Hotspot Shield

Hotspot Shield

Download Editors' Rating:
4.5
Outstanding
Average User Rating:
2.9
out of 643 votes

Quick Specs

  • Version:
    2.24
  • Total Downloads:
    28,601,158
  • Date Added:
    January 10, 2012
  • File Size:
    7.68MB
  • Downloads Last Week:
    61,716
  • Operating Systems:
    Windows 2000/XP/Vista/7

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

    2.8

    out of 12 votes

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

    2.9

    out of 643 votes

    • 5 star 191
    • 4 star 102
    • 3 star 61
    • 2 star 55
    • 1 star 234
  • My rating

    0 stars

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Results 1–10 of 12

3 stars

"It works for awhile,then money speaks.."

March 07, 2012  |  By ricky1

 |  Version: Hotspot Shield 2.24

Pros

older version works for a limited time,then it get complicated as it get upgrade...

Cons

the newer version is not able to block id,still getting notices that i'm outside of usa from sites like hulu and abc network,it's interferes with webpage,at times had to disconnect in order to speed up webpage result,also when not connected a pop up comes on screen reminding that you are not connected,deleted the new version

Summary

Do recommend using for the first time, then after that it's anyone guest

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1 stars

"looney,useless thing"

February 17, 2012  |  By salesalex

 |  Version: Hotspot Shield 2.24

Pros

none, maybe you should pay for it to be usefull???

Cons

after installation I had no browser anymore,just boring popups.

Summary

I was very glad while uninstalling this programic creature.

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1 stars

"You Have Been Warned!!"

February 15, 2012  |  By jdbparsons

 |  Version: Hotspot Shield 2.24

Pros

private connections to sites.

Cons

Yes, you've heard it slows down your connection speed, hi-jacks your browsers homepage and displays a plethora of ads. But there lies deep within the insidious inner workings of this HS Sheild another hidden threat - directly stealing your money. I'm a member of Big Crumbs shopping rewards site and just recently I've noticed no matter how much I've shopped, I never received any cash back for my purchases (at least since 11/30/2011). With some simple investigation techniques, to my dismay I discovered every time I shopped at a site using my Big Crumbs cash-back link to it, HotSpot Shield would override that link and insert their own referral link, so they can collect your shopping cash-back rewards and leave you empty handed. All of this happens even when you're not actively using HS Shield (Disabled). Just so long as it is on your computer, it can redirect shopping sites you visit to their own referral links to it, and collect your cash-back & rewards!

Summary

This, my friends, is as low as it gets! Using HotSpot Shield may get you private access to sites you don't prefer tracking you, but all that comes at a hefty price tag. If you want to lose time, and money, and feel the urge to funnel them all your hard-earned cash rewards, by all means, use it. But if you don't want to be beaten bloody, and robbed blind by swindlers, stay far far away from not just HotSpot Shield, but instead this whole nefarious, under-handed, crooked company.

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3 stars

"Works, but brings some annoyances"

January 28, 2012  |  By Flaco8

 |  Version: Hotspot Shield 2.24

Pros

Keeps your business private

Cons

Changes browser behavior
Some sites don't load properly

Summary

It's functional and free, and surprisingly doesn't seem to slow browser activity.

But here are the drawbacks I've found.

It adds ads. This can be prevented with Adblock Plus for Firefox (and maybe other browsers also).

It changes your default search browser. This is at least partly fixable, but for me, using Firefox, the address bar now searches with Bing instead of Google (my old default), and I no longer have the "feeling lucky" response to typing a search there.

Some pages don't load at all. And usually, YouTube pages will load, but the video will not. Again, that's with Firefox...they do play when I use Explorer.

But if you really want a free VPN program, this may be the best out there.

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4 stars

"Does what it says, which is what I wanted."

January 27, 2012  |  By dan333van

 |  Version: Hotspot Shield 2.24

Pros

It works, it's free

Cons

Adds and it is a bit slower, but i don't use it all the time.

Summary

Go for it!

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2 stars

"Too resource hungry - Forget it"

January 24, 2012  |  By kenmil01

 |  Version: Hotspot Shield 2.24

Pros

Handy for connecting to HULU from outside USA

Cons

Slowed my PC down to the point where it was almost unworkable.
Hijacks your home page/search engine - very annoying.

Summary

Works fine, and does what it is supposed to do, but be prepared to sacrifice considerable connection speed.

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1 stars

"DON'T INSTALL: Slows your connection speed dramatically"

January 22, 2012  |  By Artiscock

 |  Version: Hotspot Shield 2.24

Pros

Works when other vpn's (like ********* or anonymouse) don't work.

Cons

After installing my upload speed was reduced to 1/5 of before. This whas the case as long as the program was installed. Naturally I have now uninstalled the program and enjoy the normal upload speed. But cost me more than five hours of troubleshooting and tech-support to rule out what was wrong with my upload speed.

Summary

DO NOT INSTALL. Limits the upload speed to unacceptable low speed. Before that is fixed this program deserves lowest rating.

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4 stars

"Privacy a click away....."

January 19, 2012  |  By lezmar63

 |  Version: Hotspot Shield 2.24

Pros

hides your IP address to prevent side jacking....it can make you appear as if you are online in the states....

Cons

can drop out from time to time, free version has ads.

Summary

Handy if you want to hide your IP address, and run using a different one.....

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2 stars

"Slows Down my computer"

January 14, 2012  |  By DoctorOFDoom

 |  Version: Hotspot Shield 2.24

Pros

May hie IP address BUT....

Cons

It definitely slows down my computer especially on the Social websites and when I use my MS Outlook to retrieve my mail. This is not imaginary...I have tried multiple times to retrieve my e-mail and end up having to wait an inordinate amount of time. If this does not improve....I will have to take this program off my computer.

Summary

May guard IP address...but SLOWS DOWN your computer for sure.

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2 stars

"Good when it works"

January 13, 2012  |  By Keith-Tech

 |  Version: Hotspot Shield 2.24

Pros

Feeling of security.
Free service.

Cons

At one point wouldn't allow access to several web sites. Also, wouldn't let me complete an upload of photos to a common weather site.
Now I cannot connect to HotSpot Shield.
These problems are much worse than the banner adds.

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Results 1–10 of 12

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Full Specifications

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What's new in version 2.24
Version 2.24 is a maintenance release.
General
Publisher AnchorFree
Publisher web site http://anchorfree.com
Release Date January 09, 2012
Date Added January 10, 2012
Version 2.24
Category
Category Security Software
Subcategory Encryption Software
Operating Systems
Operating Systems Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows 7, Windows, 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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