Betternet vs ExpressVPN

Most people wouldn’t pay for a service they don’t fully understand, but this seems to be completely acceptable when it comes to VPNs. This is partly due to how complex the technology is, but for their part, providers could do more to explain their services to new users.

With this in mind, we’ve created a side-by-side comparison of two popular VPNs, Betternet and ExpressVPN. This will explain every aspect of each service in layman’s terms, which should give you a better idea of what you’re actually getting when you sign up.

Can’t choose between Betternet and ExpressVPN?

Having trouble deciding which of these VPNs to use? In that case, why not give ExpressVPN a try? It’s a novice-friendly service with top-tier speeds and a huge degree of flexibility. Plus, it’s currently offering a huge discount on its annual plans.

Note: Betternet is owned by Pango, Comparitech’s parent company. This hasn’t changed our coverage in any way, and all of our observations about either VPN (positive or negative) are backed up by hard evidence. 

Our research involved personally testing each service, diving deep into their privacy policies, and examining their functionality. Here are the results of our Betternet vs ExpressVPN comparison:

Summary: Betternet vs ExpressVPN


  • Very easy for newcomers to use
  • Reasonable speeds
  • Allows torrenting
  • Has a free tier


  • One of the fastest on the market
  • Works in China
  • Exceptionally versatile
  • Easy to install on routers

Betternet vs ExpressVPN pricing

No valueBetternetExpressVPN
Subscription periodsOne month, One year1 month, 6 months, 1 year
Special offer39% off one-year plansThree months free with a 1 year subscription
Highest price per month$12.99$12.95
Lowest monthly cost$7.99 per month$6.67
One year price$95.88 $99.95 (actually for 15 months)
Money back guarantee45 days30 days
Best deal (per month)$7.99
Get 39% off a 12 month plan
SAVE: 49% + 3 months free

At around $13 USD per month, both of these VPNs are on the pricier side. You can, however, cut the cost pretty significantly by signing up for a longer period upfront. ExpressVPN effectively halves its price by offering three months extra and a discount on annual plans, whereas Betternet subscribers who choose the one-year plan save almost 40 percent.

Now, it’s worth noting that Betternet actually offers a limited free plan as well. To take advantage, you’ll have to create an account on the website, download the app, and back out of the payment screen once you open it. There are several limitations, though: you’re restricted to US servers, have a 500 MB daily bandwidth limit, and can only protect one device at a time.

ExpressVPN and Betternet each offer a money-back guarantee. This allows you to try either service out for yourself, claiming a full refund if you’re in any way unsatisfied. Betternet has the edge here, though, with a 45-day guarantee as opposed to ExpressVPN’s 30-day guarantee.

Betternet vs ExpressVPN features

No valueBetternetExpressVPN
Simultaneous Connections108
Devices SupportedWindows, macOS, Android, iOS, ChromeWindows, MacOS, iOS, Android, Linux, Smart TVs, Routers
Manual install devices Certain routers
Free extrasChrome extensionPassword manager (on mobile), ad and tracker-blocking, Smart DNS service. Browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox, Edge, Vivaldi, and Brave
Best deal (per month)$7.99
Get 39% off a 12 month plan
SAVE: 49% + 3 months free

Whichever service you choose, you’ll have access to apps for all of the most popular platforms. That said, if you’re looking to protect less common devices, or secure lots at the same time, ExpressVPN has the advantage. That’s because it offers a command line-based app for Linux as well as its own custom firmware that makes it easier to install on routers. This helps you get around the fairly low five-connection limit, and even lets you secure games consoles or Smart TVs that don’t support VPN apps.

Betternet and ExpressVPN both have browser extensions for Chrome, though these work slightly differently. The former acts as a standalone proxy, securing all traffic from your browser (but crucially, not your other apps). ExpressVPN’s extensions, meanwhile, requires you to have the main app installed and lets you control it directly from your browser.

