Hotspot Shield for Mac

Hotspot Shield for Mac

Editors' Rating:
4.5
Outstanding
Average User Rating:
3.2
out of 77 votes
See all user reviews

Quick Specs

Version:
1.582
File Size:
2.11MB
Date Added:
June 16, 2011
Price:
Free; to buy (Buy it now)
Operating Systems:
Mac OS X 10.5/Intel, Mac OS X 10.6/10.7
Total Downloads:
1,917,612
Downloads Last Week:
4,493
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 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.

Publisher's Description

More Products to Consider

All User Reviews
  • All Versions:

    3.2

    out of 77 votes

    • 5 star: 30
    • 4 star: 10
    • 3 star: 6
    • 2 star: 5
    • 1 star: 26
  • Current Version:

    2.5

    out of 2 votes

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

    0 stars

    Write review

    Results 1-4 of 4

  • 2 stars

    "Injects ads everywhere"

    June 16, 2014   |   By ri4d3n

    Version: Hotspot Shield 3.19

    Pros

    Easy installation and setup

    Cons

    Injects nearly everywhere new ads which doesn't belong to the website!

    Summary

    The software itself injects ads (overlay and side ads) to nearly every website you're visiting!!!

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  • 1 stars

    "Almost Malware"

    May 13, 2014   |   By Waimport

    Version: Hotspot Shield 3.19

    Pros

    Unknown at this time.

    Cons

    It installed automatically, then kept a large commercial on my screen. It could not be closed (red dot grayed out). It could not be stopped with "Force Quit" as it didn't show up there. It could not be uninstalled until I chose to go to their website, click that I wanted the free version, then pause it, then close it, then Remove the file.

    Summary

    Only malware is harder to remove.

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  • 5 stars

    "Got it now IT works Great"

    April 04, 2014   |   By johnkagu

    Version: Hotspot Shield 3.19

    Pros

    Easy to install
    No configuration after installing
    Got to watch Hulu for the first time

    Cons

    The FireFox got slow when hotspot was on
    They put you to buy the Elite version but for the way it works i just may buy it.

    Summary

    Great I has tried may options but this works so easy. Unless they change its the VPN you need.
    It was worth going through all the sites and the various downloads to get this One piece of Gold.

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  • 5 stars

    ""it is what it is" aristotle. good job 90%"

    February 25, 2014   |   By cantuburyofkent

    Version: Hotspot Shield 3.19

    Pros

    fast, secure, works well, does not crash

    Cons

    little slow to strat, sometimes it hangs up my connection speed

    Summary

    its good i bought the premium pkg and now with "man in the middle" hacking on apple i am happy. no protection is complete, even quantum encryption but this is good and it is responsive.

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  • Results 1-4 of 4

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