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Expat Shield

CNET Editors' review

The freewheeling early days of the Internet are over, and it's no longer possible to rely on passive security measures. Today you need to take active steps to protect your identity, privacy, and personal security from an ever-changing array of threats. AnchorFree's ExpatShield protects your identity and personal data such as addresses and credit card numbers, lets you browse safely and anonymously, and even allows access to some of your favorite U.K. Web sites like BBC iPlayer. It shields you by establishing a proxy connection and assigning your PC a temporary U.K.-based IP address. ExpatShield is ad-supported freeware, which is standard for Web-based tools these days.

ExpatShield's installer automatically sets up your proxy IP address, displaying your connection status in a browser page and a system tray icon as well as an ad banner that opens with each new page. Clicking the icon opened a menu that offered a Disconnect/Off button, language options, and other basic entries, including a Properties sheet displaying connection details. Except for the ad banner and the ever-so-slight lag, using ExpatShield is just like browsing normally. Our favorite sites loaded quickly, but with a slight yet perceptible lag, especially when we accessed locally hosted news media. However, it's nowhere near slow enough to outweigh ExpatShield's much greater privacy and security. Each site loaded with a prominent connection status/ad link toolbar that we could close. With plenty of online IP locators and identifiers available, we quickly verified that our PC displayed an anonymous U.K.-based IP address instead of our actual (and static) IP address.

Proxy connections used to be difficult and slow, but ExpatShield addresses both of those issues. The ad bar is a minor distraction, considering it keeps ExpatShield free. One ad linked to BBC iPlayer, which is currently limited to U.K. IP addresses. The BBC is developing an international version to allow viewers everywhere to enjoy the finest television content in the world (radio is already available). But ExpatShield's proxy IP address enabled us to watch BBC series like "Doctor Who" and "Eastenders," U.K. and continental sports, and all the Beeb's channels, including the best HD quality we've yet seen.

Publisher's Description

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All User Reviews
  • All versions:

    2.9 stars

    out of 88 votes

    • 5 star: 24
    • 4 star: 17
    • 3 star: 5
    • 2 star: 14
    • 1 star: 28
  • Current version:

    2.8 stars

    out of 22 votes

    • 5 star: 7
    • 4 star: 1
    • 3 star: 1
    • 2 star: 6
    • 1 star: 7
  • My rating:

    0 stars

    Write review

Results 1-10 of 22

  • 1.0 stars

    "Was a great product, now it's not"

    September 20, 2013  |   By leeds46

    Version: Expat Shield 2.25

    Pros

    Good secure VPN

    Cons

    It's no longer free if you want to access sites like BBC iplayer, a paywall appears and you need to pay $4.99 a month for hotspotshield elite. And hotspotshield elite is always "on" even when you don't want it to be,so things that don't work through a VPN, like torrents and satellite TV remote viewing, don't work. I had to uninstall elite to restore my sanity.

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  • 2.0 stars

    "Stop working for free. Went to pay wall to pay $4.99"

    September 13, 2013  |   By lnvharris

    Version: Expat Shield 2.25

    Pros

    Worked great for years. Until now. They want you to pay to go to the UK BBC I-player page.

    Cons

    Now it comes up saying you need to pay $4.99 or buy it for a year.

    Summary

    I need to find another download that will let you watch UK programs.

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  • 2.0 stars

    "Was great... past tense"

    September 13, 2013  |   By PaulBinCT

    Version: Expat Shield 2.25

    Pros

    Worked well in the past... apparently no longer

    Cons

    Used it at least a few times a week to access BBC iPlayer, which I gather was a big piece of their market. But today I get redirected to a paywall where they insist I buy an "Elite" version. Really a shame, I was happy to accept the ads for a good free product.

    RIP

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  • 4.0 stars

    "Can watch UK on demand TV"

    September 2, 2013  |   By pnjnewell

    Version: Expat Shield 2.25

    Pros

    I can watch UK on demand TV

    Cons

    None that I can think of

    Summary

    Does what I want it to do

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  • 2.0 stars

    "Incompatible with Windows 8"

    August 9, 2013  |   By agogohome

    Version: Expat Shield 2.25

    Pros

    Worked well with Windows 7, but it will not install on Windows 8 machines

    Cons

    Good speed - sometimes, but not always.
    Messy to disconnect - just closing the browser is not enough.
    Amateurish appearance and interface, which needs improving

    Summary

    Good software, spoilt because it hasn't been updated to run on Windows 8

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  • 2.0 stars

    "Good Speed but the Embedded Ads is Annoying"

    June 4, 2013  |   By szsjq

    Version: Expat Shield 2.25

    Pros

    Good Speed. Not sure how that software achieved it but the upload speed tested on speedtest.net seems to be faster than the upper limit of my internet.

    Cons

    The Embedded Ads is very Annoying.

    Summary

    Went with OpenVPN and Vpnbook eventually due to the Annoying ads.

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  • 1.0 stars

    "seriously awful"

    June 2, 2013  |   By thebig1_2013

    Version: Expat Shield 2.25

    Pros

    allows access to iplayer sometimes

    Cons

    plagues you with adverts and other spam
    hijacks your browser
    introduces popups
    unusable as intended

    Summary

    not worth the trouble and difficult to remove

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  • 5.0 stars

    "For FREE allows me to stream uk tv abroad"

    April 11, 2013  |   By jim_m123

    Version: Expat Shield 2.25

    Pros

    Free
    Allows me to stream uk television whilst abroad
    Gives the same picture and audio as a paid for VPN

    Cons

    there's ads. a banner ad at the top of the current page and everyonce in a while a new full page ad pops up. it's free though so i can deal with it

    Summary

    Excellent product. yes there's ADS, which are annoying, but it's a free product so there has to be some cost.
    i recommend this product. fully deserving of 4.5 stars as it does what it says it does and....ITS FREE!!!

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  • 3.0 stars

    "Used to be great, until I upgraded to Windows 8..."

    April 3, 2013  |   By 16bitmick

    Version: Expat Shield 2.25

    Pros

    Lets you watch BBC iPlayer
    Free
    Does what it says it does.

    Cons

    Ads
    OMG, ADS
    It will not go away until you make it (still worth it)
    Not compatible with Windows 8 :(

    Summary

    I am super bummed that I can't use this anymore with Windows 8. I guess I will just have to find another proxy server that gives me a UK IP... You guys dropped the ball and lost someone. Windows 8 isn't BRAND NEW. You have had time.

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  • 1.0 stars

    "Gone downhill"

    March 30, 2013  |   By nazzam91

    Version: Expat Shield 2.25

    Pros

    When I first got this it was reliable and never disconnected, currently the pros stand as NONE

    Cons

    As soon as try to access a blocked website it disconnects which is pointless, thats the whole reason I downloaded it. The ads are annoying at the top but I don't want to pay out on a vpn blocker if i'm not using it often.

    Summary

    In total do not download this product unless you want to be throughly frustrated and constantly reconnecting it.

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Results 1-10 of 22

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