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Buffered VPN Reviews 2020

Buffered VPN Reviews 2020
Price
Quality
Guarantees
Support
Summary

Price

Buffered can be purchased in three different plans - a monthly, yearly, or two-year subscription. Those plans all provide the same level of service, with the same features. The only difference comes in the form of a discount for subscribers who commit for a longer period of time.

At $12.99 for a single month, Buffered is a very expensive option. There are plenty of cheap VPN services out there that provide a similar service (and some that are better too) for a fraction of that price.

Admittedly the VPN does get cheaper if you commit for a year or two. However, the equivalent of $6.59 per month on the yearly plan is still quite pricey. Overall, we would recommend taking the VPN upon its 2-year plan - because $4.12 per month is much more competitive.

Having said that, there are better options on the market so it is well worth shopping around and comparing this VPN to other services by taking advantage of the money-back guarantee.

Buffered VPN customers can elect to pay with Paypal, credit or debit cards, or with Bitcoins (for added anonymity). All subscribers get a 30-day money-back guarantee to test the service which is fantastic. Money-back guarantees and VPN free trials are perfect for trying VPNs out!

Supported Payment Platforms

Visa/MasterCard

Amex

Cryptocurrency

Unblock Netflix?

When it comes to streaming, Buffered VPN is a great option for most people. Not only does it provide privacy so that you can access websites like Putlockers or 123Movies - but it also unblocks many popular streaming services.

With Buffered you can also stream Netflix US and watch BBC iPlayer abroad with ease. This VPN provides super-fast servers so you can stream in HD, and you don't have to worry about buffering.

Features

Our favorite features that Buffered VPN have are as follows: 

  1. Servers in 37 countries
  2. Apps for all platforms
  3. OpenVPN encryption
  4. TCP over port 443

Speed and Performance

We test Buffered VPN three times a day using our scientific server-based speed test system. To find average and top (burst) speeds we test the Hong Kong, US, UK, and Australian servers. We always test VPNs using the OpenVPN protocol in order to make the tests fair between providers. Below you can see how Buffered compares to a number of market-leading VPNs.

As you can see, Buffered falls closely in range with some of the best VPNs in the world. This is excellent and means that Buffered is definitely a quick service that will suit people who want to do a lot of streaming.

Having said that, there are faster services on the market that do cost less. And NordVPN, for example, which performs almost identically in terms of speeds - is both better for privacy and cheaper.

IP and DNS Leaks

We tested the Buffered clients to see if they suffered IP leaks on both IPv4 and IPv6. These tests were conducted in a private browsing window on Firefox using ipleak.net. Our tests revealed no IPv4 leaks whatsoever (no DNS, WebRTC or IP leaks).

On IPv6, however, we discovered WebRTC leaks on both Mac and Windows. This means that you will need to plug the leak manually by disabling IPv6 on your machine (or using a WebRTC block extension in your browser) in order to use this VPN with an IPv6 connection.

The IPv6 WebRTC leaks are slightly disappointing. However, they are quite common and because they can be patched up manually, quickly, and easily, we aren’t desperately concerned.

However, we would prefer the VPN provider to be more forthcoming about advertising the need to plug WebRTC leaks on IPv6 connections on its website - as this would help to ensure users are doing so.

Privacy

Buffered has its main servers located in the Netherlands, which is a location specifically chosen by privacy services like StartPage (private search engine endorsed by Ed Snowden).

The VPN keeps no usage logs, which is a good start in terms of logging policies. However, the privacy policy does reveal that the VPN keeps a number of connection logs - which may put some people off. The most concerning of those logs are the user’s IP address, time of connection, and duration of the connection. We always recommend that you choose a service that keeps zero-logs or a least no logs that can be used to identify you, for privacy reasons. For information about this and for a list of five services that do not keep logs, see our best any log VPN guide.

Those details can be used to mount a time-correlation attack on the service, which means that this VPN can’t provide absolutely watertight privacy. Having said that, a time-correlation attack is pretty rare, and, is usually only ever carried out by the authorities when an especially big crime is being investigated. Thus, it is fair to say that for most people Buffered will provide digital privacy without too much concern.

However, a casual glance at the privacy policy shows that the VPN also collects quite a lot of data pertaining to people’s device and network information, this is far from ideal. From the privacy policy:

"With the software and configuration files we provide we may collect information from you which may include but is not limited to your devices identifiers, including unique identifiers, operating system’s version, language, network device identifiers (MAC addresses), IP addresses, network information, user information on the operating system, routing tables, DNS server addresses, other filesystem information, information regarding the hardware. You can opt out of this collection in the desktop client under settings."

That is a huge amount of data, which again is a little disappointing. However, it is true that Buffered allows consumers to opt-out of that data collection from inside the apps or via email. On the whole, we would prefer Buffered to stop collecting this data altogether - but at least the option to opt-out is there.

The privacy policy also discloses that aggregated data will be shared with business partners and advertisers. Again this is far from ideal, but at least the aggregated data does not disclose any personal information about anyone user to those companies.

Finally, to Buffered’s credit, the connection logs are only stored for 30 days. Thus, a time-correlation attack would only be able to target a user’s IP address for the last 30 days.

On the whole, considering the cost of this VPN, it would be nice if the logging policy never stored users’ IP addresses next to timestamps.

Encryption

uffered provides OpenVPN, which is our recommended protocol, on both Mac and Windows. What’s more, Buffered implements OpenVPN to standards that are suitable for digital privacy purposes. The Open VPN implementation is as follows:

AES-256 cipher, SHA1 for HMAC authentication, and strong RSA 2048 for the handshake.

Although the SHA1 authentication method is the weakest part of the protocol, it is still considered secure at this moment in time. This means that Buffered will protect the data tunnel’s contents from intrusion. For more information about encryption please read our complete encryption guide.

Customer Support

Buffered VPN is a service that has always impressed us in terms of customer support. The VPN makes the effort to train its customer support agents, and they always seem to have a reasonable knowledge of the VPN. However, when it comes to finding out more techy details (such as how OpenVPN is implemented - you will need to wait for them to refer to their technical support team).

Sadly, since we last reviewed this VPN, the service has removed the 24/7 live chat support facility from its website. This is really disappointing, especially considering the cost of a VPN subscription. However, the reality is that the ticket system works well - and Buffered does answer requests quickly.

User Experience

When it comes to the website and signing up, Buffered makes the experience extremely easy. The website is well laid out and there are lots of great resources such as a Knowledgebase with setup tutorials and Frequently Asked Questions. The contact area allows both subscribers and non-subscribers to pose questions, and when logged in to the member’s area users get a whole host of extra options - such as the ability to “download my data.” This is an easy and fast way to check what data about you the VPN is holding on file.

Windows App

Buffered's Windows VPN app is an easy to use VPN interface that comes with OpenVPN encryption by default. Subscribers get the option to select between OpenVPN TCP, which is better for security, and UDP which is faster and better for streaming. Users can also select to use OpenVPN TCP over port 443 which allows users to conceal VPN use as HTTPS traffic.

The app is nice looking and is easy to use, we are happy to report that it also includes a killswitch. That means it will provide privacy from your ISP even if the VPN connection should fail for some reason; this is excellent and means that the VPN is suitable for Torrenting via P2P.

Overall there was nothing about this VPN that frustrated me, other than the fact that it had IPv6 WebRTC leaks. However, this is easy to plug in just minutes by either disabling WebRTC altogether in your browser, downloading the handy Easy WebRTC Block extensions for Firefox or Chrome, or by disabling IPv6 connection altogether in Network and Sharing center.

Overall we found the VPN a pleasure to use because speeds were cracking and we were able to stream on multiple platforms with no issues.

Android App

Since we last reviewed Buffered it has released a custom Android VPN app(subscribers used to have to use the official third-party OpenVPN client). The addition of a proprietary mobile app is great, and we were extremely interested to give it a trial run!

OpenVPN is available by default in the client, which is nice to see. In addition, users can select between UDP or TCP over port 443 (which disguises OpenVPN as HTTPS). An auto-connect feature allows you to reconnect to the last server you used automatically.

Sadly, there is no killswitch available on the Android client at the moment. However, this isn’t too much of a disaster as most people don’t tend to do BitTorrent downloading on mobile. On the other hand, we did notice quite a few complaints on the Google PlayStore from subscribers that say the Android app is unstable and crashes a lot. This means you could end up leaking data to your ISP, which isn’t great for privacy.

We gave the Android client thorough testing for a couple of hours. We found the VPN a little slow to establish connections. We had to wait up to a minute, which is far from perfect. On certain servers (Bulgaria, for instance) the VPN failed to connect at all. On others, it connected in just 5 seconds. This is quite annoying.

We had a quick check for DNS leaks on our IPv4 connection and found there to be none. We were also happy to see DNS requests being handled by Buffered’s own server. Once a connection was established we found Buffered to work without issues and we found it really quick for streaming.

iOS app

Buffered VPN now also has an iOS VPN app. We found this app to perform much better than it’s Android counterpart. Connections were established almost instantly, which is great. However, we were unable to connect to the Bulgarian server (just like on Android). The good news is that all the other servers appeared to work fine, so the provider may just be having problems with that one server.

Encryption on the iOS app is provided via OpenVPN, which is actually quite rare. In addition, users can select between OpenVPN UDP or TCP over ports 53, 443, 993, or 1194. The option to select port 443 (for obfuscated connection) is an excellent addition.

Overall, we were impressed with both the ease-of-use and functionality of this iOS client. Speeds were great and we found the VPN to be stable.

Mac OS X

The Mac VPN desktop client is almost identical to its Windows counterpart. OpenVPN is available by default and a Killswitch is included in the client. An auto-connect feature lets Mac users connect to the VPN automatically as soon as it is launched. Users can also select to connect to OpenVPN using TCP or UDP over various ports (53, 443, 993, or 1194).

