Buffered Review

Buffered

  • Pricing

    From $7.62 / month
  • Available On

    • Windows
    • MacOS
    • Android
    • Linux
    • iOS
  • Features

    • Torrenting
    • Money-back Guarantee
    • Live chat
    • Netflix
ProPrivacy.com Score 8 out of 10
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Summary

Buffered is a VPN provider that was founded in 2013. It is a premium VPN service based in Gibraltar that has servers in 45 countries. Considering what you get, it is a somewhat overpriced VPN. On the plus side, however, it is fast enough for streaming and is one of the few VPNs that still unblocks streaming services from around the world. In addition, Buffered VPN provides robust OpenVPN encryption - making it ideal for most people’s privacy requirements. In this Buffered VPN review, we take an in-depth look at the service and ask is it value for money?

VPN Stats

  • Simultaneous connections 5
  • Jurisdiction Gibraltar
  • Countries 37
  • ProPrivacy.com SpeedTest (average) 22.66 Mbps

Price

Buffered can be purchased in three different plans - a monthly, yearly, or two-year subscription. Those plans all provide the same level of service, with the same features. The only difference comes in the form of a discount for subscribers who commit for a longer period of time.

At $12.99 for a single month, Buffered is a very expensive option. There are plenty of cheap VPN services out there that provide a similar service (and some that are better too) for a fraction of that price.

Admittedly the VPN does get cheaper if you commit for a year or two. However, the equivalent of $6.59 per month on the yearly plan is still quite pricey. Overall, we would recommend taking the VPN upon its 2-year plan - because $4.12 per month is much more competitive.

Having said that, there are better options on the market so it is well worth shopping around and comparing this VPN to other services by taking advantage of the money-back guarantee.

Buffered VPN customers can elect to pay with Paypal, credit or debit cards, or with Bitcoins (for added anonymity). All subscribers get a 30-day money-back guarantee to test the service which is fantastic. Money-back guarantees and VPN free trials are perfect for trying VPNs out!

Supported Payment Platforms

Visa/MasterCard
Amex
Cryptocurrency


Unblock Netflix?

Buffered NordVPN ExpressVPN
Netflix
iPlayer

When it comes to streaming, Buffered VPN is a great option for most people. Not only does it provide privacy so that you can access websites like Putlockers or 123Movies - but it also unblocks many popular streaming services.

With Buffered you can also unblock Netflix US and watch BBC iPlayer abroad with ease. This VPN provides super-fast servers so you can stream in HD, and you don't have to worry about buffering.

Features

Our favorite features that Buffered VPN have are as follows: 

  1. Servers in 37 countries
  2. Apps for all platforms
  3. OpenVPN encryption
  4. TCP over port 443

Buffered NordVPN ExpressVPN
Windows
MacOS
Android
Linux
iOS
Windows Phone

Speed and Performance

The fastest VPNs on the market (Real-time speed tests)

We test Buffered VPN three times a day using our scientific server-based speed test system. To find average and top (burst) speeds we test the Hong Kong, US, UK, and Australian servers. We always test VPNs using the OpenVPN protocol in order to make the tests fair between providers. Below you can see how Buffered compares to a number of market-leading VPNs.

As you can see, Buffered falls closely in range with some of the best VPNs in the world. This is excellent and means that Buffered is definitely a quick service that will suit people who want to do a lot of streaming.

Having said that, there are faster services on the market that do cost less. And NordVPN, for example, which performs almost identically in terms of speeds - is both better for privacy and cheaper.

IP and DNS Leaks

We tested the Buffered clients to see if they suffered IP leaks on both IPv4 and IPv6. These tests were conducted in a private browsing window on Firefox using ipleak.net. Our tests revealed no IPv4 leaks whatsoever (no DNS, WebRTC or IP leaks).

On IPv6, however, we discovered WebRTC leaks on both Mac and Windows. This means that you will need to plug the leak manually by disabling IPv6 on your machine (or using a WebRTC block extension in your browser) in order to use this VPN with an IPv6 connection.

The IPv6 WebRTC leaks are slightly disappointing. However, they are quite common and because they can be patched up manually, quickly, and easily, we aren’t desperately concerned.

However, we would prefer the VPN provider to be more forthcoming about advertising the need to plug WebRTC leaks on IPv6 connections on its website - as this would help to ensure users are doing so.

Privacy

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

Being based in Gibraltar with offices in Hungary, this VPN is well out of reach of invasive jurisdictions like the US and the UK. Overall this is great for privacy and means that it is unlikely to ever be approached for logs. Buffered also has its main servers located in the Netherlands, which is a location specifically chosen by privacy services like StartPage (private search engine endorsed by Ed Snowden).

