BullGuard VPN Review

BullGuard is a well-known cybersecurity company with some good software to its name, so it wasn't very surprising to hear it was working on a VPN. What is surprising is how good it is, offering good speed, ease of use and access to Netflix. Read our full BullGuard VPN review for the details.

By Brian MurrayWriter
— Last Updated: 18 Jun'19
2019-06-18T01:45:09-08:00
Table of ContentsRating
Features
80%
Good
Pricing
65%
Decent
Ease of Use
80%
Good
Speed
90%
Excellent
Security
65%
Decent
Privacy
70%
Decent
Streaming Performance
90%
Excellent
Server Locations
50%
Poor
Customer Service
75%
Good
User Reviews & Comments

Good
Starts from $ 297 per month
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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

Strengths:

  • Feature-rich
  • Fast
  • Streamlined client
  • Great for streaming
  • 24/7 live chat

Weaknesses:

  • Overly intricate privacy policy
  • No monthly plan
  • Steep pricing
  • Secretive about security

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Features

80% - Good

Many VPNs go too far in the name of streamlining the client and end up producing something devoid of features. A good example of that can be found in our Shellfire VPN review.

BullGuard VPN strikes a nice balance between a sleek and simple client and a full-featured experience, though. It can be configured to run on start-up, and there’s an option for it to start minimized in the system tray or open the client window.

If you choose to let it run on start-up, you can make it auto-connect to the server location of your choice. There’s also a kill switch, which is essential for security and will automatically disconnect your internet connection if the VPN tunnel is lost.

On top of the kill switch, there’s an app killer that can be configured to automatically shut down selected programs, such as a torrent client, if the VPN tunnel is lost. You can also set up the VPN to make your computer invisible to others on the same local area network, which can boost security when using public WiFi.

There are clients for Windows, macOS, iOS and Android, but it can’t be set up on routers, which means every device will have to be set up individually to be protected. If you’re looking to protect all your home’s devices by just setting up a VPN on your router, take a look at our TorGuard review.

Bullguard VPN is lacking when it comes to protocol options, but the choices given are solid. We’ll look at them in more detail in the “security” section. Another place where BullGuard VPN leaves something to be desired is the lack of split tunneling.

Split tunneling lets you choose which programs use the protected VPN connection and which use the faster unprotected connection. That allows you to, for example, browse Facebook privately with your VPN’s connection while playing a game without the VPN adding lag. If that interests you, read about ExpressVPN’s top-notch split tunneling in our ExpressVPN review.

BullGuard VPN Features Overview

Starts from$ 297per month

General

Payment methods
PayPal, Credit card, PayNearMe, Wire transfer, Check or money order
Accepts cryptocurrency
Simultaneous connections
Unlimited
Supports split tunneling
Unlimited bandwidth
Free trial available
Refund period
30 days
Worldwide server amount
Desktop OSes
Windows, MacOS
Mobile OSes
Android, iOS
Browser extensions
Can be installed on routers

Streaming

Can access Netflix US
Can access BBC iPlayer
Can access Hulu
Can access Amazon Prime Video

Security

Encryption types
256-AES
VPN protocols available
OpenVPN, UDP
Enabled at device startup
Allows torrenting
No-logging policy
Passed DNS leak test
Killswitch available
Malware/ad blocker included

Support

Live Chat
24/7
Email support
24/7
Phone support
User forum
Knowledgebase

 

Pricing

65% - Decent

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.

Annually
  • Unlimited GB Bandwidth
1-year plan $ 6.59 / month
$79.08 billed every year
Biennially
  • Unlimited GB Bandwidth
2-year plan $ 3.97 / month
$95.19 billed every 2 years
Triennially
  • Unlimited GB Bandwidth
3-year plan $ 2.97 / month
$107.10 billed every 3 years

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

80% - Good

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.

Speed

90% - 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.

Location:Ping (ms)Download (Mbps)Upload (Mbps)
Unprotected (Virginia)1472.025.78
United States21
69.125.49
United Kingdom8659.474.25
Switzerland10867.974.85
Singapore24367.313.30
Canada2869.155.45

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.

Security

65% - Decent

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.

Privacy

70% - Decent

The BullGuard privacy policy is lengthy and difficult to interpret because of dense legal language and the fact that a lot of it is written to more broadly address all of its services rather than being specific to the VPN.

Ideally, we’d like to see all privacy policies written more like NordVPN’s, which you can read about in our NordVPN review. NordVPN’s privacy policy is brief and written in direct and easy-to-understand language.

That said, when you dive into BullGuard’s privacy policy, things aren’t so bad. It boasts of a no-logging policy, but that’s broad. What that means is it doesn’t track what websites you visit while using the VPN, but that’s a low bar to set.

It logs information about you on its website using cookies, but that’s effectively inescapable. Plus, it logs your IP address, which is concerning and could be used to track you if traffic data was kept. Aside from that, the privacy policy seems clean.

Streaming Performance

90% - Excellent

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 Locations

50% - Poor

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.

Customer Service

75% - Good

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.

The Verdict

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 heading to our full list of VPN reviews to find 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.

BullGuard VPN Review

A very good entry into the VPN market.

BullGuard is a well-known cybersecurity company with some good software to its name, so it wasn't very surprising to hear it was working on a VPN. What is surprising is how good it is, offering good speed, ease of use and access to Netflix. Read our full BullGuard VPN review for the details.
Starts from$ 297per month
Visit BullGuard VPN
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