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Betternet Review

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Established in 2015, Betternet can be considered a newbie in the VPN industry. The most curious thing about this provider is that its services are totally free. Betternet is available on Chrome, Android, Windows, iOS, and Mac OS. However, running a VPN service costs money, so why exactly are Betternet’s services free? The answer is – ads. This provider serves you ads from third-parties in return for providing you free VPN services. Many, many ads.

In this Betternet review, we will take a closer look at the services that Betternet provides. While many will find its free services intriguing, they’re ultimately not a great choice compared to the Top 10 VPN providers we recommend. The unrelenting ads were a major turn off for us.

Features

Betternet’s website is poorly organized, with little effort put into describing the features of their services. There’s very brief information about their services, which is certainly not enough to convince anyone to purchase their services. From what we were able to find on their FAQ page, Betternet offers the following features:

  • Online privacy: By encrypting your Internet connection, Betternet allows you to browse the web privately and securely. They use 256-bit AES encryption.
  • Secure browsing: Betternet protects its customers from known online scams and malware.
  • No registration needed: Users don’t even need to register in order to use their services, as Betternet doesn’t require their names or email addresses.
  • Available for multiple platforms: Betternet is available on Windows, Mac OS, Windows, Android, and Chrome.
  • Up to six devices: Betternet allows you to connect six devices to a single premium account simultaneously.
  • Catapult hydra protocol: Catapult hydra is a proprietary protocol developed by AnchorFree and used by Betternet. This protocol is strictly focused on the performance of VPN data transport.
  • Limited bandwidth: Their free version has bandwidth limitations which allows users to use up to 500 mb per day. Their premium version doesn’t have bandwidth limitations.

According to its website, Betternet protects and secures the Internet connection of millions of people each day. However, there is no conclusive evidence to support any of these claims. There are a lot of loopholes that make it impossible for us to recommend this provider.

Servers & countries

Betternet provides very little information regarding their server network. We had to really dig deep in order to find some information concerning their server networks. According to their FAQ page, users can connect to 17 virtual locations across 10 countries, including:

  • The UK
  • The US
  • Canada
  • Germany
  • France
  • Japan
  • Netherlands
  • Singapore
  • Honk Kong
  • Australia

Users need to have a Premium account in order to change virtual locations, leaving free users stuck with only a virtual location in the US.

Anyone trying to do any real geo-unblocking will be much better off looking at the Top 5 Geo-Unblocking VPNs that we have reviewed and found to be quality. These VPNs all offer more countries, and more servers per country for better service.

Speed & reliability

Betternet claims that when using any VPN service it is normal to experience speed reductions from 30%-50%. They mention that connection speed and reliability depends on various factors like physical distance to the server, ISP, physical hardware, your download and upload speed and others.

Furthermore, Betternet states that there is a difference in the speed of the connection depending on whether you use their free or paid version. Below, you’ll see an example of the difference between their Free Client and Premium Client;

As you can see, the difference between the two connections is quite significant. The Premium Client offers access to higher download and upload speeds. It goes without saying their Premium Client is the obvious choice if you want to enjoy a fast and safe VPN connection.

Pricing & payments

As already mentioned, Betternet offers both free and paid VPN services. The free VPN services are only free because they are riddled with ads, while their paid services are ad-free. Furthermore, purchasing Betternet’s premium services depends on whether or not you purchase from their website. Weird? We thought so too.

Offering different prices for the same services depending on where you purchase their services from sounds like double standards to us;

Either way, the biggest savings come with their 12-months plan where users can save up to 75%. There is a seven-day free trial for each of their premium plans. Payments can be made via credit cards.

Support

Betternet’s customer support section is very complicated. According to their website, free users don’t get to enjoy the perks of their email customer support. That feature is only reserved for their paying customers. On their website, Betternet offers the following customer support:

  • Blog
  • Help center
  • FAQ
  • Email support

They state that there’s 24/7 personalized email support available for premium subscribers. Their blog and FAQ sections contain a lot of useful content. In fact, most of the information found on their website regarding their services is stored in their FAQ section.

Policies & logging

Apart from having a solid customer support service, a top VPN provider is expected to have established protective customer policies. Betternet seems to have decent customer protection policies:

  • Privacy policy: All the personal information that is disclosed with Betternet will only be used to improve their services, send notifications and updates, troubleshoot, and for product advertising. They may collect personal information such as your name, email address, IP address, username, or unique mobile IP. Betternet collects certain information by serving you cookies. They claim not to disclose any sensitive personal data with third-parties.
  • Refund policy: All premium subscribers can request a refund within 45 days from the purchase date. To ensure quick processing of your refund, in your refund request you should include personal information like your email address, premium access code, and the order number for the transaction.
  • No-logging policy: Betternet doesn’t monitor or keep any logs of your online activity while you’re using their VPN client.

From what we’re able to see, these customer protection policies are considered standard. We particularly like the fact that the company is open about how they use your personal data. They explicitly state that they use some of the personal data from free users to serve them ads.

Expert recommendation

We end this Betternet review by stating that Betternet is a decent provider, but doesn’t offer anything special. Their website is weirdly-built and finding your way around their sections is extremely difficult. Having a user-friendly website that would allow potential customers to jump from browsing to purchasing in a few quick steps is essential.

Furthermore, their features are not that impressive, as they cover the bare minimum. They offer a strong encryption method, but their server network is poor. They have servers at only 17 locations in 10 countries, which is not enough for Betternet to be suited for geo-unblocking. They don’t support P2P networking, which is another major flaw.

Betternet offers decent customer protection policies, with their 45-day money-back guarantee being particularly impressive. They do have a no-logging policy, but they use the personal data of their free users to serve them ads. All in all, if you want to enjoy a safe VPN connection, read our other reviews of the top VPN providers and find yourself a great VPN provider.

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How Do We Rate VPNs?

Our ratings for betternet review are based on our professional experience and extensive tests with VPN providers between April 2014 – July 2014, taking into account user feedback and reviews we receive. As a friendly disclosure, some VPN providers do compensate us for customers we refer them, but this in no way effects their ranking on our website, nor our reviews.

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