TorGuard is a well respected and highly subscribed Virtual Private Network (VPN) service that can certainly be considered above average. Servers are located in over 50 countries and give people more than enough choice for unblocking websites and bypassing censorship. Encryption is strong and subscribers get plenty of options. In addition, TorGuard VPN provides a reasonably priced VPN service with fast connection speeds and great customer care.
- Strong OpenVPN encryption
- Lots of encryption protocols and options
- Servers in over 50 countries
- Peer-to-peer (P2P): yes
- Excellent customer support
- Some connection logs (but only aggregate ones, so very safe)
Pricing and Plans
You can purchase TorGuard on a number of different payment plans. The first is a proxy service costing $5.95 per month and allowing people to use Socket Secure (SOCKS5) and Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP)/Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) proxy on five devices. You can also use it to access any operating system (OS) or torrent client. In addition, it gives access to 200+ proxy Internet Protocol (IP) addresses, in eight countries. Access isn’t restricted on either usage or bandwidth.
Beyond that, you can buy the proper VPN service as either a monthly ($11.54), quarterly ($20.97), or yearly plan ($64.00). The annual plan works out at $5.34 per month, which is really reasonable considering the level of service that is provided.
All of the plans provide the same level of service, which is much less confusing than many VPNs. The only difference is that TorGuard rewards subscribers for committing for longer periods of time.
Payments are accepted by credit card, PayPal, bitcoin or a vast number of other online payment methods. TorGuard offers more payment options than just about any other VPN, so if alternative payment methods are a consideration for you, it is well worth looking into a TorGuard subscription. Furthermore, TorGuard offers a no questions asked seven-day money-back guarantee, so you can test the service completely risk-free.
Subscribers can also opt to pay for a dedicated IP address and port forwarding. These services are pretty expensive: $7.99 per month, $18.99 per quarter, $36.99 per six months, or $54.99 per year. Note that the money-back guarantee is not available to people who decide to purchase a dedicated IP address. Once that subscription is made, it is non-refundable.
Overall, Torguard VPN is a little expensive if purchased on a month by month basis. However, the yearly price is extremely competitive – so, if TorGuard interests you, that plan is highly recommended.
Servers are located in 50+ countries. That’s plenty of choice and allows subscribers to unblock most things they might be interested in. In addition, it means that no matter where you are located, TorGuard will have a server near to you (for better connection speeds).
TorGuard allows subscribers five simultaneous connections by default. You can purchase more for the very reasonable rate of $1.00 per month per additional connection to the VPN. This is a really excellent option that allows people to cover all of their devices (and is fantastic for families who have a lot of devices that they want to protect).
A kill switch is available on the OS X and Windows platforms but not the mobile versions of the client. Similarly, Domain Name System (DNS) leak protection is available on Windows and OS X. It can be toggled on and off in the software.
Stealth connections for bypassing firewalls (like the Great Firewall of China) are also available on all of TorGuard’s VPN plans. Furthermore, there is an ad-blocker and malware blocker than can be toggled on and off in the software.
TorGuard permits P2P downloading, so if torrenting is important to you, TorGuard is perfect (the Tor in the name is there because of its focus on BitTorrenting, as opposed to any affiliation to the Tor Project).
TorGuard sets aside certain servers that it has optimized for torrenting. This is to keep others free for faster browsing and streaming. TorGuard asks users to follow the rules and keep file-sharing to the following servers: Dallas, Los Angeles, Miami, Norway, Switzerland, Poland, Luxembourg, Panama, Romania, Iceland, Finland, Hong Kong, Sweden, the Netherlands, and Canada. As you can see, that still gives subscribers plenty of P2P options.
Torguard also provides a basic proxy service with 200 servers in eight countries for those who don’t need a full VPN service. This will provide some privacy, but will not provide the level of security that a VPN provides. However, it is ideal for unblocking geo-restricted content and P2P file-sharing (for which it is optimized).
Anonymous Email Service
TorGuard also has an anonymous email service with four different plans, the cheapest of which is $6.95 per month. Note that you get a free version of the anonymous email service when you sign up to one of the VPN plans. The free plan provides 10mb of offshore email storage and you can use it on any OS. This is a nice, free bolt-on service for VPN subscribers that is well worth taking advantage of.
Dedicated IPs for Streaming
For people that want to stream US Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, and other streaming services the VPN package will not be enough. Once you have subscribed it is necessary to also get a Decicated Streaming IPs plan. To do so, simply talk to their 24/7 live chat support. Sadly, that does mean that with the VPN subscription alone you will not be able to unblock Netflix US and BBC iPlayer.
Security and Privacy
TorGuard is a US registered company. This means that, in theory, the US government could issue warrants and gag orders forcing TorGuard to comply with investigations without informing its subscribers. Sadly, this is true of all US-based firms, which is why the US is considered an iffy place in terms of privacy.
