There are many uses for a virtual private network. The first and most important one is to protect your identity and data every time you are online. This is especially important when you are using public WiFi networks to go online, because they are unsafe and oftentimes easy to hack.
Another benefit of virtual private networks is their capacity to bypass censorship. A lot of countries restrict certain platforms such as YouTube, Facebook, streaming platforms such as Netflix and certain games. VPNs give you the chance to change your IP address by connecting to servers from anywhere in the world. This way, you can bypass geo-restrictions of any type, by connecting to a server in the right location and making it look like you are located somewhere else than in reality. You can connect to a server in Amesterdam even though your physical location is in fact China, Mexico, Russia, etc.
A lot of users choose to use a VPN to maintain their anonymity when they are using torrents. By changing your IP, you become significantly more difficult if not impossible to track down.
Hotspot Shield Overview - Is this a good VPN?
Hotspot Shield is a VPN provider offered by AnchorFree, a company headquartered in Silicon Valley. AnchorFree also has offices in Ukraine and in Russia.
Hotspot Shield VPN was first launched for Macs and Windows devices, in 2008. A few years later, the company also released the mobile versions of the VPN, for both iOS and Android and a VPN for Chrome.
Hotspot Shield currently boasts on being used by more than 650 million users worldwide.
What is the pricing of Hotspot Shield?
Hotspot Shield offers 3 options when it comes to its available subscriptions. You can sign up for their 1-month plan, for a 1-year plan or for a 2-year plan.
The 1-month plan is priced at $12.99 per month.
The 1-year plan is priced at $9.99 per month.
The 2-year plan is priced at $8.99 per month.
Once you decide on a plan, you have to provide your e-mail address and the preferred payment method. You can choose between PayPal, credit/debit card (VISA, MasterCard, American Express, Discover, JCB), NeoSurf, mint and other options.
Their plans come with Hotspot Shield’s 45-day money back guarantee.
What makes Hotspot Shield such a popular VPN is the fact that in addition the paid plans, it also offers a free version of the VPN. However, just like all other free VPNs, this one also has its limitations.
The free VPN offered by Hotspot Shield limits you to only 500 MB per day, as suppose to unlimited bandwidth, for their paid plans. Also, with the free version you can only connect to the servers in the US. Other shortcomings are the fact that it includes ads and there is no 24/7 tech support offered, like with the paid plans. On the bright side though, this VPN offers the same military-grade encryption just like the paid one, which means it is reliable when it comes to security.
The free VPN works on all the common devices, such as Windows, Mac, iOS, Android.
What does Hotspot Shield bring to the table when it comes to features?
Hotspot Shield has a large number of servers available. There are 3,200 servers in more than 70 countries. They have servers in the Americas (US, Canada, Mexico, Brasil), Europe (UK, Germany, France, Russia, Denmark, Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, Sweden, Italy and more), Asia (China, Hong Kong, India, Japan), Middle East (Iran, Turkey, UAE), Oceania (Australia, New Zeeland).
As we/ve mentioned it, this VPN uses military-grade encryption (256-bit AES) for both its free plan and the paid ones. They also have security features such as an automatic kill-switch and DNS leak protection.
This VPN allows up to 5 simultaneous devices on a single account, which is within the industry standard.
When it comes to speed, Hotspot Shield is a tough competitor. Speed tests have revealed download speeds of over 90 Mbps on servers in Europe (over 95 Mbps on London server) and approximately 80 Mbps in Hong Kong. US servers were considerably slower, around 30 Mbps. Overall though, these are impressive speeds that make this VPN provider one of the fastest on the market.
Back on good news, Hotspot Shield is torrenting-friendly and it can successfully unlock Netflix.