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Hotspot Shield for Mac

Download Editors' Rating:
4.5
Outstanding
Average User Rating:
3.1
out of 84 votes

Quick Specs

  • Version:
    1.582
  • Total Downloads:
    1,996,069
  • Date Added:
    Jun. 16, 2011
  • Price:
    Free
  • File Size:
    2.11MB
  • Downloads Last Week:
    2,200
  • Platform:
    Mac
  • Product ranking:

Editors' Review

+

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 rerouting 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 re-routing, 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

    3.7

    out of 24 votes

    • 5 star 10
    • 4 star 6
    • 3 star 2
    • 2 star 2
    • 1 star 4
  • All Versions

    3.1

    out of 84 votes

    • 5 star 31
    • 4 star 11
    • 3 star 6
    • 2 star 6
    • 1 star 30
  • My rating

    0 stars

    Write review

Results 1–11 of 24

4 stars

"Great product with a couple of irritations."

December 13, 2011  |  By dwsimp25

 |  Version: Hotspot Shield 1.582

Pros

I feel it is a great product for most uses. I use it whenever I choose not to use Yahoo IM or Vuze. I would recommend it to anyone.

Cons

I like it but have to shut it off to use Yahoo IM or Vuze. Cannot open email at school.

Summary

I feel it is a great product for most uses. I use it whenever I choose not to use Yahoo IM or Vuze. I would recommend it to anyone. I have not tried any other IM software to see if it works on it.

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3 stars

"Free no longer supports Netflix (and maybe Hulu etc.)"

September 26, 2013  |  By Mieka58

 |  Version: Hotspot Shield 1.582

Pros

The free version was working fine with Netflix until a couple of days ago, but since y-day when I am trying to go from UK to US Netflix I now come up against a payment wall. It used to be great and maybe still is when in the purchased Elite mode.

Cons

Hotpot shield claims they can get no advertising for websites streaming films and therefore must ask for payment; even though there always was a lot of advertising going on - esp. with a variety of headers while viewing, but also with pop ups when browsing or going to other websites. They now try to get revenue from ads as well as from customers!
I do not agree with this forced payment, esp. as they never advertised this and every place where the free download is available still claims the free version does everything the elite version does except with ads.

Summary

I am surprised I could not find info on this important change anywhere and only found the review form here to inform the community.

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1 stars

"hard to install and very invasive"

April 25, 2012  |  By mgborkowski

 |  Version: Hotspot Shield 1.582

Pros

it may improve security

Cons

adds annoying banner ads all over and is almost impossible to uninstall on the Mac. Don't risk installing

Summary

Don't install this on your Mac or you'll have big trouble getting rid of it. The PD version may be ok

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3 stars

"it definitely slows things down a bit, but . . . . . ."

April 11, 2012  |  By wolfattiig

 |  Version: Hotspot Shield 1.582

Pros

the feeling of a bit more security is always a good thing when you hit one of those" wrong turn" sites

Cons

it can really slow things down a bit but thats it really. The adds that keep popping up behind the window your using can be annoying. But if you turn the sound off you dont even know they're there.

Summary

Its free and it works. You get what you pay for.

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1 stars

"elite version prevents netflix on tv, ++++"

April 03, 2012  |  By swanee7

 |  Version: Hotspot Shield 1.582

Pros

get's rid of ads; when out of USA, i used to have free version & i was successfully able to access USA only video streaming sites..... don't know if it works now with the elite version.

Cons

tremendously slows down internet connection, and totally prevents torrents from downloading; netflix is a no go on tv, even when entering an activate code; there is NO support page from the hotspot shield techies -- just from the community which doesn't work as no one knows the answers (if they are indeed ever posted!!!!!) wish i didn't pay for this!

Summary

program isn't worth it. i wonder if the internet providers (comcast) have figured out how to disable things if shield is on. if so, hotspot needs to figure out how to work around this. or provide better troubleshooting information - which doesn't exist at this time.

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4 stars

"Works very well, hardly slows down the processes."

March 18, 2012  |  By mcnite

 |  Version: Hotspot Shield 1.582

Pros

Pretty seamless installation. Effective without much of a learning curve.

Cons

The ads can be a pain (but the option to pay a small amount annually to get rid of them is a good one). Sometimes it's not obvious it's still running when I don't need it.

Summary

Basically shows you are in the US. I would like to be able to customize it further (i.e. to show I'm in Canada) when needed.

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5 stars

""Staying in touch while living out of USA""

March 17, 2012  |  By tommy1942

 |  Version: Hotspot Shield 1.582

Pros

Easy to use, just connect. Provides security and allows you to stream, download as if you are in the usa. And no problems with my MacPro.

Cons

None! I started Oct 2011

Summary

Retired in Guatemala. I can now download books to my Nook, listen to radio and download updates that before (like itunes) caused problems.. Go with the Elite version. No ads. Worth the cost. Thanks anchorfree.com

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5 stars

"Great product for what I need"

March 08, 2012  |  By hippo__

 |  Version: Hotspot Shield 1.582

Pros

Great for watching Hulu, Netflix and other US TVs from outside USA. That's what Iwanted.

Cons

The ads are sometimes annoying.

Summary

After all, very good!

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4 stars

"Does what it says"

January 28, 2012  |  By lafarka18

 |  Version: Hotspot Shield 1.582

Pros

vpn that really works

Cons

have not yet found anything wrong with it

Summary

worth the investment of money, especially if you use open wifi networks

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2 stars

"Contains a lot of ads..."

January 15, 2012  |  By Dansilent

 |  Version: Hotspot Shield 1.582

Pros

HS is relatively good, taking in mind that it is a free service

Cons

The program does starts adds in the top of your browser. Slow down the speed and response

Summary

Hotspot Shield provides you a static IP address, which makes it good for watching US content outside of the US. HS does slow down the speed and response, but the connection seems stable.

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2 stars

"Contains a lot of ads..."

January 15, 2012  |  By Dansilent

 |  Version: Hotspot Shield 1.582

Pros

HS is relatively good, taking in mind that it is a free service

Cons

The program does starts adds in the top of your browser. Slow down the speed and response

Summary

Hotspot Shield provides you a static IP address, which makes it good for watching US content outside of the US. HS does slow down the speed and response, but the connection seems stable.

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Results 1–11 of 24

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Full Specifications

+
What's new in version 1.582
Faster connection
General
Publisher AnchorFree
Publisher web site http://anchorfree.com
Release Date June 16, 2011
Date Added June 16, 2011
Version 1.582
Category
Category Security Software
Subcategory Encryption Software
Operating Systems
Operating Systems Mac OS X 10.5/Intel, Mac OS X 10.6/10.7
Additional Requirements None
Download Information
File Size 2.11MB
File Name HSS-3.19-553.dmg
Popularity
Total Downloads 1,996,069
Downloads Last Week 2,200
Pricing
License Model Free
Limitations Not available
Price Free

Previous Versions:

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