Product Name: BlufVPN
Offer price: 2.00
- Good for streaming
- 30-day money back guarantee
- Free trail available
- Limited payment options
- Missing critical features
- Slow customer support
BlufVPN is a slightly disconcerting name which in English implies that all may not be as it seems.
But this Estonian VPN service is a newcomer to the market and has been well received in some places, so in this BlufVPN review we have put it through its paces to see how it measures up with the premium virtual private networks in the market.
As you will see, there are still some significant question marks.
Speed is one of the most critical components of any VPN service. Decent speeds can make the difference between an interruption free experience and one plagued by lagging and other buffering issues.
We tested BlufVPN over two weeks and while general web-browsing and everyday internet activity were fine, the actual speeds achieved were average-good.
To put the service through its paces, we downloaded a test file using a standard UK residential connection and then repeated the process on a selection of BlufVPN servers.
Our non-VPN speed was: 59 Mbps.
Connected to a selection of servers, we achieved the following speeds:
- UK – 43 Mbps
- Netherlands – 56 Mbps
- Switzerland – 57 Mbps
- Sweden – 55 Mbps
- France – 21 Mbps
- New York, US – 53 Mbps
- Australia – 11.3 Mbps
BlufVPN has a no logs policy which it shouts about loudly on its website. Looking through the details, there is no doubt that this VPN's policies suggest that no records of the websites you visit or what you get up to during your internet connection are retained.
But this is a new VPN connection provider and so far, there has not been any independent audit to stand up these claims. As such, you are taking the provider on trust and through the BlufVPN reviews offered by other users.
It is also important to note that while BlufVPN doesn't log your activity, it does retain quite a bit of other data about you. This includes device data, email address, some traffic information, and also (most worryingly) your original IP Address. Such details might give out your physical location.
These policies have not been tested in court yet either, but with all this information on file, we would be wary of recommending BlufVPN to particularly privacy-conscious users who want to conceal their IP address from third parties.
BlufVPN offers up to five simultaneous connections with every subscription (including the free trial). Hence, you can connect up to five devices concurrently with unlimited bandwidth.
A couple of years back, this would have been fine, but these days new dedicated VPN apps are tending to offer far more, with some even permitting an unlimited number of connections.
However, it appears BlufVPN's ‘simultaneous' connection limit is actually a device limit. Once you've connected on five devices you're not allowed to login on any others, regardless of if the others are connected or not.
This is very poor and not industry standard.
There also appears to be no way to remove devices and as customer support is impossible to find (which I'll cover more on later) there seems to be no way to remove them.
As such, BlufVPN is really just doing the minimum in this regard, and we are a little disappointed that more simultaneous connections aren't on offer here.
In our BlufVPN review, we also took a look at the jurisdiction. This VPN service is headquartered in Estonia.
This Baltic state is not part of the five, nine, or fourteen eyes security networks, but it is part of the EU and therefore closely allied with countries that are.
Saying that, Estonia has strong privacy protections enshrined in law and the national constitution. It also scored very highly in the Freedom on the Net index with a score of 94 out of 100.
We are therefore pretty conformable with BlufVPN's jurisdiction. If you can't base a VPN app in an offshore location, Estonia is pretty much the next best place.
BlufVPN makes a fuss on its website about offering a 24/7 customer support team. It claims you can contact them round the clock via email or chat and even goes so far as to say, “We have no idea what sleep is.”
However, we found in our BlufVPN review, the reality is somewhat different. If you manage to find the email address, you can certainly send an email but don't hold your breath for a reply. We waited almost 48 hours before receiving a response.
And if you can find the live chat feature on their website, either when you are logged in or otherwise, you are a better person than me. It is simply nowhere to be found and the only conclusion we can reach is that it doesn't actually exist.
There are social media accounts on all the usual platforms but we found these no more responsive than the email service.
There is not even a help section with guides and FAQs on the website you can look at.
All in all, despite the claims, the Customer Support service is pretty much non-existent and the false claims made here do have to raise concerns about the other claims made about this service.
2. Server Locations
In any good VPN review it is important to assess how many VPN servers a provider has. BlufVPN is a young VPN service so we would not expect it to have a huge server network as establishing these properly takes time.
So, the fact that BlufVPN offers more than 500 VPN servers in over 60 countries is pretty impressive. The list of locations on their website actually only lists 56 countries, which is a slight inconsistency however, although some countries do have multiple locations.
