Are you interested in the VPN (Virtual Private Network)/Proxy service of BTGuard and wondering if it’s worth it? How do they compare with other similar services in the market? These are good questions, especially when you’re dealing with a paid service that costs $6.95 (Proxy) to $9.95 per month (VPN). You’d want to make sure that you’re getting your money’s worth. In this BTGuard review, we’ll help you do just that!
What is BTGuard?
If you’re reading this, then it’s probably because you’ve never heard of BTGuard before as they’re not as popular as other large VPN companies. BTGuard’s entire Proxy/VPN network is comprised of only three servers from 3 locations—Singapore, Canada, and the Netherlands. That said. What they lack in size, they try to make up for in specialized services. Whether that’s going to be enough depends on your needs and preferences.
The “BT” in BTGuard stands for bit torrent, and they’re one of the few VPN/proxy companies out there whose primary business is providing safety and anonymity to torrent users. This means that users can expect a ton of support when it comes to torrenting.
BTGuard Review — The Pros
BTGuard was explicitly designed with anonymous torrenting in mind and serves that purpose quite well. They support all manner of P2P file sharing and offer unlimited torrenting. This makes it ideal for heavy torrent users that need a VPN/ torrent proxy service to cover their tracks without sacrificing torrent-related features.
Despite getting a small share of the VPN market, BTGuard makes no compromises when it comes to security. Users can expect their proxy/VPN connection to be incredibly secure thanks to military-grade AES 256 data encryption and a choice between two VPN protocols—the standard PPTP and OpenVPN.
For torrenting anonymously, it is always a good idea to stick with OpenVPN as it’s inherently more secure. That said, users have the option to switch to PPTP for older devices that don’t support OpenVPN or for better download speeds.
Usable on every major platform
Unlike most other VPN and proxy services in the market, BTGuard does not have a dedicated app or client for using their services. Users will have to set up the required OpenVPN or PPTP protocol on their device, which might seem like a hassle for most users, as noted by most other BTGuard reviews. However, the upside to the latter is that users can deploy the VPN or proxy service on just about any internet-capable device.
BTGuard offers detailed instructions on how to install and run their VPN and proxy service via their support page.
BTGuard — The Cons
No VPN company is perfect, and unfortunately, using BTGuard for a proxy/VPN service comes with more cons than most other service providers. Users can expect to deal with the following limitations:
Slow server speeds
Considering BTGuard’s small network of servers, users can’t expect much when it comes to connection speeds.
Connecting to the “fastest” and closest server that they had available gave us a 60% decrease in Internet speed. Depending on your base connection, the remaining speed may not be serviceable, especially for heavy users.
Using any of the two remaining servers which are furthest away from a user’s actual location will cause Internet speeds to drop even further. In our case, it was the Netherlands server, which gave us a measly download speed of 1.5 Mbps (from a base connection speed of 70 Mbps).
Perhaps the only good thing BTGuard has going for it in terms of server performance is their upload speeds. The latter remained relatively consistent across all three servers (6-7 Mbps), which is excellent for users that upload much content over the Internet.
Poor geo-blocking features and does not work with Netflix
If you’re after a VPN service that can help you access geo-blocked content over the Internet, then you’ll have to look elsewhere. BTGuard’s limited server locations make it unable to circumvent region-based content restrictions on the Internet.
There is no US server, so BTGuard users will not be able to access US-only websites and popular streaming services. Of particular note is Netflix, wherein none of the three servers we tested were able to stream videos.
If you need a VPN service to unlock content restrictions on Netflix, then you may want to check out some of the top VPN companies on the market that are known to do an excellent job with the latter. Such premium VPN services include the following:
Lack of Premium features
Compared to most other premium VPN service providers on the market, BTGuard does not offer much in terms of features. This makes its value for money questionable for average users. For one thing, the lack of a VPN app means that users will have to key in their username and password each time they want to connect to the service.
BTGuard likewise lacks many vital features often found on many premium VPN services. This includes ad-blocking functions, malware protection, and an Internet kill switch that automatically disconnects a device from the Internet whenever the VPN/proxy connection fails.
If you’re looking for a VPN service that packs all of the essential features mentioned above, then there are other alternatives worth considering:
No free trial or money-back guarantee
Unlike most other premium VPN/Proxy services on the market, BTGuard offers no free trial service or refunds of any kind. The only way to test out their service is to subscribe for a month and see if BTGuard is suitable for your needs.
Lack of Customer Service Channels
If you require customer support, your only option is to get on the BTGuard website and submit a support ticket. There is no other way to get in touch with their support staff — no number to call and no live chat feature.
While BTGuard has done an excellent job putting up guides and other self-help resources on their website, the lack of customer service channels means that users can expect hardly any help from the company should they run into any trouble. To make matters worse, we found that BTGuard can take at least three days or more to respond to support tickets.
How to Install BTGuard
Would you like to give BTGuard a try and curious about what it would take to get their VPN service running on your device? The process differs slightly depending on what device you are on. Nevertheless, it’s not as difficult as you might think and can be accomplished in a few simple steps. For this example, we’ll be referencing the use of BTGuard on a Windows Computer:
1. Create an account and join
The first step is to get an account by logging on to the BTGuard website and clicking on the “Join Now” option under the VPN section. Register your username and password then complete your payment. Again, if it’s your first time using BTGuard, then we would recommend starting with a 1-month subscription and see how it goes.
2. Install OpenVPN on your computer
You can download the installer from the OpenVPN download page. Run the installer on your device and complete the installation process.
3. Download OpenVPN Configuration files
You’ll also need to download the OpenVPN configuration files that are specific for BTGuard. Doing so will download an executable file on your computer called “openvpn_auto_config.exe”. Run the file, and it’ll ask you for the location of the Config folder for your OpenVPN directory.
The default one should be “c:\Program Files\OpenVPN\Config or “C:\Program Files(x86)\OpenVPN\Config”. The program will then extract the OpenVPN configuration files for BTGuard unto the specified folder.
4. Launch the VPN application
You should now have the OpenVPN GUI icon on your desktop. Double click it to launch the VPN application. This will add an OpenVPN icon on your system tray (lower right side of the screen).
Right-click on the OpenVPN icon, then navigate to “Connect,” then choose your desired BTGuard server. For the best performance, we recommend choosing “BTGuard (Fastest)” which will connect you to the nearest BTGuard server.
At this point, BTGuard OpenVPN should now be active and running on your computer.
So there you have it—all that you need to know about BTGuard’s proxy and VPN service. It is safe to say that BTGuard is for a select number of users whose primary concern is protection and torrenting support and do not mind the lack of features and limited server options. That said, we wouldn’t recommend BTGuard to the average users. Not when there are plenty of other convenient and more capable alternatives that have so much more to offer for a similar cost.