BTGuard is a Canadian-based VPN provider that is especially popular with torrent users. The lack of mandatory data retention laws in Canada means that there’s no need for BTGuard to maintain user activity logs that can be presented to authorities when requested. This is good news for users who are particularly concerned about their online privacy. BTGuard delivers in the basic areas that matter for a VPN, although they ought to improve in others as we’ll see in the rest of the review.
Plans and Pricing
BTGuard’s pricing plans are a no-frills affair. The company offers only two packages each with a pretty basic rate but without any assurances of a money back guarantee or a trial period.
The BitTorrent Proxy package costs $6.95 and is designed for torrent users who wish to download files without being identified. With this plan, users get a proxy IP that conceals their real identity online. The company also offers encryption on this package to users who need it, but it’s generally not required to ensure privacy.
Users also get a pre-configured uTorrent client terminal, but there are several clients available for which the company offers configuration manuals.
The second plan is simply called the VPN package that costs $9.95 per month. It’s a really straightforward plan that offers 256-bit OpenVPN encryption, although there is 128-bit encryption on PPTP as well.
BTGuard’s server network is not all that elaborate and the company appears to be focusing on users in North America, Europe, and a small part of Asia. Their servers are located in Canada, Netherlands, and Singapore, but have a host of big-name backbone providers including Deutsch Telekom, Telia, NTT Communications, and Global Crossings, among others. BTGuard doesn’t impose any restrictions on bandwidth usage and torrent users will be especially pleased with this.
Security and Privacy
BTGuard gets high marks in the security and privacy department for its commitment to ensure that users’ privacy is protected. This is a critical area for every VPN provider and one where prospect users need a lot of assurances before subscribing.
Since BTGuard is based in Toronto, Canada, the company is not obligated by law to maintain user logs of their connections or usage. That being said, it appears that the company keeps some personal information for billing purposes. But since no usage logs are kept, you shouldn’t worry about the retained personal information.
The company also gets high marks for their use of 256-bit AES encryption as default for new connections. This level of security is considered safe and not easy to break, and this should be good news to users concerned about the security of their information on the web.
As with most things about the company, BTGuard’s website is pretty basic. The theme is entirely black and you may initially not take them seriously. However, you’ll love the easy access to the most basic information that most users search for, which is setup information. On the same page, they offer a customer support link that redirects to their support center where you can submit your query via a ticketed email system. There appears to be no live chat support though.
Pros and Cons
BTGuard’s biggest advantage is that they do not keep usage logs as they are not required to do so under Canadian law. The 256-bit encryption offered as standard is an impressive feature too, and so is the fact that there are no restrictions on bandwidth.
However, BTGuard needs to improve on its connection speeds. Users also complain about the slow and poor customer service. Also, the company stores user password in plain text and they send them to users unencrypted, which is massively sloppy for a VPN provider.