VPN Tier List 2021 – Find The Best VPN By Tier!

Last Updated: November 16, 2021

Jason

Jason

The reality is that once you specify exactly what you’re looking for in a VPN, you’ll be able to cut it down to just a few and choose one from the VPN tier list.
VPN Tier List
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VPN Tier List Promo Codes: Use “EARTHWEB” to get a discount on most of the VPNs listed, or click on the links to get the best deal straight away.

GOD Tier:Surfshark, NordVPN, ExpressVPN
Good Tier:TorGuard, Vyper VPN, IP Vanish, Hola VPN, Tuxler, Cyberghost, WeVPN, CactusVPN, PrivateVPN, oVPN, PureVPN, StrongVPN, VPN.AC, VPN Area, VPN Unlimited, Private Internet Access, AirVPN, Hide IP VPN, Froot VPN, BitDefender VPN, Namecheap
Okay Tier:Betternet VPN, Proxyrack, Netflix VPN, VPN Land, Rapid VPN, Pangeo VPN, DNS Flex Residential VPN, VPN City, Zoog VPN, Trust.Zone, Mullvad VPN, Hotspot Shield, Ultra VPN, iVPN, Black VPN, Ivacy VPN, Windscribe, Mozilla VPN, Malwarebytes VPN, Privado VPN, Perfect Privacy, Safer VPN, QuadVPN, Cryptostorm, Hide.Me, F-Secure Freedom VPN, Astrill VPN, ProtonVPN, VeePN, FastestVPN, Norton VPN, BulletVPN, AzireVPN, Easy-Hide-IP, Avast SecureLine VPN, Unlocator, Tunnelbear VPN, V PNGate, Zenmate, HideMyAss VPN, Lightyear, SlickVPN
Bad Tier:Guardian Firewall VPN, Freedom IP VPN, Ghostery VPN, AVG VPN, BytzVPN, McAfee, TurboVPN, Thunder VPN, X-VPN
Shit Tier: Public & Free VPNs (stay away from this type of VPN!)
VPN Tier List 2021

VPN Tier List

GOD Tier

Surfshark

Surfshark VPN

What can we say about Surfshark? That is pretty much the best VPN to ever have lived. You might think that we are exaggerating when we say this, but nothing could be further from the truth.

In fact, as they say on their website, they are eating other VPN deals alive, and this is evident in the fact that they support unlimited devices, compared to similar VPN services that have quite a strict limit on how many devices they support.

They also say that they provide their clients with 24/7 support, as well as clean web features, and the best part?

They have some of the best pricing in the industry. It’s going to cost you just $2.49 a month to sign up with these guys.

Let’s talk a little bit about their features for a second. One of their best features is their camouflage mode, which makes sure that even the Internet provider that you use can’t tell if you are using a VPN or not.

This way, you can always keep everything private.

A second feature is their multi-hop feature, which allows you to connect through multiple countries at the same time, so that you can take footprint masking and ID protection to a whole new level.

Their clean web feature that we mentioned above can help you prevent phishing attempts or malware, plus, you can forget about having to deal with ads, or trackers.

These guys have pretty much made it easier than anyone else in the industry to sign up for a VPN because all you need is one subscription on unlimited devices.

Literally one subscription is going to cover every gadget in your house, so that you can download their easy-to-use app, and use it on all of the family’s devices.

With more than 3200 servers across 65 countries, we think that these guys are going to be able to cover your needs, whatever they look like.

We will even throw in a bonus feature for you, which is the fact that they have a 30-day money-back guarantee. Honestly, it’s going to be difficult to beat a deal like this.

NordVPN

NordVPN

NordVPN is under the God Tier because they also understand exactly what their clients’ needs are when it comes to being a VPN, and we think that they have some of the best features, as well as the best deals in the market.

They currently have a summer deal that’s going on, where you can save big and get three months free.

They also come with a 30-day money-back guarantee, which covers everything, discounts or otherwise.

These guys ultimately want their clients to feel secure in everything they do, and one thing that we love about this VPN service is that you can get all of their features and security tools under one account.

