VPN Review: TorGuard VPN
TorGuard's name might conjure up a very famous purple onion, however, the service has nothing to do with either the network or Tor browser. Instead, the first syllable of its name refers back to the torrent file format, which has seen widespread usage in P2P downloading. Not only does the service promise to erase any traces of having engaged in such downloads, it also offers more.
What Is TorGuard VPN?
TorGuard is an American VPN service that made its market appearance in 2012 offering applications for Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, and iOS, as well as browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox. We tried out its Windows client and Android app to let you know whether TorGuard is a reliable choice in the hotly-contested VPN market.
Pros and Cons
Offers plenty of settings
Clunky user interface
Has not undergone any independent security audits
Access to streaming servers costs extra
Installation and Features
You can find all available TorGuard clients, including older and beta versions, on the provider's website. It is possible to purchase pre-configured TorGuard routers or media players, such as Amazon's Firestick through PrivateRouter, or to set these up manually.
All of TorGuard's apps can be downloaded directly from its website.
TorGuard's desktop client is not going to win any beauty contests. While most other VPN services from our sample flaunt their elegant user interfaces, TorGuard's approach is more utilitarian. In its interface, you'll find a "Connection" button, a protocol selection window, and a server list, as well as options for automatically establishing a connection when launching the service.
Login data is only requested the first time you want to create a VPN tunnel:
Save your login data when you first connect so that you won't have to input it in the future.
It's possible to sort and filter servers from the list according to a number of criteria. You won't be able to mark favorites or find any information about how a particular server is performing, but, your most-used servers will be displayed in their own category.
In the server list, you can select the location you'd like to create a VPN tunnel with.
To access Settings, click on "more Settings". Tinkerers will find plenty of nice options here, however, some common features, such as split tunneling, are missing.
There are auto-start settings and a kill switch ("App Kill") for configuring which apps should automatically be closed if your VPN connection is interrupted. The ability to select specific apps is practical, since closing a torrent program is more important than a music-streaming one. Should you want a classic kill switch, this can be found in the "Network" tab.
TorGuard only comes with a handful of pre-configured features, but does offer tinkerers the ability to customize these to their preferences.
One of TorGuard's most interesting features is the ability to execute scripts before and after connections have been established. In this way, it's possible to start certain programs only after a VPN tunnel has been created and to automatically close them when you disconnect from the VPN.
Scripts allow you to set what should automatically happen before and after you've established a connection.
DNS settings are particularly extensive, making it possible to select different DNS providers or update your DNS cache whenever a connection exists.
If desired, you can purchase dedicated IP addresses, for optimizing performance. Unfortunately, this is made more complicated than necessary. During the ordering process, you can add one of these by clicking on "Configurable Options", but purchasing them later in the customer area doesn't appear to be possible.
Purchasing a dedicated IP address helps to surf faster and with added stability.
The frustration we felt when searching for the option to purchase a dedicated IP address is a nice metaphor for our experience with TorGuard. Users who are accustomed to the straightforward and intuitive interfaces of other providers will likely find TorGuard's interface a real hassle to navigate. The service caters to tinkerers who want to customize their VPN connections and don't mind taking a few extra minutes to configure all settings to their exact liking.
Unfortunately, features offered by other providers such as split tunneling, which allows you to pick and choose which services use your VPN tunnel, and which don't, or multi-hop (routing your connection through multiple servers) are nowhere to be found.
Like its desktop counterpart, TorGuard's smartphone app is not a work of art, but at least offers a nice selection of interesting features. Android users can take advantage of "Always On" to stay permanently connected to a VPN.
A few other features missing on the desktop also make an appearance in the mobile version, such as the ability to mark favorites, or use split tunneling ("Restricted Apps"). As the name implies, the latter operates around excluding apps from using your VPN connection.
TorGuard's smartphone app is also a bit of an eyesore.
Anyone looking for a basic VPN should avoid TorGuard. The clunky user interface is too difficult to navigate, particularly if you aren't going to use the extra settings that this accommodates. The absence of important features like split tunneling, multi-hop, or pre-configured security settings are all offered by other, more easy-to-use VPNs.
On the other hand, if you want to personalize your VPN connection, tinker with DNS settings, execute user-defined scripts, or control a super-charged kill switch, TorGuard could be right up your alley. Whatever the case, it would be nice for the service to package these features more aesthetically and intuitively.
Score: 3 / 5
TorGuard operates more than 3,000 servers across 68 locations in 50 countries. Like most VPN providers, the majority of these are in Europe and North America, along with a smattering of servers in Asia, Australia, and New Zealand. Only a few are offered in South America (Brazil and Chile), Africa (South Africa), and the Middle East (Israel and UAE).
All available servers can be found listed on TorGuard's website.
Even though the number of countries serviced by TorGuard is less impressive than the size of its network, the latter is still decent.
Score: 4 / 5
The speed of all VPNs which we tested was evaluated using a server in Europe with a 1 GB/s connection. We assessed random TorGuard servers in the US and Germany at different times of the day to more accurately gauge their speeds and performance. More information concerning our methodology can be found in our VPN speed test.
The table below shows the average results from the last 365 days, arranged in order of download and upload speed (descending).
