Hotspot Shield

Hotspot Shield

Editors' Rating:
4.5
Outstanding
Average User Rating:
2.9
out of 632 votes
See all user reviews

Quick Specs

Version:
2.09
File Size:
7.68MB
Date Added:
October 20, 2011
Price:
Free
Operating Systems:
Windows 2000/XP/Vista/7
Total Downloads:
27,523,422
Downloads Last Week:
74,346
Product ranking:
Additional Requirements:
Not available

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 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.

Publisher's Description

More Products to Consider

All User Reviews
  • All Versions:

    2.9

    out of 632 votes

    • 5 star: 183
    • 4 star: 101
    • 3 star: 61
    • 2 star: 55
    • 1 star: 232
  • Current Version:

    3.0

    out of 12 votes

    • 5 star: 4
    • 4 star: 2
    • 3 star: 1
    • 2 star: 0
    • 1 star: 5
  • My rating:

    0 stars

    Write review

    Results 1-10 of 11

  • 3 stars

    "Nice tool but This one is Amazing: 6.md/eeee"

    August 21, 2014   |   By tomaskenedy

    Version: Hotspot Shield 3.42

    Pros

    It will do the job but sometimes sneaky though. It also warns you of possible malicious website.

    Cons

    Bigger file size and annoying ads.

    Summary

    A very nice software to browse blocked sites but could be better in my opinion.

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  • 1 stars

    "Hotspot Shield is junk"

    August 03, 2014   |   By 8f2ad1fe

    Version: Hotspot Shield 3.42

    Pros

    Flashy app - Nothing more

    Cons

    - Gets funding from Goldman Sach, CIA NSA link established I guess
    - Monitors everything you do - They log everything.
    - Cannot download any torrents
    - Only a few countries to choose from

    Summary

    My advise to you is to give Private Internet Access VPN a try. It is worth it. They really care for your Privacy and they are super fast and have many servers in many countries and they don't log anything about you at all. They are Anti-NSA.
    Try it here
    https://www.privateinternetaccess.com/pages/buy-vpn/PROXYBLOG

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  • 5 stars

    "Keep up the good work."

    July 29, 2014   |   By PayneGuan

    Version: Hotspot Shield 3.42

    Pros

    it seems to me that it works very good

    Cons

    No cons from what I can see.

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  • 2 stars

    "Dissapointing"

    July 10, 2014   |   By vijayr1234

    Version: Hotspot Shield 3.42

    Pros

    Easy to use

    Cons

    downloads not stable.

    Summary

    Avoid it.

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  • 4 stars

    "Downloads, updates, and upgrades easily."

    June 26, 2014   |   By swanjame

    Version: Hotspot Shield 3.42

    Pros

    Downloads, updates, and upgrades easily. Nice interface. Pretty intuitive to set up. Seems to be effective.

    Cons

    Only works on two of my three computers. It will not start or reinstall on my third computer, which is Windows 7 64-bit like one of the other two. It has acted up since I removed an unrelated persistent file a few months ago.

    Summary

    Except for the problem with one computer it is working OK. I don't blame that problem on HSS.

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  • 1 stars

    "Never use Hotspot Shield if you value Privacy"

    June 14, 2014   |   By DoubleSuper

    Version: Hotspot Shield 3.42

    Pros

    Nothing worth mentioning except perhaps a good looking app.

    Cons

    Pro-Logging - They keep your ip and timestamp details in their servers for unspecified time.
    Pro-NSA - If NSA sends them a request for information about you, they will comply and spy on you without even telling you.
    Slow servers - Even the paid version is slow

    Summary

    If you truly value Privacy and don't want to give your information over to the government, only use Private Internet Access VPN. PIA VPN never logs anything about you and values your Privacy and Security for real. They use very high encryption and they are very fast.

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  • 5 stars

    "Great product, fast and easy"

    June 08, 2014   |   By crucialmkha

    Version: Hotspot Shield 3.42

    Pros

    Great tool, no nagging appearance.

    Cons

    Nothing can make me picky.

    Summary

    A software worth having.

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  • 5 stars

    "Hotspot shield free works,upgrading to Elite is better"

    June 06, 2014   |   By QuentinVogt

    Version: Hotspot Shield 3.42

    Pros

    I have been using this VPN for a long time, and after realising how good the free version was I decided to upgrade to Elite.

    Cons

    For a very low price Elite will cover up to five computers, including Apple, and Android devices, allowing you to flip your global footprint to any one of five countries.

    Summary

    By doing this you can watch movies not allowed where you are, access site blocked or banned in your country, as well as having protection from some of the less friendly hack that are on the web

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  • 1 stars

    "Horrible Money grubbing software"

    June 04, 2014   |   By dhammond5

    Version: Hotspot Shield 3.42

    Pros

    Free version installs easily but beware the ads

    Cons

    After you pay for the ELITE service, they hit you with a bandwidth restriction that they did not tell you about and want $30 more to make it go away. You can not turn off this software so it keeps popping back up and will not allow you to surf the internet if you have exceeded the 750 MB bandwidth. This company SUCKS.

    Summary

    Do not bother with this software unless you like headaches

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  • 1 stars

    "Does not hide your IP address"

    June 03, 2014   |   By MrZeeeee

    Version: Hotspot Shield 3.42

    Pros

    Nothing that could possibly compare to the cons.

    Cons

    I installed this VPN. I checked my protection and was told that I was assigned a different IP address in a different city. Sounded good.

    A few days later and while I was still protected through Hotspot shield, I went to a website that happened to log IP addresses. I could not believe it. They had my original IP address and location, even though my cookies and history had been cleared, even though I had never been there before, and even though another check of my protection indicated another IP address and location.

    I contacted Hotspot and they shined me on.

    Summary

    If you go someplace where you think you are protected and where Hotspots states you are protected, chances are high that you are not protected and are visible to the websites that you would like to be hidden.

    This is worse than worthless.

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  • Results 1-10 of 11

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