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How much does a VPN cost? A look at the pricing structures

VPNs do a great job of working hard behind the scenes to make sure we’re protected online without us even knowing. That’s why for some customers, it may be hard to justify purchasing a monthly subscription for a service that they can’t really tell is working. The Digital Trends team wholly recommends ensuring you’re safe online, even if you use the best free VPN. However, we believe that the best VPN services are worth their value, and we encourage you to shell out a few dollars a month so you can be safe when browsing the internet.

If you’re on the fence about purchasing a VPN plan, we would definitively recommend that you do, so that you can access all premium features of a VPN. If you’re in a country with restricted internet access or malicious censorship policies, paying for a VPN service is even more important as getting arrested for accessing the free internet is a very real prospect. In this article, we’ll be breaking down how much a VPN costs and evaluating whether or not they’re worth the money you pay.

What’s the average VPN price?

VPN plans vary from company to company, as certain services may offer different features or provide better security than others. Thankfully, every VPN’s website provides a detailed breakdown of exactly what you’ll be paying for in the interest of transparency (and enticing customers). The usual monthly subscription cost for a standard VPN ranges in the $10 to $15 range — it’s very rare you’ll see prices higher than that. If you purchase an annual plan or purchase a two-year plan, the average monthly cost goes down but you’ll pay more upfront. You can expect yearly subscriptions to range in the $80-120 spectrum which brings the monthly average to around $7 to $10. For the two-year plan, you may be facing an upfront fee of anywhere between $200 and $350+, depending on whether the company offers a discount (this is common if you’re purchasing a long-term plan).

Not all VPNs are equal. Some have more advanced security protocols like military-grade 256-bit AES encryption, while others may focus more on the browsing speed and convenience factor. For the average customer, these nuances may not make a massive difference as long as your identity is safe online and your connection is secure. But for those in dangerous territories or with malicious ISPs (which could be anyone — even you!), it’s imperative that your subscription guarantees your safety and anonymity while also enabling you to browse the internet without disruption.

For an example of a VPN that provides great value for money, we recommend NordVPN. A monthly subscription costs you $12 a month, or $10 a month if you purchase the annual subscription (for a total upfront cost of $120). In terms of quality, you can tell that NordVPN’s servers and features are simply the best out there, with lightning-fast browsing and streaming speeds. You can unlock content from all across the globe, which is especially useful for those who live in restricted and censored countries. If maximum security is what you’re looking for, you can feel safe knowing that NordVPN’s security protocols and encryption are the same as what governments and militaries use. In case you’re not a fan of the service, you’re welcome to trigger a refund under the company’s 30-day money-back guarantee. You can enjoy and test the full spectrum of features

Should you pay for a VPN?

Whether or not you should pay for a VPN is relative and depends on your individual situation. Free VPNs can be great for basic usage, but there’s a lot of debate regarding the safety of free VPNs. We would not recommend a free VPN if you’re in a sensitive situation concerning censorship and restricted access as you won’t be able to harness the full power of advanced security protocols, encryption, and guaranteed anonymity without a proper subscription. On the flip side, if you’re not too concerned about your current security and you feel safe, then a free VPN can be great for accessing geo-blocked content on streaming websites and for instances where you need to change your IP location momentarily.

For an average cost of $10 to $15 a month (and even cheaper with a longer-term plan), we would certainly suggest you pay for a VPN subscription. Many services come with a money-back guarantee so you can test the waters and see if the VPN is to your liking. If it isn’t, you can refund your purchase hassle-free and try another.

If you’re debating whether you should pay for a VPN, a budget-friendly option we suggest you check out is IPVanish. It costs only $90 for the annual subscription, and $11 a month if you prefer to pay monthly. Take advantage of over 1,600 high-speed servers in more than 75 countries for instant access to content all around the world. You’ll see minimal speed throttling, and in some cases, you may even see a speed increase if your ISP is doing the throttling instead. Therefore, you can enjoy content on Netflix or other streaming services without a hitch. For even more value for your money, you can connect an unlimited amount of devices to one IPVanish subscription plan, so you can connect your friends and family as well and keep them safe and secure online.

Editors' Recommendations

Aaron Kim
VPN Writer
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