Betternet Review: What Is Betternet? Is it safe enough to Keep you online | Review
The fact that you’re here means that you’ve been looking at VPN services and stumbled upon the phrase ‘Betternet’ and want to find out more about it. Well, you’ve come to the right place to learn more about it. At its rudimentary level, Betternet is a company that provides free VPN services across the globe.
Free VPN services? Yes, completely free VPN with no registration required. Right about now it’s possible that many questions are going through your mind, least of all, “How does Betternet work and is it safe enough to keep me online?”
Don’t worry because this guide takes an in-depth look at Betternet to answer any and all questions that you have regarding Betternet. At the end of this guide, all queries you had on Betternet will be quashed, so read on to find out if it’s the VPN choice for you.
Betternet is one of the largest VPN service providers with operations spanning across the globe. Its VPN services are completely free of charge, which makes it an interesting prospect for people who want to try out a free VPN service. But before you join, we recommend that you familiarize yourself with the nitty gritty details found here
Location-wise, Betternet was established in Canada but has many offices globally. The company also has servers in various parts of the world including North America, Asia, and Europe. These servers are spread out across different continents to serve the millions of people using their VPN service.
According to a report generated by a Canadian research institute called Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO), Betternet currently serves over 38 million people globally; a number that is projected to double or even triple in the next coming years.
As for ownership and ratings, Alexander Choroko is a known director of Betternet. Early in 2017, he launched a company that sells VPN routers to complement Betternet’s VPN service. Back in 2016, Betternet was ranked as one of the worst performing VPN services for Android by CSIRO, and you’ll get to see why in the ‘pros/cons’ section.
In this section, we’ll discuss how Betternet works to keep you safe and anonymous online. When you activate its VPN service, it uses its many servers across the globe to mask your real IP address.
How does Betternet mask your IP address? Well, if you activate Betternet’s VPN service, it bounces your IP address across its many servers across the globe so that it appears that you are in a different part of the world.
If you are in Paris, your IP address will show that you’re in a different location, say, Detroit. Betternet’s VPN service allows you to remain anonymous when online to prevent your ISP or government from tracking your online activities.
With that established, Betternet has its fair share of strengths and weakness as you’ll see below;
What We Liked?
- Keeps you anonymous when browsing the internet.
- Their VPN service requires no prior registration to use it.
- Its VPN service is completely free.
- They provide a seven-day free trial for their premium package.
- You are given a 30-day money-back guarantee if you are not satisfied with their premium package.
- Can be used on various operating systems and platforms.
- Their service is easy to use.
What We Didn’t?
- Their free service contains unsolicited adverts.
- Keeps log files.
- Gives third parties access to your computer.
- Their free service has a slow connection.
- If you are using its free service, you can only use the US serves to disguise your IP.
Features of Betternet
Here are some of the cool features of Betternet’s VPN service;
Use Without Registration?
One of the many things that discourage people from using many online services is the tedious registration process. Well, with Betternet, you don’t have to register to use their service, you simply follow laid out procedures, and you are good to go.
Betternet’s no-registration policy is unlike other VPN services out there. With this policy, you not only get to retain your privacy and anonymity when using their VPN service, but it makes it so much simpler to set up their App on your device.
Available Apps For Various Operating Systems?
Betternet has Apps available for all major operating systems including Windows, Android, and iOS. You can also get Betternet plugins and extensions for platforms such as Firefox and Chrome.
This means that if you are using Linux as your operating system, you won’t be left behind; you can use Betternet on either of those two browsers.
Despite providing Apps for different platforms, each App has its limitation. For instance;
- On the Chrome plugin, you can only choose servers in the UK and US alone.
- On the Android platform, you can only choose servers based in the UK.
- Meanwhile, on the Windows platform, you don’t get to choose a server.
Can Be Used As Any Other VPN?
Some of the advantages Betternet provides you with is the ability to hide your IP address when browsing the internet, encrypt your data and unblock geo-restricted websites.
Easy To Use?
All you have to do to access Betternet’s VPN service is simply install their App on your device and choose a server location you want to route your IP address through.
Additional Security Features
User Activity Tracking
If you don’t want to leave breadcrumbs on your browsing activity, you’ll be completely disappointed with Betternet’s VPN service. It contains up to 14 tracking libraries that track and record your online activities.
If you are using a VPN service, our guess is that you want to remain anonymous and not leave any evidence you were visiting any website. Well, Betternet’s tracking modules collect your online activity, and it’s anyone’s guess what they do with that information.
When online, masking your IP address alone is not enough to protect your data and personal information from third parties. Your files need to be encrypted to keep hackers, ISPs, and governments from accessing them.
How does Betternet encrypt your data? Well, it uses IPSec and OpenVPN protocols which protect your data using 128-bit AES-CBC encryption and 256-bit AES encryption respectively. The OpenVPN protocol is highly-regarded such that it’s used by many militaries across the globe to send and receive confidential messages.
What’s more, you don’t need to own a supercomputer to make use of the OpenVPN protocol; it can work on any device. This means you can access unsecured websites and use public Wi-Fi without worrying about your data ending up in the wrong hands.
How to use Betternet?
Setting up Betternet is simple and uses the same principles whether you’re on their free service or premium service. The only difference is that you have to pay a subscription fee for their premium service.
