Torguard, despite its name, is not affiliated with the Tor project. It was originally set up for torrentors, and has since expanded to include various privacy products. With a staggering 3,000+ servers and an overwhelming number of options, it’s one powerful bit of kit, but is it well-rounded enough to attract the masses? We put it through our rigorous testing.
- Above average speeds
- No logs
- Outside 14-eyes
- Torrenting on all servers
- Outstanding streaming access
- Very cheap
- Buggy with major connection issues
- Apps in alpha testing
- Small server selection
- No kill switch
- No advanced features
- Only 3 connections
- Poor support
Speed & Expectations
VPNs usually slow down your connection, so we put every one of the VPNs through rigorous speed tests by measuring the three standard speed metrics:
- Download speed: The rate at which data is transferred from the server to your device. This is measured in megabytes per second (mbps) and a higher number is better.
- Upload speed: The rate at which data is transferred to the server from your device. This is also measured in megabytes per second (mbps) and a higher number is better.
- Ping (or latency): Tested by “pinging” the server, it’s the amount of time it takes for it to receive and process your request. This is measured in milliseconds (ms) and a lower number is better.
First we measured these metrics on our usual connection, a 100mbps internet connection in Chicago, IL.
Then we turned on Torguard and ran tests against its servers across the main continents. We also performed each test 5 times to increase reliability.
These are the results of our baseline test:
So the average baseline score was:
- Download: 77.6mbps
- Upload: 12.2mbps
- Ping: 11.2ms
Next we ran our tests on a Torguard United States server:
US averages of the 5 different speed tests were:
- Download: 48.6mbps (37.4% slower)
- Upload: 11.1mbps (8.6% slower)
- Ping: 12ms (7.1% longer)
(You would expect these speeds to be the fastest since this server is relatively close to us).
Next we tested Europe:
Europe’s averages were:
- Download: 32.5mbps (58.1% slower)
- Upload: 9.8mbps (19.6% slower)
- Ping: 127.2ms (1035.7% longer)
Asia’s averages were:
- Download: 14.7mbps (81% slower)
- Upload: 7.9mbps (34.7% slower)
- Ping: 237.8ms (2023.2% longer)
Next, South America:
South America’s averages were:
- Download: 30.7mbps (60.4% slower)
- Upload: 9.5mbps (21.9% slower)
- Ping: 166.2ms (1383.9% longer)
Finally, we tested Africa:
Africa’s averages were:
- Download: 25.7mbps (66.8% slower)
- Upload: 7.1mbps (41.3% slower)
- Ping: 291.4ms (2501.8% longer)
We then compared Torguard’s results to its competitors.
First up, let’s take a look at download speeds:
|AVG Secure VPN||-56%||-87%||-69%||-75%||-68%|
Download speeds are above average for everywhere except Asia where they are just below average.
Next, how did upload speeds compare?
|AVG Secure VPN||-19%||-58%||-75%||-80%||-77%|
Upload speeds are above average for all regions except the US where they are just below average.
And finally latency:
|AVG Secure VPN||1021%||1111%||2419%||3560%||3336%|
Latency speeds are above average for all regions: well above average for the US, above average for Asia, South America and Africa, and just above average for Europe. The US result is particularly impressive with just a 7% drop in speed.
Torguard has consistently fast speeds overall for all speed metrics.
Performance & Features
In this section we compare the most common features amongst VPNs.
Number of servers: 3000+
How many active servers are available to connect to across all countries, regardless of their physical location.
Torguard has an enormous number of servers, one of the highest in the industry, which may partly explain its high speeds. It’s worth noting you can’t actually select individual servers in its apps, though.
Number of countries: numbers: 52
How many countries the total number of servers cover, regardless of how many are located in a single country.
Although still fairly high, it’s country numbers are outstripped by a lot of the top VPNs which offer 60-70+. PureVPN even offers 140. Still, 52 should be more than enough for most people, although it notably skips China.
Number of connections allowed: 5
How many devices can be connected to a server (or number of servers) based on a single VPN account or subscription.
This is the average number of connections offered, and should suit most people.
Torrenting allowed: Allowed on all servers.
Whether you can download and share files on a peer-to-peer or P2P network as opposed to a single server.
Happily Torguard allows torrenting on all of its 3,000+ servers. Not much of a surprise there, since Torguard was originally set up for torrentors.
Kill switch available: Yes (desktops).
Whether the VPN software can disable your connection to the network in the event you disconnect from the VPN server. This prevents your IP address from being exposed.
Torguard has kill switches for all its desktops platforms (Windows, Mac and Linux). Unfortunately it doesn’t stretch to mobile devices, but this is common in the VPN world.
