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Buffered

March 2017 - Review, Packages & Deals

Our verdict

“Buffered is fast, easy-to-use and works well with streaming services but is a bit pricey”

7.1

RECOMMENDED FOR

  • Unblocking
  • Travel
  • Streaming

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Very fast on popular servers
  • Simple, colourful app
  • Works with streaming services

Works with

  • Facebook
  • Netflix
  • Google-Gmail
  • BBC iPlayer
  • Pandora
  • Youtube

Top Buffered packages for March 2017

1 Month

$12.99 per month
  • Connect to 33 countries
  • 5 Simultaneous Connections
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
View Package

12 Month

$12.99 $8.25 per monthsave 36%
  • Connect to 33 countries
  • 5 Simultaneous Connections
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
View Package

6 Months

$12.99 $9.99 per monthsave 23%
  • Connect to 33 countries
  • 5 Simultaneous Connections
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
View Package

TOP10VPN RATING

Recommended For

  • Unblocking

    Great performance in China to help beat state censorship

  • Travel

    Travellers benefit from a simple app with good performance even on distant servers

  • Streaming

    This new service has no issues with streaming service compatibility

Buffered Overview

Buffered is a Hungarian-based VPN service that launched in 2013. You can expect great speeds from its best performing servers and reliable access to premium streaming services. The number of server locations is fairly limited at 38 but most popular locations are covered. We certainly recommend you check your required countries are available as there are a handful of notable omissions, such as Italy for example, that might frustrate you.

The app itself is fresh, simple and easy on the eye. Getting connected is straightforward and settings are streamlined. We love that it’s based on OpenVPN rather than less secure protocols but would have liked the option of using those protocols as they do have their uses. The lack of dedicated mobile apps is frustrating (although there are workarounds) at this price point but for desktop and laptop users, Buffered is an attractive option.

There are some handy utilities bundled in the app, such as the port scanning feature and connection testing tool, which increase the value for money.

What we like
  • Delivers fast speeds while maintaining strong security
  • Works well with streaming services, including Netflix
  • The app is very easy to use
What we like less
  • Based in Hungary, which means it is subject to EU data regulations
  • No dedicated mobile apps
  • At the more expensive end of the market

SPEED & PERFORMANCE
8.8

Buffered performed very well in our speed and performance tests, with outstanding results on UK and French servers. The US server performance was not quite in the same league but delivered more than enough performance to stream HD video or download large files. Also encouraging was above average performance on distant servers, such as Australia and Brazil. The only real disappointment was the German server performance, which was well below par, albeit just enough to manage high quality streaming.

FeatureBufferedExpressVPNHideMyAss
Max download speed 42.19 (FRA)61.14 (UK)21.56 (US)
Max upload speed 30.71 (UK)36.64 (FRA)15.18 (FRA)
Ping time 5ms5ms5ms
Unlimited bandwidth TrueTrueTrue
Average time to connect 23s8s9s
Reliability score 8.59.88.7
Tested and working with Facebook, Netflix, Google-Gmail, BBC iPlayer, Pandora, YoutubeNetflix, BBC iPlayer, Gaming, Torrenting, Facebook, Twitter, Google-Gmail, KodiBBC iPlayer, Facebook, Torrenting, Google-Gmail, Gaming, Twitter

Speed breakdown

SERVER LOCATIONDownload Speed (Mbps)Upload Speed (Mbps)
Australia13.863.6
Brazil8.141.45
ChinaN/AN/A
France42.1929.19
Germany10.7611
Mexico18.7230.64
UK40.9530.71
USA29.2427.12

How do we test these VPN speeds?

  • We continuously test the performance of all our featured VPN providers to ensure you have all the latest information you need to choose.
  • We use the Ookla Speedtest tool on our fibre-optic line in central London, via our own paid-for VPN accounts to ensure the fairest results.
  • Our normal download speed is around 40Mbps, upload 18Mbps and ping 3ms and results are from London to the most popular global locations.
  • Our tests are intended to give you an idea of the range of connection speeds. The closer the server and faster your connection, the faster your speeds.

LOCATIONS
5.5

With only 38 server locations across 36 countries, Buffered doesn’t have too much to shout about when it comes to server choice. However, as long as the locations you need are available and performance is strong even at distance (which it largely is for Buffered), then you probably won’t miss the 100 countries you would never have used anyway.

Indeed a positive side effect of limited server choice is that finding servers is easy even without a search function thanks to the short list. The US is the only country with more than one location with East, West and Midwest available.

FeatureBufferedExpressVPNHideMyAss
Server locations 38145336
Servers Unconfirmed1,000+583
IP addresses Unconfirmed20,000+120,000
Dynamic server switching FalseFalseFalse

Server locations

Most popular locations

  • USA

    • East coast
    • West coast
    • Midwest
  • UK

  • Australia

  • Austria

  • Belgium

  • Brazil

  • Bulgaria

  • Canada

  • Denmark

  • Finland

  • France

  • Germany

  • Iceland

  • India

  • Ireland

  • Israel

  • Italy

  • Japan

  • South Korea

  • Latvia

  • Luxembourg

  • Mexico

  • Netherlands

  • New Zealand

  • Norway

  • Panama

  • Poland

  • Portugal

  • Romania

  • Russia

  • Singapore

  • South Africa

  • Spain

  • Sweden

  • Switzerland

  • Ukraine

See all supported locations…

CUSTOMER SUPPORT
6.2

Buffered score low here mainly due to their lack of live chat, which puts them at a disadvantage to competitors. It’s frustrating to have to use a contact form in this day and age of instant support. On the plus side, email response time was reasonable but not as quick as the best providers we’ve rated in this area. The quality of the written English in the email response was very good and friendly in tone and did not feel completely scripted. However, they do lose points for refusing to answer questions regarding exactly how many servers and IP addresses were available – even if they did so in a friendly manner.

