Hotspot Shield VPN – 76% OFF
Ease of use and incredible speed are two of many highlights HotSpot Shield VPN offers to their user-base. With 650 million downloads it is one of the most trusted VPN services in the world. It is popular also thanks to strong encryption and some decent privacy features. Netflix unblocking is not so reliable, though. If you need Netflix or BBC, then we rather recommend to look further at some other VPNs. Express VPN or NordVPN should do the magic.
AnchorFree’s Hotspot Shield Premium is the commercial edition of the company’s hugely ad-sponsored free VPN service. Paying to upgrade will get rid of the ads and give you unlimited data transfer and full access to Hotspot Shield’s locations and other features.
AnchorFree, the maker of Hotspot Shield, one of the oldest VPN apps, was founded in 2005 and is based in Redwood City, California. It recently raised $295 million what brings AnchorFree’s total funding to $358 million, far outpacing any of its competitors.
Techradar’s verdict: There’s a lot to like about Hotspot Shield, especially its ease of use and raw speed, but if you’re looking for low prices, router support or Netflix access, it could be a different story.
What is a VPN?
A virtual private network, or VPN, extends across a public or shared network, and acts like a tunnel so you can exchange data securely and anonymously across the internet as if you were connected directly to a private network.
What many people don’t know is your home Wi-Fi network can be just as unsafe as a Public Wi-Fi network. Additional layers of security are needed to keep hackers, cyber criminals, and data thieves at bay. A VPN provides the privacy and data security you need. What are the main benefits of a VPN?
- Helps you avoid censorship blocks
- Masks your IP address
- Hides your physical location
- Encrypts data between your computer and the VPN server
- Does not log your browsing activity
- Allows you to access popular streaming services like Netflix and YouTube from other countries
Speed is just wow!
Superb speeds of up to 100Mbps were seen in couple other reviews on local connections and we can confirm it is indeed fast, very fast VPN. On some of the servers (Sweden, Switzerland, Brazil) HotSpot Shield VPN recorded the fastest speeds we’ve seen with any other network.
Hotspot Shield outperformed all of their competitors on all European and Asian servers in most of the tests. Their results were truly impressive and performance stellar. If you plan to regularly connect to distant servers, Hotspot Shield just might be one of the best VPNs around.
It’s by far one of the fastest providers we’ve seen, meaning you’ll be able to stream Full HD content on multiple devices (up to 5) without any slowdown. Fast upload speeds and low latency on most local connections are great for torrenters and gamers too.
Servers and their locations
The number of servers indicates the service’s robustness. The more servers there are, the more bandwidth each person connected to a given server will receive. The number of server locations is also important, but even more is geographic diversity. A lot of different server locations gives you more opportunities to spoof your location, and it also means you’re more likely to find a nearby server when traveling.
Hotspot Shield has over 2,500 servers spread throughout 27 countries. This number is not so impressive, we’ve seen larger networks, but Hotspot Shield does spread its locations more widely than some of its competitors, with options including Australia, Brazil, China, India, Israel, Japan, Korea, Mexico, New Zealand, Pakistan and Russia, as well as North America and Europe. All of the VPN servers are physically located exactly where they appear to be.
Privacy and encryption
Hotspot Shield VPN does not log your browsing activity. Almost all Internet Service Providers (ISPs) track your browsing history. So when you use a VPN like Hotspot Shield, there is no record of the websites you have visited and which apps you use. This prevents hackers from exploiting vulnerabilities in these websites/apps to get to your personal information.
Your data is encrypted between your device and the VPN server. Hotspot Shield offers top-rate encryption (AES-256) as well as a VPN kill switch. Kill switch is very useful feature you can make good use of. It stops all data from being sent to the internet until a secure VPN connection has been re-established.
On the other hand with HotSpot Shield you can’t decide to connect using a specific VPN protocol, but need to rely on the one baked into the app – HydraVPN. The level of security offered by this protocol isn’t completely clear, so we can’t make a definitive call on how it measures up to OpenVPN (which is pretty much standard these days).
Netflix and torrenting
One of the great things about Hotspot Shield is that, unlike some of their competitors, they completely and wholeheartedly support anonymous torrenting. The service fully supports P2P on all servers, so once you’ve connected with any of the clients (Windows, Mac, Android or iOS), you’re ready to start downloading.
Netflix makes great efforts to block VPNs and is the most difficult streaming site to access. The streaming company has recently been very aggressive about cracking down on people spoofing their location in order to access Netflix content that isn’t available in a particular geographic market. Streaming Netflix with Hotspot Shield is slightly more complicated than it is with ExpressVPN or StrongVPN, however, if you follow the directions on their site you can still find a server that will work. Netflix access can vary from week to week, though, so this isn’t a completely definitive verdict. If you’re interested in Hotspot Shield, try their generous 7-day free trial to see, if it works for you.
Amazing user experience
You can’t really get much simpler than the custom apps offered by Hotspot Shield. Connection time is incredibly quick, so no frustrating wait. It shows you your new location and IP address, along with info about your data usage.
Experienced VPN users looking for many custom settings to play with will need to look elsewhere, but Hotspot Shield is absolutely ideal for novice VPN users who don’t want any hassle to get the best connection.
The interface is a dark, almost empty, the only feature is a large On/ Off button in its center with a caption underneath saying: ‘Click the button to start connection.’ Follow the instructions and you’re automatically connected to the service within a few seconds. A map appears underneath showing your new virtual location and IP address, and a couple of figures keep you up-to-date on the total amount of data you’ve uploaded and downloaded. It all looks great and is very well presented.
Hotspot Shield is robust VPN service with incredibly sleek, modern, user-friendly apps, super fast speeds and plenty of great features to keep any VPN user (beginner/advanced) happy. It’s very reasonably priced, if you opt for one of the longer plans, and a generous 45-day money-back guarantee gives you enough time to decide, if this is your new VPN.