BTGuard comes in two flavors; one for torrenting software and a full-service VPN which covers everything, including your file sharing needs.
It works with most popular operating systems and torrenting software like Vuze.
On the surface, BTGuard is enticing. We’ve decided to go under the hood and find out what it’s really about. Let’s see if its service is worth using.
BTGuard encourages torrenting, and it offers a package designed to work with torrenting software, but it lacks the characteristics of a true VPN. Most of its website talks about torrenting and how it works hard to make it easier for you.
It offers a full-service VPN service as well for $3 more per month. We don’t want to discourage torrenting, but we don’t see the need for a torrent only package when you can get a full VPN for $3 more a month. That said, some user may only want to use the service to anonymize their favorite torrent software and activity.
BTGuard only has three servers, but it offers unlimited speed when you connect to one of them. Have a look to see how close you live to the servers available before you sign up for the service, as ‘unlimited speed’ may not be as useful if you live far away since the speed might drop significantly.
BTGuard supports Windows, Mac, and Linux users, along with most of the popular BitTorrent software. It seems to focus on torrenting more than providing a full-service VPN. However, the VPN is feature packed as well.
BTGguard comes with several features we like including all the basics that we expect from a VPN. The pros you need to focus on include:
- Excellent usability including easy download and set up
- Support most popular VPN protocols including PPTP and OpenVPN
- The service uses 256-bit AES encryption
- Unlimited speeds
Most VPN services offer the same pros as BTGuard. Unlimited connection speeds may be a little rarer but, other VPN services also offer 20 to 30 times more server locations which make up for speed caps in some cases. This isn’t the cons section, so enough about that for now.
One thing we found that BTGuard truly excels at is usability. Whether you choose the BitTorrent proxy service or the VPN, the whole thing is easy to download and install. Getting it to work with your torrenting software is simple as well.
No service is perfect, and BTGuard comes with a few flaws we can’t overlook. It has all the features we want except a few. The problems with BTGuard we found most critical include:
- It only has three servers in Toronto (Canada), Amsterdam (Netherlands), and Singapore.
- The service falls under Canadian jurisdiction which means it is subject to the five eyes alliance.
- Some users reported the service failed IP leak tests.
- The lack of servers means your speed may drop significantly unless you live near the server’s physical location.
- Many users report that the customer support portion of the website is broken, and they never get a response.
We were disappointed by the lack of server locations.
With unlimited speeds, it felt a little harsh to limit us to only three servers. Some speed tests in locations a few hundred miles from its server locations dropped almost 90 percent. That means a 100-megabit connection is only suitable for ten megabits once you connect to its VPN server.
Anytime a VPN fails an IP, WebRTC, or DNS leak test; we stop trusting it. The point of a VPN is to hide your activity and location along with making sure your files are heavily encrypted during their travels across the internet.
Customer support is critical to all businesses, so when a website is broken, or support is unavailable, it ruins their credibility. The ticketing system seemed to work ok when we checked it, but we didn’t submit a ticket. Some users reported that while the ticket system worked, they never got a reply from anyone at BTGuard.
It offers two packages for you to consider. Its BitTorrent proxy is $6.95 per month and works with most of the popular torrent software. You can get its full VPN package for $9.95 per month, and it covers everything, including your torrenting activities.
We don’t recommend using BTGuard unless you live close to one of its servers. If you live near its servers, you should see less than a 30 percent drop in your internet speed, which is roughly the expected amount of loss. Other locations may see their speeds drop up to 90 percent, which is unacceptable.
It logs some personal information and tracks your bandwidth usage. The excuse for logging is to comply with any legal requests which render the VPN useless since the goal is privacy. We expect it to log personal information for payment, but that data should never get linked to IP addresses, logs, or usage details.
It encourages torrenting and offers a version of its service specifically to obscure the activity of its torrent users. However, it turns around and logs some of the information. Overall, the cons for BTGuard outweigh the pros.