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BTGuard VPN Review 2022 - Keep This in Mind Before Buying
BitTorrentGuard — aka BTGuard — is a VPN and BitTorrent proxy provider. It is specifically designed for P2P fans at a time when most tiptoe around the subject of torrenting. You can use it on as many computers as you like without worrying about bandwidth, which is great for file sharing. Another significant aspect of the VPN is that its speeds are consistent. However, it does have some drawbacks.
First, how safe can it be for torrenting or any other activity with no kill switch?
Second, because of the low number of servers, its streaming capabilities are minimal and unable to compete with others in the market.
Even though BTGuard VPN offers servers in Singapore, I could not unblock Netflix Singapore. When I tried to determine why, I found that my IP address was located in the Netherlands instead of Singapore. This raised doubts about the trustworthiness of the VPN’s claims regarding its server locations since it looked like it was defaulting to a Netherland’s server regardless of the server I chose. You can read more about that here.
The VPN’s speeds are reasonably fast and consistent on all its servers. The provider prides itself on unlimited bandwidth. With unlimited bandwidth, you should be able to surf, download, and live stream at the same time without any slowdown because there’s no limit to your data usage.
I first ran a speed test without the VPN and then compared the results to different servers with the VPN on:
It has 10 Gbit servers which translate to great upload and download speeds. However, it has only 1,000 in 3 locations which means your traffic may be slower if you can’t find a server near you. Not only that, but the servers can also get overcrowded, which affects speed.
The servers are in Singapore, Canada, and the Netherlands. That number is very disappointing, considering competing providers offer hundreds of locations for a lot less.
Another disadvantage is that you can't easily access streaming content from other countries, as discussed in the Streaming section.
A worrying fact about the VPN’s server network was that connecting to the Singapore server kept giving me a returned IP address from the Netherlands.
BTGuard’s security is average. It lacks some basic features, and it failed my leak tests.
Still, the VPN offers the industry’s standard symmetric encryption — 256-bit AES. Symmetric encryption uses the same key to encrypt and decrypt data. Interestingly, BTGuard combines this with asymmetric RSA-1028 encryption, which uses one key to encipher and the other to decipher information. This is called hybrid cryptography, whose advantage is to give you better speeds and higher security.
BTGuard VPN offers 2 protocols: OpenVPN and PPTP.
PPTP provides weaker protection because its cipher is outdated by today’s standards. So, it’s not the best choice for if you want high security.
On the other hand, OpenVPN is renowned for military-grade security and is constantly improving, which means it will help you stay safe.
I was disappointed that there’s no kill switch. If your VPN temporarily disconnects, without a kill switch, your data will be out in the open and you won’t even know.
Before installation, I scanned the OpenVPN file on VirusTotal, and it was not flagged as having malicious software.
I wasn’t as fortunate when testing for IP and DNS leaks. If your DNS is leaking, this is a serious privacy problem. It means your ISP can see your online activities, even though you’re using a VPN. An IP leak is when your real IP address is showing despite using a service to hide it.
My results showed that my VPN was leaking since my DNS and IP pointed to my country instead of the VPN server location. I had the same results when testing this on a different browser, as your browser often causes many leaks.
Netcrawled LLC set up BTGuard VPN in 2008. It is based in Canada, which is worrying for 2 reasons. Firstly, Canada is part of the 5 Eyes Alliance which collects and shares private data. Secondly, Canada has passed many privacy-invading laws to share collected information about you with the government.
But BTGuard says it doesn’t store, trade, or rent data, including logs or IP addresses. In case it does, it will “identify the purposes for which the information is being collected.”
It also says it will share your personal information with third parties with your permission. This makes you wonder: but what data exactly would it share? The vague policy on the VPN’s website sheds no light on this.
However, due to IP and DNS leak tests, I don’t recommend it. Other P2P users in your swarm would be able to see your true location. This doesn’t make for safe torrenting.
The VPN became popular after an endorsement from TorrentFreak and is refreshingly open about the fact that it allows torrenting.
I don’t condone illegal torrenting and you should always check your country’s regulations to ensure you’re not acting against the law.
Users who can legally download torrents in their countries will enjoy the featured preconfigured version of uTorrent. That means you don’t have to deal with complicated configurations yourself, saving you time and effort.
The set-up was far from straightforward. I failed to install OpenVPN and had difficulties connecting via PPTP on my Windows 10 computer.
The provider recommends trying both PPTP and OpenVPN to see which one works better for you.
Installing OpenVPN 2.4.1 on Windows 10 didn’t work for me, as the configuration files wouldn't open after download. The older version of OpenVPN also failed to launch on Windows 10 and Mac. That could be a system issue rather than an issue with the software, but I haven’t received a response from OpenVPN’s support, so I continued to try PPTP.
BTGuard’s instructions for connecting via PPTP were simple enough, but after installation, I kept getting an error message that “A connection to remote computer could not be established”. I looked through the VPN’s support guides but did not find a solution, so I messaged customer support to no avail. In the end, I managed to find an answer on another page online.
Pro tip: To solve this issue, go to Device Manager and, under Network Adapters, uninstall all adapters starting with WAN Miniport. Once you've uninstalled all of them, select "Scan for Hardware Changes," and those adapters will reinstall automatically without restarting. That will get your VPN to work.
Here is how to install the VPN step-by-step on Windows and Android:
Set-up Instructions Method 1
Download and install OpenVPN for Android by Arne Schwabe.
Open a browser on your Android device and Download the Configuration Files and unzip the files.
Open OpenVPN for Android and tap on the bottom right icon to import.
Browse to the folder where the configuration files are located. Tap on the server you wish to connect to and hit Select.
Tap on the Save icon in the bottom right corner.
Tap on the Settings icon.
Fill in your Username and Password.
Tap on Select... next to CA certificate, then browse to the folder where the configuration files are located. Tap on btguard.ca.crt and hit Select.
Hit the back button until you're back at the main page.
BTGuard VPN is overpriced and not worth the money. There are cheaper or even free VPN options offering better features.
There is no money-back guarantee, refund, or free trial is problematic. You have to commit to an expensive plan without knowing if it is worth it.
BTGuard VPN offers 2 plans: BTProxy and VPN. BTProxy costs $7.50/month/month and VPN $9.95/month. You get discounts for subscribing for 3 months (5% off), 6 months (15% off), or a year, which is the best value package at a 1 discount.
You can pay by PayPal, credit card, or Bitcoin. Cryptocurrency is excellent if you are concerned with privacy.
BTGuard’s customer support is sub-par. Typically, expensive VPNs offer 24/7 support, but BTGuard doesn’t provide a live chat feature.
To get help with problems, you need to submit a ticket. The ticketing page is easy to use. Users can contact either sales, VPN support, or billing when submitting a ticket, and the process is simple. The problem is that you do not get a reply, which is unacceptable.
However, the ‘Knowledgebase’ section on the VPN’s support page is decent. It contains questions about subscriptions, technical issues, and recently updated articles.
BTGuard VPN is not worth it. Its price is outrageous, given it does not meet the requirements for a decent VPN.
The VPN’s speeds are ok, but this is not enough. Its security is less-than-basic, its privacy questionable, and its set-up problematic. BTGuard targets torrent fans but lacks features that allow safe downloading.
There are plenty of other VPN providers who provide better service for less.