They have a password manager that is going to help you securely organize, store, and access your passwords from anywhere.

It can also help you generate complex passwords, sync across all of your devices, and store personal information, like credit card details.

Nord VPN also offers file encryption through the cloud, so that you can encrypt any file really quickly, and securely store it on your computer or in the cloud.

They offer 10 gigabytes of private cloud storage, as well as a drag and drop system for secure files, and they will back up your data automatically.

At the end of the day, this is the kind of VPN service that is by the people, for the people, and they feel passionate about giving their client’s data safe from prying eyes, allowing them the ultimate security.

They want to safeguard your connections, offering next generation encryption, so that you can easily log into your profile, conduct bank transfers, and shop online without worrying about any breaches and security.

You can even do so if you are using Wi-Fi that is unprotected.

Another feature that we will throw in with this review is that they have no bandwidth limits, meaning that there are no speed limits at their end, so that you can enjoy a full speed VPN connection without any glitches.

ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN is one of those VPN services that you’ve probably heard of already, because they have been around for a while now, and are considered one of the OGs of the industry.

They are certainly popular among mainstream clients, and there is a really good reason for this.

They are able to offer their clients extra secure, high speed VPN services that work, and as we mentioned, they are a trusted leader in the industry.

Along with the other VPN services that we have discussed already, these guys come with 30-day money-back guarantee, as well as an all-access pass to global content.

This way, you can access your favorite apps and shows wherever you are, so that you can stay up-to-date on all of your favorite content even when you are far away from home.

This way, you can say good bye to restrictions and censorship.

Similar to some of the other best VPN services we have talked about, these guys can help you on every device, whether you are using a VPN server for your router, your computer, tablet or phone.

This is much better than having to sign up for multiple subscriptions for multiple devices.

They ultimately want to help their clients by offering them stronger data protection, so that you can take charge of your online security and privacy with encryption that is best in class.

Another thing that we love about these guys is that they have lightning-fast connectivity, which means that their VPN services are built for speed and powered by next-generation technology.

Their high-powered servers are available worldwide, within 160 locations, and 94 countries.

If you still aren’t convinced, you can check out the wide range of positive reviews that they have on their website, as well as third-party forums.

Good Tier

Torguard

Vyper VPN

IP Vanish

Hola VPN

Tuxler

Cyberghost

WeVPN

CactusVPN

Private VPN

oVPN

PureVPN

StrongVPN

VPN.AC

VPN Area

VPN Unlimited

Private Internet Access

AirVPN

Hide IP VPN

Froot VPN

BitDefender VPN

Namecheap

Okay Tier

Betternet VPN

Proxyrack

Netflix VPN

VPN Land

Rapid VPN

Pangeo VPN

DNS Flex Residential VPN

VPN City

Zoog VPN

Trust.Zone

Mullvad VPN

Hotspot Shield

Ultra VPN

iVPN

Black VPN

Ivacy VPN

Windscribe

Mozilla VPN

Malwarebytes VPN

Privado VPN

Perfect Privacy

Safer VPN

QuadVPN

Cryptostorm

Hide.Me

F-Secure Freedom VPN

Astrill VPN

ProtonVPN

VeePN

FastestVPN

Norton VPN

BulletVPN

AzireVPN

Easy-Hide-IP

Avast SecureLine VPN

Unlocator

Tunnelbear VPN

V PNGate

Zenmate

HideMyAss VPN

Lightyear

SlickVPN

Bad Tier

Guardian Firewall VPN

Freedom IP VPN

Ghostery VPN

AVG VPN

BytzVPN

McAfee

TurboVPN

Thunder VPN

X-VPN

Shit Tier

Public & Free VPNs (stay away from this type of VPN!)

Top 10 Criteria to Select the Best VPN Provider for Your Needs

VPN

So, the topic of Internet security has been hot for a while now; almost a decade.

The last few years have given us several good examples around the world of why we need to take extra measures to protect our data from hackers and malware that is constantly lurking in the shadows on the Internet.