This includes 13 torrent servers in the USA, a plethora across Europe and the rest of North America, and even the Middle East, Africa, and Asia are well represented.
One question mark is over whether the BlufVPN servers are physical or virtual servers.
This isn't clear on the website and the customer support never responded to this question. But locations such as Oman and Belarus, which have legal restrictions on VPN connections in place, suggest that at least some locations could be virtual.
This number of servers will work fine for most internet users but may impact on the unlimited speed across the rest of the service.
The number of servers ensures that you have better options. Hence, this is one of the factors to assess when choosing between VPN providers.
There are a number of server specifications available with BlufVPN and this includes five servers which it claims will work inside Communist China.
In our on the ground tests in China, we found that the service works but generally, speeds were quite poor.
Because BlufVPN is a new VPN service, it is quite likely that it has gone under the radar of the Chinese Communist Party, which monitors VPN usage and if the obfuscation technology it has used is decent, it may well work for a period.
Whether this will continue to be the case once the CCP do get wind of it and halt these VPN services remains to be seen however.
3. Security and Safety
Protocols & Encryption
In our BlufVPN review, we also assessed security and safety.
BlufVPN features 256-bit AES encryption for all its users. This is ‘military-grade', industry standard, and more than sufficient for users of any VPN service, making it a solid protection app.
It also has a 4096-bit DH key for handshaking, which is extremely robust and more than many other providers offer.
When it comes to VPN protocols, BlufVPN offers OpenVPN and IKEv2 as well as what they call Wise TCP and UDP. We were not familiar with Wise, which is a little concerning, but with some research, it appears to be an enhanced version of OpenVPN.
Users should note that different apps default to different protocols depending on your operating systems, but these can be changed manually. Make sure you are happy with the protocol you are using before going online if you want to hide your data during your VPN session.
What is missing is WireGuard, the slimline, ultra-secure new VPN protocol that almost all VPNs are offering these days. This is a shame, since otherwise BlufVPN ticks a lot of boxes in this area.
There is also a death of security features. Even basic things like a kill switch, while flagged in the BlufVPN apps, is marked as ‘Coming Soon' on some platforms when you try and access them.
This is a significant flaw and something BlufVPN needs to urgently address to help you further conceal your internet traffic and hide IP addresses.
DNS Leak Testing
BlufVPN comes with a DNS leak protection feature that ensures you are using BlufVPN's own DNS servers.
This is set to on by default, but if it does drop off, it is easy to flick back on without disconnecting.
As long as this feature is enabled, there should be no problem with DNS leaks with a BlufVPN account.
Is BlufVPN safe for torrenting?
BlufVPN allows torrenting and even has some specialised servers to optimise speeds, which is ideal for streaming sites.
It is acceptable for hiding your IP Address while downloading BitTorrent files and offers all the core privacy protections you need even when using your wifi network.
However, if it lets itself down it is with the extent of its support for downloading torrents. This needs to be significantly expanded before BlufVPN is challenging at the top of any best VPN connection for torrenting guides.
BlufVPN offers both an iOS and Android app on the Apple Store and the Google Play Store, respectively. We put the iOS app and Android app through their paces.
The first comment to make is that it looks great. It comes with a sleek modern design and once you log into your account, there is a simple tap option to connect to the fastest server speed dedicated to your experience.
There are two options at the bottom of the home screen.
Locations take you to a list of server locations. This is comprehensive in terms of geographic locations but it lacks the specialised servers which are one of BlufVPN's big selling points. That is a shame.
The menu option takes us to a simple list of options to manage your account and features.
Unfortunately, the vast majority of features are still marked as ‘Coming Soon' when you try and access them. Even basic things like the Kill Switch aren't there yet. The kill switch is an important feature that cuts your internet access during VPN connection drops.
This leaves us with no option but to conclude that the BlufVPN mobile apps really are all style and no substance. They do the basics, but that is literally all. A big disappointment.
The desktop apps are every bit as pretty as the mobile ones and available for macOS and offer a Windows client.
We road tested both the macOS app and the Windows one and found ourselves reaching most of the same conclusions as we did with the mobile ones.
Visually things are lovely, although it does take up slightly a lot of room on your desktop. The one click connect and several servers are fine. But that is it.
On macOS, under settings, there is only one option, which is to change the VPN protocol. No kill switch, no other features, nothing. This all undermines your online security.
