BTGuard has been endorsed by TorrentFreak, a privacy activist website. Based in Canada, the company is not bound by data retention laws, meaning you are able to participate in activities online without fear of being tracked or traced. Because there are no logs kept, there is nothing to hand over to authorities should they come knocking.
Upon our test of BTGuard, we found that the service is somewhat basic, but definitely usable. Security and privacy and speed tests were all ranked very high on our list. Even if the service did not blow us away, we were satisfied with the features and security that we were provided with. Overall, we recommend BTGuard as a VPN service provider.
Note: Recently, BTGuard made a drastic error in storing user passwords in a text file and mailing them to customers. This is a grievous error and one that we do not take lightly. Although we recommend the service based on our experience with the software, we do suggest that there are other VPN service providers that may be more desirable.
BTGuard offers two distinct services to its customers. There is no free trial offered, nor is there a money back guarantee.
- BitTorrent Proxy – This package is charged at a rate of $6.95 every 30 days
- VPN – This package is charged at a rate of $9.95 every 30 days
The BitTorrent package is offered specifically for users who want to download files securely and privately. The service assigns proxy IP addresses and an encryption package. There are instructions for manually configuring the client. This package is not a VPN and is only suggested for people who wish to download torrents.
The full VPN package is designed for customers who wish to conduct their online activities with privacy and security. It’s fairly simple, offering OpenVPN encryption. There are servers in Asia, Europe and Canada.
Customer support offered by BTGuard is basic. There is no chat available. Instead, users send questions via an email ticket system. We received a response fairly quickly, but we do not know if this is always the case.
Privacy and Security
While we did find the software slightly underwhelming, we continued our testing and found the privacy and security offered by the software to be above average. The company does not log the activity of its users, but it does keep personal information for the purposes of billing.
The company utilizes 256-bit AES encryption, which we consider to be high. OpenVPN is standard, making the software incredibly secure. If you can live with a basic service, BTGuard’s attention to security makes it a great choice.
The BTGuard Website
The BTGuard website is lackluster. For those who choose products based on visual first impressions, we can understand why many people pass BTGuard by. There is a generic interface used for the FAQ and, although it is full of information, it does not mesh with the rest of the site. Everything that a potential user needs to know is located on the site, but it lacks a professional feel.
Signing up for BTGuard is easy to do. The only personal information required is an email address and payment details. Users are able to pay via major credit card, Bitcoin or PayPal; there are no other payment choices.
Unlike some other providers that install software for you, BTGuard is installed manually, following a guide. We found installation to be easy enough, if not a bit clunky. If you want to connect to servers other than the default server, you will need to download config files for Hong Kong, Canada, or Europe servers yourself.
Before you can run the software, you need to edit OpenVPN properties as an administrator. This was not difficult, but we would prefer that it wasn’t made necessary. To begin using the VPN service, you right click on the icon and click on Connect. When you are connected, the icon on your task bar turns green.
BTGuard is compatible with Windows, Linus and OSX. There are also set up guides for installing PPTP on the same platforms. There are no instructions for setting up the software on any other platforms.
What we like about BTGuard:
- No logs kept
- Standard 256-bit encryption
- Multiple servers
- High speeds
- Bitcoin accepted
What we don’t like about BTGuard:
- Very basic provider
- Website does not inspire confidence in the software
- No instructions for Android set up
- Recent lapse of security
Overall, BTGuard is a very simple service that provides a high level of security. If it weren’t for the recent release of customer email addresses, we would not hesitate to offer our recommendation for this VPN service provider. As it stands, we cannot overlook this grievous lapse in security. If we were recommending based on features alone, BTGuard is an excellent choice. With the recent error, we feel that there are better service providers available.