I have updated the tier list to include two new tiers.
White labeled VPN tier that includes VPNS that are re-skins of stuff like Mullvad, Hotspot Shield, and others–and I also included a dead tier to include future VPNs that go out of business.
Adjusted iVPN’s streaming score to not have any points. Realized prime video doesn’t work, and it was just that I tested a movie I had bought. Oops!
Re-reviewed iVPN. Very similar to Proton. Too expensive, not very fast, and lacking features compared to other VPNs in the tier 1 category. Very transparent company tho, but ultimately, I don’t recommend it for most people.
Re-did the ProtonVPN review and updated the score. It’s lower now. Lol. You can really tell they still haven’t found their stride with ProtonVPN–not that Protonmail is particularly good either (surpassed by other email services that are less popular) and it still feels like an unfinished side project.
3/04/2021 VyprVPN Joins RVP
Nice! Been talking to management at VyprVPN, and they meet all my qualifications. I’ve always known they are trustworthy and a good company with a great history of privacy advocation. Bumped up their score to 4.5/5.
2/28/2021 Updated VyprVPN Review Soon..
I am in the process of re-reviewing VyprVPN. So far, it has been doing very well–with great streaming compatibility, a very good application, amazing speeds, and more. The review should be live sometime this week.
2/21/2021 New Written Reviews
I made updated written reviews for TorGuard, PrivateVPN, and WeVPN. The reviews reflect my latest thoughts on the VPNs themselves. Next up is a written review of CactusVPN.
2/12/2021 NordVPN Penalizes Customers for Not Auto-renewing
I can’t believe NordVPN implemented this. It’s like the company hasn’t learned a thing. This was probably the worst pricing auto-renewal trick I’ve ever seen in any online product ever.
I talked to the team and apparently, it was just a “short test” and no one lost any features, and was quickly reverted after the backlash of some 33k upvotes–but this is probably one of the worst pricing tricks I’ve ever seen.
Who could have thought it would be a good idea? It just shows to me that NordVPN is tone-deaf as always and has no plans to listen to any of my feedback ever. Not only that but in my last video, I discussed how the real annual charge is not even listed on the website. The new pricing score is 0!
2/09/2021 WeVPN Support Buff
WeVPN added live chat to their support, so I bumped up the score to 5/5. They’ve made good improvements here.
2/07/2021 NordVPN Buff?
I updated NordVPN’s score after a bit of time for the new review on the channel. I think the product has made a lot of improvements overall–and is a decent offering for users in 2021, but the company still has a lot to learn in order to make their product consumer-friendly and how to respond better to feedback by actually implementing it…
People have hated the fake countdown clock timer for YEARS, and it’s still here. The pricing is more confusing than ever, fake NordVPN reviews and overtly positive reviews influenced by NordVPN’s marketing deals plague the review space, and I also haven’t wiped the slate clean for the company’s reputation since that is how that category works. You can’t just have some audits and good PR and suddenly be on the RVP…
1/29/2021 CactusVPN Huge Buff
I did a new review of CactusVPN. They gave us a great discount code and what you get for the money is incredible. It’s also very fast with WireGuard support, amazing streaming compatibility, and the app isn’t bad either. Great value option and a great option for anyone interested in an excellent VPN. They also joined the RVP! Check it out in the tier 1 section.
1/24/2021 BytzVPN Review
I reviewed Rob Braxman’s VPN. Overall, I was not that impressed with the offering, although his overall website and ambition are admirable. For the VPN though, you will be essentially just be downloading OpenVPN files and connecting to his servers he has picked. Check out the review on the tier list for more info. The review is getting a fair amount of downvote brigading from Braxman’s community which is unfortunate. Guess they don’t like fair criticism?
1/19/2021 NordVPN upgraded to mid/bottom of tier 2
I updated NordVPN’s score a bit with recent tests, but don’t plan on doing a review for some time since most of the changes that would bump the score higher have not or cannot be addressed.
1/09/2021 ExpressVPN slight speed nerf
I bumped down ExpressVPN’s speed half a point since lately it’s been a bit slower and hasn’t been performing the same way other 5/5 VPNs are. I don’t think Lightway is quite as good as WireGuard.
1/07/2021 I bumped up WeVPN’s App score
WeVPN has made some great improvements with its application stability since my first review almost a year ago. I plan to re-review them soon but wanted to keep things up to date. They are now back to the #2 spot, with a high likelihood of tying with TorGuard if this keeps up.
1/07/2021 Updated PrivateVPN’s Support Score to 5/5 + Speeds updates
PrivateVPN sent me a screenshot of ticket response times. Their average ticket was responded to within 20 minutes. Great job!
