Whether you’re streaming your favorite content, posting to social media or online shopping, connecting to the internet means your banking info and other sensitive data may be vulnerable. Investing in a VPN is an easy way to protect yourself online and have a little peace of mind as you surf the web. A VPN, or virtual private network, creates an encrypted connection between your device and the internet, keeping your browsing habits private and your personal data away from prying eyes. We’ve already tested and rounded up some of the most trustworthy VPN services of 2024, and below, we’ve dug up the best ways to get signed up for less.
There are a plethora of reasons to use a VPN. For example, did you know your internet service provider amasses as much data as possible on your digital activity? A 2021 Federal Trade Commission report noted that the leading ISPs have gathered user data on topics as personal as race, sexual orientation and real-time location. The ISPs have combined it, cross-referenced it and shared it with third-party partners.
A VPN can help protect you from such pervasive data-gathering practices. In addition to hiding your internet activity by providing a secure and private “tunnel” to your online destination, a VPN can let you virtually move your location to a different city or country — a nice bonus if you’re looking to get around local censorship laws or try out different streaming media offerings in different locales.
An important thing to keep in mind is that free VPN services aren’t worth the risk. For the most part, they’re playing that same game of scooping up and selling your data. The good news is there are some great VPN deals available right now, with prices starting at what amounts to less than $2 a month if you prepay for a year or two of service. We’ve tested a bunch of the market leaders and pulled together our recommendations for the best VPN deals. Just keep a few things in mind:
- Some of these offers have countdown clocks saying that the VPN deals are ending “today.” These are usually marketing gimmicks that have no relationship to the deal’s actual end date.
- We’ll update sale prices when we notice a change, so check back often.
- The VPN industry has undergone significant change in the past few years, with all three of our top VPN choices announcing major shifts in corporate ownership. In 2021, ExpressVPN announced that it had joined Kape Technologies, a company that already owned several other VPNs and has raised privacy concerns in the past. In February 2022, NordVPN and Surfshark announced they were merging, although they continue to operate autonomously. We’ve given ExpressVPN, NordVPN and Surfshark fresh reviews in light of these changes, and we continue to evaluate other VPN services as well. Our rankings are subject to change as they reflect our latest findings.
- Most of the offers below are for subscriptions of two years or more, which is a long time to tie yourself to a service that could change ownership (see above) or terms of service, or even have a security incident. Although most services have a 30-day free cancellation policy, check the terms of service before signing up for a long-term commitment.
VPN deals: Tested and recommended
The VPNs in this first group are also among our current top six best VPN picks. We can broadly recommend them — albeit with the noted caveats. That said, the fast-changing ownership landscape in the VPN space may continue to shake things up, but we’ll continue to update this list as we uncover more.
Additional VPN deals
We either haven’t fully tested the following VPNs, or have only tested them anecdotally. Because of that, we can only recommend them for casual use, such as bypassing geographic restrictions while streaming media.