Betternet Review 2020
Betternet is a US VPN service that offers free and paid versions of its apps. Although it's used by millions of users, the service is not flawless. Find out all the pros and cons of Betternet VPN and also why I've given it a 3.0-star rating in this review.
Betternet VPN is a hugely popular VPN service with over 38 million users around the world. Although Betternet offers a premium version, most users opt for the free version partly because of it being a mediocre VPN service.
The reason why I’m calling this VPN service mediocre is because it is based in the United States, it keeps logs, it doesn’t work with Netflix, offers limited servers, is super slow and has unsatisfactory user reviews.
Even though Betternet is leak-proof, offers secure encryption and protocols, decent apps and a 7-day free trial, I would still suggest opting for PureVPN because it offers more features and affordable prices. Overall, after compiling this Betternet review, I’ve given this VPN service a 3.0/5.0 stars rating.
My Rating Criteria
I tested Betternet based on the following nine (9) steps ranking criteria:
- Jurisdiction – Where is Betternet located?
- Security – Is Betternet safe?
- Leaks – Does Betternet leak your IP, DNS & WebRTC?
- Servers – Is Betternet VPN good for torrenting?
- Speed – Is Betternet fast?
- Streaming – Does Betternet work with Netflix, BBC iPlayer & Hulu?
- Compatibility – Which devices can I use Betternet with?
- Pricing – Is Betternet expensive?
- Trustworthiness – Trustpilot Ratings, Reddit Reviews, Transparency & Support
Jurisdiction – Where is Betternet located?
Betternet LLC is based in the United States, which if you don’t know, is a major part of the intelligence-sharing alliance called the five eyes. This puts Betternet in an unsafe jurisdiction as law enforcement agencies can legally demand user logs and other information. This is quite concerning and definitely taints the reputation of this VPN provider.
Security – Is Betternet safe?
Betternet VPN is partially safe. Even though this VPN provider offers OpenVPN with AES 256-bit encryption and IPsec with AES 128-bit AES-CBC encryption, it still lacks a Kill Switch and an Ad-blocker. 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. Even more confusing is the fact that Betternet VPN mentions nothing about encryption and protocols on their website.
Does Betternet keep logs?
Yes, Betternet does keep user logs. Although the company doesn’t mention anything about usage logs in their privacy, it clearly mentions that they store connection logs. Here’s what Betternet VPN stores:
- Account information: Name, username, email address, and password.
- Billing and payment information: Billing name, billing contact details (street addresses, email addresses), and payment instrument details.
- Identity verification information: Email addresses or phone numbers
Does Betternet offer a Kill Switch feature?
Leaks – Does Betternet leak your IP, DNS & WebRTC?
No, Betternet VPN is actually leak proof. In my leak test, Betternet performed quite well and showed no sign of IP, DNS and WebRTC leaks.
To test IP leaks, I connected to the Singapore server. As you can see from the screenshot below, Betternet is not leaking my actual IP address.
After the IP leak test, I performed a quick DNS leak test and Betternet passed without any issues. The screenshot below clearly shows that I’m using Betternet VPN’s DNS server which is great.
Lastly, I also checked for WebRTC leaks using the Singapore server and Betternet VPN passed this test too which really surprised me, to say the least.
To go the extra mile, I also performed a quick virus test and I found no hidden malware within Betternet VPN.
Servers – Is Betternet VPN good for torrenting?
No, not even the premium version of Betternet is not good for torrenting. That’s because Betternet is plagued with inconsistent speeds and abrupt connection drops. Like many other aspects of Betternet VPN, the proper server count remains a mystery. What we do know is that premium subscribers can access servers from 10+ virtual locations.
Betternet has servers in the US, UK, Australia, Canada, Germany, Japan, Netherlands, France, Hong Kong, and Singapore. In comparison, CyberGhost covers 90 countries but then again, it doesn’t have a free version.
Speed – Is Betternet fast?
No, Betternet is excruciatingly slow. More specifically, when I connected to its Singaporean server using my 30 Mbps internet connection, I received just 4.09 Mbps download speed:
As you can see, that’s a decline of almost 90% in speed. For more consistent results, I also performed speed tests on the UK and US servers as well. With the US server, I only managed to achieve 2.55 Mbps download speeds.
With the UK servers, I managed to get even worse downloading speeds with ridiculously high pings.
Overall, Betternet is sluggishly slow and delivers unsatisfactory speeds.
Streaming – Does Betternet work with Netflix, BBC iPlayer & Hulu?
No, when it comes to streaming, Betternet failed to unblock US Netflix, BBC iPlayer and even Hulu. When I tried to unblock the US Netflix show “Grey’s Anatomy” after connecting to the US server, I received the following error message on my screen.
Even after switching multiple US servers, I still wasn’t able to get past the geo-restriction error. The same happened when I tried to unblock BBC iPlayer and Hulu with Betternet.
No matter how many times I switched servers or clear my web browser history, I still came across the annoying geo-restriction error. Overall, Betternet failed miserably.
Compatibility – Which devices can I use Betternet with?
Betternet works with Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, Chrome, and Firefox. To be honest, I liked Betternet apps a lot. It does not offer a comprehensive list of features but at the same time, it makes an app quite user-friendly. Once you have downloaded the app, you just have to press the Connect button, which I think is quite convenient.
