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vpnMentor was established in 2014 to review VPN services and cover privacy-related stories. Today, our team of hundreds of cybersecurity researchers, writers, and editors continues to help readers fight for their online freedom in partnership with Kape Technologies PLC, which also owns the following products: ExpressVPN, CyberGhost, and Private Internet Access which may be ranked and reviewed on this website. The reviews published on vpnMentor are believed to be accurate as of the date of each article, and written according to our strict reviewing standards that prioritize professional and honest examination of the reviewer, taking into account the technical capabilities and qualities of the product together with its commercial value for users. The rankings and reviews we publish may also take into consideration the common ownership mentioned above, and affiliate commissions we earn for purchases through links on our website. We do not review all VPN providers and information is believed to be accurate as of the date of each article.
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vpnMentor was established in 2014 to review VPN services and cover privacy-related stories. Today, our team of hundreds of cybersecurity researchers, writers, and editors continues to help readers fight for their online freedom in partnership with Kape Technologies PLC, which also owns the following products: ExpressVPN, CyberGhost, and Private Internet Access which may be ranked and reviewed on this website. The reviews published on vpnMentor are believed to be accurate as of the date of each article, and written according to our strict reviewing standards that prioritize professional and honest examination of the reviewer, taking into account the technical capabilities and qualities of the product together with its commercial value for users. The rankings and reviews we publish may also take into consideration the common ownership mentioned above, and affiliate commissions we earn for purchases through links on our website. We do not review all VPN providers and information is believed to be accurate as of the date of each article.

Betternet VPN Review 2024 — Is the Free Version Safe?

Our Score: 7.1/10
Ranked 26th out of 285 VPNs
Doris Muthuri Updated on 29th April 2024 Fact-checked by Matthew Amos Senior Writer

Betternet is a popular free VPN, but it’s been involved in several controversies. In 2016, a team of researchers caught Betternet embedding malware and tracking libraries in their VPN apps. So, is this VPN actually safe, and can you trust it with your personal information?

To remove any doubts, I extensively tested its security and privacy features. I also thoroughly explored its speeds, gaming capabilities, device compatibility, and customer support to determine if the pricey paid subscriptions are worth it.

Overall, Betternet VPN is decent, but there are definitely better alternatives. It has excellent speeds and works great for streaming, gaming, and torrenting. However, I was concerned with the amount of information it collects. I recommend you check out the best VPNs available today to stay anonymous online.

Short on Time? Here Are My Key Findings

Pros

Cons

Betternet Features — 2024 Update

7.1
💸 Price 0 USD/week
📆 Money Back Guarantee 45 Days
📝 Does VPN keep logs? No
🖥 Number of servers 1000+
💻 Number of devices per license 10
🛡 Kill switch Yes
🗺 Based in country Switzerland
🛠 Support Via Email
📥 Supports torrenting Yes

Streaming — The Premium Option Is Good for Streaming

7.8

Our global team could safely stream all the local platforms they tested with Betternet VPN’s paid version. They were impressed by the quality as they could usually load videos quickly and stream in HD.

However, the free version isn’t ideal for streaming. It limits your daily bandwidth to 500MB, which is barely enough for casual browsing.

You could hypothetically use Betternet VPN’s paid version to stream content from other regions. However, this is against the platforms’ T&Cs and is seen as copyright infringement. My teammates only connected to servers in their respective countries while testing.

Important. My team and I do not support copyright infringement. Betternet claims it will never record your online activities. So, it’s your responsibility to use it ethically. We urge you to always follow any applicable laws and to never break the T&Cs of the streaming platforms you engage with.

Works With: Netflix, Hulu, Max, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, Peacock, and BBC iPlayer

Our US tester didn’t have any issues streaming in decent quality on all her local platforms. Peacock let her load videos nearly instantly, and Amazon Prime Video only took a few seconds to start playing titles before they quickly resolved into high quality.