IPv6 WebRTC leaks were detected, which means that you will need to disable IPv6 (or disable WebRTC in your browser) in order to make this VPN secure. Overall, however, this is a superb client that functions with no issues.

Final Thoughts

Buffered VPN is a service that has a lot going for it. The addition of clients for all platforms is a welcome surprise, and, despite some complaints on the Play Store, we found mobile clients to work fine. On the other hand, we would recommend that you take those complaints seriously - because it is clear that some people are experiencing crashes that did not affect us during our tests.

The Desktop clients have a killswitch, which means that this VPN is suitable for Torrenting securely. In addition, this VPN provides fast speeds for streaming - and the ability to unblock popular services like Netflix and BBC iPlayer.

Servers in 37 countries allow subscribers to unblock a lot of content. However, considering the price of this VPN is a relatively small list of locations. In addition, the privacy policy leaves a lot to be desired.

We were also a little disappointed that Buffered does not have 24/7 live chat support, which, again, considering the cost of the VPN would be extremely welcome. On the other hand, we did find the ticket system to work fine, and the knowledge base is decent.

Buffered is not a terrible VPN by any stretch of the imagination. It does its job well and it provides fast speeds. However, to be absolutely honest, there are better ways to spend your money in 2020.

Buffered VPN is a Hungarian provider – that’s possibly moving to Gibraltar – with servers in 41 countries and counting.

Why Choose Buffered VPN

Even though sale-sy speak like “total security” and “fastest and most secure VPN” usually make me cringe, Buffered has some tangible proof to back its claims. They offer native clients for major operating systems, use OpenVPN and 256-bit Blowfish encryption, and don’t log user activity.

Best VPN for

  • Netflix, Hulu, and streaming online
  • Torrenting and downloading

Works on

Pros:

  • Reliable and secure with OpenVPN, 256-bit encryption
  • Allows up to 5 simultaneous connections
  • Server location search
  • 30-day refund policy (reasonable restrictions)
  • Up to 5 devices
  • Unblocks BBC iPlayer
  • List Allows P2P
  • Excellent 24/7 live chat support

Cons:

  • Speed drops
  • Performance issue with the new Windows client
  • No Netflix US
  • No native mobile apps
  • No trial
  • Overpriced considering performance issues

 

Pricing and Plans

Buffered VPN positions itself on the high end of the VPN spectrum, with $12.99 monthly, $79 yearly, and $99 biennial subscriptions. All plans come with OpenVPN protocol and 256-bit encryption and allow up to 5 simultaneous connections. Top it off with a 24/7 support, and you’re in for a good – if slightly overpriced – deal.

Their 30-day money-back guarantee comes with reasonable restrictions – you can’t exceed 10 GB data, 100 sessions, or 10 hours of sessions.

The provider accepts PayPal or credit cards only – no Bitcoin support at the moment. There is neither free nor paid trial, which is a major turnoff if you ask me.

Features

Buffered VPN offers native clients for Windows, Mac, and Linux. To use it on mobile devices, you need to install OpenVPN app from the app store and then download Buffered config files. It’s not much of a hassle since you only need to do it once.

All VPNs come with perks and glitches, so I never expect a 100% smooth ride when installing a new client. Buffered VPN, however, turned out to be one of the most haunted installations I’ve had lately.

I tried their Windows desktop app, which appeared to be fresh out the oven – with just a few days on the downloads page. In my case, the app glitched so bad it caused my video card to restart. That’s stress-inducing, and I encourage the tech wizards at Buffered VPN to roll out an update as soon as possible because the painfully poor user experience may sabotage an otherwise fine VPN. 

​On the bright side, their support is top-notch – available round the clock, fast, and helpful. In a live chat, the agent took a look at my log files and screenshots and recommended that I install a legacy app.

That solved the issue. Never mind that legacy app is not a beauty and far from being convenient to use.

It’s worth mentioning Buffered’s support sent me a follow-up email after I unsubscribed, mentioning a brand-new desktop client for Windows was in Beta. So, I was more than willing to give it a try. Unfortunately, Beta didn’t work out for me. Since it’s a work in progress, Beta app’s failure to run is not reflected in the rating.

On the other hand, I applaud the company’s work ethic and diligent support team. A Beta in works also means we’ll see an improved desktop client with – hopefully – all rough edges ironed out some time soon.

(Note: They have released a new client for Windows and Mac, under the name of 2.16.)

Since I was able to run the legacy app, I can’t say much about the settings – the old app has none. The sneak peek I got at the new version shows some toggles to choose ports, switch to TCP instead of UDP, enable auto connect, allow latency checks and report errors.

While connected, the app displays a nifty screen complete with your usage stats – speeds, IP address, and total bandwidth consumed. This can be useful if you’re on a metered connection or need to limit your consumption for some other reason.

As I already mentioned, Buffered relies on OpenVPN, 256-bit Blowfish encryption, which is a strong, secure, and fast protocol. P2P is allowed, and you can connect up to five devices simultaneously.

Netflix US is a tough nut to crack for Buffered VPN, unfortunately. The good news – I was able to stream BBC iPlayer moments after I connected to a UK server. No lags, or buffering – smooth like butter.

Kudos to the support agent who kindly provided me with a list of streaming services that Buffered VPN unlocks.

Privacy and Security

Buffered VPN is based in Hungary, a country that refused to approve the draconian data retention laws many EU countries imposed. So, it’s outside the 14 Eyes club of nations swapping surveillance signals with each other.

Their logging policies are written in human speak – they do not log your traffic, but do log the duration of connections. The provider also keeps your login and registration data.

This clause here sounds like they can log user activity:

That presents a mild concern, but I’m not inclined to be paranoid about it since they don’t disclose your data “unless required by Hungarian law.”

Somewhat confusing is the fact that the company seems to have three registered locations – Hungary for Buffered Kft, Gibraltar for Buffered Limited, and the UK for Buffered Payments Ltd. But ToS, EULA, and Privacy Policy all refer to Hungarian jurisdiction.

On the security front, Buffered delivers some of the best results by deploying robust OpenVPN protocol with 256-bit Blowfish encryption. The provider also explains the choice of Blowfish encryption in a rather detailed post worth reading, if you’re on the fence.

Final Thoughts

Buffered VPN is worth your attention, with servers in 41 countries, rock-solid security, and reasonable – and transparent – approach to privacy.

It does feel a bit raw and overpriced, though, with the unstable client and noticeable speed drops. Hopefully, the developers will iron out these rough edges sooner rather than later because I’m anxious to see it improve.

Our Verdict

Buffered VPN's scores well for speed and Netflix unblocking, but spoils the effect with the vague logging policy, weak Windows client and more. Keep looking, you'll get better results elsewhere.

For

  • Above-average performance
  • Works with any OpenVPN-compatible device
  • Unblocks Netflix
  • Live chat support

Against

  • Small network
  • Privacy policy is short on details
  • Below-par desktop client
  • Some dubious info on support website

Update (June 2, 2020): Buffered VPN has merged with Encrypt.me, and in the company’s words, will continue to offer “world class VPN services through Encrypt.me”. In other words, you’ll be signing up with Encrypt.me, and you can check out our full review of that service here.

Original review follows below...

Hungary-based Buffered is a small VPN provider which delivers in some areas, but is a little more questionable in others.

The network is relatively small, with just 37 locations. They're reasonably well spread, though, with servers in Europe, North America, Argentina, Australia, Hong Kong, Iceland, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Russia and more. They all support P2P, too.

Buffered was late adding mobile apps, but now has custom software for Android, iOS, Windows and Mac, along with instructions for routers and more. You're able to connect up to 5 devices simultaneously, so similar to VPN giants like ExpressVPN and NordVPN.

Support is vital, even for experienced users, and Buffered VPN's 24/7 live chat should ensure you're never far away from expert help.

Buffered VPN has only a very basic free trial for mobile users (one hour a month), and nothing at all for desktop users, but if you do sign up, you're protected by its 30-day refund policy. There are no sneaky exclusions buried in the small print, no limits on sessions or data use - just send a request via email, and a reason, and you'll get your money back.

This is good news, especially if you're signing up for the monthly plan, which costs a painful $12.99. (Even the premium ExpressVPN undercuts this, just, at $12.95.) 

Fortunately, the annual plan looks much better value at $6.95, and if you sign up for two years, the price falls even further to $4.12.

Privacy and logging

Most VPN providers understand that they need to reassure customers about their logging policy, and Buffered tries to do this in the very first line of its FAQ page: 

'Since we value your online privacy and rights, we don’t track any of your online traffic.'

That's good news, but not exactly specific. What about session data, IP addresses, device IDs, timestamps? The FAQ covers none of that, but does admit to some logging, later: 'That’s why we only log data regarding the duration of your connection.' That's some form of session logging, presumably, but how does it work? How is Buffered identifying a session? Is it recording a start time, an end time? We would like to know, but the company isn't saying.

A Privacy Statement doesn't give us much more detail, beyond a mention of the data it can collect about app errors. It's a lot, too: device identifiers..., operating system’s version, language, IP addresses, network information, user information on the operating system, routing tables, DNS server addresses, other filesystem information.' But if you're worried, you can opt out of crash reporting by flicking a switch in the Settings dialog.

Put this all together and you really don't have very much. Buffered isn't confessing to anything bad, but it's not spelling what it's doing, either, and we would like the logging policy become far more detailed and specific.

Apps

Buffered VPN doesn't have a trial, so we got started by choosing the monthly plan, entering our email, choosing a user name and password, and handing over our cash (cards, PayPal and Bitcoin are supported).

Once the payment was accepted, the website redirected us to a 'Welcome Aboard' page. This asked us to complete our profile, but when we followed the link, we found a form requesting our home address. Oh, and recommended we keep this up-to-date in case our address changes. We're struggling to think of a good reason why Buffered needs this information, but the website didn't force us to provide it, fortunately. We just ignored the profile page, and Buffered didn't appear to care.

