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When you're shopping for the best deal on a VPN service, you'll be bombarded with "limited-time" offers and deals that look like they'll expire in minutes. But there's no need to rush -- that countdown timer may just be a marketing tool to create an artificial sense of urgency.
Truth be told, you'll need to opt for a long-term plan to get the best price on a VPN subscription. Although you'll have to pay more upfront, the average monthly cost will be less.
As you review these deals, remember that taxes will also apply. And for the cheapest long-term plans, the cost usually increases when you renew. You may be able to find offers for a free trial, but you'll typically only get seven days free with limited bandwidth and a restricted number of servers. Plus, you could still get stuck in an annual plan, which usually isn't the cheapest option.
Be sure to read the fine print before taking advantage of these offers. In most cases, you'll be better off opting for the longer plan with a money-back guarantee period (typically 30 days or longer) to test the service.
Let's take a look at the best VPN deals available right now in March 2023.
Also: The 4 best VPN services for torrenting in 2022
Private Internet Access VPN pricing:
Private Internet Access isn't the least expensive service but offers a balance between cost, longevity, and performance. When ZDNET tested Private Internet Access, it had good overall features and reliability. And it's only a fraction of the cost of many of the best VPNs.
PIA is open source and include access to servers in 84 countries, utilizes WireGuard, split-tunneling, and more. It also offers 10 simultaneous connections, which should be enough for most households, and the standard 30-day money-back guarantee.
Read the review: Private Internet Access review: A cheap, powerful, open-source VPN
As part of the company's 'birthday' promotions, NordVPN has discounted subscription plans by up to 59%. Subscribers to a two-year plan will be given either three months or one year of extra subscription time for free, chosen at random. If you're lucky enough to win a free year, that equates to saving at least $100 over 12 months.
NordVPN is a well-respected and feature-rich VPN solution. It's on the expensive side, but it's also one of our favorite VPNs overall. If you're willing to spend a little more, NordVPN's current promotions are worth looking at.
The standard plan includes VPN service, tracking, ad blocking, and malware protection. The Plus plan also provides a password manager and data breach scanner. Lastly, the Complete plan adds on 1TB of cloud storage and file encryption.
Read the review: NordVPN review
At the time of writing, PureVPN has a promotion on the two-year plan for $2.08 per month ($49.95 total), which includes a free password manager and three months for free.
If a 30-day refund period is just short of what you need, you're in luck -- PureVPN gives you an extra day to try out its service risk-free. It has standard monthly and one-year plans, but the two-year plan is the lowest average monthly cost.
CyberGhost VPN pricing
CyberGhost has solid prices, and the two-year plan (with two free months) has an average cost of only $2.11 per month (84% off), which makes it competitive with the cheapest VPNs on the market. You will also receive three months of free access if you sign up for a two-year plan -- a similar promotion currently offered by many of the top VPN providers.
What makes CyberGhost VPN a good deal is its money-back guarantee period, which is 45 days. That's over two weeks longer than other top VPN services.
The VPN provider offers over 9000 servers in 91 countries with free ID guard monitoring and a kill switch. If you want to add a dedicated IP address, this bolt-on will cost you $4 per month.
The refund period should give you plenty of time to test drive CyberGhost on all of your devices (up to seven at the same time). The free trial period could make sense If you're not interested in CyberGhost VPN's two-year subscription. Otherwise, you'll have a lower monthly cost with one of the longer plans.
Read the review: CyberGhost VPN review
Atlas VPN pricing
Atlas VPN's two-year subscription is a solid deal because it only costs an average of $1.82 per month (83% off) and comes with three months of free access.
Students in the US, UK, Mexico, or Spain are also eligible for additional discounts on the two-year plan. You can register for the student discount here.
Also: Best VPNs for streaming
For less than $2 a month, you'll have protected connections on every device you own, thanks to unlimited simultaneous connections, whether you want a VPN for your mobile device, PC, or other connected devices.
Atlas VPN markets itself as a VPN solution suitable for torrenting and offers SafeSwap servers, multihop functionality, a kill switch, and over 750 servers in 45 countries.
