On our journey to find the best VPN and bring it to you, we’ve stumbled upon TorGuard, a promising service whose name refers to another popular tool that’s being used to anonymize one’s connection and keep it secure, away from prying eyes. Yes, it’s Tor.
We understand that you’d like to get this over within a matter of minutes, but unfortunately, our procedures have the nasty habit of taking a long time to be completed, so what we’re going to do is let you access a table of content so that you can jump to the interesting parts quickly.
- Company information
- U.S.A. Jurisdiction
- Terms of service analysis
- A quick introduction to TorGuard
- Creating an account
- Downloading the app on your device
- Checking the installer for malware
- Installing the application
- Trial, but not for everyone
- Running TorGuard on your computer
- App crashes
- Changing the settings
- List of servers
- Services unlocked
- TOR and torrenting support
- Customer support
- Security check-up results
- Speed test results
- Pricing plans
TorGuard.net is the name of the company that developed and supports the TorGuard project, some say that the project came to life in 2012, but that’s as much as we could find.
Attempting to look up the TorGuard.net company returned a TorGuard ‘about’ page that redirected us to PrivateRouter.com when we tried accessing it, but no additional connection was to be found. TorGuard.net is located in Orlando, Florida, U.S.A., although other sources claimed that TorGuard might be located somewhere in the Carribean.
However, this confusion came to an end when we’ve spotted an address in the ‘DMCA Policy’ document on the official website, which pointed to Orange Ave, Suite 550, Orlando, FL 32801.
Since the company’s apparently based in Florida, which is a U.S.A. state, we’ve decided to include a little bit of jurisdiction here, so you know what to expect in the long run. First thing’s first, VPN usage is perfectly legal in the U.S.A. Second, the U.S. is well known for protecting rights, including, but not limited to the freedom of speech, freedom of the press, civil liberties and human rights.
On the not-so-bright side, there were some reports in which it’s mentioned that the state engaged in some ISP monitoring and lately more and more attempts at coercing tech companies to install backdoors in their products are made. Additionally, not only that the U.S. is a member of the 5, 9, 14 Eyes Alliances, it’s actually one of the founding members.
The 5, 9, 14 Eyes Alliance allegiance means that, if the need arises, the U.S. has to hand out sensitive information (such as your private info) with other countries that are members of the same alliance.
Terms of service analysis
We’ll run a quick analysis on TorGuard’s Terms of Service documentation, extract the essentials out of it and bring it back to you, for your convenience.
- By using the service or visiting the website, you agree with the terms and conditions available in the company’s policies;
- You need to be 18 years old, or an emancipated minor, or possess a legal consent from your guardian or parents to be able to use the service;
- TorGuard’s service is not sold, but licensed to you, so all proprietary rights belong to the TorGuard.net company;
- The agreement, as well as all the terms and conditions expressed within it, can be modified at any time and for any reasons;
- Since the agreement doesn’t have a ‘last modified’ date and there’s no sign of TorGuard.net sending you notifications if any changes occur, it’s your responsibility to check the agreement document as often as possible;
- You are not allowed to use TorGuard in an unlawful manner;
- You are not allowed to engage in unsolicited communications such as, but not limited to spam, while connected to the service;
- You are not allowed to transmit, possess, produce, receive, transport, exploit or distribute illegal content, such as but not limited to child pornography;
- You are not allowed to transmit, possess, receive, handle, transport or distribute copyrighted material, or content that’s protected by any other kind of intellectual right;
- You are not allowed to forge headers or manipulate email identifiers to commit unlawful deeds;
- You are not allowed to interfere with the service in such a manner that other users or the service itself are negatively impacted;
- You are not allowed to engage in DDoS (Distributed Denial-of-Service) or DoS (Denial-of-Service) attacks while connected to the service;
- You are not allowed to scan for vulnerabilities or scan for open ports without the consent of the network’s owner while connected to the service;
- You are not allowed to engage in any kind of behavior that might resemble hacking;
- You are not allowed to transmit material that might promote violence, hatred, self-harm, injury, destruction of property, defamation, racism, bigotry and such while connected to the service;
- The maximum number of devices you can connect to the VPN and use them at the same time is 5 (five);
- It’s mandatory that you provide ‘valid and accurate’ identifying information;
- You need to keep your account confidential and are the sole responsible for the security of your account;
TorGuard.net has a zero-tolerance policy in regards to behavior that goes against the clauses of their agreements. In other words, if you break the terms of the agreement, they’ll remove your account and your right to receive a refund and might also hold you responsible for financial damages and/or losses that might arise from the violation of said terms.