Max, Hulu, and Disney+ worked nearly as well from the US. She did encounter a little buffering on Max and Disney+, especially when she tried to skip around. Hulu took a lot longer to improve its picture quality, but luckily the ads were playing while the screen was grainy.

These tests were all done with the paid version of the VPN. I recommend checking out Betternet’s server list before you attempt to stream with the free version. It only offers a limited number of servers, and there may not be one in your country.

Screenshot of Netflix player streaming Love on the Spectrum while connected to a US Betternet server Videos loaded quickly and played back without any buffering

Our teammate in the UK also confirmed that it worked with all the UK platforms he tested. He had no problem safely streaming ITV, BBC iPlayer, and Netflix UK. However, he mentioned that it always took a few minutes for videos to load on iPlayer.

Testers in India, Italy, and Israel, also had no issues using servers in their respective countries to securely view their local platforms. So, Betternet is a great VPN for safe streaming. However, this is only true of the paid version.

Speed — Fast on Most Servers

8.4

The premium Betternet VPN app gave us excellent speeds on most of the servers that we tested. This was very impressive because even some of the top VPNs I have tried have slow speeds on servers far away.

My teammate and I had to test speeds on nearby and distant servers to assess the service's overall performance. As stated above, we don’t condone copyright infringements and ask you to please use any VPN responsibly.

We record speeds for the majority of our reviews from one location in the UK with the same internet connection for fair comparisons. The chart below shows the average speeds from at least 10 tests for each location. Our speed guru used the Hydra protocol as it was the fastest.

Screenshot of a speed chart showing rates on a variety of Betternet VPN's international serversMy speeds lowered by 8% on average with nearby servers and 25% on distant ones

I also tested it from my location in Nairobi and was not disappointed. In most cases, my speeds never dropped by more than 17%. For context, it's normal for a premium VPN to drop your speeds by an average of about 10-20% on nearby to mid-range servers (below 5,000 km away).

Screenshot of a speed chart showing rates on a variety of Betternet VPN's international serversThere was an 8% drop with nearby servers and 25% on distant ones

Far-away servers did drop my speeds significantly. For instance, my speeds dropped by 81% on South Korean servers. However, this was expected since South Korea is more than 10,000 km away.

Unsurprising, the free version is slow. Betternet lists limited speeds as one of the drawbacks of using the free service. I always lost at least 60% of my base rates, even on nearby servers.

Overall, Betternet VPN speeds were impressive. It performed better than most smaller VPNs that I have tested.

Gaming — Fast Enough for Enjoyable Gameplay

8.0

Most Betternet premium servers had a decent ping for gaming without slowdowns. I started by connecting to a server in South Africa to play Minecraft. The game loaded in under a minute, and I played smoothly without any issues. I was impressed that my ping was only 17ms. You need a ping that’s below 85ms to get quick responses to your inputs while gaming.

Screenshot of Minecraft being played while connected to Betternet VPN South Africa serverI never experienced delays on any of the games I played

However, testing far-away servers in Nepal created too much lag. This wasn’t unexpected since Nepal is over 6,000 km from my location in Nairobi and had a ping of 417ms. When I tested the free version, I couldn’t even get my game to load. The speeds were too slow, and the ping was too high on all the free servers.

Overall, Betternet VPN’s premium version performed great for gaming. I wouldn’t recommend using the free version. It’s too slow for gaming without lag, and there is no guarantee that your data will be safe.

Server Network — Small but Well Distributed

7.0

Betternet VPN has a smaller than average network of 1,000 servers in 115 countries. However, the entire list of servers is only available to premium customers. The free version will only give you access to 4 servers — Singapore, Los Angeles, New York, and the UK.

A small bank of servers not only means you’re less likely to find the state you need, but the available servers can get overcrowded, causing slow connection speeds. However, I like how well the servers are distributed around the world – there is at least one server location in every continent.

Betternet owns all its servers. I contacted customer support, and the agent confirmed that all its servers are privately owned. This is important to me because it ensures that no third party can interfere with them. Like most VPNs, it also offers an automatic connection (called “Optimal”), which always gives me the fastest speeds.

