Our last outing with Buffered VPN was some time ago, but much has changed since then. An alleged ownership change has brought up a lot of new questions, the worst of which is whether you can trust every VPN review you read. Read our article on the links between BestVPN.com and Buffered VPN for more on this.
In our Buffered VPN review, we’re going to give a fair shot to the service that we’ve rated as “okay” in the past. We’ll discuss features, pricing, ease of use, speed, security, privacy, streaming performance, server locations and customer service before giving our verdict.
Even without the privacy concerns we’ll outline throughout this review, it’s hard for us to make a recommendation. The server network is small, the speeds are inconsistent and there are no notable features to tinker with. It may appeal to some, but in a world where VPNs are popping up around every corner, Buffered VPN doesn’t stand out.
Strengths & Weaknesses
- Inexpensive multi-year plans
- Built-in speed test
- Easy to use
- Some fast locations
- Inconsistent speeds
- Questionable data collection
- Blocked by streaming platforms
- Lacks features
Alternatives for Buffered VPN
$4.12 / month (All Plans)
- : PayPal, Credit card
- : 5
- : PayPal, Credit card, Bitcoin, regional payment systems, WebMoney
- : 5
- : Credit card, Google Pay, AmazonPay, ACH Transfer, UnionPay, Crypto Currencies, PayPal (via Paddle)
- : 6
- : PayPal, Credit card
- : 10
- : PayPal, Credit card, bitcoin
- : 7
Buffered VPN barely has features outside of what we’d consider the essentials for a VPN. Most of the tools in the interface are novelties that are easy to find online and, though we appreciate the convenient access, we’d prefer some more useful features.
Thankfully, there’s still a killswitch. It’s not turned on by default, but it still performs the same function. If the VPN fails, the killswitch will trigger and sever your internet connection. It’s an especially important feature for torrenters and those trying to bypass censorship, which is why every provider in our best VPN services for China guide has it.
Outside of that, there isn’t much to mention. The only other features are a firewall test and speed test, and the latter is disappointing compared to other speed test features — read our Astrill review to see how it should be implemented. Buffered VPN’s speed test feature is accurate, but it can only be run on one location at a time.
One feature it’s sorely missing, though, is split tunneling. Though not the most common feature among VPNs, ExpressVPN, AirVPN and even PureVPN have it (read our AirVPN review).
Split tunneling lets you send some traffic through the VPN tunnel while other traffic stays on your normal connection. It’s useful for, say, running a backup at full speed while protecting your torrenting, which is why the feature is common among our best VPN for torrenting picks.
Buffered VPN Overview
|Payment methods||PayPal, Credit card|
|Supports split tunneling|
|Free trial available|
|Refund period||30 days|
|Worldwide server amount||39 locations in 37 countries|
|Desktop OSes||Windows, MacOS, Linux|
|Mobile OSes||Android, iOS|
|Can be installed on routers|
|Can access Netflix US|
|Can access BBC iPlayer|
|Can access Hulu|
|Can access Amazon Prime Video|
|VPN protocols available||OpenVPN|
|Enabled at device startup|
|Passed DNS leak test|
|Malware/ad blocker included|
Buffered VPN doesn’t have low rates — read our PIA review to see what that looks like — but its pricing scheme isn’t bad, either. The greatest value comes with the longest subscription, as it does with most VPNs, but the addition of a two-year option makes the pricing more enticing.
The monthly plan is terrible, as are almost all other month-to-month option, even among the best VPN providers. It’s the same price as CyberGhost (read our CyberGhost review) but with two fewer connections. Unlike with CyberGhost, though, you can install Buffered VPN on as many devices as you want.
The annual plan is decent, but there are cheaper options. For example, TorGuard offers the same number of connections for around $10 less, as you can see in our TorGuard review. Like the monthly plan, it’s around the price we’d expect from a VPN.
Opting for two years provides serious value, though. For only $20 more, you get twice the service, bringing the monthly rate down to around $4. It’s not as cheap as, say, PureVPN, but it also doesn’t come with all the concerns that service does. Read our PureVPN review to see what we mean.