The VPN keeps no usage logs, which is a good start in terms of logging policies. However, the privacy policy does reveal that the VPN keeps a number of connection logs - which may put some people off. The most concerning of those logs are the user’s IP address, time of connection, and duration of the connection. We always recommend that you choose a service that keeps zero-logs or a least no logs that can be used to identify you, for privacy reasons. For information about this and for a list of five services that do not keep logs, see our best any log VPN guide.

Those details can be used to mount a time-correlation attack on the service, which means that this VPN can’t provide absolutely watertight privacy. Having said that, a time-correlation attack is pretty rare, and, is usually only ever carried out by the authorities when an especially big crime is being investigated. Thus, it is fair to say that for most people Buffered will provide digital privacy without too much concern.

However, a casual glance at the privacy policy shows that the VPN also collects quite a lot of data pertaining to people’s device and network information, this is far from ideal. 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."

That is a huge amount of data, which again is a little disappointing. However, it is true that Buffered allows consumers to opt-out of that data collection from inside the apps or via email. On the whole, we would prefer Buffered to stop collecting this data altogether - but at least the option to opt-out is there.

The privacy policy also discloses that aggregated data will be shared with business partners and advertisers. Again this is far from ideal, but at least the aggregated data does not disclose any personal information about anyone user to those companies.

Finally, to Buffered’s credit, the connection logs are only stored for 30 days. Thus, a time-correlation attack would only be able to target a user’s IP address for the last 30 days.

On the whole, considering the cost of this VPN, it would be nice if the logging policy never stored users’ IP addresses next to timestamps.

Encryption

Buffered NordVPN ExpressVPN
IKEv2
OpenVPN
PPTP
L2TP/IPsec
SSTP

Buffered provides OpenVPN, which is our recommended protocol, on both Mac and Windows. What’s more, Buffered implements OpenVPN to standards that are suitable for digital privacy purposes. The Open VPN implementation is as follows:

AES-256 cipher, SHA1 for HMAC authentication, and strong RSA 2048 for the handshake.

Although the SHA1 authentication method is the weakest part of the protocol, it is still considered secure at this moment in time. This means that Buffered will protect the data tunnel’s contents from intrusion. For more information about encryption please read our complete encryption guide.

Customer Support

Buffered NordVPN ExpressVPN
Money-back Guarantee
24-hour support
Live chat
Money back guarantee length 30 30 30
Free trial No Yes - 3 Days No

Buffered VPN is a service that has always impressed us in terms of customer support. The VPN makes the effort to train its customer support agents, and they always seem to have a reasonable knowledge of the VPN. However, when it comes to finding out more techy details (such as how OpenVPN is implemented - you will need to wait for them to refer to their technical support team).

Sadly, since we last reviewed this VPN, the service has removed the 24/7 live chat support facility from its website. This is really disappointing, especially considering the cost of a VPN subscription. However, the reality is that the ticket system works well - and Buffered does answer requests quickly.

User Experience

When it comes to the website and signing up, Buffered makes the experience extremely easy. The website is well laid out and there are lots of great resources such as a Knowledgebase with setup tutorials and Frequently Asked Questions. The contact area allows both subscribers and non-subscribers to pose questions, and when logged in to the member’s area users get a whole host of extra options - such as the ability to “download my data.” This is an easy and fast way to check what data about you the VPN is holding on file.

Windows App

Buffered's Windows VPN app is an easy to use VPN interface that comes with OpenVPN encryption by default. Subscribers get the option to select between OpenVPN TCP, which is better for security, and UDP which is faster and better for streaming. Users can also select to use OpenVPN TCP over port 443 which allows users to conceal VPN use as HTTPS traffic.

The app is nice looking and is easy to use, we are happy to report that it also includes a killswitch. That means it will provide privacy from your ISP even if the VPN connection should fail for some reason; this is excellent and means that the VPN is suitable for Torrenting via P2P.

Overall there was nothing about this VPN that frustrated me, other than the fact that it had IPv6 WebRTC leaks. However, this is easy to plug in just minutes by either disabling WebRTC altogether in your browser, downloading the handy Easy WebRTC Block extensions for Firefox or Chrome, or by disabling IPv6 connection altogether in Network and Sharing center.

Overall we found the VPN a pleasure to use because speeds were cracking and we were able to stream on multiple platforms with no issues.

Android App

Since we last reviewed Buffered it has released a custom Android VPN app(subscribers used to have to use the official third-party OpenVPN client). The addition of a proprietary mobile app is great, and we were extremely interested to give it a trial run!

OpenVPN is available by default in the client, which is nice to see. In addition, users can select between UDP or TCP over port 443 (which disguises OpenVPN as HTTPS). An auto-connect feature allows you to reconnect to the last server you used automatically.

