• November 9, 2022

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Free VPN Service by Betternet | VPN for Windows, Mac, iOS ...

Free VPN Service by Betternet | VPN for Windows, Mac, iOS …

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Betternet VPN Review 2021: Avoid This Unsafe Free VPN - Top10VPN

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Betternet VPN Review 2021: Avoid This Unsafe Free VPN – Top10VPN

Our VerdictOverall Rating:2. 52. 5/10Our overall rating is reached by combining several subcategories. The subcategories are weighted as follows:
Logging & Jurisdiction: 30%
Speed & Reliability: 25%
Security & Features: 20%
Streaming: 10%
Torrenting: 5%
Ease of Use: 5%
Support: 5%
See our full methodology in how we review VPNs.
Betternet’s Free VPN isn’t safe or reliable. It has throttled speeds, a weak privacy policy, and a lack of basic security features. It lacks customer support and does not work with popular streaming services. Overall, Betternet isn’t a private or functional VPN and we don’t recommend using #55 out of 68Betternet VPN Category RatingsStreaming0. 20. 2/10Torrenting00. 0/10Logging & Jurisdiction3. 93. 9/10Speed & Reliability0. 90. 9/10Server Locations11. 0/10Bypassing Censorship44. 0/10Security & Features2. 82. 8/10Ease of Use55. 0/10Customer Support1. 31. 3/10Betternet VPN Pros & ConsProsNo need to register before usingCustom VPN apps super easy to useConsLacks basic security features like VPN kill switchOnly one VPN server location (US)Unreliable speedsUnreliable for streamingDNS, WebRTC leaks & previous malware issuesNo customer support for free usersIt may have a large user base, but Betternet isn’t a safe, reliable, or private VPN.
For this Betternet VPN review, we tested every key aspect of the VPN service to answer key questions like:
Is Betternet free VPN safe?
How fast is it?
Can you watch Netflix with Betternet?
Who’s behind Betternet VPN?
Does Betternet Free permit torrenting?
The results were underwhelming. Betternet VPN underperformed in many categories, to our disappointment.
The VPN logs too much web data, it throttles internet speeds, and it’s useless for streaming and torrenting. It also includes a 500MB data cap.
See our list of fast and safe free VPNs
Alternatively, try using Private Internet Access. It’s a fast, safe and cheap VPN that can access content platforms around the world.
Try PIA VPN risk-free for 30 days.
Keep reading this review to find out in more detail why we don’t recommend you use Betternet VPN.
Betternet VPN Key DataData Cap500MBSpeed7MbpsLogging PolicySome User LogsData LeaksYesJurisdictionUS (Five-Eyes Member)ServersNot disclosedIP AddressesNot disclosedCountries1US NetflixNoTorrentingUnlimitedWorks in ChinaNoSupportOnline Resources OnlyOfficial Betternet logs too much dataLogging & JurisdictionLogging & Jurisdiction Rating3. 9/10We dissect the logging and privacy policies of every VPN. A VPN should never log:
Your real IP address
Connection timestamps
DNS requests
A base of operations outside of 14-Eyes or EU jurisdiction is preferable.
Betternet logs a huge amount of information including your true IP address, your location, connection timestamps and device information. It even logs (anonymized) usage information. This goes well beyond what is resonable and puts your privacy in tternet logs quite a lot of information about its users:
Originating IP address – encrypted and monitored only for the duration of the VPN session, then deleted.
Your approximate geographical location and ISP – derived from your IP address and shared with third-party advertisers.
VPN connection timestamps – to monitor, support and optimize VPN services, and stored for three years.
Bandwidth consumed per user, per session – to monitor, support, and optimize VPN services, and stored for three years.
Device-specific information – device ID, OS version, and hardware model. These are not linked to VPN browsing activity but allow Betternet to distinguish between different users as registration is not necessary.
Non-personal logs of domain names (not full URLs) that users visit – but not in combination with anything that identifies an individual. These are aggregated on a monthly basis.
Aura, the company behind Betternet, claims that despite the logs it can’t link any browsing activity to individual VPN users.
Aura’s logging policy also states that while the free products are supported by ads, they are not personalized based on the user’s VPN browsing activity.
The privacy policy concludes by saying:
“Even if a government agency physically seizes one of our VPN servers and succeeds in breaking disk encryption on those servers, they would not find any logs or information that would reveal what any individual user was browsing, viewing, or doing online via a VPN connection. ”
Betternet’s logging policy is not the worst we’ve seen from a free VPN service, but there are far more private free VPNs options available.
Ownership and jurisdiction
Betternet is operated by Betternet LLC Inc., a part of the Aura group, which also owns a host of other VPN services, including:
Hexatech
Hotspot Shield
TouchVPN
VPN In Touch
VPN 360
Betternet LLC Inc. is incorporated in California, USA, which is part of the Five-Eyes international intelligence-sharing alliance. It’s also subject to intrusive surveillance laws.
