Betternet is a relative newcomer to the VPN scene.
They’re founded in 2015 – Vancouver, Canada. According to my research, Betternet.co belongs to Betternet Technologies Inc.
Betternet separates itself by offering a “completely free” VPN that does “no data logging” and “doesn’t show you irritating ads”.
Almost too good to be true?
I took a detailed look through what they’ve got to offer to bring you the details on their server locations, available protocols, encryption methods, and exactly how do they make money if they aren’t selling your data.
What is Betternet, What Do They Offer?
Let’s take closer a look.
Betternet has one of the smaller server networks, located in 10 countries and 8 different cities in and around the United States.
Besides a strong presence in North America, their servers are also located in the Netherlands, Germany, France, Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Japan.
(Although some of those are only available with their Premium Plan. More on that later.)
Betternet has ready-to-install apps on all major devices and operating systems as well, including Windows, Mac OS, iOS, and Android.
If you’d rather not mess around with downloading and running VPN software, they also have Chrome and Firefox extensions that will allow you to encrypt all browser sessions with the push of a button.
If you’re just dipping a toe into VPN waters for the first time, Betternet has a few ways you can get started (with little to no risk and out of pocket cost).
First up, they try to push you heavily in the direction of their free VPN service (that also doesn’t require any registration – yay!). So you can download the one for your device, or fire up the Chrome or Firefox Extensions, and get started in minutes without the hassle of a long account sign-up or credit card needed.
Their Premium account comes with a 7-day free trial, so again you’ve got reason to smile. As if it can’t get any better, they have a 30-day money back guarantee on top of everything else.
So they really must stand by their service. Because it seems like they’re doing everything in their power NOT to make you pay unless you really really want to.
Pros of Using Betternet
1. OpenVPN & IPSec Protocols (Both Available)
IPsec and OpenVPN
This is similar to how an SSL certificate creates a secure connection between you and many of the largest websites in the world. It should come as no surprise then that the best all-around protocol option, OpenVPN, is an open source technology that’s based on the same underlying infrastructure for SSL certificates.
99% of the time, it’s your best bet.
While Betternet does offer IPSec protocol as well, one of the downsides is that you can’t choose which protocol you connect to.
2. Good Encryption (regular: AES 256-bit encryption)
A connection is only as safe as the encryption that has literally sealed it shut.
Modern-day, sophisticated digital encryptions are still based on the same concept used in ancient Rome and Greece centuries ago.
There’s a ‘cipher’ that spells out the instructions for how to lock and unlock a code of information. BUT, the only person who can read that cipher are the ones with a special ‘key’ on either end point.
So there’s multiple bits of information required by both parties that makes it increasingly difficult for hackers to gain access to stuff they’re now supposed to have (unless of course they just guess your dog’s name for your password).
OpenVPN is often the default, go-to protocol because it uses AES 256-bit encryption. That’s the top of the line in the security world.
While some protocols, like PPTP, have been broken in only a few hours due to their weak encryption methods. OpenVPN has NEVER been broken (and likely won’t be anytime soon) because it would be virtually impossible for someone to be able to process the amount of randomly generated integers used for its rock-solid key.
3. No Logging (at least they promise so)
Free VPN services gotta make money somehow. There’s bills to pay. Servers to purchase and maintain. Leases for space to host those servers around the world. Not to mention, a few shillings for the people organizing it all.
So free VPN services are often too good to be true. They sell your private data to intrusive advertising companies that overwhelm your browsing experience with irrelevant ads for example.
They also often log your data, recording websites you’ve been to, for how long, and how many times you come back over a period of weeks. One of the main points of using a VPN in the first place is for privacy. And when your free VPN service logs data is creates an easy-to-see paper trail that defeats the purpose.
Betternet, however, doesn’t follow suit.
Despite offering and heavily promoting their free service, their terms and conditions state:
“Betternet does not collect, log, store, share any identifiable personal information of Users. Betternet may collect the connection times to our Service and the total amount of data transferred per day.”
