Hotspot Shield

Hotspot Shield

Download Editors' Rating:
4.5
Outstanding
Average User Rating:
2.9
out of 638 votes

Quick Specs

  • Version:
    2.76
  • Total Downloads:
    28,239,892
  • Date Added:
    November 05, 2012
  • File Size:
    7.68MB
  • Downloads Last Week:
    63,361
  • Operating Systems:
    Windows XP/Vista/7/8

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

    2.2

    out of 13 votes

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

    2.9

    out of 638 votes

    • 5 star 187
    • 4 star 102
    • 3 star 61
    • 2 star 55
    • 1 star 233
  • My rating

    0 stars

    Write review

Results 1-10 of 16

  • 1 stars

    "It's CRAP!!"

    October 17, 2014   |   By SailorCandy

    Version: Hotspot Shield 3.42

    Pros

    It does provided proxy service.

    Cons

    It launches itself! No matter how many times I stop is, it relaunches and at the most inopportune times! Or it changes Severs without warning. I checked never launch unless I start and guess what? It still launches itself. Total waste of money.

    Summary

    Don't waste money on the Elite version like I did.

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  • 5 stars

    "Work smoothly!"

    September 17, 2014   |   By T4$^PRMMoJS3

    Version: Hotspot Shield 3.42

    Pros

    Come with free version(ad-supported) and elite(private vpn).
    Also available on android which is very handy on my mobile device

    Cons

    The ads showing up, but it can be turned off if you feel annoyed. So no problem with me

    Summary

    Worth to try and keep, I also upgrade to elite version for ad free solution

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  • 4 stars

    "Works well"

    August 28, 2014   |   By ageary79

    Version: Hotspot Shield 3.42

    Pros

    Easy to use and works as advertised.

    Cons

    Ads can get a little annoying, but it's free.

    Summary

    Good option. May want to consider Tor as well.

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  • 5 stars

    "It's a really good to download"

    August 26, 2014   |   By RaBeekman

    Version: Hotspot Shield 3.42

    Pros

    Awesome, does everything it says, and is easy

    Cons

    I have no cons on this program

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  • 5 stars

    "Very good software"

    August 25, 2014   |   By mohammadshams

    Version: Hotspot Shield 3.42

    Pros

    :Government censors can not Viciously

    Cons

    GOOOOOOOOD

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  • 3 stars

    "Nice tool but This one is Amazing: 6.md/eeee"

    August 21, 2014   |   By tomaskenedy

    Version: Hotspot Shield 3.42

    Pros

    It will do the job but sometimes sneaky though. It also warns you of possible malicious website.

    Cons

    Bigger file size and annoying ads.

    Summary

    A very nice software to browse blocked sites but could be better in my opinion.

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  • 1 stars

    "Hotspot Shield is junk"

    August 03, 2014   |   By 8f2ad1fe

    Version: Hotspot Shield 3.42

    Pros

    Flashy app - Nothing more

    Cons

    - Gets funding from Goldman Sach, CIA NSA link established I guess
    - Monitors everything you do - They log everything.
    - Cannot download any torrents
    - Only a few countries to choose from

    Summary

    My advise to you is to give Private Internet Access VPN a try. It is worth it. They really care for your Privacy and they are super fast and have many servers in many countries and they don't log anything about you at all. They are Anti-NSA.
    Try it here
    https://www.privateinternetaccess.com/pages/buy-vpn/PROXYBLOG

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  • 5 stars

    "Keep up the good work."

    July 29, 2014   |   By PayneGuan

    Version: Hotspot Shield 3.42

    Pros

    it seems to me that it works very good

    Cons

    No cons from what I can see.

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  • 2 stars

    "Dissapointing"

    July 10, 2014   |   By vijayr1234

    Version: Hotspot Shield 3.42

    Pros

    Easy to use

    Cons

    downloads not stable.

    Summary

    Avoid it.

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  • 4 stars

    "Downloads, updates, and upgrades easily."

    June 26, 2014   |   By swanjame

    Version: Hotspot Shield 3.42

    Pros

    Downloads, updates, and upgrades easily. Nice interface. Pretty intuitive to set up. Seems to be effective.

    Cons

    Only works on two of my three computers. It will not start or reinstall on my third computer, which is Windows 7 64-bit like one of the other two. It has acted up since I removed an unrelated persistent file a few months ago.

    Summary

    Except for the problem with one computer it is working OK. I don't blame that problem on HSS.

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  • Results 1-10 of 16

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    Full Specifications

    +
    What's new in version 2.76
    Version 2.76 improves compatibility with windows 8.
    General
    Publisher AnchorFree
    Publisher web site http://anchorfree.com
    Release Date November 02, 2012
    Date Added November 05, 2012
    Version 2.76
    Category
    Category Security Software
    Subcategory Encryption Software
    Operating Systems
    Operating Systems Windows 7, Windows, Windows XP, Windows 8, Windows Vista
    Additional Requirements None
    Download Information
    File Size 7.68MB
    File Name HSS-3.42-install-hss-561-conduit.exe
    Popularity
    Total Downloads 28,239,892
    Downloads Last Week 63,361
    Pricing
    License Model Free
    Limitations Not available
    Price Free

    Previous Versions:

     
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