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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Security & Privacy — Strong Encryption, But Huge Privacy Concerns
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.
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 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.
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”).
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.
A DNS leak test and an additional WebRTC check both showed information from Italy, proving that Browsec was shielding my data.
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.
|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|