All of Aura’s VPN products share the same privacy and logging policy, but the group hasn’t had the smoothest run during the past few years.
For example, Hotspot Shield was embroiled in various past controversies. One of them involved the VPN injecting advertising cookies in users’ web browsers. You can read more about this in our Hotspot Shield review.
While the allegations didn’t mention Betternet, it’s worth remembering Betternet uses the same privacy policy, proprietary VPN protocol technology, and infrastructure as Hotspot Shield.
These issues have since been resolved and the Aura privacy policy rewritten, but it certainly damaged trust in the company at the time.
One saving grace is that Betternet Free doesn’t require you to make an account before using it. This means you don’t have to hand them personal information like a phone number or email address.
Betternet Controversy
Betternet hasn’t escaped all controversy though.
A 2016 academic report on VPNs revealed that Betternet’s Android app was riddled with malware and embedded tracking libraries. Betternet never publicly addressed this.
Betternet lacks advanced security featuresSecurity & FeaturesSecurity & Features Rating2. 8/10Top-rated VPNs offer OpenVPN or WireGuard protocols, AES-256 encryption, and a functional kill switch. We also consider additional security features and the global spread of VPN they use industry standard AES-256 encryption, Betternet’s apps lack a kill switch or other vital security features. They also sometimes leaks DNS otocolsProprietaryEncryptionAES-128AES-256SecurityNoneAdvanced featuresNoneBetternet uses industry-standard AES-128 and AES-256 ciphers to encrypt traffic, but that’s where the positives end. Its privacy policy is questionable and there aren’t any security extras included – not even a kill switch to protect your identity in case of a sudden connection drop. In short, Betternet is not a safe or trustworthy VPN.
Our tests detected no IP, DNS, or WebRTC leaks when the “Prevent IP Leaks” setting was toggled on, but switching it off caused Betternet to expose DNS requests to our ISP.
Betternet’s leak test results when “Prevent IP Leaks” is switched on. There are no leaks.
The ‘Prevent IP leaks’ feature is switched on by default, but considering the main point of a VPN is to protect your privacy and prevent personal data from being exposed – we don’t see why this option is present at all.
The Chrome extension is even worse: we found it suffered from both WebRTC and DNS leaks, regardless of how you configure the settings.
In terms of advanced features, there is a domain whitelister you can use to route select websites outside of the VPN tunnel, but this doesn’t make up for the lack of basic security tools.
Security researchers also found malware and tracking libraries embedded in the Android app.
Betternet uses the same proprietary connection protocol as the other VPN services in the Aura group: Hydra. Unfortunately, there’s no technical information about the protocol available.
However, the website’s FAQs go some way to reassure us that Catapult Hydra doesn’t affect security:
“It is important to note that our proprietary protocol is focused only on the performance of the VPN data transport, while using standard encryption with perfect forward secrecy. ”
Overall, Betternet is not a particularly safe or secure VPN service. It uses standard encryption but fails to provide essential security features such as a VPN kill switch or effective leak protection.
Betternet throttles download speedsSpeed & ReliabilitySpeed & Reliability Rating0. 9/10Speed ratings are calculated using upload speeds, download speeds, and ping (latency).
We test average speeds regularly using a dedicated 100Mbps connection in London, UK. Local download speed is considered the most important factor.
In our tests we’ve found that Betternet Free throttles speeds to 5Mbps on all connections. This is super slow and will prevent you streaming, torrenting or even browsing first we were led to believe that Betternet was one of the fastest free VPNs around, but we were wrong.
During our initial speed tests, the VPN reached download speeds of almost 80Mbps – just a 20% drop from our normal internet speed.
That’s really fast considering the distance from us (in the UK) to the VPN server (in the US).
But after an hour or so of testing, the speeds dropped dramatically.
During our second round of speed tests Betternet failed to even reach 10Mbps down. That’s not good at all.
Download Speed: 97. 59MbpsUpload Speed: 90. 87MbpsPing: 3msDownload Speed: 5MbpsUpload Speed: 5MbpsPing: 153msDownload speed loss when Betternet VPN is
running: 95%This leads us to believe that the VPN throttles (intentionally slows down) free users’ speeds.
In fact there’s a button on the app that says ‘Connect faster’, which brings up the premium subscription options.
Uploads and ping times were equally as bad the second time we tested, so this is neither a good VPN choice for streaming fans, torrenters, nor gamers.
Luckily, there are some free VPNs that deliver good speeds, such as the ones you can see in our review.
But if you want the best speeds, you’ll have to use a paid VPN service. See our list of the fastest VPNs here.
