Ray Walsh

Ray Walsh

مارس 21, 2018

Buffered is a Virtual Private Network (VPN) that was founded back in 2013. It is a premium service based in Gibraltar that is dedicated to privacy. Buffered VPN provides easy-to-use custom apps for Windows and Mac.

For the time being, you may use Buffered on Android and iOS with the fantastic third-party OpenVPN software. There is good news too, Buffered has got custom apps for both platforms that it intends to release soon.

Buffered is a relatively quick VPN that is ideal for HD streaming. It is a secure service that provides strong OpenVPN encryption on all platforms. The VPN does store some connection logs for 30-days, but no usage logs. It is also a little bit on the pricey side if you purchase it on a monthly basis. However, it has a proven track record of providing privacy for users and gets much more reasonable if you commit for a longer period of time.

Buffered VPN’s Pricing and Plans

Buffered VPN offers three different subscription plans. All three plans provide identical levels of service. Customers are rewarded with a discount for committing to Buffered VPN for a longer period of time.

Buffered costs $12.99 for a one-month subscription, which is considered a high-end price for a premium VPN. However, it does get cheaper when you commit for six months – $59.94 (the equivalent of $9.99 per month).

For those who have got the money, the best value plan is the yearly subscription. This costs $99.00 (the equivalent of $8.25 per month). This really is much better value for money – and because Buffered runs a reliable service – a yearly subscription is definitely a good option for most people.

In addition, Buffered VPN has a 30-day money-back guarantee. This will permit anybody to test the service for up to ten hours, to make sure it works exactly as they require

Subscribers can pay using Paypal, Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express and Diners Club. Buffered also accept Bitcoin payments.

Payments are handled securely by the third-party firm checkout.com.

Buffered VPN Review Summary

الإيجابيات:
  • Fast, reliable and secure
  • Unblocks Netflix US and BBC iPlayer
  • Peer-to-peer (P2P) is permitted
  • Excellent website with guides and 24/7 live chat support
  • Excellent software for Windows and Mac
السلبيات:
  • Rather expensive if you subscribe for one month only (but better value if purchased yearly)

Buffered VPN Features

Buffered is based in Gibraltar, which is great news for privacy. Being based in Gibraltar means that it is not subjected to any mandatory data retention laws. What’s more, its base in Gibraltar keeps it out of the way of the Five Eyes surveillance agreement. Good news indeed.

Buffered Server List

Buffered has high-speed servers located in 41 countries. Those servers are superbly placed on every continent – allowing consumers to pretend to be in many different countries for unblocking purposes. Also good news: Buffered permits torrenting (P2P) on all its servers and makes no specific demands from subscribers (some VPNs ask consumers not to break laws, etc).

Five Simultaneous Devices

Buffered permits its subscribers to connect five devices at the same time. What’s more, Buffered subscribers may download and install the VPN apps on as many devices as they wish. That makes Buffered an outstanding VPN for families, or for people who own multiple PCs, smart TVs, tablets, and smartphones.

OpenVPN Encryption

Buffered implements the industry-leading VPN protocol, OpenVPN. Users also get to choose between User Datagram Protocol (UDP) or Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) standards.

Buffered also permits users to select from various port forwarding options: 53, 443, 993, and 1194. This is great news because it means that subscribers can use TCP on port 443 for disguising VPN use as regular HTTPS traffic (for getting around firewalls).

Killswitch

The Windows and Mac clients of Buffered VPN have a built-in Killswitch. This cuts the subscriber’s internet connection to ensure that no data is leaked to the ISP should the VPN momentarily cut out.

Auto Connect

Buffered can be set up so that it auto connects to the last server they used. This is a great feature that can be used in combination with the killswitch to provide seamless VPN protection.

Port Discovery Mode

Port discovery mode is a unique feature available in the Buffered client. It permits subscribers to scan WiFi networks in search of available open ports. This lets Buffered users connect to WiFi in hotels (or other locations) without the need to get a password from reception. To use this feature go to “Settings” and click on “Test Firewall.”

This feature makes Buffered an excellent VPN for travelers who wish to stay secure on public WiFi. However, please remember that (for now) Port Discovery is only available on Windows and Apple Mac.

Visit Buffered »

Is Buffered VPN Secure & Private?

Buffered has a no usage logs policy. This means it cannot directly access any records about what individual consumers have done while using the service. In addition, Buffered has cleverly positioned its central servers in the Netherlands: a place that is known for strong data privacy laws.

