Updated · Oct 18, 2022
Best for: Browsing/streaming
TuxlerVPN is а free virtual private network service launched in 2018, with its headquarters in California.
This is already a bit concerning since the company needs to abide by the Five Eyes alliance laws.
And while TuxlerVPN reviews are available, this service isn’t making headlines.
So, how’s the feedback looking?
Over 900 users downloaded the Firefox browser extension. And based on about 50 reviews, it has a rating of 3.4 stars.
On the other hand, the TuxlerVPN Chrome extension’s average rating is 4.2 stars from over 1,000 reviews. It has more than 90,000 downloads on the Google Store.
Considering Google’s numbers, it seems like a good VPN.
Upon closer inspection of the written reviews, the traits of a fake review campaign reveal themselves. These 5-star reviews are basically identical and often way too positive for a simple VPN service.
The company claims it offers true privacy and anonymity, with access to more than 300,000 IP addresses, sometimes referred to as millions of locations across 92 countries.
This sounds great, right?
It’s essentially a community-powered peer-to-peer proxy network of servers.
You connect through IPs belonging to other users of the service. And when you join, your IP address gets added to the service’s pool.
So, what about privacy and anonymity, you ask?
Keep reading to learn more about all these details and more.
TuxlerVPN is far from being feature-rich.
The communal nature of this software certainly sets it apart from the standard practices of more classic VPN services. This also prevents it from competing directly with industry leaders.
Standard VPN functions like stealth mode, split tunneling, and multi-hop are absent.
Fortunately, the TuxlerVPN free version offers many locations and some cool features other freemiums lack.
Let’s check them out.
As security features go, a killswitch is a must.
Tuxler’s FAQ states that it employs a feature that resembles the killswitch in its function and is turned on by default. At face value, it should prevent any browser or program from connecting to the Internet if you experience a connection loss to a secure server.
It feels suspicious that if they utilize such tech, why is it not mentioned on its website’s front page.
There are native TuxlerVPN apps for Windows and macOS.
According to the company’s website, Android and iOS apps are coming soon. There is no mention if a TuxlerVPN for Linux is in the works.
Browser extensions are also available for Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox.
Interestingly enough, the Premium account provides service to only one device at a time.
This is the opposite of most VPN providers, as they usually allow for simultaneous connections on multiple devices for their paying customers.
One of the main selling points is that even the free version provides unlimited bandwidth.
This means you can use the service, in terms of data transfer, as much as you want.
Most VPN services have bandwidth caps on their free or trial plans and only allow unlimited for paying subscribers.
Sounds great, right?
Well, not so fast. Since the free TuxlerVPN speeds are generally very slow, it doesn’t make much difference.
You can access servers in over 90 countries, even with the free version.
There is no unlimited server switching, unfortunately.
You receive 10 per day with the free version or 100 with Premium.
Bear in mind that the VPN’s promotional material can be misleading.
A few places on its website and app promise unlimited changes upon payment.
For example, when I ran out of the free daily switches, the below message appeared.
And even though 100 location changes is a lot, it still isn’t unlimited.
If opting for the paid service, you can select TuxlerVPN servers in specific cities.
Furthermore, TuxlerVPN will automatically switch you to a different location if there isn’t one available per your preference.
Although it’s good that you automatically get a fresh IP, this isn’t ideal if you need content from a specific area.
There is no configuration required. All you have to do is download, install and connect.
As proxy systems often require setup, this VPN is perfect for the less tech-savvy.
In addition to that, there is no registration for the TuxlerVPN free version.
Servers and Locations
According to the website, you can access 300,000 IPs in 92 countries, with 70,000 more IPs added to the TuxlerVPN server list every month.
During testing, I managed to connect to numerous countries, including:
- United Kingdom
- Czech Republic
- Côte d'Ivoire
Tuxler’s primary marketing focus is its vast network of residential IPs. It also promises access to millions of locations.
This statement, however, is a bit deceiving.
TuxlerVPN is a community-powered service with no fixed or DNS servers.
The FAQ does mention that you may choose between residential or data center proxies, though only with the TuxlerVPN extension.
Since I didn’t get any other info on the matter, I assume the company may be using third-party data centers, which isn’t that uncommon. However, Tuxler needs to state this clearly.
In general, the availability of servers is solely reliant on nearby active users’ bandwidth.