Additionally, they will disclose information to law enforcement agencies if there’s some unlawful behavior going on on your account and if they detect it. Long story short, don’t break the law.
- Your payment information;
- Anonymized Google Analytics data;
- Temporary cookie for affiliates;
- Apache Webserver logs;
- The contact data that you submit through live chat or support tickets;
- Emails you may send them;
Notice that there’s no mention about the email address that’s needed to create your account. Moving on…
How do they use your data:
- Your email address will be used to send you information about subscriptions, replies to your inquiries, payment confirmations, and TorGuard promo offers;
- Your payment data will be used to manage signups, cancellations, and payments as well;
- The anonymized Google Analytics data they collect is used for website improvement;
- The Apache Webserver logs are created by the web server and purged on a regular basis (no mention about the duration), but no passwords or usernames are logged in the server;
- Temporary cookies will be used to handle logins to the control panel;
The last clause states that “TorGuard does not collect or log any data from its Virtual Private Network (VPN) or Proxy services.”
Remember when we told you to notice that there’s no mention about the email needed during the creation of your account? Well, it’s there, but for some reason, it’s not included in the “Information we collect” section. Instead, it’s at the bottom of the document. The whole excerpt is as follows:
“TorGuard.net users have the option to register with personal information. The personal information provided is collected solely for private use by TorGuard.net as it relates to standard business operations. Upon registration for services at TorGuard.net the account owner’s name, email address, and date/time is stored. This information is recorded to prevent fraud and abuse of TorGuard.net services. No data is ever provided to a third party unless required to do so by law. TorGuard.net users can modify or remove the personal information stored at any time. Upon request, TorGuard.net will provide a user information on what account related data is stored. Registered users may request removal of all personal information at any time by contacting the support department or the official TorGuard.net data controller.”
A quick introduction to TorGuard
Alright, so we were wrong. The ‘Tor’ in TorGuard has no connection with the famous privacy service TOR, but it comes from ‘torrent’ or ‘torrenting’ or something torrent-related.
Now for a quick introduction to the service: it claims to anonymize your connection, letting you bypass ‘deep packet inspection’ (say, if you’re using it in a country where VPN usage is blocked), unlocking geo-restricted content, all of it while using ‘state-of-the-art encryption’.
Well, it does sound promising and there’s a lot more where those features came from, such as malware blocking, ad blocking, all OS and devices supported, and so on, but we won’t take their word for it. We’re going in to give those features a try.
Creating an account
There’s no ‘Create an account’ button on their website per se, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t register for an account or that TorGuard doesn’t require one to operate. So here are the steps to get your very own account:
- Navigate to the product’s landing page;
- Click the ‘Join Now’ button that’s located somewhere at the top-right of the page (check the screenshot). Note: you can also click the ‘Get TorGuard Now’ button at the center of the page, it triggers the same effect.
- Choose a ‘Billing Cycle’ by clicking the appropriate radio button according to your choice;
- Configure additional options (additional devices, dedicated IP, streaming and residential IPs, 10Gbit premium network, DDoS-protected IP);
- Click the ‘Add to Cart & Checkout’ button at the bottom;
- Provide the website with your payment information;
After the website processes the payment successfully, you’ll have your very own TorGuard account. Use it wisely.
Downloading the app on your device
The good part is that TorGuard doesn’t require an account to let you download its apps to your favorite device.
