Top Level Overview
VPN provider Buffered, based out of Hungary, is taking the VPN world by storm as one of the most impressive new programs on the market.
Due to its Hungarian base, Buffered is comfortably out of the range of the DRD and does not fall under the jurisdiction of data retention laws.
Buffered has servers in 39 countries, which is on the low end of the spectrum.
However, as a quickly expanding company, Buffered has stated that it is rapidly adding servers based on consumer requests, a definite plus for interested users who prefer more options and are prepared to grow with the company.
Because Buffered is still in its infancy, many geographic areas on the map are not covered (think Africa, Oceania, Asia). Chances are that servers will begin to pop up in more countries and cities as Buffered takes off and as customer requests start rolling in.
Buffered customer service seems easily accessible- through email. LiveChat is not an option for patrons, yet, though it seems the company will extend their customer service to include this feature sometime in the near future.
Their email assistance system is easy to use though and they are pretty prompt when replying, and helpful in their feedback.
I tested this by reaching out with a basic logging enquiry and heard back in 15 minutes from their 24/7 email support. They were extremely personable, which is a must for me.
Buffered does not offer any sort of free trial, which is unfortunate. BUT. They do offer a guaranteed 30-day money back policy to dissatisfied customers.
Buffered offers three separate plans for users.
- Buffered Monthly Plans start at $12.99/month, and is billed every 30 days.
- Buffered Bi-Annual Plan is a 6 month plan that is priced at $9.99/month and billed at $59.94 every half year.
- The most popular package (and the best deal) is the Buffered Yearly Plan, which is $8.25/month for 12 months, billed at $99.00 every year.
All plans include all of Buffered’s features: 24/7 customer support, fast servers in 37 countries, highest security encryption, 5 simultaneous device connection (niceness!), unlimited bandwidth/server switches and a 30 day money-back guarantee.
I loved that Buffered has a 5 device connection policy. If Buffered had any less, I would say that the service wasn’t worth it because of the slightly higher than its competitors cost.
Though I can’t ever see myself using 5 simultaneous connections as I work exclusively off of three devices, it would be a good addition to any mid-sized household or even a very small business.
That said, I know that you can find 5 or 6 device connection services for about the same cost, check out VPN Area, for example.
Buffered can also be connected to any device, from Windows to Mac to Android and operates with systems like Linux, Windows and OSX. This, at least, gives you options.
Signing up for Buffered is a breeze- all you need is an email, a username/password combination and a payment method.
Buffered accepts most major credit cards, for convenience’s sake, and also PayPal. However, they do not yet offer a Bitcoin payment option.
After forking over your monthly dues, you’ll receive an email with setup instructions that will easily direct you to the system download that you need.
Buffered is designed to look functional, but approachable, which is always appreciated in my book. Connecting to different servers is both simple and visual, as Buffered presents a list of past servers, complete with flag and the opportunity to make each a ‘favorite.’
Other menus allow the user to easily switch between feature settings, such as storing login data, auto login, auto connection and submitting debug messages. Everything is very clear and concise and installation only took a few minutes.
User-friendly is Buffered’s end goal. In addition, a feature I really liked was that speed statistics were listed right under your current connection, negating the need to test them through an external website or program.
Security & Privacy
At this point in my career, I’ve come to expect that every serious VPN company is going to provide military grade 256-bit encryption, which Buffered does.
Fortunately, Buffered is also based out of Hungary, which is beyond the domain of the EU’s DRD policy of mandatory data retention, so users can rest assured that their information is not being compiled and saved.
However, there is a bit of a caveat. After scouring their website, I found that Buffered does keep connection logs for about a month. In their words,
We store information about the duration of the connection but never information about what the user does during the connection.
I wouldn’t say this is a deal-breaker, and it isn’t uncommon practice for VPNs (despite what some fear mongers tout in forums). Most keep details of the session for performance analysis purposes and to assist in customer service queries.
My VPN needs are not centered around being hyper anonymous, but for those users who are concerned with absolute anonymity, this may be a deciding factor
I also noticed that Buffered does not offer additional security features, like the Kill Switch that Vypr does, which is a necessity for ensured protection when suddenly encountering an insecure connection.
As I frequently use public networks to surf the web, buy online and even bank online, I realize that if an unsecured public network is compromised, I could have an issue. With this as a consideration, I find that the Kill Switch is a personal must-have.
It’ll work to halt any data transfer if the VPN fails, so finding a service with a Kill Switch has been top priority for me.
For those of you who conduct business and personal tasks on the road, I definitely recommend you choose a VPN service that offers this necessary technology. As Buffered doesn’t, I felt significantly less safe using it outside of places like my home or office. That said, the company told me this is a “coming soon” feature.
Speed & Performance
Let’s talk about speed, because I’m not trying to stream two-hour long movies over a VPN with terribly slow servers.
Besides security, speed matters most to me, and buffered does deliver very, very well, I will give them that.
They are quite strong on their European servers, where speed differences were infinitesimal. On US servers, there was even better news with a non-discernible increase in testing speed.
This is fantastic news for couch potatoes like me. The speeds Buffered puts out are more than sufficient for quick HD streaming, zippy browsing and of course, file sharing.
For users who prioritize speed over high security, Buffered may be the holy grail.
As previously stated, Buffered’s customer service is very good. Their email support system is manned and ready to go 24/7, and queries rarely take longer than 10-15 minutes to address. I always found that they were pleasant to talk to and answered the question in full.
In addition, Buffered has an extensive FAQ where users can troubleshoot for themselves, if they’d like.
Buffered offers a generous refund policy of 30 days money back guaranteed, “hassle free.” This is what I like to hear. They don’t offer a free trial, so allowing customers to get their money back if they’re dissatisfied is just good business.
Signing Up & Getting Started
With Buffered, signing up is extremely simple, as it should be. You just need to enter an email address, come up with a username and a password, enter some payment details (no Bitcoin, sorry!) and boom! You’ve got Buffered.
You should immediately receive an email confirmation with instructions and appropriate download links.
Buffered VPN Review Conclusion
Buffered is a fast VPN provider, but sadly lacks the kill switch that I have come to rely on. I love that they offer VPN protection on up to 5 devices, however ; you do pay a bit extra for this and, for a service without spectacular security measures I feel that it affects their value.
I appreciated Buffered’s customer service- they offer 24/7 support over email, which I was always very satisfied by. They answered promptly and thoroughly and were very personable.
The website experience has gotten better since I first started writing my review. It lacks a little of the technical information I am specifically interested in but for the average VPN’er it is clearly laid out and informative enough.
In a nutshell, Buffered’s speed is a game-changer for those whose top priority is not security but browsing, file sharing and streaming speed anonymously. European-based servers were slowed in the slightest at times, but US based servers registered an indiscernible increase in wait times.
Buffered’s main claim to fame is that their speeds are insane, in the best way. So for streaming services like Netflix, BBC iPlayer, etc., it is an extremely efficient service.
- Overall very good connection speeds
- 5 simultaneous connections
- 24/7 Customer Service
- Servers in 39 countries
- Pricing is high on monthly but fair on yearly
- No kill switch