If you are searching for a free VPN service to download torrents, you will likely come across Betternet. Millions of people use this VPN, but is it safe? Free VPNs tend to include several security issues, such as an increased risk of malware and lack of protection.
Without the privacy that you expect from a VPN, your ISP may track your activity, including your torrenting activity. Instead of risking exposure, you should ensure that you select a reliable VPN. And Betternet may not be the right choice.
What Is Betternet VPN?
Launched in 2015, Betternet has quickly increased its user base, thanks to its free service. The VPN app is available on most platforms, including Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS. It also has extensions for Chrome and Firefox.
Besides offering a free service for a variety of devices, Betternet provides a few other advantages:
- Simple interface
- Standard encryption
- No logging policy
This VPN has a streamlined interface and simple installation process. After downloading and installing the app, you simply click “connect” and the service takes care of the rest.
The company also uses the standard encryption used by most VPN providers – 128-bit encryption over IPSec and 256-bit AES encryption over OpenVPN protocol. However, it is unclear which encryption it uses and when.
Another positive feature is the no-logging policy. This means the company does not keep a log of your activity. Unfortunately, Betternet VPN also has several drawbacks, mostly related to security concerns.
Risks of Using Betternet VPN
Although Betternet has some positive elements, it doesn’t mean it’s a suitable VPN for torrenting. In order to be considered safe, a VPN should have a combination of security features. Unfortunately, it’s not the case with this provider. Before using the software, you should review the following potential dangers:
- Risk of malware
- Lots of ads
- No DNS leak protection
- Risk of dropped connections
- No kill switch
- Slow speeds
- Located in Canada
If you choose one of the paid plans, you may avoid a few of these disadvantages. The premium plan includes access to more servers, which may increase speeds, and 24/7 customer support.
Risk of Malware
In the first place, Betternet is getting famous for bringing an increased risk of malware. In fact, in a recent study, this service ranked number four in a list of the 10 apps most likely to inject malware.
While there is no proof that Betternet has engaged in nefarious practices, the fact that it appears on this list is troubling.
Lots of Ads
As a free VPN service, Betternet needs to make money somehow. In 2017, the company added premium monthly plans. These plans offer you a choice of server locations and faster speeds, but lack the increased security that you get from other VPN providers.
The company makes the bulk of its money through ads. When you use the free service, Betternet displays lots of advertisements, which also brings an increased threat of adware.
No Leak Protection
The best VPNs for torrenting include IP/DNS leak protection. This helps protect information that others may use to track your activity.
Betternet VPN does not offer DNS leak protection. Without this safety measure, there is a chance that your ISP or any eavesdroppers may see the sites that you visit or the torrents that you try to download.
DNS leaks are a common problem. One report found that 84% of VPN apps available on the Google Play Store leaked DNS requests.
Risk of Dropped Connections
Unfortunately, Betternet VPN brings an increased risk of dropped connections. As mentioned, it is a popular service with millions of users, but only a few servers.
During peak usage, you may experience much slower speeds and the potential for a dropped connection. When you lose the connection, you no longer have the protection of a VPN.
No Kill Switch
A kill switch is mandatory for any modern VPN. The lack of such a feature is related to what we just mentioned in the previous paragraph. It kills your Internet activity when you experience a dropped connection. Your ISP won’t be able to see your activity when you are not secured by the VPN. This is a security tool that you want to have active at all times, especially when using a BitTorrent client.
This tool is the way how VPNs usually deal with dropped connections. Again, Betternet VPN does not include this feature. If the connection drops, you risk exposing your torrenting activity.
Advertisements and malware may not keep you from downloading torrents, but slow speeds and a lack of protection may. Using a VPN service often results in lower speeds, as all traffic needs encrypting and passage through one or more servers. With Betternet, you get horrendous speeds compared to other VPN providers.
Unless you try torrenting a small eBook file, you may struggle to download anything through a Betternet VPN connection with a torrent client.
The slower speeds also eliminate your ability to stream video. If you plan to use a VPN to access geo-blocked content, you will need to look for a different provider.
Located in Canada
While Betternet VPN has a no logging policy, the company is located in Canada. This is one of the “five eyes countries.” These countries have laws that allow authorities to request user data from companies.
Should You Use Betternet For Torrenting?
Betternet may not offer a safe option for torrenting. You face a risk of dropped connections, DNS leaks, and government requests of data.
Reports indicate that Betternet may also increase the threat of malware. Using this service also results in incredibly slow speeds, making it a challenge to download or stream any content.
Keep in mind that Betternet VPN is not alone. Many free VPNs offer the same disadvantages. Without a steady revenue from paying customers, these services often have fewer servers, sell information to third parties, and provide less security.
If you want to use a torrent client with a VPN service, consider choosing one of the many trusted paid VPN providers.