Betternet is no longer a free VPN. Their free program was shut down in exchange for sponsored software. You can still find many reviews and ratings on the Internet that positioned this VPN as an unlimited free VPN service. However, this information is outdated. Well, Betternet is a free trial VPN.
The paid Betternet package offers the following features.
- Servers in 10 countries: 7 cities in Germany, Netherlands, France, Canada and USA. With the free VPN, users can access only one server in the US, which is randomly assigned
- Five simultaneous connections
- No advertisements (unlike the free version)
- Free access to the Chrome browser extension
- Apps for Windows, Mac OS X, iOS and Android
- OpenVPN encryption
Another issue I encountered with Betternet was its slow speed. I ran all speed tests with Betternet, using a 160Mbps connection, and my physical test location was in Western Europe.
Many Betternet servers had slow connections and slow download speeds as well.
Surprisingly, even with an active connection, various speed test sites reported a “latency test error”. In other words, the latency was bad (high) and the speed was extremely slow.
Betternet is connected in the background, but the speed test page does not start at all due to the latency error. This problem occurred on several different Betternet servers that I tested. The speed was also very slow, with pages taking a very long time to load.
There were a few servers that I was able to connect to and run speed tests, but the results were not very good for my 160 Mbps connection. Here is a Betternet speed test with a UK server at about 17Mbps(On average).
If you need a good VPN in the UK, there are definitely better options out there.
I also tried running the test with a US server. Unfortunately, I had trouble connecting to many of the US beta servers.
When I was finally able to connect, the speed was not very good (again). Here is a US VPN server with speeds around 16Mbps(On average).
Again, if you’re looking for speed and reliability, Betternet is definitely not the best VPN for the US.
Overall, Betternet’s performance is not great. There are many faster VPNs you can choose from. However, considering that Betternet is a free VPN service, its slow speed didn’t surprise me.
Betternet’s main offering is its free VPN, which is ad-supported. So you’ll need to watch video clips and possibly install ad apps to continue using it on your phone.
I didn’t find any ads embedded in the desktop client, and they offer a 7-day free trial. The bad news is that you have to provide your credit card information to apply. That’s an invasion of privacy if you ask me. They do not accept PayPal or any other payment method.
Note: Some users have complained that the free trial plan charged them $11.99 and they have no way to cancel the monthly plan except to contact their bank.
There are three paid plans – a monthly package for $11.99, a six-month plan for $23.94 and an annual plan for $35.88. The service offers up to 5 simultaneous connections, is ad-free, and supports quality. The 30-day money-back policy comes with a draconian 50Mb limit, and you can only test the VPN up to that point. For this reason, Betternet’s money-back guarantee has not been well received.
The main difference between the free service and the paid service is that premium members can choose the server, while the free service automatically connects to the next available server. My concern is that for some reason the provider wants to keep the number of servers secret.
Betternet only accepts payments via the Play Store, iTunes and credit cards. There is no PayPal or Bitcoin option, which is really disappointing. As an avid supporter of anonymous payment methods, I really hope the provider makes room for cryptocurrency in the future.
In terms of refunds, Betternet offers a 45-day money-back guarantee for “premium” subscriptions. However, their refund process can be quite confusing since you don’t purchase their app through their website, but through the Apple App Store, Android Play Store, etc. etc.
One requirement that I find quite funny is that you can’t consume more than 50MB of data. yes, it only takes 50MB of data to try out the service. Granted, Betternet’s refund policy is anything but clear or reassuring.
VPN privacy policies vary widely in detail and quality, but Betternet’s policy is better than most, probably because it uses the same comprehensive document as the other VPNs in the Pango group (Hotspot Shield, Betternet, Hexatech, VPN360, and VPN in Touch).
The policy states that it “does not log your VPN browsing activity in any way that can be traced back to you.” Or more specifically, “When you use a VPN connection, we do not store any information that identifies what you browse, view, or do online through that VPN connection.”
We also don’t check or log what you browse, view or do through it. The system records your IP address while you are connected, but compares it and deletes it at the end of the session.
Touch VPN logs the domains that users visit, but only the domain, not the full URL, and the data is anonymous, making it impossible for companies to associate domain access with a specific user, time or session.
Since the documentation also states that it can record “your approximate geographic location,” it can potentially use this to keep a record of when and where this device connected to the service, how long each session lasted, what data was transferred, etc.
Getting a Betternet VPN is pretty simple. All you need to do here is visit the website to download it. You will usually see this in the top right corner of the page. Once you launch the application, you will be asked if you want to try the premium service for seven days. If you only want to use the free version, instruct it. However, you can also upgrade to the premium version after launching the software and use a free seven-day trial
Once you have decided on the right package, you can now choose from a list of ten countries. Simply select the server you want and press “Connect”. We found the VPN connection to be fast and without any problems. Once connected, the shield turns blue and shows a happy face to indicate that everything is fine.
BetterNet VPN is compatible with Mac, Windows, Android, and iOS devices. Moreover, you also get browser extensions for Firefox and Chrome. Despite these great features, we found a few bugs with both browser extensions.
When testing the Chrome extension, we were surprised when we connected to a server that we thought was located in the UK. However, when we checked our IP location, we found that we had a US IP address. The situation is even worse when using Firefox extensions. Therefore, we recommend that you stay away from such extensions altogether.
Betternet is compatible with all major platforms, including Windows, Mac, iOS and Android. Additionally, there are extensions for Chrome and Firefox to protect your browser from prying eyes. Betternet is not compatible with routers and smart TVs, which is one of its main drawbacks.
The free version of betternet can be downloaded as many times as you want, individually for each device. With the premium membership, on the other hand, you can install it on up to 5 devices at once.
Betternet doesn’t offer customer support for free users, except for the Help Center, which includes some basic FAQs and troubleshooting tips.
It is reasonably well organized with sections for each supported device, but some of the FAQs are outdated and display incorrect information.
Although the FAQ on the website states that free users are limited to 500 MB of free data per day, this does not appear to be the case. We have run several speed tests, streaming tests, etc. with Betternet and have not reached any caps.
If you try to send an email to customer support without having a premium subscription.
Pros and Cons
- No registration required for the free version
- 7 days free premium trial
- Rich server + automatic selection
- Billing information required for testing
- Security issues: IP and DNS leaks
- No option for shutdown switch
- Low connection speed
- Problems with bounces
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Betternet VPN secure?
Betternet is based in Five Eyes Country. It lacks features like a kill switch, so it’s technically not the most secure VPN you could choose.
Does Betternet release viruses?
Our virus scanners did not find anything suspicious. However, this does not mean that Betternet is safe in other respects.
Does Betternet hide your IP address?
Yes, Betternet hides its IP address. However, the lack of a dedicated kill switch means that the service could inadvertently reveal your IP address if you lose connection to the VPN server.
Is Betternet VPN free of charge?
Yes, there is a free version of Betternet. However, this comes with strict limitations. For example, you can only use 500 MB of data per day.
Betternet VPN is free, unblocks (theoretically) blocked content, and allows P2P connections. But the benefits of this VPN service mainly end there. When it comes to protecting your device data and personal information, Betternet falls far short.
Betternet VPN simply doesn’t protect you in the most important way you would expect from a VPN provider. The logs that Betternet keeps can expose your activities and make your data vulnerable to third-party attacks through advertisements.
Even more worrying, this VPN provider might compromise your security by introducing viruses or malware onto your computer instead of protecting you and your data from attacks.
If you have a problem with Betternet VPN, good luck reaching customer support, as the company does not provide any contact information. The service is sketchy at best, and your free account may not be enough to hide potential threats to your anonymity and security.
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