Unless a user’s IP address is online through the app, that IP isn’t available to other users.
This means that you are entirely dependent on the activity of other TuxlerVPN customers in your target area.
If there aren’t any active users near you or the preferred location, the app automatically switches you to the closest server possible.
However, this wasn’t always the case when testing it.
For example, the auto-switch placed me in countries like Russia, Ghana, and Greece while attempting to connect to the US.
So, this function either doesn’t work correctly, or there were no available servers in the US.
Perhaps a bit of both, but no matter, as the number promised is unreal.
Speed is one of the most important stats that a VPN needs to be good at.
Many services make up for the lack of features with good speeds.
Is TuxlerVPN one of these?
No, not really.
Or at least not if you get TuxlerVPN for free. The results from the speed tests I conducted are less than appealing.
This was my base speed in the United Kingdom:
This is the result with TuxlerVPN set to the same country:
Later on, however, I connected to a UK server again and got a more useable result:
This is through a one in Australia:
Here are two seriously contrasting connection results using US servers:
And the useable one:
I did manage to get a decent connection through the Czech Republic:
As you can see, speeds certainly don't take precedence, nor does consistency.
If there aren’t many available users in your target region, expect slow speeds. So, the best you can hope for is some 480p streaming and browsing.
Based on these less than swift results, you shouldn’t expect Premium speeds to be much faster.
There are numerous other VPNs for free or cheaper, which provide between 5 - 15% speed loss - substantially better.
Privacy and Jurisdiction
Being based out of Walnut Creek, California, the company must provide data requested by US authorities. And other members of the Fourteen Eyes alliance have access too.
So, will TuxlerVPN guarantee security against government inquiries?
No, it can’t.
Aside from that, there are a few more things to consider.
According to its FAQ and EULA, once you download and run the VPN, you agree that it “will store your IP and other necessary data.”
Furthermore, whenever the free TuxlerVPN version runs on your computer, your computer becomes available as a tunnel for others.
Essentially, you agree that other users may use your IP to connect to the internet and go about their business, disguised as being you.
As some people have mentioned in their reviews, this vulnerability can create serious issues with authorities.
I found online that it’s just for the website and not the actual program.
Aside from everyday use, like support and improvements, it states that the company may provide collected info to “advertiser clients” for targeted advertising.
Is there a possibility that Tuxler will sell your data?
Yes, there is.
And despite elevating my question about data logging to a Tier 2 support agent, I didn’t receive a complete answer.
The agent informed me that it logs source and destination addresses. I did not receive an answer about the length and quantity of data retention.
So, is there a zero traffic logs policy?
However, if you decide to pay for the premium version, your computer won’t act as a TuxlerVPN server. This subscription is apparently “installed without the server feature” but still allows you to use the network to its fullest.
Security and Protocols
TuxlerVPN uses SOCKS5 to protect data transfers.
This advanced protocol uses proxy servers to make UDP or TCP connections through IP addresses.
In this case, the proxies are the active residential IPs in the TuxlerVPN server list.
Although this proxy protocol does increase privacy by masking your actual IP, it doesn’t mean it’s secure.
So, even though it disguises your IP, your activity is not concealed.
However, customer support informed me that it implements the military-grade encryption protocol AES-256, the current industry standard, in conjunction with an RSA2048 key.
As such, there should be a robust protection layer over the proxy protocol, similar to an actual VPN.
The fact that Tuxler doesn’t clearly state the encryption algorithms is another cause for concern. This info is crucial and should be made available.
Leak Test Results
Tuxler’s website lacks any details about IP or DNS leak protection, so all the more reason to put the free version through its paces.
IP and DNS leak tests confirm whether a VPN service successfully hides your traffic.
I used IPLeak to check if there were any leaks while browsing with TuxlerVPN in Chrome, and it seems to have passed successfully.
I connected to a Czech server from the UK, and there were no leaks.
As shown, it correctly claims that I am in the Czech Republic, and my actual DNS address is nowhere to be seen.
My testing of different countries provided me with all different DNS addresses, and it never revealed my actual one.
TuxlerVPN and Streaming Services
The ability to access geo-blocked content is one of the primary reasons the wider public employs VPNs.
Streaming services constantly try to improve their defenses against this, but good VPNs are formidable opponents.
In this regard, TuxlerVPN is one of the toughest. And thanks to its SOCKS5 protocol, it successfully passed the Netflix unblocking test.
