Hotspot Shield VPN is a popular service with just enough unusual and interesting features to make it stand out from the competition. The service has an extensive network of more than 1,800 servers in around 80+ countries and more than 115 cities. Their servers are P2P-friendly, and built-in protection against phishing and malicious sites helps keep your online information safe. A powerful VPN solution, Hotspot Shield, allows users to access geo-restricted or regional content on the internet. It is a widely used tool among Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS users.
Hotspot Shield is a famous VPN offering more than enough unique features to set it apart from the competition. Luckily, routers now allow OpenVPN, so you can use Hotspot Shield with Asus (AsusWRT/Merlin), DD-WRT, FreshTomato, and GL.iNet devices.
Its main product includes a large network of over 1,800 servers spread across more than 80 countries and 115 cities. All servers support peer-to-peer (P2P), and built-in protection against dangerous and phishing websites keeps your secure browsing.
In general, the firm’s own Catapult Hydra protocol performs admirably. Other applications and operating systems don’t allow it, so you can only get it with the Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS programs (there’s no manual installation tutorial for Laptops, for example).
Pricing and Plans
One of the few VPN services which provide a free membership tier is Hotspot Shield. However, there are certain restrictions. Hotspot Shield’s free Basic membership limits you to just US VPN servers, one concurrent session, and 500MB of data per day. When contrasted to TunnelBear’s free version, which restricts users to 500MB monthly, this is a considerable offer.
A paid membership is also required to receive one-on-one customer service or utilize Hotspot Shield on modems, smart TVs, or Linux. In comparison to other free VPN services, these are rather mild limits, which explains how Hotspot Shield is one of the finest free VPN available services nowadays.
When you want a more robust VPN, Hotspot Shield’s premium subscription, which is invoiced monthly, costs $9.99 per month. Although this is more pricey than many other VPNs, it is a good value if you plan to use at least one of the other integrated software, that contains a password manager, antivirus, and spam blocker.
When paid yearly, the price decreases to only $7.99 each month, but the major savings come from the three-year plan, which costs just $2.49 per month. This puts it on pace with a few of the finest affordable VPN services we’ve tested, and it’s a wonderful deal overall. Hotspot Shield Premium also comes with a seven-day free trial and a 45-day money-back guarantee if you aren’t satisfied with the response.
The protocol support, encryption, and authentication parameters of a VPN are generally the first things to look at when determining its security. This can be quite difficult, but simply knowing that a customer supports an encryption system like OpenVPN can provide you with reassurance about its security.
Although Hotspot Shield now supports the industry-standard IKEv2 protocol, this service still depends heavily on its exclusive Catapult Hydra technology.
The goal of Catapult Hydra is to improve performance, and the encryption aspect of the protocol follows industry standards.
One issue with proprietary technology such as Catapult Hydra is that it’s difficult to know what else is going on. Because OpenVPN is open source, any developer may examine the code, find out how it works, and offer changes – something that isn’t feasible today.
Catapult Hydra has been ‘evaluated by 3rd party security experts from more than 60% of the world’s largest security companies that use our SDK to provide VPN services to their users,’ according to Hotspot Shield, who claims the method has been ‘evaluated by 3rd party security professionals from more than 60% of the world’s largest security contractors that use the SDK to provide VPN services to their users.’
It’s not only about the nitty-gritty details when it comes to privacy. Client functionality is also critical, particularly when it comes to preventing DNS and WebRTC leaks that might reveal you’re true identity. Thankfully, testing Hotspot Shield’s clients and web apps at IPLeak and DNSLeakTest revealed no concerns, and the service kept us safe from prying eyes on all occasions.
It’s reassuring to note that Hotspot Shield explicitly states that none of this data could be used to link a user profile to any VPN surfing activity. However, unlike other rivals, the company has not undergone any type of public safety or privacy examination, therefore these privacy guarantees are unconfirmed. We’re left to accept Hotspot Shield’s word for it when it comes to confidence.
