to access various streaming services securely. Each has been independently audited, ensuring that user data is dealt with safely. A total of 35,000+ VPN servers is 10 times the number seen with Surfshark, although PIA does suffer in terms of performance.

Despite having one of the largest server networks on the market, connection speeds dropped markedly during testing, even while using local servers found in the UK. The same was true for other regions such as the US and Australia. 

Cost

Subscription Term Price
Monthly £10.99 ($13.75) / month
12 months £5.39 ($6.74) / month (£32.34/$40.47 up front)
24 months (+4 months free) £1.57 ($1.96) / month (£43.94/$54.98 up front for 28 months)

Speed test results

Best cheap VPNs PIA testing on laptop
I found Private Internet Access to be below average (Independent Advisor/Ookla)
Download speed (Mbps)Upload speed (Mbps)Latency (ping)Percentage of base download speedPercentage of base upload speed
No VPN405.75256.713.33
UK to UK92.1561.2854.0023%24%
UK to US69.4223.96122.3317%9%
UK to Aus38.0218.88347.009%7%

Date tested: 08/03/24

Private Internet Access key features:

  • Privacy and security: an audited no-logs policy is a good start, although PIA is based in the United States. (Ideally, a VPN would be headquartered away from any Five Eyes countries.) Regardless, the provider hasn’t scrimped in terms of privacy and security. It comes with an ‘advanced’ kill switch, meaning it works automatically if your signal drops unexpectedly. It offers customisable automation features, and industry-standard AES-256 encryption. 

(Rating:) 3/5

  • Pricing, value for money, & support: as one of the cheapest audited VPNs on the market, PIA undoubtedly offers great value for money. You’re also covered by a simple 30-day money back guarantee. As best as I could tell, live chat support was a bot, while you’ll be able to submit any requests via a ticketing system. 

(Rating:) 4/5

  • Speeds and performance: look elsewhere if you’re in need of faster VPN server speeds. PIA lagged behind similar cheap VPNs during testing, and no servers were able to average 100 Mbps. However, it’s still quick enough to stream or browse the web with no lag, which is fair enough considering the low asking price. 

(Rating:) 2/5

  • Streaming and torrenting: with good streaming support in terms of avoiding VPN blocks, PIA scores well if you’d just like to access content without any hassle. This includes streaming optimised servers that can be found within the app itself. For example, UK streaming servers can be used to securely access platforms like ITV, Netflix UK and BBC iPlayer. PIA also allows for port forwarding, which can be helpful if you’re planning to share files via P2P. Slower speeds may lead to extended download times, but server speeds are still fast enough to stream live 4K channels. 

(Rating:) 4/5

  • Servers and compatibility: 35,000+ servers is an expansive selection to choose from, far exceeding any of the other VPNs mentioned above or below. Given PIA also comes with no device limits, it’s a solid pick if you’re aiming for blanket coverage. There are lots of specialty servers to pick from. You’ll find open-source apps for every popular operating system, along with support for Chrome, Firefox, Opera, consoles, TVs, routers, and more. 

(Rating:) 4/5

  • Features and limitations: advanced PIA features include port forwarding, MultiHop servers, and obfuscation. Private Internet Access is a cut above the average cheap VPN in this respect. On the other hand, speeds are one obvious limitation, even if there are plenty of servers on offer.

(Rating:) 3/5

Overall score: 20/30

Final verdict:

Private Internet Access is a longstanding VPN which offers an excellent range of security features, including a dedicated IP address (for an extra cost). Its connection speeds are slower than other providers we’ve reviewed, but subscription prices are more than reasonable. PIA is deserving of a spot on this list of the best cheap VPN providers, and it should be suitable for most non-intensive online tasks. 

Read our full Private Internet Access review.