Except for a few countries, most Betternet servers are not city-level. In other words, the servers are only marked by country name. This can end up giving you slower connections than you expected. Its servers are all virtual locations as well, which can also result in speed drops.

Screenshot of Betternet's Windows app highlighting the optimal serverMost of its countries don't show whether the server is city-level

Unfortunately, Betternet doesn’t have dedicated IP addresses. These are nice when you need a consistent and unique online identity, which is valuable for tasks like hosting a website. Many of the leading VPNs offer this service for an extra cost. Check out this list to find a VPN that comes with a larger server network and dedicated IPs.

Security — Above Average Security Features

7.4

BetternetVPN has a pretty decent suite of security features. Due to its troubling past, I was particularly interested to see what exactly it had to offer in terms of security features.

Fortunately, I wasn’t disappointed. I was especially happy to find that it has a kill switch, which is crucial for keeping your data secure even when the VPN connection drops unexpectedly. Like most VPNs, it also offers an auto-connect feature, so it can turn on as soon as you boot up.

I also like that it can be used in conjunction with Tor. However, you will miss out on a few premium features, such as private DNS servers and double VPN. So, it’s not perfect.

Encryption

Betternet VPN offers AES 256-bit encryption, the industry standard. This level of encryption is highly secure and widely used globally in various security applications because it’s nearly unbreakable. Betternet also supports Perfect Forward Secrecy, which frequently changes the encryption keys for added security.

Security Protocols

You can switch between Catapult Hydra, IKEv2 (IPSec), and WireGuard protocols. The Catapult Hydra protocol is Betternet VPN’s proprietary modification of the OpenVPN protocol. This protocol uses AES-128-bit encryption with 2048 DHE-RSA keys.

Screenshot of Betternet's Windows app highlighting the security protocolsWireGuard is the best choice for a good balance of speeds and security

It's important to note that the proprietary nature of the Catapult Hydra protocol means it cannot be peer-reviewed by security researchers. This is generally considered a drawback since open-source protocols allow for public auditing and are generally trusted for their transparency. So, you’ll want to use WireGuard for maximum security.

Kill Switch

Betternet VPN offers a solid kill switch that immediately cuts your device's internet connection if the VPN service is unexpectedly disrupted. This prevents your data from being transmitted over an unsecured network, safeguarding your privacy.

I tested the kill switch by randomly switching servers, and it immediately paused my connection until I was safely connected to the new server.

IP & DNS leak protection

It also provides IP/DNS leak protection. This feature ensures your actual IP address and DNS requests remain hidden online. I tested over a dozen of its servers, and my IP address and DNS requests never leaked. It also successfully prevented WebRTC leaks.

Screenshot of tests done on ipleak.net while connected to a UK Betternet serverI tested more than 10 servers, and none leaked my IP address

IP leaks can expose your real location to the websites you visit, while DNS leaks expose your browsing history to your ISP — which beats the purpose of having a VPN in the first place. Happily, Betternet successfully hid my IP address and DNS requests.

Split tunneling

Split tunneling is one of my favorite VPN features, so I was happy to see that Betternet VPN offers it. Available on Windows, Android, and iOS, split tunneling allows you to choose which apps or websites bypass the VPN connection and which are routed through it. This can improve speeds because only some of your traffic is encrypted.

When testing, I used the VPN to protect my data while playing Roblox and using my banking app with my regular Internet connection.

Anti-Phishing Protection

Betternet's anti-phishing protection keeps you safe from malicious websites. This feature automatically detects and blocks access to known phishing sites. I was pleased to see this feature since few smaller VPNs offer it.

Privacy — Logs Too Much Data

5.6

Betternet VPN is located in a surveillance country and logs quite a bit of data. Plus, its no-logging policy hasn’t been audited. So, this is definitely its weakest area, and I hope it improves in the future since it’s so promising in other categories. You can find VPNs with verified no-logs policies in this list.