Performance and Features (Summary)
Torguard has an impressive 3,000 servers all with torrenting access, making it a haven for torrentors. It has a fairly high number of countries with an average 5 connections allowed. Kill switches are available on desktop platforms, but sadly not mobile.
Privacy & Security
In this section we look at all the privacy and security aspects of Torguard, to see how secure it really is.
First let’s look at the technical aspects:
Protocols/Encryption: BF-CBC, AES-128-CBC or GCM and AES-256-CBC or GCM encryption with OpenVPN, OpenConnect, IKEv2 and IPSec protocols
Torguard offers a wealth of encryptions and protocols, giving advanced users full flexibility over speed and security.
It actually defaults to AES-128-GCM encryption, which is not the highest, so users should change this to AES-256-GCM if they want maximum security.
In terms of protocols, Windows and Mac offer OpenVPN and Openconnect, Android has OpenVPN, and iOS has IPSec/IKEv2. However, more manual protocols are available.
It also offers stealth servers and Stunnel for obfuscating traffic.
We also tested Torguard for any viruses and leak vulnerabilities, where your IP address can be leaked despite using a VPN.
DNS leaks: None found.
IP leaks: None found.
WebRTC leaks: None.
Viruses/Malware: None found.
Only one antivirus flagged Torguard up as being unsafe, which is almost certainly a false positive. Torguard staff also stated this.
Jurisdiction: Florida, USA. Torguard is located in the US, which is definitely not an ideal VPN location. The US is a founding member of Five Eyes, countries which have data-sharing agreements. The US can also demand VPNs hand over any data they have on you.
Logging policy: No logs.
Torguard very clearly states that it doesn’t record logs.
But there’s nothing so far to suggest they’re not being honest.
The good news is with no logs, they wouldn’t have anything to hand over to the US government even if requested, making its location much less of an issue.
Privacy and Security Summary
Torguard has an enormous number of ciphers and protocols available, perfect for advanced users. It came up clean from leaks and viruses (except one false positive).
Torguard is based in the USA, which isn’t ideal security-wise. However, its strict no-logs policy makes this less of an issue, though I feel they should produce some kind of transparency report or independent audit like other VPNs are doing.
This section looks at the following aspects:
- Overall UI/UX
Streaming is a major reasons people use VPNs, but streaming sites increasingly hard for VPNs to access, with many VPNs giving up altogether.
We tested Torguard against all major streaming services in the US, Europe, Asia, Africa and South America.
- Netflix: Partially detected. Netflix worked on servers in the US, South America and Africa, but was blocked in Europe and Asia. This contradicts support which stated any streaming access was only available by purchasing streaming dedicated IPs. However, these promise full Netflix/Hulu access.
- Hulu: Detected. Unfortunately Hulu was blocked on US servers.
- YouTube: Undetected. YouTube worked fine on all servers.
- Kodi: Undetected. Kodi worked fine with Torguard.
Here we look at Torguard’s compatibility with the most popular devices and platforms.
We tested everything from Tor, iOS devices, Android devices, Smart TV’s, Amazon Firestick, Mac, Windows, to routers:
- Tor browser: Supported. Tor works fine in conjunction with Torguard for that extra layer of security.
- iOS (iPad, iPhone): Supported. Torguard has a fully-functional iOS app.
- Android: Supported. Torguard also has an Android app.
- Smart TV’s: Partially Supported. Torguard works on Android TVs via an Android app. Unfortunately it doesn’t work on other Smart TVs, but no VPN has direct functionality for these yet.
- Amazon Firestick: Not Supported. Unfortunately Torguard doesn’t support Firesticks. However, like many other VPNs they recommended trying sideloading its Android app.
- Windows: Supported.
- Mac: Supported.
- Routers: Supported. Torguard supports routers with OpenVPN, PPTP or L2TP. Alternatively you can purchase their own flashed DD-WRT, Tomato, Merlin, or mini routers.
Finally, what’s the UX/UI of Torguard like?
Torguard definitely doesn’t have the most modern-looking interface, but it is nice and small.
Unlike most VPNs, it’s main screen shows some settings as well as your currently selected server. Specifically, encryption and protocol settings, enabling you to choose these each time you connect.
This includes many stealth options, such as stealth servers and Stunnel to get around deep packet inspection.
This is nice for advanced users but will understandably be intimidating to beginners, and there’s no guidelines available to help them out.
You have to click the ‘Select Server’ button to view servers, which are in list format.
They’re listed alphabetically by country. Unfortunately you can’t actually pick an individual server, you can only narrow it down by city.
