Torguard Review (2020)

Torguard Review (2020) 1

Torguard is a true zero-log VPN service based in the USA (formerly Panama). They are one of the original 3 VPN services that embraced BitTorrent traffic (BTGuard and Private Internet Access are the others).

Torguard has resisted the urge to sell-out, a temptation several other top-rated services have succumbed to. The result is a VPN company that delivers quality (read: fast) service while still managing to fly relatively under the radar.

Overview & review summary

  • Highs: Torguard is a fast, capable VPN service with excellent privacy.
  • Lows: The pricing is average (not the cheapest) and the SOCKS proxy costs extra.

Torguard: By the numbers

Logs Kept: None | Free Trial: 7 days | SOCKS Proxy: Yes. Additional charge | Speeds: Very Fast Torrents Allowed: Yes. p2p-optimized servers

Torguard VPN

Torguard’s Top Features:

  • No Logs.
  • Torrents allowed on all servers
  • Adjustable encryption strength and cipher
  • Easy-to-use App for Windows/Mac/Android/FireTV
  • Kill-Switch Included
  • DNS Leak protection built-in
  • Pricing: from $5/month (1-year subscription)

Torguard’s Software

I tested Torguard’s desktop software on a Windows 10 machine. The UI is a bit old-school, but I found it easy to use and quite powerful.

Favorite Feature: The adjustable encryption strength lets you optimize your connection for extremely fast speeds. PIA is one of the few other VPNs to give you this level of control.

Main View

Most users only tweak VPN settings occasionally. Usually you’ll interact with the main view of Torguard’s app. Here you’ll be able to quickly select:

  • Server location
  • Encryption strength
  • encryption cipher (which algorithm encrypts your data)
  • Transport Protocol (TCP or UDP)
  • Port number
  • Whether to use sTunnel (stealth)
Torguard Software (Main View)
Choose a server location, port, protocol and encryption cipher from the main view of Torguard’s software.

Torguard Settings

The app is highly configurable. Not only can you choose the encryption level, but you can enable a range or privacy and security features. These include:

  • DNS Leak protection
  • IPv6 leak protection
  • WebRTC protection (most VPNs don’t offer this)
  • Kill-Switch (Dual-mode, App & Internet)
  • Stealth Proxy (disguise OpenVPN traffic)

Torguard’s General Settings give you control over the behavior of the VPN app itself, rather than the tunnel.

General settings (Torguard App)

Popular settings include:

  • Autostart on boot (load Torguard on startup)
  • Auto-connect at launch
  • Arm killswitches after first successful connection
  • Check Tun/Tap adapters on connect (avoid false-positives)
  • Ask confirmation to exit (avoid shutting down the VPN by mistake)

The Network Settings are where you can take greater control over the security and privacy features of Torguard’s app.

Torguard Review (2020) 2

Recommended Settings:

  • Prevent WebRTC (Stun) leak
  • Prevent IPv6 leak
  • Seamless reconnect
  • Manage Interface State (kill-switch to prevent IP leak on disconnect)
  • Block Outside DNS (DNS leak protection)
  • Refresh local DNS cache when connected

Speed & Performance

Torguard outperforms most other VPN services when it comes to speed. In fact, only Cyberghost and IPVanish seem to be in the same league.

We were able consistently get 100mbps+ even over wifi. With most VPNs you can only break that 100 with a wired connection and nearby server.

Here’s a sample of the results (as tested by speedof.me)

Torguard Speedtest (New York, USA)
170.24 Mb/s download (USA server)
Torguard Speed (Switzerland p2p server)
145.55 Mb/s download (Switzerland p2p-enabled)

You’ll notice that despite the approximately 6000km distance between test locations, the download speeds barely declined. There was a big dip in upload bandwidth, and this was consistent across many of the EU servers for Torguard. We suspect that they they save a bit of money by paying for less upstream bandwidth (which doesn’t affect most users anyway).

Try Torguard: Take advantage of Torguard’s 7-day free trial period

Security/Encryption

Torguard offers industry-standard encryption strength and Ciphers. You can choose from three encryption levels:

  • 128-bit: standard security
  • 256-bit: high-security
  • None: no encryption (for torrents or unblocking streaming sites).

I find 128-bit encryption to offer the best balance of speed and security. Torrenting isn’t doesn’t really warrant ultra-high encryption strength. And 128-bit encryption is still strong enough to encrypt most online financial transactions such as online banking and credit card payments.

Torguard also offers several other enhanced security features:

Kill-Switch

Torguard has a dual-mode kill switch. This means you can choose either of two kill-switch modes or combine them together for even greater security. FYI, the purpose of a kill-switch is to prevent data from leaking outside the VPN tunnel in case the VPN disconnects suddenly.

The two modes are:

  1. Internet Kill Switch: Shuts down all internet access when the VPN tunnel drops.
  2. Application Kill-Switch: Choose which apps (running processes) will be terminated if the VPN drops.
Torguard VPN internet kill switch
One of Torguard’s two kill-switch options (Internet Kill Switch)

Generally speaking, the internet-level switch is more reliable and has a faster reaction time to VPN drops.

Stealth Protocol

Does your internet provider (or country) try to block or throttle VPN traffic? Would you rather your network administrator doesn’t know you’re using a VPN? You’ll love Torguard’s stealth feature.

You can use either the STunnel or Torguard’s ‘Stealth Proxy’ feature (found in proxy settings) to disguise your OpenVPN traffic. This will wrap your OpenVPN traffic in regular SSL encryption and disguise it as standard web traffic.

Torguard stealth proxy
Torguard ‘stealth’ mode

SOCKS Proxy

Torguard offers the option of a zero-log SOCKS proxy (which can be configured with most torrent clients). However, Torguard charges separately for VPN and proxy service (or offers a discount if you bundle them.

Other popular services such as Private Internet Access and NordVPN bundle torrent-friendly SOCKS service at no extra charge.

Why use a proxy? If you don’t need encryption (your not worried about your ISP monitoring your torrent activity) then you may get the IP-hiding ability of a VPN without the speed penalty.

Setup Guide:

The price of Torguard

So, how much does Torguard Cost?

The price of Torguard depends on the length of subscription you choose and whether you bundle extras like SOCKS proxy service.

Here’s the pricing for VPN service alone:

  • 1 month: $9.99
  • 3 months: $6.66/month
  • 1 year: $5/month

SOCKS proxy service starts at $5.95 per month with additional discounts for longer subscriptions. Torguard also sells various addons such as:

  • Dedicated IP service
  • Premium network (even faster speeds)
  • Streaming addon (unblock your favorite geo-restricted video sites)

So, is Torguard worth it?

Our Take: Torguard has all of the pieces of a great VPN service, they just might not be packaged quite as nicely as some more polished offerings. It’s still a great buy for most users.

We especially recommend Torguard if your top criteria is above-average VPN speeds and a company that is friendly to file-sharing. Most p2p-fans only use a VPN, so you probably won’t miss the SOCKS proxy (sold separately).

However, if you do need (or want the option) a SOCKS proxy, consider trying one of these services that bundles it free with every plan:

Try Torguard

7-day 100% refund policy

Ryan McCarthy

Ryan is the editor and head reviewer. He's been a tech geek and digital privacy enthusiast since the Y2k freakout in '99. When not writing BitTorrent tutorials, he can usually be found sipping a lager or playing pickup football (the real kind).

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