Having central servers in Holland means that Buffered is not likely to ever receive a warrant asking it to provide data records. In fact, because it keeps no usage logs – even if it was asked by the authorities – it wouldn’t have any usage logs to hand over. Consider that the private search engine StartPage (endorsed by Edward Snowden) has its servers in the Netherlands, and you get the idea!

Buffered Data Retention

Buffered does keep some connection logs. These are the user’s IP address, time of connection, and duration of the connection. In addition, some extra data is stored that is accessed in order to do troubleshooting. Buffered does work with advertisers and business partners by sharing aggregated data. However, users can opt out of this by contacting customer support to invoke their right to opt out.

The connection logs that Buffered keep do mean that a time correlation attack could, in theory, be mounted on the service (if the authorities served it with a warrant). However, this is a highly technical process that would only ever be enacted by intelligence agencies investigating someone who had committed a substantial crime. As such, most people will be completely safe using Buffered for privacy.

Buffered only keeps connection logs for 30 days. At that point, they are deleted. As such, even a time correlation attack would only be able to target a user’s IP address for the last 30 days. This is a very small time frame for authorities to act within.

It is also worth noting that consumer can opt out of having data collected by Buffered. Buffered stores some data in order to keep the service running more smoothly, and to help with support should problems arise. However, this data retrieval can be toggled off in the Windows and Mac clients.

For anybody using Buffered on Android or iOS (using the third party OpenVPN client), there is no way to toggle the data collection off in the client. However, those subscribers can contact customer support directly to invoke their right to opt out of data collection. From the privacy policy:

“With the software and configuration files we provide we may collect information from you which may include but is not limited to your devices identifiers, including unique identifiers, operating system’s version, language, network device identifiers (MAC addresses), IP addresses, network information, user information on the operating system, routing tables, DNS server addresses, other filesystem information, information regarding the hardware. You can opt out of this collection in the desktop client under settings.”

Buffered VPN Encryption

OpenVPN Encryption
Cipher
AES-256-CBC
Data Auth
HMAC SHA1
Handshake
RSA-2048
Perfect Forward Secrecy
DHE
Logs & Legal
Connection
30 days
Traffic
None
Country
great

Buffered provides OpenVPN on all platforms. It implements OpenVPN to very high standards throughout its network of servers.

The control channel implements an AES-256 cipher, SHA1 for HMAC authentication, and strong RSA 2048 for the handshake. The data channel is also secured with AES-256, the fastest and most secure cipher.

The weakest part of any encryption protocol is the most vulnerable point. For Buffered, this is its use of the SHA1 authentication method. The good news is that SHA1 meets our minimum standards – making Buffered OpenVPN encryption secure for privacy.

For more information about encryption please read our complete encryption guide.

The Buffered Website

The Buffered website looks great and is full of lots of useful information. It is a clearly designed website that has lots of excellent resources to find information about the service. In addition, I enjoyed the infographics which I found to be both useful and of an excellent quality.

At the bottom of every page, visitors can easily access the website privacy policy, the VPN terms of service (ToS) and the end user license agreement (EULA). This is excellent transparency, for which we commend Buffered.

The header on every page has useful navigation links to:

“Take a Tour,” “Pricing,” “Questions?” “Contact,” “Login,” and the “Get Buffered” subscription page.

Take a Tour is a useful page that is split into six parts. Each section does an excellent job of describing important aspects of the service. For anyone who requires more in-depth knowledge, “contact support” is at the top of this page and the Buffered help desk are available 24 hours a day.

Within the comprehensive FAQ section, you will also find Buffered VPN’s useful setup guides. It has these for all the most popular platforms. In fact, the page has well over 100 well-written articles to help people with almost any information or problem they might have. An absolutely top-notch resource.

Finally, at the bottom of the home page, there is a link to “tutorials.” This takes people to a separate page where again they can find many installation and setup guides. This includes tutorials for installing Buffered on routers and an Amazon firestick.

Buffered Client Area

After subscribing, users are given access to a separate dashboard. This provides users with full access to the website’s member resources. On this part of the website, subscribers can change their password, pay for subscription plans, and input voluntary data into their account.

Buffered Blog

Buffered VPN Customer Support

Customer support at Buffered is one of the best I have ever experienced. The staff is knowledgeable and when challenged agents can direct you to vital information about the service to put your mind at rest.