No Netflix or iPlayer and slow, throttled speedsStreamingStreaming Rating0. 2/10Streaming is rated by the number of different services unlocked, how many regional libraries are viewable, and how consistently the VPN can access them.
Netflix, BBC iPlayer, HBO Max, DAZN, and Amazon Prime Video are all tested on a weekly basis.
Betternet Free doesn’t work with any premium streaming services. In our tests it wasn’t able to access Netflix, BBC iPlayer or other services like Disney+. It can only stream some geoblocked content on YouTube and addition to Betternet’s unreliable speeds, the free app doesn’t reliably work with popular streaming services.
We have been able to watch Netflix shows on occasion, but it’s almost always blocked, bringing up the familiar proxy error message:
Netflix and other streaming sites actively block VPN traffic and most free VPNs don’t put resources into getting around the blocks.
There are no free UK servers so it’s impossible to watch BBC iPlayer, which requires a British IP address.
See our dedicated guide if you need a VPN for streaming. You’ll have to pay for the services, though.
P2P is blocked on all serversTorrentingTorrenting Rating00. 0/10We calculate the average download bitrate of every VPN using a bespoke torrenting setup.
Testing also factors in the percentage of servers which permit P2P, plus useful features like port forwarding.
While Betternet claims to allow torrenting, we found P2P torrenting is blocked during our tests. The service also lacks the minimal logging policy and kill switch required for tternet’s FAQs state that it currently supports torrenting on Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS devices. Our tests have always found P2P traffic to be blocked, though.
Even if it allowed P2P, Betternet is not an ideal VPN for P2P users.
For a start, the unreliable speeds quickly become a hassle, particularly if you’re located far away from the free US VPN servers.
Secondly, Betternet’s logging policy and the lack of a VPN kill switch is a problem for safe torrenting.
If you want a free VPN for anonymous P2P activities, we recommend you use one of these free VPNs for torrenting.
Only one server option available: USServer LocationsServer Locations Rating11. 0/10The global spread and coverage of the VPN server network is the most important factor here.
We also consider the number of city-level servers, plus how many IP addresses are maintained.
This rating does not directly contribute to the Overall Rating, but instead makes up a portion of the Security & Features rating.
Betternet’s free service only offers free users the ability to connect to a server in the US, despite promising ten servers on its website. There is no city level selection, either. 1Countries1CitiesUndisclosed number ofIP AddressesBetternet’s free VPN limits users to just one country: the US.
The app is rather misleading about this, too. The Betternet website mentions 10 server countries, including the UK, Germany and Hong Kong. But, if you try connecting to these countries from the app, you’ll be asked to upgrade to a premium plan.
That may be fine if it’s only US content you need access to but, if not, you’ll need to try another VPN with more options.
Just be aware that Betternet doesn’t allow you to choose a particular state or city within the US.
If you upgrade to Betternet’s premium subscription you can access 72 countries and 26 US cities.
It costs $11. 99 per month, or $2. 99 a month if you subscribe to a yearly plan, and you can use the service on up to five devices at once.
No obfuscation technology and blocked in ChinaBypassing CensorshipBypassing Censorship Rating44. 0/10Our remote-access server in Shanghai, China routinely tests if a VPN can beat restrictions and access a free, open internet. Obfuscation technologies and nearby servers are also a contributing factor.
Betternet is blocked in China, and cannot beat the country’s censorship. It could work in other censored regions, you need a VPN for bypassing censorship in China, Betternet definitely shouldn’t be your first choice (or even your 20th).
As a free user you can only connect to VPN servers in the US, which would bring your speeds down to halt.
Betternet doesn’t come with any additional obfuscation tools to overcome aggressive Chinese Firewall blocks, either, so you likely won’t even be able to connect. When we tried to connect from our Shanghai server, we found we couldn’t use Betternet to beat China’s censors.
Most free VPNs aren’t suited to working in China, or other high-censorship countries like Iran and the UAE.
You can find out which VPNs work in China right here.
Basic desktop and mobile apps onlyDevice CompatibilityDevice CompatibilityA quality VPN should maintain functional, fully-featured applications and extensions for as many platforms and devices as possible.
This does not directly contribute to the Overall Rating, but instead makes up a portion of the Ease of Use rating.
Betternet is offered on four platforms: Windows, MacOS, iOS and Android. It also has a browser extension for Chrome. There isn’t a router app available, sWindowsMaciOSAndroidBetternet comes with custom VPN apps for Windows, macOS, Android and iOS devices.