ExpressVPN also bundles in a Smart DNS service named MediaStreamer that can help you access US-only streaming platforms on devices without full VPN support.

Streaming and Netflix comparison

No valueBetternetExpressVPN
Unblocks Hulu
Unblocks HBO Max
Unblocks Prime Video
Unblocks BBC iPlayer
Unblocks ABC
Unblocks CBS
Unblocks NBC
Unblocks ITV
Unblocks Channel 4
Best deal (per month)$7.99
Get 39% off a 12 month plan
SAVE: 49% + 3 months free

Most streaming services rely on geo-restriction to prevent their content from being accessed outside of specific locations. What’s more, these systems almost always come paired with some form of VPN-detection, making it even harder to stream your favorite shows abroad.

ExpressVPN was able to securely access every platform we tried, and even worked with several Netflix libraries. Betternet didn’t have quite as much success, though it did let us watch content from some pretty high-profile US services. This can take a few tries, though, since not every server seems to be optimized for streaming.


Huge swathes of the internet are inaccessible in China. In fact, the country’s Great Firewall even blocks services that many of us use every day, like Google, Facebook, and Wikipedia. To prevent citizens from bypassing these limitations, the government has also restricted access to VPN tools, and blocked most VPN traffic outright.

ExpressVPN is one of the few services that still works reliably in China. Better still, you don’t even have to change any settings or use specific servers. We’d recommend keeping a copy of the manual setup instructions somewhere safe as you may experience periodic connection issues as the Great Firewall is updated. Unfortunately, according to our latest tests, Betternet doesn’t work at all on the mainland.

Setup and interface

No valueBetternetExpressVPN
Automatic setup wizardWindows, Android, macOS, iOSWindows, macOS, iOS, Android, Linux, Tomato and DD-WRT routers
Main location selectionList-basedList-based
Extra settings pages
Best deal (per month)$7.99
Get 39% off a 12 month plan
SAVE: 49% + 3 months free

Betternet app server interface

Betternet’s interface is as simple as they come. The main page allows you to connect in a single click or select a different location from a list. Unfortunately, you’ll have to scroll through every country since there’s no search bar, but this is a fairly small complaint. The settings menu is very sparse, with just a few options. While this helps keep things neat, we’d have liked to see some kind of explanation as to what the “Exclude domains” feature does, since this could easily confuse new users.

Expressvpn general settings

ExpressVPN is actually pretty similar, though its server list is searchable. You’ll also find your last-used location available on the home screen, along with a suggestion as to which server might be the fastest, based on your location. We really liked how clean the settings menu was – options are well-described and grouped into different tabs. On mobile, you can even run leak tests, check your IP address, and generate strong passwords.

Servers and performance

No valueBetternetExpressVPN
Server countries80+105
Total number of servers1,000+Undisclosed
Best deal (per month)$7.99
Get 39% off a 12 month plan
SAVE: 49% + 3 months free

Neither of these VPNs reveal exactly how many servers they operate but that’s fine since comparing server numbers doesn’t tell the full story anyway. After all, one big well-optimized server could hypothetically outperform a dozen small poorly-configured ones. What’s interesting is that Betternet and ExpressVPN each offer lots of server locations – most paid services only offer around 60.

Both providers make use of virtual servers. These aren’t physically present in their respective country and instead run on a computer located elsewhere in the world. There’s effectively no difference for the user, though this can make it difficult to tell which country’s privacy laws apply to your data. ExpressVPN relies on virtual servers for a few dozen locations, while Betternet exclusively offers virtual locations.

Here’s a list of Betternet’s and ExpressVPN’s server locations:

Bosnia and Herzegovina
Brunei Darussalam
Costa Rica
Czech Republic
Hong Kong
Isle of Man
New Zealand
North Macedonia
South Africa
South Korea
Sri Lanka
United Arab Emirates
United Kingdom
United States

There are a few differences between the available countries. ExpressVPN, for instance, has better coverage across the Middle East, while Betternet can help you get an IP address from countries like China, Russia, or the UAE. Of course, there’s still one burning question to answer: which of these services is faster?

