Hotspot Shield started out as a relatively small VPN service that couldn’t face serious competitors such as NordVPN, ExpressVPN and other major industry leaders. When it was first launched, as a Windows client and macOS client (in the year 2008), it had just a few servers and not as many working features as now. It wasn’t that efficient in unblocking restricted content, so Netflix couldn’t really be accessed with this VPN.
As this service began to grow, so did its capabilities. Nowadays, Hotspot Shield is one of the fastest VPNs on the market and has thousands of available servers all around the world.
Hotspot Shield currently has over 3,200 servers worldwide, covering all the important areas of the globe: the Americas: (US, Canada, Mexico, Brazil), 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).
When it comes to speed, Hotspot Shield is a really fast VPN provider and can easily compete with major players on the market. One reason why this VPN service is so fast is the fact that it uses its own protocol, the Catapult Hydra, which increases your performance while still keeping you safe while you surf the internet.
This VPN uses military-grade encryption and also offers an automatic kill-switch, in case your VPN connection drops.
Hotspot Shield doesn’t support the common protocols though, such as OpenVPN, L2TP and so on. But even so, the VPN has managed to obtain very impressive results so far in speed tests, regardless of the servers you opt for. Hotspot Shield proves to be well above average in performance tests, when you connect to both near-by servers and to long-distance ones.
Another quality of this VPN is the fact that it has a torrenting-friendly policy and if you opt for a paid plan, you won’t have any limitations in bandwidth so you can download as much as you want, at pretty impressive speeds.
Streaming restricted content has also considerably improved with Hotspot Shield. Recent tests showed that the VPN can now unblock Netflix in a lot of areas and other streaming services as well, such as Hulu, Amazon Prime and more.
You could still have problems using the VPN if you live in an area on the globe where VPNs are not allowed though: Turkey, Pakistan, China and others.
No matter how reliable a VPN is, it is useless if it’s not versatile as well. We use a lot of types of devices to connect to the internet, so the VPN has to be compatible with as many of them as possible. Hotspot Shield offers dedicated apps for Windows, macOS, iOS, Android and a browser extension for Chrome.
The interface of the apps is very user-friendly for all of them and a lot of the features are one-click away, so you can easily turn them on and off.
There are two ways to go when it comes to Hotspot Shield. You can either use the free version of the VPN or you can upgrade to the Premium one and choose one of their three available subscription plans.
The free VPN is especially useful to test the service but it does have its limitations. You are not offered 24/7 technical assistance as with the paid options. You are also limited in bandwidth and you don’t have access to all the servers. There will also be ads displayed constantly, which can get frustrating.
The paid version of the service comes with 3 plans: a 1-month plan, a 1-year plan and a 2-year plan.
The 1-month plan is of course the priciest one, billed at $12.99 per month.
The 1-year plan has a price of $7.99.
The 2-year plan is the most cost effective one and it is priced at $6.99 per month.
Once you’ve chosen a plan, you enter a valid email address and they will email you a receipt.
You can choose between two payment methods: credit/debit cards and PayPal.
Hotspot Shield offers a generous 45-day money back guarantee with all its plans.