With a download speed of 166.5 MB/s and an upload speed of 16.3 MB/s, TorGuard took a very respectable sixth place in our speed test.
The chart below shows TorGuard's average speeds over the past months.
Our surfing experience with TorGuard was also solid. As soon as a connection was established, we could rely on it. We didn't have to complete any annoying captchas, a moderately common VPN side effect. It took a few seconds longer than usual to create connections owing to a conflict between our drivers and the protocols we had selected. When closing a VPN tunnel, the program froze for a few moments as well.
We didn't have any success watching foreign content on any video streaming platforms. Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, and the BBC's iPlayer all ferreted out our VPN tunnel. Likely, the dedicated streaming IPs which must be purchased separately, perform better, but plenty of other VPNs allowed us to access streaming content with their regular subscriptions.
Similarly, as we were unable to create a connection from China, the service also doesn't seem to be any help in circumventing the "Great Firewall."
In sum, TorGuard offers good speeds as well as stable and reliable connections. At the same time, the inability to stream foreign content (without subscription add-ons) or circumvent the "Great Firewall" were both disappointing.
Score: 3.3 / 5
Security and Privacy
While a number of other VPN providers are located in countries like Panama or the British Virgin Islands, making it possible for them to ignore court orders from abroad, TorGuard is located in the United States, which isn't ideal for a VPN. Concretely, this means that user data can be demanded by the government or authorities, and must be furnished. So long as no user data is collected, or an absolute minimum, this is less of an issue.
With that said, TorGuard scores owing to its bountiful configuration options and integrated protection against IPv6 and WebRTC leaks. As might be expected, the provider waltzed through our VPN leak tests (IPv6, DNS, and WebRTC).
We were unable to identify any leaks during testing.
TorGuard allows users to take security into their own hands.
In terms of security, TorGuard is as good or as bad as you make it. The service doesn't come with any standard or default security options, meaning that less-experienced users will likely be overwhelmed with all of the settings. For the more experienced, the ability to fine-tune connection security is certainly welcome.
The only glaring negative is the absence of an independent security audit, as we like to see every VPN provider offer this.
Score: 3.3 / 5
TorGuard's website offers a relatively comprehensive help area with FAQs, a knowledge base, YouTube tutorials, and a forum. For a more human touch, support tickets and a live chat are also offered.
The provider promises 24/7 support, however, their live chat isn't always online. We spent an entire Friday afternoon waiting for the live chat to come online, without anything to show for it. Oddly enough, on the same day, our support ticket was answered within an hour.
The help center provides a nice selection of support content.
Overall, TorGuard did alright in terms of support thanks to its well-equipped help center and fast response times. Our only complaint is that more transparency (or honesty?) would be nice regarding the live chat. Of course, we don't expect support to immediately respond at 1:42 AM on a Sunday morning, but Friday afternoon should be covered.
Score: 4.3 / 5
TorGuard's pricing system is about as clunky as its apps, owing to the variety of packages on offer, each of which has different add-ons and features. In general, three subscriptions are available: Anonymous VPN, Streaming Bundle, and Business VPN. While assessing the service, there was also a Black Friday Bundle, even though Black Friday had come and gone a few months earlier.
It's possible to choose from additional options within each package, such as Anonymous VPN Pro, which includes a dedicated IP address. Add-ons can be purchased individually. The amount you pay for a package or bundle, depends entirely upon the length of your contract (monthly, quarterly, half-year, yearly, 2-year, or 3-year).
The entire pricing and ordering system is unnecessarily convoluted. For a clearer overview of current prices, check out the table below:
|VPN||VPN Pro||VPN Premium|
|Effective monthly price||from $3.89||from $6.94||from $6.94|
|Contract period (months)||1 - 36||1 - 36||1 - 36|
|Number of Devices||8||12||30|
|Number of servers||3,000||3,000||3,000|
|Number of countries||50||50||50|
|No server logs|
Payment can be made with credit cards, Amazon Pay, and even cryptocurrency or gift cards. For those who want to pay anonymously, the last two are certainly big advantages.
No trial version of TorGuard is offered, however, you can get your money back after seven days if you're not completely satisfied with the service.
Let's make one thing clear: TorGuard is not the best option for recreational VPN users. The usability of its boxy interface is fairly low, and its wealth of settings and options won't be appreciated by those using a VPN for everyday tasks. If you want to stream foreign content, you'll need to purchase one of the bundles that offer dedicated streaming servers, somewhat defeating the purpose of a VPN in the first place.
If none of the above has put you off too much, you'll get a VPN that includes extensive DNS options, the ability to execute user-defined scripts, and plenty of settings to tweak to your heart's content. Should you want more control over your VPN tunnel than what others offer, TorGuard's no-frills service might be just what you're after.
To find out what users really think about TorGuard VPN, we compiled a number of reviews from validated aggregators and portals.
You're on the hunt for a VPN that offers lots of settings, but is more user-friendly than TorGuard? Look no further than hide.me, which combines ease of use with plenty of customization options.
Or maybe performance is more important to you, and you don't think you should have to pay on top of a subscription to stream content from abroad? NordVPN, the winner of our speed test, does all of the above, and more.
The best alternatives to TorGuard can be found here:
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