Anti-malware firm BullGuard’s no-logging VPN performs consistently well in speed and streaming tests, as you’d expect from a service based on NordVPN’s VPN network, and did particularly well in this month’s speed tests. It’s not our top choice in terms of security and doesn’t pack in as many features or as endpoints as its sibling, but some of its subscription deals are currently cheaper.
- Fast download
- Streams US Netflix
- Limited device support
- Limited endpoint locations
- Review Price: £63.69
- Connect up to six devices
- Supports OpenVPN
- Clients for Windows, macOS, Android, iOS
- UK pricing: £63.69 per year, £87.09 per two years, £97.49 per three years
Brought to you by anti-malware firm BullGuard, this VPN service is a white-label rebrand of NordVPN, albeit on what the company describes as its own segregated infrastructure. In practice that means you don’t get as wide a selection of endpoints and performance can differ.
However, it also provides BullGuard with something of a buffer against issues such as a security breach that affected one of NordVPN’s servers in 2018, as well as distancing it from NordVPN’s poor handling of this in terms of disclosure and public statements. BullGuard will benefit from the security upgrades that NordVPN is putting in place to help prevent any re-occurrence of the breach.
BullGuard VPN’s interface is simpler than NordVPN’s and, as such, might appeal to less technically minded users. It also has a smaller, more select pool of endpoint locations and is very slightly more expensive than NordVPN’s offering, with less device support.
BullGuard VPN – Features and usability
The Windows client interface is conspicuously simple, with a range of 16 endpoint server locations listed in a panel on the left that you can connect to with a single click. You can also search by country name or hit the Quick Connect button to connect to the optimal endpoint for your location – usually the nearest.
A top bar allows you to switch between this default Status view and a Settings page. Critically, BullGuard VPN’s settings include an internet kill switch option, which will block all internet traffic if the VPN disconnects. Alternatively, you can just use the app kill switch setting to cut off traffic to specific applications if the VPN goes down.
Other security features include invisibility on LAN, to hide you from other people on your local network, automatic connection on start-up to the endpoint of your choice and custom DNS if, for example, you’d rather use Google, Cloudflare or OpenDNS instead of BullGuard.
BullGuard VPN desktop client, displaying various server locations and national endpoints
BullGuard VPN – Performance
|BullGuard VPN HTTP||112.48Mbps||79.76Mbps||73.04Mbps|
|BullGuard VPN FTP||70.5Mbps||87.7Mbps||21.9Mbps|
The average HTTP download speeds for the January 2020 VPN group test, measured from a test system in the UK with a high-speed fibre connection, were 81.41Mbps from UK endpoints, 89.42Mbps for the Netherlands and 43.02Mbps from the US.
BullGuard was one of the fastest VPN services on test this month. Its performance in our HTTP and FTP speed tests to UK, Netherlands and US endpoints were all well above the group average, with its cross-endpoint average HTTP download performance coming second only to NordVPN’s.
It didn’t do quite as well when it came to streaming. Netflix US presented no problems and neither did Shudder’s US service and All 4 in the UK. As you’d hope, given that NordVPN works with Disney+’s US service, BullGuard VPN does too.
However, we’ve been unable to reliably access BBC iPlayer using BullGuard VPN for a couple of months now. While you’re unlikely to want to region-shift to the UK from the UK, having to disable your VPN so you can watch TV does no favours to your overall security.
Should you buy BullGuard VPN?
BullGuard is excellent in terms of its overall performance, but it suffers when directly compared to the service whose infrastructure it operates on. For example, BullGuard offers endpoints in just 16 countries, compared to NordVPN’s 29.
At the moment, a two-year BullGuard subscription costs £87.09 compared to £92.21 for an equivalent subscription from Nord. However, BullGuard’s £63.69 one-year rate and £97.49 price per three years are a couple of pounds more expensive. There’s not much in it and neither service is targeting the ultra-budget VPN market.
BullGuard shares many of the advantages of NordVPN but conspicuously only has clients and connection instructions for the most common platforms, so you’d have to do without NordVPN’s best-in-class browser proxy plugin. BullGuard users only get clients for Windows, macOS, Android and iOS, and no OpenVPN or IPSec connection details to use on other devices.
NordVPN, headquartered in Panama, provides an independently audited guarantee that it doesn’t log any information that could be used to identify users, although the addition of UK-based BullGuard’s corporate infrastructure adds some ambiguity to that.
Bullguard and NordVPN were the fastest services in this month’s tests, but NordVPN’s browser plugins and reliable iPlayer support make it a better choice for streaming media fans.
However, although BullGuard says that its VPN infrastructure is separate from NordVPN, there’s still something of a shadow cast by Nord’s latest disclosure of a 2018 endpoint server breach.
London-based BullGuard is an experienced security company which has been developing consumer antivirus software since 2002.
The 2020 range starts with BullGuard Antivirus, a Windows-based product with real-time virus protection, malicious URL filtering, and, surprisingly, a performance booster for games and other demanding full-screen applications.
BullGuard Internet Security 2020 adds a firewall, parental controls, cloud integrated backup (supports Dropbox, OneDrive, Google Drive) and basic PC optimization. It has builds available for Windows, Android and Mac.
The top-of-the-range BullGuard Premium Protection throws in a home network scanner, while a comprehensive identity protection service looks out for unauthorized use of your email, phone numbers, credit card details, passports, bank accounts and more.
All BullGuard 2020 editions include new machine learning technology, which the company says improves zero-day threat detection 'without any impact on the computer’s resources and without the need for an internet connection.'
BullGuard's VPN can be launched from the interface, too, although you'll need to purchase a separate license to use it. Unlike Kaspersky, Bitdefender and others, BullGuard doesn't have a limited free version of its VPN, or even a trial.
BullGuard 2020 Internet Security and Premium Protection also feature a major addition in its new Secure Browser, a customized version of Chromium which uses multiple layers of security to keep you safe online. Forced HTTPS connections and use of Cloudflare's encrypted DNS over HTTPS makes it difficult for others to spy on your browsing, for instance. Malicious URLs are blocked, site certificates are checked, and your internet history is encrypted to keep it safe from snoopers.
BullGuard Internet Security is priced from a relatively low $60 for a three-device, one-year subscription. There's no introductory discount on the site, so competitors can sometimes look cheaper, but you'll usually win out in the long term. Bitdefender's equivalent Internet Security suite is priced at $40 for year one, for instance, but renews at $80.
(We also noticed that our trial version regularly offered us 30% off as a 'BUY NOW!' incentive. We don't know if that's a permanent deal, but even if you're sure you're buying, install and run the trial first - it could save you a little cash.)
You can save even more money by adding devices and years. A ten device, three-year license costs just $282, for instance, or $9.40 per device per year.
A 30-day trial build gives you a quick and easy way to find out if this is the right antivirus for you. That should be long enough, but even if you run into problems later, you're further protected by a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Some antivirus tuck their trial builds away, maybe hoping you'll hit the Buy button instead. BullGuard is different. Scroll down the Internet Security website, reading about the product, and at the bottom you'll find, in very large letters, 'Haven't decided yet? Now you can try it for FREE.' We tapped the Download Now button and had the BullGuard Internet Security installer downloaded within seconds.
Like many competitors, BullGuard requires that you hand over your email to create an account before you can activate the trial, but that was also straightforward and there were no other setup hassles.
BullGuard Internet Security installed a long list of components on our test system. After rebooting, we found no less than eleven new background processes and some surprising extras, including an Outlook add-in (more on that later.)
While this looked a more heavyweight setup than many competitors, most of BullGuard's various processes didn't grab much in the way of RAM or other system resources, and we didn't notice any significant impact on our system speed.
It's important that an antivirus is able to prevent itself being disabled by malware. We tried deleting core BullGuard files, closing processes, stopping services and other tricks, but weren't able to compromise our security. It was a good start, but then we uncovered a problem.
BullGuard Internet Security enables users to define exactly what they want to be checked in Quick and Full system scans, and we noticed these settings were stored in plain text files without any special protection. An attacker could replace the default settings with his own, turning off just about every scan option, greatly reducing the chance that they would detect anything at all.
