Hotspot Shield

Hotspot Shield

Download Editors' Rating:
4.5
Outstanding
Average User Rating:
2.9
out of 647 votes

Quick Specs

  • Version:
    2.78
  • Total Downloads:
    28,601,158
  • Date Added:
    Nov. 21, 2012
  • Price:
    Free
  • File Size:
    7.68MB
  • Downloads Last Week:
    61,716
  • Platform:
    Windows
  • Product ranking:

Editors' Note: Learn how to uninstall HotSpot Shield.

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 18 votes

    • 5 star 3
    • 4 star 3
    • 3 star 1
    • 2 star 1
    • 1 star 10
  • All Versions

    2.9

    out of 647 votes

    • 5 star 194
    • 4 star 102
    • 3 star 61
    • 2 star 56
    • 1 star 234
  • My rating

    0 stars

    Write review

Results 1–10 of 18

1 stars

"Not recommended"

February 12, 2013  |  By maunruh

 |  Version: Hotspot Shield 2.78

Pros

NONE ! I wouldn't recommend this to my worst enemy

Cons

I only recommend this if you have a google / youtube account and want it to be identified you as a hacker and then have to change all your passwords because it was identified as an account being hacked

Summary

HA HA HA HA This is a joke

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1 stars

"Unsafe & unreliable"

January 13, 2013  |  By Anon892

 |  Version: Hotspot Shield 2.78

Pros

Free and fast

Cons

Unsafe, may work great sometimes, will often fail, even within one browser with multiple taps some of them may reveal true ip.

Summary

If you really need to hide your IP DO NOT rely on Hotspot Shield.

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2 stars

"Better deals out there."

January 08, 2013  |  By DeeMoShow

 |  Version: Hotspot Shield 2.78

Pros

It protects you from other hacks on a wireless network, Lets you access US networks from anywhere in the world.

Cons

It's expensive, and there's another program that does the same thing for free; iPhone app is unreliable, unremovable crap.

Summary

There is another program called Freegate, It protects you from hackers, It shields your IP, let's you access a US site from wherever you are, and more. And best, it's FREE. Download that instead. This is a waste of money.

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1 stars

"Junk. Not worth buying"

January 04, 2013  |  By Spaceship_X7

 |  Version: Hotspot Shield 2.78

Pros

None. The paid version is a rip off.

Cons

Doesn't work

Summary

HotSpot is garbage. After paying for the Elite version I had nothing but trouble downloading and installing it. After that I still keep getting all the advertisements and ads to buy this product. I tried reinstalling it but it didn't work. I sent an email to support but have received no answer. The I tried to cancel this subscription bit it won't let me log in to do that. I read to late all the complaints about this product. Just trying to save you some grief. Don't buy this junk.

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5 stars

"Great for getting to US internet"

December 26, 2012  |  By mahiljamaks

 |  Version: Hotspot Shield 2.78

Pros

I am traveling overseas and hotspot shield helped me again to get to my Netflix account from India. Great thing is that I can use all the services I am used to even from abroad - which is not possible without Hotspot Shield

Cons

Ad banners may be annoying.

Summary

I am glad I have it, it's great service for free.

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1 stars

"Possible correlation to PayPal and Discover Card theft."

December 24, 2012  |  By thdsn2002

 |  Version: Hotspot Shield 2.78

Pros

Seemed to be a popular VPN from the number of CNET downloads.

Cons

Shortly after installing HotSpot Shield with the AnchorFree-HotSpot Shield toolbar I noticed redirects to web pages I had not intended to visit. I remember in particular seeing a PayPal login page that had a very different look than the official PayPal login page that came up when I typed the URL in myself. The address bar also had a HTTPS reference in red strikeout font. Hmm... I thought HotSpot Shield was supposed to guaranty encrypted connections. A day or two later, I got a call from PayPal and within a few minutes later from Discover about suspicious activity occurring on my accounts many miles away in Minnesota. I think an attacker was able to inject some malicious code into the objects HotSpot Shield puts on third party pages to get you to reconnect to the service, etc. I found that the service, by the way, disconnects rather often with the free version.

Summary

HotSpot Shield may be a good option for things like watching Hulu or programs that are blocked in other countries, but I wouldn't trust to use it while visiting banking or email sites or even Facebook.

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1 stars

"No way this is a "security" firm."

December 22, 2012  |  By cyfan2001

 |  Version: Hotspot Shield 2.78

Pros

It makes people feel good.

Cons

Wanna know what a joke this company is? Create an account and "forget" your password. When they email you, they will email you your actual password. That means they 1) Store your password in it's original text form which is completely vulnerable to hackers; and, 2) they believe that email is secure. So let me ask you, is this the type of "kiddie hacker" programming you want to trust your VPN security to?

Summary

Run. Run fast. Run far. Far far away from this company and software.

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1 stars

"Worst software ever."

December 15, 2012  |  By tickytacs

 |  Version: Hotspot Shield 2.78

Pros

Nothing at all.

Cons

Hard to deinstall, slow piece crap, constantly messing up internet, crap

Summary

Worse piece of **** I have ever come across.

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1 stars

"I had credit card details stolen using Hotspot shield."

December 08, 2012  |  By Jem93

 |  Version: Hotspot Shield 2.78

Pros

Hotspot Shield software allowed me to watch programs that were blocked at my location

Cons

My credit card details were stolen during a transaction that I completed using Hotspot sheild...so don't think it makes you safe. It doesn't!

Summary

Beware of using this software.

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1 stars

"Don't waste your time."

December 01, 2012  |  By rogerbultot

 |  Version: Hotspot Shield 2.78

Pros

Works immediately upon installation.

Cons

Ads in free version not worth it. Annoying as hell.

Summary

Don't waste your time trying this product.

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Results 1–10 of 18

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Full Specifications

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What's new in version 2.78
Version 2.78 improves compatibility with windows 8.
General
Publisher AnchorFree
Publisher web site http://anchorfree.com
Release Date November 20, 2012
Date Added November 21, 2012
Version 2.78
Category
Category Security Software
Subcategory Encryption Software
Operating Systems
Operating Systems Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows Vista, Windows XP, 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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