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BetternetVPN Review 2022 — Use at Your Own Risk

Author Image MJ Marsden'
MJ Marsden | Updated on 15th May 2022 Cybersecurity Researcher

BetternetVPN found itself under fire in 2016 when an academic study discovered it put its users at risk of third-party tracking software. Since then, it says it has made a lot of changes, improving its overall features and security. I wanted to find out if this is true or not.

I tested the premium plan to find out what BetternetVPN has to offer, including its speeds, server network, and security. It had great speeds, but for a VPN with security that’s been called under scrutiny, I found some areas still pretty lacking.

For a great VPN with high speeds, a vast server network, and top-notch security, I recommend you try one of my favorite reliable VPNs instead.

Short on Time? Here Are My Key Findings

Betternet Features — Updated in August 2022

8.3
💸 Price 0 USD/week
📆 Money Back Guarantee 45 Days
📝 Does VPN keep logs? No
🖥 Number of servers 80+
💻 Number of devices per license 5
🛡 Kill switch No
🗺 Based in country United States
🛠 Support Via Email
📥 Supports torrenting Yes

Streaming — Unblocked Most Platforms, but Not Netflix

BetternetVPN successfully unblocked Hulu, HBO Max, Disney+, and BBC iPlayer, so I was impressed with its performance. This was particularly evident on its US servers, which let me access Hulu, HBO Max, and Disney+ within seconds.

Even more, since I only experienced a 16% drop on its US servers, I could stream in HD and without interruptions.

Unblocked: Disney+, Hulu, HBO Max, BBC iPlayer

I had a nice experience unblocking Disney+, Hulu, HBO Max, and BBC iPlayer with BetternetVPN. These platforms have some of the strongest geoblocks due to their popularity, so this is a great achievement.

Its US server got immediate access to Disney+ so I could watch The Madalorian.

Graphic showing Disney+ streaming using BetternetVPN's US server

After just a few seconds, I was connected to a US server

It was a surprise to me that I could log in to Disney+ right away. Ever since Disney+ launched, it has used the toughest technologies to fight against VPN use, so it can be difficult to access.

Graphic showing BetternetVPN streaming Hulu on its US server

Streaming movies on Hulu was quick and easy

Since it couldn’t let me watch It: Chapter 2 on Netflix, it was a good thing BetternetVPN unblocked Hulu. The first server I tried got me straight past the login page, and I had the movie up and running on my laptop in a couple of minutes.

screenshot showing Amazon Prime Video playing using Betternet VPNs US server

I watched movies on APV in HD

Amazon Prime Video was a breeze to access on its US and UK servers. I managed to watch a whole movie without any connectivity issues.

screenshot showing HBO Max streaming using BetternetVPN

BetternetVPN beat HBO’s blocks within a few seconds

Connecting to a server in the US took no time at all, and I instantly got access to HBO Max in every test.

Screenshot of BBC iPlayer playing using Betternet VPN

The second UK server I tried let me watch BBC iPlayer

The first UK server I tried didn’t bypass BBC iPlayer’s geoblocks. However, it didn’t take long to find another location within the country and this time it worked flawlessly.

Blocked by: Netflix

If you rely on Netflix to watch the latest trending shows and movies, you won’t be happy with BetternetVPN. None of the servers I tested managed to get past its blocks.

Screenshot showing Netflix's homescreen using BetternetVPN

No matter which server I tried, Netflix knew I was using a VPN

It’s important to note that Netflix improved its VPN detection systems, and a lot of VPNs can’t unblock it anymore. Because of this, I’m not very disappointed that BetternetVPN couldn’t access it.

Overall, BetternetVPN gave me fantastic results when I tested its ability to unblock streaming services. It easily accessed some of the toughest platforms out there, particularly HBO Max and Disney+, both of which are notoriously difficult to watch using a VPN.

If like me, you prefer Netflix over other film and movie platforms, BetternetVPN may not be enough for you. For a reliable VPN(like ExpressVPN) that lets you into Netflix, try one of these VPNs which are proven to unblock it every time.