Today’s best Private Internet Access deals
PIA 2 year £1.57 /Month
£1.57 /Month
PIA 6 month £5.39 /Month
£5.39 /Month
PIA 1 month £10.99 /Month
£10.99 /Month

IPVanish: Best for speeds

IPVanish logo on black background

Lowest price: £2.14 per month | Free version: No | Maximum number of connected devices: Unlimited | Number of servers: 2,200+ | Encryption: AES-256 | VPN protocols: WireGuard, IKEv2, IPSec and OpenVPN | No-log policy: Yes | Audited: Yes, by Leviathan | Headquarters: United States

Pros

Unlimited device connections Download speeds are some of the fastest we’ve tested Audited no-log policy

Cons

Missing out on some advanced features – port forwarding, Multihop, Smart DNS, etc Based in the US (Five Eyes)

Why we recommend IPVanish 

IPVanish is another solid recommendation if you’re looking for a cheap VPN that offers exceptional performance. Blisteringly fast server speeds are complemented by streaming access, while it comes with an audited no-logs policy. A recent shift in pricing strategies means that longer deals can now be considered if you’re in need of an affordable option.  

What to expect from IPVanish:

We recorded speeds of 380+ Mbps during the latest round of testing while connected to UK servers, which is one of the fastest VPN results you’ll find on this list. In fact, it was the fourth quickest provider overall during the latest round of speed testing, matching up to the likes of NordVPN and ExpressVPN for the most part.

Of course, speeds are only one aspect to consider when picking a VPN, whether its features, privacy, or value for money. In this instance, a number of advanced features are where you’ll find IPVanish to be lacking, as it’s missing out on Multihop servers, as well as additions like Smart DNS and port forwarding. 

Then there’s the fact that it’s based in the United States, which isn’t ideal given the proximity to agencies such as the NSA, as well as the country being a key Five Eyes member.

Cost

Subscription TermPrice
Monthly£10.49 ($13.13) / month
12 months£2.92 ($3.65) / month (£34.99/$43.78 up front)
24 months£2.14 ($2.68) / month (£51.32/$64.22 up front)

Speed test results

Best VPN IPVanish on laptop
IPVanish performed well during my speed tests (Independent Advisor)
Download speed (Mbps)Upload speed (Mbps)Latency (ping)Percentage of base download speedPercentage of base upload speed
No VPN410.85250.815.33
UK to UK384.03231.3616.0093%92%
UK to US316.6728.94207.6777%12%
UK to Aus205.0220.93367.6750%8%

Date tested: 08/03/24

IPVanish key features:

  • Privacy and security: we’ve mentioned that a US HQ isn’t a good starting point, although IPVanish has a privacy policy which has been independently audited by Leviathan Security Group. Features include split tunnelling, as well as DNS leak protection, a kill switch, AES-256 encryption, and a SOCKS5 proxy.

(Rating:) 3/5

  • Pricing, value for money, & support: a VPN that is typically on the upper end of the spectrum in terms of pricing, a recent shift has seen longer subscriptions dipping under the £3 mark. If you’re planning to sign up for a while, IPVanish is a suitable option when looking at the best cheap VPNs available right now. Two-year plans work out to just over £2 per month, while it comes with a simple 30-day money-back guarantee. If you’d like to get in touch with the provider, it has live chat, and support staff were quick to respond when I got in contact.

(Rating:) 3/5

  • Speeds and performance: IPVanish has offered reliable connection speeds for years, coming close to 400 Mbps in the latest round of testing. UK to US VPN speeds reached 315 Mbps, so it’s a strong result for the provider.

(Rating:) 4/5

  • Streaming and torrenting: you’ll be able to use IPVanish servers to great effect in terms of torrenting, while it’s able to access a wide selection of streaming services. In the UK alone, it worked with BBC iPlayer, Channel 4, ITV X, and Netflix during testing. 

(Rating:) 4/5

  • Servers and compatibility: roughly 2,400 servers in 90 locations is a decent selection to choose from, and IPVanish lets you connect to the VPN with as many devices as you like at the same time. Over 1,100 of IPVanish’s servers are found in the US, so it works with lots of American sites and services. Along with apps for desktop and mobile operating systems, it can be used with Apple Vision Pro, routers, and various streaming devices.

(Rating:) 3/5

  • Features and limitations: Speeds, security, and streaming access tend to be the extent of what you’ll get with IPVanish. The likes of split tunnelling and a SOCKS5 proxy are decent additions, but you’ll find more comprehensive packages elsewhere.

