Hotspot Shield is a VPN provider developed by AnchorFree, a company based in San Francisco. The first apps were created in 2008, initially compatible just with Macs and Windows devices. During the next years though, Hotspot Shield also developed apps for iOS and Android.
Hotspot Shield’s reputation is overall good and this VPN is currently used by more than 650 million users, with their number continually growing. The only criticism received by Hotspot Shield is related to their logging policy and privacy. This company has been accused in the past of leaking user data.
Hotspot Shield has a large number of servers, more than 3200 globally, spread in over 70 countries worldwide. It has 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).
These servers are accessible to all the users who subscribe for paid plans (also referred to as their Premium VPN). Hotspot Shield also offers a free VPN, but it only lets you connect to servers in the United States.
As we’ve already mentioned it, Hotspot Shield started with apps just for macOS and Windows. Now it also has apps for mobile devices (iOS and Android) and for Chrome. However, it does have its shortcomings, as it is not compatible with routers, gaming systems, Linux, smart TVs.
The free plan
The fact that Hotspot Shield has a free plan is a bonus, as it is not something all VPNs offer. But just like with any freebies, you will find limitations and drawbacks.
The free VPN offered by Hotspot Shield is great for casual users who may need a VPN for occasional use and mostly just for security reasons. The free plan only lets you connect to servers in the US.
Another limitation is bandwidth, because with the free plan, you only get 500 MB per day. You can’t stream any content either, because you will be asked for money.
And of course, you will be bombarded with ads with the free version, which is a non-existent issue with the paid plans.
Security and privacy
Hotspot Shield does a good job in protecting you online and uses military-grade encryption. It also offers some useful security features, such as an automatic kill-switch (in case your VPN drops unexpectedly) and DNL leak protection.
However, the story changes when it comes to privacy and their logging policy. The first sign of alarm is the fact that the company is based in the US, which is a founding member of the FVEY (Five Eyes alliance).
Features to consider
Hotspot Shield allows 5 simultaneous devices on a single account, even with their free VPN.
This VPN offers unlimited bandwidth and anonymous browsing (but only with the paid plans).
Hotspot Shield can unlock Netflix and other streaming platforms.
It allows torrenting on all its servers and it’s a great VPN for P2P sharing, thanks to its great speeds. In fact, Hotspot Shield is one of the fastest VPNs on the market right now and has managed to obtaining impressive download and upload scores, on both local and international servers.
As for its user-friendliness, Hotspot Shield has a very simple and straightforward interface with a one-click connection feature.
The settings can be accessed from the top-left and you can manually connect to a location. You can also see a world map and choose another location while you are connected to a certain server.
Overall, Hotspot Shield is a competitive VPN provider that has a lot going on in its favor: it has impressive speeds, a generous money-back guarantee, it offers reliable security tools, it works with Netflix and it offers a free plan.
Hotspot Shield has a free proxy and a free VPN, in addition to its paid plans. The paid plans are: the 1-month plan, priced at $12.99 per month, the 1-year plan, priced at $5.99 per month and the 3-year plan, priced at $2.99 per month. All these plans come with an above the average 45-day money back guarantee. This lets you test the product for 45 days and if you are not satisfied with the VPN, you get a full refund.
As for the payment methods, Hotspot Shield accepts credit cards (VISA, MasterCard, American Express, Discover, JCB), PayPal and others. The payment process is very simple and quick. You select your desired plan, you enter your e-mail address, you choose your preferred payment method and that’s it.
Compared to other VPNs, the price of Hotspot Shield is a bit high for the monthly subscription, so it would be more affordable to sign up for the 1-year or the 3-year plan.
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