Browsec Review & Test 2020 — Can You Trust This Free VPN?

Ran Greenberg | New-Media and online expert, Venture Capitalist and investor
Updated on 17th August 2020

Browsec promises privacy, security, and speed — even if you use its free browser extensions and mobile apps — but does it truly deliver? Can a VPN that costs nothing really bypass Netflix’s tough geoblocks, protect your identity and personal information, and load sites quickly?

That’s a lot to ask of a paid service, much less a free one, so I put Browsec through dozens of tests to see how it performed. I’ll say this up front: The VPN is incredibly easy to use and I was able to stream Netflix, even on a free server. But I did see concerning issues with speed and privacy.

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Short on Time? Here’s a 1-Min Summary of My Results

  • Fast speeds with a premium subscription. I experienced incredibly fast speeds with every premium server. However, the free servers were clearly throttled. See my speed test results.
  • Reliable for accessing global content — if you pay. The free version only allows access to select servers, so many countries are off limits. A paid subscription lets you to unlock more platforms. See the results of my streaming tests for more info.
  • Fair network coverage. You only get 4 servers with the free plan, but you can unlock 40+ with a premium subscription.
  • Works fine for online gaming. As long as I connected to a server with fast speeds, I had no issues browser-based games.
  • Even with a premium plan, torrenting is not an option. Because Browsec only has browser extensions and mobile apps, it doesn’t protect non-browser activities.
  • Customer service could be better. There’s no live chat, so you’ll have to send an email if you need help or support. See my experience with customer service.

Streaming — Works With Netflix and BBC iPlayer (But Not Hulu and Disney+)

During my tests, I was both stunned and happy to see that Browsec’s free VPN could unlock Netflix US. It also worked for HBO Max, for unfortunately, nothing else. Browsec’s paid service did better, unlocking these streaming platforms, plus additional Netflix libraries and BBC iPlayer. However, it couldn’t unblock Disney+ and Hulu, no matter what I tried.

Netflix

I tested Browsec’s free and paid versions against Netflix’s notoriously strong VPN-blocking capabilities. To my surprise, both the free and paid options worked for Netflix US, with no buffering or lagging.

US Netflix with Browsec

I accessed Netflix’s US library with no issues with both Browsec’s free and premium servers

The paid version of Browsec also worked for Netflix UK and Netflix FR, but the free version didn’t as those locations are only available for premium users.

Seeing as Browsec paid servers were performing so well, I had high hopes that the VPN would unblock even more Netflix content for me. However, those hopes were dashed when I tried Netflix Japan using the premium subscription.

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No matter how many times I reconnected, I couldn’t get around Netflix’s error messages. I had the same issue when I tried Germany, Australia, and a few other countries.

Other Streaming Platforms

I switched between the free and paid US servers to try other streaming services. Both versions connected me to HBO Max, where I watched a few episodes of Doom Patrol, again with no interruptions.

However, I ran into issues with Disney+ and Hulu — Browsec simple couldn’t unblock them, even with the paid servers.

Last, I connected to a server in the UK, which is only available with a premium subscription. As a fan of British TV, I was happy Browsec let me stream BBC iPlayer with no issues.

Watch Netflix With Browsec Today!

Speed — Fast Speeds, But Only With a Premium Subscription

Browsec’s speeds on some of its free servers were the slowest I’ve ever seen, but it’s premium servers were faster than I expected — I could easily stream and browse with no noticable effects.

I was shocked when I connected to a free server in the Netherlands, and even more shocked when I tried a premium one.

Graphic comparing Browsec's speeds from the Netherlands on both the free and paid plans

Browsec’s throttled speeds on the free Netherlands server was the worst I’ve ever seen

I started with a download speed of 110.59 Mbps, but the fastest I could get in the Netherlands with a free server was 1.75 Mbps — that’s a slowdown of over 98%! At those speeds, even web browsing was painfully slow, and streaming was out of the question.

However, when I logged into my premium subscription and tried the Netherlands again, my speed jumped to 87.14 Mbps. I ran several speed tests, and they all came back with consistently fast speeds. This means that Browsec clearly throttles speeds when you use some of its free servers.

My results were very different when I connected to US and UK servers.

