Buffered is a Virtual Private Network (VPN) that has been around since the middle of 2013. It is an outstanding, Hungary-based VPN that is dedicated to privacy. Buffered VPN runs on easy-to-use software that is available for Windows and Mac.
At the moment, you can also use Buffered on Android and iOS using the excellent third party OpenVPN software. However, there is good news in this department too: Buffered has just finished developing mobile clients and has begun testing them!
Overall, this is a fast VPN that is perfect for streaming in HD. It is highly secure and provides strong OpenVPN encryption on all platforms. There is little to complain about with this fully featured VPN, which is exceptionally good value for money. So, let’s dive in and take a closer look!
Buffered VPN’s Pricing and Plans
Buffered VPN, like most Virtual Private Networks nowadays, has three payment plans. All three plans offer exactly the same level of service. The only difference comes in the form of a discount for people who commit for a longer period of time.
Buffered starts at $12.99 for a one-month subscription, which for the level of service certainly isn’t expensive. However, it becomes much more reasonable when you commit for six months – $59.94 (the equivalent of $9.99 per month).
For those who can afford it, the best value for money comes in the form of a yearly subscription. This will cost you $99.00, so just $8.25 per month. That really is incredible value, and because Buffered provides such a superb service, a yearly subscription is highly recommended.
What’s more, Buffered VPN has a 30-day money-back guarantee, which allows anybody to test the service for up to ten hours, to make sure that it does everything they need it for.
Subscribers can pay via Paypal, Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express and Diners Club. Sadly, Buffered does not accept Bitcoins at the moment.
- 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
- Fantastic software
- Quite expensive if you subscribe for one month only (but superb value if purchased yearly)
Buffered VPN Features
Buffered is based in Hungary, which is excellent for privacy and means that it does not suffer from mandatory data retention laws. In addition, being in Hungary keeps it well out of reach of the Five Eyes surveillance agreement.
Buffered has high-speed servers in 37 countries. Those servers are located on every continent, which makes them perfect for unblocking different kinds of website content from around the world. What’s more, Buffered makes no specific demands of its subscribers, and permits torrenting (P2P) on all its servers.
Five Simultaneous Devices
Users can connect up to five devices to Buffered at the same time – which is a lot. In addition, Buffered subscribers can download and install the software on as many devices as they like. That makes Buffered a fantastic VPN for families who have multiple PCs, smart TVs, tablets and smartphone devices.
Buffered handles encryption using the industry-leading protocol, OpenVPN. In addition, users get to select between User Datagram Protocol (UDP) as standard or Transmission Control Protocol (TCP).
In addition, Buffered permits users to select from multiple port forwarding options: 53, 443, 993, and 1194. This is excellent and means that subscribers can use TCP on port 443 for getting around firewalls.
Buffered allows consumers to set up the VPN so that it auto connects to the last server that they connected to.
Port Discovery Mode
Port discovery mode is a feature that is unique to Buffered. It allows users to scan WiFi networks for open ports. The result is that Buffered users can connect to WiFi in hotels and other places without the need of a password from reception. To use it, go to “Settings” and click on “Test Firewall.”
For this reason, Buffered is a superb VPN for staying secure on public WiFi and is particularly well suited to business people and travelers. However, do bear in mind that (for now) the feature is on Mac and Windows only.
Are Buffered VPNs Secure & Private?
Buffered has a no usage logs policy, which means that it cannot directly access records of what individual consumers have done online. In addition, Buffered has cleverly positioned its central servers in the Netherlands.
This location means that Buffered is not likely to receive a warrant asking it to provide records. Furthermore, even if it was asked for those usage records, it doesn’t have them to hand over. Consider that the private search engine StartPage (endorsed by Edward Snowden) keeps its servers in the Netherlands, and you get the picture!
Buffered keeps some minimal connection logs for internal use. These are the user’s IP address, time of connection, and duration of the connection. This does mean that a time correlation attack could be mounted on the service.
However, this is a very technical process that would only ever be carried out by intelligence agencies looking for someone who had committed a substantial crime. As such, most people are perfectly safe using Buffered.
What’s more, Buffered only keeps those connection logs for 30 days. After that, they are deleted. Thus even a time correlation attack would only be able to target a user’s IP address for 30 days, which is excellent.
Buffered provides OpenVPN on all platforms. In addition, I am happy to say that it is implemented to standards that are considered highly secure.
The control channel runs on: AES-256 for data encryption, SHA1 for keyed-hash message authentication code (HMAC) authentication, and a robust RSA 2048 for handshake. The data channel is secured with Blowfish (BF) 256 cipher and SHA1.
Both channels are secure, and because a hacker would need to penetrate the strong control channel before they could even have a go at hacking the BF256 cipher on the data channel, OpenVPN encryption with Buffered is definitively secure.
I like the Buffered website because it isn’t overly boastful and doesn’t lie. This is something of a rarity in the VPN industry. It is a clear website that is forthcoming with details and is pleasing to look at. I found the infographics to be absolutely top quality.
