Free VPN for quick speeds
Hotspot Shield VPN is a free VPN service that connects you to a Hotspot Shield server by encrypting your confidential data. Hotspot Shield uses AES 256-bit encryption to conceal your online activity. While the VPN provider uses military-grade encryption practices, important information is still logged.
Avira Phantom, ExpressVPN, and NordVPN are popular alternatives to Hotspot Shield VPN. Avira Phantom offers a free version unlike Express VPN and Nord VPN. ExpressVPN and NordVPN have the best security, streaming, torrenting, and user experiences. Hotspot Shield is better free software than Avira Phantom. While Avira has slow loading speeds, Hotspot has one of the fastest on the market.
Is Hotspot Shield VPN free?
Hotspot Shield VPN is based on a freemium platform. While Hotspot Shield offers a free plan, you will get more features with the premium packages. You can try the paid offerings during a free trial period. Hotspot Shield does require you to put in your credit card information beforehand. Additionally, Hotspot Shield does not offer anonymous payment.
You can get a refund during a limited period with the money-back guarantee. The Hotspot Shield VPN application is available on desktops, smartphones, tablets, smart TVs, and routers. Additionally, the VPN app can be integrated into your Google Chrome web browser. Hotspot Shield VPN is compatible with Amazon Fire TV, Android, Android TV, Apple iOS, Linux, MacOS, and Microsoft Windows operating systems.
The Hotspot Shield premium versions will let you sync to one of the 3,200 VPN servers in over 80 countries and 35 cities worldwide. The Hotspot Shield servers have both physical and virtual locations for connection purposes. The basic package gives you a limited amount of bandwidth per day to use. The available number of MB per day is generous for a free license.
While the paid subscription plans let you connect to a limited number of Netflix libraries, the free package does not unblock Netflix. Torrenting on the free plan is limited due to the daily restricted bandwidth for P2P connections. Moreover, your privacy is compromised with the free version.
Can I trust Hotspot Shield VPN?
Hotspot Shield keeps your email address, hardware model, language, network information, operating system, unique mobile ID, and username for the paid versions. The free license logs the same data that the paid plans do along with your city location, IMEI, MAC address, unique advertising ID, and wireless carrier name. The combination of the logged information may be enough to reveal your personal identity.
Hotspot Shield VPN is registered in the United States. The United States has poor privacy practices. The USA is part of the 5 Eyes, 9 Eyes, and 14 Eyes global surveillance alliances. Additionally, the free VPN only lets you connect to the servers that are located in the U.S. The paid plans let you connect to international servers.
Malware and phishing websites will be blocked with the AES 256-bit encryption. The proprietary Catapult Hydra tunneling protocol delivers above-average speeds. While the patented Hydra protocol makes Hotspot Shield a market leader in terms of speed, Hotspot Shield has not introduced the highly secure WireGuard protocol. The IKEv2 IPSec protocol is available to use. Hotspot Shield VPN does not include the OpenVPN protocol.
If you want to use OpenVPN, then you will need to independently set up the protocol. A kill switch is included. If your VPN connection gets disabled, then the kill switch will automatically end your internet connection to keep your actions private. You will need to manually turn on the kill switch since the feature is not enabled by default.
How do I download Hotspot Shield VPN?
Hotspot Shield gives you an easy user experience. You can launch the app once you install either the free or paid edition. The user interface on all of the operating systems is clean. You can click on the large power button in the middle of the mobile UI to connect to a server. A timer will appear on the button when your session begins.
Your server station will be listed. You can expand the dropdown menu by clicking on the arrow next to the location. A world map will be shown on the home screen. The area that the server is in will be shaded on the map.
If you want to end the connection, then you can tap the button: ‘STOP’. The iOS app includes additional services: battery life, junk removal, and malware scan. A notification may appear on your screen to let you know that your device may be at risk for malware. You can press the ‘SCAN’ button to scan your entire iPad or iPhone for malicious content.
The battery life feature will close unused utilities on your iPhone to optimize your battery. Hotspot Shield can remove junk files to improve functionality. You can select each of the features by scrolling through the horizontal list in the main window. If you have a premium account, then you can live chat with customer support. The customer service representatives are available 24/7 to help.
P2P Support and Torrenting Capabilities
Hotspot Shield VPN is a torrent-friendly service that offers seamless P2P support across all its servers. Users can easily download torrents using any of the available clients, including Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS. There are no bandwidth limits or restrictions, ensuring an enjoyable experience for users who engage in torrenting activities.
Device Compatibility and Manual Setup
This VPN service offers extensive device compatibility, with apps for Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS. It also provides a command line app for Linux and a TV app for Amazon Fire TV or smart TVs with Google Play access. For users seeking to set up the VPN on other platforms like routers, Hotspot Shield has step-by-step guides on its support site for manual configuration.
Hydra Protocol and Encryption
Hotspot Shield uses its proprietary Hydra protocol, which is based on TLS 1.2 and employs AES-256 and AES-128 encryption, 2048-bit RSA certificates for server authentication, and Elliptic Curve Diffie-Hellman (ECDHE) for perfect forward secrecy. Although the code is not open source, the VPN service ensures that users' data is protected using top-notch encryption technologies.
Kill Switch Performance
Hotspot Shield's apps feature a kill switch that prevents IP leaks by blocking the internet connection if the VPN connection drops. While tests showed that the kill switch works well in most common scenarios, some extreme situations revealed potential vulnerabilities, where the kill switch failed to activate and left the device unprotected.
Unblocking Streaming Services
The VPN excels in unblocking popular streaming services like Netflix, Disney Plus, Amazon Prime Video, and more. Users can gain access to Netflix libraries in the US, UK, Australia, Canada, and Japan, as well as other platforms like BBC iPlayer, ITV, and Channel 4. Hotspot Shield's impressive unblocking capabilities make it an excellent choice for streaming enthusiasts.
Customer Support and Knowledge Base
Hotspot Shield offers live chat support and a comprehensive knowledge base organized by platform and categories like Payments and Subscriptions, Manage Account, and Common Issues. The support team is friendly and knowledgeable, providing quick assistance when needed. Although there is room for improvement in the support site's content, users can find most of the essential information and rely on live chat support for additional help.
Popular VPN solution
The disadvantages of Hotspot Shield may outweigh its benefits. While you can stream and torrent content at one of the fastest VPN speeds, the streaming sites and bandwidth to torrent are limited with the free version. Only the premium subscription can unblock streaming sites, e.g., Netflix. While Hotspot Shield VPN lacks privacy, the service does protect you from DNS and IP leaks.
Hotspot Shield is owned by Aura who acquired the original owner, Pango. Anchorfree is the developer of Hotspot Shield VPN. New software updates are released often for all of the operating systems.