(Rating:) 3/5

Overall score: 20/30

Final verdict:

IPVanish is a worthy addition to this list of the best cheap VPNs, with a lot to offer for anyone in need of reliable speeds and strong streaming support via an audited provider. The US HQ is a drawback from a privacy perspective, but you’ll be protected by a strict no-logs policy. Given one of my common complaints about IPVanish over the years has been due to high pricing, it’s great to see that it can be obtained for just over £2 at the current time of writing. 

Read our full IPVanish review.

Today’s best IPVanish deals
IPVanish 2 year £2.14 /Month
£2.14 /Month
IPVanish 12 month £2.92 /Month
£2.92 /Month
IPVanish 1 month £10.49 /Month
£10.49 /Month

Windscribe: Best for a cheap custom plan

Windscribe VPN review featured thumbnail

Lowest price: £4.60 per month | Free version: Yes | Maximum number of connected devices: Unlimited | Number of servers: 480+ | Encryption: AES-256 | VPN protocols: OpenVPN, IKEv2, WireGuard | No-log policy: Yes | Audited: No | Headquarters: Canada

Pros

Offers a solid free tier Includes the opportunity to build a custom plan Labelled streaming servers

Cons

Fewer servers to pick from Lacks an audited logging policy

Why we recommend Windscribe 

Windscribe is one of the few independently owned VPNs on the market, and it’s a viable solution for anyone who wants an affordable provider with the ability to customise your experience. The cheapest Windscribe deals relate to custom plans, allowing the user to select a specific server rather than opting for blanket coverage.

You’ll be able to pick from roughly 500 RAM-only servers found in 69 countries, found in every continent. It might have fewer servers to pick from, but it was still able to achieve speeds of 263 Mbps while connected to servers found in the UK. 

What to expect from Windscribe:

Features include static IPs, port forwarding, split tunnelling, and a free version of the app, offering 10 GB of data per month. It allows for unlimited device connections, while R.O.B.E.R.T. is a customisable server-side domain and IP blocking tool.

In other words, it’s a reasonably comprehensive package, although it hasn’t been audited independently as of yet. Windscribe is great for streaming, while connection speeds are quick enough for most online tasks. Download speeds dipped to below 50 per cent during testing, but it’s still a decent result via server locations in the US and the UK.  

Cost

Subscription TermPrice
Monthly$9 (£7.19) / month
12 months$5.75 (£4.60) / month ($69/£55.15 up front)
Build a planFrom $3 (£2.40) / month

Speed test results

Best VPN Windscribe on laptop
Relative newcomer Windscribe held its own in my performance tests (Independent Advisor)
Download speed (Mbps)Upload speed (Mbps)Latency (ping)Percentage of base download speedPercentage of base upload speed
No VPN571.88217.237.33
UK to UK263.86147.45147.4546%68%
UK to US236.9312.86124.6741%6%
UK to Aus123.1718.46334.3322%8%

Date tested: 17/03/24

Windscribe key features:

  • Privacy and security: Windscribe hasn’t been independently audited as of yet, so there are arguably better options available if you’re more interested in online security. It’s a solid cheap provider, but the VPN is based in Canada, so there are better options from a jurisdictional standpoint. In any case, it comes with a ‘no identifying logs policy’, paired with a Transparency Report that ‘tracks real-time data requests from copyright and law enforcement agencies’. To date, Windscribe says that ‘zero requests were complied with due to lack of relevant data’.

(Rating:) 3/5

  • Pricing, value for money, & support: you’ll be able to build a custom Windscribe VPN plan, coming in at $1 for each location and $1 for unlimited data. There’s a minimum charge of $3, which works out to be one of the cheapest VPN packages on the market. However, a shortened refund policy of three days is a fraction of what you’ll find elsewhere. It does come with a free tier, again with a 10 GB monthly data cap. This can be used to trial the service. As for support, there’s a chatbot, a dedicated subreddit, and the option to submit a ticket. 

