This Betternet review is meant to help you make an informed decision about choosing to purchase or abstain from the product. There are many VPNs to choose from, so the job of this Betternet review is to identify what unique benefits and detriments exist with the Betternet service.
Betternet’s VPN will be reviewed based on its unique features, and the design goal given by Betternet. The rating will take feedback from other reviewers into account. Comments from users will also be weighed in the final decision.
The VPN will be rated using a five-star system. In the end, the review will combine the reviewer’s time with the service with the other forms of feedback to produce a final rating. This review will include comments on the unique Pros and Cons of Betternet in individual segments to explain our reasoning as well.
Biggest Pros Of Using Betternet VPN
There are several positive features worth highlighting in this Betternet review. These are the traits that stand out when the service is compared to its competitors. It may also include parts of the service that is unique to Betternet, while their competitors have no equivalent to competing.
The Primary Service Is Free
Many of Betternet’s rivals don’t offer a short term free trial period. Fewer have generous money back policies if you have buyer’s remorse after trying the service. The standard for many VPNs is to entice you into agreeing to a long term subscription before you’ve tried the service thoroughly.
This is one of the areas where Betternet shines the most because rather than a free trial period; the service is entirely free to use. You can get the primary functions of this VPN immediately without having to pay for the service at all.
This does come with one caveat, as Betternet’s VPN offers a premium subscription plan. This premium plan comes with more features for you to utilize. If you dislike a difference in services depending on what a customer pays, this may cause you to pause. After trying Betternet, the features offered with the free plan seem generous compared to other services, though.
The free version of Betternet is supported by a built-in advertising network. You may receive advertisements which are intended to help pay for the service and are disabled if you uninstall the free Betternet VPN or upgrade later.
VPNs need to be compatible with major platforms to be of use. Many homes contain a variety of devices utilizing Windows, iOS, and different major platforms now. Luckily, Betternet’s VPN is compatible with all major platforms, allowing you to use it with a variety of devices.
Some VPNs also require you to download the version that is compatible with a specific platform. Betternet is designed with adaptability in mind so that you can utilize your one license on any device instantly.
Betternet can be utilized with handheld devices like Kindle, which have their platforms. It can also be used with basic computer platforms like Windows and may be compatible with some smartphone OSs. This would be even better if the license operated with multiple devices, but that will be touched on further below.
Customer Support Is Great…For Some
As mentioned previously, Betternet offers its basic services for free. One thing they reserve for premium subscribers is their customer support. Paying customers will have access to all of the tools Betternet provides when troubleshooting the VPN, while users with the free model will be out of luck.
Customer support involves live interaction with a customer service representative. You can also utilize forums run by fellow Betternet customers to resolve issues before speaking to a service provider, when possible.
Betternet’s customer service is above average for their paying customers, so you are likely to be satisfied if you utilize this service. This is only a positive feature if you have agreed to the paid service, however.
They offer minimal help for users of the free service. You may be able to ask other users for help, but answers and feedback from Betternet staff are sparse to non-existent. Even if you do get help, they make it clear that if any paying customer asks for service in the meantime, they get priority.
There is a stark contrast in how we would rate this service between the paid and free models. The service offered to pay customers beats out most competitors though, who use email or ticketing systems. For this reason, in general, their customer service receives a positive rating, but you should be aware of how that service can differ.
Upfront About User Data
The point of a VPN is often to get around region-locked content, to avoid having your location tracked by malicious websites, or to avoid having your data tracks so targeted advertising can be developed for you. Sadly, many VPNs stop other websites from tracking your data, while keeping it themselves to sell to other websites later.
Betternet is upfront about its data policy. They do temporarily track your data, which they then use to understand where you use their service, how you use their service, and what they need to do to update their product.
They immediately delete the data after examining it, if you quit the service, or after a certain amount of time expires. You can also rest assured they do not sell this data to other companies or give access to other companies at all.
This process stretches the limits of a Use It and Lose It policy a bit, but the fact that they delete your data after a limited period is absolute. As a result, this is overall a much more positive way of handling user data than most other VPN companies.
How To Set Betternet VPN Up
Setting up Betternet’s VPN is simple. You can choose a server location, download the app, and by the time it is done installing the program should have activated. This eliminates unnecessary steps and allows you to enjoy the security of a VPN quickly; often in seconds.
Many VPNs create a file embedded in your device which can be difficult to remove later. You may also receive questions about personal information, or have to go through multiple text boxes to begin the installation process. Perhaps because of the free service though, Betternet is designed to keep the excessive work you have to go through to a minimum.
The service takes up minimal space on your device’s window, so it’s user-friendly. The service is relegated to a button on your desktop most of the time and must be opened to show you all of the information at its disposal.
Uninstalling can take a bit longer, as the program may need to remove the ads that support the free service. This still requires only a few button clicks, but they may ask for some feedback during the uninstallation process, which can be cumbersome.
Significant Cons When Using Betternet Services
So far you have seen the best traits listed in this Betternet VPN review. Below are some of the largest flaws in the program. Depending on what features you value most, these may dissuade you from using Betternet’s services entirely.
Betternet makes itself accessible with a free service. The program has several major flaws that offset this accessibility though, creating a stark contrast between its best and worst features.
