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BullGuard VPN Review 2022 - Keep This in Mind Before Buying
As a brainchild of an antivirus giant — BullGuard, and a premium VPN provider — NordVPN, BullGuard VPN should have a lot to offer. But ever since its launch in 2019, BullGuard isn’t as popular as other premium VPNs. Is this because of its bad service, or just because it’s not well-known?
I decided to put it to the test.
BullGuard offers monthly and annual plans starting from $3.54/month. There’s a 7-day trial, but it’s only available to its existing antivirus customers.
I was also concerned about its limited device compatibility. It only works with Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android.
BullGuard VPN is terrible for streaming. I couldn’t unblock Netflix US, UK, Germany, or Canada; Amazon Prime Video; BBC iPlayer; Disney+ (all countries); Hulu; HBO; UKTV; Showtime; YouTube TV; or ESPN. I could only watch YouTube.
BullGuard unblocks YouTube, which isn’t that impressive since it’s so widely available. It’s only useful if you want to watch a video that’s not available in your region — and that’s pretty rare.
I tested 5 servers in the UK, US, Austria, Singapore, and Spain. I was able to stream music, TV shows, and some documentaries without lag or buffering.
I connected to the UK server, and it directed me to YouTube GB, where I watched Lost World of the Maya on the National Geographic channel. The content loaded fast, and there were no interruptions.
I was able to stream Lost World of the Maya on YouTube using BullGuard VPN
Blocked By: Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, HBO Max, Disney+, and BBC iPlayer
Even though I tested multiple servers, BullGuard couldn’t unblock my favorite sites. They all displayed error messages, black screens, or VPN detection warnings.
I couldn’t unblock Netflix on any of the 5 servers I tested. I connected to the US server to watch the latest episode of New Girl, but Netflix displayed the NSES 404 error. This error shows up when you try to watch shows outside your region, which suggests that BullGuard wasn’t masking my location properly.
The error message when I tried to unblock Netflix US on BullGuard VPN
As for Amazon Prime Video, I connected to the US server, but APV detected the VPN and asked me to switch it off; the same happened using the UK server.
I couldn’t use BullGuard VPN to bypass APV’s VPN blocks
I didn’t have much luck unblocking Disney+. I couldn't even log in — I just got a black screen when connected to the US server. I switched to the UK server, but the same black screen appeared.
A black screen appeared when I tried unblocking Disney+ with BullGuard
I tried streaming BBC iPlayer on BullGuard’s UK server but it couldn’t bypass its strict VPN-detection system. BBC iPlayer detected that I wasn’t in the UK and stopped me from streaming.
BBC iPlayer displayed an error message when using BullGuard VPN
Speeds — Fast and Consistent
BullGuard’s speed is impressive.
During my tests, I examined the download/upload speeds and my connection’s response time (ping). To find out exactly how this VPN affects your speed, I first took a reading of my baseline connection. My starting speed (in Nairobi, Kenya) was 3.16 Mbps (download), 2.93 Mbps (upload), and 24ms (ping).
These numbers are important because they allowed me to calculate the speed loss percentage. It’s normal for a VPN to reduce your speed a little bit, but most premium VPNs don’t slow you down by more than around 20%.
Using Ookla and the OpenVPN protocol, I tested 9 locations, where I got consistent download and upload speeds. I lost the most upload speed on the Singapore server (22%), while the UK server lost the most download speed (32%). I expected this since my data had to travel farther.
BullGuard has a Quick Connect feature that chooses the fastest server for you based on your location. This means you don’t have to test multiple servers before you find the best one. I clicked the Quick Connect button, which connected me to a fast and stable server in Austria. However, the Germany server was actually faster for me — so perhaps this feature wasn’t working properly.
Download speed (Mbps)
Upload speed (Mbps)
Nairobi (Baseline Speed)
2.75 (12.97% loss)
2.09 (28.66% loss)
2.13 (32.59% loss)
2.06 (29.7 loss)
2.96 (6.32% loss)
2.27 (22.52 loss)
2.76 (12.65% loss)
2.87 (2.04% loss)
2.99 (5.37% loss)
2.44 (16.72% loss)
2.94 (6.96% loss)
2.46 (16.04% loss)
2.90 (8.22% loss)
1.96 (33.10% loss)
2.67 (15.50% loss)
2.77 (5.46% loss)
2.84 (10.12% loss)
2.33 (20.47% loss)
I was impressed with the servers’ consistent speeds, even though they were a little slower than I’d hoped for. I didn’t notice any slowdown while I was browsing. Even on the UK server (which was the slowest), the drop in speed was negligible.
