how much do vpns cost

Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) have become increasingly essential tools for maintaining privacy and security while browsing the internet. They provide encryption and help users bypass geographic restrictions to access content from various locations. However, one of the main considerations for anyone considering using a VPN is the cost. With a multitude of VPN services available in the market, it’s essential to know how much one can expect to pay for securing their online activities.

The cost of a VPN can vary significantly based on factors such as the chosen service provider, subscription plan duration, and the features offered within the package. Typically, the average cost of a good VPN service is $4.11 per month when opting for a yearly or multi-year subscription, but this price can rise to $11.77 on a pay monthly basis source. It is important for users to evaluate their needs and budget when selecting the right VPN service for them.

Key Takeaways

  • VPN costs vary depending on the provider and subscription plan chosen.
  • A good average VPN cost is around $4.11 per month when subscribing yearly.
  • Users should evaluate their needs and budget when selecting a VPN service.

Factors Affecting VPN Cost

VPN Features

When considering the cost of a VPN, it’s essential to look at the features offered. Some VPNs offer more advanced features such as split tunneling, which allows you to route some traffic through the VPN while leaving others unaffected. Others may include built-in ad-blockers, malware protection, or the ability to unblock streaming services like Netflix. Generally, more features will result in a higher price.

Server Locations

The number of server locations provided by a VPN service directly impacts the price. VPNs with a large number of servers in different countries may offer better performance and be more effective at bypassing geoblocks. Some popular VPNs like ExpressVPN offer servers in more than 90 countries, while more affordable providers like CyberGhost VPN offer a smaller selection. As a result, the pricing may also differ based on the server locations.

Encryption and Security

A key aspect of a VPN is its encryption and security protocols. Stronger encryption ensures better online privacy and protection from cyber threats. Top-tier VPNs usually implement Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) with 256-bit keys, which is considered the gold standard for internet security. The encryption method and security features employed by the VPN provider will affect the pricing, with more secure options usually being more expensive.

Subscription Length

Lastly, the subscription length is an essential factor in determining the cost of a VPN. Longer subscription plans, such as yearly or multi-year plans, usually offer more significant discounts compared to their monthly counterparts. For example, a VPN may cost around $4.11 per month on a yearly plan, while the monthly plan may be around $11.77.

Free vs. Paid VPN Services

Advantages of Paid VPN Services

Paid VPN services generally offer a higher level of security and feature-rich options compared to their free counterparts. They often use strong encryption like 256-bit, which is more robust than the 128-bit encryption that many free VPNs provide 1. Premium VPNs, such as CyberGhost and Surfshark VPN, are also more likely to consistently unblock popular streaming services like Netflix without any issues.

Users of paid VPN services benefit from a more extensive network of servers and faster download and upload speeds. This is crucial for activities like video streaming, gaming, and even basic browsing, as it ensures a smoother user experience. Additionally, premium VPNs usually support multiple devices and simultaneous connections, making them more convenient for households with numerous gadgets.

Furthermore, paid VPN services tend to value user privacy more, with strict no-logs policies and no data collection, compared to some free VPNs that may sell your personal information and browsing data to advertisers.

Lastly, most paid VPN providers offer free trials or money-back guarantees. This allows users to test their services before committing to a subscription plan.

Disadvantages of Free VPN Services

While free VPNs may seem like a cost-effective option for users on a budget, they often come with significant drawbacks. The most pressing issue is their limited security and privacy protection. Free VPNs typically use weaker encryption protocols, and some may even track your online activities or sell your data to advertisers.

A man using VPN on his computerAnother disadvantage is the limited bandwidth offered by free VPN services, which can result in slower connection speeds, buffering, or even disconnections while using the VPN. This can be especially problematic for users who require high-speed connections for streaming media or online gaming.

Many free VPNs, such as Hotspot Shield and TunnelBear, impose restrictions on the number of supported devices and simultaneous connections. This could be a problem if users have more than one device, or if friends or family members need to use the VPN service at the same time.

A common annoyance with free VPNs is the presence of ads within the service. The advertising can be irritating and invasive, potentially leading users to inadvertently click on malicious links or reveal personal information.

Popular VPN Providers and Costs


NordVPN is a popular and premium VPN service offering thousands of servers around the world. They offer various subscription plans, with prices starting at $3.49 per month for longer-term plans.


Surfshark is known for its value and affordability. They offer competitive features, including a strong focus on privacy and security. Prices for Surfshark’s VPN service start at around $2.49 per month when you commit to a longer-term plan.


ExpressVPN is often considered one of the best VPN providers available, known for its fast connection speeds and broad server network. Subscription plans for ExpressVPN start at $12.95 per month, with discounts for longer-term plans.


IPVanish is a recognizable name in the VPN industry, providing reliable service and customizable settings. Prices for IPVanish subscriptions vary, but typically start around $10 per month.