There’s no search bar, which is unusual, but since specific servers aren’t shown, this isn’t much of an issue as the list is small.
Fortunately there are sorting and filtering options, including sorting by proximity or usage, and filtering by continent. This makes the server list very easy to navigate.
Once you’ve selected your city, it goes back to the main screen, and you have to hit Connect.
This does mean you have to go through quite a few clicks just to connect to a server.
One you click Connect, you’re taken to a loading screen.
And then taken to a different screen showing connection stats.
At this point I assumed I was connected, but the red button in the top right means there’s still some way to go.
Only when this turns green and you can see an IP address are you fully connected, which can take a while.
It’s a small thing, but I found this rather irritating.
You also have to disconnect from your current server each time you want to change to a new one, or just browse the server list. Again I found this annoying. It makes a total of four clicks to change servers, when it could be one.
In terms of settings, if you thought they were all on the main screen you would be extremely mistaken.
Clicking ‘more settings’ reveals an insane number of options, the likes of which I’ve not seen before.
These don’t even attempt to be beginner-friendly either, putting Torguard firmly in the realm of advanced users.
There’s many auto-connect settings. There’s also a kill switch, but this can be app-specific, so you can set only certain apps to terminate if the VPN connection drops out.
There’s a whole host of Network settings, including a plethora of DNS settings, like choosing your DNS provider and adding nameservers.
You can also route your connection through a proxy for added security, and run scripts.
That pretty much covers the desktop app. The mobile app (we tested Android) is almost identical. This is easily done due to the small size of the desktop interface.
The main screen once again shows your currently selected server and protocol and cipher settings.
The server list is identical.
The filtering options are still available, but there’s no sorting options.
Connection times seem to be a lot quicker though. There’s not even a loading screen.
However, one annoying quirk is that if makes you login each time you connect, rather than when you first open the app. Luckily you can save your login details to speed things up.
There’s less settings, but they still manage to pack a lot in. There’s no appearance options and only a few auto-connect settings, but there is split tunneling capability.
A lot of the Network settings are still there; you can still add DNS servers and route your connection through a proxy.
Settings still weren’t beginner-friendly, though.
Torguard can access Netflix in the US, South America and Africa, but Hulu was a no-go. They cheekily want you to spend extra money on a streaming IP to get full access.
Torguard is compatible with most devices, except Firesticks, and has great router support. The UI is definitely not beginner-friendly, but is great for advanced users with insane configurability.
Pricing & Refunds
Torguard states its full prices upfront, instead of the monthly cost as the vast majority of VPNs do.
To translate, the 1 month price works out at $9.99 a month, the 3 month price is $6.66, and both the 6 month and 1 year price is $5 a month.
These prices are about average compared to other VPNs, although it’s weird that there’s no discount between the 6 month and 1 year price. It’s a shame they don’t offer a 2 year option for even less.
They offer a 7 day trial, but cheekily only to those already subscribed to a competitor VPN subscription. You have to email a copy of your VPN bill to get the trial. You do, however, get 30 free days if you end up switching.
For everyone else, they only offer a measly 7 day money-back guarantee. To add insult to injury, this doesn’t stretch to any add-ons you purchase such as dedicated or streaming IPs. You’ll only get refunded the base VPN fee.
There’s a whole host of add-ons you can purchase at checkout: more connections, dedicated IPs, streaming IPs, sports IPs, DDOS protected IPs, and upgrade to their 10GB ‘premium network’.
Extra connections are $1 a month each, which is a nice option, but IPs are a hefty $7.99 a month. This is an extremely high price for streaming IPs, considering other VPNs include streaming access for free.
Before purchasing it’s worth asking the support staff via live chat or phone call a few questions, as they’ll sometimes quote discount codes to you.
In terms of payment methods, Torguard offers one of the widest array of options I’ve seen. There’s credit cards, Paypal, Paymentwall (including Alipay) and even gift cards. There’s also an incredible number of cryptocurrencies on offer through CoinPayments.
The payment process was smooth and set up was very quick.
Torguard is average in price, with 1 month to 1 year subscription options. Torguard doesn’t impress with its trials and guarantees; a 7 day free trial is only available to those transferring from another VPN.
For the rest there’s a short 7-day money-back guarantee, which doesn’t include add-ons. There’s a wide array of payment options and add-ons available at checkout.
Torguard immediately stands out in that it offers ‘24/7’ phone support as well as live chat. Phone support is extremely rare, let alone 24/7 and toll-free (from the US).
However, I noticed both phone and live chat aren’t always available.