However, after doing so many speed tests lately I decided to dock their speed score a bit. It’s around 25-30 Mb/s for me, which is quite good for OpenVPN. However, it REALLY needs WireGuard support within the client to boost things up to compare to the 5/5 rating that other WireGuard VPNs can push.
1/05/2021 PrivateVPN’s Rep Score boosted to 5/5
1/05/2021 Surfshark + NordVPN Speed Updates
I updated NordVPN’s score to a 5 and changed Surfshark’s score to a 4.5 for speeds. This is as a result of recent speed tests as seen here.
12/28/2020 PIA App Review Update + Bitdefender
I updated PIA in the new review. I gave it improvements in reputation to normalize those scores as I have done other VPNs, a bump in the app, and more. Check out the full review here or on the comparison table from the tier list.
I also reviewed Bitdefender VPN for the first time in the review. Check that out for more info on my thoughts on it.
12/19/2020 Surfshark Update
I made a video about the update on Surfshark with their response. I improved their rep score by 3 for the video. After this latest video, I made further changes after consideration.
Post video, I lowered their app score by .5. I changed my mind due to having too many permissions required and not supporting Linux GUI (I think I had overturned the app score previously). They also don’t support stuff like port forwarding which is a no-brainer in 2020.
Finally, I bumped down their support again post video since I’ve received and always seen some complaints from customers telling me less than ideal experiences like having to fight for refunds, etc.
12/18/2020 ExpressVPN Review Update
ExpressVPN contacted me with some feedback on the review. I updated the score after seeing what they had to say. See more here.
12/15/2020 Tunnelbear Review Update
I re-reviewed Tunnelbear. It’s largely the same, but a few scores shifted around due to the harsher review system and it has a lower score now.
12/16/2020 NordVPN Update
I’ve removed some videos due to ongoing legal discussions with NordVPN. Going forward, NordVPN’s score may be updated depending on how the team responds to my feedback.
12/15/2020 App Analysis Updates
I have updated the application analysis to include more features we want to see like Linux GUI support, firestick support, and extension support. The analysis has come a long way since mid-2020 upon its inception. I’ve removed unessential things to look for and now added more along the way.
12/14/2020 PrivateVPN Score Update
I updated PrivateVPN’s score and it has done very well going into 2021. I lowered the app score, gave more points for pricing, improved the support score, and these changes have bumped it up considerably.
12/13/2020 WeVPN RVP Acceptance
WeVPN’s score was bumped due to the reputation upgrade from 4 to 5 upon acceptance into the RVP program.
12/8/2020 Surfshark Review Update
Surfshark’s review was updated and I tried to be fair across the board despite my previous bad experiences with the product in past reviews. I think the score is more objective now.
12/8/2020 No More Windscribe Future Reviews?
I asked the CEO of Windscribe to make amends with the TSR community, by asking senior mods of the Windscribe discord to apologize and stop past and current harassment and wrongdoings. The CEO agreed to remove toxic emojis made of me but refused to force mods to apologize. Due to this regretful unprofessional behavior from Windscribe mods and past antagonization from Windscribe employees themselves, Windscribe is not longer going to be reviewed or updated in the future. I do not encourage or want to promote a company that is complacent with the harassment of VPN reviewers.
12/7/2020 ExpressVPN score updated
ExpressVPN got a bit of a bump since I normalized the speed since regular protocols still perform fine. I did lower the app score but bumped up the reputation to be fairer as a metric in 2021. Check it out in the full ExpressVPN review 2021.
11/21/2020 Malwarebytes VPN Score lowered
The friendly team from Malwarebytes VPN reached out to me with good intentions looking for me to promote them a bit. However, on closer inspection, it no longer seems as compatible with streaming services which is not a surprise since it’s a Whitelabel of Mullvad which largely ignores that side of VPN users. This lowered their score significantly.
11/14/2020 WeVPN’s App score lowered
WeVPN’s app score was lowered again. I am still seeing frequent users report bugs with uninstallation or other issues. WeVPN has a capable and easy-to-use application by all means, but they need long-term stability. This score for 2/5 for the app will stay for a while because the frequent rating changes have been too much.
11/13/2020 oVPN + Mullvad score improvements
I bumped up both oVPN and Mullvad’s scores after comparing both VPNs in head-to-head comparisons. For full details, see this video.