(Rating:) 3/5

  • Speeds and performance: speeds were decent, especially if you factor in for the lower asking price. UK VPN download speeds in excess of 260 Mbps are going to be quick enough for the majority of online tasks, while upload speeds are also impressive. Even so, results are significantly slower than any of the options that make up the top three. 

(Rating:) 3/5

  • Streaming and torrenting: P2P activities are supported on most servers, and Windscribe also supports port forwarding. In terms of streaming access, it’s great if you need a cheap Netflix VPN, working well with international libraries, as well as other popular platforms.

(Rating:) 4/5

  • Servers and compatibility: Windscribe has locations in 69 countries, but refused to get into specific server numbers when I got in contact with its support bot. A lack of transparency is disappointing, while it had roughly 500 RAM-only servers when the information was last made available. You’ll be able to connect with unlimited devices, which is always a helpful feature.  

(Rating:) 4/5

  • Features and limitations: the provider has a decent selection of features and extras to choose from, including a solid free plan, streaming support, and fast connection speeds. Fewer servers is a slight letdown, but you’ll still find coverage in 134+ cities.

(Rating:) 3/5

Overall score: 20/30

Final verdict:

Windscribe is a performant cheap VPN, offering everything from a solid free tier to a transparent business model. The lack of an audit might be off-putting to some users who are predominantly focused on privacy, but it’s perfect if you’re in need of an affordable provider that comes with reliable streaming support. Speeds are impressive, so it’s another viable option if you’re looking for a solid budget service.

Read our full Windscribe review.

Today’s best Windscribe deals
Windscribe 12 month £4.60 /Month
£4.60 /Month
Windscribe 1 month £7.19 /Month
£7.19 /Month

Which cheap VPN is the fastest?

Of the VPNs we’ve tested, IPVanish is the speediest provider while connecting to servers in the UK (472Mbps). CyberGhost is a close second (471Mbps), while Surfshark claims the third spot (420Mbps). Each is proof that performance doesn’t necessarily correlate with the asking price for some providers.

VPNNo VPN Download speed (Mbps)No VPN Upload speed (Mbps)UK to UK Download speed (Mbps)UK to UK Upload speed (Mbps)UK to US Download speed (Mbps)UK to US Upload speed (Mbps)UK to Aus Download speed (Mbps)UK to Aus Upload speed (Mbps)
IPVanish490.19353.89472.12266.37322.2315.55330.7431.36
CyberGhost442.83242.95471.14247.81394.9565.22344.416.87
Surfshark411.8241.95420.29245.59365.4954.9252.2831.85
Windscribe409.94234.13409.52240.85403.0451.52260.5218.63
PrivadoVPN402.05255.17393.61256.42387.9990.64299.2123.03
Atlas VPN402.94215.75198.7448.87189.3413.44138.024
Private Internet Access347.6239.55134.94124.9389.4855.4670.8631.88

Would you worry about using a cheap VPN over a more expensive one?

Dr Phil LeggDr Phil Legg, Professor of Cyber Security at UWE

Not necessarily – some reputable providers will offer a free service for personal use only that can be of high quality and service, as their core business model is set up around their enterprise customers, but they understand that security is important to all online. The same rules apply – do they offer a strong level of encryption and do they make clear what they will do with your traffic data? Do they impose some limitations on personal usage? You should read the terms of their service carefully, especially if the service is free so as to understand the provider’s business model, and to ensure that it is clear how your data is being used by the VPN provider.

Our top cheap VPN rankings in the UK

We’ve reviewed a wide range of VPN providers’ services, focusing on security features, performance, and – more importantly – affordability. We’ve reviewed and tested all of the VPNs in the below table and chosen which ones are the top cheap VPNs based on an ideal balance between price and security.

