Betternet VPN Review: Quick Expert Summary
Betternet VPN is owned by the Aura Group, which is the same company that owns HotSpot Shield, and it offers a few of the same features as Hotspot Shield, including fast speeds for web browsing on nearby servers and a user-friendly interface. But unfortunately, it’s nowhere near as good as Hotspot Shield or any of our top-ranked VPNs in 2022, including ExpressVPN or Private Internet Access.
Betternet comes with essential security features like 256-bit AES encryption, a kill switch, and leak protection, plus advanced security features such as perfect forward secrecy, and extra features like a split-tunneling tool for Windows.
But sadly, Betternet has significant downsides that I can’t overlook. For starters, it collects your IP address and provides vague reasons as to why, has slower speeds on distant servers, is bad for streaming, and isn’t safe for torrenting. In addition, Betternet lacks obfuscation, extra features like an ad blocker or a built-in speed test, and 24/7 live chat. Finally, the free plan is very limited, and the premium plans are extremely overpriced.
Betternet allows up to 6 simultaneous connections, offers a so-so free plan, and a monthly and yearly plan. All plans are covered by a 45-day money-back guarantee.
|🏅 Overall Rank||#52 out of 78 VPNs|
|🌍 Number of Servers||100+|
|📱 Number of Devices||6|
|🎁 Free Plan||Yes|
|💸 Starting Price||$7.99 / month|
|💰 Money-Back Guarantee||45 Days|
Betternet Full Review
I spent a couple of weeks testing Betternet to see how it compares to some of the best VPNs available on the market.
Even though it’s a scaled-down version of Hotspot Shield, which is a very good VPN, Betternet didn’t impress me much at all. Despite including essential security features and fast speeds for surfing the internet, Betternet has too many drawbacks to be considered a top VPN.
Here’s my quick take on Betternet — it’s a decent VPN for browsing, but I can’t recommend it due to its sketchy no-logs policy, lack of streaming support, and hefty price tag.
Betternet offers the following industry-standard VPN security features:
- Kill switch — This feature automatically disconnects you from the internet if your VPN connection goes down.
- 256-bit AES encryption — Betternet uses the same encryption used by banks and militaries.
- No-logs policy — Betternet doesn’t record the sites you visit or the files you download.
Betternet VPN comes with Hydra and IKEv2/IPSec protocols, which are both fast and secure. I like how Betternet VPN gives you the option of selecting either protocol, and there’s an Automatic option that picks the best protocol for your network. That said, Hydra always provided me with the fastest speeds and is one of the fastest protocols in the industry.
When it comes to advanced security features, Betternet uses perfect forward secrecy. It changes your encryption key with each VPN session, making it impossible for hackers to access keys from any other past or future connections.
Although Betternet has an option to enable leak protection, it doesn’t indicate what specific leak protections it offers (like ExpressVPN and Private Internet Access). Regardless, I ran DNS, IPv6, and WebRTC leak tests while connected to servers in multiple countries, including Japan, the US, and the UK, and Betternet passed with flying colors each time.
As for extra features, Betternet includes split-tunneling (only on Windows), which allows you to choose which websites are excluded from the VPN. It’s called Exclude Domains, it’s very simple to use, and it worked as intended in my tests.
Betternet Privacy & Security
However, I don’t like how Betternet logs your IP address — even though it claims to instantly encrypt your IP address and delete it at the end of your session. Betternet says your IP address is collected to:
- Prevent fraud if you submit a payment to Betternet while connected to the VPN.
- Learn non-identifiable information like your location and internet service provider to improve connectivity quality.
- Analyze advertising practices.
I have no clue what the latter means, and either way, I prefer a VPN that doesn’t collect your IP address at all (like the VPNs in our top 10 list for 2022).
Betternet also monitors your bandwidth to keep track of how much data users of the free plan use and to help optimize the VPN — though I really am not sure what this is specifically referring to or its purpose (and frankly, I’m not a fan of it).
What’s worse, Betternet is based in the US, which is a member of the 5/9/14 Eyes Alliances (a group of countries that have agreed to share intelligence data). This means that the government or any other Eyes Alliance member countries can demand the VPN to turn over user data. And while Betternet shouldn’t have any information stored to share with authorities, there are too many question marks in its no-logs policy for me to trust it 100%.
Overall, Betternet VPN doesn’t log your online traffic and the files you download, but it collects your IP address, it’s located in a non-privacy-friendly country, and its no-logs policy hasn’t been independently confirmed.
Betternet Speed & Performance
I ran speed tests on servers in the 80+ countries where Betternet has servers to determine my speeds. Betternet has fast speeds on local servers, but I experienced noticeable decreases in speeds on distant servers.
I started out by testing my baseline speeds without connecting to a VPN server. Here are my speeds:
I connected to a VPN server by using Optimal Location, which is Betternet’s quick-connect tool that connects you to the fastest server based on your location (for me, it was in London). Here are my speeds connected to a server in the UK:
And here are my speeds when connected to a VPN server in the US:
I was particularly impressed by the speeds I got from the UK servers (as well as nearby servers in Spain, France, and Germany). My speeds dropped by less than 3%, and I was able to surf the internet, and stream videos as if I wasn’t connected to a VPN.
While connected to servers that are far away from me (in the US, Japan, and Australia), my speeds dropped by more than 50%, but I still maintained decent speeds for all of my internet activities. Websites took 3-4 seconds to load, HD videos loaded in about 5-7 seconds, and files downloaded pretty fast.