As an example, running an initial Quick Scan on our review system with the default settings took around 7 minutes. After replacing the Quick Scan file with our own, where every possible scanning option was turned off, it checked so little that the scan was complete in about 5 seconds.
In another more serious problem, we were able to disable BullGuard's file system filter driver with a single standard Windows command (requiring admin rights.) As a result, the package wasn't able to detect malware as it was downloaded, unzipped or otherwise saved to, or opened from our hard drive.
It's important to put these issues into perspective. The scan settings vulnerability only affected on-demand scans, for instance, leaving BullGuard's real-time protection to work as usual, blocking threats as they appear. And even if an attacker also disabled the filter driver, BullGuard wasn't left entirely defenseless. URL filtering would still block attempts to download malware from known dangerous sites, and the behavior monitoring layer remains constantly looking out for suspicious processes.
We raised our concerns with BullGuard, anyway, and the company responded quickly. It rolled out a fix for the filter driver issue almost immediately, closing the more serious security hole. The lesser scan settings issue had already been fixed in BullGuard's Small Office Security product, the company explained, and the consumer products will get the same update in the next release.
We're happy to accept that the risks here were largely theoretical. It would take some effort to exploit these vulnerabilities, and there's not the slightest evidence that's ever happened.
They still constitute worrying mistakes, though, especially leaving the filter driver unprotected. If BullGuard missed this issue, are there other problems it's failed to spot? We have no idea, but it has to be a concern.
The BullGuard 2020 interface looks a little cluttered, with at least eight tiles representing its various features: Antivirus, Firewall, Vulnerabilities, Backup, Game Booster, PC Tune Up, Parental Controls and Secure Browser. (If you've got a BullGuard VPN account then you can launch that from the console, too.)
This approach works well in some ways. Every tile has a drop-down list of common functions, allowing users to run a Quick Scan, check for vulnerabilities, open the Secure Browser or perform other essential tasks directly from the main console. And icons indicate the status of each product area, ensuring you can see how your system is performing at a glance.
Still, this feels like a waste of valuable screen real estate. We suspect most users will leave the firewall, vulnerability scanner, PC Tuneup tool, and Game Booster to run entirely in the background, for instance, so why are those tiles taking up half the interface? It would make more sense for the console to focus on the tasks people carry out most often, and leave the more advanced options - like managing firewall rules - tucked away in a menu or behind a separate tab.
Whatever you might think of the BullGuard Internet Security interface, it's not difficult to use. If you need to check your system, a drop-down list on the Antivirus tile displays the actions you can take – Quick Scan, Full Scan, Custom Scan, Quarantine, Settings – and you can launch any of these in a couple of clicks.
Hidden away in the Settings is an option to add further scan types, which BullGuard calls Antivirus Profiles. You could use this to create custom scans where you get precise control over which areas of the system are checked, the files to examine, the way the scan is run and what the program does if it finds any threats.
This is a valuable feature which gives you all kinds of options. You could create a scan which focuses on a key area of interest, perhaps folders of documents or executables, or network drives which might not be checked otherwise. You might be able to improve performance by excluding data-packed drives or folders you're sure aren't at risk, and you can experiment with some interesting low-level tweaks.
For instance, by default our review system used four threads for scanning. Reducing that would cut system load during a scan, while adding more threads might speed up the scan process, and BullGuard's ability to play around with this setting will help you find the right value for you.
BullGuard also provides real-time protection, and for the most part that worked as we expected. Dangerous downloads were automatically scanned and blocked, for instance, and the package immediately detected malware we unpacked from a password-protected archive.
We noticed one limitation, though, in email scanning. BullGuard Internet Security doesn't scan incoming emails at the network level, instead using email client add-ins (Outlook and Thunderbird are supported.) If you're using another client, or the add-in doesn't work or gets disabled, your emails won't be checked.
If you read your emails in a browser, this won't be an issue. And even if you're affected, BullGuard's real-time protection should detect and block any malicious attachments as soon as they're saved or opened. Still, it could mean some users will lose a layer of security they'll often get with other vendors.
In our brief tests, scan times proved fractionally shorter than average. They didn't noticeably affect the performance of our system, either, and we were able to continue working without active scans getting in our way.
BullGuard supports a simple vulnerability scan, which checks your Wi-Fi security, auto-run settings for mobile devices, Windows Update status and whether your drivers are digitally signed. This isn't exactly extensive, and we suspect competitors like Kaspersky and Avast are covering more areas, but if you have nothing similar, the scan could still give you genuinely useful information.
BullGuard Internet Security includes a firewall which blocks for network attacks, and sort-of controls access to your internet connection.
We say 'sort of' because although the firewall allows known safe processes to get online automatically, it asks the user about anything it doesn't recognize. That's an issue, both because it's difficult for even experts to tell which processes are legitimate, and, if users are prompted like this regularly, it's tempting to keep hitting the 'it's fine' button without really paying attention. We prefer more intelligent firewalls, like Bitdefender and Kaspersky's offerings, which make these decisions themselves.
Aside from this limitation, the firewall does a decent job, blocking most attacks and providing plenty of configuration options if you need them.
BullGuard Internet Security comes with a 'cloud integrated' backup feature. It's an application, not a service - there's no web space included - but otherwise it covers all the core basics.
Customizable backups enable choosing what you'd like to back up, for instance, from common user folders to whatever else you might need.
Backup destinations include your Dropbox, Google Drive or OneDrive holders, or your choice of external drive.
A simple scheduler enables running backups automatically, and there are a handful of useful settings covering compression, encryption and versioning.
There's nothing too surprising here, and BullGuard's backup can't match the best of the freeware competition. But it works well enough for simple tasks, and having the app available from the same interface as the rest of the suite means it's certainly convenient to use.
BullGuard's Parental Controls module uses a range of tricks and technologies to protect your kids online.
Website filtering blocks sites by your choice of category (adult, social media, chat, gambling - 24 in total.) You're also able to create custom whitelists and blacklists of sites which should never (or always) be blocked.
Application control enables blocking specific apps from running. The module covers a dated-looking list of chat apps by default (it includes Google Talk rather than Hangouts, for instance), but you can change that, or add any other apps you'd like to protect.
The Privacy control feature aims to prevent your child sharing key personal details online (names, phone numbers, credit card information, addresses and more.)
A flexible scheduler enables controlling access to the internet, or your entire PC, to a specific time of day or a maximum time limit.
Choose your preferred settings in all areas and you're able to apply them to your child's Windows user account.
BullGuard's Mobile Security has its own features, including the ability to monitor pictures stored or received on your child's phone, and an option to track where your child's device is. But it doesn't synchronize with the main Parental Control service, so for instance you can't set up rules in one place that apply across all your child's devices.
Much like BullGuard's firewall and backup modules, the Parental Control module is mostly about the basics. It can perform some useful tasks, but demanding users are likely to be left wanting more.
BullGuard Internet Security 2020 now includes Secure Browser, a customized version of Chromium which the company says, 'enables a safer way to browse the Internet and a much safer platform from which to make online payments.'
How is it safer, exactly? The website explains that Secure Browser doesn't 'load' cookies or extensions, perhaps reducing the chance of any privacy leaks. Using Chromium as a base means you lose multiple layers of Google Chrome telemetry, too (optional features, like crash reporting, which send data back to Google.)
Secure Browser makes DNS requests using Cloudflare's DNS over HTTPS. The added encryption makes it more difficult for snoopers to monitor your browsing, and it also limits MITM attacks where, for instance, a rogue wifi hotspot might redirect you to a malicious website.
The browser forces HTTPS connections where possible, and warns users about mixed content (HTTP content in an HTTPS page.)
BullGuard told us that 'we also use the same engine in the secure browser as we do for Safe Browsing to help users avoid malicious websites.'
Elsewhere, cache encryption aims to prevent malicious programs from accessing browsing data. We noticed a very limited history leak - a log file included the domains we were accessing, though not the full URLs - but otherwise this worked well.
Secure Browser isn't as sophisticated as Bitdefender's Safepay. There's no attempt to prevent malware taking screenshots, for instance. It doesn't include a password manager or a virtual keyboard. There is still some value here, though, and this is only the first version - we expect more features will appear over time.