You might envision a hacker in the corner somewhere, eagerly trying to take your personal data, but at the end of the day, a lot of the people that are trying to misuse your data are hiding out in the open.

In fact, governments are now officially purchasing your browsing data from Internet service providers, and their reasons for this aren’t always altruistic.

A lot of the time, their intentions will go beyond what most people would consider to be legal.

Even if you don’t live somewhere in the world where the government believes in taking the liberty, there are always corporations right around the corner that are trying to get their hands on your browsing data so that they can use it for marketing purposes.

The majority of people out there don’t appreciate this kind of intrusion, and even if it doesn’t come with malicious intent, it is still incredibly frustrating and annoying.

With these thoughts in mind, let’s take a look at the top ten criteria to select the best VPN provider for what you need right now.

Good Level of Transparency and Track Record

When you’re using the majority of services out there, having a reliable and trusted service provider is of course really important, and it is especially important if you are using a VPN service.

When you subscribe to a VPN provider, you are giving them access to your data and identity, as well as your browsing history, which of course carries its risks.

This is why it is going to be really important to keep yourself informed and take a look at the company’s background before you subscribe to a service.

Apart from there being dummy companies online which are usually just a front for malicious activity, there are also relatively new companies that just aren’t capable of providing you with the caliber of service you need to stay safe.

This is why you always need to select a VPN service that has a proven track record in the industry and has a lot of happy customers and positive reviews.

Naturally, there are going to be a few red flags when it comes to a VPN provider that you don’t really know too much about, so let’s go through what these are.

Data Breaches

Data Breaches

Losing client data could be due to either incompetence or malice, and there are more VPN services out there than you might expect that lose their clients’ data regularly and have breaches when it comes to their service.

Of course, this is a big red flag, and you need to avoid companies like this regardless of why they are losing the data.

Not Having a Privacy Policy

Of course, whenever we sign a deal, we are all encouraged to read the fine print, but hardly any of us actually do.

However, when it comes to a VPN service, we highly encourage that you read the fine print, and make sure that the company is abiding by the rules that they have set out for themselves.

If they fail to do so, then you could be signing up for a VPN service that plans on selling your info to a third party.

Sometimes, a VPN provider won’t even have a privacy policy, which is of course a big red flag.

Lifetime Offers that Aren’t Realistic

Naturally, we all love a good deal every now and then, but if a company is offering a deal that is bigger than what a service like that is capable of offering, then definitely avoid them.

This includes lifetime offers from companies that have only been working for a short time.

Purchasing lifetime VPN subscriptions might be considered a good deal, but as we know, the majority of businesses fail in the first two years, so you could end up paying for a lifetime service for a company that is going to go under within three to four years.

Pushy Sponsorships

Sponsorships

Having sponsorships and marketing deals is a normal part of this process, but if you see that a company is paying a huge amount of money to be placed in the top rank, but this doesn’t reflect in their customer reviews, then this is of course a red flag.

It doesn’t typically spell malice, but it definitely isn’t a good use of their money, and in general, it is just a bad business practice.

It means that they are giving out more money to the marketing department than they are using to maintain their service, and considering what side of the coin you sit on, this definitely isn’t in your favor.

Shadow Ownership

People that do really well and are genuine and proud of what they produce, typically have VPN services that are reliable.

They are also more than willing to talk about who they are, and where they are from. You would easily be able to trust them if they were ever to make another server.

So, if a company is being elusive about who owns it exactly, this is naturally a big red flag, as it is usually done for malicious purposes, and you never should sign up for a service where you don’t actually know who owns it.

Security

Security

Whatever reason you are using a VPN service, security should be your number one concern.

Without making sure that your VPN provider can easily protect your device or your information, then there is absolutely no point in working with them.

All VPN services are going to offer you privacy when the system is doing well and operating as usual, but because there are a multitude of threats on the Internet, it is super important that the VPN service you choose has the necessary protocols working that are going to easily be able to protect your data.

Because of this, we highly recommend that you choose a VPN service that hires professionals to manage this server for them, and there are some people that are passionate about VPN that like the idea of setting up a free one, but at the end of the day, if you aren’t prioritizing security, you aren’t going to get what you need out of the company.

