Betternet VPN Review 2024: Make Sure You Know About This Issue Before Downloading

Betternet has one of the most impressive functionalities of any VPN we’ve tested, but there’s one huge flaw that could be a deal breaker.
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3.25
Editorial Rating
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On Betternet's website

VPN
Betternet
  • VPN with no data leaks
  • Unblocks Netflix
  • VPN app has been found to contain malware and trackers

At first glance, Betternet looks like a great virtual private network (VPN) option. It offers a free version, unblocks streaming services and their geo-restricted content, and includes a variety of features. We do our best to test VPN providers without any previous knowledge, so we can give a truly unbiased opinion.

During our testing, we were impressed with how well it performed. Then we started digging in and found that Betternet is prone to embedding trackers and malware into certain versions of its product. For us, that was a deal breaker. It might be for you too.

Customizable Coverage That is Simple to Use
5.0
Editorial Rating
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NordVPN
Up to 69% off 2-year plans + a Saily eSIM data gift
  • Ultra-secure, high-speed VPN complete with malware protection and automatic blocking of intrusive ads and third-party trackers
  • Other benefits include a premium password manager, dark web monitoring, and access to IP-restricted content
  • 3 plans to choose from for custom protection on up to 10 devices

In this article
Betternet VPN review at a glance
Who is Betternet VPN best for?
Betternet VPN alternatives
Betternet VPN prices and subscriptions
Betternet VPN features
Our experience with Betternet VPN
Betternet VPN test results
Betternet VPN compatibility
Betternet VPN customer support
Betternet VPN FAQs
Bottom line: Is Betternet VPN good?

Betternet VPN review at a glance

Price $7.99-$12.99/mo
Free version Yes
Max # of connected devices 10
# of servers 1,000+
VPN protocol Hydra, IKEv2 (IPsec), WireGuard
Encryption PKI Encryption
No-logs policy No logs
Headquarters United States
Netflix access Yes
Learn more Get Betternet VPN

Who is Betternet VPN best for?

  • Recommended for anyone who is unconcerned about the security warnings

Betternet works better than a lot of the VPNs we’ve tested. It’s pretty fast, unblocks Netflix, and keeps our data encrypted in all the leak tests.

But is Betternet VPN safe? Unfortunately, during our research, we found that Betternet was the fourth-highest malware-infected app in the Google Play store. Other reports noted that Betternet came back clean for Windows, but we weren’t able to find virus evaluations for Mac and iOS. If you aren’t concerned with the trackers or possible malware on your particular device, you may be interested in Betternet.

Betternet VPN pros and cons

Pros
  • Unblocks Netflix
  • No data leaks
  • Offers in-app chatbot support
Cons
  • VPN app has been found to contain malware and trackers
  • Needs to be rebooted every time you switch servers

Betternet VPN alternatives

After what we discovered about Betternet’s shady practices, we aren’t really keen on using it. If you’re in the same boat as we are, you may want to try one of the suggestions below. These are some of the best VPNs on the market and have been independently tested and reviewed for safety, security, and privacy, which is the entire point of using a VPN.

  • NordVPN: NordVPN lives in the trusted Nord family along with a password manager and cloud storage option that can all be accessed from a single dashboard. If you want a strong VPN that’s secure and can also open the doors to your favorite streaming services, NordVPN might be the choice for you.

    Get NordVPN | Read NordVPN Review
  • Surfshark: Surfshark sailed onto the scene in 2018 and has been blowing us out of the water since (yes, we’re leaning into the aquatic puns). If you want to increase your security further, Surfshark offers additional plans that include antivirus and identity theft protection services. Whether you’re on land, sea, or in the air, Surfshark has you covered.

    Get Surfshark | Read Surfshark Review
  • ExpressVPN: ExpressVPN might be a smidge more expensive than its cohorts, but it’s also a powerhouse. It built its own VPN protocol and offers the only pre-installed VPN-enabled router on the market. This means you can cover all the devices in your home with a blanket of privacy and have enough left over to take on all your mobile devices as well.