BullGuard's Game Booster is an interesting tool which recognizes when games or other full-screen applications are running, and tries to improve their performance by giving them a greater share of system resources. Although this has nothing to do with antivirus or security, it's aiming to tackle the idea that installing an antivirus will necessarily slow down your PC.
The Game Booster works by shifting user processes (and optionally, in this release, system processes) to use the same CPU cores, reducing their demands on your system resources and making a greater share available to the game.
It's a smart idea, and independent testing has shown very positive results. Gaming rig builder ChillBlast benchmarked the game-related performance of BullGuard Internet Security against Kaspersky, AVG, Norton, McAfee and even Windows Defender. Not only did BullGuard deliver the best performance, it was even faster than a control system with no antivirus installed.
In other words, installing BullGuard Internet Security didn't reduce gaming performance, it actually improved matters. We wouldn't choose an antivirus based on that, alone – security issues should come first, after all – but it's an interesting feature, and could be very appealing to some users.
PC Tune Up
BullGuard Internet Security includes several Windows cleanup and maintenance tools.
An Optimize feature can delete junk Windows and third-party files, clear your browser cache, remove invalid shortcuts and defragment the Registry. It's easy to use, but the freeware CCleaner gave us more control and freed up more files on our test system (12.9GB vs 10.1.)
The Cleanup Helper can also remove junk files, though apparently less effectively (it didn't find as many leftovers as the Optimize module.) It has a couple of handy bonus features, though. Drive maps graphically highlight the folders taking up the most space on your system, while the Large Files section lists, well, your largest files.
A Duplicate Files Finder scans your system for unnecessary copies of files. It's useful, but basic and with limited options. You can't choose to scan only a particular folder tree, for instance; the module scans your entire system every time, which means it can take a while to run.
The Boot Manager logs and displays the load times for your startup applications. There's much more detail than you'll get with Windows 10 Task Manager's Startup Impact feature (see the Start-up tab, and it may help you diagnose slow boot times.
If all this sounds like too much hassle, no problem; tell PC Tuneup the type of junk you'd like to remove (browser caches, the contents of Temp folders, crash dump files and more) and it'll remove them automatically.
None of this will change your world, and PC experts probably have better tools already. But for everyone else, BullGuard’s various speedup modules are easy to use and will do a fair job of cleaning up your system.
BullGuard isn't assessed by many of the independent testing labs, these days. It hasn't appeared in AV-Comparatives' Real-World Protection Test since 2018, for instance.
AV-Test currently includes BullGuard Internet Security in its Windows antivirus reports, though, and they give us some useful pointers to its likely performance.
The September-October 2019 results saw BullGuard block 100% of well-known malware in both tests. The package also blocked 100% of zero-day threats in September, and 98.4% in October. While that's very capable, nine vendors blocked 100% of threats in every test, leaving BullGuard in tenth place out of 19.
The company did better in some of the earlier 2019 reports, worse in others, and probably the best word to describe its performance is 'mixed.'
These lab tests are lengthy and thorough, but they don't always provide the specific information we need, and so we also assess antivirus packages by running smaller tests of our own.
BullGuard Internet Security had no problems with our first test, detecting malware samples without difficulty when they were downloaded or unzipped on our review system.
Our second more advanced test used a custom ransomware simulator which would attempt to encrypt thousands of documents on our system. By creating this threat ourselves, we ensured it wouldn't be recognized from the file signature alone, making the program an interesting test of BullGuard's behavior monitoring.
Unfortunately, BullGuard Internet Security appeared not to notice our threat at all, and paid no attention as it encrypted thousands of test files. We don't mark down apps who fail to spot our simulator, because it's not real malware and we can't say why it wasn't detected. But this was still a little disappointing, not least because BullGuard detected and blocked our simulator during its last review.
BullGuard Internet Security 2020 is decent value, configurable, and has an unusual extra in its Game Booster. But most of its features are on the basic side, and the security issues we found (now fixed) remain a concern. Factor in the mixed test results and the suite is hard to recommend right now, although the new engine might change that over the coming year.
Bullguard VPN is a product developed by the Bullguard company known for the antivirus software they have developed. Bullguard is not the first antivirus company to have developed a VPN service, Avast and AVG, for example, have already done so. Our expectation is that Bullguard will promote their VPN product in the existing antivirus to their existing customers as the aforementioned companies have done. Bullguard VPN is a service aimed at the average computer user. There is not much to set up and the software is easy and intiutive to use.
As Bullguard's VPN service is relatively new, they don't have a large server network yet. At the time of writing servers are available in 16 countries. Compared to other VPN providers this is still a bit on the low side. If you are looking for a VPN service with a very large server network we advise you to take a look at ExpressVPN, for example, as Bullguard VPN servers are available in common countries. This means that the servers are mainly located in Europe and North America. For a VPN service with more exotic locations you are better off with the previously mentioned ExpressVPN or NordVPN.
As said the software on the computer and laptop is easy to use. In our experience it works easily and you can easily choose a location and connect to the selected location. On Mac computers and laptops it looks and works the same, and for mobile devices too, Bullguard has developed easy-to-use apps. As with the laptop and desktop versions, the software is clear and the settings are still limited. There is, however, an option available on the apps that ensures that a VPN connection is set up automatically when the app is launched. The app for iOS (iPhone and iPad) looks and works the same and all in all the software is easy and clear to use. You can clearly see that Bullguard VPN already has some experience in developing user-friendly software.
Stability and speed
We have only taken a short time to test Bullguard VPN for stability and speed of VPN connections. The stability was good, it hasn't happened that a VPN connection has been lost. However, the speed was quite disappointing. Bullguard has a lot of experience in developing the antivirus software which is very successful and you can see that in the VPN software which has been developed. The software is easy and intuitive to use. Bullguard has also developed VPN software directly for Windows, MacOS, Android and iOS. Where other VPN providers often start with software for 1 or 2 operating systems Bullguard has directly developed a VPN client for all the popular operating systems.
Using Bullguard VPN for Torrents
After an email from us to Bullguard VPN asking if it is possible to use torrent or other p2p networks we got the following answer: "Downloading is allowed via P2P but uploading is not possible". This means that in principle it is not possible to efficiently download torrents. If you are looking for a VPN because you want to download anonymously, we advise you to take a closer look. On our torrent VPN page you can find out which VPN providers are best suited for torrent use.
Policy and security
Bullguard VPN has a no log policy. This means that no logs are kept about what users of the VPN service do online and what website they visit. Nothing is publicly available on the website about how customers' data or any queries from authorities are handled.
For protocols OpenVPN and IKEv2 have been chosen. OpenVPN is used on Android devices and Windows computers while IKEv2 is used for iOS and MacOS. Both protocols are known to be very secure.
BullGuard VPN is well worth considering because it’s supported by the infrastructure of NordVPN — one of the most popular VPN providers on the market today. At the time of writing, BullGuard VPN has servers in 16 countries including the US, UK, and Switzerland. A single subscription lets you secure up to six devices simultaneously. It offers good speeds and unlimited bandwidth which makes it a good choice not only for general browsing but also for streaming.
This is one of the most security-conscious antivirus/VPN combos, with a comprehensive set of security features. Aside from 256-bit AES encryption, BullGuardVPN offers a kill switch that cuts your internet traffic in the event that the VPN connection drops. It has a clear no-logs policy and states that it doesn’t record your browsing history, IP address, or even connection time stamps.
Secure your devices with BullGuard VPN for Windows, Android, Mac, and iOS.
- Uses NordVPN’s infrastructure
- Secure up to six devices at once
- Unlimited bandwidth for uninterrupted streaming
- Lots of security features including encryption and a no-logs policy
- Only offers servers in 16 countries
- Limited device support
BullGuard is a cybersecurity company founded in 2001 in London. It has mainly offered antivirus and internet security solutions, but on April 4, 2019, it launched a virtual private network as a new service to customers.
In a market that’s getting as crowded and competitive as the VPN market, it’s an act of courage to try to get a foothold as a newcomer. For BullGuard to make its way onto our best VPN list, it had to bring a lot to the table, and that it did.
