Best cheap VPN 2022: Enhance your online security from just £2 per month

The four best cheap VPNs that will let you stream blocked content abroad, while protecting your privacy and security

The best cheap VPNs let you safeguard your online privacy and security, and even access geo-blocked streaming services such as US Netflix, BBC iPlayer and HBO Max abroad. For every VPN that costs north of £10/mth, there’s another that will cost you under £3 – particularly if you’re prepared to commit to two or three years upfront.

While there many free VPNs, we recommend steering well clear of them because many of these make money through dubious means. For example, selling your data or displaying ads. After all, if a service is free, you need to ask yourself how it's making money.

The good news is that most paid VPNs come with a moneyback guarantee for up to a month, giving you enough time to test-drive the service. It's a lesser-known fact that some of the best VPN services are amongst the most affordable. If you’re looking for a cost-conscious VPN, you've come to the right place.

Read on to find out our top four cheap VPNs that won't compromise your speed or security. We've also put together a detailed buying guide that will tell you how we came to our decision and give you an idea of how to go about choosing the best VPN service for you.

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Best cheap VPN: At a glance

How to choose the best cheap VPN for you

What do you want from a VPN?

All VPNs do the same basic job of routing your internet traffic through an encrypted connection to a remote VPN server and then onward to the wider internet. As the traffic is encrypted, nobody – not even your ISP – can monitor what’s passing between you and the VPN server.

What’s more, any sites you access won’t see the IP address that identifies you and your location – they’ll only see the address of the VPN server. Since that same server handles dozens or maybe even hundreds of users, this makes it very difficult to tie any online activity back to you, particularly if your VPN provider doesn’t log who connects to which server.

By connecting to a VPN server in a different country, you can also fake your location, so it looks like you’re connecting from Boston, Massachusetts, when in fact you’re connecting from Boston, Lincolnshire. This is very handy if you want to access websites or video streaming services that are blocked in your home country or don’t offer the same content.

What should you look for?

Using a VPN slows down your connection. How much depends partly on how far you are away from the VPN server you’re connecting to: for us in the UK, servers in the US or Asia will almost always be slower than European ones. But if you have a fast internet connection (over 50Mbits/sec), this shouldn't be a problem at all.

Some providers are consistently faster than others, however; these are the ones with bigger networks and greater server capacity to deal with large numbers of users. ExpressVPN and NordVPN have consistently been the fastest services in our tests.

Good VPNs offer additional protective measures, too. These might include a killswitch, which halts all internet activity when your VPN disconnects to ensure no private traffic gets accidentally routed via your ISP. Or you might get the option to connect through two VPNs in a series, or through some other process that obscures your internet traffic even further.

If you’re particularly concerned about your privacy, ExpressVPN, NordVPN and CyberGhost are all particularly strong in this regard. Not all VPNs allow BitTorrent traffic, so if you’re signing up to hide your activities from an ISP that isn’t BitTorrent-friendly – or because you don’t want the world to know what you’re sharing – this is well worth checking first.

A final consideration is the ease of use. Some VPNs are aimed at more technical users, while others are designed to make it as simple as possible to set up a secure internet connection, or to hook up to Netflix in the US and stream extra content.

What about privacy?

There’s no reason why a cheap VPN service can’t protect your privacy just as well as a premium provider. Just watch out for services that make their money through selling ads. Even if your personal identity is kept hidden, they might be collecting and sharing some data about your online activity. Ideally, your VPN should always have a "strict no-logs policy", indicating that they don’t retain any information on how you use their service.

Also consider where your VPN is based: some countries engage in more active internet surveillance than others and are more likely to share information with authorities in the UK, the US or elsewhere. VPN services operated from within the “Five Eyes” intelligence-sharing alliance – Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the UK and the US – are best avoided if you’re particularly concerned about government surveillance.

Can I try before I buy?

Many of the best VPN service providers have a 30-day no-questions-asked moneyback guarantee. Some of our favourite VPN services - including ExpressVPNSurfsharkNordVPN and PIA VPN - all fall into this category, while CyberGhost gives you a 45-day moneyback guarantee. This is the best way to test-drive whether a particular VPN is good for you because you can use its full range of features and ask for your money back in case the service doesn't meet your expectations.

The best cheap VPNs to buy 

1. Surfshark VPN: The best all-round cheap VPN

Price: £45 for 24 months (£2/mth) | Buy now from Surfshark

If you’re looking for a great VPN service that won’t cost you a fortune, there’s no other VPN service we can recommend than Surfshark VPN. Not only does its two-year plan cost a mere £2/mth, Surfshark VPN is truly the most value for money because one subscription covers unlimited devices at the same time. Most other services only let you use a VPN service on up to five devices at the same time.

Surfshark has been independently audited to prove that the service doesn't log or store any of your personal details and it also has an ad-blocker and a whitelister, which most VPNs don’t have.

Read our full Surfshark VPN review

Buy Surfshark VPN now

2. CyberGhost: The best cheap VPN for streaming

Price: £56 for 24 months (£2/mth) | Buy now from CyberGhost

CyberGhost offers the best combination of service, ease of use, encryption and price. If you’re worried about making a long-term commitment without actually trying the service, you’ll be pleased to know that the two-year plan comes with a generous 45-day money-back guarantee. CyberGhost is especially useful to access streaming services from outside your country because both its PC software and mobile apps have neat tabs listing the most popular streaming services that you can then access with one click.

Read our full CyberGhost VPN review

Buy CyberGhost VPN now

3. NordVPN: The most versatile cheap VPN

Price: £66 for 24 months (£3/mth) | Buy now from NordVPN

NordVPN has been one of our two best VPNs for the last three years and it’s even received a Best Buy award, which we’re very frugal with. Apart from a strict no-logs policy, the service is based in Panama, which has no data sharing laws, meaning that no one can force authorities to hand over your data. NordVPN also lets you access the full gamut of streaming services, so you can watch almost anything regardless of where you are in the world. The plan is fully refundable for 30 days.

Read our full NordVPN review

Buy NordVPN now

4. Private Internet Access (PIA VPN): The best cheap VPN for advanced controls

Price: £65 for 36 months (£2/mth) | Buy now from Private Internet Access

Even though Private Internet Access VPN is based in the US, it doesn't collect or log any traffic on its network. In fact, the US authorities have demanded their log data twice only to be sent away empty-handed. Unlike other VPNs, it gives you even more control. For example, you can choose between the common OpenVPN protocol and even the new WireGuard protocol, which is designed to enhance security without compromising on speed.

Incidentally, PIA is one of the fastest VPNs we've used. Our tests confirmed it gives you access to US Netflix and BBC Player in 4K, where available. The service also has 24/7 customer support and a 30-day moneyback guarantee, so we definitely recommend it as one of the best services around.

Read our full PIA VPN review

Buy PIA VPN now

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