How Much Does a VPN Cost? (And How to Save Money)

See how much a VPN costs per month and per year with this VPN pricing breakdown.
Ben Walker, Author
Catherine McNally, Editor
Last updated Sep 12, 2022

A virtual private network (VPN) could be helpful for hiding your online traffic, masking your IP address, and offering opportunities to watch geo-restricted content on streaming services. But how much does a VPN cost?

You might find VPNs for around $5 to $10 per month, though this could be higher or lower depending on each provider, the subscription type, and any available features. In most cases, paying for an annual plan is likely to cut your costs.

Let’s jump into VPN pricing, tips to save money on VPNs, and whether free VPNs are worth it. (Hint: They most likely aren’t as secure as paid options.)

In this article
How much does a VPN cost per month?
Is a cheap VPN good?
Is a free VPN worth it?
How to save money on a VPN
What to look for when checking VPN pricing
VPN pricing FAQs
Bottom line

How much does a VPN cost per month?

The average cost of a VPN per month is often around $5 to $10. This is typically true for most VPNs, including popular services such as NordVPN and ExpressVPN.

But pricing could vary depending on multiple factors. Each VPN provider could charge different rates depending on how popular they are. You might pay more because a certain company is known to provide excellent customer service and performance.

You also might pay more or less depending on the features you want included with your VPN service. For example, certain plans could offer a dedicated internet protocol (IP) address, a password manager, or cloud storage.

The biggest factor, though, regarding VPN pricing is often the type of subscription plan you choose. Paying for one month at a time is typically the most expensive option, while paying upfront for 12 to 36 months often reduces your monthly cost by a large amount.

Let’s see how much a VPN costs from many popular services.

VPN pricing per month

This table shows the monthly subscription price for many of the best VPN services, arranged by the length of available plans.

Keep in mind that most VPN providers offer monthly and annual plans, but might not offer 24-month or 36-month plans. If a provider doesn’t offer a certain plan length, it’s noted with “N/A” (not applicable).

Consider how VPN pricing tends to get much less expensive as you lock in longer subscriptions.

VPN Price for 1 mo. Price for 12 mos. Price for 24 mos. Price for 36 mos.
ProtonVPN $9.99/mo. $5.99/mo. $4.99/mo. N/A
TunnelBear $9.99/mo. $4.99/mo N/A $3.33/mo.
PureVPN $10.95/mo. $3.24/mo. $1.99/mo. N/A
IPVanish $10.99/mo. $3.33/mo. N/A N/A
Private Internet Access $11/95/mo. $3.33/mo. N/A $2.03/mo.
NordVPN $11.99/mo. $4.99/mo. $3.99/mo. N/A
Surfshark $12.95/mo. $3.99/mo. $2.49/mo N/A
ExpressVPN $12.95/mo. $6.67/mo. N/A N/A
Hotspot Shield $12.99/mo. $7.99/mo. N/A N/A
CyberGhost $12.99/mo. $4.29/mo. $3.25/mo. $2.23/mo.

Pricing as of June 26, 2022.

Is a cheap VPN good?

A cheap VPN could be good depending on the provider. It also depends on what you consider to be “cheap.”

It’s reasonable to want to set up a VPN without spending too much money. But how do you balance online security with the costs of implementing said security measures? Fortunately, many budget VPNs are also considered to be some of the most popular services available.

For example, NordVPN is arguably the most popular VPN on the market and you can get it for $4 per month if you choose the 24-month plan.

Not budget enough? Consider these other popular VPNs:

In the case of VPNs, you don’t necessarily have to sacrifice the quality of a product to be able to save money. It’s also not typically necessary to pay large sums of money for a VPN unless you have specific needs that require more features.

Is a free VPN worth it?

A free VPN likely isn’t worth it because it might offer less reliability and could pose a privacy risk compared to using a paid VPN.

This isn’t to say all free VPNs have the same issues and that all paid services are 100% effective. But in general, it typically makes more sense to use a premium option.

How are free VPNs less reliable?

If they’re free, they might not have all the features you’d want in a VPN. This could include being able to use multiple devices, not slowing down your internet connection speeds, and being able to bypass geo-restrictions on streaming services.

You also might find issues with the actual security side of the VPN, meaning there could be vulnerabilities in the product that you likely wouldn’t find on a paid VPN service.

And if you run into issues while using the VPN, what’s the incentive for the provider’s customer support team to help you? They might provide quicker service to paying customers or you might not have any access to customer support.

What privacy concerns might you have with a free VPN?

The main privacy concern with free VPNs is that they might be sharing your data with other people. Many popular paid VPNs have strict no-logs policies that typically mean they don’t track any of your online activity.

This is often not the case with many free VPN options. A free VPN could be tracking your online activity, which begs the question — why?

Most likely because the company wants to sell your data to someone else. Even though a service provider might not be charging you to use its VPN, it typically still has to make money somehow. This is similar to how your internet service provider (ISP) could be selling your data to other companies.

Learn more about online privacy on our page about online privacy settings.