Graphic comparing Browsec's speeds from the Netherlands on both the free and paid plans

Browsec still throttled speeds on the free servers, but the premium ones were better

Again, both free servers were throttled, but not nearly to the extent as the one in the Netherlands. When I switched over to the premium servers, my speeds jumped to 75.27 Mbps download in the US and an astounding 107.71 Mbps download in the UK. So if you’re like me and cannot tolerate slow-loading pages, you really need to get the premium plan.

Torrenting — P2P is Not Supported at All

As Browsec’s primary offerings are browser extensions, this VPN does not support torrenting — P2P file sharing programs operate outside of your browser and are not covered by these extensions.

While the company does also have apps for Android and iOS, I wasn’t able to torrent when I tried BitTorrent, qBittorrent, and Frostwire on my Android smartphone.

If P2P file sharing is important to you, pass on Browsec. I’d instead recommend NordVPN, ExpressVPN, or one of the other premium VPNs we found safe for torrenting.

Gaming — Stick With Premium Servers for Best Results

I’d recommend that you avoid Browsec’s free servers for gaming — the throttling is too much. However, most of the premium servers I tested were fast enough that I didn’t experience any lags.

Even though I knew from my previous speed tests that free Netherlands servers were distressingly slow, I connected to try a simple, Flash-based MMO called Tanki. While the homepage eventually loaded, I could not enter gameplay — the page just wouldn’t load.

I switched to paid servers in 20 locations, including the US, UK, Australia, and Japan, to try League of Angels, Runescape, and Neverwinter. In all cases, my speeds on premium servers were fast enough that I enjoyed interruption-free gaming.

Remember: If you’re using one of Browsec’s browser extensions on your computer, you can only use the VPN with browser-based games. This means that PC games that you download aren’t covered, nor are your gaming consoles. If you’re a serious gamer, check out our picks for best gaming VPNs for better alternatives.

Server Network — Only 40+ Locations Available

Browsec’s free VPN service is limited to servers in just four locations: The US, the UK, Singapore, and the Netherlands.

Paid users get to access all of Browsec’s servers around the world. The VPN offers about 600 servers in just over 40 locations.

Graphic showing some of the servers available with a premium Browsec subscription

Browsec offers paying members access to over 40 server locations around the world

While the full network provides much better access compared to the free plan, it’s still rather small when compared to services that have thousands of servers, like ExpressVPN and CyberGhost.

Browsec’s server locations are dotted around the world, so there’s a good chance you’ll find a nearby server for faster speeds.

You don’t have the ability to choose specific servers or even see the city in which they’re located — you can only choose specific countries. This means that if you’re in need of a Los Angeles, USA, or Sydney, Australia server, you’ll need to connect and reconnect until you (hopefully) find the one you need.

Bypass Geoblocks with Browsec!

Security & Privacy — Strong Encryption, But Huge Privacy Concerns

Encryption

Browsec protects your personal information and sensitive data with AES-256 encryption. This military-grade protection is so strong, it would take billions of years to crack it. Needless to say, this means hackers, identity thieves, and other snoops will never be able to see what you’re up to online.

Kill Switch

Browsec does not offer a kill switch as a separate feature. As customer support explained to me when I asked via email, the function is essentially built in. Browsec contends that if its VPN connection were to be interrupted, your internet connection would simply stop working.

I put this explanation to the test by switching servers while I was playing an online game. My game paused until the new server connected, after which I was free to continue playing.

Split Tunneling

Split tunneling is available with this VPN — it’s called Smart Settings in the interface, and it lets you choose which websites use the VPN and which ones don’t.

Graphic demonstrating how to use Browsec's Smart Settings feature

Browsec calls its split tunnelling feature “Smart Settings”

Using it is easy: Simply click Smart Settings, and then enter a domain name towards the top. From there, you’ll indicate whether the website should always use the VPN (“on”) or never use the VPN (“off”).

Leak Protection

I used three different services to check whether Browsec was exposing my personal details. A leak test from IP Leak showed that my IP address was hidden. It also showed that WebRTC data from the browser was also contained so that no information about me or my location was visible.

Screenshot that shows IP leak test results when connected to a Browsec server

A leak test showed that Browsec was not leaking any information about my real location

A DNS leak test and an additional WebRTC check both showed information from Italy, proving that Browsec was shielding my data.

