TorGuard VPN (Ubuntu Linux GUI)
Disclaimer: Information accurate only as of the time of writing
I took a look at TorGuard last night — not one of the VPN clients I had heard much about, but I found their website intriguing for its technical detail and (comparative) focus on Linux.
First things first, though: TorGuard actually has nothing to do with TOR! This surprised me. A few companies, including ProtonVPN, have rolled out a streamlined TOR-over-VPN functionality (or formerly did so). So I was expecting that TorGuard would be a VPN network dedicated to making it easy for users to use the various possible TOR-over-VPN configurations. Wrong guess.
BolehVPN has a nice blog post that summarizes the nuances with schematics, but the essential idea behind TOR-over-VPN is that your traffic travels within a VPN tunnel on the way to the TOR entry node.
If everything works well this should obfuscate your TOR usage from your ISP. TOR-usage alone isn’t an enormous red flag for those intent on detecting and disrupting cybercrime, but some people — perhaps those actually intent on committing cybercrime — prefer to use minimal digital footprints.
But that’s not what TorGuard offers. What TorGuard offers instead is a standard VPN network.
It has about 3,000 servers in 68 server locations in 50 geographies worldwide. Its main selling point, for me, would be the 8 simultaneous connections it supports. Unlike most VPNs it delineates its service offering according to three different products:
- Anonymous VPN which gets you their basic VPN service.
- An add-on subscription for streamers which gets them a couple of dedicated IPs (from the VPN, that is, of course)
- Business VPN which has more bells and whistles and gets business customers a dedicated account manager
TorGuard has a decently sized VPN network. Although some niche geographies are missing, the VPN offers both servers that support SSH access
The company also maintains an:
In terms of speed, although I had bad luck on my first attempt, I managed to actually pull down very respectable download speeds testing out the Irish, Australian, and New York-based server.
My baseline was about 91 Mbps.
Australian server (Sydney): 21.05 Mbps
I pulled down about 37 Mbps through the US server on my first attempt but got that up to 56 when I made the video embedded above!
I achieved 32 Mbps through the Taipei server (Taiwan).
I initially got an almost unusable bad 1.4 Mbps download through the Irish server (the experience corresponded to the testing rate that I got). However, when I tried again — for the screencast above — I managed to leapfrog all the way up to 50+Mbps. Check the video for the actual numbers I managed to pull down.
Conclusion: their server network is good!
Not only does TorGuard have an actual functional GUI for Ubuntu, they in fact offer multiple Linux clients. In addition to the Ubuntu GUI, I found downloads for an RPM package for Fedora and RedHat users as well as a download for Arch.
The Ubuntu Linux Debian package installed as expected through the Gdebi GUI.
Like many VPN companies, trying to decipher the actual center of operations — and unpacking the actual ownership structure — is a little challenging.
Searching for TorGuard VPN on LinkedIn for instance, I was only able to find two listed employees. It is possible that the company relies on outsourced support, but that headcount seems a little light, to me, to operate a VPN network.
Some people prefer to subscribe to VPNs that are not based in a country that has a domestic signals intelligence (SIGINT) capability or which is a member of an international SIGINT-sharing alliance. If that’s you, you’ve probably already figured out a better option.
I liked the fact that TorGuard provided a few more advanced features than is standard in a VPN and that it presented me with a choice of tunnel type, protocol (TCP/UDP), connection port, and cipher when connecting. In addition there were plenty of leak-protection and kill switch options in the network settings menu.
Application-based kill switch
I was able to create an application-based kill switch in the Ubuntu client to disconnect the VPN upon the termination of any program — whether a daemon, GUI, or CLI.
There was even a ‘select’ option which populated a list of currently running processes. This features was in addition to the global kill switch, of course.
In addition to the kill switches, the client prevents packet leaks over IPv6 and included options to use custom DNS nameservers. The DNS nameserver option was even preconfigured with the correct options for popular third party DNS providers such as Google Public DNS. The custom DNS nameservers used could be changed before, during, and after VPN connection.
I was also able to configure scripts to execute at the same intervals.
TorGuard encourages users to use its service to “make torrenting more secure.” To make sure everything worked as expected, I downloaded an Ubuntu ISO torrent while connected through the US server and everything worked as expected.
A nice features of TorGuard is that it contains a few diagnostic utilities on the user backend.
These include a test Torrent downloader which will report back on the detected user agent and IP.
For Linux users that prefer to connect through importing OpenVPN files to the network manager, or users running supporting firmware on their router, TorGuard also has a nice OpenVPN connection file generator. Users simply fill in the desired connection server, protocol, port, and cipher, and a .opvn file automatically downloads.
- Customer support is good. I opened one ticket and got a response back within about 30 minutes. There’s also an active community forum.
- Pricing is reasonable. Check the website for the latest numbers.
- A real Ubuntu Linux GUI!
- Nice OpenVPN configuration generator
- Good speeds through the servers
- Some nice advanced features and an application-based cutoff switch that works in Linux
Originally published at https://www.danielrosehill.co.il