Editors' Note: The Download Now link will download a small installer file to your desktop. Remain online and double-click the installer to proceed with the actual download.
This freeware program promises to encrypt all your Internet connections, but since most public wi-fi access points in the U.S. are open, it's a bit hard to gauge Hotspot Shield's effectiveness. However, the connection itself is a bit wonky.
Once the program is installed, it creates an HTML link on your desktop. Double-clicking on it will open the application in your Web browser, and you'll be taken to a page detailing your Connection Status, IP Address, Server Address, Bytes sent and received, and the duration of the connection. Hotspot Shield is ad supported, so you'll get a big banner ad that lives at the top of every Web page, too. Closing the tab with the app's control panel doesn't disconnect the shield, though: for that, or to reload the control panel, you have to go through the green shield icon that gets loaded into your system tray. Also, there's a 5 GB transfer limit.
Overall, we can't give Hotspot Shield a strong recommendation, but as a last resort it might be worth trying out.
Hotspot Shield protects you online and lets you access the information you need. Join 7+ million users in 100+ countries who use Hotspot Shield everyday to: 1. Access blocked services like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Skype in countries where internet is censored. 2. Keep hackers from stealing personal information while users are browsing internet on public locations like Starbucks. 3. Browse internet privately. Hotspot Shield is the most stable and the only 100 percent free VPN tool in the world with no bandwidth limit and it does not slow down the Internet speed. Hotspot Shield does all of this without collecting, let alone making use of, any information on your personal identity.