VPN ProviderSummaryCheap VPN
Atlas VPNOffers free and paid subscription plans – the latter allows for an unlimited number of device connections, multi-hop connections and IP-swapping servers.
CyberGhostA cheap VPN that’s also our best VPN for gaming, with over 9,000 servers and an excellent list of security features.
ExpressVPNOur best all-rounder has a large server base, an easy-to-use app and is good at bypassing geo-restrictions.X
NordVPNOur best overall VPN. Its services come with a double VPN and an audited no-logs policy. X
IPVanishProvides the option to connect an unlimited number of devices, has an audited no-logs policy and comes with a good level of security features.
Private Internet AccessA cheap VPN that allows users to connect an unlimited number of devices. It has user-friendly apps and is a multi-hop VPN.
PrivadoVPNA cheap VPN that supports up to 10 device connections. It’s headquartered in a data-secure country and has a no-logs policy.
ProtonVPNOur best VPN for torrenting thanks to its VPN Accelerator and reliable kill switch. The service also includes a wide range of privacy features and fast connection speeds.X
StrongVPNService includes a no-logs policy and the option to connect up to 12 devices simultaneously. X
SurfsharkOne of the best cheap VPNs. Surfshark has a wide range of security and privacy features.
TunnelBearHas an audited no-logs policy and allows users to connect an unlimited number of devices on its paid plan. X
VPNSecureA reasonably priced VPN with ad block servers and a no-logs policy. It doesn’t have a large server base and server locations are limited. X
WindscribeA cheap VPN with an ad block and malware feature, as well as a high level of encryption.

How the best cheapest VPNs work

Put simply, a VPN works by encrypting all of the traffic that is sent to and from your device while connected. This traffic is sent to a VPN server which is located elsewhere. 

Most VPN servers are physical, so they’re found in the same location as the connection is based. Virtual locations are slightly different, in that they’re physically located in a different region. In any case, it’s important to opt for a VPN that takes user privacy seriously. 

Only the VPN will have access to your personal data. Even your ISP won’t be able to see the sites and services you visit, which is why it makes sense to stick with a provider that offers an audited no-logs policy.

Compare our top recommended providers
Best Overall
Get up to 67% off
Best Value
Get 79% off + 2 months free
Best All-rounder
3 months free on the 12 month plan
Best for Gaming
Get 82% off + 2 months extra

How to set up a cheap VPN

We’ve put together a quick step-by-step guide to take you through the process of setting up one of the best cheap VPNs: 

  1. To begin, select one of the providers we’ve mentioned above. Our top cheap VPN recommendation is Surfshark. Otherwise, find an alternative trustworthy affordable provider, and sign up with the service
  2. Download the VPN app/s to your preferred device/s
  3. Open the VPN app, and enter your login credentials 
  4. From here, you’ll be free to select a preferred server location. Wait to be connected
  5. You’ll now be protected by the VPN

What to look for when buying a cheap VPN

If you’re interested in learning more about what to look for when buying a cheap VPN, here are our recommendations: 

  • Speedy servers in a selection of locations: given the manner of the encryption process, VPNs can suffer from slowdown whilst connected. This isn’t as prevalent with pricier options, but it’s often seen at the lower end of the market
  • A strict logging policy: if you’re aiming for improved privacy, it makes sense to stick with a provider that has a no-logs policy. Independently audited services are preferred, as you won’t have to take any claims at face value
  • Price and subscription plans: look for a provider with a good price for what it offers. Also, make sure its lump sum is still affordable, and don’t be fooled by the low monthly price of a long plan – most providers will highlight their best and cheapest monthly VPN option and only include the up-front price in smaller print or during checkout
  • Compatibility: make sure the provider has apps suitable for your chosen devices
  • Security: check your chosen VPN service has a good level of encryption – ideally AES-256 – and a variety of protocols such as WireGuard, OpenVPN and IKEv2

Dr Phil LeggDr Phil Legg, Professor of Cyber Security at UWE

The main thing to consider when looking at VPN providers is whether they offer strong encryption (such as AES-256), and how they will use your data, such as your traffic activity logs when accessing online resources. You want to believe you can trust your VPN provider, since you are allowing your network traffic to go through their server. Also, think about why you want or need a VPN, and what device it is you need to use it on. Some VPNs may be more geared towards offering multiple geo-locations, that may optimise gaming and video streaming usage, whilst others may be specifically for keeping sensitive information within a particular geography. Therefore, a VPN for a laptop or mobile phone may have a different usage to that set up on a gaming or video streaming device.

