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Buffered Review

Buffered

BestVPN.com Score 9.5 out of 10
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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.

VPN Stats

  • Server Locations 45
  • Average Speed 22.66 Mbit/s
  • Simultaneous Connections 5
  • Jurisdiction Gibraltar

Likes

  • 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

Dislikes

  • Rather expensive if you subscribe for one month only (but better value if purchased yearly)
  • Some connection logs

Features

Total servers 150
Countries 45
Simultaneous connections 5
Bare metal or virtual servers Combination
Router Support
Routers Supported DD-WRT
Allows torrenting
Port forwarding
Port selection

Supported platforms

Windows
MacOS
iOS
Android
Linux
Windows Phone

Protocols offered

PPTP
L2TP/IPsec
SSTP
IKEv2
OpenVPN

Privacy

Jurisdiction Gibraltar
Logs Traffic
Logs Connections
Logs Timestamps
Logs Bandwidth
Logs IP Address
Logs Aggregated or Anonymized Data
Website tracking? Google Analytics

Performance

BestVPN.com SpeedTest (max/burst) 122.8
BestVPN.com SpeedTest (average) 22.66
Data limits
Bandwidth limits
IPv4 leak detected?
IPv6 leak detected?

Payment

Visa/MasterCard
Amex
Cryptocurrency

Security

Kill Switch
Obfuscation (stealth)
Self-hosted/Proxied DNS Yes
IPv4 leak protection
IPv6 leak protection
WebRTC leak protection

Support

Free trial No
24-hour support
Live chat support
Money-back Guarantee
Money back guarantee length 30

Unblocks:

Netflix
iPlayer

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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.

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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.

Speed and performance

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. 

Screen Shot 2018 03 15 At 09

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.

Price

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.

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.

Ease of use

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.

Customer service

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.

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Privacy and security

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 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

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.

Final thoughts

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.

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