The first step is to download and install the Betternet App on your device. That is all the heavy lifting you are required to do to access its VPN service. There’s no need to go through the tedious process of setting up an account or logging in, and you don’t have to alter the App’s settings either.
Once you’ve installed the App, you’ll be taken to a screen where you can select a server you wish to connect to. Select the server, and you are good to go. The App will display an animated shield to let you know that your VPN is engaged and you’re on a secure network.
If you want to access Betternet’s premium package, simply navigate to the top right side of your screen and tap on the ‘Go Premium’ link. The advantage of choosing the premium service is that your connections will be much faster.
Remember, Betternet has over 38 million users globally and most of them use the free service. Premium users use different servers from free users, and their servers are much faster as they are not congested with traffic.
Betternet: What are the Disadvantages?
Like with every good thing out there, Betternet has its fair share of disadvantages. Here are the major ones;
- Server Locations:
When using Betternet on its free VPN service, you get a limited choice of server locations to choose from in the world. From all the platforms you can use Betternet on, the Chrome extension provides the most server locations you can choose from; and that is two, the US and UK.Another problem related to their server location is that only members in those two countries can access geo-locked websites. On Betternet’s free VPN service, you can forget about accessing geo-locked content if you are living in other parts of the world apart from the UK and US.
Betternet uses ads on their free VPN services to generate income, and therefore you cannot turn off that feature while on the free service. But what’s more worrying is that the companies that are advertising may use tracking modules in their adverts that track your online activity for analytics purposes.
- Slow connections
Betternet’s internet connections are really slow if you want to access a website that’s not based in either the US and UK. For instance, if you live in Brazil and want to access a website that’s based in Portugal or Spain through Betternet’s free VPN, expect poor connection speeds.
- Contains malware
Betternet’s free VPN service contains ads which may contain harmful malware from third parties who want to track your online activities or access your personal information.
- Server Locations:
Lastly, it is important to note that these disadvantages are special to Betternet’s free VPN service. When you upgrade to their premium package, you won’t experience these problems. Your connections will be faster, you will have access to more servers, and most importantly, you won’t get unsolicited ads.
Is Betternet Secure to use?
There are many ways to establish if Betternet’s VPN service is secure to use. One thing we like about their service is that you don’t have to create an account or provide your credentials when accessing their service.
This has security and anonymity advantages. Sure, you can log in to other VPN services with fake credentials, but in our books, that is such a hassle. It is simpler to use Betternet’s no-registration VPN platform.
How true this is, remains to be seen, but so far, there have been no indications that Betternet records your “identifiable personal information,” as they call it on their website.
Betternet Pricing and Plans
If you thought Betternet’s free VPN service has no strings attached, think again. Betternet is a business just like any other and has to meet its bottom line, and so the service comes at a cost, a slight one for that matter.
To access their free VPN service, you need to download a couple of apps and watch a couple of videos they recommend. This is a shrewd marketing operation that leverages their large client base and allows them to earn money whenever a client downloads an app or watches a video on their App.
Interestingly enough, Betternet is very transparent with their revenue generation methods, and you can read more on their marketing campaign on the section titled “How We Make Money” on their website.
How to signup
If you want to sign up for Betternet’s free VPN, click on the ‘Free Trial’ tab. Once you do this, you will be redirected to a page where you have to fill in your credit card details.
Fill in your credit card details, and if successful, the protective shield on the website will turn green to indicate that your card has been authorized. This process is totally free. Simply wait for a message in your inbox with the invoice; the invoice amount will be $0.
To sign up for the premium service, follow the same procedure but select the “Premium Tab” and key in the type of subscription you want to purchase. You get a choice of three paid subscriptions with different rates monthly, half-yearly and yearly. The monthly subscription rates are the most expensive, followed by the half-yearly rates and lastly, the yearly rates are the cheapest.
- People subscribe to VPN services for two main reasons, to remain anonymous and to protect their data from malicious people and programs trying to steal/access it. For these reasons, you don’t want just any VPN service protecting you.
- You need to be extra careful especially with the free VPN services that are online. We recommend you do a thorough research to find a VPN service provider you can trust.
- With Betternet being one of the most trusted providers of free VPN services, we thought we’d create this guide and finish off by naming a few things we like and a few things we don’t like about their service.
Let’s start with what we like and conclude with what we don’t like;
What We Liked?
- Betternet’s VPN service uses IPSec and OpenVPN which are two of the most sophisticated data encryption protocols in the world.
- You don’t need to create an account with your credentials to access their service.
- Betternet’s VPN service can be accessed from any device. You get Apps for Windows, Android, and iOS platforms. If you’re on Linux, you get a Chrome extension and a Firefox plugin that lets you access their VPN service.
- When you upgrade to the premium package, you won’t experience the problems that plague its free services such as slow connections, unsolicited ads, and others.
- Betternet provides you with a 7-day free trial of their premium subscription as well as a 30-day money-back guarantee if you’re not impressed with their premium service.
What We Didn’t?
- As a user, you have to download apps and watch videos they recommend before you can access their free service.
- The Betternet App comes with ad function that cannot be turned off.
- Betternet’s free VPN service has painfully slow connections.
- If you’re on the free VPN service, you only get a limited number of servers you can choose from in the UK and US. Yu need to upgrade to their premium package to access their servers located in other countries.
- Only users in the US and UK can access geo-restricted websites on Betternet’s free service.