Hotspot Shield

Hotspot Shield

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

Quick Specs

  • Version:
    2.88
  • Total Downloads:
    28,601,158
  • Date Added:
    Feb. 27, 2013
  • 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

    2.9

    out of 47 votes

    • 5 star 13
    • 4 star 7
    • 3 star 4
    • 2 star 8
    • 1 star 15
  • 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

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Results 1–10 of 47

5 stars

"Great software"

October 16, 2014  |  By muzamil khatri

 |  Version: Hotspot Shield 2.88

Pros

Easy to use
Easy to install and connect
Browse anonymously
watch locked websites
malware protection

Cons

not any at this time

Summary

As i am from pakistan and youtube is blocked in pakistan from years so hotspot shield was the first vpn proxy software i used to watch the blocked
websites and content in pakistan. i am very happy to use it now there is no any restriction i have to watch videos on youtube and browse blocked content
besides that it protect me from unsafe web browsing stop malware.

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4 stars

"Good-Need to improve"

June 26, 2013  |  By alexndh

 |  Version: Hotspot Shield 2.88

Pros

-Free.
-Unblocks blocked some websites with my regional.

Cons

- Sometimes, speed of web browsing is slow,special when using Open DNS.

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1 stars

"NOTHING BUT TROUBLE"

June 26, 2013  |  By scuzeme

 |  Version: Hotspot Shield 2.88

Pros

Didn't find any

Cons

Hotspot Shield Elite coupled with C/net for 6 months of free elite service (save $20!). It wasn't really a free account, it was a trial. There was no icon indicating that I was connected (as promised). It also installed the free version so when the paid version was turned off, the free version put ads on every page I opened. It added a helper add-on and insisted that I needed it. There was no way to remove the free version without uninstalling the elite version. I was also inundated with offers to upgrade in new tabs opened by Hotspot.

Summary

It's clear that C/net has completely turned on users. In recent months, everything I've gotten through C/net has been tied to advertising, unwanted toolbars, add-ons and dozens and dozens of cookies. It is a chore to undo the crap associated with C/net. My C/net account will be closed (it that's even possible), C/net will be removed from Bookmarks and all my newsletters will be terminated. I'm joining millions of web users who say, "C/net is DEAD TO ME".

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5 stars

"Gives me access to my favorite online TV's"

June 25, 2013  |  By mahiljamaks

 |  Version: Hotspot Shield 2.88

Pros

It's pretty cool that I can access all the netflix and hulu tv shows now when I am on vacation back in Europe.

Cons

There is advertising - but it is free.

Summary

It is cool tool since it is free and I can watch netflix which I pay for, so why it should be blocked if I am traveling.

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1 stars

"Their support is horrible / non-existant"

June 18, 2013  |  By johnbeichhorn

 |  Version: Hotspot Shield 2.88

Pros

The product seems to work

Cons

I bought AnchorFree on my IPhone and wanted to use it on my PC as well - I didn't want to see the ads and you are supposed to be able to load it on multiple devices with a single subscription. I couldn't figure out how to add my PC to my existing account so I contacted their "help desk" their response was:

"Kelly, Apr 11 15:47 (PDT): Hello, The application only works if you have bought the PC version; then you can add the iOS subscription to it."

I happened to be talking to the CEO about something and he told me that the above statement wasn't correct, so I tried the help desk again and things went downhill from there. They actually took ONE MONTH to reply to my message and I didn't get any actual help. Their latest reply to me was verbatim as the very first message.

So I can't really comment on the product and how well it works (I assume it does) but their supports really SUCKS.

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1 stars

"SLOW Internet then Blue Screen of Death in One Day"

June 17, 2013  |  By daehttub2000

 |  Version: Hotspot Shield 2.88

Pros

Used for Less than one day so I have no input on this.

Cons

Unacceptably slower internet speeds reduced browing to nearly dialup speeds with unwatchable video. Blue screen of death in less than a day. Immediately uninstalled.

Summary

Windows 7 64 bit with Norton 360 Premier probably doesn't play well with Hotspot Shield. Do not install if you have this setup.

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5 stars

"It works fine and it's free"

June 17, 2013  |  By JennyDK

 |  Version: Hotspot Shield 2.88

Pros

That's the only reliable free VPN I have ever tried. I work a lot from Starbucks and I was always quite scared about WiFi hackers - since Starbucks is known for their unprotected WiFi. With VPN I am secured and I don't have to worry about it. Hotspot Shield is free and works pretty fine.

Cons

You will see their ads.

Summary

Definitely worth trying if you need a VPN and you don't want to pay for it.

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1 stars

"MESSES UP MY BROWSER AND SLOWS DOWN COMPUTER"

June 14, 2013  |  By linacollins

 |  Version: Hotspot Shield 2.88

Pros

It worked fine but it seems to be slow.

Cons

Messed up the system, installed some extensions and prevents browsing sometimes for some reason. I just uninstalled it and used another vpn this is HORRIBLE.

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1 stars

"This software & app are horrible!"

June 13, 2013  |  By DBistrow

 |  Version: Hotspot Shield 2.88

Pros

Quick download/setup

Cons

This software is blocking me from sending proper email, especially one's with attachments. Mail was coming back to me "mailer deamon" undeliverable.

Browser loading is horribly slow, many times I must reload and hope it works or get out and reopen.

I loaded this on two computers, one desktop, one laptop with fast connection speeds, top speed processors and loads of RAM. Everything is slowed down using the Internet.

Having multiple browsers open when working is even worse and saving Wordpress files/posts/pages becomes cumbersome.

I loaded their app on my smart phone and it began blocking syncing and my email. Other apps weren't working properly either. None of these issues existed before the app. It was also turning on and off and offering up an annoying ringtone.

I decided to uninstall this POS from my phone and in the process it blew out 10 other apps that I use so I had to go back and reinstall them.

Summary

Do Not spend your money. I blew $29.95 plus $.99 for the app all non-refundable.

Want support? Either upgrade further or waster your time in their forum.

This is NOT worth your time, money or migraine. Move on. CNet staff reviewers are way off on this one. 5-stars? Who are they kidding?

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2 stars

"Protective... to a fault."

June 13, 2013  |  By SarcasticSalamander

 |  Version: Hotspot Shield 2.88

Pros

Does mask/change your ip.
Quick browsing.
Accessible on websites that utilize flash and java.

Cons

Littered with DRD infested ads.
elite only lasts 7 days.

Summary

I'd suggest investing in actual VPN software. though there is no way of protecting your computer from hackers, that would be your best bet. Use the hotspotshield when you need to access websites that you can't normally access. use it when you need an ip change for a game forum website.

DO NOT enter personal information, hotspotshield is funded by various outside parties and that is where all the ads on the side are there for. You don't know what they are doing with your personal information. This is something I recommend installing, and removing the next day. Download, view what you need to view, uninstall it. repeat. use and configure Tor, or just get an actual VPN.

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Results 1–10 of 47

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Full Specifications

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What's new in version 2.88
Version 2.88 features Windows 8 performance improvements and maintenance.
General
Publisher AnchorFree
Publisher web site http://anchorfree.com
Release Date February 26, 2013
Date Added February 27, 2013
Version 2.88
Category
Category Security Software
Subcategory Encryption Software
Operating Systems
Operating Systems Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 8, Windows 7, 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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