Hotspot Shield 2.70 - Free download and software reviews - CNET Download.com

Hotspot Shield

CNET Editors' review

Hotspot Shield - Maintain and protect your privacy - Download Video Previews

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.

Hotspot Shield - Maintain and protect your privacy - Download Video Previews:

Publisher's Description

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All User Reviews
  • All versions:

    2.9 stars

    out of 619 votes

    • 5 star: 182
    • 4 star: 100
    • 3 star: 60
    • 2 star: 54
    • 1 star: 223
  • Current version:

    2.6 stars

    out of 11 votes

    • 5 star: 3
    • 4 star: 2
    • 3 star: 0
    • 2 star: 0
    • 1 star: 6
  • My rating:

    0 stars

    Write review

Results 1-10 of 11

  • 1.0 stars

    "WORST PRODUCT EVER...ashamed of CNET rating"

    February 14, 2014  |   By mason10510

    Version: Hotspot Shield 2.70

    Pros

    I can watch netflix overseas

    Cons

    I can't do anything else. even with the software "paused" I can't get emails, I can't play candy crush, and I can't get to screens within billpay sites...it's junk

    Summary

    I was really excited about this product, and I thought I could trust CNET. But it is crap. It disabled my norton antivirus, it hijacked my search engine and anything with flash is worthless with this software. AVOID the mess

    Reply to this review

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  • 1.0 stars

    "Slowed down my cable broadband with a factor of 100!!"

    September 3, 2013  |   By n_lindewald

    Version: Hotspot Shield 2.70

    Pros

    not sure if it helped me

    Cons

    I was a little bit annoyed about the ad breaks but didn't take the time to remove it, news items was easy to browse for 15 sec before continuing but I had a major speedproblem with my cable and connection was dropping out so couldn't do basic things like uploading photos to snapfish etc. I even got a technician sent out and he proved it was my laptop that was the problem and after he left I was suspicious about hotspotshield so uninstalled it a immediately the download speed went from ~1-2 mbps to 114!! I think the issue is in particular when you are not is US and look at non-us sites becuase all your traffic goes through california, clear from where the speedtest thought was the closest ping...

    Summary

    Very slow internet if you are not in US or only surfing US sites from abroad.

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  • 1.0 stars

    "Hijacked IE9. Cannot get it removed. DO NOT DOWNLOAD"

    November 8, 2012  |   By wmdonovan

    Version: Hotspot Shield 2.70

    Pros

    NONE NONE NONE

    Cons

    Everything. My internet barely works. Slower than dial up. Cannot get it removed. Any advice on riding myself of this curse would be very appreciated. I uninstalled it but it is still in here and I don't know how to find it

    Summary

    STAY AWAY

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  • 1.0 stars

    "it made my laptop go freezing"

    October 15, 2012  |   By rosemariarica

    Version: Hotspot Shield 2.70

    Pros

    i don;t think I have to say something good in the program.

    Cons

    it caused my internet connection to slow down. also it has so many pop ups which are annoying..

    Summary

    now that I uninstalled the software, my laptop is functioning very well AGAIN.

    Reply to this review

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  • 5.0 stars

    "Best Public Wi-Fi Security for Free"

    October 10, 2012  |   By markackleys

    Version: Hotspot Shield 2.70

    Pros

    My business takes me places. I have been using Hotspot Shield for over a couple of years in transit at airport Wi-Fis to access internet. While staying abroad I use it to watch movies on Netflix, listen Pandora and access Hulu. Never experienced slow connectivity, my data never got hacked - I do shop online abroad as well. Simple & free solution, took me only few minutes to install.

    Cons

    Banner ads can be sometimes irritating.