    Get ExpressVPN | Read ExpressVPN Review

Betternet VPN prices and subscriptions

Betternet offers two versions, a free VPN and a paid one. The paid VPN gives you the option to purchase an annual subscription or pay monthly. The monthly plan does come out to about $60 more per year if you go with that, so if you plan on using Betternet long term, it’s best to purchase the annual plan. It is comparable to how much other VPNs cost, which makes Betternet neither the least expensive nor most expensive VPN we’ve seen.

Betternet VPN cost

Plan 1-month plan 1-year plan
Price per month $12.99/mo $7.99/mo
Price per year $155.88/yr $95.88/yr
Learn more Get Betternet VPN Get Betternet VPN

Monthly subscriptions come with a seven-day free trial. All plans come with a 45-day money-back guarantee.

Betternet VPN plan comparison

Features Betternet Free Betternet Premium
# of simultaneous connections 5 10
# of virtual locations 5 115+
Kill switch
Split tunneling
Anti-phishing protection
Tor over VPN
In-app ads
Streaming mode
Gaming mode
Details View Plan View Plan

Betternet VPN features

Betternet offers industry-standard features that are found on most premium VPNs. We found Betternet’s ease of use to be great for even the most novice of VPN users. In fact, it’s the simplicity of the app that makes it a user-friendly service.

Server count and countries

  • 1,000+ servers in 115 locations

Some reviews may tell you that the only good VPNs are the ones that have a large number of servers, but that’s not true. Even if a VPN has only a few servers, it should be fine as long as they’re strong and reliable.

We found the several servers we tested with Betternet to be strong and reliable, without significant slowdown or buffering issues. Each of the Betternet servers we connected to was strong and allowed us to access the internet smoothly and without issue.

No-logs policy and headquarters

  • Betternet VPN logs policy: No logs
  • Betternet VPN headquarters: United States

The first thing you’ll see after downloading Betternet is a pop-up explaining its no-logs policy. It’ll be followed with a breakdown of what information Betternet does collect and why.

It does collect data on the device you’re using, some aggregated search history for self-analysis, and your payment information and optional email upon sign-up. Since Betternet is located in the United States, it’s headquartered in a Five Eyes country, which is known for spying on its own citizens. Privacy aficionados will usually avoid VPNs located in the 5, 9, and 14 Eyes countries, as it’s unclear what data is being collected and shared with the government.

Most people, however, will often ask, “What’s the big deal?” about data collection. Data collection can lead to increased spam in your email through phone calls and via text message. Even if you aren’t bothered about privacy, we can bet that spam calls, emails, and texts are probably annoying you.

Additionally, all of this spam can make you more susceptible to becoming a victim of fraud. It’s better for all of us when we fight back against data mining and collection.

A Betternet VPN pop-up on a macOS device explaining its no-logs policy.

Security features

Betternet offers split tunneling, a kill switch, and a few choices for VPN protocols. If you aren’t sure how to use these features or don’t want to change your protocol, that’s no big deal. They automatically come switched off, so you’d have to enable them to use them, and the protocol will auto-select the best option if you aren’t sure. While these are great options for people who want to use them, not using them won’t affect your experience.

  • Split tunneling: This allows you to route some traffic through your VPN and other traffic without it. Some banks or other sites may not allow you to use a VPN while accessing their services. With split tunneling, you can keep the rest of your traffic encrypted while you access these sites.
  • Kill switch: A kill switch is a failsafe that disconnects you from the internet if your VPN connection fails. This is to keep your personal information, like your IP address, private if there’s an issue with the VPN itself.
  • VPN protocols: Various VPN protocols have different styles of encryption and safety as well as being better suited for certain situations. Betternet offers Hydra, IKEv2 (IPsec), and WireGuard. Hydra is superfast, IKEv2 (IPsec) is industry tested and trusted, while WireGuard offers lightweight and secure encryption.

Our experience with Betternet VPN

Honestly, we had a great experience with Betternet. It was a little difficult for us to download because we already had a username and password, so it kept trying to redirect us to sign up for the service. We couldn’t find a way to just download the app from the website without signing up again, so we went to Apple’s App Store and downloaded it to our Mac from there. After that, it was an easy installation, and connecting was straightforward.

Betternet VPN settings under the auto-protect tab.