So, definitely don’t go for a free VPN service, but on the other side of the coin, you also don’t want to go for a VPN service that is asking too much for their software.

The majority of the time, a company that is charging too much for their features usually means that they don’t have a lot of customers.

Finding a safe and reliable VPN service means looking at spending roughly around $12 a month for a high-end company.

Any more than this, and you need to start asking why they’re charging so much for their features.

Connectivity

Connectivity

Once you have made sure that the connection you’ve got is secure, you can further align your selection from the various connectivity that the VPN server offers.

A reliable connection with a VPN service is something that you are going to need, especially if you want to be able to browse on the Internet without interruption, and especially if you plan on downloading a lot of files onto your computer, without bringing viruses as well.

When it comes to connectivity issues, we usually look at the signal strength, so if you are experiencing a weak signal, this could be a sign that the server is being attacked, or it hasn’t been maintained properly.

Accessibility is a relatively new aspect of a VPN service, because it raises the question of the type of devices, as well as the number of devices that can be connected to a single server.

With the rise of tablets and smartphones, you will need to make sure that your VPN service has all the protocols in place for you to be able to browse safely on multiple devices, as well as the ability to help you stay connected to a VPN, even if you’ve got other devices in the home connected to the same server.

Speed

Speed

Of course, your first concern beyond security or anything else might have been speed when thinking about a VPN server, and there are a few things to consider when thinking about the speed of a VPN.

One factor to consider is the location as well as the maximum connection speed that both the server and your device has.

It is worth mentioning here that the ultimate Internet speed you are going to have is going to be the same as the slowest connection between the speed that is provided by your ISP, the capability of your device, and the speed of the VPN itself.

Even if some of the best VPN servers offer some of the best speeds available, if the connection on your end is not quick, then you are going to experience a slower speed.

When trying to work out how quick your Internet is going to be when you are using a VPN server, you also need to know where the server is located that you are trying to connect to.

Latency issues don’t directly impact the speed of the connection, but it is going to influence your experience, and it might cause the Internet to be slow.

Because of this, when you are doing your research around using a VPN service, you need to think about location, and find a VPN provider that is close to where you are located and preferably has multiple locations around the world.

Number of Servers

Speaking of multiple locations around the world, there are a number of reasons why everyone looking for a VPN server needs to focus on the number of servers that they provide.

Having a stable and good server is a complex thing and most of the time, they either need maintenance or they are in the process of being updated.

This is why the more servers they have, the better.

Most VPN servers out there are nothing more than a small network of proxy servers, which means that they typically will not have their locations or number of servers listed.

This means that you will not be able to see the value of more than one server straight away.

If you are relying on just one server, you will start to see that it will glitch and not work potentially several times a day.

When you use a reputable and reliable VPN server, they will have a large number of servers that cover a large number of countries, which means that even if you become disconnected for a server for some reason, you are still going to be able to connect with another one and lose very little in terms of speed.

Lastly, you need to think about the fact that different countries have different legislation when it comes to VPN servers, which means that you might not be aware of which kind of data is going to be restricted in the country where you are trying to connect your VPN to.

This is why it is good to have a few options up your sleeve.

Consistent Customer Support

Customer Support

This category is not something that you might be thinking of right at the beginning, because it is usually something that people only think of when they need it.

We have relatively low expectations when it comes to customer support, which is why the majority of companies, not only in the VPN industry but in general, lack a good team.

When it comes to customer support and VPN providers, there are three categories: the good, the bad, and the non-existent.

Of course, the non-existent category is pretty self-explanatory, because this includes VPN servers that don’t have any customer support.

This usually covers free VPNs, as well as dodgy services, but sometimes, it might cover a paid VPN as well.

This is of course a huge red flag, and you need to avoid companies like this because if something goes wrong, you will never be able to find out whether it is something wrong with your device, the server, or your ISP connection.

Of course, this kind of behavior is unprofessional and unacceptable in any industry, and companies like this are never going to become best on the market.