After verifying our email address, the website pointed us to the appropriate client for our Windows review system, as well as listing its other downloads: Android, iOS and Mac, OpenVPN configuration files, and setup instructions for Linux, routers and more.

The Buffered VPN Windows client opens with a mobile app-like location picker, a simple alphabetical list of servers with a Favorites system and a Recent Locations tab. There's no server load or ping information, and you can't expand a country to see locations within it, although the US does get three regional locations (East Coast, Midwest, West Coast.)

Click a location, it connects quickly, and the client updates to display a lot of information: connection time, killswitch status, upload and download speeds, the total data uploaded and downloaded, and your new IP address. It all looks a little cluttered, to us, but if you really care about your current upload speed or any of the other bits and pieces, you might think differently.

A Tools button pointed us at a 'Bandwidth test'. We expected this to link to a website, but no - the client interface is replaced by a speed dial which updates to show our current connection performance. That could be useful for troubleshooting, although we're not sure we'd trust any VPN provider to give us a completely accurate, objective and unbiased report on its own speed.

A more useful Firewall Test tool verifies that ports 53, 443, 993 and 1194 (commonly used by VPNs) are available, a neat troubleshooting feature we've not seen included in an app before.

The Settings page is more basic. You can manually set VPN ports and enable a kill switch, but otherwise it's all very ordinary (launch Buffered when Windows starts, automatically connect to the last server, and so on.)

Overall, the Windows client works and is reasonably easy to use, but we have to question its design priorities. Buffered has equipped it with plenty of unusual features, but most of these just aren't very necessary, and we would have preferred more focus on higher value options such as adding support for more protocols.

Mobile VPN apps can sometimes offer more or different features, but Buffered's Android offering had almost exactly the same interface and functionality as the desktop version (the only difference we could see is that it's missing the kill switch). This isn't necessarily a bad thing - the interface makes more sense on a mobile device - but the app still can't compete with the big-name VPNs.

Performance

'Buffered' probably isn't a name you'd choose to imply high speeds, but our tests found that the service generally performed very well.

Our local UK servers averaged a creditable 55-60Mbps, close to the maximum achievable on our 75Mbps test line.

Near European servers were almost as impressive, for example with the Netherlands averaging 50-55Mbps.

More distant European locations were generally above average, with one or two exceptions. Romania, for instance, struggled at 10-20Mbps, although even that is enough for most browsing and streaming tasks.

The situation picked up with Buffered's better-connected US servers, seeing speeds return to a healthy 45-55Mbps.

We noticed a few issues in the more distant or less common locations, for instance with Argentina limiting us to an average 10Mbps, and Australia 15-20Mbps. But again, they were never less than usable, and on the whole Buffered delivered very acceptable speeds.

Netflix

The Buffered website may not mention Netflix up-front, but it does explain that the service helps you 'enjoy the entertainment you want', and that it can bypass geo-restrictions by 'making it look like you're connecting from a different country.'

We began testing this by logging into the UK server and trying to access BBC iPlayer. No luck, though - the site warned that 'this content is not available in your location.' 

Switching to the US East Coast server gave us some unblocking success, allowing us to view US-only YouTube content. That's not a very big success - we've only ever seen one VPN which couldn't unblock YouTube - but it's a start.

The news got considerably better when we found the same server also enabled streaming US Netflix, a far more difficult task which defeats many other VPNs. 

This situation can change at any time, but that's where Buffered's 'one free hour a month' scheme could actually be useful. If Netflix access is a top priority, you can easily check it at any time and confirm that it still works for you.

Support

Buffered VPN has a wide range of support resources on its website, including setup tutorials, troubleshooting guides, and lots of FAQs and background information on VPNs in general.

How useful these might be, is open to question. Although there are a reasonable number of guides, they're sometimes short on detail, and we've seen more and better tutorials on offer with the top providers.

We also found some of the FAQs included misleading information, and seemed to be more about selling the advantages of Buffered than informing readers. For example, the 'What VPN protocols does Buffered support?' page tells us that Buffered doesn't support L2TP because it 'doesn't really offer any type of encryption.'

Is this true? Well, sort-of, L2TP is about creating the tunnel, and doesn't in itself encrypt your data. But no VPN uses L2TP alone, instead they combine it with IPsec to authenticate and safely encrypt your information. 

To simply say that L2TP 'doesn't really offer any type of encryption' isn't very helpful, then, and is far from the standard we'd expect of a professional VPN. For a comparison, look at PureVPN's blog post on PPTP vs L2TP, a much more detailed and accurate piece, which explains that L2TP "uses the IPSec suite to provide end-to-end encryption, data origin authentication, replay protection, as well as data integrity."

If you're also unimpressed by the web content, support is available 24/7 via email and live chat. We opened a chat session and had a speedy and accurate answer to our test question. The website has plenty of issues, then, but Buffered can still deliver decent help when you need it, and that's what matters most.

Final verdict

Buffered VPN delivers on speed, compatibility, Netflix and more, but weaknesses with the network, logging policy, support site and Windows client design make it hard to recommend. If you're keen anyway, use the one-free-hour-per-month mobile scheme to try before you buy.

The Buffered website says that their VPN is “the fastest and most secure.”

That’s a bold claim.

But does Buffered back up their assertion?

I grabbed a premium subscription ($7.62/mo at the time of purchase) from Buffered.com and downloaded the Windows app to find out.

Here are the results:

Buffered VPN Overview

OVERALL RANK: #36 out of 78 VPNs
USABILITY: Very Easy, 5/5
LOG FILES: Some Logging 
LOCATIONS: 42 countries, 46 servers
SUPPORT: 24/7 Chat, quick responses
TORRENTING:  Torrenting Allowed
NETFLIX: Yes 1/5
ENCRYPTION/PROTOCOL: OpenVPN, 256-bit Blowfish
COST: $4.12/mo
OFFICIAL WEBSITE: www.buffered.com

Buffered VPN Pros

1. Solid Usability

Buffered’s Windows app is very easy to use—just fire it up, choose from one of 37 different servers around the world, and you’ll be connected automatically.

Once you’re connected, you can see speed measurements and your VPN IP address. You can also rate the quality of your connection to provide feedback to Buffered on how well it’s working.

The app’s settings are very basic; you can switch back and forth between TCP and UDP, choose a custom port for the VPN, and toggle things like launch-on-startup and whether or not the VPN killswitch is allowed.

You can also tell Buffered whether or not you’re willing to share statistics on operational errors.

There’s not a whole lot of customization available here, but if you’re not an advanced VPN user, this isn’t likely to be a problem.

The mobile app, however, isn’t quite as simple. You’ll need to download the OpenVPN app, then go to Buffered.com and download the configuration files for a specific server. If you want the option of connecting to multiple servers, you can download multiple configuration files.

It’s not much of a hassle, but it’s not as easy as some of the other mobile VPNs we’ve reviewed.

2. Jurisdiction – Gibraltar

Buffered advertises itself as “Made with [love] in Gibraltar,” (similar to iVPN) but their headquarters is actually in Hungary.

Gibraltar is a British Overseas Territory, which worries some people. The UK is part of a large intelligence-sharing agreement with the United States, and data privacy laws in both countries aren’t very reassuring.

Buffered addresses this with a page on the legal status and jurisdiction of Gibraltar, where they assure users that they aren’t required to share any information with the government of Gibraltar.

However, I should point out that That One Privacy Site did some research into the sovereignty of Gibraltar, which is a British Overseas Territory, and pointed out that there might be under more British control than it at first appears.

To make the whole situation slightly more complicated, Buffered’s data is actually stored in the Netherlands.

Hey there, physically all of the user data is stored in Netherlands, and legally Gibraltar guards it.

— Buffered VPN (@BufferedVPN) February 19, 2018

It’s unclear exactly what “legally Gibraltar guards it” would entail. But the Netherlands is part of an intelligence-sharing scheme that includes the US and the UK. Despite that, the country does have some solid privacy-protecting laws in place.

If you’re absolutely committed to avoiding VPNs based in countries that share intelligence, you may want to avoid Buffered. If you’re not too worried about it, their Gibraltar/Netherlands base probably isn’t cause for concern.

Still, it’s worth noting.

3. No DNS Leaks

To make sure Buffered was providing the security it promised, I ran an extended DNS leak test using IVPN’s online tool.

As you can see, the tool showed no indication that there’s any DNS information leaking from Buffered. That’s an important test to pass, as a DNS leak can give away more information about you than you might expect.

It’s also worth noting that each of Buffered’s servers has a DNS server hosted on it, so you’ll always have fast access to a DNS.

4. Solid 256-Bit Encryption

When it comes to VPN features, Buffered is fairly bare-bones. The VPN uses 256-bit Blowfish encryption, which is a military-grade standard. It also uses the OpenVPN protocol, which is widely recognized as very secure.

So from a security standpoint, Buffered is solid. There’s nothing here that stands out as especially awesome (like NordVPN’s double encryption), but there’s also nothing to worry about.

5. 24/7 Customer Service

Buffered promises 24/7 customer service, and that’s a big plus in my book. In addition to live chat on their website, they also have a ticket-submission system that’s always monitored. They promise they’ll get back to you in a few minutes.

When I asked about the details of which protocols the VPN uses via email, I got an answer in about 10 minutes.

That’s fast.

Buffered is also very active on Twitter, but because live chat is always available, you probably won’t need to tweet your support questions at them.

6. Five Simultaneous Connections

A subscription to Buffered gives you the option to run five simultaneous connections. This is great for anyone looking to protect their family or use multiple devices at once.

You can also install Buffered on your router to run everything in your house through the VPN. Buffered works with both DD-WRT and Tomato routers.