For example, here, I used a US IP from the UK:
This is with the Czech IP:
I also successfully tested the TuxlerVPN servers with the following services:
Even though it got through these geo-restrictions, don’t expect to watch your content in HD every time.
Despite its reduced speeds, buffering was minimal, though so was the video quality.
Even if you are lucky enough to connect to a good server, the lack of consistency is not a sign of good service.
How Good Is it for Torrenting?
Neither the paid nor the free TuxlerVPN versions have dedicated VPN servers for torrenting.
Its servers, though, are available for P2P sharing and streaming.
And you’ll probably be satisfied if you connect to an adequate TuxlerVPN server, as I did in the Czech Republic.
In this case, there was no difference in download speed. Upload, on the other hand, suffered substantially.
This was my base speed:
This was the speed with TuxlerVPN:
You should keep in mind that the company is based in the US and logs your data to some unknown extent. For this reason, you shouldn’t consider TuxlerVPN safe for torrenting.
If this is your primary goal, look elsewhere for better security and speed.
Can TuxlerVPN Bypass Geoblocks?
The SOCKS5 protocol that this VPN employs is certainly one of the best at bypassing hefty geo-restrictions. Tuxler successfully managed to provide access to countries that implement these, most notable of which are Russia and China:
But, despite managing to hop over the Great Firewall of China, TuxlerVPN security doesn't provide any extra measures for such applications.
Vendors often provide obfuscated VPN servers with extra layers of encryption to help protect you when accessing heavily censored countries.
Since I couldn’t find any clear evidence suggesting otherwise, my recommendation would be to avoid bypassing geoblocks if you need such a high level of privacy.
Ease of use
The macOS version of TuxlerVPN has one of the simplest interfaces.
When you initially start the program, you will only have the top banner with the switch saying Disconnected. Once you flick the switch, the rest of the window appears.
You can set your preferred location at the top and change the city if you have a premium account.
At the bottom, you will see the current connection.
If TuxlerVPN has no free servers available in the preferred area, it will automatically change it.
TuxlerVPN offers a limited array of support.
There is a FAQ section, which is largely absent of much detail or troubleshooting tips.
Additionally, there is a blog with about 20 pages of posts about VPNs and online security. It’s a mixed bag of somewhat informative articles and promotional content.
Unfortunately, the only way to contact a representative is via email or the website contact form.
I used the latter to inquire about TuxlerVPN security protocols and policies.
Other TuxlerVPN reviews mention that replies took long, but this was certainly not my experience.
Although I didn’t get an automatic confirmation, I was surprised to get a reply within a few hours.
I also had a couple of back-and-forths with the agent that same day.
The answer to my question was a bit curt, and all others were similar.
And while the agent seemed eager to help with my installation issue - in the end, I wasn’t able to install the TuxlerVPN extension.
Now let’s have a look at the pricing options on offer.
You have two available choices:
- Free Version - $0/month
- Premium Version - $7.99/month
The base version of TuxlerVPN is free forever, so you can use it for as long as you like.
The paid version promises 4x greater speeds than its counterpart, 100 daily location changes, and the fact that no one else will use your IP.
TuxlerVPN doesn’t have any refund policy.
TuxlerVPN Review - Verdict
So, in the end, what price do you pay for the free TuxlerVPN? It seems to be steep in terms of your online security and privacy.
While TuxlerVPN offers unlimited bandwidth, good geo-unblocking abilities, and many locations thanks to its pool of residential IPs, it seriously lacks security and privacy.
Additionally, TuxlerVPN isn’t transparent about its overall policies.
And even if you decide to go for the Premium version, the lack of a refund policy and support for simultaneous connections on multiple devices are major deal-breakers.
After extensive research and testing for this TuxlerVPN review, I can honestly say you are better off looking elsewhere.
And rest assured, there are many free or cheap VPN and proxy service alternatives providing secure and private web access.
Deyan has been fascinated by technology his whole life. From the first Tetris game all the way to Falcon Heavy. Working for TechJury is like a dream come true, combining both his passions – writing and technology. In his free time (which is pretty scarce, thanks to his three kids), Deyan enjoys traveling and exploring new places. Always with a few chargers and a couple of gadgets in the backpack. He makes mean dizzying Island Paradise cocktails too.
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