Are BullGuard VPN’s Speeds Fast Enough for Gaming? Yes
Thanks to its consistent download and upload speeds, BullGuard is a solid choice for gaming.
Technically, with a speed of at least 6 Mbps, you should be able to play most online games with very little lag. It will depend, largely, on your base connection’s speed. But if you’re getting more than 7 Mbps without a VPN, BullGuard is fast enough for gaming.
There was too much lag when playing Striker Zone on the Singapore server
I connected to the Singapore server, which gave me a ping of 180ms, to play my favorite shooter game, Strike Zone. The game loaded quickly, but once I started playing, it was a little laggy. For the best experience, your ping should be below 100ms, so I'd suggest you look into these VPNs for gaming.
Server Network — Limited, but With Strong Connections
BullGuard VPN has a limited server network with 2,000 servers in only 10 countries. This is pretty limiting, since it means you can’t access blocked websites from other locations. Still, in my experience BullGuard offers stable connections despite its sparse server network.
The servers are in the following countries:
If you’re based in Europe — you’re in luck, as most of its servers are European. Better server choice means you can connect to a local server for faster speeds and a more stable connection. This wasn’t the case for me in Nairobi, though.
Security — Average With Standard Features
BullGuard VPN is secure. For a VPN that borrows heavily from NordVPN’s model, though, I expected more sophisticated features.
It uses military-grade AES 256-bit encryption. This is the same level of encryption that governments and ISPs use to secure their data — it’s practically impenetrable. No one can track your online activity and it keeps you safe from hackers. I couldn’t find any information about encryption on its website, but support confirmed that it uses AES 256-bit.
A chat with support confirmed that BullGuard uses industry-standard encryption
BullGuard also hosts its own DNS servers. This has a huge security benefit because it means that it keeps all your DNS requests within the network, so they can’t be leaked. I tested it for DNS (and WebRTC) leaks, and it passed.
I didn’t get any DNS leaks on the BullGuard US server
BullGuard VPN has a kill switch that safeguards you in case the VPN disconnects unexpectedly. This protects you from leaks and hackers. I had a slight connection lapse during testing, and the kill switch kicked in immediately. Once my connection was restored, it reconnected to the VPN without a hitch.
The app uses OpenVPN by default. This is the safest and most commonly used protocol. It’s open-source, and as such has been audited by lots of security professionals. If you’re on iOS, you also get the choice of using the IKEv2/IPSec protocol. It’s very stable and fast, but I still recommend using OpenVPN because it’s safer.
On Windows, you get an invisibility on LAN setting that hides your device from other people on your local network. I recommend switching it on when you’re using public WiFi because it helps to hide you from hackers and malicious attackers.
However, this is where the premium features stop. I’d love to see the addition of split tunneling, double VPN, and a malware blocker in the future to get BullGuard up-to-speed with its competitors.
Privacy — Questionable
It states that it doesn’t record your browsing activity, but it collects your IP address, browser type and version, operating system, device information, and time zone. That is a lot of information, and it’s risky because, if it were to leak or be hacked, third parties could use this data to identify you.
BullGuard does collect some personal data such as your login information
The policy also states that it may share your personal information with third parties, including credit reference agencies and advertisers, when the situation requires it. I do not recommend this VPN if privacy is on top of your list.
In addition to this, being based in London isn’t ideal for privacy because it’s within the scope of the 5/9/14 Eyes Alliance. This means that the government can force BullGuard to share the data it collects about you.
Torrenting — Allowed
BullGuard VPN allows fast and easy P2P sharing.
There are no P2P-optimized servers. However, you don’t need them — you can use any of its servers to torrent with qBittorrent, Transmission, uTorrent, or Vuze.
I was impressed that BullGuard automatically selects the fastest server for you. This means that you don’t have to worry about testing multiple servers, and you can get to downloading your file right away. It chose the Germany server for me, which, based on my tests, was the fastest for my location by far.
I enjoyed fast torrenting when connected to its Germany server
My pre-VPN speed was already quite slow, so when I connected to the server, my connection only ran at around 3.5 Mbps. It took me around 5 minutes to download a 5MB file from the public domain. If your base speed is faster than mine, you’ll have even better results.
My team and I don’t condone torrenting of copyrighted files, or torrenting in areas where it’s illegal to do so. Be sure to check your country’s rules and regulations before you use BullGuard for torrenting.
Does BullGuard VPN Work in China? No
BullGuard doesn’t have the security needed to bypass the Great Firewall of China.
To bypass this strict firewall, VPNs need (at least) strong obfuscation that can get through the deep packet inspection (DPI) that it uses. Without this, the firewall will detect that you’re using a VPN and block your connection.
