Betternet Review 2019: A Risky VPN with Several Benefits
Betternet is a VPN provider that has 38 million users around the world. The reason for this simple, this service is absolutely free.
Despite its raging popularity, the VPN service has come under severe criticism due to some recent scandals. According to a CSIRO study, Betternet is guilty of selling adware to the users.
Now, to be fair, this study is in relation to the VPN’s freemium service. Still, this revelation does not bode well for the overall integrity of the service.
Anyhow, this Betternet review will provide you an in-depth analysis of both free and paid service of the VPN.
Also, we bring you the top VPN reviews after analyzing the provider from multiple aspects.
- Offers Servers in 10+ Locations
- Zero Activity Logging Policy
- No Bandwidth Caps
- No Data Caps
- Free Trial
- One Touch Server Selection
- Decent Connection Speed
- Cross-Platform Compatibility (Android, Mac OS X, iOS, Windows)
- Fewer Encryption Protocols Offered
- Service Sponsored by 3rd Party Advertisers
- No PayPal or Bitcoin Payment Option
- Ridiculous Refund Policy
Betternet is a VPN service based in Canada, a country that is part of the intelligence sharing alliance; Fourteen Eyes. This is something that definitely goes against this VPN.
Moving on, the premium subscribers of this service get access to servers from 10 locations. Meanwhile, the free users can only connect with the servers from the United States.
The providers cover the cost of free VPN service through third party advertisements. This means that you have to pay the providers for an ad-free experience.
Impressively, the VPN allows users to unblock thousands of sites on Windows, Mac OS X, Android and iOS devices. It also safeguards you from cyber surveillance and monitoring.
To do all this, it uses OpenVPN & IPSec protocols, which are two competent online security tools.
Although this VPN has the necessary features to safeguard your digital activity, it is important to evaluate its performance.
Hence, to accurately review Betternet VPN, I will be examining the efficiency of this service along with its security features.
Comparison: PureVPN vs Betternet
|Servers||2000+ Servers in 141 Countries||10 Servers Locations|
|Money Back Guarantee||31 Days||30 Days|
|Encryption Level||256 bit||256 bit|
|Get this Offer »||Visit Betternet|
Betternet Review: Features
With no kill-switch, DNS leak protection or multihop option, Betternet is a rather simplistic VPN service. However, it does have some features that stand out.
OpenVPN and IPsec
According to the providers, the VPN offers the following protocols:
- OpenVPN with AES 256 bit encryption
- IPsec with AES 128 bit encryption
Both OpenVPN and IPsec are solid options for anyone looking to secure their online privacy. OpenVPN is a reliable tunneling protocol that has the means to secure you in the most hostile digital environments. IPsec, on the other hand, has its own set of strengths.
However, there is absolutely no way of confirming if the VPN even utilizes these tools. The Betternet clients do not allow you to customize protocols and the VPN’s website rarely makes a mention of OpenVPN and IPsec.
IP Leak Protection
In ‘setting’ section of the VPN, there is an option to prevent IP leaks. Admittedly, the providers have not done a great job in advertising this feature. You will not find any information related to this option on the VPN’s website.
Regardless, Betternet cleared my IP leak test, which means that this tool definitely works.
10 Servers Locations
Like many other aspects of this VPN, the proper servers count remains a mystery. What we do know is that premium subscribers can access servers from 10 locations.
The VPN has servers in the US, Australia, the UK, Canada, Germany, Japan, Netherlands, France, Hong Kong and Singapore. Compared to this, NordVPN covers 60+ countries but then again, it doesn’t have a free version either.
5 Simultaneous Connections
Simultaneous connection is an incredible benefit offered with premium version. It gives subscribers an option to use a single account on up to five devices at a time.
The ability to connect with multiple devices is often an overlooked feature of a VPN. However, this feature can be beneficial for users seeking online privacy for their entire household or small business.
Hence, in this Betternet review, I commend the providers for including this option.
Betternet Pricing & Plans
The main attraction of this VPN is its free service, which has no bandwidth limitation whatsoever.
Putting that aside, the pricing plan of this VPN are also fairly enticing. In particular, the annual package makes the overall cost $2.99 a month. This puts this VPN right among cheap VPN services.
Moreover, the premium users get an edge over the free subscribers with five simultaneous connections, more servers, better speed and zero ads policy.
Currently, the provider offers three premium plans.
Note: All the premium packages offer similar features. But ,at the time of creating Betternet review, it was discovered that no protocol selection option was offered in any of the packages.