Speeds — Good Overall

BetternetVPN gave me pretty good speeds on the servers I tried. This allowed me to stream in HD and download large files in no time.

My base speed was 45.84 Mbps download, 38.90 Mbps upload, and I had a ping of 14 ms.

Screenshot of BetternetVPN's speed test results

I had fast speeds while connected to BetternetVPN’s servers

The first UK server I tested dropped my download speed to 32 Mbps — a 30% decrease. Although your VPN shouldn’t drop by more than 20% as a general rule, I still had enough to watch in HD. My upload speed showed a 13% increase, which wasn’t too impactful, and my ping shot to 53 ms. Although this might seem like a huge leap, 50 ms is a great ping reading, and I would easily be able to game and download large files with this result.

When I switched to a US server, there was hardly any drop in download speed at all - just 16%. I was impressed with this outcome, as I am located far from the US and often speeds drop the further you are from the server. The ping also stayed at a reasonable 53 ms.

Location Download Speed Upload Speed Ping
Base speed 45.84 Mbps 38.90 Mbps 14 ms
The UK 32 Mbps (30% decrease) 44.18 Mbps (13% increase) 53 ms
The US 38.24 Mbps (16% decrease) 25.84 Mbps (33% decrease) 50 ms
France 25.74 Mbps (43% decrease) 40.56 Mbps (4% increase) 50 ms

France is a lot closer to me than the US, so I wasn’t expecting to get a 43% drop in download speed. You can expect your speeds to drop a little when you use a VPN, but 43% is way more than I’d like to see. One positive was that the ping was only 50 ms, the same as the US server, which was a solid result and let me play online games with no issues.

Overall, its speeds were good and allowed me to watch shows and movies in HD. Since my ping remained low, I could play online games without any lag.

Server Network — Extremely Limited, Especially the Free Plan

BetternetVPN’s premium plan has quite a small network of servers, offering users just 10 countries. Premium users are lucky though — subscribers to the free service can only choose one country (the US). A small bank of servers not only means you’re less likely to find the country you need, but the available servers can get overcrowded, causing slow connection speeds.

It lists 22 US state locations, and has servers in Australia, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, and multiple European countries including Italy, the UK, Spain, Finland, and Germany, etc.

Although its network is small in comparison to other VPNs, such as CyberGhost, in most of my tests I found it to be reliable. I’d still recommend choosing a provider with a larger network of servers to avoid the risk of not finding the right server you need, or congestion.

Security — Unusual Protocols and No Kill Switch

BetternetVPN uses a protocol named Catapult Hydra. The VPN claims to have chosen this protocol because it decreases issues with latency. Although it’s unusual to see a VPN using Catapult Hydra, it is growing in popularity due to its lack of impact on overall speeds.

It uses 256-bit SSL encryption with perfect forward secrecy, meaning that each online session you begin is assigned a unique key. This makes the chances of a hacker being able to decode the key and look over your data pretty much impossible.

The launch in startup feature means that every time you turn on your PC, the VPN kicks in. This is handy if you’re constantly on the move, as every time you open your laptop or use your phone, you’ll be connected to one of Betternet’s VPNs and protected from shaky public WiFi.

I wanted to see if my connection was secure while connected to its servers, so I ran an IP and DNS leak test on its servers. IP leaks can expose your real IP and 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, BetternetVPN covered my IP address and DNS requests.

However, it didn’t block IPv6 traffic. This means that my real IP could still be exposed to the websites I visit.

Graphic showing no DNS leaks using Betternet VPN

BetternetVPN fails to disable IPv6, so the websites I accessed could see some data about me

Another concerning aspect is that BetternetVPN doesn’t have a kill switch. A kill switch automatically shuts off your internet in the event that the VPN’s connection drops. This is an important feature — if BetternetVPN disconnects while you’re connected to a public WiFi network, your personal data will be out there for skilled hackers to take.

Overall, I’m not impressed with BetternetVPN’s security features and I think it has a lot to improve. I recommend you take a look at these VPNs with strong security features that will keep your data safe.

Privacy — No Logs, But With a Catch

BetternetVPN keeps your data private, as long as you’re paying for its premium plans. Free users are not protected at all, and may find their information is sold to third parties.