Betternet Servers & IP Addresses
Betternet has a good server network with 100+ servers based in 80+ countries. While it doesn’t match competitors like ExpressVPN (3,000+ servers in 90+ countries) and CyberGhost VPN (8100+ servers in 90+ countries), I like how the servers are located in 6 continents, allowing just about any user to find a local server to connect to for the best user experience.
Torrenting is allowed in 20 different locations, which are located in mostly privacy-friendly countries. However, I prefer VPNs that let you download files on all of their servers (like ExpressVPN, Private Internet Access, and PrivateVPN.
Overall, Betternet has a good server network and allows P2P traffic — but only in 20 locations.
Betternet Streaming & Torrenting
Betternet is rather lousy for streaming. In my tests, it worked with Netflix (most of the time), but my co-worker in the US had to connect to several different servers before he could access his account (and Hulu didn’t work for him). Plus, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, and Disney+ detected the VPN and denied me access to my accounts.
Betternet Plans & Pricing
Betternet offers a choice between a free account, as well as monthly and yearly premium plans.
The free plan is very limited, and I found it mostly worthless. It only provides access to 1 server location (in the US), it allows just 1 connection, it has a limit of 500 MB per day, which is only good enough for about an hour of browsing, it has slower speeds than the premium plans, it doesn’t allow streaming, and it includes ads.
The premium version, which costs $7.99 / month, is very expensive, especially for the value you receive in return. It comes with access to 80 locations, allows 6 connections, unlimited data, faster speeds, doesn’t include ads, and supports streaming (but actually can’t access most top sites). That being said, all of the top VPNs in 2022 provide a better value (and cheaper prices) than Betternet VPN.
Betternet VPN only accepts credit cards, and it backs each purchase with a 45-day money-back guarantee.
Betternet Ease of Use: Mobile & Desktop Apps
Betternet has intuitive apps for iOS, Android, macOS, and Windows, and there’s a browser extension for Chrome (but Betternet doesn’t have apps for Linux, routers, smart TVs, and other devices).
The mobile apps were a breeze to install and they have an easy-to-use interface. However, both the Android and iOS apps are bare-bones in terms of customization options, but that makes them easy to navigate. Plus, the apps had no glitches or functionality issues during my tests.
The desktop apps are very similar to the mobile apps. It took me just moments to find and connect to a server, choose my protocol, and reach customer support.
Overall, Betternet has a user-friendly interface and I didn’t experience any glitches, but the apps don’t have a lot of features or functionality. Top VPNs like ExpressVPN and Private Internet Access have apps that are more feature-rich.
Betternet Customer Support
Betternet’s customer support isn’t particularly impressive. There are a handful of decent (but old) support guides for each app and frequently asked questions (FAQs) that address basic issues, as well as email support. But I really missed the live chat option because I really like to get my questions answered in real-time (ExpressVPN and Private Internet Access have excellent 24/7 live chat).
I sent Betternet multiple emails and received a response in 1-4 hours, which is impressive. And each reply was friendly, professional, quite helpful, and answered most of my questions. However, only premium users have access to email support so you can’t even ask Betternet a question about its services prior to purchasing a subscription.
The Help Center is your only source of information without buying a plan, and while it offers a lot of guides, they aren’t particularly helpful. Most of the information is incorrect, including server numbers and locations, and many of the posts are several years old.
Overall, Betternet has decent customer support with responsive email support, but the support guides aren’t very informative and are outdated.
Is Betternet Worth It in 2022?
Plus, Betternet doesn’t come with any extra features except for a tool that works like split-tunneling for Windows only, there’s no live chat, email support is available only for premium users, and the paid plans are expensive.
While it comes with industry-standard VPN security features like 256-bit AES encryption, a kill switch, and leak protection, and you also get perfect forward secrecy and a 45-day money-back guarantee with any purchase, Betternet falls well short of being a top VPN and you can find significantly better ones on the market in 2022.
Betternet — Frequently Asked Questions
Is Betternet safe?
I don’t fully trust Betternet when it comes to protecting my security. While Betternet uses 256-bit AES encryption, has a kill switch, and good leak protection, its no logs policy leaves a lot to be desired — the VPN logs your IP address, provides very vague reasons for doing so, and hasn’t gone through an independent audit to confirm it.
All of the VPNs in our top 10 list for 2022 come with much better security features.
Is Betternet free?
Yes, Betternet has a free plan, but it limits you to 500 MB daily (enough for 1-2 hours of browsing), allows just 1 connection, provides access to 1 server location in the US, is ad-supported, and doesn’t allow streaming.
For the most part, I’m not a fan of free VPNs, as they typically have restrictive data caps, limited servers, slow speeds, and are missing key security features. Instead, it’s best to purchase a top premium VPN like ExpressVPN.
Does Betternet keep logs?
Betternet’s no-logs policy states that it doesn’t store your online traffic, but it logs your IP address and I don’t like the reasons that it lists for taking this action. I’d trust Betternet if it verified its no-logs policy through an independent audit — like top VPNs such as ExpressVPN did.
Does Betternet work with Netflix?
Yes, for the most part. In my tests, Betternet was able to access Netflix UK, but my colleague in the US had to try a couple of times to find a server that worked with the streaming service. However, Betternet doesn’t work with many other popular streaming services, including Amazon Prime, Disney+, and BBC iPlayer.