I chose Private Internet Access as the best overall VPN deal because it has the best combination of price, longevity, and performance. Although it's not as cheap as other services on this list, if you want a VPN for the long term, the deal is a steal compared to what you could pay for other top VPN services.
Number of connections
Private Internet Access
$2.11 per month
$1.82 per month
$4.19 per month
$2.08 per month
$2.11 per month
What makes one VPN a great deal for you depends on your situation. For example, if you have many devices that need protecting during travel, you'll want to focus on the number of connections you can link to one account. However, if budget is your first priority, you may decide to compromise on flexibility and features for the best price.
|Choose this VPN...||If you want...|
|Private Internet Access||A long-term cheap VPN|
|NordVPN||A premium plan for less|
|CyberGhost||An extended money-back period|
|PureVPN||A free password manager|
|Atlas VPN||The lowest monthly cost|
To find the best VPN deals, there was not a need to conduct a full review process and test every aspect of each VPN service -- although we have extensively tested VPNs for our feature-related VPN guides. The deciding factors were what it costs and what you get, with a focus on how many devices you can have connected to the VPN at the same time.
When you're looking for a VPN deal, it's important to read the advertised price with a pinch of salt. The overwhelming majority of VPNs advertise their standard prices as a huge discount, but if the price is always advertised as 83% off, then that's just the regular price. Also, limited-time deals often have the same upfront cost with extra months added to the subscription length. Those types of deals will reduce the average monthly cost but not what you pay out-of-pocket when you purchase the service.
All of the VPN deals I've highlighted basically give you a month to test the service and get a full refund if you're not satisfied. But you will have to pay upfront and navigate the provider's refund process if you want to discontinue service during the money-back period.
Very few VPN services advertise a free trial period these days, but you can sometimes find an offer for a free trial period (typically seven days) when you sign-up through mobile.
Keep in mind, if you take the free 7-day trial, you may end up paying more in the long run. I've noticed that the longer-term (cheaper) plans are sometimes unavailable when taking advantage of the free trial period. So be sure to pay attention to the plan you'll be subscribed to and factor that into your decision.
To lock in the lowest average monthly cost, you'll need to subscribe to the longest plan, which can be anywhere from a two to five-year commitment. And you'll have to pay the full cost for the entire term upfront in one lump sum, and there is tax to consider.
Despite the lump-sum cost, the longer subscriptions can be worth it -- you just need to pay attention to the renewal price. When you subscribe to a VPN service, you'll want to look at the fine print. Once your initial subscription plan expires, your cost is likely to increase. Although it can vary by service, you'll usually have to renew at the annual rate after the introductory offer ends. A one-year subscription is typically 30% to 50% more than longer-term plans, so it's something to be aware of when your plan approaches renewal time.
"Free" makes everything taste better -- but this isn't applicable when it comes to VPN services.
A free VPN may sound like a great deal but comes with a non-monetary cost. First is performance: free VPNs have fewer features, slower speeds, and aren't likely to have great customer service. But that's not the real reason you should think twice about a gratis VPN.
If you're not paying for a VPN, the company is making money some other way. This could be from ads or worse, selling your information. And malware is a potential risk with free VPNs.
One possible exception to this rule is a reputable VPN service that offers a limited free version to get customers to try out the product. In this case, be sure to do your research and know that your options will be limited -- and your speed will be throttled.
An example of a free and reputable VPN is ProtonVPN. However, the caveat is that the free service will only give you access to servers in three countries.
If the offers we've highlighted aren't a good fit for you, there are other VPN deals to consider. Each of the alternate offers listed below has a money-back guarantee period of at least 30 days, so you can try out the service for a month and back out if you don't like it.
A cheap, reliable VPN with a few months free on a two-year plan
Hotspot Shield VPN offers a 45-day money-back guarantee
ExpressVPN is a solid, fast, and secure option that frequently offers discounts on 12-month plans
ZDNET experts split out the latest and greatest deals for you below.