Privacy

Browsec makes no claims about being a no-logs VPN. It actually states on its website that it does collect personal information about you, though it says the info is stored in aggregate — meaning mixed up with the info of all other users.

The VPN isn’t clear about what personal details it collects. Instead, it uses vague terminology like, “some information from your web browser and/or client software”. More worrisome is that it also says it won’t release info to third parties, “unless it is required by the legal law enforcement requests.”

As many people use VPNs to prevent this type of intrusion, this information is very concerning. Browsec isn’t located in a 14 Eyes country; but it is based in Russia, a country that has its own problematic policies concerning internet freedom.

Simultaneous Device Connections — Use on up to 5 Browsers at Once

You can install the free version of Browsec on as many devices as you’d like. When you use the browser extensions, you don’t even need to sign in, so there’s no tracking of any accounts.

You’re allowed up to 5 simultaneous connections with a paid subscription. This means that you can be signed in on up to 5 different browsers or mobile devices at the same time.

Device Compatibility — Limited to Browsers and Mobile Devices Only

Browsec is compatible with most browsers and mobile devices.

It offers browser extensions for Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Edge, and Opera Browser. It also has apps for Android and iOS devices, like smartphones and tablets. If you’re a Mac user, you’ll notice a big exception here is Safari — Browsec doesn’t have an extension for this browser right now.

Browsec does not have a desktop app. While its browser and mobile options work well, the lack of a desktop app is a huge drawback. During my testing on a computer, I couldn’t use the VPN for torrenting, PC gaming, or using Skype because all these activities take place outside a browser.

You also won’t find a router app with Browsec, nor any way to manually configure access. This means you can’t use the service to protect other internet-enabled devices, like gaming consoles and smart TVs.

Try Browsec’s Browser Extensions Now!

Features Details
Number of countries with servers 5
Number of servers 80
Number of IP addresses 80
Does VPN keep logs? No
Does VPN include a kill switch? No
Number of devices per license 5

Ease of Use

5.3

Browsec’s browser extensions and mobile apps take just seconds to install.

With the Firefox browser extension, I was connected to a free server in the Netherlands less than a minute after clicking the “Add to Firefox” button. There was no need to create an account for any of the free browser extensions.

The Android and iOS apps do require you to create an account and log in, even if you’re using the free service. I found this disappointing as I like the anonymity that comes with the browser extensions.

On both browsers and mobile devices, free or paid version, the VPN’s interface is clean and intuitive.

Screenshot of Browsec's interface before connecting to a server

After clicking the Browsec extension shortcut, you only need to click once more to connect to a server

To activate the VPN on your browser, click the Browsec icon on the menu bar, and then click “Protect Me” or slide the “off” button to the “on” position. The VPN automatically connects you to the last server location you used. If it’s your first time using the free service, you’ll connect to a server in the Netherlands.

On mobile devices, you’ll select a server location from a drop-down menu. Once you’ve made your pick, simply slide the toggle button to the right to connect.

Once the VPN is connected, you’ll see a message declaring “Your privacy is protected”, along with the location where you’re connected.

On browsers, a big red marketing banner is the only difference in appearance between a free account and a paid account. When you click to change servers, you’ll see the same list of locations. Free users see the 4 free server locations at the top of their list, with the others marked “premium” below. Paid users will see all server locations in alphabetical order.

Changing server locations is seamless — I love how fast and easy it is. You don’t even have to disconnect first; just click the “change” button and choose a new location. The VPN automatically makes the switch.

Compare Browsec with the top alternative VPNs

Pricing

1.3
Annual
$3.33 /month
Monthly
$4.99 /month

Considering that you can only use Browsec on browsers and mobile devices, its pricing is decent. It’s more affordable than many other VPNs I’ve seen, even if you subscribe month by month.

Browsec doesn’t offer a lot of payment options. You can choose between credit card (Visa, MasterCard, and American Express) or PayPal. I would have liked to see more options, including the ability to pay anonymously with crypto currency.

As far as subscription terms, you can choose between the VPN's free service or a paid subscription. If you choose the free option, there's no need to enter any payment details.

If you’re looking for the best value, choose a 1 or 2-year plan — you can take advantage of the biggest discounts.

