Pricing & Plans
Buffered is like most other providers starting at a slightly above average $12.99, with three plan iterations. The latter two provide a discount if you sign up for longer than the initial month. Subscribing for six months drops the price down to $9.99. While the yearly plan provides the best value for $8.25.
While the pricing is slightly aggressive, to begin with (assuming you don’t opt for the more reasonable yearly price), you’re still covered by a by a 30-day risk-free money back guarantee. You may pay using any major credit card, save Amex, or using PayPal. It ‘d be nice to see a Bitcoin option turn up at some point in the future to allow for more user anonymity while purchasing the service.
- Speedy & Reliable
- Netflix OK
- P2P OK
- Handy Tutorials
- Intuitive & Stylish VPN Clients
- A Tad Pricey
Buffered operates out of Hungary, meaning it’s comfortably out of the DRD and the Surveillance axis between Five Eyes countries. You may connect up to five devices to Buffered at one time, but download the software on as many devices as you wish. This means you could theoretically connect a PC, Smart TV, tablet, smartphone – and still share a connection with your spouse or children.
Buffered’s server network currently covers 39 countries, though the development team is constantly adding new servers as per and independently of customer requests.
A useful feature Buffered offers that you won’t find much elsewhere is port discovery. The VPN client will auto-scan and crack firewalls such as what you’d find in a hotel or and airport. The function effectively searches for open ports to run OpenVPN over. It’s particularly useful to travelers – let’s say when the airport you’re in has WiFi for Business class customers only – allowing you to at the very least skip asking for a password. If this sounds good, keep reading this Buffered VPN review, or take a look at a one of the grooviest VPNs around.
Security & Privacy
Buffered offers up some decent, if not exactly world-beating encryption, though it should be more than enough for most users considering the fabulous speed we’ll cover further below. OpenVPN runs with a control channel suite of AES256 for data encryption, SHA1 for HMAC authentication and a sturdy RSA 2048 for handshaking. The data channel is a bit more stock, using BF128 and SHA1.
Buffered keeps no data logs. However, there are some connection logs kept for up to a month. While it isn’t the most pleasing thing to see, many competitors also keep some logs for troubleshooting and customer services purposes. So everyone, save those most concerned with anonymity, likely won’t find this much of an issue.
Buffered’s website is straightforward and clean without excess link clutter. The top navigation has quick links to Pricing, Support, and Contact pages, as well as the customer dashboard. You can also quickly download the Buffered apps through the link shown below.
Alternatively, you can always find download links in the subscriber dashboard. You may also handle billing, or directly contact support. It’s nice to see a functional but not overly salesy website, especially once you’ve already subscribed – as many providers tend to push upgrades annoyingly – after you’ve signed up.
Buffered also has a useful blog with service updates and articles on safeguarding your privacy and efficiently using a VPN, as well as further industry news. Facebook and Twitter are also updated periodically.
Buffered doesn’t currently offer LiveChat, though it was rumored to be on the cards the last time we reviewed the service. While writing this Buffered VPN review, we had the chance to test their ticket based support, which is 24/7 and claims to only take minutes to receive a response from. True to their word, after submitting our query we received a personalized answer within minutes. Overall we found the Buffered support team to be efficient, caring, polite, and knowledgeable, which was fantastic to see!
There are also plentiful and copiously detailed (without overwhelming) setup tutorials on everything from Windows to Pfsense, to setting up a VPN on a DD-WRT router.
Signing up is as easy as filling out your real or fake username, password, and payment through a credit card or PayPal. Just download the client most relevant to you once that’s resolved, or follow the instructions in your setup email, which should be shortly after registering.
The Buffered VPN client for Windows
Buffered’s Windows app was clearly designed to feel like a modern piece of tech, instead of the sometimes intimidating VPN clients found with some providers. You may mess around with presets by tapping open the connection option tab located at the bottom portion of the app. There are also options for auto-login and auto-connect. There is also the option to toggle between TCP or UDP, or toggle either one’s port settings.
Connecting or disconnecting to a server is simply a matter of tapping whichever country you’d like. There’s a handy and entirely accurate real-time speed statistics block dead center in the app, so you don’t have to run external speed tests if you don’t feel like it. The stats weren’t far off from what I found in testing, as I’ll cover in the next section.
It would be nice to see future updates include a dedicated killswitch, but other than that, top marks for the Buffered Windows VPN client. You can see the Port Discovery feature in use below.
Performance (Speed, DNS, WebRTC and IPv6 Tests)
Speeds were consistently good to great throughout this Buffered VPN review testing. The UK and NL servers both fetched a handsome 10 to 13 MBPS on average. Most impressively, US servers only had a 3MBPS dropoff from the testing speed, averaging roughly 8 MBPS versus 11 MBPS control. Altogether, the speeds should be more than enough for P2P filesharing, HD streaming, and browsing purposes.
Graphs show highest, lowest and average speeds for each server and location. See our full speed test explanation for more detail.
Thankfully, there aren’t any DNS leaks to report. Though it’s a good idea to run periodic tests to make sure everything is in working order. You may use ipleak.net to check DNS leaks and the WebRTC Bug, while test-ipv6.com looks for IPv6 leaks. There’s also doileak.net, combining bits and pieces of the other two tests, for further testing. Buffered’s performance is nothing short of superb, and easily considerable as a noteworthy selling or buying point.
Buffered provides bespoke apps for Windows, Mac OSX, and Linux There are also setup guides on configuring your Buffered VPN for a whole range of other devices.
OpenVPN ran at almost the same speeds as during Windows testing. There was an understandable drop-off when switching from WiFi to 3G or 4G. A dedicated Android app is likely forthcoming. Hopefully, soon to be followed by an iOS counterpart.
Buffered VPN Review Conclusion
- Useful Port Scanning Feature
- Stylish & Instinctive Apps Across Platforms
- Above Average Speed & Reliability
- Servers in 39 Countries
- 24/7 Customer Support
I wasn’t so sure about
- No LiveChat Support
- Lack of Killswitch
- Doesn’t accept Bitcoin Payment
Buffered VPN is a stylish provider with an excellent Windows client that comfortably ranks among the best. Speeds are consistently fast (stratospheric, at times). Furthermore, ease of use from setup to VPN-enabled browsing and streaming is nearly unparalleled. While a few anonymity-centric might well improve the service, there’s already a dynamite offering in place. Take advantage of a VPN provider worth the name and try out Buffered’s 30-day money back guarantee using the link below.