If you’re looking for a VPN, then it could be for a variety of reasons. Maybe you’re hoping to increase your security whilst browsing the world wide web that has connected us all? Or maybe you’re seeking access to the geo-restricted content of a streaming site that isn’t available in your location, such as British Netflix content, whilst you’re in the United States? Whatever your reasons, it’s never a bad thing to find a good service at a cheap and affordable price. And in terms of online security, we can never have too much of it in this increasingly connected world that has left us open, not only to just communicating cross-border, but has also left us vulnerable to having our personal data hacked and accessed by those who mean us harm.
A VPN (or Virtual Private Network to use the full name) is a method of accessing the internet by connecting to a different server in a different location, disguising your IP Address, which discloses exactly where you are. By accessing the internet through a different location’s server, you’re able to hide your personal data and keep yourself more secure online, whilst also being able to access the internet as though you’re in that place. For instance, if you’re in the United States but wish to view Netflix as though you’re in Britain, then a VPN would allow you to do that by connecting to a VPN server that is based in Britain – fooling Netflix into believing you’re actually there when you’re not.
A VPN is essentially connecting to a different server. You connect to that server via a secure connection, that server then sends the requests to the websites you try to access before quickly sending it back to you over that same secure connection. All of your data passing through the VPN server becomes encrypted, meaning hackers and even governments and authorities will have a hard time accessing your data whilst you’re using a VPN.
Some VPN services will even come with a “kill switch” included, which means that if your connection to the server is interrupted, it will stop your internet access completely until such a time that you’re re-connected to the VPN – this ensures that at no point will your data be anything but completely secure and your data will always remain difficult to access by anyone but you.
The best VPN servers will include a “no logs” policy, meaning they won’t store any of your data at all – or at least they’ll only store the minimal amount of data they are required to by law and only for the minimum time required. By using a VPN, you’re keeping yourself more protected on the internet, and with the recent data hacking scandals, that is something that should always be sought in order to keep our information safe and only used in the ways we want it to be.
With the exception of some very restrictive countries, such as North Korea and the tight limits imposed by Russia and other similar countries, VPNs are totally legal – contrary to popular belief. VPNs have earned themselves quite the shady reputation due to their nature of encrypting your data and making it more hidden from the authorities – but it’s what you do whilst connected to a VPN that could be illegal rather than the actual use of a VPN. In short, VPN usage is legal across most of the world and should actually be encouraged due to how much more secure they make our internet sessions.
However, if you’re using a VPN for reasons, such as child pornography or to commit fraud, then that would be just as illegal as you’d expect it to be – and VPN providers have very strict and clear policies saying that they will not permit such usage whilst connected to their servers. In general, as long as your reasons are pure and not illegal then the use of a VPN won’t get you into trouble.
VPNs are banned in China but with no clear indication as to how users would be caught, let alone punished, it’s fairly safe to assume that in China you would be perfectly fine to use a VPN and many providers actively ensure their service always works in China – even offering round the clock support in case their service ever goes down, allowing people to get reconnected as quickly as possible and keeping the whole of the internet open to the general public.
Now that you know what a VPN is, how they work and what the legal position is – let’s get into the details of the best cheap VPNs currently available on the market for you to subscribe to.
NordVPN is by far the best all-round service. It has great security credentials and comes with some top-notch speeds through providing access to many thousands of servers (over 5,300) located all across the globe in 62 locations. Accessing the internet availability of a different corner of the world isn’t going to be an issue with NordVPN, that’s for sure. And you’ll also know that your data is always secure with this provider through providing you with high levels of encryption and a high quality security protocol that is known for keeping data safe.
This service also has a few “double VPN” servers whereby your data will be forwarded through 2 different servers rather than the typical 1, keeping your data even more secure and harder to hack. You can even send your data over to the Onion network, which will provide you with even more enhanced security if you’re particularly conscious about your data security. Perhaps you’ve been the victim of a hack before, or simply wish to make sure it never happens to you. With NordVPN you’re getting an amazing level of security, including an above mentioned “kill switch” as well as an affordable price, as we’ll discuss below.
