- Easy to Install: It is a one click install for the extensions as well as the mobile applications. The client is good to go right after the installation if the user is already subscribed to the service.
- Fast Speeds: The speed for the fastest server is as good as the original speed on the service. The users can expect a fast and reliable connection on the network.
- 36 Server Locations: With so many server locations, the users can easily bypass a lot of the geo restrictions, and the traffic density should also not cause any trouble with so many server locations in place
- Data-logging: The service provider has mentioned that there will be logging of some personal information while using the service. The details of this collected data is not discussed which leaves the user unsure about the product.
- Customer Support: The customer services are not the best one for the product. You may have to wait for long hours for the reply, and then also may end up with irrelevant responses.
Browsec LLC is a company based in Russia, and their VPN service Browsec is primarily focused on browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox, and Opera. The service is also available for mobile applications on Play Store and App Store.
There is not much information about the company or the product on the internet, and the Russian jurisdiction adds up to the confusion.
The huge userbase of the product on Chrome and Play Store indicates that the product is catering to the needs of the users.
In this review we will try to find out some of the unknown and unheard facts about the product out of all this haziness around the product.
We will also try to analyze if the product is truly a VPN service or just a proxy service to change the IP address and by pass certain geo restrictions.
Having a lot of servers in the VPN network has a lot of advantages as well. It provides the user with more access options, reduces the traffic density on each server, and helps in bypassing a lot more geo restrictions as well.
More number of servers also mean that the user is more likely to be located close to a server, and hence he/she will get better speeds even after connecting with the network.
When it comes to Browsec, they have 36 servers in their network which are can be accessed by the premium subscription customers. However, these are only virtual servers if you are using the browser extensions and can help only with the masking of the IP and thus help bypass the geo restrictions.
Most of the server locations are in Europe, and the rest are scattered across North America, Asia, and Middle East.
Bandwidth and Speed
One of the major reasons for the popularity of Browsec is the speed that it provides to the user after connecting to the network.
The speeds on the browser extensions are easy to attain as there is no encryption involved, and there is merely masking of the IP address. The users can experience almost the same speed before and after connection if they are using the browser extensions on the desktop.
On the other hand, the high speeds achieved on the Browsec mobile applications is very impressive.
We did the speed test for the mobile VPN service, and the results were very encouraging. We achieved speeds around 95% of the original speeds for the geographically closest server.
The speed is as good as the initial speed, and the uses should not face speed issues while connected to the network.
The speeds for the far away located servers was equally impressive, and the user can make the most out of his/her high-speed internet plan while connected to the network.
Winning the trust of the users is generally one of the major concerns of the VPN services, and that is why they try to safekeep the user’s personal information and privacy on the internet. Most of their privacy policies also reflect the same.
But it seems that we have got an exception in the form of Browsec. The company does not seems interested in protecting the user’s data at all.
They have declared that they take no responsibility if any of the user’s personal data is leaked or mishandled while he/she is using the service.
They do collect user’s personal information as well. They were not specific at all as to what is this personal information. The data which can be possibly logged can be anything from the user’s personal IP address to the user’s activity on the internet while using the service.
The fact that the company comes under the Russian jurisdiction, does not helps at all since it is a communist nation, and sharing of information under a communist regime is not a far fledged notion by any means.
Apart from the logging of this data while using the service, there is always some data collection when the person subscribes to the service. This data will generally include the email address of the user, the transaction details, and the location of the user.
When the person visits the website of the service provider, there will be some cookies and data analytics services involved which will again store some information about the user and his/her device.
The data collected by the analytics service may not be personal data and it is generally to improve the services being provided by analyzing the customer behavior.
However, there is minimal information about the data which is being collected on the website, and the users need to be cautious while vising the official website of the service.
In order to operate smoothly, the mobile applications generally ask for some permissions from the users before the installation.
These permissions can be regarding the usage of network, access to contacts, permissions to change settings etc. The VPN applications also need some permissions, and the user grants all the required permissions to the app when he/she downloads it.
The fact worth noticing here is that VPN apps are intended towards safekeeping user’s internet traffic and data. To do that the app will require access to all the user’s internet traffic and data.
The app can reroute and encrypt user’s data only after getting these permissions.
However, not many users will bother to make sure that the service is not rerouting the traffic through some third-party servers, which may log user’s personal information.
The users can’t be blamed at large as many of them don’t have the knowledge or expertise to do such investigations.
But there have been instances when it was found that VPN apps were found indulged in activities such as selling the customer’s data to third parties and sometimes even injecting the user’s devices with malware.