You can’t use it with Linux, routers, or any other devices like game consoles or streaming boxes (like Amazon Fire TV).
Betternet doesn’t allow for manual configuration, either, so the native VPN apps are all you get.
Browser ExtensionsChromeBetternet does come with a browser extension for Google Chrome, but there are no add-ons available for Mozilla Firefox, Safari, or Opera.
While the Chrome extension does encrypt browser traffic, you should take note that all other apps outside your web browser will be left unprotected.
Unlike the main desktop and mobile VPN apps, the browser extension comes allows you to connect to servers in multiple countries:
Canada
Germany
The Netherlands
Russia
But don’t rush to download the Chrome extension. In fact, it suffers from two different types of security flaws: WebRTC leaks and DNS leaks.
We connected to a server in the Netherlands, but Betternet’s Chrome browser extension leaked both WebRTC and DNS requests.
WebRTC leaks expose your true IP address, and DNS leaks mean that your ISP (and anyone sniffing traffic between you and the DNS provider) can see all the websites that you’re visiting.
Simple apps that lack utilityEase of UseEase of Use Rating55. 0/10This rating mainly consists of the intuitiveness of setup and everyday use.
Device or platform compatibility and customization options are also a factor.
Betternet’s apps are easy to use and install on all platforms, but they lack utility, features and to Install & Set Up Betternet VPN Go onto Betternet’s website and click ‘Get Betternet Now’ to download the Betternet’s Terms of Service and click ‘Install’ to install the ‘Finish’ to complete the installation process. There’s no need to log into the ‘s the main screen when Betternet VPN is connected. It’s very simple with minimal information about your you click ‘Select Virtual Location’ you can see a list of loads of server locations. None of these are available to free users and if you click on one of them Betternet will prompt you to upgrade to the Premium tternet’s settings menu is very limited. Be sure to keep the ‘Prevent IP leak’ feature enabled. Betternet’s custom VPN apps for desktop and mobile devices are really easy to install and use.
It’s a case of downloading the relevant file from the website, clicking through a couple of installation prompts, and hitting ‘Connect’.
There aren’t really any settings to play with.
The virtual locations list is a little misleading as free users can’t use any of them. If you click on one, the app will prompt you to upgrade to the paid plan.
Within the settings menu, you can choose to ‘reconnect automatically’ or just connect on ‘unsafe WiFi hotspots’.
There’s also the ‘Prevent IP leak’ setting, which we’d recommend you leave on for obvious reasons.
Browser Extensions
The Betternet browser extension for Google Chrome is easy to set up.
Click through to the Chrome Web Store from Betternet’s website, and select ‘Add to Chrome. ’
You’ll need to accept the permissions before you can add the extension to your browser.
Betternet’s extension is just as easy to use as the desktop app. There’s a connect button and a list of server locations to choose from – that’s pretty much it.
All that said, we don’t recommend downloading the extension as it leaks WebRTC and DNS requests, putting your personal data at risk.
Some FAQs are available but no email supportCustomer SupportCustomer Support Rating1. 3/10This rating is based on our assessment of each VPN’s:
Email support
Live chat support
Online resources
Not every VPN offers all of these, and they often vary in quality and response time.
Betternet doesn’t provide any customer support for free users outside of the Help Center, which includes some basic FAQs and troubleshooting tips. These aren’t all up to date, FAQs are fairly well organized, with sections for each supported device, but some are out of date and display incorrect information.
If you do try to email support without a premium subscription you’ll receive a short reply saying: “Sorry but we can’t respond personally. ”
If you’re struggling with any issues, you’re pretty much on your own.
We don’t recommend using BetternetThe Bottom LineWe do not recommend installing and using Betternet VPN. It isn’t a particularly safe or private VPN service, let alone a reliable one.
Our speeds were throttled within an hour of use, and you can only connect to one server location (the US).
Betternet’s browser extension for Google Chrome is particularly bad, suffering from not only DNS leaks, but WebRTC leaks too. It’s definitely one to avoid.
Instead of using Betternet, use one of the safe free VPN alternatives listed below.
Additional research by Liam Mullally
Alternatives to Betternet VPNIf you’re looking for another free VPN with unlimited data, ProtonVPN is a great choice. It’s safe, secure, and private. There are three locations to choose from and the speeds are pretty fast, too. Read ProtonVPN Free reviewWhile Windscribe caps free user data to 10GB a month, it provides servers in 10 different countries, and allows you to drill down to city level in some of them, too. You can also use Windscribe Free to protect P2P traffic securely and safely. Read Windscribe review
Best Free VPN of 2021 | Our Favorite Free VPN Downloads - Security.org