Though the two-year option offers a lot of value, it isn’t without faults. Buffered VPN has a lot in common with NordVPN when it comes to pricing because both incentivize you to purchase a multi-year plan. That said, unlike NordVPN, Buffered VPN doesn’t have an inexpensive three-year option to balance the lineup (read our NordVPN review for more on that).
Plans are refundable for 30 days, which is good, but there’s no live chat, so you’ll have to hang your refund on email correspondence.
The payment options are standard. Buffered VPN accepts all major credit cards, PayPal and bitcoin. Though bitcoin is usually the best option for anonymity, it may be the only option with Buffered VPN. Read on to the “privacy” section for details on that.
All plans come with up to five simultaneous connections, which is standard among VPN providers. There’s some annoying marketing about how other providers “lock a higher number of connections behind a premium plan,” which usually isn’t true. Overall, we’re content, if not impressed, here.
Signing up for Buffered VPN is a simple affair. Once you’ve selected a plan, you’ll need to enter an email address, username and password and select a payment method. Buffered VPN will ask you to verify your email and direct you to the control panel when you can download the installer.
The app is the same smartphone-sized window that VPN users have come to know and love. After you sign in, you’ll be directed to the server selection screen. Clicking a location will connect you.
Unfortunately, there’s no auto-connection. One of the reasons we rate ExpressVPN so high, for example, is because of how easy it is to establish that initial connection — read our ExpressVPN review to learn the other reasons. There’s no doubt with it, unless you can’t decipher a massive “on” button in the middle of the interface. Buffered VPN isn’t as cut and dry.
The number of locations is small, which we’ll get into in a later section, so scrolling through the list isn’t the worst thing. You can also search for a location using the search bar at the top or favorite a location using the heart icon. Server navigation is about as standard as it gets.
After you get connected, Buffered VPN will show a screen with your connection information, including your real-time upload and download speeds, the total amount of data transferred and your new IP address. There’s also an option to test your speed under the “tools” tab.
You can find the settings by clicking the hamburger menu in the top right corner. Buffered VPN has a lot of options there, many of which don’t need a dedicated slot. For example, you could bundle the app information and account information under an “about” tab. Plus, the layout is annoying.
The settings menu is top-loaded with information most people don’t need. Instead of putting app information, account information and the ever-annoying “refer a friend” tab toward the bottom, it puts them at the top. As if top-loading the “refer a friend” tab wasn’t enough, there’s also a constant ad at the bottom of the interface asking you to do the same thing.
You’ll find the useful information toward the bottom. The settings options are sparse, only allowing you to change things such as start-up settings and whether the app should minimize to the tray when closed. The only feature is the killswitch, which is oddly disabled by default.
You can also find a firewall test in the hamburger menu, which isn’t explained but ought to be, and a link to the local log directory. There’s an option to contact Buffered VPN in the application, too, which is a nice touch.
There are issues with Buffered VPN’s ease of use, but the application feels smooth. We’re not fans of it nagging us to refer people to use the service or the limited number of options, but the interface is fluid and responsive.
Buffered VPN’s speed is, in a word, inconsistent. Because of its spotty performance, it won’t be joining the ranks of the fastest VPNs, but, depending on the location you select, you may be happy with the results. Below, you can find the table of test results. We tested five locations in Buffered VPN’s network using speedtest.net.
Looking over the results, there’s a high level of inconsistency. Three of the locations are rock star performers, while the other two are terrible. Canada, the Netherlands and Japan provided most of our unprotected download speed, but Germany and the U.S. Midwest could barely give back 10 percent.
That indicates that Buffered VPN’s network isn’t optimized across the board. Some servers are exceedingly fast, but others shouldn’t even be considered. You’ll have to dig to find a location that works.
On a positive note, the latency stayed low across all servers. Though not quite on the level of the best VPN for gaming, you could use Buffered VPN for that purpose.