Thankfully, the Windows app does feature a Kill Switch and the option to enable or disable DNS leak protection.
There is some mention of a BlufPass service and something called BlufPoints, whatever they are. But as with so many features on the mobile apps, these are simply marked as ‘Coming Soon'.
Sadly, BlufVPN doesn't offer any other apps. This means they're lacking browser extensions, VPN router solutions and apps for other devices like the Amazon Fire TV.
These extras are common at most other premium providers, so it's disappointing to see them lacking here.
If you haven't got an operating system that is one of the big four, you're out of luck.
The BlufVPN service provider approaches the unblocking of streaming in a slightly different way to most other VPN providers.
It offers dedicated VPN servers for individual streaming, which it claims will unblock all of them. So, how do they work?
Does BlufVPN work with Netflix?
Yes, BlufVPN is capable of unblocking US Netflix using the server specialization dedicated to the task while also hiding your IP address.
We also found that some Netflix libraries could be unblocked from other servers as well, although not all of them, and this could well be by accident rather than design.
Nevertheless, you can use BlufVPN to unblock Netflix and access blocked content. For streaming enthusiasts, it provides good VPN services.
Does BlufVPN work with BBC iPlayer?
Yes. Again there is a dedicated VPN server that is able to unblock the BBC iPlayer no matter where in the world you are.
Does BlufVPN work with Amazon Prime Video?
Again, yes, the dedicated server seems to do the job even though Amazon Prime Video is notoriously one of the hardest streaming platforms to unblock. Kudos to BlufVPN for that.
Does BlufVPN work with Disney+?
Once again, we had no problem unblocking Disney+ with the specialised server indicated on the BlufVPN app.
Does BlufVPN work with other streaming services?
As well as the streaming platforms outlined above, BlufVPN also offers dedicated servers for the following streaming services:
- HBO Now (now HBO Max)
- Sony Crackle
- Hotstar (from India)
- Rai.tv (from Italy)
There are also general VPN streaming servers based in California that claim to unblock most US-based streaming platforms and access third party websites.
The only downside to this otherwise excellent streaming provision is that these servers are not available on many VPN apps yet. This is something we hope that the BlufVPN will address sooner rather than later.
6. Prices and Plans
BlufVPN's subscription plans follow a familiar pattern with discounts for those who are willing to sign up for longer. At present, the pricing plans are as follows:
- One Month – $9.99 per month (£9.99)
- One Year – $3.49 per month (£3.99)
- Three Years – $2.00 per month (£2)
These prices are not unreasonable, although they are by no means the cheapest price plans available at the moment.
You can pay less for a far more established and comprehensive VPN. We would also urge caution about signing up for three years to a provider that was only established last year and there is no way to know how successful or long-term their online security service will be.
All price plans come with a 30-day money-back guarantee which is good. However, the only payment option available at the moment is credit card.
It is a shame that online payments and more privacy-friendly cryptocurrency options are not available yet. The website currently says that they are, which unfortunately raises further questions about this service.
There is a free trial available too, although it is not clearly advertised and you will have to contact BlufVPN to use it, which is not easy in itself.
Overall, pricing is straightforward but not nearly as cost-effective as a lot of other VPN security services. Therefore, if you're thinking of becoming a BlufVPN customer and need to hide your personal data, you may want to pause for thought before committing.
Overall, we are quite disappointed with BlufVPN. It is clearly a service that is not ready yet to have been launched on the public and coming to market sadly opens it up to critical reviews like this one.
The overriding sense we came away with was that this is a VPN provider that lives up to its name.
There are numerous claims on the website that are not borne out when you actually use the service and this does have to raise serious concerns about how legitimate many of the other service offerings are.
Too many basic features are still ‘Coming Soon‘. There is no indication of when they will arrive.
There are a few positive points. BlufVPN is good at unblocking streaming services and its encryption provisions are solid, even if WireGuard is missing.
But there are logging concerns, question marks over the services dedicated network, and a customer support network that, if we are being charitable, we would say leaves a lot to be desired.
Hence, if you are looking for a secure VPN that gives you the ultimate private browser experience, BlufVPN might not be a great app.
For the prices being charged, we wouldn't recommend anyone sign up for BlufVPN at the moment.
They might come good eventually, and we will keep checking in to see how things are progressing, but right now, they have a lot of work to do to make any serious inroads into the virtual private network market.
Looking for a better service for a similar price? Try ExpressVPN.