Browsec doesn’t have a free trial for testing the service, but you’re backed by a 7-day, money-back guarantee on all paid plans. If you’re not satisfied with the service, you can request a full refund.

Reliability & Support

3.3

Refunds — Easy and Quick

With Browsec’s 7-day, money-back guarantee, you can request a refund if you’re unsatisfied with the service. I tested the process to see how easy it was, and I’m happy to report that it was fairly simple and quick to get a refund.

Email screenshot showing Browsec's response for a refund per its money-back guarantee

Before Browsec will issue a refund, it will want to know why you weren’t satisfied with the service

I received a response to my refund request about 10 hours after I sent my email. I was hoping the reply would be confirmation of a refund as I’d included all the information Browsec needed.

Instead, the company asked why I wanted the refund. I replied, and within minutes, I received confirmation that my refund had been approved. A separate confirmation email arrived 2 hours later. While it wasn’t the most efficient process I’ve experienced, I didn’t have any issues getting my money back at all.

Online Support — Disappointing

Unlike many other popular VPN services, Browsec does not offer live chat support. I find this disappointing because I wouldn’t get immediate help if I had a question or issue. If you want to get in contact, you have to create an email ticket. During my testing, it took between 6 and 12 hours for the company to reply.

Browsec has a FAQ section on its website, but I found it to be unhelpful. There are only 4 FAQs, and none of them contain information about how to install the VPN, how to pick servers, or how to get a refund.

The Bottom Line

Browsec is a good choice if you need a VPN that can help you hide your IP address and protect your identity when using your computer or mobile device. Due to its vague logging policy and Russian jurisdiction, I can’t recommend Browsec if you need more robust security — there’s no telling what personal information the VPN may record or who might use it.

Its speeds and ability to bypass geoblocks range from dismal to decent, depending on whether you choose the free version or purchase a paid subscription. If you’re looking to use Netflix, BBC iPlayer, or another streaming platform, invest in a paid plan for the best results.

Because Browsec only offers browser extensions and mobile apps, it’s not a good choice for any activity that will occur outside a browser, such as torrenting or PC gaming. However, if you’re fine with this limited accessibility, you’ll find its pricing affordable — Browsec doesn’t offer lots of bells and whistles, and its prices reflect that.

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Common FAQs

🥇Is Browsec good?

As a VPN for browsers and mobile devices, Browsec does a great job at hiding your IP address. This can help protect your privacy by keeping your actual location private. It can also help you overcome geoblocks to access streaming platforms, news sites, and other censored content from around the world.

💰Can I use Browsec for free?

Yes, Browsec offers no-cost extensions and apps that you can use for free. However, be warned that the free servers are throttled, which means you’ll experience slower speeds.

For best results when browsing or streaming, opt for a paid subscription to eliminate the speed throttling of the free plan. Better yet, check out these top picks for fastest VPNs — my team and I tested hundreds to find which offer the best speeds.

❓Who owns Browsec?

The VPN is owned by Browsec LLC and is headquartered in Russia. While Russia is not part of the 5/9/14 Eyes intelligence network, it’s a country that’s known for its surveillance and strict restrictions on internet freedom.

⚠️Does Browsec keep logs?

Browsec’s privacy policy is somewhat vague, but one thing is clear: It does record some of your personal information. Because the company is not clear about what details it stores and uses, you should avoid this VPN if your online privacy is of the utmost importance. Instead, consider a truly anonymous VPN with a solid no-logs policy.

🔒Is Browsec really safe?

During my testing, I found no evidence that my Browsec downloads were infected with malware or behaving in any way other than intended. In that regard, Browsec is safe.

However, if you live in a heavily restricted country and need a VPN to overcome internet censorship, or just really want to keep your personal information from falling into the wrong hands, I would avoid Browsec — its questionable logs policy does not make it a safe option.

⚙️How does Browsec work?

Browsec’s browser extensions and mobile apps allow you to change your IP address with just a couple of clicks. It offers options for Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Edge, and Opera Browser. You can also download apps for Android and iOS devices.

Using a Mac with the Safari browser? Browsec doesn’t offer an extension, but we found other Safari VPNs to help keep you safe when you go online.

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Money Back Guarantee (Days) : 7
Mobile app :
Number of devices per license : 5

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