- Navigate to the landing page of the product;
- Scroll all the way down to the bottom of the page;
- Locate the ‘Support & Help’ section and in it, the ‘Downloads’ button. Click it;
- On the newly-opened page, locate the device you want to retrieve the app on;
- Press the corresponding ‘Download’ button according to your selection;
That’s it. No logging in, no unnecessary complications. You just click a bunch of buttons and the installation kit should be on your device in no time.
Checking the installer for malware
Yes, we know that you’re eager to give it a try yourself, but aren’t you forgetting something? You just downloaded something from the vastness which is the Internet, so you’ll probably (absolutely) want to scan it for potential malware.
Now we’re not implying that TorGuard is not a trustworthy source, just that nowadays, attacks have gotten so creative to the point that any source can be somehow compromised. Better be safe than sorry. We’re using VirusTotal for our scans, mostly because they provide you with multiple antivirus engines so that the detection chance is increased.
We’ve picked up an ‘unsafe’ alert during our scan on VirusTotal, but don’t take our word for it; check our results page for yourself and also catch a glimpse of our screenshot below. It’s probably just a false-positive, but inexperienced users might consider it a threat, so it’s something that should be fixed at some point.
Installing the application
We’ve got the installer on our computers, we’ve scanned it for malware, now it’s time to deploy it.
- Double-click the TorGuard’s installer executable;
- Accept the License Agreement by hitting the ‘I agree’ button;
- Configure (choose) the components you want to install by ticking their checkboxes;
- Choose the destination path on your computer where you want TorGuard to be installed;
- Hit the ‘Install’ button;
- Wait for the setup process to finish;
- Hit the ‘Next’ button;
- Decide if you want the app to run after setup and if a desktop shortcut should be created;
- Hit the ‘Finish’ button;
During the component configuration step of the setup process, there are many options. If you’re confused or unsure about how they can affect your system, just leave them as they are.
So far, we’ve encountered many of what seems to be third-parties. First, there was the PrivateRouter website which we were redirected to, but when we tried installing the app, we’ve noticed that Schäuffelhut Berger GmbH was listed as the publisher.
More so, the title of the app seemed to be VPNetwork LLC – TorGuard. It seems that the company behind TorGuard is, in fact, VPNetworks LLC, and not TorGuard.net, as we originally thought. As for Schäuffelhut Berger GmbH, we weren’t able to find anything related to them, but we believe they might be some kind of partners who helped in the development of the app.
The version of TorGuard we’ve installed on our computer is 3.96.1.
Trial, but not for everyone
If you check the landing page of the website (and our screenshot of it, too), you can see that a free trial is supposedly available for anyone, and not just any trial, but a 7-days one.
However, after exploring for a while, we’ve been able to find that the 7-day trial isn’t for everyone to grab. Instead, you have to ‘migrate’ from another VPN service provider to TorGuard and send them the most recent bill, too. While they verify your account, you can use a 7-day trial.
More so, if you send them proof of your cancellation of your other VPN service provider, you’ll get an extra 30 days on any TorGuard VPN plan.
Running TorGuard on your computer
Since there seems to be no trial, I assume that you’ve registered for an account and ran the application. Notice that you can choose the server, the tunnel type, the protocol, the port and authentication and the cipher for each connection, depending on your choice. More so, you can enable STunnel, set TorGuard to automatically connect at launch and explore a configuration menu.
However, don’t get over-excited yet, the lack of a login dialog doesn’t mean that you don’t need to log in, it just means it’s going to be a bit delayed. Or maybe a lot, and you’ll see exactly why.
Unfortunately, we’ve experienced some inconveniences when we tried using the app as intended. As you can notice in our screenshot, whenever we tried to connect to a server, the app would return an error regarding a driver.
Mind you, they (and by they, I mean the app) weren’t satisfied with our TAP adapter driver and, during the installation, we’ve been prompted to either reinstall one of the two versions of the TAP adapter driver they had available within the installer. So we did without skipping a beat.
