Betternet Review 2019
Betternet is a Canadian VPN service available at $2.99/mo price but lack of server network and poor connection speeds have hampered its reputation a great deal. Betternet has received 3.0 stars rating.
Betternet is a VPN provider that has 38 million users around the world.
Despite offering a freemium version and affordable pricing plan, this Canadian VPN has to improve its overall reputation to a new plane.
Therefore, I don’t recommend Betternet to privacy seekers across the globe.
Also, we bring you the top VPN reviews guide after analyzing various VPNs in the market from multiple aspects.
My Rating Criteria
I examined Betternet through my own created nine (9) steps criteria. This criteria includes:
- Jurisdiction – Where is this VPN situated??
- Security – Is Betternet secure enough?
- Leaks – IP, DNS, WebRTC & Virus Tests
- Servers – Are they P2P compatible?
- Speed – How fast is Betternet?
- Streaming – Does it work with Netflix?
- Compatibility – Apps and supported devices
- Pricing – What is the cost of Betternet?
- Trustworthiness – Trustpilot Ratings, Reddit & Customer Support
Jurisdiction – Where is this VPN situated?
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, free users can only connect with the servers from the United States.
Security – Is Betternet secure enough?
Betternet is not obliged to follow any strict data retention regimes.Interestingly, the provider apparently claims that it doesn’t collect, log or store users’ data on any of its servers or elsewhere.
However, Betternet only keeps subscribers’ data, which is mandatory for service delivery.
Betternet is a brainchild of AnchorFree that has proudly produced another VPN by the name of Hotspot Sheild.
They have categorically stated in their reports that law enforcement agencies contact them on a regular basis.
Similarly, legal authorities based in other countries have also approached AnchorFree to access users’ data on a number of occasions.
In the year 2018, AnchorFree received 56 users’ data request.
They attained 92 users’ data request in 2017 and 79 users’ data request in 2016 respectively.
|Total Request by Months||2018||2017||2016|
Surprisingly, CDT (Center for Democracy and Technology) a non-profit organization officially contacted the Federal Trade Commission to probe AnchorFree and Hotspot Shield operations.
The former accused the latter for sending their users to specific sites and sharing users’ data.
AnchorFree did not provide any official response on such claims. However, they changed their terms of service to secure themselves from legal actions.
Moreover, they started releasing transparency reports after this incident.
Country Requests (2018)
|Country||Number of Requests||Amount of User Data Released|
Types of Request
|Process Types||Number Received||User Data Released %|
The concerned authorities have used other sources of information like emails, demands, requests forms, and so on to get the required data about users.
Based on the above information, AnchorFree has respected its users’ privacy to another level.
On the contrary, there has been no reported incident of the VPN handing over customer data. However, as I mentioned before in this 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.
In terms of security, it 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.
Leaks – IP, DNS, WebRTC & Virus Tests
Betternet is safe to use because it will not expose your IP address, WebRTC or DNS data online. Here are the screenshots:
Servers – Are they P2P compatible?
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.
In addition to this, Betternet supports torrenting needs of its subscribers. But, you should remain cautious while torrenting as it belongs to one of 14 eyes countries.
Likewise, their slow downloading speeds may spoil your media streaming fun a great deal.
Speed – How fast is Betternet?
Surprisingly, Betternet does not have an impressive connection speed in its armory. When I connected to its Singaprean server using my 30 Mbps internet connection, I received just 4.09 Mbps downlaod speed in return:
As you can see, there is a decline of almost 90% in speed.
Streaming – Does it work with Netflix?
Netflix unblocking is a rare trait and to my surprise Betternet allows you to access Netflix US library accordingly.
When I tried to unblock US Netflix show “Grey’s Anatomy” after connecting to US server, I received the following message on my screen.
After a bit of digging, I accessed my favorite TV show on the normal browser.
Let me tell you one thing, I did not encounter any kind of buffering issue whatsoever during the whole process.
Compatibility – Apps and supported devices
Multi-platform availability is an unusual aspect of a VPN service. The provider takes an edge over competitors by offering excellent in-house apps for Windows, Mac OS, Chrome, iOS, Firefox and Android.
To be honest, I liked Betternet app 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 have to press the Connect button and that is all.
Pricing – What is the cost of Betternet?
The main attraction of this VPN is its free service, which has no bandwidth limitation whatsoever. Here is the list of its pricing plans that include:
Putting that aside, the pricing plan of this VPN is 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.
Likewise, Betternet provides its freemium version but you can avail such package for seven (7) days only.
In case you do not want to spend a single penny to secure your privacy, Betternet becomes a good option.
On the other hand, the provider has not gone 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.
Similarly, the money-back guarantee of this service extends to 30 days. However, it has a surprising precondition according to which, a subscriber should not 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 in need of urgent reforms.
Trustworthiness – Trustpilot ratings, Reddit & Customer Support
In reality, Betternet does not have a strong presence on Trustpilot. In fact, numerous users have shown their reservations about the product.
As far as its reputation on Reddit goes, users have given mixed reviews about its performance.
Also give a read to this related guide: Best VPN Service on Reddit
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 FAQs section. Besides, the email query system aims to provide a detailed solution for complex issues faced by subscribers.
For this review, 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 know about the salient features of 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 &|
|Logging Policy||Zero Logs||Does not keep Logs|
|Customer Support||Live Chat & Email Support||FAQs, Knowledgebase & Email|
|Trust Pilot Score||9.5||4.6|
Alternatives to Betternet
In case you want to use VPNs other than Betternet, read our below-mentioned reviews:
- PureVPN Review 2019
- Windscribe Review 2019
- AVG VPN Review 2019
- Turbo VPN Review 2019
- Proton VPN Review 2019
- ExpressVPN Review 2019
- Surfshark Review 2019
- Avast Secureline Review 2019
- CyberGhost Review 2019
- Windscribe VPN Review 2019
Do I Recommend Betternet?
No, I don’t recommend Betternet.
During this Betternet review, I did not find the provider much appealing despite having a freemium version in its armory.
Based on the above analysis, I would give Betternet 3.0/5.0 stars rating overall.