Betternet is a Virtual Private Network (VPN) provider with 38 million users worldwide. It is a free service that has come under a lot of criticism in the past year. Betternet offers servers in 10+ locations of the world, covering US, UK, Canada, Germany, Japan, Netherlands, France, and Singapore. With cutting-edge network infrastructure, Betternet allows users to unblock 1000+ sites on Windows, Mac OS X, Android and iOS devices for free. The OpenVPN & IPSec protocols ensure top-notch privacy to subscribers at all times.
Betternet offers both free and premium package, you can choose free version to see how it works, and then pay to take advantage of the premium with full great features. This review is of Betternet’s premium (paid) service.
What is Betternet for?
Betternet provides a range of privacy benefits to users of various platforms as following:
- Bypass state censorship & firewalls
- Access geo-blocked sites from anywhere
- Achieve unbeatable online protection
- Become 101% anonymous on internet
- Spoof location to 10 locations of the world
- Access your favorite channels and sports while travelling abroad
How to use Betternet?
Betternet follows a simple seven step installation process. If you’re unfamiliar with VPN installation on different platforms then here’s how to install VPN service on Windows:
- Go to official site of Betternet
- Now, go to download section
- Download the VPN app on your system and install it
- Upon successful installation, open VPN software
- Proceed by skipping the guide and hints
- Now click on connect button and wait till you’re connected
- Upon successful connection, enjoy accessing thousands of websites and services that were previously blocked in your region
Getting hold of the Betternet app isn’t hard. Simply head over to the website and download via the right-hand corner at the top of the page. When you launch the app, it will ask if you want to trial the premium VPN for seven days. If you prefer to use the free VPN, decline. Once the app has launched, you can still upgrade to premium (including using the seven-day free trial).
I couldn’t see the premium plan in the app until I turned off my ad blockers (Privacy Badger and ABP). This is a weird bug because I was using the standalone VPN client for Windows – not a Chrome extension.
Once you’ve upgraded to premium by selecting a plan and paying (or selecting the seven-day free trial), you can select from one of the ten country locations. To connect, simply select a server from the list and press the “Connect” button. I found the VPN to connect quickly and without issues.
When a connection is established, the shield turns blue and looks happy to let you know all is well.
- No adverts on the premium version
- Fast connection speeds
- Seven-day free trial for premium service
- 30-day money-back guarantee for premium service
- Free version
- Offers Servers in 10+ Locations
- Zero Activity Logging Policy
- No Bandwidth Caps
- No Data Caps
- Free Trial Without Credit Card
- One Touch Server Selection
- Decent Connection Speed
- Cross-Platform Compatibility (Android, Mac OS X, iOS, Windows)
Betternet prides itself by offering an exclusive router service “Betterspot”. For the first time ever, users can switch to Tor anonymity with just a single click. The Betterspot router aims to enhance users’ security and privacy with state-of-the-art technology. Moreover, when Betterspot is turned off, it works as a normal router. In times of query, users can get instant assistance from Betterspot’s 24/7 customer support. With Betterspot, a user can choose from wide range of servers including dedicated premium servers as well.
Betternet Security & Encryption Protocols
Most VPN providers in market offer a traditional set of encryption protocols (PPTP, L2TP/IPSec, IKEv2, and OpenVPN), but provider has distinguished itself by providing a unique set of tunneling protocols.
- OpenVPN with AES256 bit of encryption
- IPSec with AES-CBC 128 bit of encryption
Note: After studying the offered encryption protocols of service in our Betternet VPN review, we suggest users choose this service solely for unblocking sites, as it doesn’t provide an adequate protection for torrenting and P2P file sharing.
Betternet isn’t forthcoming with details about its encryption standards. In my experience, this is always the case with VPNs that have weak or outdated encryption. The Betternet FAQ says the VPN uses OpenVPN with AES-256 encryption and also has L2TP/IPSec with a 128-bit key.
Sadly, it doesn’t explain where it deploys these different tunneling protocols. There’s no option on the desktop or mobile apps to change the encryption protocol. This means that some versions of the Betternet software run OpenVPN, while others run L2TP/IPsec. I asked Betternet to tell me which client runs which protocol, but they didn’t answer. In fact, my ticket went from “open” to “solved” without any response from the firm whatsoever.
I was also unable to get information about which data authentication method Betternet uses. The staff couldn’t tell me what encryption is used for session establishment and key distribution, hash size, or authentication. In addition, I couldn’t find out the difference between the encryption on the data and control channels – or if Betternet VPN implements Perfect Forward Secrecy.
These are important details. VPN encryption is only as strong as its weakest point. This means that, despite being “OpenVPN” that implements “AES-256,” Betternet could actually fall short of our stringent minimum standards for security. This would make it easy to hack into the VPN tunnel and discover what you’re doing online. Without that data, I can’t tell you how secure Betternet is. To be safe, we must presume that it is weak.
VPNs that don’t disclose their encryption are always lacking in one way or another – because good encryption is worth shouting from the rooftops about.
Betternet Customer Support
Premium users should be able to access support through the app. To do so, click on the hamburger menu in the top left, followed by “Contact Us” on the next screen. You must specify the nature of your help request at this stage.
Sadly, clicking on any of those choices just opens your browser on its standard start page. It seems that the app is buggy and Betternet hasn’t bothered to fix it: customer care doesn’t seem to be high on the agenda.
As such, you’ll need to go to the website to access the help desk. Even this can be frustrating, because there’s no obvious link in the main menu for customer support. To find it, scroll down to the bottom of the homepage and click on “Help Center.”
Considering that the best VPN providers (which cost a similar amount) have 24/7 live chat support, Betternet isn’t fulfilling the promise of being a “proper” premium VPN.
Betternet Pricing and Plans
Betternet serves users of all levels with its pocket-friendly plans. Currently, provider offers two premium plans.
The premium users get an edge over the freemium subscribers with 5 simultaneous connections, dedicated servers, better speed, zero ads policy, great server locations and round the clock customer support. The pricing plans are offered as following:
- Monthly plan costs $10.95
- 2-Years plan costs $2.92
Note: Both premium packages offer similar features.
To access the premium version of Betternet, you must first download the free version. Using that software, you can then upgrade. Betternet VPN premium only comes in one plan, with price variations based on the subscription period.
The Betternet Refund Policy
Betternet provides a 30-day money-back guarantee to allow you to test the premium service. However, the refund is only given if you’ve used less than 50 MB of data. As such, you have to ask for your money back during the 30-day period and with only minimal use. 50 Mb is a very small amount of usage allowance. This means that, in reality, it’s very hard to qualify for a refund. This is really mean: it’s the worst 30-day money back guarantee I have seen from a VPN.
A better option is to use the seven-day free trial of the premium account. Sadly, to use the free trial you must enter your credit card details. If you don’t cancel within the seven-day trial period, Betternet will automatically put you onto the monthly tariff, which is the most expensive plan. As such, be sure to cancel before your seven days are up if you’re not keen on the service.
Is Betternet a Good VPN?
There’re plenty of reasons to consider Betternet as the first choice for data privacy. Instead of choosing the premium service, we suggest users give a try to free plan and witness the unmatched benefits of a true VPN service.
On top of all, provider doesn’t require credit card information or any other detail from users. With VPN installed on your device, you can access thousands of geo-blocked sites with just a single click.
In addition to this, 100% online protection, reliable security, and protection against every cyber goon are the benefits you get with Betternet.
This is my review of Betternet, let’s consider and try for a VPN or click here for more choices “Top 6 Best Free VPN service in 2017” or “6 Best VPN service in 2017 review: most secure and fastest”.