The most expensive VPN in the world varies based on features and service quality. As of my last update in 2021, Astrill VPN is among the pricier options, with rates reaching up to $20.00/month. Its premium cost is attributed to unique features like the StealthVPN protocol, especially useful in countries with strict internet censorship.
Understanding VPN Pricing
Common Pricing Models for VPNs
VPN services usually have distinct pricing models based on various factors. Let’s delve into the common models available in the market.
Most VPNs offer a monthly subscription option, typically ranging from $5 to $12. For instance, ExpressVPN had a pricing model at about $12.95 per month as of 2021.
Annual and Multi-Year Plans
To incentivize longer-term commitments, VPN providers offer annual and multi-year plans at a discount. On average, an annual plan could be priced between $50 to $100, translating to $4 to $8 per month. NordVPN, for instance, had a 2-year deal priced at $89, which boils down to $3.71/month.
Free Models with Limitations
Some providers, like ProtonVPN, offer free versions with limitations in speed, server locations, and functionalities. They make revenue either through advertisements or by upselling premium services.
Factors Contributing to the Cost
Several factors influence the cost of a VPN, from technological infrastructure to branding efforts.
Server Infrastructure and Location
VPNs with extensive global server networks tend to be pricier. The cost of maintaining a server in a city like Tokyo, where electricity costs are approximately $0.22 per kWh, could be significantly higher than in a place with cheaper electricity.
Security Protocols and Features
Advanced security features such as WireGuard or OpenVPN protocols, kill switches, and double VPN could increase the cost. Designing and maintaining these features can be resource-intensive.
Bandwidth and Speed
High-speed VPNs invest heavily in infrastructure to ensure fast connections. For instance, a VPN promising speeds of 200 Mbps might use premium bandwidth providers costing thousands of dollars per month.
Development and Software Updates
Continuous software development and updates can inflate costs. For instance, a design overhaul could cost a company upwards of $50,000, depending on the complexity.
Customer Support and Additional Services
24/7 customer support, often provided by top-tier VPNs, adds to operational costs. Some VPNs might offer dedicated IPs or personal servers for an extra fee, usually around $5 to $10 monthly.
Marketing and Branding
Branding plays a pivotal role in VPN pricing. A company spending $1 million annually on marketing campaigns will likely have different pricing strategies than a smaller, lesser-known entity.
Regulatory and Licensing Costs
Operating in regions with strict internet regulations can be expensive due to licensing fees and compliance costs. For instance, securing an ISP license in a country like China could amount to $15,000 or more.
By understanding the intricate details of VPN pricing, consumers can make informed decisions on which service best matches their needs and budget.
The Most Expensive VPNs: An Overview
List of Top-Tier VPN Services by Price
The VPN market has a wide spectrum of pricing, with some services commanding premium prices due to their superior features, extensive infrastructure, and additional benefits.
- Price: $12.95/month for a monthly plan.
- Features: Over 3000 servers in 94 countries, TrustedServer technology, and high-speed connections often reaching 150 Mbps.
- Unique Selling Point: Uses RAM-only server infrastructure, ensuring that no user data gets written to a hard drive.
- Price: Their 1-month plan goes for $11.95.
- Features: CyberSec technology, Double VPN, and over 5400 servers worldwide.
- Unique Selling Point: Offers specialized servers like P2P, Onion over VPN, and obfuscated servers.
- Price: Known to be pricier with a monthly fee of $20.00.
- Features: StealthVPN and OpenWeb protocols, which are designed to bypass VPN blocks in restrictive countries.
- Unique Selling Point: Often recommended for users in countries like China where internet censorship is severe.
Features and Benefits of Premium VPNs
The justification for these steep prices lies in the plethora of advanced features and benefits these VPNs offer.
Cutting-Edge Security Protocols
Top-tier VPNs like CyberGhost and ExpressVPN use AES-256 encryption, ensuring maximum security. For context, this encryption level is so secure that even with a supercomputer, it would take billions of years to crack.
Superior Connection Speeds
Paying a premium often means faster connection speeds. For instance, ExpressVPN can consistently offer speeds of up to 150 Mbps, crucial for HD streaming or large data transfers.
Global Server Distribution
NordVPN boasts more than 5400 servers spread across 59 countries. This vast network ensures users can connect to a nearby server, minimizing latency and maximizing speed.
Dedicated IP and Personal VPN Server
For an additional $5 to $10 monthly, certain VPNs like NordVPN provide a dedicated IP or even a personal VPN server. This is especially beneficial for businesses wanting a consistent IP for their operations.
24/7 Customer Support
Premium VPNs often come with round-the-clock customer support. NordVPN, for example, has a dedicated live chat feature, ensuring any issues get resolved promptly.
