Hotspot Shield

Hotspot Shield

Download Editors' Rating:
4.5
Outstanding
Average User Rating:
2.9
out of 646 votes

Quick Specs

  • Version:
    2.06
  • Total Downloads:
    28,601,158
  • Date Added:
    Sep. 22, 2011
  • Price:
    Free
  • File Size:
    7.68MB
  • Downloads Last Week:
    61,716
  • Platform:
    Windows
  • Product ranking:

Editors' Review

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The bottom line: The Internet connection protector Hotspot Shield encrypts your traffic to protect you from all kinds of spying while your computer communicates with the rest of the world. It's a must-have utility for anybody who uses public Wi-Fi networks.

Review:
The Internet connection protector Hotspot Shield encrypts your traffic to protect you from all kinds of spying while your computer communicates with the rest of the world. It's a must-have utility for anybody who uses public Wi-Fi networks, but it's also an excellent tool for ensuring on any network connection that you can access sites and data according to your tastes, and nobody else's. Hotspot Shield's Virtual Private Network services are used by more than 10 million at the time this review was written, according to the software publisher AnchorFree, making it the largest VPN in the world.

The browser-independent Hotspot Shield establishes an encrypted connection to the Hotspot Shield servers, and turns all HTTP traffic to the safer HTTPS. By re-routing Web traffic and providing you with a new IP address hosted by AnchorFree, the company is able to ensure that your data isn't plucked out of the open by man-in-the-middle attacks or wireless network spoofing.

In our tests, we noticed that sometimes the program would actually resolve pages faster than when connected without it. This occurs, most likely, because of the geographic location of the company's servers. During a day of hands-on testing on the notoriously pokey CNET public Wi-Fi network, we noticed that Hotspot Shield Elite was remarkably fast. There were no connection lags despite the rerouting, and the program admirably handled high-definition streaming videos from sites such as Vimeo, YouTube, and CNET TV. We'd recommend the program for improving the Wi-Fi speeds alone, nevermind the additional security benefits.

The free version of Hotspot Shield does come at a small cost. The installation opts you in to two toolbars, one from Hotspot Shield and one from Conduit, which redirects your default search and home page. Also, whenever you activate Hotspot Shield, it will open a new tab to AnchorFree.com and begin autoplaying a video. That's seriously annoying, even in a free product that offers such a valuable service. Still, the toolbars and redirects are optional.

Once installed, it appears as a red system tray icon that turns to green when activated. Right-click to toggle it on or off. Choosing the Properties option opens a new browser tab that tells you that you're connected. Hit the Details link to learn more about your connection, including the VPN IP address, amount of data sent in and out, and how long you've been connected. The data transfer rate makes for a useful, quick-and-dirty gauge for people with data caps.

Hotspot Shield now offers an Elite service, which runs ad-free. Elite costs $0.50 per 24 hour session, with a minimum $10 deposit, or $5 per month, or $45 per year. Payment options include credit card, PayPal, prepaid cash cards or mobile phone payments via premium SMS. Aside from Hotspot Shield Elite's preferential bandwidth priority and lack of ads, there are no built-in additional features in Elite. However, at the time this review was written, AnchorFree had arranged a deal with Skype so that new Elite users get two hours of Skype talk time free when signing up.

The company has created multiple ways to circumvent download blockers in countries with strict censorship, too. If you can't access a Web page with the download, you can send an e-mail to win@anchorfree.com for the Windows version or mac@anchorfree.com for the Mac version, and the small installer file will be sent directly to you.

Note that although the Windows version is 2.06, and the Mac version is 1.582, the features are the same.

Even with the installation shenanigans, we highly recommend Hotspot Shield for anybody concerned with privacy. In today's world, that ought to be anybody connecting a computer to the Internet.

 
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Publisher's Description

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User Reviews
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  • Current Version

    3.5

    out of 25 votes

    • 5 star 9
    • 4 star 5
    • 3 star 5
    • 2 star 2
    • 1 star 4
  • All Versions

    2.9

    out of 646 votes

    • 5 star 193
    • 4 star 102
    • 3 star 61
    • 2 star 56
    • 1 star 234
  • My rating

    0 stars

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Results 1–10 of 25

2 stars

"Obstructive and intrusive."

October 19, 2011  |  By cierob

 |  Version: Hotspot Shield 2.06

Pros

no pros in my opinion

Cons

In a product which touts itself as freeing I found it to be obstructive and intrusive. I was unable to access some sites that I use on a regular basis i.e chatzilla. It didn't last a day on my computer.

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4 stars

"Good product, works well"

October 18, 2011  |  By southbeachneil

 |  Version: Hotspot Shield 2.06

Pros

Does provide shield as promised

Cons

-Advertisement bar is fairly wide and can be annoying.

-Slows computer, a bit.