So while it’s on the higher-priced side, you can get your money’s worth if you run numerous connections.

7. Netflix- and Torrent-Friendly

When I tested Buffered with Netflix, the US West Coast server was able to successfully connect. So if you’re based elsewhere (or just traveling), you’ll be able to watch your favorite shows from home.

Servers in other countries, however, weren’t able to open up Netflix. If you want to watch something that’s not available in the US Netflix catalog, you’ll have to find another way.

And Buffered is completely torrent-friendly. They don’t restrict any P2P file-sharing applications on their network, so you can torrent to your heart’s content.

You may want to opt for a VPN that’s a bit faster, though, if you plan on torrenting a lot.

8. Built-in Kill-switch

If you’re connected to a VPN, and your connection is severed, your traffic will immediately start going out over your unprotected connection—but a killswitch solves this problem. If your VPN connection is severed, all internet traffic on your machine will stop.

It’s a pain if you’re downloading or streaming something, but it ensures that you’re protected no matter what happens to your connection. Buffered’s kill-switch is off by default, but I recommend turning it on in the settings right away.

Buffered VPN Cons

1. Some Logging

Buffered doesn’t make its logging policy super easy to find, but if you do some digging, you’ll find the answers on their site.

Buffered does note that you can opt out of data collection through the client’s settings. As far as I can tell, however, you can only opt out of error reporting. (And the “which may include but is not limited to” clause is a little worrying.)

It might concern some users that Buffered’s collects information for targeted advertising. The scope of that advertising is pretty limited, though:

If you are an existing customer, we (or third parties on our behalf) will only contact you by electronic means (e-mail or electronic chat) with information about goods and services similar to those which were the subject of a previous sale or negotiations of a sale to you. You may opt out from receiving such information at any time by letting us know.

So Buffered’s logging policy is pretty good.

But there’s a possibility that some of your information will be provided to third parties, which may turn some people off.

2. Download Speed Not Fast Enough…

Of course, speed is the primary factor that a lot of people are interested in when it comes to a VPN. Buffered says that it’s the fastest VPN—let’s see if they’re right.

Although Buffered boasts a highly secure AES-256 encryption, I found myself entirely underwhelmed by their server speeds (especially when you take the price tag into account).

Remember what they claimed to be? “Fastest and most secure VPN”. Sadly, not true.

US Server (New York)

  • Ping: 168ms
  • Download: 51.49 Mbps
  • Upload: 35.38 Mbps

EU Server (Amsterdam)

  • Ping: 40ms
  • Download: 46.78 Mbps
  • Upload: 46.65 Mbps

Asia Server (Hong Kong)

  • Ping: 224ms
  • Download: 36.46 Mbps
  • Upload: 16.30 Mbps

UK Server (London)

  • Ping: 45ms
  • Download: 56.63 Mbps
  • Upload: 39.19 Mbps

 As always, take speed tests with a grain of salt as they rely on many different variables, such as: Your network connection, your location, your computer and so on. However, since we’ve tested 70+ VPN services so far, we have an average that available which we can compare.

Now don’t get me wrong.

Buffered is far from a “slow” VPN. In fact, out of the 70+ VPNs that have been reviewed on this site, they are the 9th fastest.

But here’s the problem…

Out of the 8 VPNs that have faster download speed, only one of them is more expensive. In fact, several of these VPNs boast speeds that are 40% faster than Buffered for less than $4 a month.

However, Buffered does offer quite a few impressive features and bonuses to help make up for their lackadaisical speed and overpriced plans.

Buffered Pricing, Plans & Facts

Buffered offers three different plans:

  • $12.99 for one month
  • $79.00 for 12 months ($6.59 per month)
  • $99.00 for two years ($4.12 per month)

While $4.12 per month is very reasonable, Buffered is never going to make it into a list of the cheapest VPNs.

That’s way more expensive than my recommended VPNs such as Surfshark ($1.99/mo when reviewed) and NordVPN ($3.49/mo when reviewed).

If someone registers for premium service using your referral link, you both get 30 free days of service. So that can add up if you’re able to get a lot of people to sign up. Buffered also offers a 30-day money-back guarantee on all their plans.

  • No logging: Some logging.
  • Ease of the VPN software: VERY simple and easy to use.
  • Hidden fees & clauses: Refund will be only made if you haven’t exceeded 100 sessions (or 10 hours of sessions) or 10GB of bandwidth.
  • Upsells: No upsells.
  • Instant access after payment: Yes.
  • DNS leaks: None.
  • Jurisdiction: Gibraltar.
  • Protocols: OpenVPN, IPSec, PPTP & L2TP.
  • Kill-switch: OpenVPN only.
  • Server park: 37 servers worldwide.

Do I recommend Buffered?

All in all, Buffered is a solid choice for a VPN.

It uses industry-standard security technology, has a strong no-logging policy, and offers great customer support.

And there aren’t very many cons; their confusing legal status might throw some people off, using the service on mobile is a bit more arcane than other VPNs, and the speed probably isn’t enough for serious torrenting. Those really aren’t too bad.

If you have a specific reason for wanting to use Buffered, though, I won’t say it’s a bad choice.

Buffered VPN has only recently joined the competitive world of virtual private network providers, but it has already become quite popular thanks to the quality and level of privacy it offers its clients. Buffered VPN can now even be found on lists featuring the, which says a lot about their service. They offer excellent security and privacy, not to mention functionality. Read this Buffered VPN review to find out more.

Interface

One of the most important factors to consider when it comes to user experience is definitely a VPN’s interface, i.e. how easy it is to use the client. Buffered VPN has custom clients for Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux. They also have comprehensive configuration guides for iOS, Android, and routers.

Installing the Windows client is as simple as it can get and so is using it. You can easily select a country you want to connect to. What is particularly nice is that you can select various countries and mark them as your favorites. Then, they will show up at the top of the list of countries. To connect to a server, you just have to click on a country. When you are disconnected, the top of the client will be blue, when you are connecting to a server, it will turn to yellow, and when you are connected, it will be green.

Performance And Reliability

While doing tests for our Buffered VPN review, we thoroughly combed through the reliability determinants of this VPN and we have to say that the testing went very well. There were zero DNS leaks, which is great news.

When it comes to performance, there is no room for error. Buffered VPN are obviously aware of this, seeing that the performance of this VPN is really quite good. One of the more important features of virtual private networks is speed and Buffered VPN excels in this department.

However, keep in mind that your speed will depend on your Internet connection. The truth is, no matter what VPN you use, your connection will suffer a bit, but it’s nothing dramatic. Buffered VPN showed great performance while streaming movies, sometimes even a few streaming channels worked without a glitch.

Multi-Platform

Another great perk of Buffered VPN is that it’s compatible with all the major operating systems. It has dedicated custom software for Windows, Mac, and Linux, which is not that common. The service has high compatibility with a wide range of other devices and platforms as well, but it does require some manual configuration. For example, Buffered VPN is compatible with routers and smart TVs, which is great if you want to access Hulu, Netflix, and other similar channels.

Features

Buffered VPN allows you to access blocked websites and bypass online censorship. Some websites are off limits to some users due to various restrictions, usually geographic ones. A VPN basically unblocks these sites for you. In addition, Buffered VPN keeps you safe and anonymous, hides your real IP and hence your location, protects your personal information and sensitive data, and keeps hackers away.

The company currently has servers in 46 countries of the world and the number keeps growing. Their website invites all users to contact the company and tell them where they would like to see a server and the company will do its best to accommodate them. This sounds like a fairy tale or an empty promise at best, but considering the number of servers keeps growing almost every month, there just might be something to it. Right now, Buffered has servers on all continents and no large geographic region is neglected.

This VPN provider allows unlimited speeds, bandwidth and server switching, meaning it gives you great flexibility. You can connect up to five devices at the same time, which is impressive. Most providers only allow two or perhaps three simultaneous connections. Plus, if you configure VPN on your router, which you can because it’s supported, you can cover the entire house and all the devices in it.

Unlike most VPN providers, Buffered VPN uses only OpenVPN protocol, which is actually not bad since this is the most secure protocol currently available. You can even find a thorough explanation on their website why they opted just for OpenVPN.

Security And Privacy

As previously stated in this Buffered VPN review, Buffered VPN uses OpenVPN exclusively. They choose OpenVPN as their only protocol because it is the safest one on the market. It is also extremely reliable, meaning that users do not have to worry about losing any data. Finally, it is super flexible and easily bypasses firewalls.

In terms of privacy, you will be safe 24/7 from any security breaches, which allows you to keep your private information (address, credit card details etc.) private, without worrying that someone might hack you, even when you’re connected to a public Wi-Fi.

They do not keep any logs of your online activities but they do collect certain information such as registration and login data, the amount of data transmitted during the connection, and the duration of the connection. Apart from names and addresses, they keep these logs for 30 days. Some users might be uncomfortable with this, which is understandable. On the other hand, they are located in Gibraltar, meaning that they do not answer to US or UK authorities, contrary to the common misconception that Gibraltar is a part of the UK and thus a member of the Five Eyes alliance.

Support

Buffered VPN is still actively developing their customer support system. Currently, they provide a set of tutorials to help you get started. You can also find answers to some of the most commonly asked questions. They also have extensive setup tutorials.

If you cannot find the solution to your problem in the support section of the website, you can contact their customer support via a support ticket. One of their biggest drawbacks is that they do not have live chat, which most VPN providers offer their clients.

Pricing Options

1 Month

3 Months

6 Months

1 Year

2 Years

1 Month

$12.99

3 Months

/

6 Months

$9.99

1 Year

$6.60

2 Years

/

Like with most VPNs, the longer your subscription period, the cheaper the price. The most popular plan is, therefore, the yearly one that costs $8.25 per month. It is billed annually. The bi-annual plan, which is billed every six months, costs $9.99 per month. The most expensive plan is the monthly one, which costs $12.99 per month.