Does Betternet VPN Keep Logs? No

Betternet VPN privacy policy was heavily questioned in the past after research showed that its apps harbored a high number of malware and third-party tracking libraries. For instance, the research found that its Android app contained 14 tracking libraries.

During our previous review, the privacy policy stated that Aura (the mother company then) was the one managing data on behalf of Betternet. This was really concerning. So, when testing it this time, I was really keen to see if this is still the case. When I examined the privacy policy, I was happy to find that third parties are no longer involved in its data management.

Betternet states that it doesn’t collect or store any identifiable data. However, I was still uncomfortable with the amount of data that it collects.

Even though it doesn’t log any personal data while you use the service, it records your device or mobile advertising identifiers. It also stores operating system versions and other crucial information such as your internet service provider and carrier name.

Screenshot of Betternet's privacy policy showing the data it collectsIt also collects information such as name, email, and payment details

The privacy policy also clearly states that it may serve ads through third-party advertising services. In other words, Betternet might sell your data to advertisers in exchange for the free service. However, it states that it will not log any of your online activities while you use the paid service — such as the apps or the websites you visit.

Was Betternet VPN Audited? No

Unfortunately, Betternet VPN’s policy hasn’t been audited or verified by any third parties. I couldn’t find any information online about this. When I contacted support to ask, the agent vaguely pointed me to the privacy policy page for more information.

Screenshot of an email response from Bettenet customer support with vague answerI tried getting more answers but my email went unanswered

Based in Switzerland

Betternet was recently acquired by Pango Group, a company based in Switzerland. This is within the 5/9/14 Eyes Alliances — a group of countries that collaborate in intelligence gathering and sharing. This means that in the event that a government requests information about you from the company, they will have to hand it over.

Does Betternet VPN Work in China? Maybe

Betternet VPN claims to work in China. However, support was a bit vague in this regard. There have been many reports of it only working sporadically in the region. I contacted Betternet's customer support, and the agent said you can reach out if you have any issues connecting in China. However, they didn’t say exactly what the VPN does to work in China.

Screenshot of email response where Betternet agent claims it can be used in ChinaRemember to download the app before traveling to China

Generally, the Chinese government tends to block VPN technology. There have been no publicly-reported cases of them targeting individuals. However, my team and I do not support any illegal activities. Always make sure to familiarize yourself with the local laws regarding VPN usage before deciding to use one.

To get a VPN that’s been tried-and-tested, check out our top VPNs for China.

Torrenting — Great for Downloading

9.0

Betternet VPN premium is an excellent choice for torrenting. Betternet’s strong security features also mean it can keep you safe on P2P networks, which I consider a necessity.

While connected, I managed to download a 1.6GB copyright-free file in less than 18 minutes (about the same as my speed with no VPN connected). What's impressive is that this was achieved with only a small number of seeders available. Nearby servers gave me the best speeds, but long-distance servers weren’t bad either.

As you might expect, the free version is inadequate for this purpose. The speeds were slow on all the free servers, and my files couldn’t even load. Plus, the 500MB bandwidth limit makes it useless for torrenting.

Keep in mind that while torrenting is legal in most countries, downloading copyrighted files isn’t. My team and I don’t condone any form of copyright infringement. Therefore, we urge you to only access torrents within the public domain.

Installation & Apps

6.0

Installation & Apps — Easy-to-Use Apps Limited to Major Operating Systems

Betternet has intuitive and beginner-friendly apps.

A screenshot of Betternet VPN clutter-free user interfaceIt was always easy finding my desired server

However, I don’t like its limited device compatibility.

Setup & Installation

I first tested Betternet’s free plan and was not impressed. I tried downloading the app from Betternet’s website, but I couldn’t access it without paying for a subscription. I could only download it from a third-party website (Softonic). Once installed, it kept prompting me to register for a paid plan.

I decided to uninstall the free version and pay for a subscription through Betternet’s website. This was the only way I could access its official apps.

Screenshot of the Betternet's download pageYou can't access this page without paying for a subscription

Surprisingly, I could still use the free version if I was logged out. I personally feel like this is a trick to force people to buy a subscription.