Hotspot Shield has retained its position as one of the best fast VPN services since the launch of Catapult Hydra. Other VPN services have been working to enhance their WireGuard infrastructure, despite the fact that it gives constant and dependable speeds.
Throughout our tests in the United Kingdom, we measured speeds of 270-290Mbps, down from 330-350Mbps previously. We found an equal accuracy of 260-290Mbps when we ran the testing on IKEv2.
Inside the United States, the picture was marginally brighter, with OpenVPN numbers of 300-330Mbps. Catapult Hydra, of course, once again provided outstanding results of 360-390Mbps.
Although, compared to the market, where we’re seeing scores far above 400Mbps (ExpressVPN 470-480Mbps) and the companies of IPVanish, NordVPN, and ProtonVPN reaching well over 600Mbps, this result appears to be quite typical.
Such speed, however, is nothing to sneeze at and will provide you with the performance you need for most jobs – we simply wouldn’t suggest them for intensive playing online games or 4K broadcasts.
Over the last several years, streaming sites have begun to tighten down on VPN connections, making it increasingly difficult to locate ones that can reliably bypass geographical restrictions. Unfortunately, Netflix’s crackdown on IP addresses related to VPN providers has affected Hotspot Shield. That isn’t to say it isn’t a good streaming VPN if you don’t mind not being able to watch Amazon Prime.
Although it’s true that streaming unblocking varies, Hotspot Shield may be back in the game soon, Hotspot Shield failed to access any Netflix library with our recent round of tests. This is regrettable, but it’s also predictable.
Fortunately, it was the only stumbling block in the path of Hotspot Shield, and users had access to international YouTube videos as well as more difficult sites with stronger anti-VPN protection, such as BBC iPlayer, HBOMax, and Disney+.
- Great free version is available.
- Disney+, Prime Video, and iPlayer are all supported.
- There are three more applications included (US).
- Bad Manual Setup
- Bit pricey
The Hotspot Shield Windows 10 and Mac VPN apps offer a simple, easy-to-use UI that makes them a lot easier to use than some of the other VPNs we’ve looked at. Users were usually able to access the server within 2 or 3 seconds after hitting “On,” which is one of the fastest connection times we’ve observed from VPNs.
Users will be able to view your server’s location, as well as your lag, load times, IP address, data use, internal server, and transfer speeds after you’ve connected. This customer interface allows you to verify the status of your connectivity without being bombarded with data.
The Configuration area of Hotspot Shield contains a number of choices that will please more experienced users without overwhelming people with less technical expertise. Users may, for example, set Hotspot Shield to gain access automatically to public networks or to block particular categories of data from passing through the Connection.
Hotspot Shield has a good number of keyboard commands for quick access to other utilities. For example, Control-Shift-C accesses or disconnects from the VPN. In addition, if you have any issues concerning the client application, you may access help resources in only a few clicks.
When you sign up for Hotspot Shield, you’ll be sent to an online interface with a download section for programs for Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, and Linux.
Users may have the site send them a text message with the appropriate download link, which is a nice addition.
Everything is simple to use. It’s Windows VPN client installs like any other program, while the mobile applications and Chrome extension may be found in the appropriate app stores. You may now explore the service by logging in with the login details you specified during registering.
When Hotspot Shield isn’t functioning for you, all numerous types integrate papers from the internet to provide you immediate access to assistance on frequent difficulties. If your problem is more complicated, you may always go to the help page for further information.
The articles in a content Support Center are organized by the platform as well as topics such as Payments and Membership, Configure Account, and Common Problems.
‘When I’m connected, why is my speed slow?’ For example, according to one Android post, “it’s usual to notice performance reductions of 20-40 percent while using any VPN service”.
Their post just has one statement that explains how to solve the problem: ‘Switching the connection on and off a few times might sometimes help the app look for locations that are geographically closer to you and perhaps quicker.’
You can contact the support team through live chat or email when you can’t find the answer in the knowledge base. They still have space for growth on the support website, but most users should be able to discover the important information they want quickly, and an excellent support team is available to assist with everything else.