Buffered VPN offers a hassle-free 30-day money back guarantee, which means you can get your money back if you are not satisfied with their service.

Buffered VPN Pros & Cons

Finishing off this Buffered VPN review, here’s a quick overview of the features that wowed us and the aspects of the service that could use some improvement.

Pros

  • Excellent speed
  • Five simultaneous devices
  • Custom software for Windows, Mac, and Linux
  • Easy-to-use client
  • Compatible with routers and smart TVs

Cons

  • No free trial
  • No live chat
  • They keep some logs

The internet is an old thing based on old ideas, one of them being that security isn't an issue because there are no bad guys online. This might have been true in the days of ARPANET, but it's far from true anymore, which is why virtual private networks (or VPNs) like Buffered VPN are so important. With Buffered VPN, you can rest assured that your data is safe and your privacy protected. The service earns good scores in our speed tests, but it's held back by its comparatively high price and middling hands-on performance. It will protect you, but we prefer our Editors' Choice winners, such as the feature-rich NordVPN as well as the affordable and powerful Private Internet Access.

What Is a VPN?

When you surf the web, there are several places where your information could be intercepted or your movements tracked. If you're using a public internet connection—wired or Wi-Fi—the owner of that network could potentially see everything you're doing. They might even be able to insert themselves into your data, potentially serving you bogus websites. You need a VPN because they can help mitigate many of those threats by placing your web traffic in an encrypted tunnel between your computer and a server run by the VPN company.

Even at home, on your trusty network, there are risks. While it's unlikely that an attacker will bother meddling with your router, your ISP has eyes on your movements. Recent changes by the US government have given ISPs a green light to sell anonymized user data to third parties. Using a VPN can help keep your activities out of those bundles.

There are other threats out on the web, too. Many websites will note your IP address, helping them sense your movements across the web to send you targeted advertisements. When you use a VPN, websites, advertisers, and three-letter agencies will see the VPN server's IP address, and not yours.

If it's speed you're after, you're usually better off connecting to the nearest VPN server the company offers. But if you choose a far-flung server, your traffic will appear to originate from that location. Journalists and political activists have used this technology for years, and you too can get in on the location spoofing action. It's particularly useful for viewing region-locked content, such as free MLB and BBC streams. Note, however, that companies like Netflix and Hulu are starting to get wise and have begun actively blocking VPN users.

Pricing and Features

Like most VPN services, Buffered VPN uses a subscription model. A one-month subscription will run you $12.99, a six-month subscription $59.94, and an annual subscription $99.00. The company accepts major credit cards and PayPal, but it doesn't offer untraceable options like Bitcoin or gift cards. If you're looking for that additional layer of anonymity, consider Editors' Choice winner Private Internet Access (3 Months Free with 1 Year Subscription at Private Internet Access) .

Buffered VPN also charges significantly more than the average VPN service. Private Internet Access costs just $6.95 per month, and KeepSolid VPN Unlimited ($199.99 at VPN Unlimited) $6.99 per month. In general, if a VPN service is going to charge more than $10 per month, it needs to offer something extra special to justify that cost. While Buffered VPN is a fine service, it isn't the best value.

With a subscription, up to five of your devices can use Buffered VPN's services, which is average for the industry. The company has VPN clients for Android, iOS, macOS, and Windows, so you'll have no trouble protecting all your devices. If you want to extend that protection to your smart home devices (be they fridges or PlayStations), you can also purchase a router with Buffered VPN's software preinstalled. With such a router, every device on your network would have VPN protection, even if they can't run the software themselves. Many other services offer router software, but I like that Buffered VPN lets you just buy the preconfigured hardware.

Buffered VPN has a fairly robust service, offering hundreds of servers in 37 countries. These include: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Latvia, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Panama, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia. Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, the UK, and the US. Many VPN companies ignore the middle east, Africa, and regions with repressive laws regarding internet access, such as China, Russia, and Turkey. Buffered VPN declined to share an exact figure on how many servers it offers in total, but did confirm that it was over 500.

Despite its offering, Buffered VPN cannot compare with Private Internet Access, which has over 3,200 servers in about 25 locations across the globe. NordVPN ($3.49 Per Month at NordVPN) , another service with a robust server offering, has about 730 servers in 58 locations. These numbers matter. Numerous servers mean it's more likely you'll find one that's not overcrowded with users, who can suck down precious bandwidth and slow the service. Furthermore, lots of server locations means more choices for location spoofing. More importantly, it also makes it easier to find a nearby server no matter where you go. Closer servers generally mean better performance and a more reliable connection.

One restriction that Buffered VPN users won't have to worry about is P2P or BitTorrent blocking. You can use these services on any Buffered VPN server. That's unusual; NordVPN and other services that allow such protocols limit their uses to specific servers. TorGuard , however, has more in-depth offerings for avid torrenters, including static IP addresses and high-speed network access.

Buffered VPN does not offer ad-blocking, unfortunately. TunnelBear ($4.99 Per Month at TunnelBear) has an excellent ad-blocking and tracker-blocking tool for users, which it presents with its trademark tongue-in-cheek sense of humor.

Privacy Matters

According to Buffered VPN's privacy policy, the only user activity the service logs is the duration of your connection and the amount of data sent. This information is stored for 30 days. That's important, as some other services may note your actual IP address as well as the IP address of the VPN server you're accessing. This information could, potentially, be subpoenaed or taken by force. We prefer VPN services to log as little information as possible, and Buffered VPN's focus on privacy is most welcome.

While some VPN companies might want to store as little information as possible, local law occasionally requires that they store and provide specific information. Buffered VPN recently changed its operational location from Hungary to Gibraltar. A company representative told me the move means better privacy protection for consumers, as Gibraltar has no mandatory data retention laws.

In the past, I've seen VPN companies that used their privileged position for profit, either by selling user data or even by injecting ads into users' web traffic. A Buffered VPN representative assures me this is not the case with the company.

Hands On With Buffered VPN

I had no trouble installing the Buffered VPN client on to my Lenovo ThinkPad T460s laptop running Windows 10. The app installed swiftly, and I was soon up and running.

The Buffered VPN app looks very much like an Android app. It's long and thin with an overflow menu in the corner. You click this menu to access some of the app's less pressing features, like a firewall test that determines which ports are available for use. Irritatingly, the overflow menu is semi-transparent, making it difficult to read. It's not a bad-looking app by any stretch, but isn't nearly as friendly or functional as UI standouts like NordVPN and TunnelBear.

The main page consists of a list, showing all the countries where Buffered VPN has servers. If you frequently use the same server, you can mark it with a star and it moves to the top of the page. It's simple, but not particularly elegant or a pleasure to look at. Most of the settings are found elsewhere, although you probably won't need most of them.

Many of the VPNs I have tested include a kill switch feature that prevents your apps from communicating in the clear should your VPN temporarily disconnect. I couldn't find such a feature Buffered VPN.

Settings, Advanced and Otherwise (Mostly Otherwise)

The most advanced option Buffered VPN offers is letting users choose which port to use. There's also an option to display a ping test on the main page, which lets you know how much latency is on each server. I like this feature, but NordVPN goes further, with additional stats on server health, as well as specialized servers for activities like accessing Tor or streaming video. Buffered VPN does include a download speed test tool, but it's only accessible after you've connected to that server. That doesn't really help much.

You won't find any advanced features in Buffered VPN. While most users probably won't notice, the more seasoned security wonk will be frustrated. One feature I am disappointed not to see is a tool for automatically switching on the VPN when connecting to an insecure network. TunnelBear has this. Another useful feature not found in Buffered VPN is a whitelist of applications that don't have to use the VPN connection, which can be handy for gaming or other high-bandwidth activities. PureVPN does offer this feature.

Note that Buffered VPN only uses the open-source OpenVPN protocol to secure your traffic. I prefer services that use OpenVPN, since it generally performs better and has the benefit of open-source support. That said, some users may chafe at having no choice about which protocol to use.

If you're a heavy Netflix user (and who isn't at this point?), you'll be pleased to know that Netflix is accessible even when Buffered VPN is active. That said, Netflix works hard to block VPN users, so who knows how long this will last.

Speed Test Results

Speed isn't everything, but it is the number-one question I get about VPNs. Using a VPN puts more steps between you and the internet, and that generally means a slower internet browsing experience. Some VPNs, such as Editors' Choice winner PureVPN ($69.12 at PureVPN) , buck this trend and actually improve speeds, but they are few and far between. To see which VPNs deliver the best speeds, you can read my roundup of the fastest VPNs.

I test VPNs using the Ookla speed test tool. (Note that Ookla is owned by PCMag's publisher, Ziff Davis.) First, I compare the average results without the VPN to the results taken when connected to a nearby VPN server. This test puts an emphasis on speed and reliability, and it is probably similar to the way most people will use the product. In a second round of testing, I compare the average results when the VPN is connected to a server in Australia and an Ookla test server in Anchorage, Alaska. This is a stress test, and gives insight into how the service performs over great distances. Note that these tests are just a snapshot of performance, and your mileage will certainly vary.

In the domestic test, I found that Buffered VPN increased latency by 40 percent, which is significantly higher than most other services I've tested. The lowest latency connection in my testing came from ($6.99/Month at Hide My Ass!) . Buffered VPN fared better in the download test, where it slowed downloads by only 5.7 percent. Still, it was outdone by PureVPN, which actually improved download speeds by 346.4 percent. In the upload speed test, Buffered VPN reduced speeds by only 6.2 percent, barely behind the best score of 4.9 percent from PureVPN.