Private Internet Access

Private Internet Access or PIA, is an affordable choice for VPN users focused on web browsing privacy. With a massive server network, PIA’s plans start at $11.95 per month. Discounts are available on long-term subscriptions.


CyberGhost is a VPN service emphasizing ease of use and value. Subscription prices for CyberGhost start at $12.99 per month with generous discounts on longer-term plans.


ProtonVPN is recognized as a top overall VPN choice with a focus on security and privacy. Pricing for ProtonVPN begins at $4 per month, with additional features available at higher tiers.


Windscribe is a well-regarded VPN service with a freemium model, offering both free and paid plans. Paid plans for Windscribe start at around $9 per month, and they frequently offer promotions and discounts on subscriptions.


TunnelBear is a user-friendly VPN service offering both free and paid plans. TunnelBear paid subscriptions start at $9.99 per month, with discounts available for longer-term plans.

Hotspot Shield

Hotspot Shield is another VPN provider with a freemium model, offering a limited free version and a premium service with additional features. The pricing for Hotspot Shield’s premium plans starts at $7.99 per month.

Choosing a VPN Based on Your Budget

When selecting a VPN service, it’s important to consider your budget and find the right balance between cost and features. In this section, we will discuss how to choose a VPN based on your budget, explore cheap VPN providers, discuss discounts and special offers, and examine the benefits of long-term subscription savings.

Cheap VPN Providers

There are several cheap VPNs available that offer good value for money without compromising on essential features such as speed, security, and privacy. Some popular and affordable options include StrongVPN and Mullvad. When comparing cheap VPNs, consider factors such as:

  • Number of servers and server locations
  • Performance and connection speeds
  • Privacy policies and data logging practices
  • Support for torrenting and streaming services
  • Security features like a kill switch and RAM-only servers

Keep in mind that a lower cost doesn’t always mean lesser quality; by comparing various cheap VPN options, you can find the one that offers the best value for your specific needs.

VPN Discounts and Special Offers

A man checking VPNs pricesMany VPN providers offer discounts and special offers periodically, which can significantly lower the overall cost of subscription plans. Look for seasonal promotions, holiday discounts, or bundle deals. Additionally, students and military personnel may also be eligible for discounted rates. When evaluating special offers, consider if they provide long-term value by calculating the per-month cost of the discounted plan. Don’t forget to read the terms and conditions to ensure that you’re aware of any potential limitations or restrictions.

Long-Term Subscription Savings

Purchasing a VPN on an annual or multi-year plan will typically result in substantial savings compared to monthly subscription plans. The average cost of a good VPN service is $4.11 per month on a yearly or multi-year subscription, whereas the average VPN price rises to $11.77 on a pay-monthly basis. Long-term subscription plans can save you a significant amount of money, in addition to offering additional features such as dedicated IP addresses or increased connection limits. However, before committing to a long-term subscription, consider testing the VPN for a shorter period to ensure it meets your needs, and look for providers with money-back guarantees to give you peace of mind.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the average monthly cost for a VPN?

The average cost of a good VPN service is $4.11 per month when purchased on a yearly or multi-year subscription. However, the average VPN price rises to $11.77 on a pay-monthly basis. VPN prices vary depending on the service you choose and the length of your subscription plan.

Are there any free VPN options available?

Yes, there are free VPN options available, although they often come with limitations in terms of connection speed, data usage, server locations, and privacy. For better online privacy and a more comprehensive service, it is recommended to stick with a paid-for VPN subscription.

How do VPN prices differ for individuals and businesses?

VPN pricing for individuals is typically based on the features offered, the number of devices supported, and the duration of the subscription plan. Business VPN pricing, on the other hand, usually includes additional functionality such as centralized management tools, dedicated servers, higher server capacity, and more simultaneous connections. As a result, business VPNs tend to be more expensive than consumer VPN plans.

What factors affect VPN pricing?

Various factors can affect VPN pricing, including the number and location of servers, encryption protocols, device compatibility, additional security features (such as malware protection), and customer support. VPN providers with a stronger global presence, better encryption, and more advanced features generally charge higher prices.

Does the cost vary for different devices like iPhones and Windows?

Generally, the cost of a VPN subscription does not vary based on the device being used. Most VPN providers offer a range of compatible apps for different operating systems such as Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android, with no additional cost. However, some VPN providers may charge extra for additional device licenses if you want to use the service on more devices than the plan allows.

What are some affordable yet reliable VPN providers?

Several VPN providers offer both affordable and reliable services. Some well-regarded options include NordVPN, ExpressVPN, Surfshark, and CyberGhost VPN. It is important to assess your individual needs while making your decision, as each provider offers different features, server locations, and connection speeds. Additionally, many VPN services offer discounts for longer subscription periods, which can lower the overall cost significantly.

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