Hotspot Shield

Hotspot Shield

Download Editors' Rating:
4.5
Outstanding
Average User Rating:
2.9
out of 649 votes

Quick Specs

  • Version:
    2.67
  • Total Downloads:
    29,514,623
  • Date Added:
    Aug. 15, 2012
  • Price:
    Free
  • File Size:
    7.41MB
  • Downloads Last Week:
    13,440
  • Platform:
    Windows
  • Product ranking:

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 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

    3.3

    out of 7 votes

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

    2.9

    out of 649 votes

    • 5 star 195
    • 4 star 101
    • 3 star 61
    • 2 star 55
    • 1 star 237
  • My rating

    0 stars

    Write review

Results 1–7 of 7

1 stars

""Locked up" and rendered my computer useless."

September 03, 2012  |  By bulruq

 |  Version: Hotspot Shield 2.67

Pros

None whatsoever.

Cons

My computer was rendered useless until I was able to uninstall this software (NOT easy!)

Summary

A waste of my time.

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5 stars

"Been 3 amazing years with Hotspot Shield VPN"

August 29, 2012  |  By mchrislaw

 |  Version: Hotspot Shield 2.67

Pros

I have been using it for last 3 years- no issues whatsoever.
It's Free.
Full protection at Wi-Fi hotspots.
Provides malware protection.
Works on my PC as well as Mac.

Cons

The free VPN has ads all over. Still I feel it is a small price for such an amazing VPN.

Summary

The incredible VPN software offers protection against hackers at Wi-Fi hotspots. As the network traffic is encrypted, privacy of your web session is never infringed.

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5 stars

""Does everything it promises""

August 22, 2012  |  By markackleys

 |  Version: Hotspot Shield 2.67

Pros

Free & reliable VPN service that is capable of unblocking websites, offers malware protection and works on any device-Windows, Mac, iPhone or Android.

Cons

Being a free product it features pop up advertisments.

Summary

It offers everything you want.
Protection at Wi-Fi hotspots.
Supports Encrypted network traffic.
Unblocks websites.
Plus something that you may not want.
Advertisements, a cost you pay for getting something for free.

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1 stars

"Now absolutely useless"

August 21, 2012  |  By Shahius

 |  Version: Hotspot Shield 2.67

Pros

It used to be a good programme but now it's useless.

Cons

It became slow, giving IP all over the world.

Summary

I have been using Hotspot shield for 5 years. I liked it. But now I quit because it started giving IP all over the world while I need US IP only. What happened?

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5 stars

"does what its intended for"

August 21, 2012  |  By anilntny

 |  Version: Hotspot Shield 2.67

Pros

free
easy to use
works perfectly on both windows and mac(at least for me)
You can always check real time protection

Cons

ads
makes connection sluggish,marginally

Summary

good software

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5 stars

"Working good to me"

August 20, 2012  |  By Mirek__

 |  Version: Hotspot Shield 2.67

Pros

Reliable and free VPN

Cons

Advertising (the price for free software)

Summary

Very good and free protection for connecting from public WiFis. Since the data connection is encrypted no one can see what I am doing online.

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1 stars

"Bad bad bad"

August 17, 2012  |  By rogerkal

 |  Version: Hotspot Shield 2.67

Pros

none found

Cons

Acts in the manner of a virus, will mess up your browser. Replace your default search page, continuously plays pop-up advertising, randomly sends you off in a new tab to company web site. Seems to be impossible to remove!

Summary

To me this is a terrible option. You might want it if you are desperate for porn.

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Results 1–7 of 7

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Full Specifications

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What's new in version 2.67
Version 2.67 may include unspecified updates, enhancements, or bug fixes.
General
Publisher AnchorFree
Publisher web site http://anchorfree.com
Release Date August 15, 2012
Date Added August 15, 2012
Version 2.67
Category
Category Security Software
Subcategory Encryption Software
Operating Systems
Operating Systems Windows XP/Vista/7
Additional Requirements None
Download Information
File Size 7.41MB
File Name HSS-3.42-install-plain-715-plain.exe
Popularity
Total Downloads 29,514,623
Downloads Last Week 13,440
Pricing
License Model Free
Limitations Not available
Price Free

Previous Versions:

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