Things to consider before getting a free VPN

The main reason why downloading a free VPN isn’t a good idea is the simple fact that security is typically not as good as a paid subscription. Free VPNs have a tendency to not include privacy features such as a kill switch, split tunnelling and a range of VPN protocols. They also often restrict monthly data allowances and are usually only available to use on one device at any given time. There is also a danger that a free VPN service may sell your data to third-party companies. Cheap VPNs allow you to get the best out of a paid plan without breaking the bank.

How we research and rate cheap VPNs

100+
hours performance testing
500+
customer reviews read
150+
hours comparing products
25
providers compared
4
VPN experts consulted

We are dedicated to bringing you the most accurate and up-to-date information so you can make an informed decision when it comes to buying a VPN. We will only recommend a VPN after hours of testing, head-to-head feature comparisons, and after taking into account verified customer feedback and reviews and the opinions of industry experts.

Our review scores are determined using the following categories:

  • Privacy and performance (30%)
  • Features and functionality (30%)
  • Reputation and credibility (20% of the overall score)
  • Plans and pricing/value (10%)
  • Customer experience (10%)

We research and test a total of 25 elements within these categories including:

  • Number and location of servers
  • Streaming service accessibility
  • Security features such as AES-256
  • Performance (upload, download, latency)
  • Value for money, guarantees, and customer service
  • Independent server-site security audits

All of our VPN articles are fact-checked and verified by our in-house team, so you can be assured that our content is as accurate and up to date as possible. To find out more, read our article on how we review VPNs.

FAQs about the best cheap VPNs

A VPN is a useful digital tool, the best ones employ robust security features and use AES-256 encryption which is also used by governments and banks. When you pay for a VPN subscription, this cost goes towards maintaining servers, refreshing IP addresses and paying staff. However, there are plenty of cheap VPNs available that offer the same level of security. Free VPNs, do not offer a high level of security and come with limited data allowance – making cheap VPNs an ideal go-between.

Yes, cheap VPNs are safe providing they have a good level of security. A cheap VPN can still keep you safe online if it has a high level of encryption and conceals your IP address. Most cheap VPNs also follow a no-logs policy, but you should try and look for ones that have been independently audited.

Certain products or services are subject to price discrimination, and using a VPN to mask your location, personal information, and browsing history can save you money. 

For example, airlines and travel booking sites often use dynamic pricing, meaning the advertised prices can change based on factors like your location, browsing habits, and overall demand. By using a VPN to change your IP address, you can make it appear as if you’re browsing from a different country or device, potentially accessing lower prices based on that location.

Avoid any VPN that isn’t transparent. For example, can you tell who owns the provider? Stay away from any random free or cheap services, especially as you’ll be trusting them to take care of your personal information. Take the time to look through the VPN’s privacy policy to see if it collects any important data. If you’re in desperate need of a VPN, we’d advise to stick with a trustworthy free tier rather than opting for an unknown service. Many of the providers listed above offer free coverage, albeit with various caps and limitations.

With the increasing need for cybersecurity due to online crimes, a VPN can be a way to help prevent such threats. A VPN encrypts your internet traffic, masks your IP address and allows you to bypass geo-restrictions. Using a public wifi network can put you at risk from third parties, but if you’re connected to a VPN, your online safety increases.

VPNs are actually reasonably inexpensive compared to the average piece of software. Monthly subscriptions tend to be more expensive, but there are significant savings to be found if you opt for a longer plan. The VPNs we’ve listed cost less than a cup of coffee each month, and are definitely on the lower end of the scale.

