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Q. What Can You Tell Me about Betternet VPN?

Q. I’ve been reading some about Chrome’s VPN Betternet browsing. If I can believe the poor-grammar hype/sales pitch, it sounds wonderful: worry-free anonymous browsing!

I'd like your input on the subject.

​A. Betternet is one of the larger and more reputable free VPN providers.

​But the Betternet VPN is not part of Chrome, and it’s not from Google; it’s a third-party product that’s offered as a standalone app for Windows, iOS, and Android plus as an add-on extension for the Chrome and Firefox browsers.

​Betternet VPN is indeed free; it gets its revenue by displaying ads and videos to its users.

​Like all VPN’s, Betternet’s privacy benefits do cost you some speed. Routing of your data through the Betternet servers adds some time to the process of uploading and downloading data.

​Fee-based VPNs — and there are many to choose from — might offer less congestion, better throughputs, and no ads.

​I use a paid VPN when doing anything sensitive on public Wi-Fi; in coffee shops, hotels, airports, and the like. On the other hand, I find VPNs too slow for routine use over a private connection, such as at my office or home.

​If I want a bit of extra Web anonymity while at home or the office, I use built-in browser tools like Incognito Mode or Private Browsing. If I want a lot of anonymity, I’ll use the free, standalone Tor Browser.

​Bottom line: Betternet VPN is fine, if you don’t mind the ads and the speed penalty. But other options/services can help you avoid those drawbacks.

(Originally published on Windows Secrets on Monday, March 7, 2016.)


Editor's note: We feature an abridged Q&A from Fred Langa's LANGALIST, a column available exclusively to paid subscribers of the Windows Secrets newsletter,. What you see here is just a small sampling of what Langa's writing for the newsletter — go here for more information on how to subscribe.

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