Device Compatibility

Betternet only works with Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, and Google Chrome. Sadly, there’s no router support.

It can’t be used with gaming consoles such as Xbox, PS4/5, Nintendo Switch, or smart TVs (AppleTV, Android TV, Roku), and there's no support for Amazon Fire Stick. If you want a VPN with more diverse compatibility, I recommend you check out this list of VPNs for routers.

Desktop — Apps for Windows and Mac

Mac and Windows apps are very similar. Both are super intuitive and easy to use. I also liked that you can use Betternet VPN even on Windows 7 and Mac version 11. Many smaller VPNs only support newer operating systems.

Android and iPhone (iOS)

The Android and iPhone apps are pretty similar, too. They both come with all the essential features, protocols, and servers.

Browser Extensions for Chrome and Firefox

Betternet has extensions for Chrome and Firefox. The free version only features 1 US server and doesn’t have the same security features the mobile and desktop versions have. I couldn’t log into my premium version. It kept telling me, “Check your verification email,” but it never came. So, I wouldn’t count on it working.

Simultaneous Device Connections

You get 10 simultaneous device connections with its premium plan and 1 connection with the free plan. I tested this out by connecting my Windows laptop, 2 Android phones, and an iPad, and there was no difference in its performance.

Pricing

5.6
Free Trial
$ 0 / week per week
12 Months
$ 7.99 / month per month
1 Month
$ 12.99 / month per month

Pricing — Expensive With Limited Payment Options

Betternet' paid versions are quite pricey. It only has 2 subscription plans: monthly and annual. The yearly plan is the most affordable at $0/week and has a 14-day free trial. I found the monthly plan to be pretty expensive compared to the top VPNs I have tested, still it does have a 7-day free trial.

It also offers a free plan that limits you to 500 MB of daily data and 4 servers. Honestly, I found the free plan pretty useless since it's slow, and the bandwidth is barely enough for basic web browsing.

However, you can still use the free trial to test it out and see if it’s for you. Plus, it comes with a generous 45-day money-back guarantee, theoretically letting you test drive it for longer. Unfortunately, I’m not sure you can trust its money-back policy because I had issues getting a refund.

To try it myself, I informed its chatbot that I wanted to cancel my subscription. The chatbot asked for my credit card details and purchase date before stating that support agents would contact me soon.

However, I was disappointed when I didn't hear back after a week. I had to follow up twice before receiving an email response. The agent asked for feedback on my experience and reasons for canceling.

Screenshot of Betternet email response after requesting a refundWhen I gave my reasons, support never responded to me

Betternet VPN’s payment options are seriously lacking. I could only pay by credit card since it didn’t accept PayPal, Bitcoin, or other cryptocurrencies. This means that you don’t have the option to stay anonymous when you subscribe.

Reliability & Support

6.0

Reliability and Support — Usually Responsive but Limited Options

Betternet has no real-person chat support. Your account area has a chat support window, but it only connects you with a bot.

I tried getting answers through this chat window, but the bot would direct me to an irrelevant FAQ or say it didn’t understand my question. Eventually, it did ask if I wished to be connected to an agent. I typed my question expecting an instant response but only got an email 24 hours later.

On the brighter side, the email response was helpful and clearly answered my questions. Even later, I got a follow-up email asking me if I was satisfied with the response and if I wanted further details.

Screenshot of an email from Betternet support where they kindly asked if we had any more issues or updates on previous ones Betternet agents generally gave good answers to my questions

You can also contact Betternet VPN customer support through email by clicking on the Send Email button on your app. I tested it and received a response within 12 hours. The only time I had issues with its human agents was during the cancelation process.

I also appreciate Betternet VPN's extensive knowledge base, featuring well-organized FAQs, tutorials, and guides. However, it lacks video tutorials, which I prefer for learning.

