Review

BTGuard VPN Review


Disclosure: compensated affiliate: click here for more information
btguard vpn SummaryNote: Please read the update just below this summary BTGuard is particularly prominent thanks to its endorsement by torrent privacy activist website TorrentFreak .  Like the US, Canada has no data retention laws, so BTGuard has no need to keep logs or records of users’ activities that could be handed over on demand to the authorities, which makes it an ideal location to base a VPN business. In use we found that BTGuard’s service could be disconcertingly basic, but in the areas that mattered, security and speed, performed very well, if not quite amazing as we were expecting. Click here to visit BTGuard and sign up now.

Update: We have received many reader complaints (some highly irate and not fit for publishing here) regarding BTGuard VPN. These are mainly centered on extremely poor abd slow customer service, although many also point to very poor speed performance. We experienced no problems during our test period, but have noticed an increasing number of similar complains, not just on BestVPN, but on reddit elsewhere on the web. It would also appear the problems have worsened over months since we reviewed BTGuard. In addition to this, as we reported in a recent news item (https://www.bestvpn.com/blog/7162/btguard-stores-passwords-in-plain-text/), BTGuard have made the error of storing users passwords in plain text file and then emailing them unencrypted to customers. This kind of sloppiness is unforgiveable in a company whose job is to protect users’ privacy. In light of these issues, BestVPN withdraws its recommendation for BTGuard, and advises that the service be avoided.

Pricing & Features

BTGuard offers two services, each with a simple flat rate and no trial period or money back guarantee.

prices

BitTorrent Proxy ($6.95 p/m)

This package is designed for BitTorrent users who wish to download files anonymously, providing them with a proxy IP address behind which to hide their identity. Although not needed to preserve anonymity, BTGuard do offer an encryption package for those who want it, or who are suffering bandwidth throttling from their ISP’s. BTGuard provide a pre-configured version of the uTorrent BitTorrent client, and provide instructions for manually configuring other clients for use with its proxy servers. For those who only wish to conceal their identities for the purpose of filesharing, this Proxy service may be all they need. However, we will note that for a similar or even lower price, full VPN services are available elsewhere.

VPN ($9.95 p/m)

BTGuard’s full VPN package is a very simple affair, offering 256-bit AES OpenVPN encryption as well as 128-bit PPTP, with servers located in Canada, Europe and Asia. Pricewise it sits in the middle of the range, but feels is a little on the high side given the sparseness of its features. This review will only cover the VPN service. » Visit BTGuard »

Website & Customer Support

The BTGuard website looks good, and opens with a smart looking Flash animation. However, the support pages and FAQ use a generic forum interface that, while functional, looks ugly and does not match the rest of the site.  It also quickly becomes apparent that the entire website is very Spartan in terms of features and information, although everything necessary is present and correct. Customer support is similarly basic, with only a ticket based email service on offer.

Privacy & Security

Despite slightly underwhelming first impressions, BTGuard VPN scores very well in this critical area. Based in Canada and under no legal obligation to keep logs of users IP addresses or internet usage, BTGuard does not do so. However, it does appear that personal information is kept for billing and such like purposes, although since no usage logs are kept this should not be a be worry to most. BTGuard also scores very well with their use of 256-bit AES encrypted OpenVPN as standard, making the service very secure in technical terms. We only wish that more VPN providers would do the same. » Visit BTGuard »

The Process

Signing Up

Signing up is very easy and almost no personal information is asked for (other than email address and payment details). Payment is via PayPal or credit/debit card only. sign up BTGuard does not provide its own VPN client and instead relies on the generic open source OpenVPN software. Downloading and installing this is easy enough, and is well explained by the provided guide. However, the need to download and extract the configuration files to the OpenVPN install directory feels somewhat clunky. Users who want to connect to servers other than their local default, automatically assigned servers, can download config files for Canada, Europe or Hong Kong servers.

install 1

Before running for the first time, the OpenVPN client’s properties must be edited to run as an administrator. Again, while not particularly difficult or arduous, this process feels clunky.

properties

Firing up the client involves right clicking on the icon in the Task Bar, and navigating to Connect.

start

Once connected, the icon sits in the Task Bar showing green so that you know all is well.

 install 3

As the OpenVPN client provides no additional information, we used whatismyipaddress.com to verify that everything was working as it should.

IP addressWe were based in the UK, so everything looks good

Speedtest.net results

We ran the usual tests using our 10 megabyte UK broadband connection:

stn.without Without VPN

snt.with With VPN

While it has to be said that we have seen better results, these figures are entirely satisfactory.

Other platforms

BTGuard provides detailed guides to setting up an OpenVPN connection in Windows, OSX and Linux, and for setting up PPTP in Windows, OSX and iOS. We were disappointed to find that that no PPTP setup instructions were provided for Android devices, although doing so should be easy enough.