Turns out none of their drivers were truly compatible with the app, so it kept crashing, over and over again, asking us to reinstall the drivers, which we did, multiple times, just to be sure. We even turned off our antivirus protection (plain old Windows Security), which is something that shouldn’t be asked of you, since you’re peeling off a vital layer of security by doing so, but to no avail.
Finally, we’ve noticed that the ‘General’ section of the ‘Settings’ window had a ‘Check TUN/TAP adapters on connect’ option, which we swiftly disabled and what do you know? The app stopped crashing.
Changing the settings
The ‘Settings’ window is overflowing with configurable parameters, just waiting for you to toy around with them. Since it’s so extensive, we’ve decided to split it into the categories it holds, just so you can notice them easier.
- Set the app to start automatically on boot;
- Set the app to connect automatically at launch;
- Set the app to log in automatically upon connecting;
- Set the kill switches to arm after the first successful connection;
- Set the app to ask for confirmation if you attempt to exit while the VPN is running;
- Forget the credentials;
- Display a system tray icon;
- Hide the window in some situations;
- Display notifications;
- Enable high DPI scaling factor;
- Display a cipher warning;
- Remember window geometry;
- Here you can create a list of applications that need to be terminated whenever the VPN disconnects;
- Here you can configure and manage scripts that need to be run before and after connection and after disconnecting;
- Enable a WebRTC leak protection, which might cause issues during reconnection);
- Enable IPv6 leak protection;
- Enable the seamless reconnection feature;
- Set the app to block Internet traffic when you’re not connected;
- Enable the manage Interface state (Internet Kill Switch);
- Block outside DNS;
- Refresh the local DNS cache whenever you’re connected;
- Look up the server’s hostname before connecting;
- Configure custom nameservers;
- Configure the DNS state recovery on start;
- Set the system DNS;
- Choose the minimum TLS version;
- Choose the MTU (maximum transmission unit) value;
- Choose proxy type;
- Configure proxy server;
- Type your dedicated IP address in the designated section;
- Set the app to show a warning if debugging log is saved to a file;
- Enable debugging;
- Configure the debug folder path;
- View the debug folder size;
- Show the debugging information;
- Clean the debug folder;
As you can see for yourself, there is a lot of options that you can mess around with, but my advice would be not to, in case you don’t fully understand what you’re doing, since misconfiguring some of these settings can cause damage to your connection and/or system.
List of servers
First thing’s first, TorGuard claims that they have more than 3000 servers in 68 locations in 55 countries. More so, they state that their networks are powered by 3K+ Gigabit servers with unmetered bandwidth. The list of servers are split in 3 categories: Global Network, AnyConnect Network and SSTP network. So we’ll split them in the same way:
|Brazil – Sau Paulo||br.torguardvpnaccess.com||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Canada – Toronto||ca.torguardvpnaccess.com||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Canada – Vancouver||vanc.ca.west.torguardvpnaccess.com||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|USA – Atlanta||atl.east.usa.torguardvpnaccess.com||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|USA – LA||la.west.usa.torguardvpnaccess.com||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|USA – Miami||fl.east.usa.torguardvpnaccess.com||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|USA – Dallas||dal.central.usa.torguardvpnaccess.com||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|USA – New Jersey||nj.east.usa.torguardvpnaccess.com||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|USA – New York||ny.east.usa.torguardvpnaccess.com||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|USA – Chicago||chi.central.usa.torguardvpnaccess.com||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|USA – Las Vegas||lv.west.usa.torguardvpnaccess.com||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|USA – San Francisco||sf.west.usa.torguardvpnaccess.com||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|USA – Seattle||sa.west.usa.torguardvpnaccess.com||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Australia – Sydney||au.torguardvpnaccess.com||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Hong Kong 1||hk.torguardvpnaccess.com||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Hong Kong 2||loc2.hk.torguardvpnaccess.com||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|India – Bangalore||in.torguardvpnaccess.com||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Israel – Tel Aviv||isr.torguardvpnaccess.com||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Israel – Jerusalem||isr2.torguardvpnaccess.com||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|UAE – Dubai||uae.torguardvpnaccess.com||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Germany – Frankfurt||ger.anyconnect.host||1.2+||Yes||AES-256-GCM||443|
|India – Bangalore||id.anyconnect.host||1.2+||Yes||AES-256-GCM||443|
|USA – LA||la.usa.anyconnect.host||1.2+||Yes||AES-256-GCM||443|
|USA – NY||ny.usa.anyconnect.host||1.2+||Yes||AES-256-GCM||443|
|SSTP Locations||Hostnames||SSTP||PPTP||L2TP||IKEV2||Port Forward|
Good news, everyone! TorGuard is one of the VPN service providers that are capable of unlocking various entertainment services, such as but not limited to Netflix as well as its U.S. version, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video and Spotify.