The international speed test presented more varied results. Buffered VPN is the dubious holder of the worst latency score, increasing latency by 390.3 percent. Of course, latency is measured in milliseconds, and even a large increase may go unnoticed by many users. Buffered VPN did, however, manage to eke out a 9.9 percent improvement to download speeds. Only TunnelBear and PureVPN managed to do the same, although by significantly larger margins—98.9 percent and 403.8 percent, respectively. Buffered VPN's upload test results were decidedly average, slowing upload speeds by 7.7 percent. AnchorFree Hotspot Shield Elite holds the record in this test, improving speeds by 1.4 percent.

As always, the results only tell a part of the story. I always spend time using each VPN to gather some anecdotal results about what it's like to actually use each service. I found Buffered VPN rather touchy in my testing. It frequently had trouble connecting to servers, and it often spontaneously disconnected. I felt that Buffered VPN had a noticeably negative impact on my web browsing experience.

Needs Buffing and Polishing

Buffered VPN clearly understands what makes a good VPN service. It uses an excellent protocol and has numerous servers available around the world. There's obviously an effort to create a simple, enjoyable user experience in the client, and the service performed well in a few speed tests. But its showing in my hands-on testing was less impressive, with frequent dropped connections. Buffered VPN also costs significantly more than most other VPNs I've tested. Buffered VPN has potential, but for now I continue to recommend our Editors' Choice winners, KeepSolid VPN Unlimited, NordVPN, Private Internet Access, and PureVPN.

Pros

  • Good geographic diversity of VPN servers.

  • Allows P2P and BitTorrent.

  • Plays nice with Netflix.

Cons

  • Pricey.

  • No free version.

  • Lacks advanced features.

  • Ad-blocking is not an option.

  • Uneven hands-on performance.

View More

The Bottom Line

Buffered VPN offers strong international speed test scores and a colorful client, but it's expensive and doesn't offer much in the way of advanced features.

Buffered is no longer opening accounts for new customers. It will continue to operate for existing customers, but new customers are being redirected to sign up for Encrypt.me. The two companies have merged together under the Encrypt.me brand. Existing Buffered customers will also be offered a subscription to Encrypt.me’s family plan at the normal Buffered subscription price. Our Encrypt.me review is forthcoming.

Buffered VPN was founded in Budapest in 2013 and finally launched the 1.0 version of its app in March 2016. Yet another VPN service claiming to be the fastest and most secure of them all, Buffered says its mission is to make the internet a less restricted place.

Unless you’re a member of the press, Buffered doesn’t offer a free trial. Users can avail of a 30-day money-back guarantee, with a few caveats: you must use Buffered under 100 times, consume less than 10 GB of bandwidth, and be connected fewer than 10 hours.

Buffered only has a single subscription tier, but prices vary depending on how long you’re willing to commit. A single month costs $12.99 (GBP 10.03). A six-month plan knocks the price down to $9.99 (GBP 7.72) per month, and a full year to $8.25 (GBP 6.37) per month. That’s squarely in the upper price bracket as far as VPNs go, right up there with ExpressVPN.

Features

A subscription nets you unlimited bandwidth and up to five simultaneous connections, making it a better deal for a family, group of friends, or small office than individual users.

Buffered only supports the OpenVPN protocol, whether you use its app or not. OpenVPN is widely regarded as the most trusted and secure VPN protocol for consumers, but it doesn’t come with built-in support on most operating systems like PPTP or L2TP/IPSec. Buffered supports both UDP and TCP connections, but defaults to UDP.

Buffered makes apps for Windows, MacOS, iOS, Android, and certain wi-fi routers.

Does Buffered VPN work with Netflix?

Yes, we were able to stream the US catalog of Netflix shows when connected to a Buffered server in the United States. Buffered VPN bypassed the Netflix proxy error with no issues. In fact, Buffered are so confident they even have a dedicated Netflix page.

Setup and interface

Once an account is activated via email confirmation, the user just needs to download and install the client, then input their username and password.

Buffered’s desktop app features a lovely, smooth interface. The simple layout features a list of servers and their ping times, although the ping times, which indicate latency, never worked when we tested it. Servers can be pinned to the top by starring them. In the options menu, be sure to toggle on the “store login information” setting so you don’t have to re-enter your credentials every time you open the app. You can also set it to automatically log in and connect.

Once connected, the app displays a connection summary including time connected, ping (didn’t work), download and upload speeds, total data download and uploaded in the current session, and assigned IP address.

A download test lets you check both the download speed between your computer and the VPN server (inner IP), and the speed between the VPN server and the destination (outer IP). Additionally, a firewall test allows the user to see which UDP and TCP ports are open, which is useful if you need to port forward the connection. Users can select from a range of ports in the connection options before connecting.

Aside from the ping data always turning up as “N/A”, the Buffered app is a simple, intuitive, and responsive client that novice users should have no problem figuring out.

Servers and performance

Buffered operates servers in 28 countries, with two locations each in the United States and United Kingdom. That’s a middle-of-the-road selection, but perhaps a bit narrow considering the price point.

We streamed 1080p HD video without any issues. The video loaded far past the buffer. We were able to play Brawlhalla, a Super Smash Bros-style online fighting game, without any noticeable lag.

Connections were stable once up and running, but we occasionally encountered issues initiating connections. Changing the port from the default 443 seemed to solve this problem.

To test the speed more empirically, we downloaded the same 82.7MB file (compressed from 103MB) three times from three different servers at three different times per day for a total of nine tests. We did the same without a VPN as a control group. We included the test results for TigerVPN, another VPN we happened to be testing at the time, for comparison’s sake. We tested a US East coast server, US West coast server, and a London server. In the boxplot below, the thick black line represents the median download time, while the red diamond represents the mean. Lower is better.

Buffered performed well enough but didn’t blow us away. Results were fairly consistent with no major outliers. While the median download time was higher than TigerVPN, the mean average download time scored significantly better.

Keep in mind that this test is not a definitive indicator of which VPN is fastest. The internet’s inherent volatility adds a significant factor of randomness, so VPN speed tests should always be taken with a big grain of salt. Our tester’s location is in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where these tests are run on a 10 Mbps connection. Those with faster connections may well notice a larger discrepancy in speeds.

Security

Connections to Buffered servers are encrypted with a 128-bit AES SSL algorithm. That’s not as bulletproof as the 256-bit encryption used by some rivals, but it should be more than sufficient to keep the NSA, your ISP, and hackers out. Less encryption also results in a slightly faster connection.

Buffered only uses dynamic shared IPs, which periodically change and are each used by many users at once. This adds a significant layer of anonymity but might be an inconvenience when visiting websites that log the IP of users (e.g. online banking).

Buffered app users will use the company’s DNS servers instead of their ISP’s, which ensures more privacy. A quick test on IPleak.net showed the DNS leak protection works well.

Buffered’s app does not come with a kill switch or network lock, so if the VPN connection drops, traffic will continue to travel through the default ISP. That can spell bad news for torrenters and the like who don’t want their ISP or anyone else to catch wind of their activity.

Buffered states, “we never log” on its website, but what it really means is that it doesn’t keep usage logs. It does log some session metadata, including the user’s IP address, time connected, and connection duration. These logs don’t contain any of the content or activity of the user’s VPN traffic, but a true zero logs policy would still be preferable.

Connection logs are also stored on the local machine, which tech support might ask for to help troubleshoot problems, but these are not stored on Buffered’s servers. Instead, they are saved in a hidden file in the local user directory, and can be accessed from the app.

Buffered is headquartered in Hungary, which is a member of the European Union and inside the Schengen zone.

The website does collect the usual data like IP, user agent, and stores billing info. Users can enter their address and phone number, but it’s entirely voluntary and can be faked.

Customer support

Buffered relies solely on a ticket submission system for customer support. You won’t find live chat or a phone number here. Two tickets we submitted each took about half a day to get a response–not exactly a fast turnaround. No hours are listed, but we suspect customer support only keeps to Hungarian office hours. The responses were competent and to the point.

Update: Buffered says it now has round-the-clock support staff and has cut response time down to four hours. Still no live support, though.

The website hosts a wide range of FAQs and support articles, including manual setup instructions for any devices that don’t have an app yet. They aren’t searchable on the site, though, so you might have an easier time finding what you want by typing it into Google.

We didn’t receive any unsolicited emails or other communication during our time with Buffered.

Verdict

Buffered is a solid VPN service with a friendly app making it a good choice for novice users. Speeds are acceptable, security is sufficient, and it allows a lot of simultaneous connections, but nothing really screams “wow”. On the downside, some logs are kept, customer service is slow, and there’s no mobile apps. What you end up with doesn’t really warrant the high price point unless you get some friends or coworkers to pitch in.

BufferedVPN is a Hungary-based VPN provider that maintains a small network of about 40 servers with unlimited bandwidth as standard. Although the company has only been in business for four years, this underdog of the VPN world is beginning to crop up on reviewers’ radars with increasing frequency. So does it have what it takes to satisfy users’ needs? Find out in our updated Buffered VPN review.

Compatible With

  • Google
  • Snapchat
  • Twitter
  • YouTube
  • Facebook
  • Skype
  • WhatsApp
  • Gmail
  • inder

Buffered VPN Rating by SecureThoughts.com

The server network isn’t huge and speed is on par. And while Buffered doesn’t offer extra features to “sweeten” their service, if you are looking for a basic VPN that will help you stream content, download torrents, or protect your privacy, it is a good choice.

BufferedVPN Review – Pros & Cons

All major operating systems supported

Unlimited bandwidth

Built-in firewall test functionality

Five simultaneous connections

Simple UI

Small server network

Complicated setup for routers and Android

No free trial

Netflix is blocked from US servers

Only supports Open VPN

BufferedVPN has an online support center and a system to receive tickets which are answered by email. The online support area claims to be able to resolve 95% of customer queries and it is well-populated with guides and how-to’s for every kind of installation requirement.

One obvious negative is that the website does not offer live chat or telephone support. Nevertheless, queries are answered professionally and quickly. Our test ticket got a response within three hours.