I contacted support to double-check, and their response left me quite confused. They said that I “should” be able to use the VPN in China — but this can’t be true, because it simply doesn’t have the features to operate there.
BullGuard VPN’s support didn’t give a definite answer about China
Simultaneous Device Connections — Limited to 6
BullGuard VPN allows you to connect 6 devices with one account. This makes it a decent-value VPN because you don’t need to buy multiple subscriptions to protect all your computers and phones.
To test this, I connected my phone, tablet, and laptop at the same time. I thought that having multiple devices connected would slow my speeds down, but I didn’t experience any issues.
Device Compatibility — Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android
BullGuard VPN has apps for Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android. Sadly, it hasn’t got any browser extensions, and it’s not compatible with Fire TV Sticks, Chromebooks, or Linux.
Normally, you could get around this by installing the VPN on your router as this automatically covers all devices connected to it — but not with BullGuard. This means you’re out of luck if (like me) you were hoping to use it on your gaming console or smart TV.
All the apps have a similar layout, with an easy-to-use interface. You will find it simple to navigate (even if you’re a beginner).
Getting started on desktop is easy. You just need to either click the Quick Connect button (this finds you the fastest server) or choose your desired location from the list on the left. It only took me about 15 seconds to pick a server and connect. I noticed that you can also save your favorite locations so you can find them faster next time. My only criticism is that I think the VPN should alphabetize the server list to help you choose quickly.
The settings page is easy to understand — even if you’re a beginner — because all the options are clearly labeled. The app also gives a short explanation of what each setting controls.
However, I noticed that the kill switch was turned off by default — which strikes me as being pretty dangerous. If I hadn’t noticed this before I connected, I wouldn’t have been safe using the VPN. I recommend you turn it on before you get started.
The mobile apps are similar to the desktop version — but, of course, customized to be easier to use on your phone. The main difference is that, unfortunately, they don’t have a kill switch to keep you protected if the VPN drops. This is a fatal security flaw because your online activity may leak in case the VPN disconnects temporarily.
Installation & Apps
Set-Up & Installation — Simple and User-Friendly
Installing (and using) BullGuard VPN is easy.
I had to flick through a few of BullGuard’s other product pages to find the one relevant to the VPN, but it didn’t take very long. From that page, I clicked on the purchase button. I chose the monthly plan — and, after paying, I was automatically directed to the download page.
BullGuard’s website has a different section for each of its products
It only took a few seconds to download the Windows app from here. There aren’t many steps involved with setting the app up — I just clicked through the installer and then used my email to log in.
If you have any trouble, there are helpful guides on BullGuard’s site for each operating system. They’re easy to follow, but I didn’t need to use them because the process went perfectly for me.
In my opinion, BullGuard VPN’s prices are competitive. There are 3 plans to choose from: the 1-year plan at $5.31/month, the 2-year plan at $3.54/month, and the monthly plan at $11.99/month. All the plans have unlimited bandwidth and allow up to 6 devices at once.
I struggled to find the monthly plan but with the support's help, I finally found it on the VPN’s main landing page.
Before committing to the annual plans, you can always test it out thanks to its 90-day money-back guarantee. If you opt for the monthly plan, though, you will get a 7-day money-back guarantee. Still, I found that 7 days is long enough to test the VPN out to make sure it was suited to my needs.
If you have an active subscription to any of the other BullGuard products, you will get a 25% discount on your 1-year plan, and a 7-day free trial. However, this isn’t available if you aren’t an existing BullGuard customer.
BullGuard accepts payments from select credit/debit cards (Visa, American Express, JCB, and Mastercard), PayPal, and Wire Transfer. However, you can’t use cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Dogecoin to pay for BullGuard VPN. This is unfortunate since it prevents you from paying anonymously.
Reliability & Support
BullGuard has several support options, but its customer service is below average due to delayed and choppy responses.
It has a 24-hour live chat (not available on weekends); email (not very efficient); product guides (helpful when setting up); a search bar; a vibrant forum; a knowledge base; and blogs.
All the support options are available in English, Danish, German, Spanish, French, Italian, Norwegian, Portuguese, Dutch, Swedish, and Chinese.
The VPN app has a help link that directs you to the support page in a browser window. I clicked the link but was disappointed to find no VPN-focused content on the landing page.
I contacted support using the live chat feature, but I didn’t get any help right away because it was the weekend. However, support responded on Monday and answered my query. The lack of 24/7 support means you’re out of luck if you encounter a serious security issue — and you might be without a VPN for the weekend.
I couldn’t reach BullGuard’s support team on live chat over the weekend
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