Few Servers, Even Fewer Locations
When a VPN has few servers, a large number of customers can quickly lead to a bottleneck. You might not be able to find a server in the right location, or may experience a dip in the quality of your service while you’re using it.
One of Betternet’s biggest flaws is the small number of servers they have on hand. If you want to utilize a larger network, Betternet can’t compete with many of its rivals. You will also be forced to choose from a limited number of server locations, so you may not find an option you desire.
Its limited locations mean you have fewer service options and may experience a drop in service quality far from these key locations. The reduced number of servers place it below even the average for most VPN services and mean that when many users are active, you will quickly notice a difference in service quality.
Unsatisfactory License To Device Ratios
Most VPNs currently aim to cover four or five devices at a time when you purchase one license. Many go above that number, allowing a license to cover numerous devices in the home at no additional charge.
Betternet only allows you to cover one device with a license. It’s possible that this feature is a holdover from the portion of the service that is free for users. Nevertheless, a VPN that has paid services and only covers one device per license is far below the current standard in the industry.
To clarify, both the free and paid services currently only cover one device per license. If they allowed their paid service to cover additional devices in the future, it would act as a positive incentive that reflects the current state of the VPN market much more accurately.
Ad-ing To The Problem
As mentioned before, the premium service is the only way to get Betternet’s VPN with no advertising involved. If you use the free service, you will receive ads from the moment you download the app to the moment you uninstall it.
The ads are disabled if you agree to a subscription option. They also serve the practical purpose of paying for the free service, and some users prefer ignoring ads to paying directly for a VPN service.
There is little else to say that redeems the way Betternet handles ads though. They can be intrusive and are linked to your device, not to a browser, so they may appear even when you are not actively browsing the internet. This can be too obnoxious for many users but remains an integral part of Betternet’s business model for the time being.
The Speed Is Uninspiring
VPNs have to protect and identify many digital elements while the service is in use, which can slow down your device if the service is poor. Most VPNs work to minimize the slowdown and can boast that you won’t notice a difference in service speeds while the VPN is activated.
Betternet, unfortunately, suffers from problematic speeds. You will most readily notice this when torrenting. Torrenting is a way of sharing and downloading files more directly, and for a security service like a VPN, is one of the main issues designers have to deal with.
Betternet will slow down torrenting significantly. If you make regular use of torrenting and PSP files, then you will experience a major drop in torrenting speeds, making this one of the biggest issues with Betternet’s current service.
Netflix Is Forbidden
Netflix may not be explicitly forbidden, but the largest streaming service on the internet does not work with Betternet VPN enabled. As the most common streaming service, how a VPN handles Netflix is a good indication of how the service reacts with streaming services in general.
Betternet does not work with Netflix, which makes it unlikely that it works with interactive streaming services either. Programs that stream interactive digital content, like video games, will also likely be denied by the VPN when you try to use them.
Many of Betternet’s competitors offer paid servers or an additional option that allows you to utilize Netflix for a price. Betternet has a paid subscription service already though, and their prime membership does not enable Netflix on the service either.
Streaming media is one of the number one uses of mobile and smart devices. This is a major setback for Betternet and their service, and one of the most important areas they need to improve upon if they want to stay competitive in the VPN market.
Betternet is an easily accessible service that has several glaring flaws. It is probably best used as a way to test VPN services and see what they have to offer. You can then decide if VPNs are right for you, and what features they offer that stands out the most to you. If Betternet’s paid service meet your demands, you can even upgrade to that service.
The Fact That The Service Isn’t Cumbersome Is Very Good
The free trial makes Betternet among the easiest VPNs to get started with on the internet. Its platform availability and easy installation make it possible to start using the service almost immediately and on any device, which lowers the bar to entry to an unbelievable degree.
The service started as a free program, and many of its features seem designed that way. This shows through in the bad, like the advertising, but also in good features like the ability to install and remove the program in a single click. You can easily use the program for as long as you find it helpful, then remove it without hassle or remorse when you’re done.
The promise not to sell your data and to delete it if they don’t utilize it in a timely fashion is also a significant factor. Not tracking data should be one of the easiest promises a VPN can make, but it’s surprisingly common for VPNs to be two-faced in how they handle your data. Betternet is completely transparent in its data handling policy, and that’s a breath of fresh air.
Some Of The Issues Are Hard To Swallow
The addition of ads on the free service may seem like an obvious choice, but it’s not a good one. The ads are arguably more intrusive than those the VPN is designed to help you ignore.
There are also many ways the service fails to meet standards set by other VPNs in the industry. Almost every VPN offers access to Netflix or other streaming services on some level. The license also needs to be expanded to function with multiple devices, or Betternet’s paid service will continue to lag far behind its rivals in terms of what a VPN can offer.
Not every user uploads or downloads torrents, but those who do may find Betternet untenable. The restriction on customer service is another feature that varies widely based on which part of the customer base you come from. These massive dips in service for some customers and massive improvements for others make Betternet one of the most inconsistent VPNs.
The service receives a 3 out of 5-star rating. Betternet can be an above average service for some, meeting all of their needs with few if any noticeable shortcomings. For others, however, the service can have severe limitations. Depending on the needs of customers it can either be a nearly unusable service, or a VPN offering features found nowhere else on the market.