We were surprised at how easy it was to access Netflix catalogs in a variety of different countries. Usually, we get a little kickback from Netflix, or at the very least, a little lag while the site tries to figure out if we have an active VPN, but this was a smooth process. The only problem was that we had to completely shut down and reboot the VPN every time we wanted to change server locations. While this isn’t a deal breaker, it certainly became annoying after a while.

A webpage streaming a Netflix show with the Betternet VPN dashboard open in a smaller window.

We were riding the Betternet high until we found a third-party audit by a team of academics that showed Betternet was often infected with trackers and malware embedded into the software itself. Talk about a letdown!

As we dug in further, we found that it’s mostly on Android devices through the Google Play Store. We ran our own antivirus test using MacKeeper and didn’t have any malware on our system. We also found another researcher who ran a test on Windows and didn’t find any there either. It seems Betternet has either stopped including malware and trackers, or it’s just on Android devices. Either way, it’s hard for us to trust a company that would do that in the first place.

Betternet VPN test results

We tested Betternet for speed, Netflix access, and WebRTC and DNS leaks. We were using the Safari browser, as we were testing on a Macbook with an M2 chip.

The speed tests are to make sure the VPN service is usable, so we test on average speeds that you would find in most public locations. Since many users purchase VPNs to unblock geo-restricted content, we test a variety of locations around the world for Netflix access. Netflix tends to be the most difficult to unblock, which is why we test mainly with that service.

DNS and WebRTC leaks reflect whether the VPN will accidentally show your IP address or any other identifying information about your connection. VPNs are meant to encrypt your data, so any leaks would be counterproductive to using a VPN.

Speed tests

  • Betternet VPN speed test results: Betternet maintained solid speeds across server locations.

Betternet’s speeds are comparable to the other top VPNs we’ve tested. There’s usually some kind of slowdown when using a VPN, because you’re adding another layer of connectivity to your internet connection. The most important thing is whether or not this slowdown is noticeable in your internet usage.

When we tested Betternet, the only noticeable difference was with the Australian server. It did take several seconds to load the Ookla Speedtest website. The other servers didn’t show a delayed VPN load time.

The upload and download speeds in our table (below) show whether the VPN sped up our connection (indicated with a + percentage increase) or slowed us down (indicated with a - percentage decrease) and by how much. You typically won’t notice delayed speeds if the difference is less than 50%, unless the latency is large. The larger the latency, the slower your speed.

Everything was pretty good except for the latency on the U.S. to EU server and the U.S. to Australian server. This is because of the sheer distance between where we are and where the Australian servers are located. Even with the internet, distance matters. When connecting to a European server, we noticed just a hesitation before the connection happened, but we did have to wait several seconds when connecting to a server in Australia.

One thing we do want to note is that we couldn’t change servers with the VPN active, which is normally not the case. It may be because we were testing on a Mac, and software tends to be buggy on Macs. It could also be an issue with Betternet itself. Either way, when we changed from every server location, we had to completely shut down the VPN and reload it to be able to switch. This isn’t a deal breaker, but it is inconvenient.

A computer speed test before turning on Betternet VPN.

Speeds before turning on the VPN.

A speed test for Betternet VPN while connected to a U.S. server

Speeds with the slowest connection.

Betternet VPN speed test results

Test type No VPN US to US US to EU US to AU
Download speed 43.94 Mbps 35.87 Mbps 34.65 Mbps 23.84 Mbps
Upload speed 21.34 Mbps 17.41 Mbps 18.96 Mbps 16.17 Mbps
Latency (ping) 20 ms 26 ms 316 ms 472 ms
Download speed % difference N/A -18.37% -21.14% -45.74%
Upload speed % difference N/A -18.42 -11.15 -24.23
Latency % difference N/A 30% 1,480% 2,260%

Test results as of 12/09/2023.

Betternet VPN Netflix tests

  • Betternet VPN Netflix test results: Betternet VPN successfully unblocked Netflix with various server locations.

Netflix catalogs are not made equal. Some countries have vastly different offerings. Whether you want to watch geo-restricted content from the comfort of your own home or you’re traveling and want to keep watching Netflix shows, you can use a VPN to access geo-specific Netflix catalogs.