On the other hand, you should understand that some (actually most) of these entertainment service providers have declared ‘war’ against VPN providers and their customers, so this fortunate situation might not be the same a while from now. Enjoy it while it lasts.
TOR and torrenting support
Well, it’s time to make amends, since we’ve confused the ‘torrenting’ reference in TorGuard’s name with TOR, so we’re going to test it for its torrenting/P2P capabilities. We’ve fired up our favorite torrent client and attempted to download a file (legally, of course) from the Internet.
Our results? Torrenting works great with TorGuard. No slowdowns, no interruptions, no throttling, no issues. The speed was approximately the same as the one we had when we didn’t use a VPN. Moving on.
What about TOR? Well, while TorGuard is perfectly able to work in conjunction with TOR, we’d advise you to keep yourself from doing it, since the advantages greatly outweigh the benefits. First of all, the speed will drop to next to nothing. Second of all, the risks associated with landing on a malicious TOR exit node include your traffic passing as unencrypted and probably (most likely) it being monitored as a consequence. Stay safe.
TorGuard has it all when it comes to customer support: live chat, email, ticket system, knowledgebase, you name it. We’ve decided to give the communication systems a try, so we got in touch with the customer support crew and our experience was nothing short of pleasant. We’ve received helpful, concise, friendly and prompt responses to our inquiries.
After trying out the communications, we’ve also explored the knowledge base for a while and we found a wide variety of handy articles that can help you solve issues on your own if you’re not a big fan of interacting with other humans.
Security check-up results
Time to get down to business and what better way of doing so than engaging in a series of security tests? It may be not as exciting as it sounds, but I guarantee you that these operations are of utmost importance. Our tests will be carried on a server located in Los Angeles, U.S.A. and unfold as we’ve previously described in this article.
Conclusion: Our security tests have proved that TorGuard doesn’t allow IP, DNS, WebRTC and Flash IP data to leak, so it’s safe to say that it provides you with an airtight connection.
Speed test results
We know that it’ll keep you safe, but now let’s see how fast their servers can go. As opposed to the security tests, our speed tests will use multiple servers as targets, since we want to see what impact do different locations have on TorGuard’s servers.
- Los Angeles, U.S.A. – 46 Mbps;
- Frankfurt, Germany – 51 Mbps;
- Sao Paulo, Brazil – 14 Mbps;
- Hong Kong – 7.3 Mbps;
- Cayro, Egypt – 140 Kbps;
- Sydney, Australia – 28 Mbps;
You can see that the speed values are average, not too high and not too low.
TorGuard has a bunch of pricing plans, all of them are fully-packed with all the features, so there’s no feature-related limit if you choose a smaller subscription plan.
|Features||Unlimited Speeds + Bandwidth
3000+ Servers in 50+ Countries
x8 Simultaneous Connections
Multiple GCM and CBC ciphers
Perfect Forward Secrecy (TLS)
Secure NAT Firewall
UDP and TCP Supported
SSL VPN via OpenConnect
SSL VPN via Stunnel
SSL VPN via WireGuard
SSL VPN via Browser Extensions
Stealth VPN (Bypasses DPI)
Advertisement and Malware Blocking
Protects against all known leaks
Supports all OS and Devices
More so, all plans come with a 7-day money-back guarantee, so you can ask for a refund if you’re not satisfied with what TorGuard has to offer.