NordVPN is certainly a great, and affordable, VPN assuming you avoid the monthly subscription. As with many subscription services, paying for a bulk term of service affords you with greater discounts – and NordVPN is no different. If you purchase 3 years of service in advance, then you’ll be availing of discounts from around $12 (if paid monthly) to just $3 per month. It pays off to be loyal to a provider and stick around for the long term, and that’s how you can access great and cheap deals.
NordVPN even comes with a 3 day free trial, unlike many paid services, to allow you time to try the software out before you commit to a subscription plan for the service. And with a 30 day money back guarantee you know you’re in safe hands if anything does go wrong in that first month and you wish to leave and claim your money back. You know you’ll be in safe hands when it comes to NordVPN.
With over 1,200 servers spread across over 60 different locations, IPVanish is yet another great choice if it’s speed you’re after – boasting credentials of being one of the fastest VPNs you can possibly get access to. This service performs exceptionally well and is one of its bestselling points, as well as having many options within the service and a multitude of different subscription offerings. IPVanish doesn’t record any of your data and it takes your security very seriously, which is always good to know when you’re looking for a VPN. It’s slightly more expensive than other options listed in this article, but there are plenty of offers and discounts available online if you search around.
IPVanish, as with many service providers of VPNs, offers you mobile friendly apps that will work on most major operating systems, such as Android and iOS. You’re also able to install the software on your desktop so that all of your online activities can be secure and so that you’re always able to access the fullest possible internet experience – regardless of where you are in the world. The best software option for IPVanish is definitely the Windows version, which comes cram packed with features and works particularly well.
For around $7.50 per month you can go the pay monthly route, or you can pay $58.49 upfront and get a year of service at a giant discount. It’s more affordable as always to pay for more service at once than it is to go pay as you go with a monthly subscription. If you have any issues within the first week of purchase, then IPVanish will give you a full refund under their 7 day money back guarantee – which admittedly isn’t as impressively generous as the 30 day money back guarantee that many other providers offer their customers, including the NordVPN guarantee mentioned above. However, a week is still plenty of time to determine whether the software is the best fit for you and your needs – especially if you’ve bought a year subscription straight away to get the service for less.
If the absolute cheapest VPN is what you’re looking for, whilst still being of a good and very usable quality, then this Singapore based offering is definitely worth a look – coming in with the lowest subscription prices of all on this list. During user testing, this offering scores high on the speed front, even over longer distances across the globe, and boasts an excess of 450 servers in over 100 locations (more locations than our previously mentioned providers). With this service you can benefit from 5 users using your subscription simultaneously, so you could share it with your loved ones or even keep it for yourself across all of your devices at the same time, which is always a handy feature to benefit from.
Ivacy uses a secure DNS, provides a kill switch, offers encryption of 256-bit (very secure encryption levels) and has a multitude of the best security protocols available. And you can get all of this for a highly wallet friendly price of just $10 a month if paid as you go along, or $2 a month if you take out a 2 year subscription. Slightly under $50 for 2 years of service is a very generous and attractive price point. However, bear in mind that the mobile versions of this client are very basic and it’s quite rare that they get updated. The desktop software far outperforms the mobile apps, offering more features and more regular updates.
Ivacy will offer you a refund should you not enjoy the service, however, some restrictions are in place, depending on how you’ve paid for your subscription. If you’ve used Payment Wall or Cryptocurrency (that much talked about new way to pay online) to pay, then you will not be able to get a refund so make sure it is right for you before paying for it via one of these methods. Also consider that unless you live in South Africa, the policy makes it extremely difficult for any resident of an African nation to sign up for this service due to “anti-fraud” measures that the company has in place.
Overall, we have discussed 3 potential VPNs that you could sign up to that are all great in service (some better than others) whilst also being pretty low in how much they’ll cost you. If a low price is what you want, then you can’t go wrong with Ivacy. But if a great all-rounder is what you’re on the hunt for, then NordVPN is definitely a great bet, particularly if you take out a 3 year subscription to avail of the lowest possible prices. With money back guarantees and some free trials, you can’t go wrong with trying out different software before settling for the one that works the best for you and your reasons for using a VPN. IPVanish will also not do you far wrong, and you can still get your money back within a week if it doesn’t quite meet your needs how another provider would.