In this BullGuard VPN review, we’ll look at the streamlined yet feature-rich VPN client that BullGuard has put together, as well as the impressive speeds it offers. That said, we’re also going to look at the VPN’s shortcomings and where improvements need to be made for it to become one of the best.
Strengths & Weaknesses
- Streamlined client
- Great for streaming
- 24/7 live chat
- No monthly plan
- Steep pricing
- Secretive about security
BullGuard VPN Features Overview
Starts from$ 354per month
PayPal, Credit card, PayNearMe, Wire transfer, Check or money order
Worldwide server amount
16 countries, server count unknown
Can be installed on routers
Can access Amazon Prime Video
VPN protocols available
Enabled at device startup
Malware/ad blocker included
BullGuard VPN offers three time frames for payment: annually, biennially and triennially. All plans include unlimited devices and bandwidth. The prices are competitive, but they’re not the best we’ve seen. If you head to our Windscribe review, you can see a prime example of affordable VPN pricing.
The annual pricing is the weakest option, and many VPN providers offer better rates for the same time frame. The biennial option is solid and the triennial plan is a strong option pricing-wise. The thing that’s lacking from BullGuard VPN’s pricing model is a monthly plan.
Practically all VPN providers offer a monthly plan, but BullGuard VPN gives you no shorter option than one year. On top of that, there’s no free trial to test things before sinking that considerable amount of money into the VPN. Luckily, though, there’s a 30-day refund period if you’re not a fan.
Ease of Use
Using BullGuard VPN is pleasant. For those looking for a more fire-and-forget experience, the client opens to a minimal and streamlined home screen that shows the list of countries to the left and connection status on the right.
You can connect automatically to the fastest location with the “quick connect” button or select a location. You can also click the heart next to each country to add it to your favorites so it’ll appear at the top of the list. The mobile applications are similar and sport the same overall look and straightforward layout.
If you’re looking to configure your VPN to get more out of it, the settings can be accessed from the tab at the top. The settings menu has two categories: general and account. The account section is barren but shows when your subscription expires, which is nice.
The general tab is where all the settings are. Each option is clearly labeled and has a short blurb beneath it that gives you a good idea of what it does. The only complaint we can lodge against the client is that it’s very white, which can be harsh on the eyes on certain monitors and in certain lighting.
A night mode would be a great addition.
The website is a different story, though. BullGuard offers a variety of cybersecurity services, not just the VPN, so its website can be difficult to navigate. You can easily end up on the wrong side of the website and end up getting information about the antivirus, which you can read about in our BullGuard Antivirus review, rather than the VPN.
For example, some of the links at the bottom of the VPN page can take you to more general areas of the website, leading you to get information about the wrong product. That isn’t the worst thing and the website is nice overall, but the fine details are what takes a service from solid to excellent.
In our testing, BullGuard VPN performed well in speed. Though the exact cities of each server aren’t shown, making it difficult to get an accurate idea of how far we are from the server, the U.S. server is undoubtedly the closest one to where we did our testing.
As one would expect because of its proximity, we saw the best speeds and low ping time on the U.S. server, and most of our download and upload speeds remained intact. The ping times were low enough that it could potentially find its way onto our best VPN for gaming roundup.
Moving to Europe we saw respectable speeds from the UK with a solid ping time. We got even better speeds from Switzerland, but the ping time was higher. The Swiss server provided astounding speeds, in fact, with the Singapore and Canada servers offering the same.
Predictably, ping times were proportional to our distance from each server, resulting in Canada having low pings and Singapore having the highest.
As for the feel of using BullGuard VPN, it’s just what you’d expect from the numbers we got on paper. When the rubber meets the road, things hold up and BullGuard feels responsive, and it might even make its way onto our fastest VPN picks soon.
As we noted in the “features” section, BullGuard VPN checks all the important boxes when it comes to security. There’s a kill switch and you can auto-connect on start-up, meaning none of your data will leak during the brief windows of time where your VPN isn’t connected.
Plus, you can set your computer to be invisible to the rest of the devices on a network, which isn’t a common feature but a great one to have. There’s an app killer that works like the kill switch to ensure no sensitive information gets out from banking apps and the like, too, in case you get disconnected from the VPN.
There’s also a custom DNS option that makes it easy to configure your preferred DNS, but you can also change your DNS manually without a VPN. While on the topic of DNS, we weren’t able to detect DNS leaks while using BullGuard VPN, which goes a long way toward validating its security.
The protocol options are limited, with only OpenVPN UDP and TCP being offered. UDP is typically recommended, but TCP is nice for troubleshooting a buggy connection and offers more stable performance much of the time. If you’re looking for more options, read our CyberGhost review.
At this point, you’re probably wondering why we gave BullGuard VPN a low score in this category. The answer is that encryption is a touchy issue for it.
When scouring the website, we found references to “military grade” encryption. Elsewhere on the web, we found third parties saying it was AES 256-bit, which is an excellent encryption. We wanted to hear it from BullGuard to be sure, though.
When we contacted support, we were told it was “confidential.” Given the speeds we saw, we have doubts that BullGuard VPN is using AES 256-bit and would’ve liked to hear a clear answer when we asked. The fact that we didn’t makes us question aspects of the VPN’s security.
BullGuard VPN performed well when it came time to try streaming. Every website we tried, including Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime Video and Hulu, worked without trouble. We weren’t given VPN detection messages and were able to log in and start watching without hassle.
All those websites loaded quickly, with Netflix taking an extra second or two and the others loading about as fast as usual. Keep in mind, though, that we were using a U.S.-based server to access those websites and we are in the U.S. ourselves, so you might not get those kinds of speeds if you’re across the ocean from the server.
Videos loaded in high definition for the most part, but would sometimes load at 720p. When that happened, simply changing it to 1080p manually did the trick, and we didn’t experience stuttering or buffering issues during our use.
Server options are the weakest area for BullGuard VPN. The servers only cover a meager 16 countries. The U.S. and UK are covered, which are arguably the locations that most people look for thanks to exclusive streaming services, but the list still leaves a lot to be desired.
The countries are mostly in Europe, with only Singapore, Australia, the U.S. and Canada being the exceptions. Granted, BullGuard VPN is new, but it’d be nice to see more locations included, namely Japan and some of South America.
BullGuard’s customer service is solid. Support is offered in many languages, with two languages, English and Romanian, getting 24/7 live chat support.
Live chat is also available during certain hours in Danish, German, Dutch, French, Swedish and Chinese. The live chat operators that we spoke to were friendly and helpful, if not the quickest. It typically took between five and 10 minutes to get a response, which is more than we expected for live chat but better than most email support staff.
There’s also a user forum and a knowledgebase, but both are disorganized and lackluster. That’s presumably because the VPN is new, so hopefully they’ll be fleshed out more over time, but in their current state, they could use some work.
BullGuard VPN impressed us in ways that we didn’t expect. Its performance was excellent and the client is visually appealing and highly functional. That said, there were quite a few things that still need work.
Aside from the reluctance to discuss encryption, the pricing and the lack of a monthly plan will drive many people away. An anemic server list doesn’t help, either.
Though BullGuard VPN has tremendous potential, we suggest finding something with a more proven track record (and willing to discuss its encryption).
Do you have experience with BullGuard VPN or BullGuard’s other services? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below and, as always, thank you for reading.
Are you looking for the total online freedom while surfing the internet? If you want to access the internet securely and safely without knowing to others? Do you want to stay safe in the digital world? Then, try the best VPN software to surf the internet safely. On the internet number of VPN software’s are available, but choosing the right one can make your browsing activities safe. Many people surf the internet without VPN, they may face the issues, they cannot access the restricted websites, streaming videos, shows, etc. By installing the best VPN, you can surf the web without limitations. In this article, we shall discuss best VPN called BullGuard VPN. The BullGuard VPN 2019 is one of the best VPN software which was released recently (on November 2, 2018), and it is combined with NordVPN to provide the cyber security. The best VPN software is available for Windows, Mac, and Android devices. It is simple and easy to use security tool which protects your online activities. The VPN software protects up to six devices simultaneously on all major platforms. It’s never been easier to access the internet with full online freedom, but the BullGuard VPN gives you the flexibility to safely and securely access the web and online services from the home, office or anywhere in the world. Whenever you connect your PC or smartphone to public Wi-Fi in a coffee shop, airport, or any other place, or you want to check the online account status, the BullGuard VPN keep you safe. Because it hides your IP address so that your current location is hidden and it uses the 256-Bit encryption key to encrypt and secure your data. So that websites you visit, the files you download cannot be seen by anyone. The BullGuard VPN is simple and easy to set up. It allows you to connect by clicking on Quick Connect option to connect to the nearest BullGuard VPN server which connects you based on the number of factors such as your current location. Or else, you can choose the country of your choice to connect to the required server in that country. It includes the servers in the US, UK, Netherlands, Canada, Germany and many other countries. Additionally, it comes with the Auto-Connect VPN for Wi-Fi networks. Whereas, it can identify the open Wi-Fi networks and automatically starts the VPN to protect you in public places.