BTGuard VPN Review Conclusion

We liked

  • No logs kept
  • 256-bit encryption as standard
  • Speetest.net results were good
  • Servers located in Europe, Canada and Hong Kong mean that users all over the world can benefit from the no logs anonymity afforded by BTGuard, without suffering major lags due to distance

We weren’t so sure about

  • There’s nothing wrong with using the open source OpenVPN client, which a fine piece of software designed for robustness across a range of platforms. However, setting it  up is a bit of a pain, and it lacks the style and features found in dedicated clients form other VPN providers
  • Very no-frills

We hated

  • As Android users we found the lack of documentation annoying

BTGuard VPN offers a very bare-bones service, but scores strongly where it counts most – anonymity and speed (although we have seen faster). As such it is difficult to complain, and with servers located in Hong Kong and Canada, users in the Americas and Asia can have access to its no logs service without having to connect all the way to Europe (where most such providers are based). Pricing is perhaps a fraction high given the almost total lack of bells and whistles, but the service is a solid one and we can see why TorrentFreak recommends it. Note: We’re not quite sure whether we missed it when performing our initial review or whether it is a new feature, but BTGuard does accept Bitcoin payments, making it possible to pay for their service anonymously. This is great and adds more marks in BTGuard’s favor.


Pete runs Best VPN and wants to get detailed information to the readers. He is dedicated to being the best and providing the highest quality at anything he does. You can also find him on Twitter or Google+

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23 responses to “BTGuard VPN Review

  1. THis service SUCKS!

    It was ok but I have been trying to cancel the service for 5 months. they keep charging me. Also the support ticket system is broken. There is no phone number or email to contact them.

    Avoid this company

    I just purchased Btguard proxy after reading reviews on this site and other sites too on the net. The selling point was that the setup is easy because of their preconfigured utorrent download. But believe me, it is absolutely a nightmare to get Btguard to work. The preconfigured utorrent download does not work at all. I re-download and re-installed the package multiple times but simply it does not work.
    Then I downloaded utorrent and manually changed the connection settings in utorrent as per the Btguard support website, and behold it also does not work. Utorrent works if I do not use any proxy but then there is no use of Btguard then.
    The customer service is non existent in other words ZERO customer service. You are on your own. Don’t take my word but just google on the utorrent and Btguard connectivity / not working issue. I just burned my money on this crap….

    I received a message from someone at BTGuard commenting on my download activity (Just TV shows and Movies) through their modified uTorrent program. Learned my lesson not to download and execute a program that’s been modified by a networking company…. So just a heads up, they are watching your torrenting habits, and possibly have a trojan on your comp too… maybe looking to blackmail some peeps… who knows, shady business any way you cut it…

    Just use their proxy or their OpenVPN config, or like me, not use them at all anymore!

    1. Hi Guy,

      Wow! I would definitely say not to use them at all if this is the case! A VPN company doesn’t really need to spy on users with modified software, however, as as it can just monitor their logs anyway. I’m a bit snowed under with work at the moment, but will try to investigate.

    I cant fault Btguard! I have been user for over 12months now & its always connected for me with fast speeds.

    The speed is extremely slow there:
    – 5mbps over BTGuard
    – 25-50mbps over PIA’s Canadian servers (I am from California).

    Such a slow speed makes BTGuard practically unusable, also, their price is 2x higher than for PIA. So my 1Y BTGuard subscription was definitely a mistake, and btw, they denied to provide a partial for it (even pro-rated w/ monthly payment plan).

    if you are looking for reliability, customer service and technical support this is the wrong place to go. they are quick to take your money, cut you out without notice with out warning leave you unable to use the service for days and absolute NO KIND OF COMMUNICATION AT ALL AFTER REPEATED REQUESTS

    it seems to do the job but customer service sucks if u have a problem especially with drop out or sign in you will die of old age befor u get an answer it will never happen they have NO COMMUVICATION SKILLS

    Intermittent dropping of the VPN connection and incredibly slow speeds when connected (less than 80kb on a 50mb line) and if you try customer services it can take weeks for a pathetic canned response reply.

    The service was good for the first year. This year 2014 all of a sudden the VPN is not hiding my IP address like it used to. I have contacted both their Sales and Support staff. The support staff took 7 full days to even respond to the ticket i submitted. It has been 3 days since I provided the information they requested and I have not heard back from them. I’ve also been contantly trying to contact their Sales staff for a refund of my remaining year subscription but they have not responded. Long story short, BTguard was good in 2013 for me. This year they are absolute garbage. Don’t count on any support from their so call “Support” staff.