Why is this important?
The two main ways your “anonymous” VPN use is turned over to authorities is if your provider receives a DMCA takedown notice (for illegal content downloading) or court orders.
But Betternet claims that “we don’t save any logs, IPs, ports, user information or time stamps.” Which in essence means that they wouldn’t have any personal information on you to give up – even if they did get the government knocking on their door.
4. Customer Support (even for FREE users)
Let’s cut to the chase.
Betternet doesn’t offer Live Chat. So you can’t expect up-to-the-minute responses.
But they do use the popular Zendesk and claim support will be in touch within in an hour in most cases. And Premium members will get access to 24/7 customer support.
I also like to dig through a VPN service’s social media channels to see how they deal with customer issues and whether-or-not their social team can help out on the support side.
Pretty good! They offer fast, courtesy responses and receive some pretty good praise overall.
Here’s one example:
And another from a satisfied customer:
Cons of Using Betternet
1. Their APP Isn’t Ad-Free
Betternet offers a free VPN service. (Have I beat that to death enough yet?)
How do they make money if they don’t log your stuff?
Thankfully, they have a page on their website called: How we make money. I’d bet the answer lies somewhere in there.
There are two ways they make money.
- Suggested App Downloads: They get paid when someone downloads an app recommended to them by their service.
- Video Views: They get paid when a user watches a video during their connection.
This page literally says that they “do not intend to make a profit” on their free service. They just want to be able to cover their basic overhead and maintenance costs to run the service.
Betternet does offer a Premium plan with extra perks that go to cover “HR expenses, dedicated servers, and newly added server locations.”
Curiously, they also only accept payments through the Google Play Store and iOS App Store through in-app purchases. (I’m now convinced that they’re trying NOT to make any money.)
So… how does that pricing break down?
Plan One: 1 month
Plan Two: 6 months
- $17.94 total for six months
Plan Three: 1 Year
- $29.88 total for a year
If you want to take them up on that, here’s how to get the app setup for the first time.
2. Betternet usability isn’t that good
While it’s easy to sign up and get going with Betternet.
(All you need to do is download the app.)
The free service only gives you the open to click Connect and you connect to Betternet’s choice of optimized server (you can’t select servers on the free plan).
If you do have the Premium account, you can click Select Virtual Location and choose from any of the 10 countries that Betternet has servers in.
Their free service doesn’t work well. In lot of cases when I tried to connect to EU and US servers – it just couldn’t connect.
Hence I was having a lot of trouble performing the speed test.
3. Betternet slows down your Internet connection
I also ran a speed test to see how their free service stacks up against some of the other free and paid competitors.
I wasn’t expecting to see any good numbers from it. Just for your information, I was using 100 Mbps connection and here are the results:
- Ping: 64 ms
- Download: 3.64 Mbps
- Upload: 12.41 Mbps
Very slow. In short, it throttles my connection speed with more than 95%. That’s ridiculous for serious use. But hey, it’s free.
4. Not for Torrenting and Netflix
Although (theoretically) you can use Betternet for P2P, they’re download speed is just too slow to make it worth.
Also, while installing it on my computer and trying out all the possible server locations, I still couldn’t connect to Netflix. This means it’s probably not working with Netflix.
Betternet Review Conclusion
Betternet doesn’t have the biggest server network. It’s only available in a few select countries outside of North America. Their customer support options are also limited (unless you’re on the Premium plan).
But they do offer top-of-the-line encryption and protocols, for free (or very cheap). Their Chrome and Firefox extensions also allow you to bypass downloading a VPN client.
So it could be a solid, affordable option if you’re just looking to hide your IP or use it for a secure connection in public places.
UNFORTUNATELY, though they’re just too slow for serious use (bypassing geo-restrictions or heavy downloading).
|EASE OF USE:||Average|
|PLATFORMS:||Win, Android, iOS|
Betternet alternatives (paid):
P.S. If you’ve used Betternet VPN (free or paid option), please consider helping us and leaving a review below.