Compare Betternet With The Top Alternative VPNs
Our Score: 9.9
Our Score: 9.7
Our Score: 9.5
Our Score: 9.4
Editor's Note: Transparency and impartiality are important to us when bringing you our best selection of VPNs. Some of the industry-leading products on our list, including Intego, Private Internet Access, CyberGhost, and ExpressVPN are owned by Kape Technologies, our parent company. The VPNs we choose are derived from a thorough testing process.

The Bottom Line

Final Verdict — Worth a Try

Betternet has multiple features that make it a decent option. Its speed, ability to work with local streaming platforms, and robust security features impressed me.

However, I wasn’t comfortable with the amount of data it logs and the fact that its privacy policy hasn’t been audited by a third party. I also didn’t like how long I had to wait to get a response from customer support.

Overall, Betternet VPN is worthy of a test. You can try it out with the free version. But it's very limiting, so I recommend opting for the free trial of the premium version. Unfortunately, my tests showed me that its money-back guarantee can't always be relied upon.

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  • Very fast
  • Great for gaming
  • Robust security features
  • Solid torrenting capabilities
  • 14-day free trial

FAQs on Betternet VPN

Is Betternet VPN safe?

Yes, Betternet VPN is safe. It has robust security features, including a military-grade encryption that’s nearly unbreakable, a kill switch, and IP/DNS leak protection. It didn’t leak data when it was put to the test either.

Is Betternet VPN free?

Yes, Betternet VPN does offer a free version. However, its limitations include fewer server options, limited bandwidth, and slower speeds. With a premium account, you have unlimited data, more server options, and much faster speeds.

Can Betternet VPN be trusted?

Betternet has a dark past when it comes to data privacy. While it’s making an effort to clean up its reputation, it’s still keeping a questionable amount of user data. Its policy also makes it clear that it collects and sells your data when you use the free version.

Money Back Guarantee (Days): 45
Mobile app:
Number of devices per license: 10
VPN Plans: betternet.co
We review vendors based on rigorous testing and research but also take into account your feedback and our affiliate commission with providers. Some providers are owned by our parent company.
Learn more
vpnMentor was established in 2014 to review VPN services and cover privacy-related stories. Today, our team of hundreds of cybersecurity researchers, writers, and editors continues to help readers fight for their online freedom in partnership with Kape Technologies PLC, which also owns the following products: ExpressVPN, CyberGhost, and Private Internet Access which may be ranked and reviewed on this website. The reviews published on vpnMentor are believed to be accurate as of the date of each article, and written according to our strict reviewing standards that prioritize professional and honest examination of the reviewer, taking into account the technical capabilities and qualities of the product together with its commercial value for users. The rankings and reviews we publish may also take into consideration the common ownership mentioned above, and affiliate commissions we earn for purchases through links on our website. We do not review all VPN providers and information is believed to be accurate as of the date of each article.
Betternet User Reviews (User reviews are not verified)
4.6
Based on 36 reviews in 7 languages

Write a Review on Betternet

Please rate VPN.

All Speed Streaming Security Сustomer service
Australian.Dev.Nerds
Australian.Dev.Nerds
2/10
Dangerous Service

What most people don't know about BetterNet VPN is that it's running by Hamid Rezazadeh, the son of Ensieh Khazali, a very radical Iranian government official (or 4th Reich), he's moved to Canada to mass collect users' data under this service!

Shen
Shen
2/10
Very confusing

It turned off every 5 seconds! For weeks. Never ever worked. I always had to manually turn it back on just to have it immediately turn off again. I also could not understand one word of the responses from customer service. Now that I canceled, it shows it’s connected! No clue, crazy. Like I can’t get rid of it

Frank
Frank
2/10
Can't unsubscribe

I bought a subscription on Apple App Store and cancelled my subscription several months later through my iPhone. But they keep charging me every month. Then they make it impossible for me to stop via their website, and they don't have a phone number. I don't see how Apple even allows then in the app store, this makes Apple look bad too.

    About the Author

    Doris is a tech writer and a cybersecurity researcher for vpnMentor. She is enthusiastic about educating people about their rights to online freedom and provides actionable ways to protect their data.

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