This is what TorGuard has to say about falling under US jurisdiction:
“Our legal representation at the moment is comfortable with the current corporate structuring in the US however we wouldn’t hesitate to move all assets internationally should the ground shift beneath our feet. All of the main billing infrastructure, authentication servers, and engineering staff are already located internationally.”
All platforms can connect to TorGuard using OpenVPN (our recommended protocol). However, OpenVPN is only native in Windows and OS X. On iOS, Internet Protocol Security (IPsec) and Internet Key Exchange version 2 (IKeV2) are provided by default, and you have to install OpenVPN Connect to use OpenVPN. On Android, it is necessary to use third-party OpenVPN software (available on Google Play Store). Although this is a bit of a pain, the reality is that third-party OpenVPN software is free, secure and very easy to install.
Subscribers also get to choose between Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP) and Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol (L2TP) if they wish to (by connecting with Viscosity). However, we would recommend that you stay away from PPTP as it is not secure anymore – so the official client with built-in OpenVPN is perfect. What I really love about this service is that subscribers can choose between a lot of different OpenVPN encryption strengths:
TorGuard also provides the option of enabling a “stealth proxy” (found in TG lite app>more settings>proxy>TorGuard Stealth Proxy). Users can select from either five Japanese or five US servers, which are connected to via an encrypted SOCKS5 proxy tunnel. This adds a second layer of AES-256 (Advanced Encryption Standard) encryption. This option is great for people wanting to bypass firewalls like the Great Firewall of China.
This is what TorGuard has to say about offering various levels of encryption on the platform:
“When you say there are known vulnerabilities to BF – CBC, one might assume that it is completely broken. This is not the case (yet), and if there was any supporting evidence of this we would remove the option from our software. By adding multiple encryption options to ALL OpenVPN servers (BF CBC, AES128, AES 256), this will allow the user to make their own choice on connection security.”
The VPN.ac scandal
Two years ago, VPN.ac accused TorGuard of stealing its code. Although some people might not see this as a problem, the issue (according to VPN.ac) was that TorGuard had not copied the code correctly and had left consumers with security vulnerabilities. TorGuard denied that it had done anything wrong on purpose, claiming that a third-party developer had passed the issue on to it.
According to TorGuard, the problem was fixed very quickly and the TorGuard platform has been completely secure since the vulnerability was patched up. In addition, TorGuard now runs all of its servers. As such, this black mark in its past is something that TorGuard has put well behind it – it is an issue that does not in any way affect users nowadays.
TorGuard’s website looks great and is really easy to navigate. The site clearly lays out all of its products and services – VPN, proxy, email, support – at the top of every page.
In the bottom right-hand corner there is a live chat messenger box, which is available 24/7 to everyone (even non-subscribers). This is an excellent part of the service, allowing people to quickly sort out problems or get advice on unblocking specific content. In addition, there is an outstanding knowledge base, frequently asked questions (FAQ), and guides section, which allows subscribers to quickly read about any common problems quickly. The site is full of graphics and photos that help users to follow the guides in a highly efficient manner.
TorGuard even has a store on its website where people can purchase a pre-flashed router. A flashed router means that all the devices that attach to it are automatically connected to a VPN server with OpenVPN encryption, allowing all devices to make use of the VPN’s privacy and security. This is outstanding, because it means that you can save up your five simultaneous connections for devices that you leave the house with (to remain safe on public WiFi hotspots).
Customer support on TorGuard is handled via a 24/7 chat service on its website. It is a superb resource that allows both potential subscribers and customers to ask questions about the service. The representatives are highly engaging, knowledgeable, and friendly. In addition, they communicate quickly and have all the links they need at their fingertips. The result is that they can quickly advise users on how to solve problems, and can link them to guides to help get the job done.
In addition, subscribers can use a ticket system to ask questions, which TorGuard answers via email. I wanted to ask some highly technical questions about the encryption, so contacted them via the ticket system. I received an answer in under 24 hours from their tech team, who told me everything I needed to know about any recent improvements to the service.
TorGuard also provides setup guides and tutorials to help people set up everything from flashed routers to OpenVPN using third-party apps. Furthermore, the website has subsections for each different platform, so that users can get the guides that apply to them.
Signing up to TorGuard is nice and easy. To sign up with a credit card users will need to hand over an email address, full name, billing address, and password. However, people can use false information and bitcoins to pay, thus protecting themselves further with a layer of anonymity at the subscription stage.
Subscribers have a huge amount of payment options: Visa, Amex, Mastercard, Discover, PayPal, Altcoins, Alipay, CashU, PaySafeCard, gift cards and bitcoin (which is by far the best for anonymity). TorGuard sends out an email that explains how to get started once the customer has subscribed.
