BullGuard VPN Review

Verdict

BullGuard VPN’s performance and security features are very good, as you’d expect from a service based on NordVPN. It was one of only a handful of services able to connect to all our tested streaming media services. This month, BullGuard’s speed test results were universally slower than those of its sibling. It’s also more expensive, with fewer supported platforms and geographic endpoints.

Pros

  • Rebranded version of NordVPN
  • Streams US Netflix

Cons

  • Limited device support
  • Limited endpoint locations

Key Specifications

  • Review Price: £63.69
  • Connect up to six devices
  • Supports OpenVPN
  • Clients for Windows, macOS, Android, iOS
  • £63.69/year, £87.09/two years, £97.49/three years

What is BullGuard VPN?

BullGuard VPN is a relatively recent offering from a firm best known for its anti-virus software, in partnership with NordVPN, which is one of our long-standing recommended VPN (virtual private network) providers. As such, it benefits from NordVPN’s audited no-logging infrastructure and security features.

BullGuard VPN’s interface is simpler than NordVPN’s and, as such, might appeal to less technically minded users. It also has a smaller, select pool of endpoint locations, but it’s a little more expensive than NordVPN’s own offering, with less device support.

It’s usually reliable for both speed and streaming, but put in a sub-par performance this month, particularly when compared to NordVPN itself.

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BullGuard VPN – Features and usability

The Windows client interface is conspicuously simple, with a range of 16 endpoint server locations listed in a panel on the left that you can connect to with a single click. You can also search by country name or hit the Quick Connect button to connect to the optimal endpoint for your location – usually the nearest.

A top bar allows you to switch between this default Status view and a Settings page. Critically, BullGuard VPN’s settings include an internet kill switch option, which will block all internet traffic if the VPN disconnects. Alternatively, you can just use the App Kill Switch setting to cut off traffic to specific applications if the VPN goes down.

Other security features include Invisibility on LAN, to hide you from other people on your local network, automatic connection on start-up to the endpoint of your choice and custom DNS if, for example, you’d rather use Google, Cloudflare or OpenDNS instead of BullGuard.

BullGuard VPN desktop client, displaying various server locations and national endpoints

BullGuard VPN – Performance

Endpoints/VPN UK Netherlands United States
BullGuard VPN HTTP 147.2Mbps 97.28Mbps 51.36Mbps
BullGuard VPN FTP 152.39Mbps 101.73Mbps 48.68Mbps

BullGuard offers endpoints in just 16 countries, compared to NordVPN’s 29. BullGuard’s performance over HTTP and FTP was perfectly usable over our ultra-high-speed net connection, but came in below or just around average when compared to the other 17 services we tested this month. It’s important to note that individual performance tests are only snapshots of a brief period, although BullGuard’s performance last month was also unremarkable.

From our nearest UK endpoints, we got quick speeds of 147.2Mbps (18.4MB/s) over HTTP and 19MB/s via FTP. But it all went downhill from there: performance in the Netherlands was below average at 97.28Mbps over HTTP and 12.16MB/s (101.73Mbps) over FTP.

US HTTP speeds improved on last month, at least, clocking in at 51.36Mbps, with FTP file transfers at 6MB/s.

Unexpectedly, it failed our BBC iPlayer streaming test and was detected, but we were able to stream Netflix and Shudder in the US, along with All 4 in the UK, without any trouble.

Related: Bullguard Internet Security

Should I buy BullGuard VPN?

BullGuard shares many of the advantages of NordVPN, albeit with fewer endpoint locations, and may provide a welcome speed boost if your geographic requirements won’t be affected by the absence of countries such as Poland, Romania, South Africa, Turkey and Ukraine.

It’s a bit more expensive, priced at £63.69 per year, £87.09 per two years or £97.49 per three years, although we’ve seen a few discount offers around on the web. The three-year deal works out at a competitive £2.70 a month.

Unlike NordVPN, BullGuard only support Windows, macOS, Android and iOS, with no client or connection instructions for other operating systems or devices – anyone using Linux or embedded systems such as routers should look to the original.

NordVPN, headquartered in Panama, provides an independently audited guarantee that it doesn’t log any information that could be used to identify users, but the addition of UK-based BullGuard’s corporate infrastructure adds some ambiguity to that.

Verdict

BullGuard VPN’s performance and security features are very good, as you’d expect from a service based on NordVPN. It was one of only a handful of services able to connect to all our tested streaming media services.

This month, although its Netherlands HTTP speeds were faster, most of BullGuard’s speed test results were slower than those of its sibling. It’s also more expensive, with fewer supported platforms and geographic endpoints. If you can get a good deal on it, BullGuard has a lot to commend it, but we generally recommend NordVPN as an obvious alternative.

Or, if you want a fast, privacy-focused service that’s had to demonstrate its no-logging policy in court, rather than via an independent audit, Private Internet Access is a good option.

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