Betternet is one of the youngest children in the huge VPN software family that can claim to have become the “#1 VPN app in the Google Play Store” in less than a year. “Fairly impressive” is probably the expression that comes to mind first. And, we also need to admit that it is indeed impressive. However, on second thought and based on our experience, we would rather use this expression: smoke and mirrors.
Although over 38 million computer users have chosen Betternet to protect their online security and privacy while faking their IP addresses to access geo-blocked web content, they may not be that safe after all.
Yet, its “free forever” VPN solution is way too attractive for most novice users. And, they should be fine too while treading gently on legal fields.
So, follow us along as we uncover how to use Betternet VPN and what you can use it for safely.
How to download and install it
Before you can plunge into the ocean of the internet wearing a VPN safety vest, it is only obvious that you need to download and install it first.
In order to do so, visit the official Betternet website. Now, click the Platforms menu to select your desired client: iOS, Android, Windows, Mac OS, or Chrome. After you get redirected to the client download page, simply press the blue Get the App or Download Betternet button to download your Betternet VPN app.
Now that you have your app, you need to install it to be able to use it. Fortunately for beginner users, it is very simple and straightforward to install Betternet for Windows and Mac. All you need to do is leave the “I accept the terms in the License Agreement” checkbox ticked (by default) if you have carefully read the agreement, and then, press Install. The next button you need to press is Finish and that is all. Simple enough? We certainly think so.
It may come in handy though to know how to set up a VPN on every device in general because that may get a bit more complex and time-consuming.
How to activate the Betternet free trial
After finishing the installation, you are prompted to start your 7-day free trial. You have two choices here. You can either close this pop-up window by clicking the X button in the upper-right corner and use Betternet for free, or press the Start 7-day trial now button.
In the latter case, you are redirected to the Free Trial registration page where you have to enter your Credit or Debit Card details as well as your email address, which is required for the account activation.
Once done, click the Join Now button to start using the premium Betternet VPN for 7 days for free. Please note that signing up this way also means that after the 7 days expire, you will be automatically charged for the first month of the premium subscription. Remember to cancel your subscription if you do not wish to purchase this VPN service.
There are some major differences between the completely free Betternet VPN and the premium version that may be worth considering.
This is what you get for free:
- Annoying advertisements and promotional videos when trying to connect
- Automatically assigned American VPN servers without the possibility of changing them
- No support apart from the knowledge base found on the website
- Only one device.
And, this is what the premium version claims to offer:
- Several location options
- Faster connection
- No ads
- High-quality support
- Link up to 5 devices.
Signing up for the 7-day free trial can be a good idea if you want to see what the premium version has for you in terms of speed and versatility.
What is Betternet VPN good for
Well, buckle up and let’s see what 38 million users may try to use it for before we explain how to use Betternet VPN. With its mere 17 server locations in 10 countries, Betternet VPN cannot claim global coverage as its strong point for sure. In fact, this provider may have the smallest server fleet in the Solar system. No kidding.
To be frank, Betternet VPN is good for one thing: To make lots of money for its creators through advertising and selling premium licenses. But can you imagine how overloaded those few servers can get when 38 million users try to stream HD videos or play online games? Of course, we must add that the premium service may actually provide better speeds and more locations to have a variety of options when you cannot connect to a server. So, keep that in mind.
Anyway, judgments aside, let’s see what is Betternet VPN good for theoretically, i.e., when you can really connect to a server and your connection doesn’t keep dropping:
- Bypass geographical content restrictions
- Browse the web anonymously: well, this is relatively relative, so to speak. Betternet and online privacy may not fit into the same sentence, to be frank. The Android Betternet VPN app was found to be the 4th worst and most dangerous according to a study last year (2017).
- To automatically protect unsafe WiFi hotspot connections
- To watch streaming videos: if you are lucky, you can watch HD videos seamlessly
- Well, it’s hard to think of anything else.
While it’s possible that you can use Betternet for basic things where you don’t mind to have a low level of security and privacy, we don’t advise you to use this VPN in strictly censoring countries like China, Saudi Arabia, or Egypt. You may also want to think again before you decide to use Betternet for torrents.
Journalists, travelers, activists, and hackers can forget about using both the free and the paid versions of this VPN software because of privacy issues.
At least, if they don’t want to end up being fined, found, or sentenced to jail as a worst-case scenario. And, with that we are not claiming that it has ever happened so far. But, would you prefer not to have the honor of being the first one? That’s right.
How to use Betternet VPN
Although you may have read several Betternet reviews and comparisons, it’s possible that you have an unshakable desire to give the free or premium version a try. So, look, our “brave” friend, here is how to use Betternet VPN in a nutshell.
Since there are a few differences between the free and the premium Betternet VPN solutions, we decided to introduce their use separately.
As we have already explained, you can start using the forever free Betternet VPN software after canceling the pop-up window that offers the 7-day trial after the very first launch of the app.
Once your VPN program is running, the free version lets you connect to one of the automatically assigned American servers. Basically, you cannot change or choose the server locations manually. You will connect to an optimal server by default when you click the Connect or OFF button depending on the client you are using.
When you try to press the Select Virtual Location or the Get Priority Connection button (it appears while trying to connect), you will see the list of the 10 country locations. If you click any of them, you will find yourself on a screen with the premium plans to order. At least, when you are using the Windows or Mac OS clients because the Chrome extension actually lets you choose different server location. But, we must add that this extension is very fishy and keeps dropping connections like Eminem his word bombs.
The Betternet free VPN may try to connect to overcrowded servers, which makes its use questionable a lot of times.
Your connection to the default server may take several times to finally succeed and it may drop occasionally, too. So, in general, you will probably experience worse speeds than with the premium VPN.
Remember that the free VPN can only be used on one single device and it is filled with generic third-party advertisements and promotional videos.
The Betternet Premium VPN enables you to actually select a different server location. So, when you click the Select Virtual Location button and the list of countries appears, you can now choose your preferred country. Now you can fake your location as desired for whatever reason you may need that.
Betternet VPN Settings
The variety of settings you can configure is rather disappointing. While Betternet VPN is clearly one of the most user-friendly apps, it is also one of the least equipped. Here’s what you can configure:
- Reconnect Automatically
- Prevent IP leak
- Turn Betternet on automatically for WiFi hotspots
Yep, that is all. This may be a bit too poor for even novice VPN users.
Betternet VPN seems to have lots of connection issues; well, no wonder, to be frank. However, a good, responsive, and helpful support could make a change.
Unfortunately, there is no 24/7 live chat support for the free version and the so-called “high-quality support” the premium Betternet claims may also be questionable.
We hope it is clear now how to use Betternet VPN if you still want to go for this service. Since some users appear to be able to use this service without major issues, you may also get lucky with this VPN software. Nevertheless, if you are more serious and concerned about your online security and privacy, we suggest that you do your research well before committing yourself to a service.