Moreover, the BullGuard VPN does not log what you do online, and it does not keep a record of websites you visit, the files you download. It provides complete online privacy and security. Furthermore, the BullGuard VPN offers a trial version for 10-days.
- The BullGuard VPN is simple and easy to use Virtual Private network software which provides complete online privacy.
- It Includes multiple servers in different countries including US, UK, Canada, Australia, and many other countries. So you can connect to the different server from available servers.
- It provides private browsing in public places.
- The BullGuard VPN uses the military grade encryption key to encrypt your files and data. So that, you can stay safe on the internet.
- It includes the Auto-Connect VPN for Wi-Fi networks which starts automatically when you connect to the public networks.
- The VPN software protects up to six devices on different platforms including Windows, Mac, and Android.
How to Download and Install the Bullguard VPN On Windows PC:
First Download the Bullguard VPN from Official Website, Then Click on Run and Install the Bullguard VPN on your Device.
Therefore, the BullGuard VPN 2019 is one best VPN software available on the market which provides complete online security and internet privacy. It uses the military grade encryption key which provides the bulletproof protection to your data. So that no one can see your online communication.
We have decided to pick out and review a new provider, such as BullGuard VPN and see if it can stand against these.
Performing a series of tests and thorough analysis helped us determine whether it is worth the money or not. Thus, if you were thinking of subscribing to BullGuard, we suggest you read this review before doing so!
- Unblocks Netflix
- Reliable customer service
- A limited number of servers
- Doesn’t work in China
- Language accessibility
- Slow overall
- Doesn’t include a Kill Switch
- Connectivity issues
Is It a Paid or Free VPN?
Well, the answer depends on what do you consider to be a free service. For this review of BullGuard VPN, we will define it as the ability to try out the provider for a couple of days without paying anything. In this case, the answer is positive.
What this provider does is give you a 7-day free trial during which you can see all the features and test the connectivity. Surprisingly, there are not a lot of limitations compared to the premium service. The main reason for this is because they don’t feature a lot of servers in the first place.
The only difference is that you can’t use more than a single device at the same time. Other than that, their free option can be of great help in determining whether you should subscribe to a premium package or not.
The main issue that we have with this particular provider is the speed of its servers. Considering the limited number and most set in the EU and the US, you would expect something better. The thing is, if the servers aren’t reliable, you can’t really do anything more than regular browsing activity.
Thus, users who were expecting to torrent or stream HD may need to look elsewhere.
We didn’t have high expectations in the first place while doing our review of BullGuard VPN. The reason for this is because the provider is still undergoing development, and we do hope changes in speed will take place very soon. For now, it is not anywhere as good as ExpressVPN or CyberGhost when it comes to operating speeds.
As always, we start with a connection of 235 Mbps in download speed, and 211 Mbps in upload speed. Our location was the UK. We tested out a couple of different servers to reach a relevant conclusion.
The first server was set in France, and the drop here was not as dramatic. With a ping set to 60 ms, we had a download speed of 156 Mbps and an upload speed of 138 Mbps. This still allowed us to browse, and even stream HD for some time. Still, it turned out that the insignificant drop was due to our close location.
The second and third servers, set in Canada and the US, were quite different. Both had a ping above 120 ms that caused huge connection issues.
Additionally, even when we managed to stay on the server, the drop was as big as 70%. What this means is that even if this provider was able to unblock streaming platforms, you couldn’t actually use them.
The last location that we tested was Singapore.
The reason for this is because it is quite attractive and closest to China. Still, much like with the aforementioned two, we weren’t satisfied. Ping above 250 ms, and a speed drop of 85% in both segments.
Similar to StrongVPN and ActiVPN, BullGuard VPN does seem to have huge issues with both download and upload speeds, which is not good for our detailed review!
Thus, it is safe to say that if you are looking for optimal performance in terms of speeds, look elsewhere.
Another obvious element that we are ought to review is how do the servers of BullGuard VPN hold up. If you are located in Europe, and you connect to Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, or Switzerland, you can expect to get good performance.
On the other hand, anything outside of the continent will cause serious issues.
This is quite a shame considering that Australia, Singapore, US, and Canada servers could be quite useful. Honestly, unless you have a really strong internet connection, you shouldn’t count on these.
If you are a novice user, you can find the definition of VPN and the main use cases here. It is not a secret that streaming HD is one of the few reasons why people subscribe to VPN providers.
Because most platforms feature geo-restricted locations, bypassing this can give you unlimited entertainment content. Honestly, this is one of the strongpoints for BullGuard VPN. Let’s review the information about streaming.
We always emphasize that a provider able to bypass heavy Netflix restrictions is a worthy one. That is why we were quite surprised that a new name such as BullGuard can cope with this. We performed a series of tests and had a success rate of 100%.
This is motivating, considering that they don’t feature more than 16 servers. We were able to unblock catalogs in France, Canada, the US, and the UK. Unfortunately, while this is something to respect, the server speeds can mess it up for you.
As mentioned above, accessing the US, Canada, or Australia from inside Europe can be quite tricky. Additionally, if you are hoping to stream Netflix HD, you can’t do it with an average connection. The reason for this is the huge speed drops that we have experienced in whatever server connected.
Other streaming services
Luckily, other streaming platforms seem to be somewhat less demanding when it comes to connection. Thus, you can expect to stream Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, and BBC iPlayer without a lot of issues.
Once again, you will have a better chance at this if you are in the EU. For US TV Channels, BullGuard VPN can unblock them but don’t expect HD content.
Where is it based?
BullGuard VPN is a well-known software company and is based in the UK. At first, this doesn’t seem like the best thing considering the regulations that they adhere to. Why? Because much like the US, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada, UK is a part of the five-eyes alliance.
What this means is that if for whatever reason the authorities ask for your data and private info, the provider will have to hand it over. Luckily, this is not where things end. The reason for this? BullGuard follows the same scheme as NordVPN.
Thus, if you were afraid that your data is going to be tracked and stored, you can be worry-free. Not only does BullGuard claim a strict no-log policy, but it is also supported by NordVPN team members.
What this means is that in terms of logging policy, BullGuard can compete with the top names in the industry.
We were quite surprised to see that this provider wasn’t transparent when it comes to tunneling protocols. Still, we can guess that they do allow the same ones as NordVPN, which results in OpenVPN and IKEv2.
So, whether you are an Android or iOS user, you shouldn’t have an issue using their service. Additionally, it is the 256-bit AES encryption that ensures optimal protection from third parties.
Talking about shielding your activity, preventing DNS, and WebRTC leaks are among the most important elements. Unfortunately, we can’t say that BullGuard VPN does the best in these terms.
It doesn’t include a kill switch, and after we performed a series of tests for this review, we found out about a 50% risk of leaks. Which is way too high!
Things are quite tricky here. While reviewing their official website, BullGuard VPN is quiet when it comes to whether they support torrenting and P2P. Still, considering that they use the same network as NordVPN, the answer is positive. We also confirmed this by contacting their customer support.
But how reliable is it?
Well, the aforementioned leak protection is not optimal. Additionally, you can’t rely on the server speeds, either. Considering this, there are better options.
It does quite a good job in terms of unblocking censored content though. This is both for the streaming platforms and regular sites, including social networks such as Facebook. We tested this on all the servers and were able to access blocked bookmarks and other relevant websites.