The providers of this VPN have not went all out with the payment methods. Instead, they have taken a more conservative approach.
Betternet only accepts payment via Play Store, iTunes and Credit Cards. There is no PayPal or Bitcoin option available.
As an ardent advocate of anonymous paying methods, I strongly hope the providers make room for cryptocurrencies in the near future.
Money Back Guarantee
The money back guarantee of this service extends to 30 days. However, it has a surprising precondition according to which, a subscriber shouldn’t consume more than 50 MB of data.
Yes, only 50 MB data to test out the service. Without a shadow of a doubt, the refund policy of Betternet is in need of urgent reforms.
I decided to evaluate their high-speed performance claims and tested their service using a 10 Mbps intentionally throttled connection. After carrying out the tests, I achieved surprising results:
Before connecting to Betternet:
After connecting to Betternet UK server:
As soon as I connected to UK server, my download speed dropped slightly with a noticeable increase in ping speed. But to my surprise, I was able to stream various popular videos on YouTube, Netflix, Dailymotion and Vimeo hassle free without interruptions.
Multi-platform availability is an unusual aspect of a VPN service. Provider takes an edge over competitors by offering excellent in-house apps for Windows, Mac OS, Chrome, iOS, Firefox and Android.
Betternet for Windows
With the Windows client of this VPN, you can access to almost all geo-blocked websites and services. Moreover, you can make yourself anonymous and protected against a range of cybercrimes. Just download the VPN from its official website, connect to the fastest servers and surf the web like never before.
The app is rather simplistic and allows absolutely zero customization. But this is not necessarily a bad thing. Some users prefer simplicity over choice.
In any case, the overall client is user-friendly and intuitive.
Betternet for Mac OS X
The Mac client of this VPN offers super-fast connection, location spoofing, and anonymity to Mac users. Accessing any geo-blocked sites (YouTube, BBC iPlayer, Vimeo, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and more) on Mac is just a click away with this VPN.
The in-house VPN app for Apple offers a simple and sleek design with one-touch connection feature. The VPN app for Mac can be downloaded from iTunes.
Betternet for Android
This VPN Android offers free-of-cost service with zero data or bandwidth limits. When installed on an Android device, VPN instantly unblocks tons of sites and services (Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Line, WhatsApp and more).
In Betternet VPN review, I regard the VPN’s Android app to be the safest and highly economical solution for top-grade privacy. To download Betternet’s app, you need to visit the Google Play Store.
Betternet for iPhone
The exclusive iPhone VPN offers superior online freedom to users. Once installed on an iPhone, it allows users to access all geo-blocked sites from school, workplace or anywhere else in the world.
Also, the service allows users to evade ISP bandwidth throttling and state censorship while ensuring 100% online freedom. The iOS VPN app of provider can be downloaded from iTunes.
Betternet Chrome Extension
Betternet Chrome allows users to enjoy unrestricted access to unlimited blocked sites and services. Once installed on Chrome browser, its extension gives one-touch anonymity to users. With Chrome extension, users can spoof their location to 10+ locations of the world.
Betternet for Firefox
The Firefox VPN extension is the most suitable solution to access internet with zero restrictions. With the add-on installed on Firefox, top-notch privacy, and 100% identity protection is guaranteed. Moreover, single tap connectivity gives subscribers with simple, easy and fast connection to the nearest available server.
Betterspot: VPN Router
While researching for this Betternet review, I discovered that this service offers an exclusive VPN router called “Betterspot”. Through this device, users can switch to Tor anonymity with just a single click. The Betterspot router aims to enhance users’ security and privacy with state-of-the-art technology. Moreover, when Betterspot is turned off, it works as a normal router. In times of query, users can get instant assistance from Betterspot’s 24/7 customer support.
With Betterspot, a user can choose from wide range of servers including dedicated premium servers as well. In Betternet review, I consider Betterspot as an additional and worth trying service.
Privacy and Log Policy
Being located in Canada, Betternet isn’t obliged to follow any strict data retention regimes. Interestingly, provider apparently claims that it doesn’t collect, log or store users’ data on any of its servers or elsewhere.
So far, there has been no reported incident of the VPN handing over customer data. However, as I mentioned before in this Betternet review, there is some bad press surrounding this VPN.
A recent study on VPN services, ranked this service among the ten VPNs that are not as secured as they claim to be.
Betternet is the most downloaded VPN in this list and leads by a humongous margin. This makes its inclusion all the more curious.
