There are several low-cost Virtual Private Network (VPN) service providers, but does a low-cost service imply that some of the elements that a decent VPN provider should have are foregoed? Will the cheapest VPNs ensure the privacy of your online activity? Will they operate in conjunction with streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, and BBC iPlayer?
While VPN services are not often prohibitively expensive (particularly if you take advantage of VPN bargains), we appreciate that there are many people on a limited budget seeking affordable, dependable choices. Free VPN services are insufficient since they often sacrifice download speeds and encryption requirements.
What are your requirements for a low-cost VPN?
There are several highly rated inexpensive VPNs available, so there is no need to sacrifice quality. What you need from a VPN is primarily decided by the purpose for which it will be used. For instance, if your main objective is streaming, ensure that your device is compatible with the service you want to unblock (Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, Hulu, or BBC, for example). Speed is critical for practically all VPN purposes, but especially for streaming. That is why, as part of our VPN research, we do frequent speed testing.
If security and privacy are your primary concerns when choosing a VPN, it’s crucial to consider the VPN’s logging policy, degree of encryption, VPN protocols, and features such as a kill switch.
Criteria for rating inexpensive VPN services
As part of our study, we did significant research and put VPNs through a battery of tests. Our suggestion for an inexpensive VPN is determined by the following criteria:
- Expenses (obviously!).
- Download speeds that are reliable and have encryption standards that are up-to-date.
- Diverse server networks with geographically dispersed server locations.
- Unlocks content that is geo-restricted (such as Netflix).
- Android, iOS, Windows, and MacOS VPN clients.
- Number of concurrent connections.
The most affordable VPN service
NordVPN is our top suggestion and is a seasoned VPN service provider. It’s the quickest VPN we’ve tried, has an abundance of customizability, and will appeal to both novice and advanced users.
Monthly fees begin at $3.00+.
NordVPN has a zero-logging policy, which means it does not record anything you do online. NordVPN’s encryption levels are industry-leading—by default, they employ the 256-bit AES protocol encryption standard in conjunction with 2,048-bit SSL keys. Additionally, this VPN company supports split-tunneling if necessary. DNS leak prevention is enabled to ensure your security while using public wifi. It maintains a network of over 5,000 VPN servers in several countries.
This VPN provider is compatible with a large number of online streaming services and platforms, including Netflix, Hulu, and BBC iPlayer. Plans include unlimited bandwidth and support for torrenting.
Apps for Windows, MacOS, iOS, Linux, and Android are available. The service supports simultaneous connections across multiple devices.
Will free VPNs suffice?
Users on a budget may be tempted to use a free VPN service. They are available online and do not ask you to provide your credit card information—seducing and attracting people who believe they are receiving genuine articles.
We advise you to proceed cautiously. Numerous such “free” services have been detected engaging in quite heinous tactics like forcing tracking cookies into your browser, mining your data, and selling it to third-party advertising. It’s a useful reminder that when the product is free, you often wind up becoming the product.
Other VPNs may be freemium, which means that even if they do not steal your data, you will almost certainly be subject to download limits, bandwidth throttling, and a limited server selection (usually only one or two). They are also unconcerned with solid encryption, which means that there is an ongoing danger of being revealed.
After all, such enterprises are also registered. They need revenue to cover costs like staff, office space, and server upkeep. To ensure your safety, we suggest avoiding these traps. Spend a few bucks every month; it will be worthwhile.
What is a virtual private network (VPN)?
For the uninitiated, a Virtual Private Network (VPN) is computer software that enables you to surf the web safely and securely. The service works by encrypting all online traffic to and from your device and passing it via a server of your choosing as an intermediate. This keeps inquisitive monitoring agencies and hackers at bay while also creating the illusion that you’re connecting to the internet from a different place.
The latter function enables geo-restricted content on streaming platforms to be unlocked. That is one of the reasons international expatriates consider a VPN to be an ideal option for accessing information from their native country.
Cheap VPN FAQs
Are low-cost VPNs equipped with dedicated IP addresses?
There is no simple solution to this: some do, while others do not. It’s worth noting that, in most cases, if dedicated IP addresses are available, you’ll have to pay a little monthly premium to get one. Additionally, you’ll often just have a few distinct nations to choose from.
On a shoestring budget? It’s worth noting that many inexpensive VPN services provide access to static IP address servers as part of their normal subscription. The sole distinction between these and actual dedicated IP addresses is that other users also have access; it is not just you. As a result of the huge volume of traffic generated by these servers, they remain in danger of being blacklisted.
Do inexpensive VPNs support port forwarding?
Each VPN is unique in terms of security features, network speed, and network capacity. Some low-cost providers may include port forwarding, while others may not. Given that this is a somewhat sophisticated function, it’s worth considering if port forwarding is necessary.
We’d advise against utilizing port forwarding unless you’re running a gaming server or suffering very poor speeds. This is because you’re opening up your device to external connections: although this is advantageous for things like remote access to your PC, it does provide attackers with another vector for compromise.
Can I use a low-cost VPN to access Netflix?
Several inexpensive VPNs work with Netflix. Generally, you’ll get access to the US Netflix collection and, if you’re fortunate, the British or Japanese Netflix catalogs as well. However, systems that integrate with a greater number of regional Netflix libraries tend to be somewhat more expensive.
While inexpensive VPNs work well with Netflix, free VPNs are a bad option. Netflix (and the majority of other streaming providers) can quickly detect and ban these IP addresses due to the volume of data originating from such a tiny number of them. Additionally, due to the pressure on the network, your speeds are often insufficient to stream even standard-definition video.
Are inexpensive VPNs safe and dependable?
Major VPN companies take pride in their security features and are well aware that if their programs develop a reputation for being unreliable, their consumers will simply move to another service. As a result, the great majority of commercial services provide secure, dependable connections.
Free VPNs, on the other hand, are a different story. These are often not subjected to the same level of rigorous security testing before release and may have flaws that make it simpler for attackers to access your device. Additionally, a surprising number of free VPNs lack even basic encryption, rendering them essentially insecure.
Do low-cost VPNs impose bandwidth restrictions?
If you’re paying for a VPN, it’s quite unlikely that you’ll encounter any bandwidth or speed limits. These strategies are often used by free services to earn cash and alleviate the load on their (sometimes very restricted) networks. If you come across a commercial VPN that limits your data use, it’s advisable to avoid it; after all, any privacy tool that limits how often you can remain secure online isn’t worth paying up for.
Should I get a VPN subscription for life?
While paying a one-time fee for a lifetime VPN membership may seem appealing, this kind of marketing strategy is seldom employed by higher-quality VPNs. We have yet to come across a provider that offers a lifetime VPN membership.