Intro

Hotspot Shield has over 500 million customers, and is, therefore, one of the more recognisable VPNs out there. They claim to be “the most trusted solution” on the net. Developed by AnchorFree, Inc, Hotspot Shield has a special place in the heart of many, namely because it was the VPN of choice when millions of people decided to rebel against government censorship during the Arab Spring protests. The software has also played a crucial part in protecting against the Flashback Virus in the US and Europe. Such powerful advertising hasn’t done this VPN’s reputation any harm at all.

First developed in 2008 for Windows and Mac laptop and desktop computers, the software can now be used on iOS (Apple) and Android-powered devices, such as smartphones and tablets. Known for its superior encryption, high connection speeds, and its ability to allow users to pay for it in numerous ways, Hotspot Shield has become a firm favourite amongst many daily computer users.

Value

Unlike many of their competitors, there are two versions of Hotspot Shield VPN available: a free version and a full, paid version, known as Elite. Both formats are known to run on iOS, Android, Mac and Windows-powered devices. It is worth noting that when using the free version of Hotspot Shield, users will not only experience a reduction of the available bandwidth but also encounter a paywall when trying to stream from foreign Netflix websites and other streaming domains. The way around this is to buy the Elite edition.

There are several ways you can purchase the Elite edition of Hotspot Shield. Over a month it costs $12.99, but you can save 31% off ($8.99 per month) with the 6-month option. Savings of 53% are yours if you pay annually, at a cost $5.99 per month. Many users who already trust and use the service opt for the unlimited package, giving you unfettered access to Hotspot Shield forever, a steal at $119.99. If you purchase the Elite edition and it doesn’t tick your boxes, Hotspot Shield VPN comes with a 45-day money back guarantee policy. That is far superior to similar offers their rivals may carry.

Reliability and Security

As with any software, users who are trying their hand at the free version of Hotspot Shield will notice that the software is a little jumpy compared to the paid version. That is especially true during peak hours when there are more local users of the software. You can speed things up by checking out the speed of your own internet connection and service provider, as well as the VPN location you’re trying to connect to. If you’re going to tinker with all of that, though, you might as just buy the full, paid version of Hotspot Shield.

Hotspot Shield hasn’t had everything their own way, though. In February 2018, it was discovered that an information disclosure bug could disclose a user’s actual location. Hotspot Shield VPN is believed to have since corrected this issue, but it may raise further questions about the “data policy” regarding ads we mentioned earlier.

Support

Customer support is available for Hotspot Shield, with users able to access it between 9 am and 5 pm US time via telephone. Hotspot Shield users are arguably going to have a better time using the live chat service offered by their website, which is available around the clock. If you are having smaller issues that require less assistance, then an FAQ could help you in that department. A blog can also be found which details some of the newer features to appear in the VPN package.

Features

One of Hotspot Shield VPN’s most attractive features is its speed. Their Hydra protocol allows users to obtain improved speed and performance over longer-distance connections. At the same time, it also decreases the time necessary to acquire a private connection. Despite being widely regarded by many as offering the quickest VPN service, users may experience limited bandwidth when using the free version. As for the connections themselves, Hotspot Shield can run up to 5 connections at the same time, and it uses its own DNS servers via AnchorFree.

Hotspot Shield VPN uses both 128-bit and 256-bit AES encryption and does not keep any logs of your activity. When using the free version of this software, you can expect ads, but that is true of almost any free software. It certainly sounds as though Hotspot Shield would keep information if they are targeting free users with ads, but Hotspot Shield has released a privacy policy statement on their website which categorically states that none of the data is identifiable. You’ll have to take their word on that.

Hotspot Shield VPN can offer multi-device support, an ad-free internet browsing experience (in the paid edition), dedicated customer support, cloud-based malware protection for your systems, and access to virtual locations across the globe. With none of your activity logged or collected; downloading songs and videos, streaming from alternative Netflix and Hulu sites, and browsing the internet anonymously has never been easier, or safer.

Conclusion

Hotspot Shield VPN may have one or two kinks that need ironing out as mentioned, but overall, this is the VPN package to aim for if you want insanely fast connections but haven’t got hundreds of dollars to throw on a virtual private network.