Hotspot Shield VPN Review

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Hotspot Shield is one of the world’s most reliable VPNs with a no logs policy, fast and secure servers, and an automatic kill switch.

By Editorial Team | 23rd October 2018

HotSpot Shield has been in business since 2008 and has grown their user base at a very high rate. Today, with over 650 million users and 2,500 servers in 25 countries, HotSpot Shield is a fast and reliable service that gives users access to a selection of well-encrypted IP addresses. HotSpot Shield has impressive speeds, good pricing and a good number of country locations. The service has proven to be one of the most effectual at hiding data, drastically reducing the risk of interception. Plus, using their protocol Catapult Hydra, HotSpot Shield will also compress your data, which allows for even faster transmission.

Packages Features & Highlights

Hotspot Shield offers three wonderful price packages depending on the users’ needs and intentions. In addition, there is a 7-day free trial and a 45-day money-back guarantee included, which makes everything even more impressive.

They have an exclusive 2-year plan where users can save up to 76% if they chose to be billed every 24 months ($71.76). It is the best deal available on the site as it is affordable and offers all the desirable features.

PlanPrice (per month)
One Month$12.99
Six Months$8.99
Two Years$2.99
Entertainment

One of the great things about HotSpot Shield is that, unlike some of their competitors, they completely and wholeheartedly support anonymous torrenting. All the available servers are P2P-friendly, and with no bandwidth limits, so you’re able to browse, stream or download as much as you like. Therefore, HotSpot Shield is an excellent choice for the more avid torrenters for a safe P2P experience.

Streaming Netflix with HotSpot Shield is slightly more complicated than it is with ExpressVPN or StrongVPN, but if you follow the directions on their site you can still find a server that will work. However, as of December 2017, HotSpot Shield does work with Netflix on U.S. based servers. And the best thing of all: you can use a bunch of your devices at once, as HotSpot Shield supports up to 5 simultaneous connections.

ProsCons
Incredibly fast in most locationsOften doesn’t unblock Netflix
Very easy-to-usePoor customer support service
P2P support on all servers
Apps for Windows, Mac OS X, iOS and Android
What They Offer
  • Superfast VPN service in 97 cities across 78 countries
  • 45-day money-back guarantee
  • Kill switch
  • IPv6 and WebRTC leak protection
  • Browser extensions for Firefox and Chrome
  • Malware detection (Chrome extension only)
  • Ad blocker/tracker and cookie blocker (Chrome extension only)
  • Split tunnelling (Chrome extension only)
  • Apps for Windows, Mac OS X, iOS and Android
  • No data limits or bandwidth limits
  • P2P permitted
Security

In the case of HotSpot Shield, the level of security can be difficult to assess because this VPN provider doesn’t support OpenVPN, IKEv2, L2TP/IPSec or any of the other standard VPN protocols. Instead, it uses its own proprietary Catapult Hydra technology, of which it claims that it has been audited and it’s being used by some major players in the tech sector. Catapult Hydra’s focus is on improving performance, and the encryption side of the protocol uses much the same standards as everyone else.

Their network uses a super secure AES-256 encryption to ensure that all of the data being transmitted to and from your device is completely secure. Furthermore, the service comes with malware protection on its proxy browser, so you can rest assured that your computer will not be exposed to viruses when using HotSpot Shield. It also has patented ways to make your VPN connection look like normal browsing, so it blends in with other online traffic.

Privacy

According to HotSpot Shield, they automatically delete user IP addresses, replacing them with company IP addresses, and therefore protecting user privacy. However, you should be aware that HotSpot Shield VPN is under fire after a recent file by the Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT) claimed that HotSpot Shield was collecting user data, actively injecting JavaScript codes for advertising and intercepting traffic in order to redirect users to e-commerce sites. Although HotSpot Shield maintains that they do not retain logs of online activity, the CDT insists that they violated their privacy policies and now it’s up to the FTC to investigate the case.

Censorship

You can definitely use HotSpot Shield to get around censorship in regions where common Internet services are blocked or to access catch-up TV and video-streaming services which are normally locked to a specific region.

HotSpot Shield has in fact been used to bypass Internet censorship in countries with strict internet censorship programs. For example, during the Arab Spring protests in 2010, protesters used HotSpot Shield to access social networking tools to communicate and upload videos. HotSpot Shield was also widely used during the Egyptian protests and revolution in 2011.

Servers, Speed and Performance

As we’ve mentioned, rather than using some of the more traditional protocols, HotSpot Shield uses Catapult Hydra, a proprietary protocol that compresses data, allowing it to be transmitted very quickly. This means that HotSpot Shield can perform at insanely fast speeds.

This sounds amazing, but maybe it comes with a price – such speeds raise some questions about the strength of the encryption that HotSpot Shield has implemented, so just keep that in mind.

Ease of Use

It’s incredibly easy to install and set up HotSpot Shield. There is no configuration required for its use – all you need to do is the installation. Of course, you have options available if you want to configure it according to your network. Moreover, adjusting your preferences is super easy, thanks to HotSpot Shield’s user-friendly and intuitive interface.

Help and Support

HotSpot Shield’s customer support service isn’t one of the service’s strong points. While they offer an admittedly exhaustive list of troubleshooting resources and guides, their customer support team is all but non-existent. If you’re having an issue, the only way to get in contact with their support team is through the ticket system. It’s obvious that customer support is under strain due to the massive number of user that the VPN has. Therefore, consumers experiencing problems would be wise to first attempt to solve them using the knowledge base in the HotSpot Shield Help Center.

About Hotspot Shield

HotSpot Shield is a VPN utility developed by AnchorFree Inc. AnchorFree’s U.S. headquarters are located at 1800 Seaport Blvd., Redwood City, CA 94063. Its CEO is David Gorodyanksy and the CTO is Eugene Malobrodsky – they are also the company’s co-founders. The software was first released in April 2008 for Windows and macOS operating systems and was expanded to include support for iOS and Android in 2011 and 2012, respectively. In total, more than 500 million users around the globe have installed the BPN.

Reviewed by
Editorial Team
Our Editorial Team is constantly watching for new and exciting services to report on. They aim to bring balanced, honest reviews to the site to give you the best comparisons and ensure you have the knowledge to choose the product right for you. Read more.
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