Tuxler VPN is a simple, easy to use, free VPN/proxy service. It is one of the “freemium” competitors in the ever-growing community. With only a handful of exceptions, there are very few that are worth using. Keep in mind that Tuxler is a peer-to-peer (P2P) network. That means they use you as a host. If you have a metered connection, that could quickly become an issue. Their website states that over 300k users trust Tuxler from more than 92 countries. They offer apps for Windows and Mac, along with extensions for Chrome and Firefox. They also state that Android and iOS apps are coming soon. While they make the claim that 100% of their IP addresses are residential, be aware that there is a switch you need to toggle on to take advantage of the feature.
In our review of Tuxler VPN we will take a look at the features of the service and give you the information necessary to decide whether or not it’s the right solution for you. That way, you can choose the key points that are important to you. If you decide to look at the premium version, Tuxler is $7.99 a month. The company bills on a monthly basis. Unlike most the VPNs on our site, Tuxler does not offer a discount for longer terms.
About the Company and Jurisdiction
The company’s website states that a team of passionate people created the service with the goal to “Give people back their right to surf the web without any borders“. There is not much information available about them on the website, but it clearly states that the company is located in Walnut Creek, California. That means any information they collect falls under the US jurisdiction and is subject to the laws of the US government. They can also share that information with other members of the 5,9, and 14 eyes programs. If jurisdiction was the only privacy concern, that alone would make some people in the community nervous.
How Does Tuxler Make Money?
Pricing and Payment Methods
As we mentioned, the normal service is free and unlimited. That said, there are some advantages to signing up for the premium plan and we will talk more about that, shortly. The premium version is $7.99 a month, and they only give you the option to buy it month by month. In the image below, you can see the payment methods available. We are pleased to see that they offer payment using PayPal, Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover, JCB, Bitcoin, and Ethereum. Using cryptocurrencies can provide you with an extra layer of anonymity when signing up.
VPN Server Locations and IP Addresses
Tuxler is not clear on the number of servers or locations they offer. Whereas the client implies there are more than 60, it does no good if the program just routes you to another country at will. In fact, their website seems to contradict itself, as the left image shows below. Looking at the three numbers together may be confusing for some users until you remember that the discrepancies come from the P2P network. There is no way to know the actual number of P2P members you can connect to at any given time.
Additionally, you can only choose the server by the city if you are using the paid version. Your IP address and location in the country can change at a random interval. Our experience seemed to be between 9-14 minutes, but it could be more or less. Although the frequent IP address change can be good for security, it can cause problems for streaming or anything that requires an uninterrupted connection. Also, there is a limited number of IP switches you can do per day.
When it comes to reliability, we have another concern. The above image on the right shows we tried to connect to Haiti. However, it routed us to Venezuela. Another time, we chose Haiti and it routed us to Cairo, Egypt. If you take into account that you may not know how long you will stay connected to any server, consistency issues are a problem with Tuxler.
DNS Leak Test
The DNS leak test is one we perform to see if others can detect your real location. Since one of the big reasons to use a VPN is to help protect your privacy by masking your location, it is good to know the answer. In the image below, you can see the section from doileak.com that deals with DNS request leaks. Please note that we blurred the IP address because it shows our real one. It failed the leak test.
Tuxler Speed Test
If you are going to stream or do anything else internet intensive, speed can also come into play. That is true for anyone trying to access content outside their area. The rule is if you want to stream videos in standard definition, experts recommend at least 3 Mbps. For high definition (HD) content, it is 5 Mbps. With 4K content, that number jumps to 25 Mbps, recommended. As you can see with this one, the free version speed test shows it is virtually unusable. If you get the premium version, however, you may have enough speed to stream HD content. There are vague promises of more speed, but we could not find anything concrete to back that up. Considering you can normally expect about a 25% encryption loss from most providers, Tuxler performed poorly in our speed test.
BBC iPlayer and Netflix Test
Not surprisingly, these two tests are where Tuxler shines. That is because they use residential IP addresses. We tested two streaming sites for this one. Those were the BBC iPlayer and Netflix. During both of the tests, we connected to a host in the UK. The image on the left is from BBC iPlayer and the image on the right is from Netflix. The reason you only see a black screen for the iPlayer is that watching it using Tuxler is nearly impossible, due to speed issues. Netflix is the same way. Despite that, we boxed the part that shows the service thinks we are in the UK.
Although Tuxler has some presence on social media, they clearly do not keep up with the accounts. The only way to get in touch with the company is to message them through their “contact us” email. If you have a question, there is no time estimate on how long it will take you to get a response. For those that live in California, you might get an answer to your question more quickly by going to the corporate HQ and asking in person. Otherwise, you may be able to just Google the answer you need.
To summarize, Tuxler is very slow, unreliable, and a privacy nightmare. Streaming, at least on the free version of the service, is not usable based on the slow connection speed. In addition to those issues, the P2P network configuration they use may make you feel like a parasite. In theory, Tuxler is a good concept and it should be able to unblock websites in various places. Unfortunately, that is the limit of what you can expect. This service is free, but in our opinion, the risks and issues are not worth the reward.