    Summary

    For travellers it is a must have solution. I do not fear using public
    Wi-Fis anymore and I do not wait to watch movies on Netflix, I do it
    while I am travelling abroad. I do not expect more from a free
    product. :)

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  • 5.0 stars

    "Very good software - for free"

    October 9, 2012  |   By hippo__

    Version: Hotspot Shield 2.70

    Pros

    I am using it for accessing US websites while I am abroad. I am addicted to Netflix and listening Pandora and with Hotspot shield i can access them while I am traveling, which is great.
    It's very simple, you don't need to set up some proxy - which I am usually very confused about.
    For free it's a great solution.

    Cons

    Banner ads

    Summary

    I use it time to time when I travel somewhere and it never let me down ,o)

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  • 1.0 stars

    "It causes IP Corruption and Bad Sectors."

    October 8, 2012  |   By Octvnmr

    Version: Hotspot Shield 2.70

    Pros

    I couldn't use internet and I was about to cry for my laptop but I tried many things and I hope the problem is fixed now.

    Cons

    It shouldn't harm my computer, it causes bad sectors and IP corruption, I don't think that download.cnet should share harmful product like this with us.

    Summary

    If you tried it and you got IP corruption so try this:

    1
    Navigate to the "Start" menu and select "Run." The Run dialog opens. In the "Open" field, type "cmd" (without quotes) and click "OK." The Command Prompt opens.

    2
    In the command line, type "netsh int ip reset resetlog.txt" (without quotes). Press "Enter."

    3
    Restart the computer. You may need to power cycle your router and DSL modem. After restart, your computer's TCP/IP stack will be restored to the state it was when originally installed on your PC.

    - I hope it help you, I think it worked with me, share it to spread help and tell everyone how bad is this product. -

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  • 1.0 stars

    "Caused Me To Lose My DSL Internet Connection"

    September 26, 2012  |   By UpPuller

    Version: Hotspot Shield 2.70

    Pros

    This product causes major IP corruption.

    Cons

    Hotspot Shield caused me to lose my DSL Internet connection and corrupted my laptop computer IP address causing me nearly 2 weeks of lost DSL Internet connection, hours of technical support, lost work and over $120 in technical support costs to correct the problems it caused. Beware.

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    Was this review helpful? (4) (2)

  • 4.0 stars

    "Not something to use 24/7, but still effective"

    September 24, 2012  |   By robinhood2008

    Version: Hotspot Shield 2.70

    Pros

    It works great when I'm trying to watch a Web video that otherwise "...CANNOT BE VIEWED FROM YOUR CURRENT COUNTRY OR LOCATION."

    Cons

    With this program, certain websites, like CNET Download, won't completely load.

    Summary

    Hotspot Shield is a great program to use not just for notebook computer users using Wi-Fi hotspots, but also for desktop users who just HAVE to see that one Web video but can't because it's apparently not available in the country you're in, even if the country you're in is the same as the country where the video came from. But, sometimes, when a webpage just won't load correctly with Hotspot Shield on, that's when you have to just turn it off. Fortunately, that's easy to do right from the icon in your taskbar.

    In short, it's a fine product, but not one you'd want to use 24/7.

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  • 4.0 stars

    "The Elite Version is good, but not great"

    September 23, 2012  |   By gat0gelat0

    Version: Hotspot Shield 2.70

    Pros

    The Elite (paid) version does what it says - it converts your wifi connection into a VPN.

    Cons

    I wish it did it faster. Whenever my computer wakes from sleep, or when I reboot the computer, Hotspot Shield Elite takes over the wifi (as it should), but there's a bit of a wait while it 'verifies the connection' then 'completes the connection' and then actually gives you the green go-ahead. Also, sometimes I have had a problem of getting ads (I shouldn't be seeing ads) even when I am logged into the Hotspot Shield company site with my code, and I can't seem to shake it off easily (it takes a couple of relogins and then reboots).

    Summary

    It works (the paid version, I mean). And for those who need this added security, it is probably worth it. But the setup and the connecting needs a bit of quickness and refining.

    Reply to this review

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Results 1-10 of 11

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