Betternet for Windows Hands-on Experience
For Windows, Betternet offers a simple user interface. Although you don’t get a ton of options or features, in terms of performance Betternet works quite good.
With in the app, you can use a simple one-click connect button to quickly connect to a VPN server. You can also see the elapsed connection time at the bottom of the app window as well, which is quite convenient.
Betternet for macOS Hands-on Experience
Similar to the Windows app, Betternet also offers an easy to use app for macOS as well. Again the interface is clean and allows users to quickly connect to the server of their choice with just a click of a button.
Betternet for iOS user experience
As for the iOS app, it works great. Now I’m not saying this VPN is secure, I’m just saying that its apps work great. The Betternet iOS app also has a simple user interface with a quick connect and disconnect button.
Betternet for Android user experience
Lastly, I also get to play around with Betternet’s Android app and it also worked quite well. Although I like the iOS version better because it’s faster.
Pricing – Is Betternet expensive?
Yes, judging by its monthly plan which costs $11.99/mo, Betternet is quite expensive. But in its defense, it does offer an absolutely free version for 7 days. Here is the list of its pricing plans that Betternet currently offers:
Even if you consider $2.99 a month’s price to be cheap, just consider Betternet’s lack of features and scarce availability of servers. As for the free version, it comes with a few caveats. Here are the limitations of the free version:
- 500 MB daily bandwidth limit
- Access to US servers only
- No access to popular streaming services without premium subscription
- Annoying advertisements
- No access to email support
- Allows only one device per account
Payment Method and Refund Policy
Betternet only accepts payment via Play Store, iTunes and Credit Cards. There is no PayPal or Bitcoin option available which is really disappointing. As an ardent advocate of anonymous paying methods, I strongly hope the providers make room for cryptocurrencies in the future.
As for refunds, Betternet offers a 45 days money-back guarantee for “Premium” subscriptions. However, their refund process can be quite confusing as you purchase their apps not from their website, but from Apple App Store, Android Play Store and so on and so forth.
One precondition which I find quite hilarious is the fact that you cannot consume more than 50 MB of data. Yes, only 50 MB data to test out the service. Without any doubt, the refund policy of Betternet is not straight forward or reassuring at all.
Trustworthiness – Trustpilot Ratings, Reddit Reviews, Support & Transparency
Betternet does not have a strong presence on Trustpilot. In fact, it only has 8 user reviews and a mere 3-star rating. What’s even worse, 63% of users have rated Betternet as bad.
Here’s one Trustpilot comment claiming that Betternet’s 7-day free trial is impossible to cancel:
Betternet Review Reddit
As far as its reputation on Reddit goes, users have given mixed reviews about its performance. Here’s one Reddit comment suggesting users to stay away from free VPNs like Betternet and only sticking with reputable paid VPN services.
Here’s another Reddit comment labeling Betternet as “Garbage“:
Overall, not many people seem like Betternet VPN over at Reddit.
As for overall transparency, Betternet is actually quite open about its business. In fact, despite being popular for the free version, Betternet still went the extra mile to publish a comprehensive transparency report which I think is a really bold move. In this report, Betternet has disclosed all the requests they’ve received for user logs for the year 2016, 2017 and 2018.
In the year 2018, AnchorFree received 56 users’ data requests. They attained 92 users’ data requests in 2017 and 79 users’ data requests in 2016 respectively.
|Total Request by Months||2018||2017||2016|
Country Requests (2018)
|Country||Number of Requests||Amount of User Data Released|
Types of Request
|Process Types||Number Received||User Data Released %|
At present, Betternet does not offer a 24/7 live tech support feature. Regardless, the provider offers various options including:
- knowledge-base area
- FAQs section
- E-mail ticketing system
This is how users can get an instant solution for common queries through the FAQ section. Besides, the email query system aims to provide a detailed solution for complex issues faced by subscribers.
For this Betternet VPN review 2020, I decided to evaluate their customer support and dropped off a query inquiring 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.
Comparison between PureVPN and Betternet
If you want to compare PureVPN and Betternet, have a look at the below-described comparison table:
|Servers||2000+ in 140 Countries||11 in 10 Countries|
|Compatibility||All Devices||Windows, Android &|
|Jurisdiction||Hong Kong||United States|
|Logging Policy||Zero Logs||Keeps Logs|
|Customer Support||Live Chat & Email Support||FAQs, Knowledgebase & Email|
|Trust Pilot Score||4.8||2.9|
Alternatives to Betternet
In case you want to use VPNs other than Betternet, read our below-mentioned reviews:
- PureVPN Review 2020
- Surfshark Review 2020
- ExpressVPN Review 2020
- CyberGhost Review 2020
- Avast Secureline Review 2020
Do I Recommend Betternet?
No, I don’t recommend Betternet VPN.
At the time of writing this in-depth Betternet review, I came across multiple issues. While there are a few pros of this VPN service, there are far more cons associated with it. Not only is it expensive compared to other VPNs like PureVPN, but it also lacks features like Kill Switch and Ad-blocker.
Not only that, Betternet keeps logs and doesn’t even work with Netflix and other popular streaming services which is quite disappointing. Overall, I’ve given Betternet 3.0/5.0 stars simply because it offers a 7-day free trial.
But if you want a secure VPN that can deliver all-rounder performance, I suggest you check out the Betternet alternatives mentioned above or other VPN reviews.