I spoke to a support agent called Monika and she was extremely helpful indeed. I pushed her on various issues, and she remained extremely calm and polite throughout. I was thoroughly impressed by her genuine knowledge about the company’s privacy policy – which most VPN representatives have little knowledge of (and simply direct you towards to read for yourself).

The combination of 24-hour live chat support – and the impressive FAQ resource – permits agents to quickly give consumers the support they require. The agents do not palm you off onto the FAQ page, but rather use those articles (and the infographics) to help steer you through any particular issue you might be having.

Having 24/7 help for when you don’t know how to access or unblock something is always useful, and this is a part of the Buffered service that really shines and that really helps to add value for money.

The Process

Signing up for Buffered VPN is super easy. All users need to do is fill out the form with their real (or fake) username, an email address for verification purposes, a password, and provide a valid payment using a credit card or PayPal (Bitcoin is also accepted).

After providing this information, Buffered will send you an email to confirm that the subscription was successful. Once you get that email you can log in, fill in your profile (with fake details if you prefer), and download the Buffered software for Mac or Windows.

If you want to use Buffered on Android or iOS, click through to those links to get the excellent third-party OpenVPN software. To get that software working, simply chat to Buffered on the 24/7 live chat – they will direct you to the easy setup guides.

The Buffered VPN Client for Windows

I thoroughly tested the Windows client and found nothing much to have changed since the last time I used it. A fellow team member had a quick go on the Mac client and found it to be identical. For this reason, you can consider this part of the review to be true of the Mac client too.

The software downloads very quickly and installs without any issues or confusion. However, when it asks if you want to “install the latest OpenVPN Tap drivers (virtual ethernet)” please click “yes,” because you do need them.

Once the client has installed, you only ever need to log in once – because you can check a box that remembers your password on subsequent occasions.

Using the “Auto Connect” feature (in settings) means that you will be able to connect to your favorite server just by double-clicking Buffered on your desktop. One noticeable difference within the client this year is the addition of a kill switch, this is an excellent feature that really increases the overall security of the VPN. A superb improvement to an already fantastic VPN.

The image above shows how the VPN will look if you haven’t enabled the Killswitch. For extra security make sure the VPN is turned on in settings. To do so, click the hamburger menu in the top right, then click setting from the drop-down menu. In the next menu, you can switch on both the kill switch and auto-connect if you prefer.

Without a doubt, the Buffered client is ergonomic, simple to use, looks fantastic, and has all the most important advanced VPN features.

Buffered VPN comes set to OpenVPN UDP by default, which is the best setting for people that intend to do a lot of streaming in privacy. However, anybody that prefers to use TCP (which provides slightly improved security) can change it in settings.

Having TCP is excellent, and Buffered also permits subscribers to change their port settings (which is perfect for disguising OpenVPN traffic as regular HTTPS on port 443 in countries like Iran where VPN traffic is often throttled).

For the majority of consumers, Buffered comes perfectly set up by default. All that one must do is turn on the Killswitch and Autoconnect features, select a server from the list, and click Connect.

Connecting to your desired server location takes under 20 seconds. Once connected, the software provides you with plenty of highly useful information about the ongoing connection.

Another excellent feature is the built-in downloads speed test. This allows users to check the speed of their traffic both inside and outside of the VPN tunnel. This is an unusual but highly useful addition to the service. Same goes for the port detection feature which allows travelers to log in to public WiFi without the need for a password from reception (in hotels and coffee shops, etc).

As was the case in the past, I enjoyed using the Buffered software which I found to be both fast and reliable. During my tests, I used Buffered to stream HD videos all evening without any problems whatsoever.

Buffered VPN Performance (Speed, DNS, WebRTC, and IPv6 Tests)

We test Buffered’s speeds 3 times a day using our scientific speed test methodology. Buffered is always in the top 5 fastest VPNs, and sometimes they are number 1! Take a look at the last month, from 14th February to the 14th March 2018, they are well above average in speeds.

Their DNS request speeds are close to average, not great but definitely OK.

I used ipleak.net to check for IP leaks, Domain Name System (DNS) leaks, and the Web Real-Time Communication (WebRTC) bug. I discovered no leaks whatsoever. Buffered’s performance (especially considering the speeds that it provides) is absolutely outstanding and – without a shadow of a doubt – makes Buffered one of the best VPNs on the market.

