VPNs are, for many people and many situations, quickly becoming almost a necessity in 2021.
What’s more, the free VPNs people have been using are no longer cutting it like they used to. Investing in a decent VPN is increasingly becoming a good choice when it comes to safety.
This is considering more and more things on the internet are becoming larger problems, with online security has never been more of an issue than it is now.
Cheapest VPN services of 2021
Comparison of all VPN services
|Brand||Average Rating||Logs||Netflix||Lowest Price|
|Hotspot Shield VPN||77,14%||No*||Yes||$7.99|
|Malwarebytes Privacy VPN||74,25%||No||No||$3.33|
|Bitdefender Premium VPN||67%||No||Yes||$2.49|
The good news: cheap can still be good quality
All of the options listed in this article are quite affordable. However, just because they are “cheap” doesn’t mean that they don’t work as intended. All of the below options get the job done very well and will give you no unpleasant surprises as a customer.
You may ask yourself how it’s possible to get such quality for such a low price. The answer in a word is: competition. All of these companies are in very tight competition with each other to attract business. This means that you, the customer, get your choice of great products with great features at very affordable prices.
Don’t just pick any VPN, though
That is not to say that all VPNs are created equal! There is still a difference between the various VPN products out there, so you need to choose wisely which VPN is the best fit for you at a personal level.
Also, there are lots of VPNs that underperform still. However, because you have so many good choices that are likely to not even be any more expensive, there is no reason to even look at these.
The four I selected for this article
I have narrowed it down for you to the four clear best options, in my humble opinion. These are ExpressVPN, NordVPN, Surfshark VPN and CyberGhost VPN.
To get the subject of price out of the way, the best prices for each VPN are as following (prices are listed as per-month):
- Surfshark: $2.49
- NordVPN $3.71
- CyberGhost: $2.25
- ExpressVPN: $6.67
It should be noted that the different VPNs listed in this article aren’t in any particular order, and all of these four are great options.
Corollary to the above, it can be seen that ExpressVPN, while still affordable for many, is quite a bit more expensive than its competitors. I will look at ExpressVPN first in an effort to find out why. This information will help you as the potential customer make a decision as to whether the extra cash payout is worth it.
So the question at hand is: is ExpressVPN‘s extra cost worth it?
The first thing to point out here is that, in general, the competitors’ best prices are often only obtainable by paying 1 year or even up to 3 years upfront. If you decide to pay monthly (not everybody is ready for a big cash outlay for a VPN), the prices become that much more similar.
As for features and bang for the buck, I honestly think ExpressVPN is worth it for many people. For starters, ExpressVPN truly lives up to its name in terms of the speed and smoothness of its service. These issues are often sticking points with not just the cheaper VPNs, but with any of them.
Another point strongly in favor of ExpressVPN is the wide range of servers it has. At this moment, it appears that ExpressVPN is the winner in this category, with an eye-popping 94 different countries available. Besides the 94 countries, many of the more important countries for VPN servers (US, UK etc.) have multiple server options.
Also, ExpressVPN works seamlessly on any kind of device one could possibly imagine. This is another issue with many VPNs worldwide; since they started out as apps for computers, many of them lag behind a bit in the area of mobile support. This means that often, mobile VPN apps have issues with things like lag and glitches. This is absolutely not the case with ExpressVPN.
Another strong suit of ExpressVPN is its excellent customer service. They have a live chat that is manned 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by experts who are capable of resolving any possible issues. I tested out this live chat feature, and each time, the agent connected within mere seconds. Express VPN gets lots of points for being serious about supporting their customers.
Last but not least, ExpressVPN’s encryption completely outclasses that of their competitors. Especially sweet is their feature where the encryption key automatically changes in the background every hour. This means that even if the extremely unlikely occurs and someone has somehow hacked you, they have an hour maximum before they get shut out again.
Many people consider NordVPN to be the best value for money, and many very demanding users swear by it and use it exclusively. In fact, a lot of people find it good enough that they don’t need to pay the extra money for ExpressVPN.
NordVPN also has excellent performance, roughly on par with that of ExpressVPN. It also has very high-quality 2048-bit encryption and access to great customer support. It also accepts payment in Bitcoin (BTC), something that its competitors still have to roll out.
NordVPN is also unique in the fact that it submits its servers to independent audits on a periodic basis. Nobody else yet has seen fit to go so far regarding online security.
So, what is missing compared to the more expensive ExpressVPN?
One sacrifice users will have to make would be in the area of servers. NordVPN does indeed offer a pretty wide variety of servers; this much is true. However, NordVPN at the time of this writing has around 60 countries represented in their servers, compared to ExpressVPN’s 94. This may or may not be of importance to you.
