WHAT IS A VPN?
When you switch on a VPN, it creates an encrypted tunnel between your computer and a server operated by the VPN company. Your web traffic travels through this tunnel, protecting it from the prying eyes of your ISP and any attacker that might be sitting on the Wi-Fi network. VPNs also hide your IP address, making it harder for advertisers to track you online. You can also use a VPN to spoof your location by connecting to a server in a different country.
While VPNs are useful tools, they can’t protect against every threat. We strongly recommend enabling two-factor authentication wherever it’s available, using a password manager to store strong and unique passwords for every site and service you use, and installing antivirus software.
HOW MUCH DOES KASPERSKY SECURE CONNECTION COST?
Kaspersky Secure Connection VPN is a licensed version of Hotspot Shield. That means Secure Connection uses the server infrastructure of Hotspot Shield but offers a different set of features, a branded interface, and different pricing.
Paid subscriptions to Kaspersky Secure Connection start at $4.99 per month, which is well below the industry average of $10.21 per month. Kaspersky has the distinction of being tied with FrootVPN for the lowest monthly paid subscription I’ve seen, beating out even Mullvad’s flat fee of €5 ($5.92 at the time of writing) per month.
More impressive is its annual plan—$29.99 for a full year. That’s significantly less than the annual average of $71.87 per year. In fact, it’s the lowest annual fee of any VPN we’ve yet reviewed.
On the pricing page for Kaspersky Secure Connection, I noticed language that implied that the $29.99 annual price is merely “introductory.” A company representative clarified that if you sign up at that price, you can renew at that price as well. There don’t appear to be any hidden price hikes.
While you will definitely save money with any VPN’s annual plan, I strongly advise against signing up with a long-term plan initially. Instead, use a free plan or short-term subscription to test that the VPN will work with all the sites and apps you need. If it does, then spring for the longer plans.
Cost doesn’t need to be an obstacle when there are so many excellent free VPNs available. Kaspersky Secure Connection also has a free option, which limits users to 200MB per day and won’t let you select a VPN server— it makes that choice for you. That’s more generous than TunnelBear’s 500MB per month limit, but less than half of what Hotspot Shield offers per day. ProtonVPN has by far the best free subscription option, in that it places no limit on the amount of data you can use.
You might expect that purchasing another Kaspersky product might net you a cheaper VPN plan. Sadly, that’s not the case. While the free version of Secure connection is available in both the Kaspersky Internet Security entry-level suite and the Kaspersky Total Security mega-suite, you still have to live with the 200MB-per-day limitation. That’s disappointing, especially considering that these suites cost $79.99 and $89.99 per year, respectively. For all that, I’d expect better than just a free version.
Most VPN services offer five licenses with a subscription, meaning you can secure up to five devices. Kaspersky follows suit, which is great considering the price. Other VPNs, however, have abandoned this model and are allowing an unlimited number of simultaneous connections. You can connect as many devices as you like with Avira Phantom VPN, Encrypt.me VPN, Ghostery Midnight, IPVanish VPN, Surfshark VPN, and Windscribe VPN. Note that Encrypt.me and IPVanish are owned by J2 Global, which in turn owns PCMag’s publisher, ZiffMedia.
Other VPN companies include additional tools to further protect your privacy or make a VPN fit better with your life. Split tunneling allows you to pick which traffic travels through the VPN, letting you prioritize traffic with high bandwidth needs or use apps that block VPN access. Some VPNs provide one-click access to the Tor anonymization service. In the same vein, a few VPN services provide multihop connections: This routes your traffic through more than one VPN server, ensuring that even if one server is somehow compromised, your data remains safe. Secure Connection doesn’t offer any of these features. ProtonVPN, notably, is the only VPN I have yet reviewed that includes all of them.
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