South Africans can pay as little as $2.44 (R33) per month for a reliable virtual private network (VPN) to protect and enhance their online activities.
There are several reasons to connect to the Internet via a VPN, including greater privacy, to circumvent censorship, and accessing geo-blocked content.
A VPN provides you with a secure line of communication between your devices and the web, hiding your IP address, keeping you anonymous, and preventing the government or an Internet service provider from snooping on your online activity.
It does this by routing your Internet traffic through one of its servers, effectively making itself appear to be the source of your browsing data. When selecting a VPN provider, you must trust that they will ensure your private browsing data remains confidential, usually by having a policy of deleting such logs.
When considering a VPN, there are several critical features to assess. These include:
- No logs policy — Does the VPN provide an audit-proven guarantee that it does not store user information or browsing history?
- Sufficient infrastructure — Does the service have sufficient infrastructure to support good network performance?
- Widespread footprint — How many servers do the VPN have, and in which countries can you access it?
- Geo content unlocking — Can the VPN provide access to content that is blocked in certain countries?
- Device support — Does the VPN support all the devices on which you want to access the Internet?
- Router support — Can your VPN service function over a router to provide secure access to all connected devices?
- Membership of international data sharing agreements — Certain countries have agreements to share data. VPNs based in these countries could be forced to share your information should a certain government require this.
While affordability may be another important factor for many looking for the best deal, security experts recommend that consumers stay away from free VPN services.
Security.org recently compared 35 popular VPN services, conducting in-depth research of the different options over six months. It tested the services across devices and assessed the backgrounds and policies of the companies that offer them.
Using these metrics, it calculated an overall rating for each service and determined the scenarios for which the top 12 VPNs were best suited.
Below is its ranking of the best VPNs in 2021:
- ExpressVPN – 9.5 – Best VPN Overall
- NordVPN – 9.3 – Best Encryption
- PureVPN – 9.3 – Best VPN for Travel
- Surfshark – 9.2 – Best VPN for Torrenting
- IPVanish – 9.1 – Best VPN for Android
- CyberGhost – 9.1 – Best VPN for Mac
- Hotspot Shield – 9.0 – Best VPN for Netflix
- Private Internet Access – 8.9 – Best VPN for Windows
- Tunnelbear – 8.8 – Best free VPN
- Encrypt.me – 8.6 – Best VPN with Unlimited Devices
- Norton Secure CPVN – 8.4 – Best VPN With Dynamic IP Addresses
- FastestVPN – 8.3 – Best VPN for Fire TV Stick
We took the top 10 VPNs from this list and collected information on how many servers they had and the number of countries in which these were available.
We also considered how many devices each service allowed customers to connect to the VPN simultaneously.
Most of these VPNs were available on a monthly, half-year, annual, or multi-year basis, with the price decreasing based on the length of time you are willing to pay up-front.
Many of these VPNs offer a 100% money-back guarantee if you are unsatisfied with your first 30 days of service. In theory, this should allow you to try them out, and if you are unhappy with the speeds, features, or other aspects of the service, you can get a refund and try another.
It is important to note that some of the discounted offers are only valid for the initial period, after which a regular price will apply.
For example, IPVanish is $31.49 for the first year but then jumps to $89.99 every year thereafter.
The table below shows our comparison of the features and prices of Security.org’s top 10 VPNs.
The converted rand price is based on an exchange rate of R13.58 to the US dollar and R16.55 to the euro.
|VPN||Servers||Countries||Device connections||Price plans||Lowest price per month|
|ExpressVPN||3,000||94||5||1 month – $12.95
6 months – $59.95
18 months – $99.95
|$5.55 / R75.37|
|NordVPN||5,365||59||6||1 month – $11.95
1 year – $59.00
2 years – $89.00
|$3.70 / R50.25|
|PureVPN||6,500||140||5||1 month – $10.95
1 year + 1 week – $70.94
2 years – $79.92
|$3.33 / R45.22|
|Surfshark||3,200||65||Unlimited||1 month – $12.95
6 months – $38.94
2 years – $59.67
|$2.49 / R33.81|
|IPVanish||1,600||55||10||1 month – $9.99
1 year – $31.49
|$2.62 / R35.58|
|CyberGhost||7,332||91||7||1 month – $12.99
1 year – $47.88
2 years – $83.67
3 years – $87.75
|$2.44 / R33.13|
|Hotspot Shield||1,800||80||5||1 month – €12,99
1 year – €95,88
|€7.99 / R132.32|
|Private Internet Access||35,400||78||10||1 month – $9.95
1 year – $39.95
2 years + 2 months – $69.95
|Tunnelbear||3,000||41||5||1 month – $9.99
1 year – $59.88
3 years – $120.00
|$3.33 / R45.22|
|Encrypt.me||114||40||Unlimited||1 month – $9.99
1 year – $99.99