Like any subscription-based service, VPNs let you choose from multiple billing cycles. After getting dozens of questions from our readers, and checking different Reddit threads, we came to the conclusion that the biggest problem for people new to VPNs is which plan to choose – the monthly or the annual one?
We’ll do our best to answer that question for you in this quick guide. We’ll also offer additional information that will make buying a VPN easier and more convenient for you.
Monthly vs. Annual Plans – What’s the Best Bang for Your Buck?
As a new user, you’d be tempted to get a monthly plan to see how things go before switching to a long-term subscription. That’s understandable, but not worth it. If you’re on a budget, monthly plans just aren’t worth it.
Here’s why: on average, you’ll end up paying around $12-$13 per month. Let’s say you plan on using the VPN for five months before switching to a longer plan. That will cost you anywhere between $60 and $65.
With an annual plan, you get a much better deal. For example, with CyberGhost you only pay $3.99 per month. Compared to that, their monthly plan is $12.99. So for five months of service, you’d only pay $19.95 (and you’d get seven more months for that money).
What’s more, most providers offer even longer plans – like two-year subscriptions. It goes without saying you get even better prices that way.
Tl;dr – annual plans are always better if you’re looking to save money.
Quick Tip to Save More Money – Take Advantage of VPN Deals!
Since Black Friday is right around the corner, why not save even more? VPN providers slash prices like crazy during this period – not to mention they also offer extra perks (like getting a month or two added to your subscription for free).
And all the top providers on the market run these promotions – as you can see here. That link will lead you to ProPrivacy’s guide to the best VPN deals. You’ll also get to take advantage of some exclusive discounts they managed to negotiate with the VPN providers!
What If I’m Not Happy with the VPN After a Few Days?
Good question – why should you get an annual plan if you decide the VPN isn’t right for you after a few days? Doesn’t it make more sense to get a monthly subscription instead?
That’s true, but you’re forgetting one thing – most VPNs offer money-back guarantees. The top providers on the market even make sure they’re no-questions asked policies. You just ask for your money within a specific timeframe, and you get it within a few business days.
With most providers, you have 30 days to do that, which is more than enough time to make sure the VPN is right for you. CyberGhost VPN even offers a 45-day money-back guarantee for its long-term plans, which is even better.
So you basically buy with no risk.
What If I Only Want to Use the VPN for a Few Days?
Maybe you only need it to unblock Netflix US to watch Dexter. Or maybe you only want to use it while you’re abroad and can’t access sites in your home country. Wouldn’t a monthly plan work better in those situations?
Not really. In fact, you’ll probably end up wanting to use the VPN more, or need it again in the future. Here’s why:
You’ll Always Need to Unblock Content
Let’s say you use the VPN to watch Dexter on Netflix. When you’re done with it, you cancel the subscription, and move on with your life.
But what if a new show or movie pops up on Netflix, but it’s not available in your country? Or what if you want to re-watch Dexter in a few years, but it’s no longer available on Netflix in the US, only on BBC iPlayer in the UK?
It definitely pays off to have an active VPN subscription. Geo-blocking isn’t going anywhere, and licensing agreements can change when you least expect them to. So it’s good to have a safety net.
You Can Stop Bandwidth Throttling
Bandwidth throttling is when your ISP slows down your online speeds. They usually do it to discourage people from going over their data limits, or to prevent network congestion during high traffic hours (like on the weekend or at night).
ISPs can easily do that because they see what you do on the web – what sites you visit and what web services you use. And they know how much data you’re exchanging with them.
But when you use a VPN, they can’t see your browsing anymore. They’ll still see your data usage, but they won’t know where it’s going. Instead of seeing that you’re exchanging data with Netflix, they’ll only see your sending and receiving it from a single IP address (the VPN’s IP).
You Can Get Cool Discounts
To keep it simple – a VPN can hide your geo-location, helping you avoid price discrimination (price variations affected by your current location). You can save money on various things that way – airplane tickets, car rentals, bookings, video games, etc.
For example, a video game on the PSN store that costs around $50-$60 in the UK or US could be just $30-$40 in South-East Asian countries.
To save money with a VPN, you just have to use servers in countries with better pricing. If people in Romania or Poland get better prices for an online service, connect to a Romanian or Polish VPN server.
The Bottom Line
If you’re really serious about getting a VPN, go for the annual plans (or other long-term options). You’ll save much more money in the long run than picking a monthly subscription.
That’s just our opinion, though. How do you feel about this topic? Please let us know in the comments below. Oh, and if you found this article helpful, we’d really appreciate it if you could give it a like and share on social media.