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5 stars

"works 4 me"

October 18, 2011  |  By jimtorz

 |  Version: Hotspot Shield 2.06

Pros

to avoid(most)ads, close ie and open firefox w/adblock plus as soon as you get the green light. i've checked "whats my IP" several times and its always...not mine. (i also recommend scroogle scraper)

Cons

semi-dynamic IP...sometimes i have to log in and out a couple times to avoid the wait at oron. sometimes i see that its shut itself off, but doesn't interfere even in the middle of a download (i gave up on torrents, anyway)

Summary

not bulletproof with my isp...if i enter a local url, i still get redirected to the (bing?) page w/what i'm looking 4 (centurylink sucks)

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3 stars

"works for me, but the adds are crazy"

October 15, 2011  |  By Master.

 |  Version: Hotspot Shield 2.06

Pros

its speed is good compared to other proxies

Cons

damn Ads
damn Ads
damn Ads
and the damn popups and videos which drives anyone insane. and the fact that there is no easy way to get rid of them , they mostly get in your way when you are surfing or doing sth online , pretty annoying .

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1 stars

"Waste of time"

October 15, 2011  |  By Cheza1

 |  Version: Hotspot Shield 2.06

Pros

Found none

Cons

POP UPS/UNWANTED PAGES OPEN!

Summary

Do not think it lives up to how it's presented. No noticeable increase in download speed butttt a bunch of popups comes with this program, and it opens pages you probably won't want, so beware. If we all had a good anti virus program, there would be no need for programs such as this. Don't know why cNET are promoting it to be honest.

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3 stars

"Works as advertised"

October 13, 2011  |  By jcwoos

 |  Version: Hotspot Shield 2.06

Pros

Installs easily. Does not seem to have any impact on Internet speed. Advertising banner at top of screen is not obtrusive and goes away with one click.

Cons

Not really negative but I have no way of knowing if it is really working.

Summary

I can run a VPN on my computer (Citrix) when in a public location but it times out after 20 minutes and I have limited software available over the VPN. Also any momentary loss of connection causes the connection to terminate and I have to go through login all over again.
Hotspot allows me to run all the software I have on the computer and does not have the other down sides of the Citrix VPN. If I only had some way of knowing how safe I am from people trying to see my traffic it would be great.

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5 stars

"ISP's don't control me..."

October 12, 2011  |  By DonITgenius

 |  Version: Hotspot Shield 2.06

Pros

Thanks to this great app, my ISP can't shape/throttle my downloads. There is an immediate jump in download speed when activating hotspot shield. Thanks developers for this amazing app. Will use it forever. Uncapped internet is now finally unshaped thanks to you guys.

Cons

Advertising banners.

Summary

This is the best software discovery that I have ever made. It works like a charm. There is advertising banners at the top of my browser when Hotspot Shield is running, but it's a minor inconvenience, considering what you get in return.

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4 stars

"does what I needed from it"

October 12, 2011  |  By Karts22

 |  Version: Hotspot Shield 2.06

Pros

works great, no stupid setting up and problems.
Works great as a proxy program.

Cons

A little slow down, torrents won't work with this.
Adverts at top.

Summary

Can't really comment on encryption but great as a proxy program.

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1 stars

"Trashed my system completely"

October 11, 2011  |  By the 1 knight

 |  Version: Hotspot Shield 2.06

Pros

I was hopefull but...

Cons

Installation was easy, but when I tried to connect, it would not do. Following uninstall I could not connect beyond laptop to router with "Limited Access". I tried everything to altering IP address. Even Windows Diag could not find what was wrong. Using Windows 7. My only option was to do a syetm restore from a back up file.

Summary

I urge anyone trying Hotspot Shield to do a complete system backup beforehand, you might need it.

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5 stars

"AWESOME SOFTWARE!!!!!!!!!"

October 11, 2011  |  By buckshot351975

 |  Version: Hotspot Shield 2.06

Pros

This program works exactly as advertised & is faster than the other programs I have used in the same software category. Great product & highly recommended!

Cons

Any software that protects your identity is going to slow you down a little, although I wish they didn't, but to be safe and protected online I will sacrifice speed for security & you should too!

Summary

Loving this program, and I am thankful for the software developers who have made this software available to those of us who want to protect ourselves against the people looking to steal our identity online and more. A few small advertisement ads come along with this free program, but even those ads cannot target or invade your privacy, because your privacy is protected at all times when connected to the VPN (Virtual Private Network). I was a little concerned about installing this program at first, due to some of the negative reviews below, but took my chances and gave it a try, after I downloaded and installed it there are no concerns whatsoever, as it performs well and is easy to use!

Updated on Oct 28, 2011

Wow! I was really impressed with this software at first, as you can tell from my intial review, but something went horribly wrong. It stopped working :( I removed it completely from my system, and because I like it so much I re-installed it hoping it would it would work again. IT DID! But it only worked for about 3 days and then once again stopped working AGAIN :( Therefore, HOTSPOT SHIELD gets no more chances with me.

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Results 1–10 of 25

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Full Specifications

+
What's new in version 2.06
Version 2.06 features faster connection.
General
Publisher AnchorFree
Publisher web site http://anchorfree.com
Release Date June 22, 2011
Date Added September 22, 2011
Version 2.06
Category
Category Security Software
Subcategory Encryption Software
Operating Systems
Operating Systems Windows, Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows 7, Windows Vista
Additional Requirements None
Download Information
File Size 7.68MB
File Name HSS-3.42-install-hss-561-conduit.exe
Popularity
Total Downloads 28,601,158
Downloads Last Week 61,716
Pricing
License Model Free
Limitations Not available
Price Free

Previous Versions:

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