TorGuard offers an abundance of privacy options that includes smart DNS proxies, and the VPN service is available with a pool of shared IP addresses; however, the service’s real specialty is in providing customers with dedicated IP addresses.
Both smart DNS services, and VPNs are forms of proxies. A smart DNS redirects certain traffic, but not all, to its home server. It mediates connections so that the two endpoints are never directly in touch: enabling a customer to contact websites and Internet services anonymously.
A VPN behaves in the same way as a proxy, except that it entirely encrypts all of the packets that travel from a customer’s computer to the service’s home computer. Whereas a smart DNS proxy only mediates individual connections, the proxy mediates all and adds a level of privacy to your anonymity.
A point that brings us back to TorGuard, which is a major player in both the VPN and the smart DNS markets.
- Simple & easy-to-use app
- Apps for Windows, MacOS, Linux, Android & iOS
- Stealth servers to avoid detection
- P2P allowed
- 1600 servers in 50 countries
- Gets into the BBC iPlayer
- 7-day money-back guarantee
- Accepts Bitcoin
- 80 different payment types accepted (including store gift cards)
- Choice of VPN protocols
- Choice of 128-bit or 256-bit AES encryption
- Private DNS server
- IP leak protection
- Kill switch
- 5 simultaneous connections
- Ad blocker
- Malware blocker
- Strictly no logs
- DDoS protection as an optional extra
- Dedicated IP address option
- Base version can’t get into Netflix
- Performance speeds vary
- IPv6 leak prevention bug
Quite a lot of TorGuard’s features are available from the website, rather than on the app. These include an IP location tester, testers for DNS leaks and WebRTC leaks.
The features section of this review divides up those elements into categories, and here, you will learn about the general character of TorGuard. Like most VPN services, there is no limit on the bandwidth allocated to each user, nor does the company restrict throughput for specific applications. P2P downloading is fine with this service, and the VPN can be used in conjunction with Tor.
Unfortunately, TorGuard isn’t any good at getting around geo-restrictions on streaming sites. I tried to get into Netflix US and Netflix UK, but both detected the VPN and blocked access. The ABC GO website also sniffed it out and refused to play any shows. I was only able to watch shows on the BBC iPlayer service, with TorGuard engaged.
Support technicians recommend buying a dedicated IP to get into streaming sites. However, this is at a price of $7.99 per month, per country. You need to buy an address in the country of the server that you want to get into.
This service is offered for users in:
- The US
- The UK
Customers in Canada and France have the option of buying a DDoS-protected dedicated IP address, for $11.99 per month, per country.
The price for a one-month subscription is quite high, at almost $10 per month. However, the cost per month comes down considerably if you take out a long-term subscription.
A quarterly subscription works out at $6.99. A half-year or a full-year subscription (calculated on a monthly charge) comes out at $4.99 per month. You are allowed up to five simultaneous connections with the service, which means you can significantly bring down the cost of a subscription by sharing an account with a friend.
$ 9 99monthly
$ 19 993 months
$ 29 996 months
$ 59 99yearly
|Bandwidth||Unlimited GB||Unlimited GB||Unlimited GB||Unlimited GB|
The company accepts more than eighty different payment types including credit and debit cards, Alipay, PayPal, Bitcoin and store gift cards.
Buyers can cancel within seven days of taking out the service and get a full refund.
After subscribing to the service, log into the client on TorGuard’s website. Under the Services tab, you’ll find the software downloads page, where you should click on the version of the app for your operating system. Doing so downloads a file which installs the app.
The app is very simple to use. The first time you use it, you will be asked to log in. After that, however, your credentials get saved in the app, so there’s no need to type them again. The main screen of the app is uncluttered and has very few options. Most settings for a connection can be altered via drop-down lists.
The “select server” button provides access to the server list. Servers with the black diamond symbol next to them include stealth technology, which prevents VPN traffic from being detected by deep packet inspections.
More connection options are available on the settings page, which you can get to by clicking on “more settings” in the main screen of the app.
TorGuard’s server network includes 1600 servers, spread around in 50 countries.
The VPN’s server network includes sites in China and Saudi Arabia, which are very restrictive countries when it comes to Internet access. Expats would be better off using those servers, to get access to geo-restricted sites back home. From within each country, it is better to access servers located in other nations, to circumvent local Internet restrictions.
These servers all provide shared IP services. Dedicated IP addresses are only available in the US, Canada, the UK, Italy, Germany, Japan, Australia, France and Finland.
The throughput speed offered by TorGuard can speed up a slow connection. If you get a poor quality service when connecting to online gaming or streaming services, then your ISP is probably restricting the bandwidth allocated to those services. This is a practice called “throttling, ” and TorGuard’s anonymity can help you get around such restrictions.
