Hotspot Shield

Hotspot Shield

Download Editors' Rating:
4.5
Outstanding
Average User Rating:
2.9
out of 646 votes

Quick Specs

  • Version:
    2.53
  • Total Downloads:
    28,601,158
  • Date Added:
    May 10, 2012
  • Price:
    Free
  • File Size:
    7.68MB
  • Downloads Last Week:
    61,716
  • Platform:
    Windows
  • Product ranking:

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 people 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.

Recent changes include automatic detection of Wi-Fi connections nearby, the ability to work on corporate networks, and no longer requiring administrative privileges to install.

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 cost. The installation opts you into a toolbar, which redirects your default search and home page, and a desktop icon. 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 icon that turns to green when activated in both your system tray and in your browser. Clicking will toggle it on or off. Choosing the Properties option opens a window 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's paid upgrade is called Elite, which runs ad-free and on faster servers. Elite costs $0.50 per 24-hour session, with a minimum $10 deposit, or $5 per month, or $29.99 per year. Payment options include credit card, PayPal, prepaid cash cards or mobile phone payments via premium SMS. Along with built-in site malware protection, Hotspot Shield Elite comes with tech support, preferential bandwidth priority (read: faster Internet speeds) and serves you no additional ads from AnchorFree.

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 number and the Mac version number don't match, AnchorFree says 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

    1.9

    out of 9 votes

    • 5 star 1
    • 4 star 0
    • 3 star 2
    • 2 star 0
    • 1 star 6
  • All Versions

    2.9

    out of 646 votes

    • 5 star 193
    • 4 star 102
    • 3 star 61
    • 2 star 56
    • 1 star 234
  • My rating

    0 stars

    Write review

Results 1–9 of 9

1 stars

"Avoid at all cost"

March 20, 2014  |  By farmerbeans

 |  Version: Hotspot Shield 2.53

Pros

Teaches you the lesson why you should thoroughly do your homework before downloading CRAPWARE to your computer.

Cons

My computer got bogged down, and in the process of cleaning it up, four HotSpot Shield components were identified by AdwCleaner as culprits. Upon attempting to uninstall, IT WON'T. Silly me for not doing my homework before installing it.

I've taken the time to create an account and write this review in the hope of saving someone else the hours it's going to take to try to eradicate HotSpot Shield's crap from my computer.

Summary

Don't walk... RUN the other way.

Updated on Mar 20, 2014

Edit: In recommending this crapware, CNET reviews are clearly a waste of time. So I've actually learned two lessons...

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1 stars

"DANGER!!!!"

February 20, 2013  |  By clim187

 |  Version: Hotspot Shield 2.53

Pros

None. This app does nothing!

Cons

Keeps trying to access my gmail accounts.

Summary

Not sure why it keeps trying to access my GMail accounts but I find that to be very suspect! Do not download its a pain trying to remove it.

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1 stars

"Will not uninstall"

September 18, 2012  |  By xkwizit

 |  Version: Hotspot Shield 2.53

Pros

Nothing that other programs won't do.

Cons

Decided to uninstall this app...went through the regular uninstall process. Name disappeared from my list of installed programs, but the toolbar is still there & functioning. Restarted the computer...still there. Not happy. I do not trust software that will not uninstall.

Summary

Don't install this unless you are certain you want it in your computer for good.

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1 stars

"Only partly works."

July 01, 2012  |  By redlegparatrooper

 |  Version: Hotspot Shield 2.53

Pros

Does allow access to some firewall blocked sites

Cons

Doesn't allow access to all sites. ABC network site still saw me as outside US. VERY HARD to uninstall. Almost no configuration options.

Summary

I recently put a VPN app on my iPad and was impressed, so I tried this one for my laptop based on CNET's reviews. It did open up some sites, but when I went to ABC's website I couldn't watch any videos because the site said I was outside of the US. Since the app on my iPad let me do this, I know it's possible, just not with this program. The real trouble came when trying to uninstall it. No matter what I did, it would not uninstall, and I could not stop the processes in Task Manager. I finally was able to do it by shutting off my wireless adapter.

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1 stars

"Behaves like spyware!"

June 17, 2012  |  By saintm7

 |  Version: Hotspot Shield 2.53

Pros

None that I can see.

Cons

Ditto with other reviewer about the program's auto-attempt to access my Google account. Insidious little piece of programming; it took some effort to get all the little tentacle bits out of my system.

Summary

Way too much trouble for what it could possibly be worth.

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3 stars

"Conflicts with some sites"

May 31, 2012  |  By bloomoon

 |  Version: Hotspot Shield 2.53

Pros

I am just an average person with average tech knowledge and don't really know if it's working or not. What I have noticed is that my IP address shows I am in CA, which I am not - and that's the idea.

Cons

At first I had no issues, but after few days I was unable to login to my aol account, the page I was getting showed as if internet was disconnected, but I could surf other sites. Also some online games won't load either.

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1 stars

"Spyware leading to cyber attack"

May 28, 2012  |  By Balayage CNET TV

 |  Version: Hotspot Shield 2.53

Pros

Likely a great piece of software. It was fine when I used it a year ago.

Cons

Some kind of spyware. Right after installing I started to receive notices from Gmail that an un-authorize entity was trying to log into my Gmail accounts (4). This is a copy of one of the notices; Someone recently tried to use an application to sign in to your Google Account, xxxx@gmail.com. We prevented the sign-in attempt in case this was a hijacker trying to access your account. Please review the details of the sign-in attempt:

Saturday, May 26, 2012 8:31:56 PM GMT
IP Address: 74.115.3.67
Location: Unknown Location

IP Address: 74.115.3.67 belongs to anchorfree.com who own Hotspot Shield.

I wrote them for an explanation but got no reply

Summary

DO NOT USE THIS SOFTWARE UNTIL THIS ISSUE IS RESOLVED.

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5 stars

"Fantastic tool to get torrent sites"

May 17, 2012  |  By naveenrawath

 |  Version: Hotspot Shield 2.53

Pros

Fantastic tool to get torrent sites

Cons

Fantastic tool to get torrent sites

Summary

Fantastic tool to get torrent sites

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3 stars

"Worse after the update."

May 11, 2012  |  By LP125

 |  Version: Hotspot Shield 2.53

Pros

-Decent speed (Free Version).
-Connects to websites that are not available in the UK.
-Makes your anonymous!

Cons

Advertising (Sometimes malicious!!!) (Use AdBlock Plus)
Can be a hassle at times. The new User Interface is completely buggy. In some cases you cannot close it, has trouble connecting to a secure server due to 'problems' (even after re-install).

Summary

Don't get me wrong, i love using this service. It helps let me access certain sites and the speed is not bad. They can add some new updates to fix some of the UI issues (The older version was much better before they updated to the current one as of 11 May 2012).
Beware of the ads though. Some contain malicious links that can harm your computer which is why i extremely advise you use a secure up to date browser (Firefox, Chrome etc.) Along with Web-Of-Trust & AdBlock Addons for extra protection.

Overall, not a bad service since it is free. So get it if you need a good VPN solution.

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Results 1–9 of 9

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Full Specifications

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What's new in version 2.53
Version 2.53 is a bug fixing release.
General
Publisher AnchorFree
Publisher web site http://anchorfree.com
Release Date April 13, 2012
Date Added May 10, 2012
Version 2.53
Category
Category Security Software
Subcategory Encryption Software
Operating Systems
Operating Systems Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 2000, Windows
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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