Best Free VPN of 2021 | Our Favorite Free VPN Downloads – Security.org

You don’t have to spend a penny to encrypt your web traffic with a VPN.
We can cite dozens of reasons why getting a VPN subscription is a worthwhile investment, but that doesn’t change the fact that paid VPNs just aren’t for everybody. If you’re looking for a free plan that can take your digital security up a notch, keep your personal data private, and protect your computer or mobile phone from the prying eyes of hackers, this review is especially for you.
Quick Glance: Free VPN Trial Period
Hotspot Shield
No limit
Surfshark
30 days
TunnelBear
Windscribe
Why We Don’t Always Recommend Free VPNs
You might notice in our review of the best VPNs that our top picks are all paid VPNs. While we’ve tested out many decent free VPNs, they’re simply not as comprehensive as paid VPNs. Why? Because many free VPNs put limits on things like:
The amount of servers we can connect to
Our daily data usage
The number of devices we can connect
The amount of time we can use the VPN for.
You know what they say: there’s no such thing as a free lunch, and that’s never been more true than for free VPNs. In order to profit off of your service, many of them will sell your personal information, or even your web traffic or private IP addresses, to third-party companies. These companies will then sell your data to advertisers and marketers to create targeted ads. For someone looking for a VPN, you want to keep your personal information and web activity private, so depending on the service, a VPN’s privacy policy could defeat the purpose of a VPN itself. And so, with a final plea, here are the VPNs we recommend the most overall. Although they’re not free, their prices are so affordable we think you just might change your minds.
Based in the British Virgin Islands, a non-member to Five Eyes, Nine Eyes and 14 Eyes, ExpressVPN didn’t log any of our web traffic nor the IP addresses of our devices.
With NordVPN, we could torrent and even watch Netflix without our Internet Service Provider (or hackers) knowing about it.
Having said that, you may be fine with these limitations and logging policies. If that’s the case, read on to find out our top picks for the best free VPNs, which we all tested personally. Note that all of these VPNs also have paid options so if you end up wanting to use them on more devices, use more bandwidth per day, or what have you, you can always upgrade if you so please. Without further ado, we bring you 2021’s best free VPNs!
Side-by-Side Comparison of the Best Free VPNs of 2021
System
ProtonVPN
Windscribe VPN
Ranking
1st
2nd
3rd
4th
5th
Ratings
8. 9/10
8. 6/10
8. 8/10
8. 7/10
Works on
Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS
iOS, Android, MacOS, Windows, Linux, Fire TV Stick apps, Xbox
Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, and Linux
Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, and Linux with browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox, and Opera
Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS with browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox, and Opera
Data Usage Limit
500 MB per day, refreshes every 24 hours
None
Unlimited
500 MB per month
2 GB per month or 10 GB if you log in and confirm using your email address
Connection Speed Limits
2 Mbps
No speed limit
No speed limit, but prioritizes connection of premium users
Server Locations
US-based server location only
63
3 locations (USA, Netherlands, and Japan)
Over 20 locations
10 locations (USA, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Romania, Switzerland, the UK, and HongKong)
Split Tunneling
No
Yes
Yes (Windows and Android clients only)
Yes (Android only)
Yes (Android app only)
5 Eyes, 9 Eyes, or 14 Eyes Member
Limitations of Freemium Version
500 MB daily data usage limitUp to five devices onlyOne simultaneous connection only 2 Mbps speed limit One server location (US)
30 day trial
Three server locationsOne simultaneous connectionLower speed priority than premium users
500 MB data usage per monthNo Netflix accessUp to five simultaneous connections
10 GB data usage per monthNetflix works in the US and the UK only
Premium Subscription Pricing
$12. 99 monthly or $95. 88 yearly
n/a
ProtonVPN Basic: $5 monthly or $48 yearly; ProtonVPN Plus: $10 monthly or $96 yearly
$9. 99 monthly or $59. 88 yearly
$9 monthly or $49 yearly
Read Review
Hotspot Shield Review
Surfshark Review
ProtonVPN Review
TunnelBear Review
Windscribe VPN Review
The Best Free VPNs of 2021
Hotspot Shield – Best Free VPN for Windows and Mac Users
Surfshark – Best Free VPN for Short Term Users
ProtonVPN – Best Free VPN with Unlimited Data Usage
TunnelBear – Best Free VPN for Beginners
Windscribe – Best Free VPN for the Security
A Closer Look at the Best Free VPNs of 2021
1. Hotspot Shield – Best Free VPN for Windows and Mac Users
What We Liked:
Generous 500 MB data usage allowance per day
Works on Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS
Doesn’t log browsing activities
Up to five devices per account
What We Didn’t Like:
Allows only one connection at a time
US-based servers only for free users
2 Mbps speed limit
Based in the US, a Five Eye alliance member
500 MB Daily Data Usage Limit
Hotspot Shield did limit our data usage, but it was more generous than most other free VPNs. Hotspot Shield refreshed our data allowance every 24 hours, giving us 500 MB of bandwidth to consume every day. That’s about 15 GB per month, provided that we max out our allowance daily. However, unused data didn’t roll over to the next day, so if we used only 400 MB in one day, we would still only receive 500 MB the next day. The daily limit made sense as it helped us control our data usage. Instead of giving us 15 GB per month, which frankly, we could blow through in just a week or so, it limited our daily usage so we’d still have bandwidth left towards the end of the month. Now that’s just smart.
Works On Up to Five Devices
We’ve been able to log in using our Hotspot Shield account using five different devices. It worked on Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS, so whether we were in the office working on our MacBooks, at a coffee shop browsing on our smartphones, or at home with our Windows PC, we had access to Hotspot Shield. Only one device connected to Hotspot Shield at a time, though, but it was easy enough to switch between devices thanks to the VPN’s fast connection times. It usually took the VPN less than five seconds to establish connections, which was impressive for a free VPN.