At the top of each page there are quick navigation links to: Take a Tour, Pricing, Support, Contact, Login, and the Get Buffered subscription page.
Take a Tour is a fabulous resource that is split into six different sections, all which do a great job of explaining important aspects of the service. For anyone who requires more in-depth knowledge, the Questions and Support links on the website link to an FAQ section with plenty of valuable information.
It is here that you will also find Buffered VPN’s incredibly useful setup guides, for all the most popular platforms. In fact, the blog section has well over 100 top-notch articles to help people with any info they might need. A truly astounding resource.
Finally, at the bottom of each page, there are also links to tutorials, which will help people with different platforms find the guides they need quickly and efficiently.
One you have subscribed, the dashboard appears. This gives users full access to the website’s resources. Here you can change your password, make payments for plans, and input any data you wish into your profile.
Buffered VPN Support
Customer support at Buffered is among the best I have ever experienced. The website has 24/7 live chat support to help you with any issue you might have. Buffered has trained its customer support agents well. They are always available quickly, and have all the knowledge necessary to help you with any issues you might have.
The combination of live chat support and a fantastic FAQ area allows the agents to quickly direct users to the help they require. In addition, the agents help to walk you through everything if necessary, rather than trying to process you as quickly as possible.
Having 24/7 help when you don’t know how to access or unblock something is great. The Buffered staff are also happy to check online to find the solution for you if they don’t know something.
Signing up to Buffered is extremely easy. All you need to do is fill out the form with your real (or fake) username, an email address for verification, a password, and payment through a credit card or PayPal. Once you have subscribed, Buffered will send you an email to confirm that the subscription went through. At this stage, you can log in, fill in your profile (also with fake details if you prefer), and download the Buffered software for Mac or Windows.
Of course, if you want to use Buffered on Android or iOS, you will need to click through to the links I have just provided to get the third party software. To get that software working, simply chat to Buffered on the 24/7 live chat!
The Buffered VPN Client for Windows
I was able to test the Windows client thoroughly. I have also spoken with a Mac user who assures me that the client is identical on Mac. As such, you can consider this review to be true of that client too.
The software downloads very quickly and installs without fuss. When it asks if you want to install the latest OpenVPN Tap drivers (virtual ethernet), select “yes,” because you need them. Once you have installed it, you will only need to log in once, because you can check a box that remembers your password for ease of use.
Due to the fact that there is also an “Auto Connect” feature (in settings), this means that you will be able to connect to your favorite server by just double clicking on Buffered on your desktop (once it is set up).
The Buffered client is simple to use, looks great and has all the necessary features just a click away. It comes set to OpenVPN UDP by default. However, you can alter this to TCP if you require better security. Furthermore, you can change port if you wish (which is great for obfuscating OpenVPN traffic as regular HTTPS on port 443).
For most people, the original settings are fine. Thus all that is necessary is to look through the server list and click Connect on the server that you require.
Connecting takes around 20 seconds max. As soon as you are connected, the client gives you plenty of highly useful information.
I love that Buffered has a built-in downloads speed test, which allows you to check the speed of your data traffic both inside and outside of the VPN tunnel. This is an unusual but highly useful addition.
It would be nice to see a dedicated per-app kill switch in the client. However, this is a minor quibble and I really did enjoy using the Buffered software, which I found to be both fast and reliable. I used Buffered to stream HD videos for several hours without any trouble whatsoever.
Performance (Speed, DNS, WebRTC, and IPv6 Tests)
I tested Buffered using testmy.net on a 50 Mbps fiber connection. I performed the UK and Netherlands tests from a UK-based test server, and I tested the US east coast server using a New York test server.
As you can see, all of the servers performed well enough to stream in HD. In fact, speeds were nothing short of outstanding and would definitely be good enough for even the most data-intensive of tasks.
The graphs show highest, lowest, and average speeds for each server and location. See our full speed test explanation for more detail.
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.
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 about to be tested. For now, Buffered can be used on iOS and Android by using third party OpenVPN software. In addition, there are also setup guides that explain how to set up Buffered VPN on many different devices.
I tested an OpenVPN connection on my Android device and found connection speeds to be identical to when I used the custom client on my Windows PC.
Buffered VPN Review: Conclusion
- Best customer support on the market
- Central server in the Netherlands
- Useful port scanning feature
- Stylish and instinctive apps across platforms
- Lightning fast connection speeds
- Servers in 37 countries
- 24/7 live chat customer support
- Active development team
- Unblocks Netflix US
- Unblocks BBC iPlayer
I wasn’t so sure about:
- Lack of kill switch
- Doesn’t accept Bitcoin payment
Buffered VPN is an absolutely fantastic Virtual Private Network that delivers exactly what so many VPNs promise to deliver but completely fail to do. Connection speeds are excellent and permit their users to enjoy internet freedom to the max. Servers are located all over the world, and Buffered even promises to add servers upon request should users need them!
With a 30-day money back guarantee on offer (which is valid for ten hours of VPN use), it is easy to trial Buffered risk-free. 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, a formidable VPN that is well worth the money if you commit for a year.