These tests were performed using speedtest.net, from the Dominican Republic, which has a slow Internet service. As a baseline for the test, here is a local connection with TorGuard turned off.
Here is the speed on a regular connection to Miami.
Here is the performance of a connection to London (without a VPN).
I selected a TorGuard server in the US and re-ran the test from a local connection in the Dominican Republic.
Applying the VPN improved the speed on my connection up to a level that’s never provided by local Internet services. This fact shows that the private lines and high-quality peering agreements used by TorGuard, outrank the investments that local Internet companies make.
I tried the speeds on a connection to Miami several times. On most of the tests, the download speed came out at about 2.7Mb per second. However, on the fourth attempt, I got very high speeds.
I did the test again, this time to the UK with the VPN’s server in London mediating the connection. In each case, the speeds were lower than those achieved on an unprotected line. The best results are shown below.
These are just a little slower than the connection without TorGuard turned on.
The app gives you a choice of using the OpenVPN or OpenConnect VPN protocols. OpenConnect uses SSL encryption procedures, which is the same protocol HTTPS uses on secure websites. OpenVPN is the industry standard method of tunneling, and the application allows you to choose the strength of AES encryption applied to your connections.
In both cases, you can choose whether to run the connection through TCP or UDP sockets. TCP is the standard transmission protocol for Internet connections, and UDP is a lightweight version that doesn’t include confirmation messages; it’s used for streaming services, such as VoIP.
TorGuard has its own DNS servers, so address resolution procedures are kept entirely encrypted and hidden from your ISP.
The primary security feature that’s calibrated from within the settings menu is the kill switch; which prevents a connection from occurring when the VPN is not engaged. You can list the applications that should be restricted from unprotected Internet access.
Giving you the option of allowing unsafe access for some applications, while ensuring anonymity for others. TorGuard offers other VPN protocols apart from OpenConnect and OpenVPN.
However, they’re not accessible from within the app. You have to set them up manually on your computer as a network VPN. If you are not very comfortable with computer tinkering, then you probably won’t be very interested in this option.
However, you should be well-served by the OpenVPN option. If you do want to venture into setting up a VPN manually, you then have the option of switching to protection by:
- IKEv2 (with IPSec encryption)
TorGuard’s parent company is based in the Caribbean nation of Saint Kitts and Nevis. However, the company’s center for operations is located in Orlando, Florida.
And that might be a problem since copyright lawyers in the US have a habit of twisting Internet services companies or torrenting websites into surrendering customers and visitors. In 2010, the US Copyright Group filed 16,200 lawsuits against individuals that had been traced by their IP addresses, as having downloaded copyrighted material.
The U.S. Family Entertainment and Copyright Act defines torrenting as “conspiracy to commit copyright infringement,” which is a criminal offense.
So far, no VPN company has been taken to court to reveal the activities of their customers, yet. However, this is no guarantee of future actions. Therefore, the office location of TorGuard makes them potentially vulnerable to pressure from lawyers or government agencies, such as the NSA
The company’s blog includes an article that covers a discussion of how the service implements logging. The company’s policy is to comply with legal requirements and hand over a blank hard drive if forced by legal action. Thereby giving copyright lawyers the right to look at their operating system, with no client information stored on it.
The support system is very comprehensive and serves as one of TorGuard’s strengths. Most of the help resources can be accessed from the “support” tab in the menu’s “client area” at TorGuard’s website.
The knowledge-base has an extensive library of guides, and support technicians also frequent the community forum. However, the quickest way to get answers to your problems is by accessing live chat.
However, live chat isn’t always attended to, and when it isn’t manned, you’ll see the “chat now” message change to “leave us your message.”
If you leave a message, TorGuard’s support staff will reply via email. Overall, the support staff was very courteous and helpful in live chat, but a little more slippery in email contact. I got an instant answer to my question about the location of TorGuard’s offices when I asked in live chat, but oddly enough, the email support operative kept dodging the issue.
TorGuard has one technical glitch you should know about.
When I first installed the app and tried to connect, I got an error message. After asking the support staff for a solution to this problem, I was advised to turn off IPv6 leak prevention, which did fix the problem, but had me worried about IPv6 leaks. It seems this is a technical fault of which the staff is aware, so hopefully, they are busy working on a fix.
Overall, I think it is a shame that the shared IP service can’t get into most streaming services. The speeds offered by this VPN service are very fast, and it would be great to log into HBO GO or Netflix and watch some movies while traveling.
The option of getting a dedicated IP address to access streaming is a work-around, but it pushes the cost of the service up above that of other VPNs, which work with US streaming sites; check out our ExpressVPN review and VPNArea review for examples of such services.
What are your thoughts on TorGuard, and geo-restricted streaming in general? Share your mind and opinions in the comments section below — and thanks for reading all the way through.