Hotspot Shield Review (2020): is it really safe?- The comprehensive guide

Hotspot shield is well-known and one of the most popular VPN. Today I am going to do a full review of it.

I have used this network as well as several others since 2017. Thus, I am well aware of its Pros and Cons.

When I started using this provider, I was dumbfounded at how simple and attractive the Hotspot Shield is.

By the time you are through with this review, you will, with certainty, know if Hotspot shield is the best option for you or not.

Post overview

Hotspot Shield as a well known VPN is ideal for streaming. It has a great tons of location choices, and is great at unblocking, at a very fast speeds.

This provider has a questionable logging policy, so it may not be the best for torrenting. It might be a good option for users in China.

Let’s get started

Below is a breakdown of what I will be covering.

  1. About the Company (Overview)
  2. Devices you can use HotSpot Shield on
  3. Features
  4. Speed and Performance
  5. What makes Hotspot Shield the fastest free VPN?
  6. Price (Free or Paid version)
  7. Privacy and Security
  8. Encryption
  9. Pros and Cons
  10. Conclusion.

You can tap on any of the subheadings above to jump to that division otherwise, scroll down to read as ordered above.

1. About the Company (Overview).

Hotspot Shield is created, developed and operated by Pango (former AnchorFree Inc.), a company in Silicon Valley with branches in the Ukraine and Russia.

Windows and macOS operating systems was the first system to have the Hotspot Shield client app, this was developed in April 2008. Later in 2011 and 2012, it was expanded to include support for iOS and Android, respectively.

Hotspot Shield Review (2020): is it really safe?- The comprehensive guide 1

The Hotspot Shield client developed an encodes VPN connection with one of its supported public VPN servers, with which the user can connect to the web.

This developed connection serve to protect the traffic between the user and the server from eavesdropping, third eyes and hackers because the IP address of the client is not exposed.

Even though this service cannot make users completely anonymous on the web, it can increase privacy and security greatly.

Users can bypass the censorship using Hotspot Shield by connecting to a VPN server located outside their country.

2. Devices you can use NordVPN on.

Current supported devices.

Hotspot Shield is compatible with the devices listed below:

iOS devices including:

  • iPhone
  • iPad & iPad Mini
  • iPod Touch

Android devices including:

  • All Android tablets and phones with VPN support
  • All Android TVs

Mac desktops including:

  • MacBook Air, MacBook & MacBook Pro
  • iMac & Mac Pro
  • Mac mini

Windows desktops including:

  • All Windows desktops and laptops

Routers including.

  • FreshTomato, GL.iNet, Asuswrt, DD-WRT
Hotspot shield
Current unsupported devices.

They are working on it, but currently, Hotspot Shield does not support these devices:

  • Gaming consoles (Nintendo, Xbox, Playstation, etc.)
  • Kindle tablets
  • Kodi
  • SmartTVs that are not Android TV(Apple TV, Samsung, etc.)
  • Windows phones.

3. Features

With a Hotspot Shield Elite subscription, you get:

  • Servers in 25 countries
  • 45-day money-back guarantee
  • Enhanced transport protocol technology
  • Kill switch
  • Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) and Web Real-Time Communication (WebRTC) leak protection
  • WiFi protection (auto connect)
  • Permission to use five simultaneous connections
  • Browser extensions for Firefox (very dated) and Chrome (excellent and up-to-date)
  • Malware detection (Chrome extension only)
  • Adblocker/tracker blocker/cookie blocker (Chrome extension only)
  • Split tunneling (Chrome extension only)
  • App for Windows, Mac OS X, macOS, iOS, and Android
  • Option to switch languages in the app
  • No data limits or bandwidth limits on Elite subscription
  • Peer-to-peer (P2P) permitted
Hotspot shield

Other features of Hotspot Shield (free) are:

  • Unblock websites
  • Hide your IP address
  • Private & secure browsing
  • Personal Data Security
Hotspot Shield Review (2020): is it really safe?- The comprehensive guide 3

The major benefits of Hotspot Shield are the fact it provides access to various locked websites, the protection and privacy it gives to users, its enhancement of users’ online security, and its malware protection capabilities.

4. Speed and Performance.

Hotspot shield

HotSpot Shield is fast. I tested it several times to make sure I wasn’t experiencing a fluke.

Hotspot Shield features a proprietary Hydra Protocol, which is based on OpenSSL and TLS, hence, the company says the service is fast because of this Hydra Protocol.

I will discuss this Hydra protocol below.