Since Betternet VPN unblocked Netflix easily, it should be fine unblocking Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, or any other streaming service. Free users might have difficulty with streaming, but the premium version unblocked streaming with ease.

A webpage streaming a Netflix show with the Betternet VPN dashboard open in a smaller window.

Betternet VPN Netflix test results

US to US US to UK US to Canada US to AU
Did it work with Netflix?

Test results as of 12/11/2023.

DNS and WebRTC leak tests

  • Betternet VPN DNS leak test results: Pass
  • Betternet VPN WebRTC leak test results: Pass

Domain Name System (DNS) is often referred to as the phonebook of the internet. It’s a system that allows one source to contact another source to send you where you need to go. For instance, if you type in AllAboutCookies.org, you’re using our domain name. The internet machine then translates that into its own language to connect you. It’s more complex than that, but that’s the basic purpose.

WebRTC, on the other hand, is the tech we use for video connections, like FaceTime and Zoom. A VPN should provide leak protection and hide your IP address during both interactions to make sure your personal information stays encrypted. Betternet passed both these tests without any IP leaks.

Betternet VPN compatibility

Betternet provides apps for the Big Four (Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android) operating systems as well as an extension for Chrome, but no compatibility with Linux.

We were able to download the app directly from Apple’s App Store for our macOS test. You can also download it directly from the website after you process your payment information. The Chrome extension can be downloaded from the site after purchase.

Betternet VPN customer support

If you aren’t in your Betternet app, you’ll only have access to the online self-help guides on the website. If you connect to the support team through the settings menu in your Betternet app, there’s a chat function with a preprogrammed AI assistant, Betty. We weren’t able to find any actual live person, however, whether it be through phone or email support, to help us.

Betternet VPN dashboard open to the contact support tab, which initiates a virtual assistant conversation.

Betternet VPN FAQs


+

Does Betternet collect data?

Betternet collects some data, like device information, aggregated browsing results for analytics, and financial and optional email information for services. Betternet was found to have tracking and malware embedded in at least the Android version of the product by independent testing facilities. The trackers and malware found were likely meant to steal your information to sell your data.


+

Does Betternet cost money?

Betternet doesn’t cost money to use, but if you want broader access to its features, you’ll need to purchase a premium plan. Since Betternet has been found to include trackers and malware in the Android version, it’s more likely that the free service would contain these different problems.

It’s important to vet your free software from independent third-party testing sites to make sure you aren’t accidentally downloading something that could infect you with malware.


+

Is Betternet a good VPN?

Betternet is a good VPN if you’re using a version without malware and trackers. It performs well, unblocks Netflix, and doesn’t leak your IP address. However, since it was found to contain malware and trackers that collect your data, it’s likely not a good choice for Android users.

We were unable to find virus results for iOS, but the tests we ran on the Mac version didn’t come back with any viruses. The independent testing we found on Windows machines returned the same virus-free results. It’s up to you if you want to use this product, based on the information available.

Bottom line: Is Betternet VPN good?

We really wanted to like Betternet. It’s relatively fast, unblocks geo-restricted content, doesn’t leak, offers a variety of features, but it’s been found to contain trackers and malware. While we were unable to find trackers or malware on our Mac version, there’s independent testing that found it in the Android version available in the Google Play Store. This is likely because it’s harder to sneak malware and trackers into apps available in Apple’s App Store. Apple has stricter rules when it comes to security, which is why it generally tends to be safer.

If you’re comfortable using Betternet, given the information provided, you’ll get an app that performs very well. We were impressed with the results from our own testing and were very pleased with the availability and functionality of the app itself.

It’s so disappointing when a company intentionally steals data. Really, it’s going to come down to what you prefer, but we will be deleting the app off our devices and not using it going forward, until someone has checked again to make sure that it’s tracker and malware free.

3.25
Editorial Rating
Learn More
On Betternet's website
VPN
Betternet
  • VPN with no data leaks
  • Unblocks Netflix
  • VPN app has been found to contain malware and trackers
Author Details
Mary is a seasoned cybersecurity writer with over seven years of experience. With a B.S. in Liberal Arts from Clarion University and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Point Park University, she educates audiences on scams, antivirus software, and more. Her passion lies in educating audiences on helpful ways to protect their data.