Other Buffered VPN Platforms

For the time being, Buffered provides bespoke apps for Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux. It has also just finished developing mobile apps, which are in the process of being testing. Sadly, a definitive release date hasn’t been announced yet, but the apps are on their way!

For the time being, Buffered can be used on iOS and Android devices using official third-party OpenVPN software. In addition, there are setup guides that explain how to set up Buffered VPN on those (and many other) devices.

I tested an OpenVPN connection using the Android OpenVPN client on my Samsung tablet and found connection speeds to be identical to when I used the custom client on my Windows PC.

Buffered VPN Review: Conclusion

I liked:

  • Best customer support on the market
  • Strong privacy policy and OpenVPN encryption
  • Central server in the Netherlands
  • Useful port scanning feature
  • Stylish and instinctive apps across platforms
  • Lightning fast connection speeds
  • Servers in 41 countries
  • 24/7 live chat customer support
  • Active development team
  • Unblocks Netflix US
  • Unblocks BBC iPlayer
  • Killswitch (Windows and Mac)

I wasn’t so sure about:

  • Some data collection and connection logs (but you can opt out!)
  • Have to use third-party OpenVPN client on Android and iOS (but apps are finished and being tested)

I hated:

  • Nothing

Buffered VPN is a truly superb Virtual Private Network that delivers privacy and a smart customizable service. Connection speeds are excellent, and they allow users to enjoy unbounded internet freedom. Servers are located all over the world, and Buffered even promises to add servers upon request if users need them. For unblocking purposes this VPN is great.

Buffered does keep connection logs, but only for 30-day which is outstanding. On the few occasions that Buffered does share any data with its affiliates it only ever does so with aggregated data: never data that applies to any one particular user.

In addition, all subscribers may use the client’s settings (or contact support) to opt out of that data collection. More importantly, this VPN keeps no usage logs, is located in Gibraltar and has central servers in the Netherlands – all of which is absolutely excellent for user’s privacy.

With a 30-day money back guarantee on offer (which is valid for ten hours of VPN use), it is easy to test Buffered to see how it works for you. What’s more, Buffered even gives automatic refunds to subscribers who don’t use the VPN for the first seven days: a commitment to fairness rarely seen in this capitalist world. All in all, this is an outstanding VPN that is well worth the money if you commit for a whole year.

Visit Buffered »

Ray Walsh

من تأليف

نشرت في: مارس 21, 2018.

March 22nd, 2018

I am a freelance journalist and blogger from England. I am highly interested in politics and in particular the subject of IR. I am an advocate for freedom of speech, equality, and personal privacy. On a more personal level I like to stay active, love snowboarding, swimming and cycling, enjoy seafood, and love to listen to trap music.

8 الردود على “Buffered VPN Review – Does Buffered VPN Keep Logs?

  1. يقول mr jones :

    The Netflix and BBC iplayer are not unlocked – buffered user

    1. يقول Douglas Crawford :

      Hi mr jones,

      I’ve passed this comm ent along to our tech team, who have told me that, “Netflix isn’t, bbc iplayer definitely is I use it weekly. Probably a cookie issue or something specifically about bbc iplayer detecting it.”

    2. يقول DarkOverlord :

      Did you try clearing your browser’s cache and cookies?

  2. يقول Anonymous one :

    Central server in the Netherlands?
    That is no plus. That is a big negative. There is a new law as of 2017 in The Netherlands and that eliminates all privacy.
    The Netherlands is developing in the biggest police state around. They have the most phone and internet taps of every country worldwide (despite of being one of the smallest countries worldwide).

    1. يقول Douglas Crawford :

      Hi Anonymous one,

      Could you point us to some sources?

  3. يقول VPN user :

    Please note there is an error in where you say Buffered VPN is located — at top of page it says — “Gibraltar based premium VPN service” — although it is actually based in Hungary as mentioned further down in the review. I have checked their TOS and they are in Budapest, Hungary.

    1. يقول Douglas Crawford :

      Hi VPN user,

      Buffered was based in Budapest, but has now moved (or is in the process of moving – I’m a little unclear on this point) to Gibraltar. I have been in contact with Buffered, who told be that it is working on changing its ToS “now”.

  4. يقول Peter Selmeczy :

    Leave your thoughts and comments here.

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