Round up of today’s best VPN deals
NordVPN 2 year £2.49 /Month
£2.49 /Month
Surfshark 24 month £1.79 /Month
£1.79 /Month
ExpressVPN 12 month £6.79 /Month
£6.79 /Month
CyberGhost 2 year £1.78 /Month
£1.78 /Month
Proton 2 year £4.26 /Month
£4.26 /Month
PIA 2 year £1.57 /Month
£1.57 /Month
Atlas 2 year £1.34 /Month
£1.34 /Month
PrivadoVPN 2 year £1.99 /Month
£1.99 /Month
Windscribe 12 month £4.60 /Month
£4.60 /Month
IPVanish 2 year £2.92 /Month
£2.92 /Month

The data in this review is reported from a neutral stance and should be used for informational purposes only. We review free VPN services from the perspective of:

  • The quality of the product based on the security it affords the user
  • User experience of the application(s)
  • Level and quality of customer service

Independent Advisor does not endorse the streaming of content from regions other than where the subscription is held, nor does it endorse the downloading or consumption of illegally pirated content.

Overall Score: 4.5/5
Overall Score: 4.5/5

While NordVPN isn’t the cheapest provider on the market, it’s certainly one of the most comprehensive VPNs you can get. With a double VPN, private DNS protection and great speeds, it’s worth paying slightly more for it – though less than £3 per month still won’t break the bank.

Surfshark: Best value
Overall Score: 4.5/5
Surfshark: Best value
Overall Score: 4.5/5

Surfshark is our top-rated cheap VPN at less than £2 a month , and it’s also one of our best overall providers thanks to its great value for money and impressive level of security. Its audited no-logs policy, automatic kill switch, and fast VPN connection makes it one of the best of the best services on the market.

ExpressVPN: Best all-rounder
Overall Score: 4.5/5
ExpressVPN: Best all-rounder
Overall Score: 4.5/5

ExpressVPN may be one of the most expensive providers we’ve reviewed, but it has all the features you could want: top security, a fast connection, and fantastic geo-unblocking abilities. The only real downside is that better value can be found elsewhere.

James Milin-Ashmore circle

James Milin-Ashmore

VPN Tech Editor

James Milin-Ashmore has covered cybersecurity and VPNs since the mid-2010s, writing for industry publications and services such as VPN Mentor, Liquid VPN, Comparitech, Bleeping Computer, ProPrivacy, AlwaysVPN, and more.

With a focus on ethics and digital privacy, his work has been featured in a range of publications, including the Activist Handbook and Reader’s Digest. In his spare time, he’s likely to be watching sports, or taking his dog for a walk around Hertfordshire.

rachel

Rachel Sadler

Home Tech Writer

Rachel is a seasoned writer who has been producing online and print content for seven years. 

As a home tech expert for Independent Advisor, Rachel researches and writes buying guides and reviews, helping consumers navigate the realms of broadband and home security gadgets. She also covers home tech for The Federation of Master Builders, where she reviews and tests home security devices. 

She started as a news and lifestyle journalist in Hong Kong reporting on island-wide news stories, food and drink and the city’s events. She’s written for editorial platforms Sassy Hong Kong, Localiiz and Bay Media. While in Hong Kong she attended PR events, interviewed local talent and project-managed photoshoots. 

Rachel holds a BA in English Language and Creative Writing and is committed to simplifying tech jargon and producing unbiased reviews.

Dr Phil Legg

Dr. Phil Legg

Professor of Cyber Security at UWE

Dr. Phil Legg (MCIIS, FHEA, PhD, BSc) is a Professor of Cyber Security at the University of the West of England (UWE). He is the Co-Director of UWEcyber, a Gold Academic Centre of Excellence in Cyber Security Education (ACE-CSE) as recognised by the National Cyber Security Centre, and he is the Programme Leader of the NCSC-certified MSc Cyber Security course at UWE.

He holds a Postgraduate Certificate in Teaching and Learning for Higher Education (Distinction), and is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA). He has CompTIA PenTest+, Security+ and Microsoft Azure professional certifications. He is recognised as a Full Member of the Chartered Institution of Information Security (MCIIS).

Professor Legg is passionate about outreach and works closely with schools and colleges across the region to upskill in cyber security education, and he is a founding member of CISSEUK – a collaboration network across academia, industry and government to support all levels of cyber security education.

Prior to joining UWE in 2015, he worked at the University of Oxford in collaboration with the Centre for Protection of National Infrastructure as part of the Corporate Insider Threat Detection research programme.