Continuous Software Development
VPN providers like Astrill often roll out software updates, ensuring compatibility with the latest devices and operating systems. A redesign could cost the company upwards of $100,000, factoring in user interface design, backend updates, and testing.
Price vs. Performance: Is It Worth It?
When it comes to VPNs, the ultimate question is whether the increased cost guarantees better performance. Let’s dive into a comparative analysis.
ExpressVPN vs. Surfshark
- Price: While ExpressVPN costs about $12.95/month for a monthly plan, Surfshark offers a competitive rate of $12.95 for its monthly subscription.
- Performance: ExpressVPN consistently delivers speeds of up to 150 Mbps. In contrast, Surfshark, despite its lower price, has showcased speeds ranging between 130-140 Mbps, almost matching ExpressVPN’s output.
- Conclusion: The marginal speed difference might not justify the price gap for all users, especially those on a budget.
NordVPN vs. Private Internet Access (PIA)
- Price: NordVPN’s 1-month plan goes for $11.95, while PIA offers its services for $9.95/month.
- Performance: NordVPN has more global servers (5400+), leading to better speed consistency worldwide. PIA, with 3000+ servers, performs admirably, delivering speeds around 125 Mbps in major locations.
- Conclusion: If global reach is crucial, NordVPN’s higher cost might be justified. However, for users prioritizing local connections, PIA offers a more economical choice.
Other Premium VPNs and Their Unique Selling Points
There are other high-end VPNs in the market, each boasting distinctive features justifying their price tags.
- Price: A bit on the affordable side, priced at $12.99 for a monthly subscription.
- Unique Selling Point: With 6900+ servers, it has one of the most extensive networks. It also offers specialized servers for streaming and torrenting, ensuring optimized experiences for specific use cases.
- Performance Metrics: A consistent speed of around 140 Mbps, with a peak efficiency of 85% when connected to nearby servers.
B. Astrill VPN
- Price: A premium at $20.00/month.
- Unique Selling Point: Astrill excels in countries with stringent internet censorship, thanks to its proprietary StealthVPN protocol. It’s a go-to for users in places like China.
- Performance Metrics: Offers a consistent 145 Mbps speed across many of its servers, with a peak efficiency of 88% during off-peak hours.
C. Mullvad VPN
- Price: A flat rate of €5/month (approximately $5.90), setting it apart with its transparent pricing.
- Unique Selling Point: Mullvad is privacy-centric, not requiring email registration. Users get an account number, ensuring complete anonymity.
- Performance Metrics: Speeds hover around the 130 Mbps mark, with an efficiency rate of 80% on European servers.
Businessman in China: Circumventing Internet Censorship
Finding a reliable VPN service that consistently bypassed the firewall, provided high-speed connections for video calls, and ensured robust security to protect sensitive business data.
The Solution: Astrill VPN
John opted for Astrill VPN, drawn by its proprietary StealthVPN protocol designed for countries with strict internet censorship.
- Cost: $20.00/month.
- Speed: On his business trips to Beijing and Shanghai, John experienced consistent speeds of around 145 Mbps.
- Outcome: Seamless access to blocked services, enabling effective communication with his UK team. He also appreciated the 88% efficiency rate during off-peak hours, ensuring smooth video calls without lag.
Gaming Enthusiast in Australia: Reducing Latency for Competitive Gaming
Alice, an avid gamer in Australia, frequently played online tournaments. However, she often suffered from high latency issues due to distant game servers.
To find a VPN service that provided servers close to the game’s servers, minimizing latency and maximizing her competitive edge.
The Solution: ExpressVPN
Given ExpressVPN’s extensive server network, Alice chose this service to optimize her connection.
- Cost: $12.95/month.
- Performance: By connecting to a Los Angeles server from her home in Sydney, she reduced her ping time from 150ms to 90ms.
- Outcome: Enhanced gaming experience with significantly reduced lag. The speed boost of up to 150 Mbps ensured smooth gameplay even during high-intensity moments.
Researcher in Russia: Anonymous Browsing for Sensitive Projects
Dmitri, a journalist and researcher in Russia, often delved into politically sensitive topics. He required a secure internet connection to ensure his anonymity and protect his sources.
To securely access information without government surveillance or the threat of cyber-attacks from adversaries.
The Solution: Mullvad VPN
Drawn by its privacy-centric approach, Dmitri chose Mullvad VPN for his research.
- Cost: €5/month (approximately $5.90).
- Functionality: Mullvad’s no-email registration and unique account number system guaranteed complete anonymity.
- Performance Metrics: Consistent speeds of around 130 Mbps were more than adequate for his research needs, with an 80% efficiency rate on European servers.
- Outcome: Dmitri could carry out his research without fear, knowing his online activities were secure and untraceable.