11/1/2020 WeVPN improvements
I bumped up WeVPN’s reputation score a bit due to a personal talk with the founder of WeVPN. He provided more explanation about being based in the BVI in that it seemingly does help a bit as a jurisdiction, and he also provided a bit more clarity on the VPN itself. Notably, the app is finally more stable and works with every protocol (ikev2 finally works yay!). I also bumped up the support score a bit since the founder (Zero) said confirmed most tickets are responded to within a few hours (he sent me proof of support tickets via Zendesk).
10/13/20 RVP Reputational Updates
Every VPN with a 5/5 reputation score that has denied, not responded to, or otherwise disagreed with the full transparency and accountability of the RVP program, has been lowered by one point including Mullvad VPN, FrootVPN, iVPN, Perfect Privacy, and several others. Only VPNs that meet and join the RVP requirements in the future can get a perfect 5/5 score for reputation.
10/5/20 oVPN Improvements
oVPN was updated and scored much higher in 2020 due to an updated review. App, speeds, and streaming were adjusted in this review.
10/5/2020 WeVPN Speed test Improvements
WeVPN was bumped up a bit due to winning #2 in the community speed test.
Lots of drama on WeVPN’s discord today. Users and owners upset with rating adjustments (Alex). Several users and TSR community members are reporting problems with the app and are upset that their problems are not being taken seriously, and now I have been hearing more and more reports of support requests like customer refunds going unanswered. I am now lowering the support score down to 2.5/5, especially since Jayson got let go due to economic reasons (the person who was in charge of support–and a great asset to the team).
After multiple user reports of broken functionalities with WeVPN’s app, the app score has been lowered by 1.5 to a score of 2/5. The app can still work, but Ikev2 is completely broken, and killswitches seem buggy / broken as well. This has been the 4th time this year that WeVPN has had some major bugs in live clients.
ExpressVPN’s score in the speed department has been lowered due to very bad global speed tests with Lightway. While normal speeds with OpenVPN are fine–the fact that ExpressVPN is pushing light way as the newest fastest protocol, seems bad taste to me.
Surfshark and WeVPN’s scores were both updated after filming a comparison video between the two VPN providers. Surfshark’s abysmal speeds were very noticeable, and due to the new pricing scheme they have, the price was also updated. WeVPN’s speeds were dropped a bit but largely the score is the same.
9/18/2020 Reputation Scores For Every VPN
Reputation scores were adjusted on the tier list after reviewing each application’s tracking and permission count on Android. This was done by examining the trackers of each VPN app with the Exodus analysis application. Lots of VPN’s and their reputations were changed based on the stricter adjustment for having android trackers, as seen in this video.
WeVPN’s score was buffed back to its original score, due to them fixing a huge bug that would prevent the app from connecting. This was due to a credential problem with Windows. The speed was also buffed due to my recent tests that show WeVPN is still very capable of attaining 40+ Mb/s with Wireguard during torrent tests. International speeds may still vary in some small cases.
How Each Category is Scored
*Note: each individual score can be found on the VPN Tier List comparison table, which also has notes for each cell when required.
Pricing- Pricing is one of the most important aspects of a VPN. You don’t want to pay that much every month or year. In this category, if something is around $5 a month or $30 a year, it will get 5/5 since that is pretty much the cheapest price you can get from a VPN. Not only that, but I also take into consideration things like fake exclusive pricing sales, limited-time countdown clock timers, refund policies, and payment options as well. An aggregate of these things is what makes up the pricing score. If a VPN offers promo codes, that is baked into the score if they are permanent.
Application- Each VPNs application is run through the application analysis I have made. I make sure to check if a VPN has implemented important things such as WireGuard, kill switches, and other customization/security settings. Not only that, but I also take into consideration the UI, multi-platform use, app stability, and bugs.
Speeds- I test speeds on Fast.com, and I download a ubuntu file with qBittorrent. I also take input from my VPN discord community into the scoring system. I believe my since my speed tests are run live in my videos (lots of online tests can easily be faked if not tested live) and other users in other geo-locations also help me test speeds world-wide, my speed tests present the most honest speed test system for a VPN review ever created.
Reputation- For reputation, I take into consideration a wide variety of things and make an aggregated score; like android trackers, history of security leaks, logging policy, and their c-level employee culture (if they are dicks or not).
Customer Support- Customer support is rated based on if they have live chat or how fast tickets are. Things like support knowledge as well as how much you have to “fight” for a refund is also taken into account.
Streaming- I test a VPN to make sure it works to unblock the USA version of Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, and Prime Video. If a VPN can do this, it gets 5/5. If not, it gets a point of 1.25 for each service that works.
Final score: 6 sections are added up, then divided by 6 to give the final score. 4-5 is tier 1, 3-4 is tier 2, 2-3 is tier 3, and 0-2 is tier 4.