Buffered VPN is a small, Hungary-based provider that operates a network of about forty servers.

Unlike much of the competition, the company does not offer an easily accessible listing of exactly how many servers it operates or why they are located, simply providing a list of countries it has provisioned in on its homepage in its stead.

Speed and performance, however, were quite acceptable.

On the US East Coast server we managed to achieve a download speed of 22.02 Mbp/s (baseline: approximately 40 Mbp/s). While this speed is adequate for most browsing and streaming needs, we’ve experienced better with other providers, and a 50% connection speed overhead is also not the lightest that we have experienced.

It’s also important to note that Buffered VPN “uses the OpenVPN protocol exclusively.” While it’s hard to disagree with the website’s contention that OpenVPN is the most configurable of the protocols on the market, it’s also nice to be able to select the protocol. In particular, users will lose out on the ability to use the Next Generation Encryption (NGE) found in IKEv2. They also won’t be able to select PPTP, which may be the only option for legacy hardware.

Buffered VPN proudly claims that it “never logs anything” in its FAQ about its logging policy and can thus be considered a zero logs provider. Nevertheless, under clause three of its terms of service, it states that: “We do not intentionally disclose any private electronic communication or personal customer information unless required by Hungarian law”.

In terms of susceptibility to government surveillance, the company is based in Hungary, which is a member of the European Union (EU). Hungary isn’t part of the Five Eyes, Nine Eyes, of Fourteen Eyes signals surveillance agreements. Nevertheless, to meet its EU obligations (particularly the Data Retention Directive), Hungary has also implemented some data retention legislation, namely the amended version of the National Security Law. Read in light of the clause in the terms of service, we therefore wouldn’t be fully confident that user data could be leaked on foot of a government warrant.

A no-logs provider, but Hungary has some data retention laws on the books.

Is BufferedVPN Reliable: Customer Support

BufferedVPN has an online support center and a system to receive tickets which are answered by email. The online support area claims to be able to resolve 95% of customer queries and it is well-populated with guides and how-to’s for every kind of installation requirement.

One obvious negative is that the website does not offer live chat or telephone support. Nevertheless, queries are answered professionally and quickly. Our test ticket got a response within three hours.

Buffered VPN Rating by SecureThoughts.com

The server network isn’t huge and speed is on par. And while Buffered doesn’t offer extra features to “sweeten” their service, if you are looking for a basic VPN that will help you stream content, download torrents, or protect your privacy, it is a good choice.

Even technophobes have no reason to fear using BufferedVPN to tunnel and encrypt their traffic on a PC.

Getting set up on BufferedVPN is as easy as logging into the online download area, selecting the right client for your system, and clicking through a few windows. Currently, applications are available for Windows, OSX, Linux, iOS, and Android.

For mobile users and those wishing to install the app at the router level, the situation is a little more complicated.

For both Android and iOS, the platform does not offer a proprietary application. Instead, users need to download the OpenVPN app for their platform and then use the .opvn connection file to set up the connection. The setup process for the DD-WRT and Tomato routers is a little involved, although Buffered does provide thorough documentation to walk users through both installation processes. Users that want to use the service on multiple devices may therefore be better served simply installing the service one-by-one.

In terms of functionality, the app offers a relatively bare-bones experience that is unlikely to please those looking for a VPN that lets users really get under the hood. The main navigation window is designed as a simple narrow window with a menu button to navigate between the main screens. Although Buffered VPN doesn’t pack on the features, it does offer enough functionality to let users’ basic parameters that determine how they want their connection to work.

  1. Simultaneous connections

Buffered offers support for five simultaneous connections which means that users can log in from a desktop PC, tablet, and mobile device at the same time on the one account. Simply by subscribing to one monthly subscription, a user can stream content on a multimedia center and encrypt their main browsing activity simultaneously.

  1. Firewall test

Want to know exactly what ports your system has available to connect from? If you do, then Buffer’s “Firewall Test” feature will be one that you will appreciate. The tester scans both TCP and UDP ports to enable users to quickly visualize which ports the system can make an outbound connection from. This feature is particularly helpful that want to bypass firewalls or other restricted networks and help guide the program to make the best choice.

  1. No peer to peer (P2P) restrictions

Buffered evidently wants its users to derive maximum possible value from using the platform and is one of the few providers on the market that does not levy any restrictions on peer to peer (P2P) connections. P2P systems use a network of users to efficiently transmit large files between users.

  1. Unlimited bandwidth

Unlike many providers on the market, Buffered VPN features unlimited bandwidth which makes it a great option for users hoping to use the VPN primarily for streaming multimedia. Note that this does not apply to the 30 day money-back guarantee. Regular users, however, can use the VPN without worrying about how much of the monthly connection quota that late night streaming binge has burned through.

  1. TCP/UDP Switching

TCP and UDP are two different protocols used to send data over the internet. While UDP offers faster connectivity, TCP is the more reliable of the two options. BufferedVPN makes it easy for users to select which of the two they want to connect with.

In addition to the above, the VPN features the ability to automatically start the program on system launch and to automatically login to the application.

Buffered has all the necessary VPN functions but don’t offer anything “special.”

Can BufferedVPN Unblock Netflix?

If you’re a streaming fanatic, Buffered’s Netflix credentials are going to be of key importance in your purchasing decision.

Unfortunately, the service is not currently able to connect to Netflix. A customer service representative confirmed this to a third-party review site earlier in the month and this was also our experience while trying to connect from our test machine.

Netflix is actively blocking IPs emanating from VPN addresses and providers’ success at circumventing these largely depends on their network size. As BufferedVPN’s is small, we’d recommend looking for other providers if you need a VPN primarily for this purpose.

BufferedVPN is available for $12.99/month, $9.99/month (for six month / biannual subscriptions), or $8.25/month for the yearly subscription.

Payment can be made via credit card, PayPal, or Bitcoin and all plans include a 30 day money-back guarantee, although users must use less than 10GB of bandwidth or 10 hours of sessions to be eligible for a refund.

On the brass tacks question, we feel that Buffered VPN falls down a little. Notably, there’s no free trial and the money-back guarantee comes with some unusual conditions. The subscription is also relatively expensive given the small server network and paucity of advanced features. This is particularly true for the monthly plan.

The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.

In a Nutshell

Despite being a relative newcomer to the VPN market, Buffered VPN is rich in features and boasts excellent speeds and reliability. Its advanced security features at an unbeatable price make it ideal if you’re on a budget but won’t compromise on your online security.

pros

  • Affordable
  • Unlimited server switches
  • High security

cons

  • Servers in 38 countries
  • Keeps some usage logs

Buffered at a Glance

37 servers in 41 locations globally

Unable to unblock Netflix US

P2P and torrenting allowed

Windows, OSX, iOS, Android, Linux

Privacy

The company is based in Hungary, which does not have obligatory data retention laws. In fact, Buffered VPN has a firm no logging policy. This means it won’t retain any data on your online usage.

In addition, Buffered VPN uses shared IPs. This means that, whilst using the VPN, you can never be identified as a specific individual user, which further bolsters your security.

It’s important to note that while Buffered enforces a no-logging policy when it comes to usage logs, it does store performance, or connection, logs. These are stored for 30 days and include:

  • How long you’re connected to the VPN
  • Frequency of your use
  • Amount of data you transfer during your connection
  • When you connect to the VPN

Features

Buffered VPN is unique among VPN providers in that it has completely done away with PPTP and L2TP protocols, opting instead to work only with the more secure OpenVPN protocol.

The company is based in Hungary, which does not have obligatory data retention laws. In fact, Buffered VPN has a firm no logging policy. This means it won’t retain any data on your online usage.

In addition, Buffered VPN uses shared IPs. This means that, whilst using the VPN, you can never be identified as a specific individual user, which further bolsters your security.

Buffered VPN’s niftiest feature, however, is its discovery mode. The feature allows you to bypass firewalls and gain access even to password protected WiFi hotspots. This is very useful, especially if you urgently need to get online but cannot find a freely accessible internet hotspot.

Somewhat disappointingly, Buffered VPN only has servers in 41 locations. While you can count on finding a server on all major continents and countries, this is still a relatively low presence when compared to other VPN providers we reviewed.

That said, Buffered VPN started with limited servers and the company is committed to increasing the number of countries with Buffered servers going forward. As you can see they increased their server count in just a short time. If your country lacks a Buffered server, simply get in touch and your request will be logged.

Speed 

Buffered VPN is fast and extremely reliable.

Unlike other VPN providers, Buffered does not have any speed caps or bandwidth limits. Irrespective of how heavy your usage is, you’re guaranteed that your speed won’t be throttled.

In addition, Buffered VPN also supports pfSense. Installing pfSense guarantees the best internet speeds possible, even on an older device. The Buffered VPN website has an easy to follow guide on how to install pfSense on your system.

Pricing and Deals

All the above plans include access to Buffered’s full slate of features, as well as 24/7 customer support and a 30-day money-back guarantee. 

Torrents

Buffered allows torrenting. The company states that while it doesn’t promote copyright violations, it believes torrenting is a valid way of downloading files and supports P2P sharing through its VPN. To that end, it promotes internet anonymity and features a kill switch to protect the user in the event that the connection goes out. 

Netflix

Buffered does not appear to be able to unblock Netflix US. Users who are interested in the company but consider Netflix access a key factor in their decision can take advantage of the 30-day money-back guarantee and spend their first month trying to stream Netflix before deciding whether to continue using the service or not. 

Client Setup 

Setting up Buffered is a quick and easy process. After logging in to the homepage, you’ll find the downloads menu on the left of the page. Click Downloads, click the download button that appears, and then follow the instructions for downloading and installation.  

