Hotspot Shield

Hotspot Shield

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

Quick Specs

  • Version:
    2.75
  • Total Downloads:
    28,601,158
  • Date Added:
    Nov. 01, 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

    2.3

    out of 3 votes

    • 5 star 1
    • 4 star 0
    • 3 star 0
    • 2 star 0
    • 1 star 2
  • 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 1–3 of 3

1 stars

"I wouldn't download it. Again."

November 04, 2012  |  By achayden

 |  Version: Hotspot Shield 2.75

Pros

Does protect IP address.

Cons

Ad banner sucks.
Slowed down my computer.

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5 stars

"Good solution for getting US IP"

November 02, 2012  |  By Setven_7

 |  Version: Hotspot Shield 2.75

Pros

This is useful piece of software for getting to US internet from outside US. Sometimes, when I go for holiday abroad I use Hotspot Shield to get to Netflix and Pandora. I was using various proxy changing website but it is quite annoying.

Cons

While you turn it on ad banners will appear in top of your browser window, but you can close them.

Summary

It's free, and even it runs ads, it is worth having software.

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1 stars

"How Anonymous Are You Really With Hotspot Shield?"

November 02, 2012  |  By Several9920

 |  Version: Hotspot Shield 2.75

Pros

This software does change your ip address, But that's all.

Cons

Depending on what website you visit Hotspot Shield can be useless.

Summary

I used to frequent a website called Topix, And some guy started harassing me. Now i can handle being harassed but, What disturbed me was when the guy was able to tell me my computer name, ISP, my internet browser, and the state i was in. But he did give me the wrong IP address, and the city he gave me was actually about 30 minutes away from me. My point is, With Hotspot Shield installed i should have been more anonymous than that. If people are savvy enough they can find out who you are, and where you are even with Hotspot Shield installed.

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Results 1–3 of 3

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Full Specifications

+
What's new in version 2.75

- Windows 8 compatibility
- performance and stability improvements
- bug fixes
General
Publisher AnchorFree
Publisher web site http://anchorfree.com
Release Date October 31, 2012
Date Added November 01, 2012
Version 2.75
Category
Category Security Software
Subcategory Encryption Software
Operating Systems
Operating Systems Windows Vista, Windows, Windows 8, Windows XP, Windows 7
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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