I also got told the same thing when I called, and was directed to voicemail.
Their explanation is that all agents are busy at these times.
But that’s kind of breaking the 24/7 rule to me. You can’t shut a 24/7 store everytime the queues get long and still call it 24/7
This sometimes happened for long periods, such as a couple of hours.
However, once available the quality of support staff was good. They had excellent English and always responded quickly and helpfully.
For serious technical issues, they may open a support ticket and get back to you later, which is pretty standard practice. However, most of the time they were able to help.
Out of all the VPNs reviewed, I probably got the lowest number of copy-and-paste answers, which is saying a lot.
In terms of their knowledgebase, there’s a lot of technical set-up guides, ‘how to’ articles, and troubleshooting articles.
A lot of these are even available in video format on their Youtube channel.
There’s a nice search button to navigate and information is divided into sensible categories, but the UI could be better. The actual articles are squished into a tiny area at the bottom of the page.
And there’s one serious flaw in this knowledgebase: you won’t find any answers to most general questions.
For example, if you’re interested in Torguard’s streaming capabilities, you might search for Netflix, Hulu or streaming.
But there isn’t a single article outlining Torguard’s access to any streaming sites, or explaining that they offer streaming IPs.
General information seems to be confined to the FAQ section, but this just isn’t comprehensive enough.
I ended up having to ask live chat an awful lot of basic questions, because I couldn’t find the basic overview information I needed.
They do, however, also have a great Community Forum. Forums are great for seeing common issues other users have, particularly technical. Torguard staff do respond, but not extremely consistently or quickly.
Finally, they have one of the best blogs I’ve seen, with service updates as well as relevant news on things like censorship and privacy laws.
Torguard has ‘24/7’ live chat and phone support, although this isn’t always available if all agents are busy. The quality is high, however. The knowledgebase has thorough technical guides but unfortunately gives little general information.
What Do Other Reviewers Say?
Like us, reviewers were unanimously impressed with Torguard’s enormous server selection, device compatibility and its security.
They also liked the control users had over protocol/encryption and the many stealth technologies on offer, combined with servers in Russia and Turkey. Although one states Torguard has servers in China, which is no longer true.
However one mentioned their concern with a past accusation that Torguard had used stolen code from another VPN for its browser extension.
They praised it’s friendliness towards torrenting, with no restrictions on any of its 3,000+ servers.
Most agreed it also has fast speeds, ranging from top to decent, although one said it had below average speeds in some locations.
Many called the live chat support the best they’d come across, but one agreed the knowledge base didn’t have much general guidance.
However, unlike us, most reported that they couldn’t get any Netflix access. They criticised the fact that you had to buy a dedicated IP for streaming, and one reported patchy streaming access even with the IP.
They found the software clunky, awkward, outdated and cluttered. Like us, some didn’t like the number of clicks for connecting and disconnecting.
However they all agreed it was very powerful and highly customizable, which was perfect for advanced users but extremely overwhelming for beginners.
They generally agreed the pricing was middle of the road, although one said it was above average.
Unlike us, most praised the 7 day money-back guarantee.
They liked the array of payment options, particularly gift cards, and also the many add-ons available at checkout, particularly adding device connections.
Overall, most reviewers rated Torguard as good to excellent. They thought it was powerful, fast and secure, but not easy to use, especially for beginners. One said although it was good, there were better options out there for the price.
What Do Other Reviewers Say (Summary)
Reviewers were generally impressed with Torguard’s enormous server selection, security, torrenting, and speeds. However they reported no Netflix access. They called the UI clunky and awkward, but liked the customisation available. They thought the price with average and most thought it was a good option for advanced users.
Torguard is one powerful VPN. The enormous server numbers combined with high speeds, security, configuration and full P2P access make it ideal for torrentors.
However it makes literally zero allowances for non-technical users, making it somewhat of a niche product for advanced users only.
It also doesn’t endear itself to streamers, asking for a large additional monthly sum for streaming IPs. However, in our testing Netflix actually worked across 3 continents including the US.
The live chat and phone support is also pretty excellent. Yes it does drop out occasionally, but at least the quality is high. It’s a shame the knowledge bases are subpar, but then again you can always ask questions to the team directly.
The US location is somewhat of a worry. This shouldn’t be a problem according to its strict no logs policy, although I do think Torguard could go an extra step with something like a transparency report or audit.
It’s price is average, which is amazing for all that power, and if you’re an advanced user there’s very little downsides we can see. Beginners might be able to scrape by, but would really struggle to use the service effectively. Therefore we give Torguard an overall rating of 4.4 out of 5 and we would recommend it for advanced users.
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