TorGuard Review

Editor's Rating
Visitor Rating
[Total: 2 Average: 3.5]
  • Simultaneous Connections: 5
  • Number of Countries: 50+
  • Number of Cities: 51+
  • Monthly Cost – High/Low: $10.00/$4.99 USD
  • Zero-Log Policy: Yes
  • Review Last Updated: 2016-09-15

torguard-vpn-reviewIf what you are looking for is the most anonymous online experience, TorGuard is a considerable choice. TorGuard does not beat around the bush about your privacy. There are no logs, no time stamps, not a single trace according to their service policy. Based out of Nevis, West Indies, they make an ideal choice for users looking for an off-shore provider. The name TorGuard does not refer to the Tor Network, but instead makes reference to BitTorrents. They pride themselves in providing adequate protection against ISP tracking and throttling when downloading or sharing torrents. They offer an array of plans from proxy, VPN, and encrypted email services.

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Pricing:

TorGuard has a variety of offerings that tend to be confusing when you first visit their website. Recently they streamlined it a little better by reducing the amount of options and combining all their features together. You have both anonymous consumer VPN and business VPN plans available. The business offerings are good for users who require 10 to 20 simultaneous connections or more. Regular plans allow up to 5 simultaneous devices to use a single account, which is usually more than sufficient. However, they also have a separate proxy only plans available that are slightly cheaper than signing up for their VPN, as well as encrypted emails.

The proxy service is good for both torrenting and unblocking websites, although often reported to not be as effective as a VPN. It’s important to note that proxies only help mask your IP and location, but don’t fully encrypt your web traffic. TorGuard employs SOCKS5 + HTTP/SSL encryption to better secure users, and it is arguably more than sufficient to mask traffic from your ISP while keeping your bandwidth speeds intact. The service is available in 8 countries and provides a list of about 200 proxies to connect to. Just like the VPN plans, each account allows up to 5 connections. I personally suggest the VPN service over proxies, but if you really can’t spare the extra change, it’s a good alternative, or additional layer, which I cover more in the features section.

A quick overview of all of TorGuard’s services and cost (excluding Business plans and routers):

  • Anonymous Proxy:  Starting from $5.95/month – As low as $3.91/month USD
  • Anonymous VPN:  Starting from $9.99/month – As low as $4.99/month USD
  • Encrypted Email: Free 10mb or from $6.95/month – As low as $4.16/month USD

If we zone in on the Anonymous VPN plans, their offering is competitive and in line with most other services available. On all their plans and services, they offer monthly, quarterly, bi-annually, or yearly price points. As you would come to expect, the longer the subscription period, the lower the average monthly cost is. Semi-annual and yearly plans come out to being the same price, allowing you to signup for a shorter period of time without feeling like you’re paying more.

  • Monthly: $9.99 USD per month.
  • Quarterly: 6.66 per month – Total $19.99 USD.
  • Semi Annual: $4.99 per month – Total $29.99 USD.
  • Yearly: $4.99 per month – Total $59.99 USD.

They once had a 30-day money back guarantee, but this has now been reduced to only 7 days. The policy also states that if you are found to have done excessive usage of the service, the refund may be declined. They do not state what ‘excessive usage’ constitutes, but I suppose you won’t get away with downloading torrents for a full week and asking for a refund on the sixth day. VPNs are known to have to deal with abuse and exploiting subscribers cycling through accounts and refunding costs, essentially churning through providers as permanent free trials.

torguard-pricing-plans

 

Features:

TorGuard did a good job of cleaning up their various services to encompass them all in Proxy or VPN plans. Previously, you would have to pick between a torrent VPN service, or one to encrypt your web traffic and unblock services only. Luckily that’s a thing of the past, and as I covered on the pricing section above, it’s more or less well organized considering TorGuard is more than just a VPN service provider.

The Anonymous VPN service includes free Viscosity license which usually costs $9 on its own. If you never heard of it, it essentially is an advanced, but simple to use OpenVPN client compatible on Mac and Windows. It offers visual traffic monitoring to proper DNS and system protection on both Windows and Mac platforms. Advanced users can apply scripts for unlimited customization, and VPN connections can be tweaked in many more ways than traditional clients allow.

TorGuard does however provide their own client, available on all popular platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, and Android. The interface is pleasingly designed, graphically rich and easy to use. Simple select a server from the drop-down menu and off you go. Stealth DPI (Deep Packet Inspection) is offered to avoid detection in countries such as China, or the United Arab Emirates. The service also actively blocks ads and malware that might be detected on websites.