Hotspot Shield Windows Kill Switch
No Ads on Windows and Mac Clients
Most free VPNs generate revenue by injecting ads into the websites we visit. While Hotspot Shield did that in the past, it changed its policy recently and only placed ads in its mobile apps. Also, instead of injecting the ads into websites, Hotspot Shield only showed us short ads after we connected and disconnected our mobile phone VPN. Of course, it’s never fun to see ads, but with a freemium VPN with a generous data usage allowance, going through a couple of ads every session didn’t hurt.
2. Surfshark – Best Free VPN for Short Term Users
Five Eyes non-member
Torrenting and Netflix access
Split tunneling
AES-256 encryption
Free VPN only lasts 30 days (Still better than others)
Static IP addresses
Latency on Windows
No phone support
Low Prices After Trial Ends
Sure, we’re not thrilled that SurfShark’s free trial only lasts a month. But that trial period does have its advantages. One, we weren’t limited at all on how we could use the VPN in terms of servers, data, or speed limits, so we could really try it out accurately. That’s what makes it so perfect for those looking for a free VPN to use short term. We got all the features of a premium VPN without spending a single cent. And even once the free trial month is over, the prices didn’t exactly break the bank.
Time Length
Overall Cost
Monthly Cost
2 Years
$59. 76
$2. 49
6 Months
$38. 94
$6. 49
1 Month
$12. 95
We signed up for two years to lock in that $2. 49 a month rate, billed one time as about $60. We were confident about committing for two years thanks to the free trial. If you’re looking for other free trial options, other than SurfShark, check out our review of the best VPNs with free trials.
Unlimited Simultaneous Connections
It’s no secret that we spend a ton of time online. We often find ourselves on our laptops, watching Netflix using one of the best VPNs for Chrome and Chromecast, while checking Instagram on our phones at the same time. So we need a VPN that doesn’t limit us on how many devices we can connect simultaneously. Enter Surfshark, which allows for unlimited connections at the same time. Not only that, but it worked on a ton of our devices, including:
iOS
Android
macOS
Windows
Linux
Fire TV Stick
Xbox
This opens up SurfShark to most people online, plus, anyone that uses Chrome or Firefox, as it has browser extensions for both.
Netflix Access
We’ll let you in on a little secret: even though there are VPNs that work well with Netflix, Netflix is not a fan of VPNs. After pressure from TV networks and studios, it blocked a ton of VPN IP addresses, forcing VPN companies to scramble for new servers. Fortunately, we had no issues watching Surfshark on Netflix, so if you need to finish that show that’s only on Netflix in another country, you can connect to Surfshark and switch your Netflix region.
3. ProtonVPN – Best Free VPN with Unlimited Data Usage
No data usage limit
Strict “No Logs” policy
Intuitive user interface
Works across all major operating systems (Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS)
Server locations limited to the U. S, the Netherlands, and Japan
Limited to one connection at a time
Lower speed priority for free users
No other way to contact support besides email support tickets
Unlimited Browsing, Streaming Services, and Downloads
The most common limitation we’ve encountered while testing free VPNs was the data usage limit, which is why we love the fact that the ProtonVPN had no such restrictions. We streamed all we wanted while our MacBook Pro remained connected to ProtonVPN, just like we did when we tested the best VPNs for streaming. That’s how generous ProtonVPN was in terms of data usage. On top of that, our internet speed didn’t drop that much. We had no problem watching Netflix and playing online games, except of course during peak hours. ProtonVPN gives higher speed priority to paying customers, so as users of the free version, our connection slowed down as the traffic increased. Its speed drops were manageable, though.
Strict “No Logs” Policy
ProtonVPN put its main VPN servers in Switzerland, which is a good thing because Switzerland has strict data privacy laws in place. 1 Switzerland is also not a member of the Five Eyes, Nine Eyes, or 14 Eyes international surveillance alliance, so the U. S. government, or any government body for that matter, cannot force ProtonVPN to give up its users’ data. The funny thing was, there’s no data to give up in the first place. The company has a strict “no logs” policy. It didn’t log our browsing activity or any information about our VPN connection. The only information it stored was a single timestamp of our most recent login for our account’s security. That’s hardly identifying data, so we had no qualms with ProtonVPN logging it. The company did, however, store our account information locally on its servers, like our email address, support requests and reports, and payment information once we decided to spring for the premium version. This is all normal, though, and believe us, we’ve read a ton of VPN privacy policies! ProtonVPN claimed to have deleted all those pieces of data when we canceled our subscription.
ProtonVPN Privacy Policy
Three Server Locations, One Simultaneous Connection
One of the most important questions we asked ourselves while testing free VPN services was, “Can we live with its limitations? ”. Fortunately, ProtonVPN’s limitations barely bothered us. First, there were only three server locations— Japan, the Netherlands, and the United States— which meant that we had fewer options to choose from once those servers started filling up with paying users. However, that wasn’t a problem with the New York server we connected to. Second, we were able to connect only one device at a time. If we were already browsing using our smartphone, we couldn’t use ProtonVPN on our laptop to watch Netflix. That was a little harder to bear, but again, we were using the free version so we can’t complain. And while we’re tech-obsessed, the one device limit helped us reduce our screen time, which we needed anyway.