Buffered VPN’s security is standard. It uses AES 256-bit encryption on your connection with the OpenVPN protocol. Though that’s the gold standard for security in our minds, there are reasons why you’d want to use other VPN protocols. VPN security isn’t as cut and dry as choosing what everyone else uses, and Buffered VPN doesn’t give you the flexibility to change your security.
Even so, for most people, AES 256-bit with OpenVPN is the perfect combination. You can’t change the level of encryption or the specific cipher like you can with TorGuard, but AES 256-bit should be enough. You can learn why in our description of encryption.
Despite the lack of options, Buffered VPN is doing everything right when it comes to security. It includes a basic killswitch, combines AES 256-bit with OpenVPN and it didn’t leak DNS requests, our origin IP address or WebRTC information.
During sign-up, Buffered VPN asks for a username, email and password. Though not as private as, say, Mullvad (read our Mullvad review), that’s standard as far as VPNs go. That said, after signing up, we spotted a tab in the control panel named “download my data.” Curious, we clicked and were disheartened by what we saw.
Despite never entering a name or address, Buffered VPN gathered that information and logged it. The report contained your reviewer’s full name, address and VPN usage records, even though we never explicitly provided that information. We can only assume it was gathered through PayPal, which is a major breach of privacy.
Whatever is kept on record, one thing is clear: if you’re concerned about your privacy, you shouldn’t use Buffered VPN.
The document that contains your address, name, username and billing details also includes your VPN usage. Though it doesn’t show your IP address, it does show the country you’re connecting from, the server you’re connecting to and the times when the connection opened and closed.
The fact that your IP address isn’t shown doesn’t matter considering your physical address is on record. Given that the report is readily available in the control panel and can be generated on the fly in a matter of seconds, we also have doubts as to how secure it is.
Buffered VPN was blocked by every major streaming platform across multiple testing locations. If you’re interested in streaming, use one of our picks from our best VPN for streaming guide instead.
Our best VPN for Netflix and best VPN for BBC iPlayer guides will serve you well, too, considering Buffered VPN couldn’t access those platforms. No matter which server we tested, we were met with the dreaded proxy error. Despite claiming that you can “enjoy all the online content you want” with the right service, Buffered VPN is abysmal when it comes to streaming.
Buffered VPN has 39 locations in 37 countries, which is a narrow spread when compared to other VPN providers — read our HideMyAss review to see what a large network looks like. The major media centers of the world are accounted for, but the network still feels limiting. Plus, there aren’t multiple data centers in each country outside of the U.S.
Outside of locations in Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong, South Korea and Japan, Buffered VPN is almost exclusive to Europe and the U.S. There are options, but not many. The most exotic location, if it even qualifies as such, is Latvia.
Buffered VPN touts its customer service as some of the best in the industry and, in our experience, it is good. The support representatives are polite and helpful and the knowledgebase is extensive, but the lack of live chat means that small clarifications take more time than they should.
Email is quick, though. We reached out with a basic question about server locations and a representative got back within a few hours. Despite being such a simple question, the staff person wrote multiple paragraphs to address our issue. That’s good customer service.
The knowledgebase is massive. Buffered VPN has an article for almost every topic, which is good for solving problems but bad for navigation. There isn’t a search bar, and given how many articles are available, that usually means you’ll have to default to the classic CTRL+F plan.
We noticed during our testing that there was a button for live chat at the bottom of the knowledgebase. Nothing happened when we clicked it, though, suggesting that live chat was there before or will come in the future.
Outside of the setup and troubleshooting guides, Buffered VPN has sections for its privacy blog, internet glossary, privacy guide and scam almanac. These resources are helpful but weird. The content looks like something more suited for a review website than a VPN service.
If it wasn’t for the questionable data collection, Buffered VPN would be a middle-of-the-road VPN that stands out with excellent customer service. Given its inconsistency in speed, inability to access streaming platforms and privacy-unfriendly business practices, though, it’s hard for us to make a recommendation.
Plus, there’s nothing special about Buffered VPN. Even ignoring the issues with Buffered VPN, it isn’t doing anything to stand out from the crowd.
What do you think of Buffered VPN? Let us know in the comments below and, as always, thanks for reading.