ExpressVPN remains one of the quickest services we’ve tested, though in our most recent tests, its average speed dropped from almost 500 Mbps to around 190 Mbps. In contrast, Betternet averaged just over 50 Mbps. That’s still respectable, and more than enough for day-to-day tasks like streaming, though if you tend to have files downloading while you do other things, ExpressVPN is the better option.

Security comparison

No valueBetternetExpressVPN
VPN protocolsCatapult Hydra, IKEv2, Wireguard (Android only)OpenVPN, Lightway, IKEv2
OpenVPN data encryptionAES-256256-bit AES
OpenVPN control channel encryptionRSA-2048RSA-4096
Kill Switch Desktop only
Private DNS servers
Best deal (per month)$7.99
Get 39% off a 12 month plan
SAVE: 49% + 3 months free

Although both providers support the IKEv2 protocol, they each work with a couple of others too. Betternet has its own protocol, named Catapult Hydra, and WireGuard support (on Android), both of which offer real speed advantages over OpenVPN. ExpressVPN also has a proprietary protocol, Lightway, which is lightweight and able to keep you secure while switching networks. Unlike Hydra, Lightway is open-source, meaning anyone can check it for vulnerabilities.

Both providers use 256-bit AES encryption, which is currently believed to be uncrackable. ExpressVPN authenticates connections with RSA keys that are twice as long as Betternet’s, which means it’s slightly more secure.

No matter which of these VPNs you pick, you’ll be able to let certain apps or websites bypass the VPN unencrypted (a process called split tunneling). Further, both offer a kill switch that stops sending data if your connection drops unexpectedly. Unfortunately, Betternet only offers this on Windows while ExpressVPN only has it in its desktop apps. We were pleased to see that Betternet can automatically connect whenever you use an unsecured wifi network, though.


No valueBetternetExpressVPN
HQ base of operationThe USABritish Virgin Islands
Connection logsSome aggregated dataSome aggregated data
Activity logs No identifying data
User details for signupEmail addressEmail address
Anonymous payment options Bitcoin
Best deal (per month)$7.99
Get 39% off a 12 month plan
SAVE: 49% + 3 months free

The best security in the world doesn’t mean much if your VPN provider keeps detailed logs of your activities. Luckily, neither Betternet nor ExpressVPN does! They do store some diagnostic data, such as how much bandwidth you consume (per session with Betternet and per day with ExpressVPN) and which server location you used, but this can’t be tied to you directly.

ExpressVPN has actually undergone several independent audits to prove its privacy claims. Not only has its privacy policy been vetted, all of its apps have been examined for vulnerabilities. Betternet hasn’t had any audits as yet and the privacy policy on Betternet’s website makes it sound like it collects quite a lot of data, although if you dig deeper, you’ll find that it actually follows the same logging policy as other Pango-owned services like Hotspot Shield. Making this clearer and undergoing an audit would bolster the service’s reputation and provide peace of mind to its users, which can only be a good thing.

Customer service

No valueBetternetExpressVPN
24/7 live chat
Ticket support
Email support
Average email response time2-3 hours49 mins
Searchable knowledge base
Phone support
Video guides
Best deal (per month)$7.99
Get 39% off a 12 month plan
SAVE: 49% + 3 months free

Hopefully, you’ll never need to contact customer support. If something does go wrong, having an easy way to get in touch can be a real lifesaver. ExpressVPN offers 24/7 live chat, a support email address, an expansive set of help articles, and even video walkthroughs on its official YouTube channel.

Betternet could make some improvements in this area. Instead of live chat, it uses a chatbot that redirects you to relevant support articles. There aren’t very many of these, though, and we were unable to get the bot to escalate our complaint to a human. Instead, we had to send an email directly. To the staff’s credit, though, we received a response in a couple of hours.