4. TunnelBear – Best Free VPN for Beginners
Easy to use and intuitive user interface
Over 20 server locations for free users
Up to five simultaneous connections
Based in Canada, a Five Eye alliance member
No Netflix access
No phone or live chat support
500 MB per month data usage limit
Fun and Easy To Use
Most VPNs have a serious vibe going on with their user interface, but TunnelBear took a different approach with its intuitive yet fun and easy-to-use user interface. It connected to the encrypted tunnels with one click of a button and once connected, the application showed us our server location through a virtual map That was incredibly helpful because choosing a server location closest to our physical location usually yielded faster upload and download speeds. Whenever we felt a slowdown, we simply clicked on the “tunnel”, an icon representing TunnelBear’s server locations, closest to us to get a better connection.
FYI: FYI: TunnelBear offers over 20 server locations to choose from, all of which are accessible even to free users.
Up To Five Simultaneous Connections
Although TunnelBear is a free VPN, it allows up to five connections at any single time. In fact, on several occasions, we used it to encrypt our MacBook Air, Android smartphone, and iPad that we connected to a public library Wi-Fi network. And that’s another advantage of the TunnelBear as a free VPN: it worked across all major operating systems for desktop and mobile, including Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, and iOS. It also had browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox, and Opera, which allowed us to encrypt only our browsing data rather than encrypting our laptop or smartphone’s entire online activity.
The TunnelBear App
20+ Server Locations
While other VPNs limit the number of virtual locations accessible to free users, we loved that TunnelBear let us connect to over 20 different server locations. It allowed us to choose a server closest to us for faster speeds and to switch over to different servers if our current connection wasn’t good. And for those like us who aren’t geography buffs, TunnelBear’s interface makes it easier to visualize the location of the servers. The interface also makes it easier to find other close proximity servers in case the closest one doesn’t yield good speeds, or if you want to change your iPhone’s location to a specific country.
5. Windscribe – Best Free VPN for the Security-Minded
At least 10 server locations for free users
Adware and malware blocker with the browser extension
The desktop client includes a built-in firewall
Split tunneling on the Android app
Based in Canada, a Five Eyes alliance member
Logs more data than the bare minimum
10 GB per month data usage limit
Live chat support through an automated bot
Worked On Desktops, Smartphones, and Browsers
Windscribe worked on just about any device we used at home. There were desktop clients for Windows, Mac, and Linux, apps for iOS and Android, browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox, and Opera, and even an app for our Amazon Fire TV. Now that’s impressive, but let’s go back to the basics. We used Windscribe mostly on our MacBook Pro. The desktop client connected all our apps to the VPN tunnel, while the Windscribe extension we installed on our Chrome browser only encrypted our browser activity. That was helpful because, given the 10 GB per month data limit, we used Windscribe mostly to browse the Internet. If, for instance, we wanted to Google something while on a Skype call, we could simply connect our browser to Windscribe without having to connect Skype and all our other desktop applications.
Pro Tip: You can get additional data allowance by tweeting about Windscribe, referring friends, or hanging around Windscribe’s official Subreddit.
Ads, Tracking, and Social Network Blocking
There was another advantage to using the Windscribe browser extension: it blocked ads, trackers, and social network widget buttons that often contain trackers. You know those Like, Tweet, and Share widget buttons that appear on various websites? Turns out, they can track our browsing data even if we don’t click on any of them. 2 Windscribe blocked those widgets so that we could browse the Web, Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks couldn’t track us. That just goes to show how serious the company is about keeping its customers’ online activity private. But don’t worry, we could still access our social networks even with the blocking feature.
Windscribe Data Logging Policy
Data Logging Policy
As far as logging data goes, Windscribe didn’t keep track and store any identifying data such as our real IP address and the websites we visited while connected to the VPN. However, it did log a little more information than the bare minimum, including the amount of data we’ve used during our sessions and the times of our connections. That’s a little bit concerning, but to be fair, Windscribe’s data privacy policy requires its servers to discard such data as soon as we disconnect from the service. The only records Windscribe kept were the number of parallel connections at any given time to prevent abuse and account-sharing and our data usage within a 30-day period.
Our Video Review
If you liked our list, be sure to also check out our video review of the best free VPNs. It has additional information about our top picks and you’ll get to see our featured free VPNs in action as well.
Methodology: How We Tested Free VPNs
That’s pretty much it for our list of the best VPNs you can access for free. But if you want to explore your options yourself, here’s an insider’s look at our review process and what we look for when we compare VPNs, whether free-to-use or otherwise.
Speed
First of all, we want our VPN to protect our privacy without making much of an impact on our browsing experience, particularly our internet speed. Almost any VPN we’ve ever tested slowed down our connection, but ideally, the difference should not exceed 40 percent in any of the speed categories— namely, the latency (ping), download speed, and upload speed.