It is advisable that the users should at least go through the various permissions that the app seeks before downloading, so that the user has information of the risks involved if the app is not a good one after all.
Browsec seeks permission to have full network access, inspect network connections, access contacts, prevent phone from sleeping etc.
Once the user provides full network access to the application, the service provider can reroute all the user’s traffic at will through any server. But users also need to understand that it is impossible to provide a VPN cover without the grant of this permission.
The increase in the popularity of the VPN services showcases that the users are lot more concerned about their privacy and online security these days.
And they have a lot of reasons for acting so concerned as there are so many groups and individuals who are constantly trying to compromise personal information of the users for their own gains.
Mobile VPNs don’t have the reputation of being the most secured ones. But, since we spend a lot of our time on these mobile devices daily, it is of utmost importance that these devices have some security cover when connected to the internet.
The browser extensions provided by Browsec are good at masking the IP addresses, but it is not among the safest ways to keep the data safe when using internet browsers.
The general VPN software do a much better job of safekeeping the user’s data by having robust encryptions and safer protocols.
Browsec uses HTTPS proxy over TLS protocol for the browser extensions. The proxy service does its job very well, but the users should not forget that it is just a proxy service and not a full-fledged VPN service.
Things are merrier if we look at the mobile applications of Browsec for Android and iOS devices.
They encrypt the data with 256-bit encryption which is the highest-grade encryption currently available. The users will not be able to get anything better for encrypting the data.
When it comes to protocol, then Browsec provides IPSec for mobile applications.
There are no other added security features to protect the users from malware and other malicious content on the internet.
They have not provided any adblockers as well, and we saw certain customer reviews which complained a lot about the ad injecting methods used by Browsec on its free service.
User Interface and Experience
The user interface only reflects what the product has to offer, and that too happens only if the user interface has been designed in the correct manner.
The product at hand has not got much functionality, and the only relevant choice for the users to make in the client is to choose between the server locations.
There is no option available to change the protocol or encryption like it is available in case of desktop VPN products.
One feature that might be useful to some of the users is the ‘Smart Settings’ feature on Browsec.
With the help of this feature, the user can always either turn on the VPN for selected websites or turn off the VPN for selected websites or select many websites and use different server locations for all of them.
The only other options for the user are the toggle switches to use the product for WebRTC connection and change the time zone according to the preferred server.
The user interface seems does not seems dynamic at all but that can be attributed to the fact that the product has not got much in store for the user.
They could have made the product richer by adding features such as ad blocker and track blockers in the extension. With the current features and functionality, the user interface can’t cater much to the user.
Platforms and Devices
The product is available for Chrome, Firefox, and Opera browsers. It is also available on Android and iOS devices.
The product is virtually same for all the three browsers on which it is available as an extension, and the same goes for the mobile applications as well.
The users can use the service on 5 devices simultaneously. However, the extension on every browser is equivalent of one device.
The users should never face any troubles while downloading the client on either of the platforms as it a walk in the park to download such apps and extensions.
A good customer support is essential if the service wants to project itself as a transparent one. Transparency makes the users trust the service, and VPN services are a lot dependent on user’s trust.
However, we did not saw much attempts to come of as a transparent organization from this Russian service provider.
The information about the product on the official website and in the product descriptions, is very vague and barely even scratch the surface if one wants to know more about the product.
The FAQ section had only 3 questions which had two-line answers, and this reflects how non-informative the support section was.
We tried contacting the service provider in our quest to know more about the product, and it was not a joy ride at all.
The initial replies we got form the customer support team after long waits extending up to a whole day, were vague and irrelevant for what we wanted to know.
After a few more mails and lot more waiting, we were finally able to dig out some information about the product.
They need to make the support page a lot more informative. The product descriptions on App Store and Play Store should also contain more relevant information about the product rather than some vague claims.
The support team is active in the review section of the Play Store, but it is tough to get to know technical details from them.
The service can improve the customer support mechanism which would help them gain the ever-essential user’s trust.
The services offered by the provider for browsers and mobile applications are entirely different.
While the browser extensions are merely proxy service, the mobile applications are what one can call a true VPN service.
If we keep this different aside, there are some common advantages and disadvantages of having the product on both the platforms.
The biggest achievement of the service must be the speeds which it is providing on extensions as well as on the apps.
However, data logging should be the biggest concern of the users using either of the services of the Browsec. We found no reason to entrust Browsec with our data during the whole reviewing process.
The users should take enough precautions to not transmit sensitive information through the network.
The product also lacks additional features such as ad blocking which many other services are providing.
If they work on gaining the customer’s trust and become more transparent, it will be easier for us to recommend the product to the users.