When you click on the Privacy Policy tab, it takes you to a company page called Aura, who state they are responsible for your data on behalf of a handful of companies, one of which is BetternetVPN.

While it lists the different types of data it may collect, it does reassure its users that it doesn’t keep logs, which is good to know since it is in the 5 Eyes Alliance. BetternetVPN has 2 offices in the world, in Switzerland and the UK. In the event that the government requests information about you from the company, they will have to hand it over.

Graphic showing BetternetVPN's privacy policy

For premium users, the privacy policy is transparent about the data that is collected

There are a couple of areas of the privacy policy that made me a little concerned, particularly for free VPN users. It appears that premium subscribers are protected by Aura’s statement about privacy, however, free users’ data may be fair-game.

BetternetVPN came under scrutiny in 2016 when an academic study found that they were amongst the top 5 VPNs that exposed its customers to tracking software. Although the VPN claims to have improved since then, this statement makes me concerned that free service users remain at risk.

Graphic showing Betternet's free users are at risk of personal data being sold to third parties

This is a concern as the company has been known to expose users to tracking software

Additionally, there is some contradictory information - on one side it claims that it does store your IP address as long as the session is open (and deletes it once you disconnect), but then it says it will use the IP addresses to “prevent against fraud”. It is this vague terminology that makes me nervous about a company’s true activities when it comes to user privacy. Because of this, and its location, I recommend you use a VPN provider that has its offices outside of the 5 Eyes Alliance.

Torrenting — Allowed, But Not Recommended

You can use BetternetVPN for torrenting, but I don’t recommend it. Since it doesn’t have a kill switch and I experienced some IPv6 leaks on its servers, other peers on the network (and authorities) may be able to identify you.

I don’t condone torrenting copyrighted content, but even in the event you accidentally clicked on something you shouldn’t, you are putting yourself at risk if you don’t use a fully secure VPN.

If you do wish to torrent, I suggest you choose a VPN that allows P2P file sharing and has full data protection, such as the VPN’s in this list. Before you torrent, always check with your country’s laws and make sure you don’t accidentally download copyrighted content.

Does BetternetVPN Work in China? Yes, In Theory

You can use BetternetVPN in China, however in all of its platform FAQs it explicitly states you may have issues connecting if you’re in China, Pakistan, Iran, Oman, Qatar, the UAE, and Saudi Arabia.

Graphic showing BetternetVPN may not work well in restricted countries

It says it works in China, but I am not fully convinced

The support team will be on hand to assist you if you do struggle to use the VPN, but the fact that you’re expected to have issues isn’t very reassuring. I also contacted them via email to confirm if I could use it in China, and they advised that I could, although the wording was a little vague.

If you want to use a VPN in China, I suggest you pick one of the following VPNs which have been tried and tested and definitely work.

Simultaneous Device Connections — Up to 5

You get 5 simultaneous device connections with this VPN with its premium plan. Bear in mind that you can’t use it on your router, games console, or streaming sticks, so if you only need to use it on your phone and laptop the device allowance may be a little redundant.

Device Compatibility — Limited

Betternet’s device compatibility is pretty limited since it only works with Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, and Google Chrome. Unlike other top services(such as PIA), there’s no way to set it up on routers, gaming consoles such as Xbox, PS4/5, Nintendo Switch, smart TVs (AppleTV, Android TV, Roku), or Amazon Fire Stick.

Additionally, there is no Edge or Firefox extension, which annoyed me since I prefer the security that comes with Firefox.

Instead of a limited compatibility VPN, I recommend trying a VPN that lets you watch on games consoles and smart TVs, particularly if you want to use it to stream movies and TV.

Installation & Apps

8.7

Set-Up & Installation — Easy-to-Use Apps

The VPN was easy to set up, and the interface is straightforward. It uses intuitive graphics and clear buttons so you can find your way around without any problems.

Simply find the location you need, click on the button in the middle and wait a couple of seconds for the connection to establish.