Sadly, there is no killswitch available on the Android client at the moment. However, this isn’t too much of a disaster as most people don’t tend to do BitTorrent downloading on mobile. On the other hand, we did notice quite a few complaints on the Google PlayStore from subscribers that say the Android app is unstable and crashes a lot. This means you could end up leaking data to your ISP, which isn’t great for privacy.

We gave the Android client thorough testing for a couple of hours. We found the VPN a little slow to establish connections. We had to wait up to a minute, which is far from perfect. On certain servers (Bulgaria, for instance) the VPN failed to connect at all. On others, it connected in just 5 seconds. This is quite annoying.

We had a quick check for DNS leaks on our IPv4 connection and found there to be none. We were also happy to see DNS requests being handled by Buffered’s own server. Once a connection was established we found Buffered to work without issues and we found it really quick for streaming.

iOS app

Buffered VPN now also has an iOS VPN app. We found this app to perform much better than it’s Android counterpart. Connections were established almost instantly, which is great. However, we were unable to connect to the Bulgarian server (just like on Android). The good news is that all the other servers appeared to work fine, so the provider may just be having problems with that one server.

Encryption on the iOS app is provided via OpenVPN, which is actually quite rare. In addition, users can select between OpenVPN UDP or TCP over ports 53, 443, 993, or 1194. The option to select port 443 (for obfuscated connection) is an excellent addition.

Overall, we were impressed with both the ease-of-use and functionality of this iOS client. Speeds were great and we found the VPN to be stable.

Mac OS X

The Mac VPN desktop client is almost identical to its Windows counterpart. OpenVPN is available by default and a Killswitch is included in the client. An auto-connect feature lets Mac users connect to the VPN automatically as soon as it is launched. Users can also select to connect to OpenVPN using TCP or UDP over various ports (53, 443, 993, or 1194).

IPv6 WebRTC leaks were detected, which means that you will need to disable IPv6 (or disable WebRTC in your browser) in order to make this VPN secure. Overall, however, this is a superb client that functions with no issues.

Final Thoughts

Buffered VPN is a service that has a lot going for it. The addition of clients for all platforms is a welcome surprise, and, despite some complaints on the Play Store, we found mobile clients to work fine. On the other hand, we would recommend that you take those complaints seriously - because it is clear that some people are experiencing crashes that did not affect us during our tests.

The Desktop clients have a killswitch, which means that this VPN is suitable for Torrenting securely. In addition, this VPN provides fast speeds for streaming - and the ability to unblock popular services like Netflix and BBC iPlayer.

Servers in 37 countries allow subscribers to unblock a lot of content. However, considering the price of this VPN is a relatively small list of locations. In addition, the privacy policy leaves a lot to be desired.

We were also a little disappointed that Buffered does not have 24/7 live chat support, which, again, considering the cost of the VPN would be extremely welcome. On the other hand, we did find the ticket system to work fine, and the knowledge base is decent.

Buffered is not a terrible VPN by any stretch of the imagination. It does its job well and it provides fast speeds. However, to be absolutely honest, there are better ways to spend your money in 2019.

Written by: Ray Walsh

Digital privacy expert with 5 years experience testing and reviewing VPNs. He's been quoted in The Express, The Times, The Washington Post, The Register, CNET & many more. Ray is currently rated #4 VPN and #3 internet privacy authority by Agilience.com.

5 Comments

  1. Buffered User

    on June 13, 2018
    Reply

    Amazon Prime Video in the USA is blocked when using UDP port 443 and TCP port 443 from a MACBOOK PRO. Also, the Linux version of buffered using the 'openvpn --config /path/to/config.ovpn' command defaults to a 64-bit key which is a big no no. Buffered should fix that! When customer support was contacted they said they had not yet upgraded all servers, just some. In my testing none of their servers connected with a key larger than 64-bits! On Linux you have to use the command line to use buffered as there is no Linux client anymore. Not cool.

    1. Douglas Crawford replied to Buffered User

      on June 13, 2018
      Reply

      Hi Buffered User, We reached out to Buffered about this issue and received the following reply: "1. If they use openvpn 2.4 instead of 2.3 the key size will be bigger. This is up to the user. 2. Our config files and servers allow for both versions, so the user needs to use 2.4. However for compatibility issues, e.g. for some routers, we still support 2.3."

  2. mr jones

    on October 2, 2017
    Reply

    The Netflix and BBC iplayer are not unlocked - buffered user

    1. DarkOverlord replied to mr jones

      on March 22, 2018
      Reply

      Did you try clearing your browser's cache and cookies?

    2. Douglas Crawford replied to mr jones

      on October 3, 2017
      Reply

      Hi mr jones, I've passed this comm ent along to our tech team, who have told me that, "Netflix isn’t, bbc iplayer definitely is I use it weekly. Probably a cookie issue or something specifically about bbc iplayer detecting it."

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