Also, NordVPN’s mobile app works very well, but the user interface is felt by many to be a little clunky compared to that of ExpressVPN. In particular, the map feature for selecting a server tends to bog down slower mobile devices. I recommend that prospective customers check out the free trial version to see if this is a big deal for them personally or not.
Every one of these VPNs has some unique feature that will appeal to certain users, and Surfshark is not the exception to this rule.
In Surfshark’s case, its biggest selling point that sets it apart from its competitors is that you are allowed unlimited devices with a single account. Yes, you read that right. There is no limit to the number of devices you can use with Surfshark.
This is especially impressive because ExpressVPN allows for only five devices, NordVPN allows for up to six, and CyberGhost seven devices. And it’s surprising how quickly that device count can get up there and wind up totaling more than seven devices when you include multiple phones, tablets, laptops, desktops, and smart TVs in the mix!
Unlike CyberGhost, which is described in the section below, SurfShark is more geared to the user who just wants a hassle-free VPN that works for the basics and doesn’t have a lot of (for that person) needless complications.
This is not to say, however, that Surfshark is lacking security options. AES-256 encryption is standard here. Like the other three options mentioned in this article, Surfshark also boasts of a kill switch.
There is a very adequate array of servers in over 65 countries to choose from, some 3200 or so servers in all. And there are apps for every conceivable device you may wish to connect using those unlimited connections.
More advanced users may prefer one of the other options simply because there is less depth to the apps than with their competitors. Once again, this is largely a matter of personal preference. The trade-off for having more options is having more complexity to go along with it.
In short, for family-based and everyday non-advanced use, Surfshark is an excellent option. It’s also only slightly more expensive than the next VPN we are going to look at, CyberGhost.
CyberGhost is a newer offering in the VPN world, developed by a team of geniuses from the newly booming tech sector of Romania.
CyberGhost is, of course, the cheapest option available out of these four. However, you will have to pay 3 years upfront in order to get the best price, or at least a year to get a good price. The price jumps by more than 300% if you go monthly with them.
Just like NordVPN, CyberGhost has a couple of unique features that will appeal to certain classes of users. First off, CyberGhost doesn’t offer the most discrete countries from which you may wish to connect, but it does offer the highest total amount of servers.
Furthermore, CyberGhost has an intelligent system built into it where it constantly analyzes which servers are the best for the task at hand, which is an extremely unique and powerful feature you won’t find on any other VPN.
CyberGhost is ideal for people who are fans of systems such as peer to peer (p2p) because of this. In general, any time you have to upload or download large files, CyberGhost beats the competition hands down because of this innovative and creative feature. This also means that CyberGhost is the best option for streamers, or for people who like to watch movies or listen to music online.
The main negative factor in dealing with CyberGhost is that, at least for many people, its user interface leaves a lot to be desired. Many people feel that as far as ease of use goes, the other VPNs mentioned here pull ahead of CyberGhost.
Once again, I could recommend checking out the trial version of CyberGhost to see for yourself if the trade-off is worth it. It could be that it’s not much of a problem for you as an individual to interact with the user interface. It could be that this is the perfect (and cheapest) option for you personally.
After having read the summaries of the four excellent products described above, you, the informed user, should be much better positioned to go out and make a correct decision when getting a new VPN. This article will have served to get rid of much of the confusion that all too often plagues the modern consumer. It’s a complex world out there, but the right information makes things a little bit less complex for you.
There are, of course, other options available that have not been reviewed in this article, such as Hot Spot Shield (which is still considered after all these years to be the best free VPN, although the free version is quite limited compared to any paid VPN) and Hola VPN, for example. I strongly stand by the four VPNs mentioned above, but the savvy user is naturally always welcome to use his or her own criteria in choosing a VPN.
Keep the methodology in mind
In fact, if you follow the methodology used in this article, you almost can’t go wrong in selecting a good VPN that will give you excellent bang for your buck.
New options are going to be coming down the line all the time, and it’s not a bad idea to keep your eyes open for what’s out there. If you as a potential customer see a new VPN that captures your interest, all you have to do is apply the same criteria I have applied here to review these four amazing products to see how the new offering measures up.
I can’t emphasize this enough: you need a VPN
At any rate, you should get a good VPN today if you are not already using one. The benefits in terms of privacy and security are not to be ignored anymore in 2021. Also, the ability to see the whole internet and not get blocked by region is extremely useful, perhaps more useful than you would ever have thought possible.
- Full guide to the best VPN for Netflix.
- I have performed speed tests to see which VPN is the fastest.
- How do I know if my VPN is working?
SUP46, Start-Up People of Sweden, Regeringsgatan 6th floor, Stockholm
Author Per-Erik Eriksson
Per-Erik-Eriksson is the main author of VPNetic. Everything you read here has been written by him or one of his colleagues. Per-Erik has 10 years of experience within cybersecurity and has previously worked at Microsoft as a software engineer.
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