Once subscribed, consumers can log in to the members’ area and download the client that they need. The clients download quickly and install with great ease. Once installed it is just a case of running the software, logging in, selecting encryption and connecting to a server!
The TorGuard Windows VPN Client
TorGuard’s bespoke client is branded TorGuardVPN lite. However, it is the full official TorGuard software and it doesn’t skimp on anything! The ‘lite’ Windows client runs smoothly and is aesthetically pleasing. In addition, despite being simple and uncluttered, it has all the necessary pro-features you would expect from a top-end VPN service.
A kill switch stops users from leaking data to their Internet Service Provider (ISP) by making all data pass through the VPN tunnel by default (when applied). In addition, there is built-in Web Real-Time Communication (WebRTC), DNS, and Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) protection that can all be toggled on and off by using their respective tick boxes.
Subscribers can connect using either Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) or User Datagram Protocol (UDP). UDP is better for streaming as it is faster, but TCP is a little bit more secure. Subscribers can also select the level of encryption – please opt for AES-256 as this is the most secure (and is now available on all TorGuard servers).
Another option is to connect using the Viscosity software (which has support for PPTP and L2TP rather than just OpenVPN). Although this is a nice addition for people who specifically want L2TP, PPTP is insecure, so we strongly recommend you stick with the official TorGuard Lite software.
Connecting is also very easy – simply choose a region and server location and click Connect. The VPN takes around twenty seconds to connect and makes it clear when a connection has been established.
Performance (Speed, DNS, WebRTC, and IPv4 Tests)
Speed tests were conducted on a 50 Mbps fiber connection using the strongest cipher, AES-256/HMAC SHA512/RSA-2048. The tests were performed using testmy.net. The UK and Netherlands VPN servers were tested using a UK-based test server, and the US VPN server was tested using a New York-based test server.
As you can see, the VPN performed really well on speeds, especially considering I was on the strongest encryption possible. Gamers can rest assured that (because less robust levels of encryption would be adequate) they could muster up even better speeds than the ones below.
That makes TorGuard VPN impressive, because even on the strongest encryption settings it is fast enough to carry out data-intensive tasks. All in all, speeds on TorGuard really impressed me and were certainly well above average for the VPN industry at large. TorGuard can compete with the top end of the VPN market. The US server was the one that gave me the biggest hit in terms of speed. However, my speeds remained high enough to stream HD content.
I tested TorGuard for IP leaks using ipleak.net. The good news is that it detected no IP leaks, no DNS leaks, and no WebRTC leaks. In addition, although TorGuard uses OpenDNS by default, it is possible to change the DNS settings so that they are handled by TorGuard’s servers. These DNS addresses can be obtained from TorGuard (there are four of them: two in France and two in the US), and add an extra layer of security, so I strongly recommend updating these DNS settings manually.
Torguard is also available on Android, iOS, OS X, and Linux. It has custom apps for mobile devices. TorGuard VPN also sells flashed routers and has guides for flashing DD-WRT and Tomato routers with its software (for connecting with OpenVPN), along with Boxee routers (PPTP only). This is a great extra, and it is nice to see a pre-flashed router on sale.
I downloaded and used the Android platform. Despite the fact that it is a lot more minimal than the client on Windows, it did work well and speeds were the same as with the Windows client. I tried streaming on YouTube and had no trouble. However, if I was going to connect to TorGuard on my Android as a subscriber, I would opt for third-party OpenVPN software – because I want to be protected with OpenVPN (and so should you!).
iOS is the same story, providing only IPsec or IKEv2, so to connect with OpenVPN you need OpenVPN Connect App. The good news is that TorGuard has setup guides for setting up any of those options.
The main other service available on TorGuard is the anonymous email account. This is available for various costs but comes free with a VPN subscription. The free version gives access to 10mb of encrypted email storage. You can use it on any OS.
- Zero logs policy
- Free copy of Viscosity
- P2P file-sharing supported and encouraged
- Servers in over 50 countries
- Dedicated servers for torrenting and streaming
- Apps for all platforms
- Stealth servers available
- One-week trial with money-back guarantee
- Fast connections
- Can connect with strong OpenVPN on all platforms
- Proxied open DNS requests can be changed to TorGuard DNS servers manually
I wasn’t so sure about:
- Previous allegations of insecurely stealing the code for their software
- Doesn’t unblock Netflix or BBC iPlayer (unless you get a dedicated streaming IPs add-on for your plan).
- US jurisdiction
TorGuard’s OpenVPN encryption options are formidable. Subscribers get a service that provides some of the highest levels of encryption on the market, with the option to drop down to nothing for tasks that don’t require as much privacy. This gives consumers a huge amount of choice, allowing them to use the service in different ways at different times, which is fantastic.