When the server struggles to connect, the graphic clearly demonstrates that it is trying to find a solution, which I found helpful as some VPNs can appear to be frozen at this stage.

Graphic showing BetternetVPN's holding screen

Because it let me know it was struggling to connect, I knew to switch server or wait a little longer

Overall, BetternetVPN’s apps are user-friendly and you shouldn’t have any problems setting them up.

Pricing

6.2
Free Trial
$ 0 / week per week
12 Months
$ 7.99 / month per month
1 Month
$ 12.99 / month per month

BetternetVPN’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 have no choice to stay anonymous when you subscribe.

MacOS and iOS users can get a subscription using the iTunes Store. If you get it on Android you can purchase a subscription through the Google Play Store. Windows users must first download the free BetternetVPN software, and can then purchase a subscription within the app. This is quite frustrating since most VPNs have a more straightforward set up.

It’s pretty expensive considering it didn’t impress me in many areas. Another concern is that it has a pretty complicated money-back guarantee. You can request a refund within 45 days, but you have to provide a lot of information before the VPN considers it. This seems time consuming if you sign up and then find it doesn’t work for you.

graphic showing BetternetVPN's refudn policy

You can request a refund within 45 days

If you subscribe to the service using Google Play or the Apple Store, you’ll need to request your refund directly from them.

Reliability & Support

8.5

There’s an informative FAQ area on the website and customer support is available by email if you run into trouble. You can also submit a ticket on the website. I emailed support to ask a question and had an answer within a few hours, although it was a little bit vague.

Graphic showing Betternet VPN's customer service response

I appreciated that they were friendly and empathetic, but I’m still not convinced the VPN works in China

The customer support isn’t bad overall, but I’d like to see live chat support in case I run into more serious issues.

Compare Betternet With The Top Alternative VPNs

The Bottom Line

Final Verdict

Overall, I can’t recommend BetternetVPN. While it did unblock almost all the streaming services I tested and provided me with good speeds, I find its privacy and security features lacking.

Since it’s not very clear about recording your IP address and I identified some IPv6 leaks on its website, I’m not confident that it can keep you safe online. I would much rather recommend a better performing VPN that gives airtight security and privacy.

  • 80 servers in 10 countries
  • Unblocks Hulu, HBO Max, Amazon Prime Video, and BBC iPlayer
  • 5 simultaneous device connections
  • Zero-logs policy with the paid plan

FAQs on BetternetVPN

Does BetternetVPN have browser extensions?

The only browser extension is for Google Chrome, meaning that if you prefer to use Firefox or Edge, you’re out of luck. Its overall compatibility is pretty restrictive, and you can’t use it on devices such as routers or games consoles.

Will BetternetVPN slow down my speeds?

It will slow down your speeds, but depending on which server you connect to they may not drop too dramatically. In my tests, I found that I experienced drops from 16%, to over 40%. Ping stayed consistent at around 50 ms no matter which server I tried, so if you want to use it for gaming or downloads you shouldn’t have too many problems.

Can BetternetVPN unblock Netflix?

No, in my tests BetternetVPN could not unblock Netflix. It could unblock other popular platforms such as Hulu, HBO Max, and BBC iPlayer. But if you’re looking for a VPN to watch your favorite shows on Netflix, I’d suggest you look elsewhere.

Is BetternetVPN safe?

Not really. I encountered IPv6 leaks on its servers, and it doesn’t provide you with a kill switch. Besides, I’m not confident that it doesn’t keep logs of your activity since it does keep your IP address for a limited time.

Money Back Guarantee (Days): 45
Mobile app:
Number of devices per license: 5

Watch the short video review and tutorial below of Betternet

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Betternet User Reviews (User reviews are not verified)

4.7
Based on 35 reviews in 7 languages

Write a Review on Betternet

Please rate VPN.

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.

    Dror
    Dror
    2/10
    Very bad, do not use

    Tried the service for 1 month, surprisingly they kept charging me automatically another month, when I tried to unsubscribe it was impossible! Almost feel like they do this in purpose so you never unsubscribe.... Regardless, the app never worked well, lots of issues to login, disconnected many times.. Bottom line - Do not use!

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