Last Update: 23.11.2017
BufferedVPN is a Hungary-based VPN provider that maintains a small network of about 40 servers with unlimited bandwidth as standard. Although the company has only been in business for four years, this underdog of the VPN world is beginning to crop up on reviewers’ radars with increasing frequency. So does it have what it takes to satisfy users’ needs? Find out in our updated Buffered VPN review.
BufferedVPN Review – Pros & Cons
- All major operating systems supported
- Unlimited bandwidth
- Built-in firewall test functionality
- Five simultaneous connections
- Simple UI
- Small server network
- Complicated setup for routers and Android
- No free trial
- Netflix is blocked from US servers
- Only supports Open VPN
Setup and Usability
Even technophobes have no reason to fear using BufferedVPN to tunnel and encrypt their traffic on a PC.
Getting set up on BufferedVPN is as easy as logging into the online download area, selecting the right client for your system, and clicking through a few windows. Currently, applications are available for Windows, OSX, Linux, iOS, and Android.
For mobile users and those wishing to install the app at the router level, the situation is a little more complicated.
For both Android and iOS, the platform does not offer a proprietary application. Instead, users need to download the OpenVPN app for their platform and then use the .opvn connection file to set up the connection. The setup process for the DD-WRT and Tomato routers is a little involved, although Buffered does provide thorough documentation to walk users through both installation processes. Users that want to use the service on multiple devices may therefore be better served simply installing the service one-by-one.
In terms of functionality, the app offers a relatively bare-bones experience that is unlikely to please those looking for a VPN that lets users really get under the hood. The main navigation window is designed as a simple narrow window with a menu button to navigate between the main screens. Although Buffered VPN doesn’t pack on the features, it does offer enough functionality to let users’ basic parameters that determine how they want their connection to work.
Rating: 7.2/10: Coverage for all OSes but no native mobile client.
- Simultaneous connections
Buffered offers support for five simultaneous connections which means that users can log in from a desktop PC, tablet, and mobile device at the same time on the one account. Simply by subscribing to one monthly subscription, a user can stream content on a multimedia center and encrypt their main browsing activity simultaneously.
- Firewall test
Want to know exactly what ports your system has available to connect from? If you do, then Buffer’s “Firewall Test” feature will be one that you will appreciate. The tester scans both TCP and UDP ports to enable users to quickly visualize which ports the system can make an outbound connection from. This feature is particularly helpful that want to bypass firewalls or other restricted networks and help guide the program to make the best choice.
- No peer to peer (P2P) restrictions
Buffered evidently wants its users to derive maximum possible value from using the platform and is one of the few providers on the market that does not levy any restrictions on peer to peer (P2P) connections. P2P systems use a network of users to efficiently transmit large files between users.
- Unlimited bandwidth
Unlike many providers on the market, Buffered VPN features unlimited bandwidth which makes it a great option for users hoping to use the VPN primarily for streaming multimedia. Note that this does not apply to the 30 day money-back guarantee. Regular users, however, can use the VPN without worrying about how much of the monthly connection quota that late night streaming binge has burned through.
- TCP/UDP Switching
TCP and UDP are two different protocols used to send data over the internet. While UDP offers faster connectivity, TCP is the more reliable of the two options. BufferedVPN makes it easy for users to select which of the two they want to connect with.
In addition to the above, the VPN features the ability to automatically start the program on system launch and to automatically login to the application.
Rating: 8/10: Buffered has all the necessary VPN functions but don’t offer anything “special.”
Can BufferedVPN Unblock Netflix?
If you’re a streaming fanatic, Buffered’s Netflix credentials are going to be of key importance in your purchasing decision.
Unfortunately, the service is not currently able to connect to Netflix. A customer service representative confirmed this to a third-party review site earlier in the month and this was also our experience while trying to connect from our test machine.
Netflix is actively blocking IPs emanating from VPN addresses and providers’ success at circumventing these largely depends on their network size. As BufferedVPN’s is small, we’d recommend looking for other providers if you need a VPN primarily for this purpose.
Rating: 3/10: Buffered doesn’t support Netflix but it doesn’t mean they won’t try in the future.
Buffered VPN Price
BufferedVPN is available for $12.99/month, $9.99/month (for six month / biannual subscriptions), or $8.25/month for the yearly subscription.
Payment can be made via credit card, PayPal, or Bitcoin and all plans include a 30 day money-back guarantee, although users must use less than 10GB of bandwidth or 10 hours of sessions to be eligible for a refund.
On the brass tacks question, we feel that Buffered VPN falls down a little. Notably, there’s no free trial and the money-back guarantee comes with some unusual conditions. The subscription is also relatively expensive given the small server network and paucity of advanced features. This is particularly true for the monthly plan.
Rating: 5.5/10 – In terms of value for money, Buffered VPN doesn’t impress.
How Fast Is BufferedVPN: Servers and Performance
Buffered VPN is a small, Hungary-based provider that operates a network of about forty servers.
Unlike much of the competition, the company does not offer an easily accessible listing of exactly how many servers it operates or why they are located, simply providing a list of countries it has provisioned in on its homepage in its stead.
Speed and performance, however, were quite acceptable.
On the US East Coast server we managed to achieve a download speed of 22.02 Mbp/s (baseline: approximately 40 Mbp/s). While this speed is adequate for most browsing and streaming needs, we’ve experienced better with other providers, and a 50% connection speed overhead is also not the lightest that we have experienced.
It’s also important to note that Buffered VPN “uses the OpenVPN protocol exclusively.” While it’s hard to disagree with the website’s contention that OpenVPN is the most configurable of the protocols on the market, it’s also nice to be able to select the protocol. In particular, users will lose out on the ability to use the Next Generation Encryption (NGE) found in IKEv2. They also won’t be able to select PPTP, which may be the only option for legacy hardware.
Rating: 6.2/10 Acceptable streaming speeds, but only open protocol supported.
How Secure is BufferedVPN – Buffered Logs
Buffered VPN proudly claims that it “never logs anything” in its FAQ about its logging policy and can thus be considered a zero logs provider. Nevertheless, under clause three of its terms of service, it states that: “We do not intentionally disclose any private electronic communication or personal customer information unless required by Hungarian law”.
In terms of susceptibility to government surveillance, the company is based in Hungary, which is a member of the European Union (EU). Hungary isn’t part of the Five Eyes, Nine Eyes, of Fourteen Eyes signals surveillance agreements. Nevertheless, to meet its EU obligations (particularly the Data Retention Directive), Hungary has also implemented some data retention legislation, namely the amended version of the National Security Law. Read in light of the clause in the terms of service, we therefore wouldn’t be fully confident that user data could be leaked on foot of a government warrant.
Rating: 6.2/10 A no-logs provider, but Hungary has some data retention laws on the books.
Is BufferedVPN Reliable: Customer Support
BufferedVPN has an online support center and a system to receive tickets which are answered by email. The online support area claims to be able to resolve 95% of customer queries and it is well-populated with guides and how-to’s for every kind of installation requirement.
One obvious negative is that the website does not offer live chat or telephone support. Nevertheless, queries are answered professionally and quickly. Our test ticket got a response within three hours.
Rating: 7.5/10 Good self-help resources but would be bolstered by live-support options.
Buffered VPN Rating by SecureThoughts.com
We’d give this service a 7/10. The server network isn’t huge and speed is on par. And while Buffered doesn’t offer extra features to “sweeten” their service, if you are looking for a basic VPN that will help you stream content, download torrents, or protect your privacy, it is a good choice.
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