Betternet is a freemium VPN service that comes from the family of Pango services, alongside Hotspot Shield, VPN360 and Ultra VPN. This is an important detail that users must understand when putting faith into a VPN service to not just conceal, but protect their true identity. Further, Pango has a questionable track record and should generally be considered not trustworthy.
Terms of Service
if you post any User Content that is prohibited by this Agreement, then we may—but have no obligation to—take any remedial action that we, in our sole discretion, deem necessary and/or appropriate under the circumstances, such as, without limitation, suspending or terminating your account, removing your User Content, and/or reporting you to law enforcement authorities, either directly or indirectly.
One of the most common reasons people use VPNs is to use p2p/torrent services without revealing their IP address. This is usually not an issue if your VPN provider is registered in a foreign country, as they can usually disregard DMCA violation notices. Unfortunately, Betternet is registered in the United States which means they are obligated under law to take action against your account if they receive a DMCA notice. Generally speaking this just means they’ll terminate your account but depending on the severity or specifics of the matter, it could become a legal and/or criminal situation.
Frequently, VPN services oversell their services to increase profit margin, or sometimes just straight up throttle their servers. After a speed test using speed.cloudflare.com and fast.com I observed reliable speeds of 200Mbps down and 40Mbps up with a latency of 66ms. Obviously these results are subjective and may not reflect global results, but it’s an indication of their server quality.
the domains that have been accessed by our users, but on an anonymized basis such that we do not know which user accessed which domain, nor the full URL that would indicate which web pages were visited.
First and foremost, if you didn’t know that VPN providers can see which domains you are visiting, well… Now you know. That’s not the alarming part though. The alarming part is that they log this information to “monitor, support and optimize our VPN services.”
I was pleasantly surprised to see that aside from core services, the only third party connection the app made was to Google Firebase for usage analytics. There were no hard coded tracking or advertising scripts. The most popular connections were
- *.cloudfront.com – where the core services are hosted
- *.apple.com – required for App Store services
- firebaseinstallations.googleapis.com – tracks app usage and does include analytics