In conclusion, TorGuard is a VPN service provider that has been developed by the U.S.-based company VPNetwork LLC (or TorGuard.NET) in 2012. The U.S.A. are well-known for protecting the freedom of speech and the freedom of the press, as well as civil liberties. The state isn’t known for actively censoring online content, but there have been reports that claim that they’ve been monitoring ISPs.
The U.S.A. is not only a member of the 5, 9, 14 Eyes Alliances, but it’s actually one of the founding members. The fact that they’re a part of this alliance means that at some point, if some other country that’s a member of this alliance, requires sensitive data (such as your personal data), the U.S. needs to comply. Goes the other way around, too.
VPNetwork LLC claims that they practice a zero-logging policy, as in they don’t monitor or log your activity while you’re connected to their VPN or proxy services. However, they state that if they catch you red-handed (breaking the terms of your agreement with them), they’ll terminate your account and maybe even send your info to law enforcement agencies if your offense is bad enough, and that takes at least some sort of monitoring.
TorGuard’s collection of servers holds more than 3000 servers, in 68 locations in 55 countries and organizes its servers into three distinct networks: a global one, an AnyConnect one and a SSTP one, each of which is publicly displayed on the official website of the product, along with additional data such as the hostname or supported protocols.
We found the windows application to be quite unstable if you don’t configure it properly. After installing it along with its own, preferred version(s) of the TAP adapter driver, we would receive an endless stream of errors regarding this driver. The issue kept persisting until we’ve disabled the TUN/TAP driver check from within the app.
Other than the incident mentioned above, the app was user-friendly but held a massive amount of configurable settings in the backstage, which we recommend you to keep away from unless you really know what you’re doing.
TorGuard is able to unblock a wide variety of entertainment services including, but not limited to Netflix (along with its U.S. version), BBC iPlayer, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video and Spotify. Additionally, it fully supports torrenting/P2P file sharing (it would be ironic if it didn’t) and functions well in conjunction with TOR, although we’d recommend you to refrain from resorting to this, due to the risks involved.
Our security tests didn’t spot any IP, DNS, WebRTC or Flash IP leaks, so we concluded that TorGuard’s connection to be completely secure, airtight. The speed tests, on the other hand, were not exactly amazing, as the results were rather low to average.
The customer support has it all, no matter what your need is, they’ve got you covered: live chat, email support, ticket submission system and also a knowledge base for those of you who’d rather solve matters on their own instead of interacting with another human.
TorGuard comes with a 7-day trial, but it’s not available for everyone, meaning that you’d have to switch from another VPN provider in order to be eligible for this trial, and show proof that you just did, as well. If you want this 7-day trial to extend with an extra 30 days, you have to show proof that you’ve canceled your subscription to the other VPN.
Their monthly subscription plan comes at a reasonable price and their larger plans come with generous discounts. It’s worth mentioning that, compared to other VPN service providers, TorGuard doesn’t impose limitations on smaller subscription plans, as all of them come with the same perks and traits. However, they do offer a wide variety of ‘extras’ that you can purchase separately, such as dedicated IPs, streaming IPs and residential IPs. Kind of like DLCs, come to think of it. Only that you have to pay a monthly fee for these ones. Oh, and there’s a 7-day money-back guarantee, as well.
Do we recommend TorGuard? Yes. Its application might be a bit unstable at times and their company is based in the U.S.A., which is a founding member of the UKUSA/BRUSA alliances, later known as 5, 9, 14 Eyes Alliances. However, they enforce a zero-logging policy, can unblock various services, works with torrents and has a huge amount of settings for you to play with. You know, if you’re into that.
+ Works with TOR and supports torrenting; (5)
+ Good security, leak-free; (5)
+ Can unlock Netflix, Hulu, etc; (5)
– The U.S.A. is a founding member of the 5, 9, 14 Eyes Alliances; (0)
– Unstable application at times (1);
– Average connection speeds (2.5);
– The 7-day trial they offer is not for everyone (1);
TorGuard receives a 2.78/5 rating.