We tested free VPNs using Speedtest by Ookla. To make the results uniform, we connected only one device to our router at a time, and then we took a speed test using the device without a VPN. We then performed a second speed test, this time with the VPNs. We logged the results and computed the difference between the latency, download speeds, and upload speeds in terms of a percentage. We performed the tests both on our Mac and Windows computers.
Keep in mind that speed test results don’t always tell the whole story. There are a number of other factors that may affect the results, like our proximity to the server, the current online traffic of both our internet service provider and the VPNs, and the device we used, just to name a few. So while we try to keep our test results as accurate as possible, we don’t fully rely on the speed alone to determine our top picks.
Security
VPNs preserve personal data by encrypting web traffic that could contain personally identifiable information. Unfortunately, while most VPNs do encrypt web traffic, there are some that collect other kinds of metadata that they sell to third parties to turn a profit.
That’s especially true with free VPNs. As they say, “if you’re not paying for a product, you are the product. ” To see which VPNs do that and which ones don’t, we looked into their privacy policies and checked which kinds of data they collect and store. There are some, like ProtonVPN, that have strict logging policies, but there are also others that store some types of data but immediately delete everything as soon as you disconnect. Both are acceptable, but ideally, we want our VPN to not collect any data at all aside from the bare minimum it needs to uphold our account.
We also looked at each VPN company’s legal obligations to share customer information with the government. Companies based in member countries of the Five Eyes, Nine Eyes, and 14 Eyes international surveillance alliances are particularly risky because their government could force them to hand over customer information. While we won’t go as far as to avoid them, we want our readers to know the risks.
On the more technical side of things, we tested for DNS and WebRTC leaks using online tools. We can see if VPNs have DNS leaks by comparing our IP address that appears on the DNS Leak Test website. 3 A similar method applies to WebRTC leaks, which we test using ExpressVPN’s online tool. 4
Features
The performance of VPNs also matters to us. We are always on the lookout for useful VPN features. For instance, we checked if VPNs have a kill switch, which stops all online activity in the event that the VPNs fail to prevent our data from leaking to our internet provider Split tunneling is another useful feature as it allows devices to connect to the Internet through two different tunnels. One tunnel passes through a VPN tunnel, while the other connects to a public network as if there’s no VPN. This feature is useful for multi-tasking and it creates faster speeds as it allows lower bandwidth. Finally, we gave special credit to VPNs with multi-hop or at least double-hop connections, as they encrypt data several times as it hops through different servers.
Subscriptions
For this review specifically, we didn’t put much weight on the pricing, given the subject matter. However, we’d like to note that all five free VPNs on our list have paid versions. We base our assessment on a number of factors, including the features the VPNs offer and their pricing compared to competitors. In our experience, paid VPNs could cost as low as less than a dollar per month, but the more expensive ones could cost up to $15 per month.
Customer Support
No matter how tech-savvy we are, we still run into issues we can’t troubleshoot ourselves, so we also like to know how easy (or hard) it is to contact the VPNs’ customer support teams. Email support is not the most ideal for us because most companies are slow to respond to email tickets. We prefer companies with live chat or phone support, and if those channels are available 24/7, even better.
Apps
Finally, we looked into both the Android and iOS apps of the VPNs, focusing on their functionality. Are they easy to use? Do they work well? What are other users saying about the apps? We also read customer reviews and compare their observations with ours to see if any patterns emerge.
FAQs About Free VPNs
What are the best free VPNs of 2021?
The best free VPNs of 2020 are ProtonVPN, Windscribe, TunnelBear, and Hotspot Shield. TunnelBear’s free trial has no time limit and supports up to 500 MB of data per day, and Hotspot Shield also has no time limit on their free trial, although it only works on one device.
Can free VPNs bypass geographic restrictions?
Most free VPNs can bypass geographic restrictions, but for best results, we recommend free VPNs with servers in more than 10 locations.
What are the limitations of free VPNs?
The limitations of free VPNs often include data usage limits, speed capping, and limited simultaneous connections. Some VPNs may also limit the number of server locations you can access.
Are free VPNs safe?
Not all free VPNs are safe, which is why we recommend getting a free version of a reputable paid VPN rather than downloading a VPN advertised as 100 percent free.
The Federal Council. (1999). Federal Constitution of the Swiss Confederation.
Wall Street Journal. (2011). ‘Like’ Button Follows Web Users.
(2020). DNS Leak Test.
Express VPN. (2020). WebRTC Leak Test.

Frequently Asked Questions about better vpn

Is better VPN safe?

Overall, Betternet is not a particularly safe or secure VPN service. It uses standard encryption but fails to provide essential security features such as a VPN kill switch or effective leak protection.Aug 1, 2021

Which free VPN is best?

The Best Free VPNs of 2021Hotspot Shield – Best Free VPN for Windows and Mac Users.Surfshark – Best Free VPN for Short Term Users.ProtonVPN – Best Free VPN with Unlimited Data Usage.TunnelBear – Best Free VPN for Beginners.Windscribe – Best Free VPN for the Security.Sep 23, 2021

Is Betternet VPN Unlimited?

Betternet’s unlimited VPN for Windows allows you to get started as soon as you download the app. Make sure your web browsing experience is a secure one.

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