The winner: ExpressVPN


Apps Available:

  • PC
  • Mac
  • IOS
  • Android
  • Linux


Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS

Betternet and ExpressVPN are both robust services, capable of keeping your online activities hidden. That said, there are a few key reasons that ExpressVPN is better for the average user.

To begin with, it’s almost four times faster. Speed impacts everything from download times to connection stability, so it’s difficult to overstate how important this is. ExpressVPN also works with a wider range of devices, can securely access several popular streaming services, and has no problem with even the strictest online censorship. Considering these VPNs are around the same price, why not choose the more versatile option?

ExpressVPN and Betternet both come with a money-back guarantee. If you’d like to try these services for yourself before making a decision, you can. Just remember to cancel within their respective windows (30 days and 45 days, respectively) to receive a refund.

ExpressVPN Coupon
SAVE: 49% + 3 months free
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Methodology: How we compared Betternet and ExpressVPN

How do you actually go about comparing two VPNs? It’s not enough to simply consider their speed, privacy policy, or interfaces in a vacuum; instead, we have to take a more holistic approach, evaluating every aspect of the service as a whole. To do this, we first identified a few of the most important areas to focus on during our investigation:

  • Network infrastructure: First, we look at the number of server locations since this determines which country’s content you can access. We also investigate whether a provider uses virtual servers and whether their physical servers are RAM-only or not.
  • Security and privacy: Arguably the most important consideration. We check to see if providers are using industry-recognized encryption standards, protocols, and safeguards such as kill switches. We also dive deep into their privacy policy to learn what kind of data they log, and look for any evidence of third-party audits.
  • Versatility: Your VPN has to be able to handle anything, from live streaming to Zoom calls. With that in mind, we run a gauntlet of tests to see how suitable each service is for torrenting, watching TV, browsing anonymously, and gaming. We particularly like those that have servers for different tasks since these remove a lot of the trial and error.
  • Performance: We not only speed test every VPN we try, but we periodically revisit them to track how they’ve improved or declined over time. Our researchers record whether they encountered VPN problems such as freezes, unreliable servers, or unexpected disconnection.
  • User-friendliness: We’re big fans of any VPN that’s easy enough for complete beginners to use. Ideally, it’d have well-described options, a robust support system, apps for all major platforms, and a total lack of connection limits, though any one of these features is a huge plus.
  • Cost-effectiveness: Our team has tested dozens of VPNs and can tell almost immediately if a provider is charging more than is really fair. If there’s a way to lower the cost (such as a long-term discount, promo coupon, or free plan), we’ll let you know. We often test VPN’s money-back guarantees to see if they’re really as easy to take advantage of as advertised.

If you’d like to learn more about our process, check out our VPN testing methodology post.

Frequently asked questions

Does Betternet offer a free trial?

Betternet has a seven-day free trial but it’s not really representative of what you’ll get if you were to sign up. For starters, free users are limited to a single connection and 500 MB of bandwidth per day, plus they can only use servers in the US.

There is a workaround, though. Betternet also offers a 45-day money-back guarantee. You can pay for a one-month subscription, sidestep all of the restrictions above, and test the service out for a significantly longer period of time. If you’re not impressed, just cancel during this window to get your money back.

Which is better for multiple devices: ExpressVPN or Betternet?

At first glance, this is an easy question. Betternet allows 10 simultaneous connections and ExpressVPN allows just five. However, it’s worth mentioning that Betternet cannot be installed on Linux systems or routers. Conversely, ExpressVPN is actually one of the easiest to get running on your router, meaning it’s a great choice for anyone looking to secure traffic from an Xbox, PlayStation, or Raspberry Pi.

Do Betternet and ExpressVPN allow torrenting?

Yes – both of these VPNs allow you to torrent as much as you like, provided you don’t download copyrighted material. Neither supports port forwarding in-app, though if you have ExpressVPN installed on your router, you can configure this manually. If you’d prefer a VPN that can do this natively, we’d suggest giving PrivateVPN or Mullvad a try.