Tuxler is a VPN which styles itself as the “ﬁrst community-powered residential VPN ever created.” This means that it specializes in offering residential IPs (that is IPs linked to home addresses, not businesses). So it could be a handy tool for home users who want to unblock services like Netflix.
Mixing free and paid versions, boasting a customer base of 300,000 people, and promising high-level performance, the Tuxler VPN package certainly seems appealing on first glance. But does it actually deliver the privacy and security features users require? This review will take a deeper look at this residential VPN specialist.
First impressions on the security side aren’t encouraging. Tuxler isn’t forthcoming with many details about the type of encryption used with its free and paid versions. Instead, the website just states that it uses “end-to-end encryption” which can “prevent eavesdropping and other types of surveillance.”
That’s great, and it’s true as far as it goes, but the type of E2E encryption used matters a lot. Older varieties are easy to crack and rarely seen as secure, while AES-256 and similar versions are virtually impregnable. It’s impossible to tell from the Tuxler website which form of encryption you’ll receive, and that’s not a good sign.
Moreover, Tuxler doesn’t feature a kill switch, which is a very basic security feature, and one that all good VPNs should possess. That way, if your VPN protection fails, your internet connection will be taken offline until protection can be restored.
There’s also no information on the Tuxler website about IP leak protection, DNS leak protection , Stealth VPN features, the authentication algorithm, or the types of protocols available to use. So if you download Tuxler VPN, you’ll be taking a huge risk. Any decent service would provide clear specifications about these features, allowing users to make an informed choice. That’s not the case here.
Does Tuxler VPN keep logs?
The last clause is a strange addition in the VPN world, suggesting that users should be very careful about granting permissions to the Tuxler VPN app.
Additionally, Tuxler is a United States-based VPN. That could mean it comes with a heightened risk of surveillance or prosecution for P2P downloads. So bear that in mind.
Speed and performance
Some of these security and privacy flaws could be forgiven if Tuxler delivers lightning fast speeds. In that case, while privacy fans would want to stay away, Tuxler could be handy for streamers and general web users. So how does it fare in a generalized speed test?
Not well, actually. Tuxler doesn’t foreground speed as one of its unique selling propositions, so in some ways, this isn’t unexpected, but the speeds we found were very low by modern standards. It’s worth noting that your connection speed will vary from server to server (particularly depending on the distance from your location), but the average is comparatively low. This definitely isn’t a VPN for movie or TV streaming.
Tuxler focuses its marketing on the number of residential IPs it offers (providing users with as many unique, anonymous residential addresses as they need). But that doesn’t match up to a huge bank of servers, even though the website promises “millions of locations.”
That language is extremely deceptive. In reality, Tuxler’s “community powered” service doesn’t rely on fixed servers. It uses the bandwidth and processing power of nearby users to route traffic.
This means that users are dependent upon other Tuxler customers near them. If there are plenty of users, speeds can be passable. If not, the service barely works. It’s not a recipe for reliable connections and optimal performance.
Ease of use and multiplatform support
The Tuxler VPN client is available for the following platforms:
- Google Chrome (extension)
- Firefox (extension)
So there’s a service for PC users and a service for Mac computers, while the site promises that both Android and iPhone versions are “coming soon.”
Setting it up is very simple. Just download the VPN from the bottom of the Tuxler home page, and you’re good to go. It’s possible to download the app and log in in a couple of minutes, which is refreshingly quick.
When you download the client and boot up Tuxler, the interface is fairly easy to use. There are no in-depth security features to wrestle with (unfortunately). You just pick a location and connect. Everything is neatly presented, and it’s generally a very usable, well-designed app. So we need to give Tuxler credit there.
Unblocking Netflix and other streaming platforms
Sadly, Netflix and Hulu users won’t find Tuxler to their liking. As we said earlier, the speeds are poor, so that’s an immediate red flag. Even if that weren’t the case, Tuxler is unable to work around the geo-blocking measures of Netflix US and probably some other platforms as well.
Whenever we tried to catch a TV show on Netflix, the streaming platform correctly detected we were re-routing our IP address, and denied access.
Recommended reads: Best VPN for Streaming
P2P and torrenting
You probably won’t be surprised to learn that the same applies to P2P downloads. The speeds are very slow, while the lack of a Kill Switch makes torrent downloads far too risky. If you need a secure torrenting solution, look to premium VPNs, not Tuxler.
Recommended read: Best VPN for torrenting
Online censorship in China and elsewhere
Tuxler won’t be a reliable ally if you intend to breach the Great Firewall of China (or indeed work around censorship in any repressive country). In fact, it could put you at risk.
There’s no indication that the developers behind Tuxler are serious about defeating censorship. And the features confirm this story.
A strong support game can go a long way in the VPN world, allowing users to deal with minor problems and optimize their experience. Unfortunately, this is another area where Tuxler doesn’t do well at all. For starters, the Help section isn’t accessible from the home page, making it hard to find, while the FAQ is simplistic and not particularly useful. And there’s only one way to contact the Tuxler team: a tired old email contact form. In an age of live chat support, that’s simply not that great.
Additionally, the information available via the site is minimal and unlikely to be helpful should serious issues arise.
Tuxler offers two ways to use the service:
- Free – Slow, ad-supported, and probably not very secure, the free Tuxler client promises limited residential IP addresses, and not much more.
- Premium – Available for $7.99/month, the premium version claims to be 4 times as fast, and delivers unlimited location changes.
What’s more, Tuxler doesn’t operate a refund policy. That’s another unforgivable sin in the VPN world – particularly if you’re charging $7.99 per month for an unproven, not well-regarded service.
Bizarrely, Tuxler doesn’t offer a refund on paid services “because we offer users a fully featured Free Tuxler version for as long as they like.” This makes absolutely no sense, given that the paid version is supposedly 4 times as fast, and comes with added location changes.
If you’ve been looking for an innovative “community-powered” VPN which manages to balance speed, privacy, and value, keep looking. Tuxler may offer a kind of crowd-sourced VPN service, but it fails on pretty much every level. From encryption and protocols to privacy, speeds, pricing, and streaming, Tuxler has very little to offer for serious users.