The FAQ material on site is certainly wide-ranging and pretty well-written but it tends a bit more towards salesiness and talking up Buffered VPN than is ideal in our view. We prefer FAQ material to be more straight down the line. Video tutorials are also conspicuous by their absence.

FeatureBufferedExpressVPNHideMyAss
Support quality 8.2109.7
Email response time 12hrs 4mins12hrs 19mins42mins
24/7 support TrueTrueTrue
Live chat FalseTrueTrue
Knowledge base TrueTrueTrue
Video tutorials FalseTrueTrue

EASE OF USE
8.1

What we like
  • Easy to scroll through server locations and pain favourites
  • Responsive app - not fiddly
  • Connected view has clear, useful info
What we like less
  • Slow connection times
  • Slightly confusing options menus
  • Lack of dedicated mobile app

Downloading and installing Buffered is very straightforward and you are up and running in just a matter of minutes after running through the Set-up wizard. You are greeted with a mobile app-style client that is simple and easy on the eye with bright colours and a straightforward layout that’s essentially just a list of countries to scroll through. There’s no search functionality but with only 38 server locations that’s no bother really, especially as you can pin your favourite locations to the top of the list. The app is responsive and not fiddly like some, which is a positive. There’s no “connect” button, which might give you a moment’s pause. While it’s still fairly obvious you need to click on a server location to connect, we do prefer the big button approach.

Connection time is noticeably slow at around 20s on average but once you are connected, the display flips to a new view that clearly shows you are connected. We like this view: it’s uncluttered and clearly shows your server location and your download and upload speeds in real time, along with data usage, connection time and your new IP address. A little frustratingly, there is a ping time field for latency but this appears to be broken and always displays as N/A. You can run a connection test from this view and download it your machine, which is a nice touch.

Slightly confusingly, there are two sets of settings. The mobile-style “burger” menu is always available but only contains a port-scanning feature and access to your logs. The main “connection options” are only available from the server list screen once disconnected. Here you can toggle the Ports and whether to use the TCP or UDP protocol, plus some other minor operating settings. We liked the simplicity of this section but it’s not clear for inexperienced users what these advanced settings are for. Fortunately, they are easily ignored for most users without impacting performance or privacy.

Less impressive is the lack of a mobile app for either iOS or Android. You can connect to Buffered on mobile devices but it involves a torturous process of using third-party app OpenVPN Connect and emailing configuration files to yourself from your Buffered dashboard on its website. Linux is also only supported via the legacy client. Compatibility on the whole is less than we would like at this price point. However, if all you need is a VPN for your laptop or desktop that runs Windows or MacOS, Buffered will cover your needs. And if you want to install the VPN manually on your router, that’s also supported.

Is Buffered compatible with my device?

FeatureBufferedExpressVPNHideMyAss
Windows TrueTrueTrue
Mac TrueTrueTrue
Linux Manual TrueManual
iOS Manual TrueTrue
AndroidManual TrueTrue
Windows Phone FalseManual Manual
Blackberry FalseTrueFalse
Router Manual TrueManual
Kindle FalseTrueFalse
Games consoles FalseManual False

PRIVACY
7.1

Buffered covers basic VPN privacy well given that it is based exclusively on the OpenVPN protocol, which is widely accepted to be superior to other VPN protocols. However, the downside is that alternative protocols are not available at all, which could be problematic for users looking to outsmart state-sponsored censors who have had success in blocking OpenVPN, such as China.

Additional privacy features are few and far between but we do like the option to toggle between UDP and TCP OpenVPN protocols, as well ports, including 443 (the same port used for by secure websites). We would love to see the addition of a killswitch in future versions however.

Buffered does not log the websites you visit or files you download but does keep a record of your connection details for 30 days. This is limited to timestamps, your IP address and the IP address of the VPN server to which you connected. Due to Buffered’s use of shared IPs, however, it would be almost impossible for a third-party to identify your activity even if they were able to access those logs.

The bottom line is that Buffered performs well enough for most users looking to browse privately but those with a need for the most robust solutions may wish look elsewhere.

FeatureBufferedExpressVPNHideMyAss
Open VPN (Auto) FalseTrueTrue
Open VPN (UDP/TCP) TrueTrueFalse
PPTP FalseTrueTrue
SSTP FalseTrueTrue
L2TP/IPSec FalseTrueTrue
IKEv2 FalseFalseTrue
Proprietary Protocols FalseTrueFalse
Supports TCP Port 443 TrueTrueFalse
Supports Obfsproxy FalseFalseFalse
Supports Multihop FalseFalseFalse
Supports SSH Tunnel FalseFalseFalse
Supports SSL Tunnel FalseFalseFalse
Permits P2P TrueTrueTrue
Strongest encryption 256-bit BlowfishAES-256AES-256
First party DNS servers FalseTrueFalse
DNS Leak Blocking FalseTrueTrue
Killswitch FalseTrueTrue
Accepts Bitcoin FalseTrueTrue
Accepts Paypal TrueTrueTrue
Anonymous payment method TrueTrueFalse
Activity logging FalseFalseFalse
Connection logging TrueTrueTrue
Tor over VPN server FalseFalseFalse

VALUE FOR MONEY
7.2

What we like
  • Wide-ranging access to major streaming sites
  • Strong performance across most servers
  • Exclusively OpenVPN, so no compromise of security for speed
What we like less
  • Lack of mobile apps and poor device compatibility
  • Limited range of server locations
  • Little in the way of advanced settings

final score
7.1

“Buffered is fast, easy-to-use and works well with streaming services but is a bit pricey”

Visit Buffered website