Interestingly, the other apps pointed out in the study have all been removed from Android and Apple’s store. Betternet, in contrast, is still available on these platforms.
Make whatever you may of this study; the onus is on the providers to come clean.
Being a free VPN service, Betternet does not offer a 24/7 live tech support at the moment. Regardless, the provider offers an informative knowledge base area, FAQs section, and e-mail ticketing system. Users can get an instant solution for common queries through FAQs section.
The email query system aims to provide a detailed solution for complex issues faced by subscribers.
For Betternet review, I decided to evaluate their customer support and dropped off a query enquiring about the offered protocols.
Unfortunately, I received no response from them until the next day. This shows that providers have much room for improvement in their customer service.
Betternet vs. Hotspot Shield
Hotspot Shield stands among top alternatives of provider. But difference among the offerings exist. Following is a head-to-head comparison of Betternet vs. Hotspot Shield service:
OpenVPN with AES256 bit, IPSec with AES-CBC 128
|OpenVPN with 256-bit AES|
|Available Platforms||Android, iOS, Mac OS X, Windows, Chrome, Firefox||Android, iOS, Mac OS X, Windows, Amazon Kindle|
VPN Like Betternet
There are various VPNs that offer free service. However, security aspects of these services can’t be compared with full featured premium VPN services.
Not to forget, there’re providers in the industry who sell users’ data to third parties and even law enforcement agencies.
Moreover, choosing a free VPN alternative is similar to gambling with one’s digital privacy. However, according to users’ reviews and security experts’ suggestions, following are some trusted VPN services:
- TurboVPN Review
- Hotspot Shield Review
- Tunnelbear Review
- VPNBook Review
- Hide.me Review
- FinchVPN Review
- Ironsocket Review
- TotalVPN Review
Betternet Review Reddit
Reddit is a forum where Netizens share their personal experiences regarding a VPN service. It can help you understand a true worth of online privacy provider.
Hence, I believe that this Betternet review would have been incomplete without giving a quick look to reddit.
In contrast, some users do not mind VPNs selling their personal data.
Nevertheless, free VPNs remains controversial to online privacy seekers.
Betternet – FAQs
A VPN requires a massive amount of hardware and monetary resources. To acquire these resources, a free VPN needs assistance from third parties.
Now, if you’re already wondering about what does provider do? Then VPN service works with one-click encryption model. As soon as a user installs and starts VPN on one of the supported device, the VPN service routes his entire network traffic through a secured encrypted tunnel.
This ensures a top-notch protection to confidential information of a user against hackers, snooper, phishers, identity thieves, spy agencies and every person on earth who wishes to eaves drop on user data privacy.
Once a user becomes anonymous on internet, VPN allows him to bypass the geo-restriction and gives him access to geo-blocked services (BBC iPlayer, NBC, CBC, Pandora, Spotify, HBO Now, Fox Go, 4oD, Netflix and more) from anywhere in the world.
There’re plenty of reasons to consider this VPN. Firstly, it offers free of cost service with no bandwidth limitations.
On top of all, provider doesn’t require credit card information or any other detail from Android and iOS users. With VPN installed on your device, you can access thousands of geo-blocked sites with just a single click.
In addition to this, 100% online protection, reliable security, and protection against every cyber goon are the benefits you get with this VPN.
In this Betternet review, I discovered three main sources that keep the free service of this VPN running:
- Video ads
- Sponsored apps
The provider usually shows video ads of 10 to 15 seconds before connecting to VPN server. Moreover, “app suggestions” are displayed at the bottom of connecting window, consisting of sponsored apps.
A raging question in mind of subscribers is that does this VPN use cellular data? Is Betternet VPN consuming more data? Surprisingly, the answer is yes, and the reason lies on encryption mechanism of VPN.
In essence, whenever you perform an online activity, the VPN transmits a couple of more packets to encrypt data. As a result, overall data usage is increased and if you’re using 3/4G internet plan, you will face unwanted data consumption.
Free VPN services are always a risky option. Many of them sell your data while others have incapable encryption and tunneling protocols.
Hence, to answer the question; Betternet is certainly not the safest VPN available.
After completing Betternet review, I have concluded that the service has its share of problems but it does have some merits. The service quality is decent and is preferred for subscribers who only want to access geo-restricted sites.
However, free of cost service, fast connectivity and ease of access are the benefits that make this service.
In my opinion, free VPN services should only be used for geo-dodging and nothing else. Personally, I do not recommend this VPN for users who are seeking digital privacy.