Add your own Betternet Review
13 user reviews for Betternet
Misleading and disappointing
Well, my experience with Betternet consists of mobile and Chrome extension use. When you first download Betternet, it works perfectly connecting fast and giving you a fast speed. While this is happening, they ask you to leave good reviews on the App Store. They only ask you to leave a review if you answer “Very Good” to “How have you enjoyed Betternet so far?” which I believe is quite misleading. As I used Betternet and chose not to watch any ads of theirs and not leave good reviews, the performance of the VPN deteriorated. Slow to connect to the VPN itself, and then a slow connection speed. Then, of course, you get the prompt for their Premium service.
I installed Betternet free version just few days ago. I was enthusiastic as I thought I can use it forever. However, I quickly realized their too slow and they don’t allow any sort of Torrenting, let alone Netflix.
What’s even worse, today I got an notification that my FREE version is over. What?
Don’t recommend this VPN at all..
Betternet is fine
I’ve been using Betternet VPN for a few months now. Obviously the best thing about it is that it’s completely free unless you decide to support the developers. Free version only offers two regions (UK and US). It doesn’t ask for any private information. However, the connection can be slow sometimes and randomly cut off. There has also been some claims in the past about the VPN, saying that it was malicious, but if you don’t care about claims, this is a really nice and basic VPN.
Terrible - and service worse
Signed up for the free trial using my card number (bills you after 7 days).
Signed up on their website, downloaded, installed and couldn’t get it to even connect.
Emailed them to ask them to cancel the service which the refused to do saying that I had to do it on the App Store on my IOS Device or from my Mac. I don’t have either and explained this and told them I had signed up using Chrome on their Website. Again asked them ho to cancel (twice) – No reply.
I have been using Betternet premium for a year and love it. However, just went to renew my subscription and it’s going to cost nearly 4 times as much as last year.
Guess it’s time to look for another provider.
Not for serious use
It works well for hiding your location – I can call Spotify with them, but it’s just too slow.
Free but with ads
The service is free, but you get tons of different ads, which are really annoying. So you still pay a “price” for it – your precious time. Other than that it is really slow, does not have a live chat support. I would not recommend it to people, who like to enjoy their browsing experience, but if you like to waste your time on ads and slow page loading, then go ahead!
Betternet VPN is better then other
I’ve been using Betternet for 2 months now with no issues, it connects fast and never fails, downloads are pretty good, sometimes a bit slow to get going but so what? I live in India, most time I get transferred to USA.
Crashing all the time
This VPN is not for serious use. I installed their software on my Windows 10 and it crashed constantly. I tried connecting through their server list, but the app just crashed and that was it.
When I googled it I found out that I wasn’t the only one who had problems with this VPN. Waste of time.
Betternet -- it's better and its free!
Betternet VPN is a mobile-focused VPN services that can be used for free on both Android and IOS Devices.
As a heavy internet user, I used VPN mainly to hide my internet activities from time to time, Betternet VPN does it for me.
Why is it good?
– It allows P2P (torrent) connections while others don’t.
– It’s free, it does have a premium service but it doesn’t force you to, free is good by itself.
I am using Betternet VPN since last 7 months. The experience have been flawless. The app doesn’t crash and gives me uninterrupted access to all websites. I am using Betternet VPN Android app. It is free and contains ads. Sometimes it takes more than usual time to connect but that is okay for me since it’s free…
Works in India, but slow
As our goverment banned social media sites here in India, we’ve no option to use Betternet.
It free and does the trick, but the downside is that it’s VERY slow..
OK for hiding your IP, but...
It’s a good service for hiding your IP, but the load times are a bit slow and the constant ads and upsells have pretty much ruined it.
However, if you don’t have a budget for a VPN – it’s probably a wise choice.