In the middle category, you’ve got companies that offer a ticketing process, which is definitely better than nothing, but it can end up being really slow.

Once you’ve got an issue, you will submit a ticket, and then you will wait for your problem to be resolved.

If you are using your VPN for easy browsing, and the problem is not preventing you doing this, then you might not be too worried about the wait time, but if you have a bigger issue, and you can’t really do anything without getting it resolved, it is going to become pretty frustrating.

Finally, you’ve got the good tier, which is companies that offer their clients a live chat option, which you will be able to see on their website so that you can get an instant reply to your issue.

This kind of service is something that only the best VPN companies out there include, and it is of course a sign of dedication and reliability to the service, which we personally believe should be something that is implemented in all companies, especially when it comes to the security of the Internet.

Again, you can go for the middle tier if you are someone who has a lot of patience and doesn’t really mind waiting for an answer, but if you are someone who thinks they’re probably going to need an answer straight away, you definitely need to find the company that can provide instant customer support.

How Many Connections They Allow

A relatively new problem that has come up over the last couple of years with VPN servers is that one single person might use a VPN server on multiple devices for the same tasks, depending on the time of day and where they are located.

Sometimes, a single person is going to use multiple devices at the same time, which is going to place pressure on their server.

When you are trying to hide your IP address and freely browse the Internet, it is essential that all of your devices have a VPN, because malicious entities are going to attempt to patch the information they received with what has been hidden, and try and gain access to your information through a device that is unprotected.

The Type of Devices Supported

Devices Supported

While it is pretty easy to connect a variety of different devices to the same server, because this is the primary role of the server, only the best companies out there are going to offer the right support.

Your computer might be running Mac or Windows, but your phones aren’t using these systems, and even iOS, or a Windows phone is going to have quite a different platform. Additionally, people use Android as well, including LG or Samsung.

If you are looking for the best VPN server, you need to make sure that all of your devices can be supported on the one server and the connection is stable, as well as having access to all of the additional features.

Geographic Diversity

As we have already mentioned, each country has different rules and regulations around the Internet, and one of the biggest reasons why people use a VPN server is to get around restrictions in particular countries when it comes to what the government thinks people should be watching or consuming.

You will find that some countries have very relaxed regulations around the Internet, and only draw a line when it comes to serious crime, but others have much more rigid regulations, especially when it comes to adult content, politics, and religion.

To get around this, your VPN server needs to be located in some of the countries where regular Internet legislation doesn’t require an ISP to deny you a particular service.

In some countries, like America, even restricted content that uses an ISP often belong to a corporation.

The same reasons for the current geographic diversity are present in the states as they are in China, and it’s all because of the government.

The best VPN servers out there will have a multitude of servers located in different countries, with a particular focus on countries where the privacy of the Internet is protected, and content can be shared freely.

The more locations around the world your VPN server has, the better, because this means that you will be ready for any regulations in any country, and you will be able to quickly change the server according to what is usable, and what is not.

Torrent-Friendly

Torrent

Only the best of the best when it comes to VPN servers are friendly when it comes to torrents, and while this might not be something you think about often, for others it might be the only thing they think about.

Having the choice to share files directly from other users and still be protected by a server is much more difficult than it appears.

Usually, when you connect with another user directly, you will need to give that user your IP address, even if you are using a VPN, and this is typically done automatically.

After, the server will be blocked for security reasons, so only the best VPN servers out there will have a solution to this.

Final Thoughts

Finding the best VPN for you and your online activity is going to feel like a challenge that you might not be cut out for, but the reality is that once you specify exactly what you’re looking for in a VPN, you’ll be able to cut it down to just a few and choose one from the VPN tier list.

You will be left with companies like the ones that we have talked about above on the VPN tier list, that offer fast, safe, and reliable VPNs, which are going to allow you to browse the Internet freely and safely, without having to worry about your personal data being stolen.

Make sure to check out any free trials and don’t be afraid to experiment a bit until you land on the right one.

Written by Jason

Hi! I’m the editor at EarthWeb. I have a deep interest in technology and business. I also enjoy testing products out. Contact me to be featured!