Still, we didn’t have any luck with it working in China. The main reason for this is because they don’t feature a Hong Kong server. To be honest, even if there was one, with the current speed and connectivity, you would stand a low chance.
To bypass the Great Chinese Firewall, the relevant provider needs to allow several elements. Without stealth protection, fast Hong Kong server, and industry-standard protocols, there is nothing to expect.
Countries and Servers
When compared to NordVPN that offers 5000+ servers, you can’t really call BullGuard VPN a global provider. They offer a limited number of 16 servers in 16 different locations. As we have discussed above, most that are outside of Europe are not that reliable.
The countries listed are Austria, Germany, Belgium, France, Germany, Netherlands, Ireland, Norway, Spain, Sweeden, Switzerland, and the UK for the European continent. There are four additional locations, including the US, Australia, Canada, and Singapore.
Devices and Connections
How compatible is a certain provider always plays an important role in determining the overall value.
As expected before doing this review, BullGuard VPN doesn’t support much other than Android, Windows, iOS, and macOS. The most probable reason for this is because the other apps are still in development.
We are happy to say that the user interface is quite friendly and easy to use. On the other hand, the fact that Linux, console, smart TV, and router users are left out is not the best thing.
What it lacks in the supported devices it makes for in the number. Thus, if you subscribe to a premium service, you can have up to 6 different devices at the same time. This is double the average!
We are not particularly for or against their customer service. To be honest, their FAQs page is quite vague. Luckily, they do allow both a live chat and email response support that can provide you with an answer. We tried out both and came to the same conclusion.
They do answer quite fast, and the team is friendly. Still, we don’t think that the response we got was as useful as we expected it to be. They focus on open-ended and general-purpose answers rather than the specific case.
Value for Money
After the 7-day free trial, you will need to decide whether to subscribe to their service or look for another provider. We did a review of the prices as well as payment methods offered by BullGuard VPN to stimulate an educated decision.
The first thing that we don’t like is that there is not a single-month subscription. Additionally, the 1-year plan is extremely expensive, putting you at $6.94 a month. The 2-year plan offers a discounted price of $4.74 per month.
Additionally, the 3-year plan is most affordable at $3.54 per month. Still, the overall pricing doesn’t seem fair compared to what you are getting out of the subscription.
While the subscription prices seem to be high, at least they do offer a large number of payment methods. Thus, you can use PayPal, all major debit and credit cards, as well as Wire Transfer and Paynearme.
Unfortunately, they still don’t support cryptocurrencies for anonymous payments.
BullGuard VPN does offer a reliable 30-day refund policy that you can request via the live chat or email. And there are no particular conditions in order to benefit from it 😉
There aren’t any features that we can discuss or review at this stage. Which is always more than disappointing, we’re not going to hide it. This proves once again that the provider is still a long way from the very best.
We did our best to provide you with a thorough review of BullGuard VPN, placing it at #45 out of 78. There is no doubt that this NordVPN-inspired provider has good potential.
BullGuard VPN is fast, easy to use and unblocks almost everything, but the small network and lack of features are a concern. You can get more locations and power from NordVPN for a very similar price, but if you're a BullGuard fan or simplicity is top of your priority list, BullGuard VPN is worth a try.
- Easy to use
- Above average speeds
- Unblocks Netflix, iPlayer, Amazon, Disney+
- Initial 1-year discount for BullGuard customers
- 16 locations only
- Short on features
- Support website has little useful content
- NordVPN offers same servers and more features for a similar price
Shopping for a VPN can seem scary, especially for newbies: there's loads of technical detail to learn, and it's often being pushed by obscure companies who you probably shouldn't trust with your email address, let alone your most confidential browsing.
BullGuard VPN offers a more reassuring choice. Launched back in 2002, BullGuard is a name you can trust; its VPN is based around the excellent NordVPN network, a near guarantee of good performance; and the company's own simplified clients aim to make the technology accessible to even the greenest VPN novice.
The service is very much about the essentials only. The network is small at just 16 countries, for instance, including only two outside of Europe and North America: Austria, Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Netherlands, Norway, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States. But if those are all the countries you need, that won't be a problem, and with a sizeable 2,000+ servers, BullGuard VPN has plenty of power available to cope with peak-time user load.
BullGuard is quiet about P2P, but as NordVPN supports the technology, and qBitTorrent worked for us when we tested it, you're probably not going to experience any problems.
There are apps available for Windows, Mac, iOS and Android, but no browser extensions, and no support for manual setup on routers or anything else. You can only get connected by using the official software.
There's good news, too. The apps can be set up to automatically load when they start, and connect to your choice of location. A kill switch blocks internet access if your VPN drops. And BullGuard VPN supports up to six simultaneous connections, a step up on most of the competition (the industry average is five.)
BullGuard VPN does drop a few of the more advanced NordVPN features. No CyberSec to block malware, no options to bypass VPN blocking, no Double VPN, and no Onion support. BullGuard is probably right, the average user won't care much about any of that, but more technical types might have some regrets.
The main pricing page doesn't offer a monthly BullGuard VPN plan, for some reason, but it's available elsewhere on the site for $11.99. If you're looking for a better deal, you can pay an effective $6.94 a month on the annual plan, $4.74 spread over two years, or a low $3.54 over three years.
BullGuard customers (that is, anyone with an active subscription to any other BullGuard software or service) get a 25% discount on the one-year plan, cutting that price to an effective $5.21.
Existing BullGuard customers also get a 7-day free trial, a risk-free way to find out how the service works for them, and everyone, BullGuard customer or not, is further protected by a 30-day money-back guarantee.
As we write, buying direct from NordVPN costs $11.95 billed monthly, $6.99 spread over a year, a special deal of $3.49 on the two-year plan, or $3.49 over three years.
Putting the two-year offer to one side (it'll probably have expired by the time you read this, there's little difference. The 25% discount means there's a worthwhile saving for existing customers, though, and if you prefer a simpler approach to VPNs, BullGuard VPN could still be a smart choice.
Privacy and logging
The BullGuard VPN website explains that the service 'does not log what you’re doing online, or keep records of the websites you visit, ensuring you have complete online privacy and security.'
A separate statement notes: 'we have a clear no logs policy for all of our BullGuard VPN apps. We do not collect nor do we store personal identifiable data.'
What's interesting here is that, unlike most VPNs, you don't have to take these words on trust. That's because in November 2018 NordVPN hired Price Waterhouse Cooper to run an independent audit on its infrastructure and services, and the report confirmed that the company lives up to its no-logging promises. That's a level of reassurance you won't get with most of the competition.
BullGuard says ease of use is its top VPN priority, and this was clear from the moment we launched the Windows client. A Quick Connect button gets you connected to your nearest server; a simple list of alternative locations lives in a side panel, and a clearly labelled Settings button gives you access to a few tweaks. Even VPN first-timers will figure this out in no time at all.
The client spoils the effect a little by displaying its locations in an apparently random order: Sweden, Singapore, Austria, Spain, Belgium, Australia, Canada and so on. We're struggling to see why anyone would prefer this to sorting them alphabetically.
With only sixteen locations, though, it doesn't take long to scroll the list and find what you need. And a simple Favorites system enables moving your most commonly used servers to the top of the list, making them even easier to find and access.
Connection times were disappointing, at least on our test device and network (keep reading for better news from the Android app). The Windows client typically took 15-20 seconds to connect to our nearest UK server before a desktop notification told us it had succeeded. Some services connect in 5-6 seconds, and although that's 'only' 10-15 seconds faster, it can make a real difference in your experience of the service.
BullGuard's Windows client settings include some useful features, with a few you'll rarely see elsewhere. You can have the client launch when Windows starts and automatically connect to your preferred location, for instance. There's both a system-wide and an app-based kill switch, giving you extra privacy protection if the VPN unexpectedly goes down. If you don't want to use BullGuard VPN's own DNS, you can use another, perhaps to add extra functionality like malware or ad blocking.
