CNET 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.
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 email@example.com for the Windows version or firstname.lastname@example.org 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.Hotspot Shield - Get Wi-Fi privacy and security, protect yourself from malware threats, and access blocked content - Video Previews:
Hotspot Shield is the security product for Mac that detects and protects against 3.5 million malware threats including the Flash Trojan virus. It also makes your communications secure in public Wi-Fi hotspots which otherwise leave you vulnerable to hackers and security breaches. Hotspot Shield's VPN tunnel also gives you a simple solution to maintain your anonymity, hide your IP and protect your privacy.
What's new in this version: Faster connection
More Products to Consider
- Protect your PC against the latest viruses and spyware.
- Protect your computer from viruses and malicious programs.
- Detect and quickly remove malicious threats to your computer.
- Scan and remove the deepest malware that your antivirus/antiSpy...
- Provide secure, anonymous, and private browsing on Wi-Fi hotspo...
- Search your hard disk and Registry for threats to your security...
- Login everywhere automatically, so you'll never need to remembe...
- Modify locked Microsoft PowerPoint 2007/2010/2013 presentations...
- Store your credentials securely via sophisticated encryption.
- Detect and eliminate viruses, get free protection for home user...
- Secure desktops and lock computers on the network.
- Protect PC from viruses, Trojans, worms, buffer overflows, zero...
- Protect yourself from infected sites.
- Guard your Windows PC from malware and Internet based attacks.
- Mask your E-mail address, phone number, or credit card in Firef...
- Protect yourself from infected sites.
- Download and exchange files safely, enjoy games and Web surfing...
- Monitor, filter, and control all computer activities of your ch...
- Secure your connection to public Wi-Fi networks with premium VP...
- Protect folders, hide files, lock applications, and restrict ac...
- Detect and remove spyware, malware, rootkits, trojans, hijacker...
- Protect your online privacy by cleaning up Internet history and...
- Protect files and emails using encryption software.
- Protect your personal computer against virus and spyware attack...
All versions:3.2 stars
out of 73 votes
Current version:2.5 stars
out of 2 votes
My rating:Write review
Results 1-2 of 2
"Works really well, no complains yet"
Version: Hotspot Shield 1.582
Fast and reliable, works great with streaming movies and videos, no interruptions, no picture problems, great price! Fast response on account questions, I am amazed!
I tried another VPN service before and there were a lot of connectivity problems and streaming interruptions during the last months. It was terrible and the price was way too high now that I have the direct comparison to HSS Elite! This really works perfectly on all my devices, great video streaming, no interruptions, really a faster browsing than before. The price is absolutely fabulous for HSS Elite and if someone complains about the ads - simply upgrade like I did. For me up to now the best choice on the market!
"Unreliable and ads hardcore porn constantly!"
Version: Hotspot Shield 1.582
None, considering the negative features mentioned below.
Just unreliable and with bad taste ads.
I'm not sure if there is any considering the kind of ads they play constantly.
No matter how many times you close the tabs they will open again. It's a pest !!
I have no issues against ads in freewares, but not this kind...
My children use my computers and I had to remove it.
I do not recommend it and I can't understand how it can be so highly graded by CNET editors.
Shame on you guys !!!
Shame on you CNET editors.
So highly recommend a software that ads hard core porn with no restriction to age !!!!!
Add Your Review
Submit your reply
E-mail this review
Report offensive content