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Hotspot Shield Review – Should you subscribe to this VPN service?

Kelly Avatar By: Kelly | Last updated January 9, 2020

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Hotspot Shield is a VPN service used for making its user anonymous while online. It is one of the most used VPNs, amassing 600+ million users while having servers in up to 55+ countries. This number of servers allows them to take in huge numbers of daily traffic and proves their quality as a service provider.

HotSpot Shield is known for fast internet speeds. It can support high speeds downloads, video streaming, and online gaming while giving anonymity to users. Aside from this, they are also equipped with features for maximum user-friendliness, including a live chat support and P2P support system.

Aside from this, they can also bypass Netflix’s geo-restrictions. This is a big deal for those who are specifically buying a VPN service to access shows that are limited to certain countries. Aside from Netflix, it can also be used for Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, and Hulu.

Reviewing HotSpot Shield

To review the VPN, we will analyze four important factors: speed, security, features, and customer support.

Speed

Whenever using a VPN, it is almost expected for the internet speed of the computer to be lessened. This is because these services make your computer go through a series of tunnels and encryptions which slow down the rate of exchange of information while ensuring your anonymity.

HotSpot Shield is one of the fastest VPN products because of its unique Catapult Hydra protocol. As defined on their website, it is a system that has the same level of security as the IPsec and OpenVPN protocols but with better speeds. This is because these mentioned industry-standard products are known for having latency issues.

Upon testing with a computer in the USA, the following are the results:

  • Original internet speed: Download– 70 mpbs, Upload – 6 mpbs
  • USA Server: Download– 58 mbps, Upload – 5.5 mbps
  • UK Server: Download– 60 mpbs, Upload – 4 mbps
  • Singapore Server: Download– 65 mpbs, Upload – 2 mbps

These results show that Hotspot Shield has high download speeds. You should note that speeds are usually decreased by two factors: the number of people connected to the server and the distance of the server from the location of access.

With the USA server, both download and upload speeds are high.

High speeds in Europe for downloads shows a high quality of service as it is further from the location of access. Upload speeds are lower, though.

When connecting to a server that is on the opposite side of the globe from your location, download speeds are expected to be cut to half. Hotspot Shield was able to give high speeds of download that are even higher than the US server, which is excellent. The only number that was reduced significantly was the upload speed that went down by 4 Mbps.

Torrenting

It should be noted that not all VPNs allow torrenting on their servers. Hotspot Shield is an exception. You can also torrent with any device platform you will use the VPN on. With this, you can hide your IP address and prevent third-parties from seeing your P2P activities. This includes your ISP.

Torrenting with Hotspot Shield also comes with high speeds.

Security

To make sure that your information will not leak online, you will need to look for any signs of IP or DNS leaks. This can happen whenever you are browsing through websites that will try to look for your location sometimes without consent.

Using a VPN allows you to have a fake location that can be as far as a country halfway across the globe.

Upon testing, we discovered that Hotspot Shield has a reliable VPN service that has no IP or DNS leaks.

Encryption

The encryption of the VPN keeps all the data you upload online safe and not accessible by a hacker. The encryption used by Hotspot Shield is AES 256-bit encryption. This is known for its perfect forward secrecy which constantly changes the encryption key. 

The encryption key is used to access data that is encrypted. By constantly changing it, you are still guaranteed to have a secure data even when one of your sessions is hacked.

Aside from the high level of security, you are also guaranteed high speeds of connection because of the use of the Catapult Hydra protocol.

Logging

An important but frequently ignored part of a VPN is the logging of user information. Users should note that Hotspot Shield’s headquarter is in the USA. The country is a part of the 5/9/14-eyes alliance that makes it legal for companies to keep information from its users.

Hotspot Shield promises its users that they do not keep logs of the online activity of users. However, they still collect some information such as the real IP address of the users (which are deleted after every session), your username, your e-mail address, your mobile ID, the language you are using, the version of your operating system, and the hardware model you are using to access the internet.

If these are risk factors for you, Hotspot Shield VPN is not advised for you.

Features

The following are the features of Hotspot Shield VPN:

  • Encryption– It uses an AES 256-bit encryption along with its unique Catapult Hydra Protocol that ensures the security of your data.
  • Leak protection– Hotspot ShieldVPN is free from any IP or DNS leaks.
  • Malware protection– Aside from protecting your anonymity, you are also protected from any malware you may get online.
  • Kill-switch feature -In case of a security breach which the VPN cannot protect you from, it will immediately end the browsing session. This prevents you from being hacked even further. This feature is exclusive for Windows users only.
  • Chrome browser extension– Those who use the Google Chrome browser can also add the extension for further protection.
  • Mobile application– It has a mobile application to help you remain anonymous while browsing through your mobile phone.

Customer Support

Hotspot Shield has a live chat support that is available 24/7. Their representatives are informed and friendly through all our inquiries. You can also submit a support ticket to ask for help. Their website has a Help Center if you want to fix any problems by yourself.

Hotspot Shield uses a minimalist design for both its computer and mobile application. It is straightforward and can be learned to be used at first try. Its buttons are intuitive.

There are four subscription plans for Hotspot Shield that differ based on length of use.

It also has a free version that has limitations in terms of use. It has ads on it and can only be connected to the US server. Aside from this, you cannot stream any content from it and your browsing is only limited to 500 mb. The level of security and encryption it provides is still the same, though.

You can also use the 7-day free trial for the premium version if you want to use the application without restrictions.

They have a 45-day refund guarantee. 

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