For this review, I would like to start by describing what I had to endure to get TorGuard to run on my laptop.
The website is not the most pleasant looking website. It’s difficult to navigate, it’s hard to find what you want, and there was no clear information regarding their trial or refund periods – I had to contact support to find out about them.
After I purchased a subscription, I received an email with a bill asking me to log in and pay, but on my PayPal account, it said that the money had already been transferred. Few minutes later, I got an email saying that payment was successful. This incident really typified my experience with TorGuard, it works, but it lacks some serious polishing.
The website didn’t bother detecting my OS – I ended up mistakenly downloading the Windows installation file at first although I am a Mac user.
Installation was fine, but once I picked a server to connect through, the app asked me to log in. I didn’t have a password yet. I had to dig through my inbox to find an email that contained a link to my profile, click it, create a password, then go back to the app and log in. Finally, I was all set.
Servers & Locations
TorGuard claims to have over 3000 servers in over 50 countries, 53 to be exact, I counted. They are located in:
- The Americas: Brazil, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Mexico, and the United States
- Europe: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Isle of Man, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, Moldova, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Tunisia, and Ukraine
- Middle East: Egypt, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates
- Asia: Hong Kong India Indonesia Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam
- Oceania: Australia and New Zealand
- Africa: South Africa
TorGuard works on all the major platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, and iOS. The service is also compatible with VPN routers such as DDWRT, Tomato, and pfsense firewalls.
Connections, Dedicated IPs, & Other Add-Ons
TorGuard allows for 5 simultaneous connections per account. That’s for a standard purchase, but you can purchase additional connections, up to a total of 15 or 20 connections, I wasn’t really sure as I fiddled with the feature that allows you to add more servers.
During the purchase process, you can drag a scrollbar to add connections. A note above it declares that adding up to 5 does not affect the price since those are already included in the standard package. But if you scroll, the price goes up.
You can also buy dedicated IP addresses from a number of countries, but those will cost you an extra 8 dollars per month (or cheaper, if your subscription is longer). There are also other add-ons: 10Gbit Premium Network (available in the USA, Netherlands, UK, and Canada), DDOS Protected IP (available in Canada and France), and Residential IP (available in the USA only), which will give you access to all popular online streaming services.
Overall you could end up paying 54 dollars a month.
TorGuard supports 5 VPN protocols, those are:
- OpenVPN: an open source software; typically the most reliable and most recommended protocol. and supports a great number of strong encryption algorithms and ciphers.
- L2TP/IPsec: not as advanced as OpenVPN, but generally used when the latter isn’t supported. The protocol also used for countries where it is difficult to penetrate government and ISP firewalls.
- PPTP: Old and not secure, but fast. It is only used when security is not an issue.
- SSTP: A proprietary Microsoft protocol that is a good option for machines running the Windows operating system: it’s integrated into the system, making it more stable than other protocols when it comes to Windows machines.
Torguard is based in the US. That should make anyone pause and think for a second. The US is part of a notorious global surveillance alliance known as 5 Eyes country. The US itself has been implicated in one too many spying scandals.
For what it’s worth, TorGuard does claim that they never keep logs, “never have and never will!”
“(…) Only in the event of an official court ordered ruling would we be forced to hand over blank hard drives. There’s nothing to hand over but an operating system.”
TorGuard offers customer support via live chat (on their website), email or phone. The support is available 24/7. Throughout my use, and I’ve used the chat support more frequently than I usually do, the responses were fast and mostly satisfactory.
It was hard not to notice how much slower loading times became after enabling TorGuard.
We ran speed tests for servers in the Netherlands, the US, and the UK. TorGuard was relatively quick to connect to the servers, but download and upload speeds we markedly affected. In New York, download and upload speeds were 69.1% and 40.8% slower respectively. The download and upload speeds through servers in the UK were reduced by 48.2% and 36.8% respectively. The Amsterdam servers caused 62% and 38.5% reductions respectively.
Price & Final Verdict
The monthly, quarterly, semi-annual, and yearly packages for TorGuard sell for 9.99, 6.66, 5, and 5. That is not a typo; the 6 months and year-long packages cost the same. And this kind of thing really encapsulates TorGuard’s plight, the service does the basics, with minor, perhaps tolerable pitfalls here and there. But the service does feel in desperate need of a polish. For now, it is hard for me to recommend TorGuard.
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