Apps

Dedicated mobile apps for iOS and Android are available and can be downloaded for free on the Apple Store and Google Play, respectively. Both apps are streamlined and feature easy-to-use interfaces that make connecting to Buffered’s VPN easy from your smartphone or tablet. 

How Does Buffered Compare?

P2P or Bittorrent (Yes/No)

Customer Support

Buffered VPN’s customer support is stellar.

The website features an extensive knowledge base chock full of FAQs and support documentation to help you troubleshoot most issues you might encounter when using the VPN. This is all sorted in an easily digestible format, complete with a search function to help you find answers to your issue quickly and efficiently.

And if that isn’t enough, there are also tutorials on various subjects, ranging from how to set up your VPN to resolving errors. These all have easy to follow, step by step instructions and how-to pictures.

If you still can’t solve your problem, you can get in touch with Buffered’s support team via an online form.

There is no contact email address, phone number or live chat facility. However, customer support is billed as 24/7, and you should expect a reasonably fast response. Their Facebook page is similarly classed by Facebook as “very responsive” to messages.

Ease of Use

Unfortunately, many of the features that make Buffered VPN excel at security also tend to make it less flexible than other providers.

For instance, while it makes sense from a security standpoint to use OpenVPN, using this protocol on an older device may be somewhat problematic. This means that, unless you own or are prepared to invest in the latest devices, Buffered VPN may not be right for you.

Similarly, while a shared IP address is better for anonymity, it leaves you at the mercy of other users who abuse the system. This is because, if a shared IP address is blacklisted, all the users on that IP address will be blocked too.

Finally, the limited number of countries where servers are available further limits Buffered VPN’s flexibility.

FAQs

How often does Buffered add new servers?

The website claims that the company adds servers according to demand. Most of the servers listed are suggested by users, and the company actually encourages you to suggest servers as your needs demand.  

What jurisdiction does Buffered fall under?

Gibraltar. Though technically a British territory, Gibraltar is a self-governing territory, meaning that its Parliament can enact laws independently of the UK and any English common law can be overridden by the laws of Gibraltar. Gibraltar does not currently require Buffered to provide user details to the authorities. 

Bottom Line

Buffered VPN may not be the most flexible VPN solution around. However, its excellent speeds and commitment to high security standards at an extremely affordable price make it hard to beat when it comes to value for money.

Buffered VPN is a virtual private network (VPN) service with a relatively small selection of servers that offer decent overall speed and peer-to-peer support. It offers robust encryption and some solid privacy protection, and is headquartered in a decent jurisdiction for privacy issues. The service does have some serious blind spots when it comes to streaming, but we ran all the tests necessary to help you determine if this VPN is the right one for you. Read on to see our full review of the service, including detailed information on our results.

Setup Process: Quick and easy

Getting up and going with Buffered VPN is a breeze. You need to select one of their subscription packages, download the client for your respective operating system — it's compatible with Windows, macOS, Linux, and has applications for both iOS and Android — and then go through a fairly painless installation procedure.

Installation and initial setup run without any outside input, automatically configuring everything behind the scenes. When it's done, you are presented with a home screen that includes a small selection of servers to pick from, with more available if you scroll down the list.

Design: Accessible and detailed

Buffered VPN uses the small-client design that is common among numerous VPNs that cross the smartphone/desktop barrier. It takes up very little space, which makes it neat when on your desktop screen, but when it comes to scrolling through servers, it would have been nice to be able to expand the window to show more information.

When you're connected to a server, the client presents you with a wealth of information. You can see your upload and download speed at that time, as well as the total amount of information that has been transferred in either direction since you connected to that particular server. You're also privy to your public IP address.

Settings, options, and account information are hidden within a pop-out menu, though most of the choices there send you to the web account backend, requiring an additional login.

We did find the omnipresent Buffered advertisements at the base of the client rather annoying, especially considering its already small size. Some include encouraging you to refer a friend or upgrade to a longer subscription.

POJCHEEWIN YAPRASERT PHOTOGRAPHY / Getty Images

Selecting a Buffered VPN server is easy, but the numbers aren't exhaustive. There are 41 countries to pick from with a total of 44 servers, at the time of testing. That's better than some services we've reviewed – ZenMate VPN had hundreds of servers, but only 30 countries to choose from – but it's far below others, where there have been as many as 60 countries and thousands of servers.

We found the process of connecting to a server to be fast and easy, although the requirement of disconnecting from a server before selecting a new one was a bit annoying. There is no information about server load, but when you do connect you can learn a lot about your speed and data usage.

Servers near and far proved to offer excellent upload and download rates and a decent ping.

Performance: Fast and seamless

During our testing, we found Buffered VPN to offer very solid connections on some servers and a significantly worse experience on others. We were able to achieve a maximum downstream transfer speed of 126 Mbps when connected to a nearby US server via our 1 Gbps connection, but that dropped to a paltry 2 Mbps when connected to a different US server.

For the most part, we were able to perform regular tasks like surfing the web, sending email, and streaming video on sites like YouTube and CNN without any trouble. We saw no stuttering during gaming or pauses when loading websites.

Windows Firewall did seem to throw up a couple of concerns about our web browser during testing which was odd, but didn't prove to be a hindrance.

Streaming: Doesn't work with any streaming services

One major oversight on the behalf of Buffered is a lack of any streaming optimized servers. Dedicated streaming servers aren't a deal breaker, but they do show that the VPN service is at least trying to provide access to streaming services.

In the case of Buffered VPN, we were unable to view Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Video, BBC iPlayer, or any other similar services despite trying multiple servers for each. It's not even a case of not being able to view a foreign version of those services. When you were connected to Buffered VPN you simply can't use these streaming services, even in your country of origin.

While there will always be a game of cat and mouse between VPN providers and these services, it isn't clear whether or not Buffered VPN is even trying to play the game.

Privacy Policy: Decent, but imperfect

Privacy is a major reason that many people choose a VPN, so any VPN worth its salt needs to hold it dear. Fortunately, Buffered VPN does just that. It has no server logs stored by default, so whether a government agency demanded that Buffered hand over data on what you've been doing, or the service was hacked, there is no information to give. What you do when connected to a Buffered VPN server is your business.

That said, this is another VPN with a somewhat deceptive "no-logs" policy. While Buffered doesn't track your activity on the site, they do maintain partial connection logs. We also aren't huge fans of the information they collect on your devices. They say it's limited to hardware and software specifics, and that information is collected and held by Buffered VPN for 30 days for technical support reasons and for improving its service, so you can decide whether or not that's a deal breaker.

While their privacy policy leaves a little to be desired, Buffered VPN does have a decent jurisdiction in terms of information security. The services is based in Gibraltar, which while technically under control of the British government, operates independently and is therefore not subject to the information sharing associated with the 14-Eyes or other intelligence networks.

Buffered VPN 

Security Features: Strong and comprehensive

There's very little to complain about when it comes to Buffered VPN's security. Users can enjoy a number of important protective measures while connected to Buffered's servers:

  • DNS leak protection: When you're connected to a Buffered VPN server you can feel secure that you'll never be connected to a public or easily-accessible DNS where data snooping could occur.
  • Automatic kill switch: Although we would like to see this enabled by default (you can switch it on in the options menu) the kill switch makes sure that if you drop a connection to Buffered's VPN servers for whatever reason, your internet will not function while you're reconnecting. This prevents any form of data oversight while you're not protected by Buffered's other measures.
  • Strong encryption: Buffered VPN only uses the OpenVPN protocol and military-grade, AES 256-bit encryption which makes it practically impossible for anyone to see what you're doing online when connected to a VPN server.

Torrenting: Officially supported

Buffered officially supports torrenting on its servers and is happy to do so while providing anonymity for its users, which could help protect them from legal recourse if they were to accidentally torrent something illegal. 

There are no torrent optimized servers, but all of them function well enough for it. We encountered no problems torrenting when using Buffered VPN.

There are no torrent optimized servers, but all of them function well enough for it.

Ad Blocking: Not included

Buffered VPN doesn't include a built-in ad blocker, and they actually run ads of their own in the client. This is a security feature that some of the best VPN services include, since it can prevent malware and overzealous ad trackers from learning things about your system and connection that you would prefer to keep secret. If that sounds good, you'll have to look elsewhere.

Customer Service: Email ticket system

Buffered VPN offers customer service and support through an email-based ticket system. There is no option to send email outside the system, or to speak to an agent in person over the phone or through web chat. If you have any problems, you have to go through the email ticket system.

Price: A little on the expensive side

Buffered VPN offers a variety of payment methods and subscription options. You can choose between credit and debit cards, PayPal, or Bitcoin, for those who want an extra layer of anonymity in their VPN usage. 

It also offers a 30-day money-back guarantee should you not prove happy with the service.

Buffered VPN has three subscription options to pick from, starting at $13 a month, which is more expensive than most of the other VPN options out there. Its yearly plan is much more affordable at $79, or the equivalent of $6.60 a month. The two-year plan is the most affordable at $99, working out at $4.12 a month.

The longer subscriptions offer far more value for money, but there are a number of cheaper VPN services out there that are worth considering if cost is of major importance to you.

Competition: Buffered VPN vs NordVPN

Our favorite VPN has been NordVPN, so we use it as a measure for any new VPNs we review. Buffered VPN actually holds up rather well, delivering a comparably fast service for only a little more money each month. It also has many of the same great security and pro-privacy features of NordVPN.

Where it falls down though is in server selection. Nord has more than 5,000 servers to pick from in as many as 60 countries. Its servers aren't picked up by Netflix or Amazon either, so you can use it to watch any streaming services you like.

Final Verdict

A solid, fast VPN that just lacks those key streaming features.

Buffered VPN has a great selection of fast servers and robust security and privacy features. There are some little details about the user interface we'd change if given the chance, but overall we were satisfied with our time using Buffered VPN's service. It just really needs to add some streaming optimized servers, but if you can get past that, it's worth using.