Buffered VPN Review

Fast and secure, but could do with better server selection

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4.3

Buffered VPN

Buffered VPN

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What We Like

  • Built-in kill switch provides great protection

  • No logs policy keeps privacy paramount

  • Router compatibility allows whole house VPN protection

  • Fast connection with little bandwidth sacrifice

  • Detailed information when connected

  • No stuttering during gaming

What We Don't Like

  • No phone or live chat support

  • More expensive than most other VPNs

  • Small selection of servers (44 in 41 countries)

  • Online streaming services aren’t supported

  • Pushy service adverts

Buffered VPN has a lot of great features, especially if your main concerns are security and speed. It never impacted our connection during games, but we did miss being able to watch Netflix or Amazon Video while connected to it. An overall restricted selection of servers is Buffered's main weakness at this time.

4.3

Buffered VPN

Buffered VPN

POJCHEEWIN YAPRASERT PHOTOGRAPHY/GettyImages

Buffered VPN is a VPN service with a relatively small selection of servers, but those that are there are fast and dependable, and when you're connected, you can learn a lot about them. It has robust encryption and some solid privacy protection. Better yet, it's headquartered far from the oversight of any intelligence network. It does have some serious blind spots when it comes to streaming, though. Read on to see our full review of the service from when we tried it out.

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.

The color scheme is the blue-and-white that is all too common on popular VPNs. It's attractive but doesn't stand out from the crowd in any way. 

When you're connected to a server, a wealth of information is presented. 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.

Buffered VPN
POJCHEEWIN YAPRASERT PHOTOGRAPHY/GettyImages

Setup Process: Quick and easy

Getting going with Buffered VPN is a breeze. Once you've signed up to one of its subscription packages you download the client for your respective operating system — it's compatible with Windows, macOS, Linux, and has applications for both iOS and Android — and install it like you would any other program or app. 

Then you put your login information into the small, neat window and you're in. The home screen has a small selection of servers to pick from, with more available if you scroll down the list.

Server Selection: Lacking in Key Areas

Selecting a server in Buffered VPN 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.

Still, the ones you can connect to, do so with quick ease. There is no information about server load or how popular they are, 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.

One major oversight is a lack of any streaming optimized servers. This meant that we were never able to view Netflix, Amazon Video, or other services that don't like VPNs. 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 couldn't use them at all.

While there will always be a game of cat and mouse between VPN providers and these services, we hope Buffered will find a solution to this missing feature at some point in the future.

Performance: Fast and Seamless

We saw almost no dip in raw bandwidth when connected to Buffered VPN. Servers near and far proved to offer excellent upload and download rates and a decent ping. We saw no stuttering during gaming or in loading websites, and connecting to them was a breeze.

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.

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. 

But the likeliness of anyone demanding information from Buffered VPN is unlikely and even if they did, it would be even less likely to comply. Buffered has recently moved to 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.

The only aspect of Buffered VPN's privacy which we weren't huge fans of was the information collected on your device. This is limited to hardware and software specifics, but that information is collected and held by Buffered VPN for 30 days for technical support reasons and for improving its service. You can opt-out of it, however, in the client's options menu.

Buffered VPN
Buffered VPN 

Security: 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.

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 is one of the better VPN services we've reviewed, with 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 very happy 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.

Specs

  • Product Name Buffered VPN
  • Product Brand Buffered
  • Price $13
  • Usability Great
  • Speed Excellent
  • Operating systems Windows, MacOS, Linux, routers
  • Mobile platforms iOS and Android apps
  • Log files No
  • Devices 5 simultaneous
  • Server Locations 41
  • Support Options Knowledge base, email form
  • Torrenting Supported on all servers, but non optimized
  • Netflix No
  • Encryption OpenVPN, AES 256-bit
  • Jurisdiction Gibraltar
  • Payment Options Credit/debit card, PayPal, Bitcoin
  • Price $13/month
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