There's still some room for improvement. The client doesn't support NordVPN's Obfuscated Servers feature to help you get online in countries which block VPNs. There's no way to change or tweak your protocol (it's OpenVPN-only, though you can choose UDP or TCP), and no option to auto-connect when you access an insecure wifi network. But, to be fair, BullGuard's client is more capable than many (and NordVPN's Windows app doesn't enable changing your protocol or automatically protecting specific networks, either.)
The underlying technology worked well, too. BullGuard VPN protected our traffic using strong AES-256-CBC encryption; the application kill switch closed the processes we specified, and the system kill switch reliably blocked our internet access, whenever the VPN connection dropped.
Again, we'd like a little more. There's no 'automatically reconnect' option if the VPN goes down, for instance, so you're left to do this yourself. But it's a small point, and overall, the client does a good all-round job.
BullGuard VPN's Android app has a very similar interface to the Windows edition, with just a little tweaking to adapt it for mobile devices: the main body of the screen has a Quick Connect button which connects to the selected server, or you can swipe up for your Favorites and the full location list.
Connection times via the Android app were just as we'd expected, perhaps even faster, at around 3-5 seconds. This tells us that our slow Windows connection times were likely to be a client or network issue, not a wider problem with BullGuard's servers, and it's possible you may not experience them on your devices.
The app's Settings were also a little different to the desktop edition.
On the plus side, there's a new option to automatically connect whenever you use wifi or mobile networks, handy to ensure you're protected while you're out and about.
On the down side, it doesn't have the 'custom DNS' option, and there's no built-in kill switch. This isn't fatal, as you can manually set up a kill switch from within Android's VPN settings (the Support site even explains how to do this from its Settings page), but that doesn't really fit with BullGuard's focus on ease of use.
Overall, BullGuard VPN's apps are straightforward, easy to use, cover all the core features most users are likely to need, and have a handful of more advanced extras, too. The long connection times on our Windows device were a concern, but may not affect everybody, and on balance BullGuard VPN works very well.
BullGuard lists its 'renowned premier 24/7 live support' as one of the reasons you should choose BullGuard VPN, but how does the service work in real life?
The BullGuard VPN apps all include a Help link which opens the support site in a browser window. We expected this to present us with some very obvious VPN-related content or categories, but, well, no. There's no mention of the term 'VPN' anywhere on the opening page, and although some of the links take you to BullGuard VPN advice, most do not.
For example, the support site's first category displays three links: First Install, Reinstall and Settings. You might easily turn to any of these for VPN help, but the first of these contains nothing more than download links for the apps, and the Reinstall and Settings pages are focused on BullGuard's security apps, and don't reference the VPN at all.
You could try searching for knowledgebase for keywords, but that doesn't help, either. When we searched for 'VPN', the site gave us only 11 articles, just 6 were directly related to the VPN, and even those were brief and distinctly short on detail.
The picture improved when we manually searched the support site for help. The Product Guides section included some simple tutorials which covered the basics on all platforms, and will help novice users. We'd like to see them better highlighted and accessible from the Search box, though, so users can find them more easily.
In the meantime, if you can't find what you need on the website, you can always contact the support team 24/7 via Live Chat or email. Although we've found previously that BullGuard doesn't offer quite the level of VPN support you'll get with a specialist provider, response times are quick, the agents are helpful.
BullGuard sells its VPN on privacy and security more than website unblocking, and the company doesn't make any big claims about giving you access to Netflix, Hulu or anything else.
That's a pity, because the service scored a 100% success rate in our tests, getting us access to US Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+ and more.
BullGuard uses the powerful NordVPN network to provide its locations, and our own NordVPN review suggests that's a guarantee of good performance.
The service got off to an excellent start, with downloads of 68-70Mbps on a 75Mbps test line when connected to our nearest UK server.
Switching to BullGuard's European locations made little difference, with speeds averaging 60Mbps, while UK to US connections reached an excellent 50-60Mbps.
We re-ran our tests from a European data center with a connection capable of 600Mbps, giving us a chance to see how fast BullGuard VPN could go. The results were impressive, with an average of 130-150Mbps, enough for four users to stream Ultra HD video simultaneously and still have bandwidth left over.
Put it all together and BullGuard VPN delivers better speeds than most of the competition, but there is still one potential catch. If you're based in, or trying to access a country which isn't on BullGuard's very short US and Europe-focused location list, that's likely to reduce your performance.
BullGuard VPN's speed, simplicity and great unblocking abilities will appeal to its target audience of novice VPN users. It's a little short on features and there aren't many locations, but if you're after an easy-to-use and capable service from a name you can trust, if could be worth a look.
BullGuard VPN is a VPN primarily targeted towards people who are new to this type of service and wish to start with a simpler option that is easy to use and provides them with all the main functions that a VPN is supposed to have. BullGuard VPN uses the same network as NordVPN – one of the top players in the VPN industry – and shares a lot of its features with Nord, which should already tell you that this is a VPN service worth your consideration.
Of course, those are all assumptions and seemingly empty statements but is there any empirical proof that BullGuard VPN indeed respects one’s privacy? Turns out there is: in November 2018, an independent evaluation of BullGuard VPN’s services was conducted by Price Waterhouse Cooper and it was confirmed that BullGuard VPN indeed keeps no logs of any user-related data. In other words, no one, not even the people at BullGuard, could ever have any knowledge of your online activities.
Versions and pricing
BullGuard VPN has versions for both desktop (PC, Mac) and mobile (Android, iOS) so it can be used pretty much on any device you may own. However, there aren’t any browser add-ons so you’d have to open the main app to use the VPN. On the plus side, the app itself could be set to activate on startup so you won’t have to manually start it yourself every time you turn on your computer.
In terms of price, there isn’t a monthly subscription option (although this may not become immediately obvious by looking at the pricing plans at BullGuard’s website). There are three payment plans you can choose from – for one, two, or three years, priced at €73.49 (€6.12 per month), €100.49 (€4.18 per month), and €112.49 (€3.12 per month) respectively. Note, however, that those are discounted prices at the moment of writing this post so they are likely to change in the future. The price without the discount is €10.49 a month. We understand this could be a bit confusing, especially considering that, as stated above, there aren’t monthly subscriptions and the price for each of the three plans is paid at once but this is the information we could get from BullGuard’s website. Obviously, the two-year and three-year plans offer significantly better deals but we cannot say they are necessarily the better option for everyone as it’s up to each individual user to decide whether they’d wish to use the VPN for such long periods of time. On the plus side, there is a 30-day no-strings-attached grace period, during which you can refund the VPN and get your money back if you aren’t satisfied by the service. Furthermore, if you already have an active BullGuard subscription for any of the other BullGuard products, you are entitled to a 7-day free trial for the BullGuard VPN (the 30-day refund period applies to all users regardless of whether or not they already have any of BullGuard’s other products).
Interface and ease of use
The lack of a browser extension is a bit of a drawback that may make using this VPN a bit clunkier but the interface of the app largely makes up for it. Even newcomers to this type of software service would have an easy time learning how to use BullGuard VPN in a matter of minutes. In the center of the app’s screen, you have a big button that allows you to connect/disconnect from the VPN and a list of the available locations is present to the left. The arrangement of the different countries is a bit odd because they aren’t sorted alphabetically but this won’t make it that difficult to find the one you need considering there are not that many countries there to begin with. If you switch from the Status to the Settings tab, the left panel of the screen will be filled with the two main types of settings available (General and My Account) and the central panel will present you with the specific customization options they offer. There’s not too much customization to be had here which is suitable for less experienced users who have never tried a VPN before. However, for people with more experience who seek greater freedom of customization, the options provided there may seem a bit underwhelming. Despite that, all the basics are there and you can set them according to your preferences quickly, without having to go through several different sub-sections of settings.
Characteristics and Performance
BullGuard VPN is a bit limited when it comes to the number of countries where it has servers – there’s only 16 of them and only 2 are outside of Europe and North America. However, in terms of the sheer number of servers, there’s more than 2000 of them so even during peak-usage periods, there shouldn’t be any slow-downs or connection problems.
In terms of performance, BullGuard VPN is solid for the most part. Though not explicitly stated, it seems that P2P is supported, which is not a surprise considering that BullGuard VPN uses the same network as NordVPN (which offers P2P support).
