Betternet VPN Review: Pros & Cons of Using Betternet
Afghanistan Freemium Version 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. It gives subscribers an option to use a single account on up to five devices at a time.
Betternet is a free VPN for all your devices
No features Many servers unusable during review Betternet is a hugely popular Canadian VPN which claims to have more than 38 million users around the world.
The service is best known for its largely unrestricted free plan. This has no limits on bandwidth, no need to register or hand over your email address, you can just download a client — Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Firefox or Chrome extension — and get started right away.
Too good to be true? Well, maybe. The free version provides US servers only. The clients have no significant features beyond the Connect button, and there’s very little support to help out if you run into problems. Want to try Betternet? Download it here The free plan inserts ads into websites, too, perhaps allowing advertisers to find out more about what you’re doing.
Lots of free VPNs use similar ad-related tricks, but a Australian report on the privacy and security risks of Android VPN apps found that Betternet stood out in particular. The report authors checked each app for embedded tracking libraries and found Betternet had more than anybody else.
The report also notes that 13 of around 50 antivirus engines at VirusTotal highlighted the app as malicious, although we suspect that’s a lesser issue. Our guess would be that these engines are picking up on the app’s low-level adware-like functionality, and although 13 is a high number of VirusTotal positives, the vast majority of engines are still saying there are no problems. If you’d rather not take the risk, you could opt for Betternet’s Premium plan.
Another section highlights issues with both Betternet’s free and premium plans. The document says the company checks your IP address when you log on, collects device-specific information — hardware model, operating system, browser, language, wireless and mobile network — and may try to derive your “approximate location”.
The IP isn’t recorded after the end of your session, though, and the other details can’t identify you specifically. The service also collects “anonymous, aggregate data about the websites you visit and which apps you use”, apparently using Kochava’s analytics on our test Windows system. This data isn’t associated with any user account, so it doesn’t mean the company can call up your ID and see exactly what you’ve been doing recently.
There’s not enough information here to guarantee that a browsing history couldn’t be reconstructed with the help of other logs, though, and this is still an extra logging element you rarely see elsewhere.
A more technical section of the page explains that traffic is encrypted using “TLS 1. You don’t have to create an account, hand over your email address, come up with a username or remember a password: The Windows client is just as straightforward. Hit the big Connect button, and you’re connected to a random US server in a few seconds. Hit Disconnect to close the session when you’re done.
That’s essentially it. Experienced users might be worried by the lack of settings. There’s no kill switch, no leak protection options, no startup control or anything similar. The most we could find was a ‘Reconnect automatically’ checkbox, but that didn’t seem to work. We could check it, but when we left the menu screen and came back, it was clear again. The client has an Upgrade screen which allows buying the Premium plan in 1, 6 or month flavors, with the option of a free 7-day trial.
We took the trial option and were asked for our email address and card details. There’s no support for PayPal, Bitcoin or anything else when paying through the desktop mobile users can pay via their app store as usual.
Handing over card details is a particular concern here as Betternet doesn’t provide any central way to manage these payments. You don’t have an account with Betternet, so you can’t log in to the website, view payments, check invoices, change your payment plan or cancel the service.
The website points out that mobile users can cancel subscriptions direct from the website, but offers no advice for anyone who has paid via a desktop client.
If you’re taking the trial and paying by card, we would suggest doing all your testing in the first two or three days, giving you plenty of time to contact support and organize cancelling, if necessary. It only took us a few moments to upgrade, but the results weren’t impressive. We connected to the UK server multiple times but got DNS errors whenever we tried to access something.
The client repeatedly failed to connect to the New York server, too. This wasn’t some short-lived temporary network issue. We tried the next day and faced almost identical connection problems. Betternet made this more difficult than usual, as the apparently broken UK connection meant we couldn’t test iPlayer, and some of the US servers were so incredibly slow that sites refused to load properly. But when we found a server that worked Seattle , we managed to view Netflix and Comedy Central without any problems.
The free service was terrible, with our UK to US connection struggling to reach 0. We would expect other services to give us 10 times that, even when connecting over the very longest distances. Speed tests don’t always precisely reflect real-world experience, so we tried some general browsing tests.
The connection was usable for simple tasks, including browsing basic websites and streaming video up to p resolution with some quality loss and occasional stuttering. As the service is free, with unlimited bandwidth and no registration required, it’s probably unfair to expect anything more. Betternet Premium did much better, at least in some ways. Our UK to Netherlands connection managed downloads of around Mbps on a 75Mbps line, almost as good as we could expect. But there were major problems with other European servers.
UK and Germany servers both appeared to connect but then gave us DNS errors, and we couldn’t connect to the French server at all. It was a similar experience in the US. Salt Lake City and Atlanta connected but delivered horrible performance at under 1Mbps. Seattle was the only usable location, and even that was hugely inconsistent, with downloads ranging from 30 to 60Mbps and uploads typically under 2Mbps. We saw the best results by going long-distance, oddly.
After some initial disappointment with Australia the endless DNS errors problem again , Japan, Singapore and Hong Kong delivered excellent speeds ranging from 28 to 44Mbps. Maybe they’re not as overloaded by users as the most popular UK and US servers? Whatever the reason, Betternet’s Asian locations proved top performers. The positive note continued with our final privacy tests. We checked the service with ipleak.
Final verdict Betternet is a poor VPN with unreliable servers, feeble support, virtually no features and multiple privacy concerns. It might just about be acceptable for unblocking streaming sites, but if you need to protect anything of the slightest importance then we’d look elsewhere. We also used speedtest. We then compared these results to other VPN services we’ve reviewed. Of course, do note that VPN performance is difficult to measure as there are so many variables.
Betternet Pros / Advantages
The Premium plans are as follows: Betternet Money-back Guarantee Betternet VPN offers their users a relaxation of days money-back guarantee so that their investment is not at risk. But the refund policy from Betternet VPN is under strict conditions. You are only eligible for the refund if you have availed less than 50 MB data.
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This comprehensive Betternet Review though will focus on the PREMIUM offerings of the provider. So, without further ado, let’s get started with. Here’s my Betternet VPN review with pros & cons based on my VPN services available, with some optional premium services if you choose to. It clearly works, because Betternet is still going strong after 3 years. There’s also a premium version available that provides more locations, 24/7.