Best free VPNs

Here are some of the best free VPNs to check out if you’d rather not use a paid option:

VPN Monthly data cap Number of server locations
Hide.me 10 GB 5
Hotspot Shield Free 500 MB daily limit 1
PrivadoVPN Free 10 GB 12
Proton VPN Free Unlimited 3
Windscribe 10 GB 10

Data effective as of June 26, 2022.

How to save money on a VPN

Learn how to save money on a VPN using these strategies:

Annual subscriptions

Paying upfront for a longer subscription period is often one of the most effective ways to save money on a VPN. In many cases, switching from a monthly VPN subscription to an annual or multi-year subscription could lower your average monthly cost by three times the amount or more.

For example, NordVPN typically charges $11.99 per month for its VPN. But if you choose the two-year plan, it drops to $3.99 per month. That’s almost exactly three times cheaper.

Deals

It’s common for companies to have different types of deals and sales throughout the year. VPN providers are no exception, often providing sales on their services during heavy shopping periods.

The holiday season could be an excellent time to find a deal, especially around Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Money-back guarantee

Ever have buyer’s remorse? With VPNs, you might instantly have some regret. After all, you could be getting a VPN for a very specific purpose (e.g., watching a different Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, or Hulu content library). If the VPN doesn’t work for that purpose, you’ll likely know fairly quickly.

Fortunately, many VPNs offer 30-day money-back guarantees or free trials for a certain period of time. So feel free to use the VPN as much as you want during that time and, if a service doesn’t meet your needs or expectations, cancel your service and keep or get your money back.

Discounts

Do you have some sort of status such as being a student, teacher, or military veteran that typically offers discounts on different purchases? If so, you might qualify for a discount on a VPN from certain providers.

The most common discount is likely for students, but it doesn’t hurt to check for other types of discounts as well.

What to look for when checking VPN pricing

When comparing VPN pricing between different providers or plans, keep an eye out for these important features:

  • No-logs policy
  • Kill switch
  • Multiple VPN server locations
  • Multiple devices or unlimited devices (sometimes called simultaneous connections)
  • Operating system (OS) support
  • Split tunneling functionality
  • Bypass geo-restrictions capabilities
  • Unlimited bandwidth
  • 24/7 customer support
  • Money-back guarantee
  • Dedicated IP address
  • Type of VPN protocol (e.g., WireGuard, OpenVPN)
  • Malware blocker
  • Type of encryption (e.g., AES-128, AES-256)
  • Router support

Some of these features are likely essential while others could depend on the situation. For example, you typically want a no-logs policy so your VPN provider isn’t tracking your online activity. A kill switch is also important because it helps ensure your internet traffic is hidden even if your VPN connection drops.

But you might only need support for multiple devices if you plan to use the VPN from a phone and a laptop at the same time. And not everyone is trying to bypass geo-restrictions to stream content from other countries and regions.

It could make sense, however, to get a VPN that offers support for different systems and platforms. Do you use Windows, Chrome, Linux, or Firefox? Do you use Android or iOS? A Mac or an iPhone?

Additionally, having a dedicated IP address is often an additional cost that isn’t necessary for everyone. But if you want quick and easy access to a home, school, or employer network while traveling, the cost could be well worth it.

We can delve into plenty of scenarios where having a certain VPN feature could prove helpful. But it really depends on each situation and what you’re trying to accomplish. From increased online security to privacy while torrenting, VPNs have a variety of uses.

But keep in mind that using a VPN won’t legalize any illegal activity. If an action is already considered illegal, using a VPN won’t change that. And in some parts of the world, VPNs may not be legal.

VPN pricing FAQs


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How much does a good VPN cost?

A good VPN often costs around $5 to $10 per month. This pricing could vary depending on each VPN service provider, the types of features you want included, and the subscription plan you choose. Choosing an annual plan that you pay for upfront typically reduces the overall cost.


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Is a VPN worth the money?

A VPN is worth the money if it’s providing the services you need. The primary reason you might want to use a VPN is for increased online security and privacy. Considering many popular VPN services cost around $5 to $10 per month, it’s likely worth paying a small fee to help improve your cybersecurity efforts.


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Is there a VPN for free?

Yes, there are loads of free VPNs available, though paid services are typically more secure and reliable. Certain VPN providers offer both free and paid services. Here are a few providers that offer free VPN options:

  • Hide.me
  • Hotspot Shield
  • PrivadoVPN
  • Proton VPN
  • Windscribe

Bottom line

If you need a VPN, the monthly or annual cost isn’t likely to be an issue. The average monthly cost is around $5 to $10, though you could pay around $3 per month if you pay for an annual subscription (or longer) with certain providers.

Keep in mind that it’s generally worth paying for a VPN versus using a free service for multiple reasons, including increased online security and reliability.

Here are a few top recommendations for VPNs that offer good value for the price:

Author Details
Ben Walker
Ben Walker is a writer at All About Cookies with a passion for all things internet and technology, whether it's using VPNs while away from home or organizing his life with password managers.