The proxy options provide a similar type of service, whereas encryption through SOCKS5 and HTTP/SSL is applied to mask your IP and location. Just like a VPN this can be used to hide your traffic from your ISP, unblock geographically restricted content, and safely download torrents. However, the cost is not drastically lower than what they offer on VPN plans, all while only covering 8 countries versus 50 on the VPN plan. Some users wish to have layered security when sharing torrents for example. In this case, it’s possible to use the proxy in conjunction with the VPN, but the VPN server must be used in a SOCKS5 enable country as well in order to function properly.

TorGuard also offers anonymous email and nowadays, we know how important email security can be for both individuals and businesses. Using Secure G/PGP Encryption, MITM protection and offshore email storage, TorGuard seems to have a dependable end-to-end encrypted email service. Complete mobile support including calendar features make it an adaptable replacement to gmail. Free service is offered with a limit of 10megs on your inbox.

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Security:

As we mentioned, there are no logs. Even under proper court order or DMCA takedowns, there is no information provided. TorGuard protects itself from abuse by server basis without needing to know which one user is perpetrating the activity. Using firewall rules, it can quickly stop spam or respond to any DMCA take down request by simply blocking the source. This effectively leaves legitimate users secure and private. They are able to stop violations very effectively and quickly in 24 hours or less.

128-256-bit AES encryption matched with Perfect Forward Secrecy (TLS) handshakes provide a high standard level of security. As mentioned in the features section, DPI Bypass, or Deep Packet Inspection protection is available. It is called ‘Stealth’ and allows users to utilize a VPN even where local authorities attempt to block all encrypted tunnels, such as China or UAE. Additional to blocking ads, live malware protection is also always on with VPN plans. Finally, the app also features built in leak protection against WebRTC, DNS, and IPv6 leaks.

Speed & Stability:

Speed is important for any peer-2-peer enthusiast and our test results did not disappoint. As far as BitTorrent goes, the unlimited speed delivers. After revisiting the service this year, I spent some time testing various locations with torrents and just regular content streaming. TorGuard did a good job of regularly updating their server count, and I had no trouble finding fast servers, but they did lack any detailed feedback on server response times, loads, or bandwidth capabilities. With now more than 50 available countries, the service is backed by more than 1600 servers and continuously growing.

Speed tests fair with the best, regularly maxing out my bandwidth on download and upload. For the most part, a degradation of 15-20% on far locations could be observed, but results did fluctuate on some countries, cutting speeds as low as 30-40%. Ping times remained excellent for the most part, making TorGuard suitable for gaming or hosting scenarios, and I did not suffer from any disconnections while testing. However, peer reviews have been mixed on this end as well. In the end, it’s important to test before committing, because these results might be intermittent.

Customer Service:

TorGuard has improved on customer service. I remember having trouble reaching them back in 2014. This time around, I was able to get email responses within 4-6 hours, and the live chat was always available. Support agents are friendly, and do their best to help you get setup, or answer any questions you may have. Although a big jump from when I last had to deal with them, I did not run into any serious snags that would require some advanced support. Their online forum has also been kept active and contains hundreds of previously posted topics that might answer existing questions. Or you can always start a new thread for advanced setups or issues that might require expert help.

Conclusion:

I’m glad to see their split VPN plans gone for good. You shouldn’t need a special service for torrents, and now everything is combined. Business plans are competitive and provide a 24/7 dedicated support agent so you never have to deal with more than one or two people. I also like the fact that a free Viscosity OpenVPN license is included, since it’s a really cool VPN client that even beginners should check out. Price is competitive, allowing up to 5 devices to connect at once, and the service works well. I do wish they still had a 30-day refund policy, but most likely due to abuse, this has been reduced to 7 days, and excessive usage can be used to refuse a request. I do suggest new subs to test out various servers they plan on using first, in order to ensure that it meets satisfactory performance. Additionally, some recent  user reviews point to having received DMCA take down notices, as well as issues with using default BitTorrent ports, or just terribly slow speeds. Of course, these might all be isolated cases, but it’s worth noting that until they have a better refund policy, you are best testing the service on a monthly package first if you’re at all concerned with your investment.

Pros:

  • Good to fast speeds.
  • Medium-large sized network coverage.
  • Supports P2P torrents.
  • Free Viscosity OpenVPN app.
  • Deep Packet Inspection bypass.
  • Good price on semi-annual or annual plans.

Cons:

  • 7-Day money back trial is limited, and excessive usage can be used to decline refunds, but they do not state what amount of data constitutes excessive usage.
  • Various plans and services can be a bit confusing at first.
  • Mixed peer feedback on service quality.

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14 Comments

  1. Alexcis April 2, 2015
    • Castro April 10, 2015
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    • VPN Pick December 30, 2016

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