Hotspot Shield is tagged “The Fastest Most Secure VPN Service.” I’ll discuss the security part later, but first, let’s move to the speed claimed by this provider.

Before I reveal my test results, it’s worth noting that VPN speed tests should be taken with a grain of salt.

My usual test method uses a virtual machine. However, this doesn’t work with Hotspot Shield’s proprietary protocol, so I had to settle for using an online speed tester. This speed tester has been applied by most VPN review publications, and will still provide a good idea of Hotspot Shield’s speeds as compared to those when not using a VPN.

Hotspot shield

When Hotspot Shield was tested with its competitors on all European and Asian servers, it regularly performed about 10 Mbps faster than any of its competitors. Oddly enough, their United States servers inexplicably ran at speeds that were almost twice as slow as their competitors.

5. What makes Hotspot Shield the fastest free VPN?

Hotspot shield developed “Hydra”, its own proprietary VPN protocol, based on the OpenSSL library which enables it to be the fastest VPN on the market.

That is to say that other VPN providers, uses the same basic OpenVPN technology, but Hotspot shield VPN patented Hydra protocol that delivers unrivaled performance and speed, ensuring swift, seamless streaming and gaming with no buffering, even when it is joined to various countries half the world away.

Not only is Hydra super fast, but their servers have a built-in malware database to protect you from over 57 million malicious sites a day—ones that are known to host malware, viruses, and phishing scams.

6. Pricing.

Hotspot Shield is functional and available under various pricing options, which include:

  • Monthly- $12.99.
  • 1-year- $7.99 per month (billed $95.88 every year).
  • 2-year- $6.99 per month (billed $167.76 every two years).
  • 3-year- $2.99 a month ($107.64 billed every 3 years)
Hotspot shield

Hotspot Shield offers a few different payment methods, including credit card, PayPal, Neosurf, Mint, gift cards, Alipay, and a few others. Unfortunately, there’s no cryptocurrency option which can be very disappointing for some privacy-conscious users.

This provider offers a generous no-hassel, 45-day money-back guarantee.

7. Security and privacy.

Hotspot Shield has come under fire in the past for its questionable logging practices, so I was keen to see how well the current iteration of the service protects user privacy.

Hotspot Shield is a product of AnchorFree, a company based in Switzerland. This is a big plus for this VPN because Switzerland is known for its privacy laws, and there is no reason on that level for the company to retain any sort of user logs.

However, Hotspot Shield’s privacy policy is confusing, to say the least. It’s clear that the provider doesn’t store any traffic logs, but the subject of connection logs is murky.

8. Encryption

Hotspot Shield is not left out here since it uses the same encryption standards on most versions of VPN.

256-bit AES GCM encryption
2048-bit RSA keys
ECDHE for perfect forward secrecy (to ensure past sessions can’t be viewed if an encryption key is compromised).

The Windows app is the only one that comes with a kill switch, although there are plans to add them to other versions too. The kill switch will stop your internet connection in the event the VPN connection is lost.

This is disabled by default so you’ll need to go to the settings screen to switch it on.

9. Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Fastest Speed (Except in the U.S.)
  • Incredible User Experience
  • Torrenting is Fully Supported
  • Expansive server network
  • Unblocks Netflix and other sites
  • Connect 5 devices simultaneously
  • 45-day money-back guarantee
  • May work in China

Cons:

  • No live chat, support ticket with slow response
  • CDT Privacy Accusations & the FTC Investigation
  • DNS Leak Through Chrome Extension
  • No support for Linux or routers
  • No cryptocurrency payments
  • Past privacy issues

10. Conclusion.

Hotspot Shield has impressive speeds, good pricing, and a good number of country locations—though not a particularly exhaustive list.

If you want to conceal your browsing activity anonymized, this privacy policy is not ideal for you.

It’s fine if you just want to secure your connection at the local café or airports, but as a service that’s going to keep you somewhat anonymous, there are stronger choices.

At this point, we come to the end of Hotspot shield review. hope you had fun reading it….

It’s your turn to give me feedback…

Do you have an account with Hotspot shield? What was your experience?

If not, what’s your thought on signing up? Or

maybe you have a question.

Either way, let me know in the comment section right away.

Cheers.

Maryjane Ibeabuchi
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Hotspot shield

8.1

Speed

9.5/10

Reputation

8.0/10

Customer support

7.5/10

Ease of use

8.5/10

Payment method

7.0/10

Pros

  • Good Speed
  • Unblock Netflix
  • Ease of use
  • Smooth user experience

Cons

  • No cryptocurrency
  • DNS leaks
  • Past privacy issues

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