    I had a serious problem with BTGuard about 2 years ago. I used Paypal to pay for 1 month, within 24hrs, my Paypal account was cracked, and I lost several thousand dollars out of my checking account. It was partially my fault, in a moment of stupidity I used the same password for my BTGuard account as my Paypal account, and apparently BTGuard was compromised, and the blackhats got my email and password which allowed them to access Paypal. BTGuards Customer Service completely ignored me. Luckily my bank reversed all the charges (multiple gift cards purchased in the UK, Russia, and NYC). I have personally found on various forums and usenet groups 4 other people who had the exact same thing happen using BTGuard.

    I raised a ticker for support in getting the application to work after using there easy install and the responded with suspending my account with even replying to the ticket I raised, utter disgrace

    EXCELLENT PRODUCT!!! (Reviewed 11/6/2013)
    I have had a wonderful experience with them. NO PROBLEMS AT ALL.

    Customer service- I contacted them and received a friendly helpful response fast. I see a lot of complaints here about customer service but things must have changed. It was quick.

    Product- I’m using the torrent proxy. It took 3 minutes to download and it came with a preset U torrent so I didn’t have to take any time to do. Also shows you it’s working so you never have to worry.

    Download speed- WOW!! I have a really weak IP provider that says it does 8-12 mb a second. Every speed check shows it’s actually 2.5 mb a second. Before installing BT GUARD, a 1 GB movies would download at 70 kb a second and take anywhere from 4 to 6 hours depending on speed. With BT GUARD, the longest a download has taken me for a 1.5 GB has been 2 hours. 750 MB’S 45 minutes.

    I don’t work for them but after buying other VPN’s that only worked part of the time, I switched. I could not be happier.

    Been using it for about 6 months, if anything it seems to have gotten faster in the last month, perhaps they are responding to complaints by improving the service, if not responding to individuals.

    I had used the service for a couple of years and it worked fine. I was paying monthly. In July 2013 I decided to go yearly. After 2 months (just enough time so a Paypal complaint can’t be filed) my account was suspended. I have filed a dozen tickets but can get no action or response from support. Support tickets are either deleted or ignored. Very frustrating

    One tip here for when the service isn’t working well is to pick specific IP addresses to enter into the utorrent client rather than proxy.btguard.com. This website will list all the ones currently found.

    http://mxtoolbox.com/SuperTool.aspx?action=a%3aproxy.btguard.com

    They seem to have fixed the issue of non-working ones which resulted in simply the service not working half the time if one simply entered “proxy.btguard.com” into their torrent client back last winter.

    I tried BTGuard for some months. Works fine but you are not connectable on some (most?) trackers.

    Support tells:
    “Unfortunately, when using a proxy or a VPN, incoming connections are not allowed for security reasons as there are risks of leaking your real IP. This results in peers not being able to establish a connection to you (a connection to other peers is possible only if your torrent client establishes it). This means uploads will be slower especially when the torrent file is finished downloading.”

    And this is supposed to be a good VPN for bittorrenting?

    have just paid for 6 months, they only gave me 3 months, iv sent 6 e mails with not one response have now opened a paypal dispute, very poor customer service, DONT BOTHER WITH THESE, GO TO SOMEONE ELSE, THEY STEEL YOUR MONEY

    I understand the complaints about the customer service. I had their proxy for a year and at one point I sent them a general inquiry and never received a response. However, it worked flawlessly and my torrent activities remained anonymous. I stepped up to the VPN about a month ago and absolutely love it! Constant connectivity with multiple PCs and not one problem as of yet. Your speed will be reduced but that should be expected. (Especially if you have Comcast). I average 5 Mb down via toast when connected to the VPN and 12 Mb exposed. Fine for what I need!

    Great support. It didn’t work once installled but helpdesk sent to me detail instruction how to fix it. I just followed step by step and it worked perfectly on win 8 with utorrent.

    I’ve had BTGuard Bittorrent proxy for more than a year now. There was a period early on where service was finicky, but in the past 9 months, I haven’t had a single hiccup. I set up u Torrent once and forget it! My school is strict on torrent traffic and I definitely needed a Torrent proxy and/or VPN. I haven’t tried BTGuard’s VPN. Torrent Proxy speeds with BtGuard are very good. on a good torrent I may normally average 1.5 MB/s. With BTGuard I can get that but average is around 1.2MB/s (small decrease – acceptable). I’m not sure what the Mbits per second are (speedtest.net doesn’t test torrent traffic to my knowledge). Everyone is correct about customer support. It’s pretty much an automated set up and I’ve never actually contacted by a human being though I’ve tried a few times. But I accept that and have grown to like it. Would recommend.

    I had BTGuard for 6 months. Three months it did not work at all, nomather what i tried. Their helpdesk is shit. …What helpdesk??? I – and many users whit me (check Google) – send emails to their helpdesk and never get a response.

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