Connection times can be a bit inconsistent, however. The Desktop app sometimes takes quite a lot to connect – about 15-20 seconds – which could be a bit frustrating if you are constantly using the VPN. However, no such problem seems to be present with BullGuard VPN’s mobile versions, where loading times are much shorter (about 5 seconds) so this might be a situational thing.
One of the highlights of BullGuard VPN is its ability to unblock most types of websites that you won’t normally be able to access without a VPN. It has no trouble unblocking other countries’ Netflix, Disney +, Amazon Prime Video, for example. One downside here is that BullGuard VPN doesn’t offer the option to use Obfuscated Servers to access sites that block regular VPN’s, which is a bit surprising and disappointing, considering this is a feature that’s available with NordVPN.
Another strength of BullGuard is its connection speed – it stays consistently high regardless of which servers you use – Europe or North America-based ones. When tested on a 75Mbps Internet, download speed stayed within the 68-70Mbs range when the VPN used the nearest server from its network. It must be said, however, that if you live in a country that doesn’t have BullGuard VPN servers in it, this speed is likely to be lower – this is where the limited number of countries covered by this VPN can become an inconvenience. Still, we were satisfied with the results – you can definitely keep the VPN turned on at all times and still browse the web normally and even stream HD videos without any issues if you are relatively near to a BullGuard server. Our suggestion for those of you who live in countries that don’t have BullGuard servers in them is to extensively test the VPN for thirty days and if connection speeds don’t satisfy you, opt for the refund option.
Here is a full list of the countries where BullGuard VPN has servers: Sweden, Canada, France, United States, Denmark, Singapore, Netherlands, Norway, Australia, Germany, Spain, United Kingdom, Switzerland, Austria, Ireland, and Belgium.
BullGuard VPN isn’t the most VPN service with the most varied range of extra features. It is more focused on simplicity, ease-of-use, and reliability rather than on providing its customers with lots of advanced functions and settings that can be customized. Nevertheless, there’s still what to like here:
One of the things we appreciate is the two types of kill switch that BullGuard VPN gives you. The first one is a system-wide kill switch that will automatically shut down all connections made through the VPN if the service goes down for some reason, thus ensuring that your IP remains hidden. The other kill switch is an app-based manual one which allows you to kill app-specific connections to the network.
Another nice touch is the option to choose whether to use the VPN’s own DNS or some other one. Most people wouldn’t really go that far into customizing their VPN but the availability of this option will likely be appreciated by more experienced customers.
Some of the more advanced settings that BullGuard VPN lacks, that you can find on other VPN providers (including Nord), are Onion support (the option to connect to the Onion network over VPN), CyberSec (a security feature that protects you from insecure connections, ads, and malicious addresses), and the aforementioned Obfuscated Servers feature that allows you to bypass sites that block VPNs.
BullGuard VPN offers its customers 27/7 live support as well as a support site with different materials that is supposed to help users quickly find answers to frequently asked questions regarding the service. However, what we’ve found out is that the support site may not be as helpful as it could have been. The information available there is somewhat scarce and using the search box may not always direct you to the type of resource you are interested in. The good news is that if you manually browse through the site instead of relying on the search box, you can find some tutorials on how to use the app’s versions for different platforms – this could be quite useful for people who are just getting to know the app. It’s a bit inconvenient and may take you some time to find the needed resource, but you should eventually be able to get answers to most of your questions.
The nice thing about BullGuard’s support is that it has a live-chat option as well as support over email. Normally, the response times of the support team are quick and the support staff is helpful and capable of answering all of your questions related to the VPN.
Bullguard is another antivirus company that’s expanding its range to offer a VPN service. And like Bitdefender, it has partnered with an existing VPN provider to do this, rather than create its own network of servers from scratch.
The approach makes some sense, as it clearly costs a lot less and lets Bullguard offer a branded service that’s already mature. The company it has teamed up with? NordVPN, one of the best VPN services around.
Pricing and plans
The shortest duration you can subscribe for is six months, but you can also sign up for a year and there are bigger discounts for committing for 2 or even three years. If the lack of a trial or a single month subscription worries you, there’s a 30-day money-back guarantee so you can effectively test the service for free and cancel for any reason.
As of June 2019 it costs £54.99 / $71.99 for 6 months, £63.69 / $79.08 for 1 year, £87.09 / $95.19 for 2 years, £97.49 / $107.10 for 3 years.
The cheapest, then, is the three-year option which works out at £2.70 / $2.97 per month. You can get a 25 percent discount if you’re an existing Bullguard customer running one of its antivirus products. Unfortunately this is only valid against the one-year subscription, which makes the monthly price £3.98 / $4.94. That’s not bad, but it isn’t the cheapest around.
Payment is via credit card or PayPal: there are no anonymous payment methods offered.
A single subscription lets you use the service on up to six different devices at the same time. Currently there are 16 countries to choose between:
If you’re wondering what NordVPN charges, the three-year plan works out to be £2.29 / $2.99 per month.
Bullguard says the two VPN services have “a different consumer VPN offering to meet different customer needs”.
Apps & Features
Bullguard offers apps for Windows, Mac, Android and iOS. That’s the key four covered, but there’s no Fire TV app or browser extensions. Interestingly, there’s nothing to indicate that the service is powered by NordVPN, either.
The good news is that these are standalone apps which don’t tie you into using Bullguard antivirus as Bitdefender’s VPN does. Also, although you have a more limited choice of locations compared to NordVPN, you still get the core set of features including a system-wide kill switch, plus the option of configuring the kill switch so only apps you choose are terminated if the VPN connection drops for any reason.
Factor in Bullguard’s clear no-logs policy which states that absolutely nothing is logged whatsoever, and you’re getting a very secure service.
It also says, again very clearly, that it does not condone the use of the service for any illegal or illicit activity, by goes on to clarify that it doesn’t monitor activity and would only know if you are doing this if you notify Bullguard about it yourself.
The fact that Bullguard is based in the UK will be a red flag for some, but even though this is one of the “14-Eyes” countries, there are no logs to share or hand over to authorities in the first place.
Although there’s nothing to suggest the service is powered by NordVPN, the apps are very similar to Nord’s. The settings in the Windows app, for example, are the same so you can’t switch protocol but you can force it to use TCP instead of UDP if you find a particular connection very slow.
Testing VPN speeds is never easy as there are so many factors involved. We already know that NordVPN is fast, and we saw respectable speeds when connecting to UK and US servers. The only time we experienced unacceptable performance was when trying to use a server in Australia. Speedtest reported a download speed of 0.6Mb/sec and upload of 0.2Mb/sec. Reconnecting 30 minutes later saw only a slight improvement to 2Mb/sec down and 0.6Mb/sec up.
There’s no option to pick a server: this is selected automatically for you if there are multiple servers available in that country. There’s also no way to pick a server optimised for streaming video or P2P and we found that while we could reliably access Netflix US, BBC iPlayer refused to let us watch anything when connected to a UK server.
EDIT: Bullguard asked us to re-test iPlayer compatibility and sure enough, when connecting a UK server we were able to access iPlayer just as we were when using one of NordVPN's UK servers via Nord's app.
Tech support is provided by Bullguard, and there’s 24/7 live chat. We tried it out and got quick, detailed responses to our questions.
One of the questions we posed was whether Bullguard supports BBC iPlayer. We were told to contact BBC’s tech support to determine whether VPN connections are supported, which was unfortunate. It’s well known that the BBC actively bans IP addresses of known VPN servers, and providers play a cat-and-mouse game of renewing IP addresses to get around these crackdowns.
Bullguard then confirmed later in an email to day “We are not actively marketing BullGuard VPN as a way to bypass geo-restrictions, our focus with VPN is to provide an easy to use product for the broader market to protect their privacy – coupled with BullGuard’s premier 24/7 live support.”
Bullguard VPN is a better offering than Bitdefender Premium VPN. But it’s impossible to overlook the fact that most of the plans cost more per month – even with the 25 percent existing customer discount - than if you were to go direct to NordVPN. And you get more from Nord: a larger selection of countries, the ability to choose specific servers, an app for Fire TV, a double VPN option and more. Ultimately it’s hard to recommend Bullguard’s service over Nord’s.