Hotspot Shield Review 2018


hotspot-shield-review

Highlights of Hotspot Shield

In this Hotspot Shield review, we bring you a summary of Hotspot Shield VPN features.

  • Automatic Wi-Fi security.
  • Secure and anonymous internet browsing.
  • Access geo-blocked contents.
  • Advanced schemes of encryptions used.
  • Malware protection.
  • Faster connections.
  • Multiple language support of the website.
  • Over 3.5 million downloads.
  • Affordable prices.
  • Unlimited access (in Elite plan).
  • A variety of payment options.
  • Lifetime subscription at a lower price.
  • Server switching allowed (in Elite plan).
  • OpenVPN, PPTP, and L2TP protocol support.
  • Personalized plan support.

Pros

  • Incredible device compatibility including Blackberry and Google Chrome book.
  • Cloud technology-based deployment.
  • Browsing with no Ads (in Elite plan).
  • Longer term subscription options.
  • 30-days money back guarantee.
  • Five concurrent connections (in Elite plan).
  • P2P allowed (in Elite plan).
  • Free Firefox and Chrome extensions.

Cons

  • Misses features in certain platforms.
  • Forces to purchase Elite plan.
  • US-based and data logging is possible.
  • Slower customer responses.
  • Annoying Ads with the free plan.
  • No perfect Forward secrecy.
  • No live chat facility.
  • The minor capacity of the Knowledge Base.
  • Missing Linux support.
  • Data limitations in the free plan.
  • No Bitcoin support.
  • Less server count.
  • Missing transparency in its operations.
  • No own DNS server.

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Know Hotspot Shield

Hotspot shield is a California-based company and is owned by Anchorfree. The company is being funded by many financial chiefs including the ex-chairman of FCC, Reed Hundt. Though the VPN provider has to abide by the data retention laws of the US government, as it is funded by famous personalities they never let any mishap situations. It has servers in 20+ countries and the default allocated a server to a free user is the US server (see the best VPN for USA). Only if we subscribe to an Elite plan, we can switch from one server to another. The server options, locations, and switches are not worth mentioning, and it needs improvement. Let’s take a look at all the features of Hotspot Shield in our Hotspot Shield review.

Price & Unique Offers

It has four different plans including the lifetime plan, and it looks very cheaper as well. From our Hotspot Shield review, it is evident that people do go for this VPN for its cheaper cost as well as for the free services at the start (read more about best cheap VPN services). Apart from the below plans, we can also get customized plan to suit our individual needs.

Monthly Plan:

It costs $12.99 per month, and there is almost no saving with this scheme. It is better to go for other longer duration plans than choosing this one. If you wish to test its features that are not available with the free service scheme, then it is a good option.

Half-Yearly Plan:

This plan costs around $8.99 per month, and it comes to $53.94 for a 6-month term. It gives us a saving of 31% and it seems to be a better option than a monthly plan.

Yearly Plan:

It is one of the most popular plans from the VPN provider and it costs $5.99 per month. So, a subscriber of this plan has to pay $71.88 for a 12-months term.

Lifetime Plan:

As per our Hotspot Shield review, this plan is unique and can present a better value for the money of its customers who seek a VPN for a longer duration. It charges $119.99 as a one-time fee, and its subscribers can enjoy the VPN services and its features without any time limit.

30-Days Money Back Guarantee

The VPN provider also has a 30-day money back guarantee for the paid plan, Elite, and the unsatisfied customers can claim their money back by sending a request to the support within the specified time limit. If the subscriber exceeds 30 days, then no money will be refunded.  

Payment Options

It accepts all major credit and debit cards such Visa, Mastercard, Discover, American Express, etc. Furthermore, it also accepts PayPal payments and has started accepting the most anonymous payment mode, the Bitcoin. It is better than the VPN provider has extended its support to Bitcoins as well.


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Core Features of Hotspot Shield

HotSpot-Shield-Features

Security & Privacy features

Malware protection

From our Hotspot Shield review, we could identify that it can detect more than 3.5 million malware and blocks it effectively. So being a user of this VPN provider, we are completely safe from spam websites.

No logging policy

Hotspot Shield never logs our information in-depth, and we are free to access any content from the web. Anyhow, it just keeps the connection logs for further references, and there is a note specifying that it is against illegal contents and is commonly mentioned by all VPN providers. With this lesser logging policy, we cannot enjoy complete privacy in our transactions, but we are also not tracked so much (read more about best anonymous VPN)

Data Encryption

From our Hotspot Shield review, we are satisfied with the kind of encryption schemes used. It uses an AES 256-bit encryption and SHA1 Hash authentication. Also, it uses RSA-2048 handshaking protocol for synchronizing purposes (know in detail about the VPN encryption terms).

VPN Protocols  

It supports protocols such as OpenVPN, PPTP, and L2TP. But we are not allowed to choose protocols of our interest in the free plan.

Automatic Wi-Fi security

This VPN provider can protect us from a variety of online threats even when we use a public Wifi network. All our data is being encrypted, and it travels through a secure VPN tunnel. Therefore, we need not fear for password stealing and other such threats (read 10 cyber security tips you need to know).

Dedicated IPs

Hotspot shield assigns dedicated IPs to its users and thereby no one could trace the IP of an individual user, and he or she is free from online tracking. With this facility, it once again ensures the privacy of its users.

Internet Kill Switch

There is no internet kill switch provided with the VPN connection and therefore the security and privacy of its users are questionable in the case of connection failures. Also, connection failures can happen with any ISP’s connection, and there is no guarantee for uninterrupted connections. Hence, our Hotspot Shield review expects such a feature from the VPN provider at least in the future.


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DDoS Protection

There is no explicit note specifying about the DDoS protection. Hence, we can neither say that the servers of Hotspot shield are protected from server overload issues nor are unprotected, learn how a VPN provide DDoS protection. With dedicated IPs, it makes very difficult to trace one’s IP address and with Ads on the free VPN service connections, the server sometimes may be overloaded. So, it is better that the VPN provider takes a clear stand on this feature.

NAT Firewall

There is no NAT firewall protection and access to geo-restricted contents can be an issue with this missing facility. Our IPs can be blocked in certain countries with the lack of this feature and yet servers in those countries can reduce our burden of connection rejections.

Secure and Anonymous Internet Browsing

Hotspot shield assigns us a random IP address when we are connected to the VPN provider’s network. This IP gets changes now and then and also based on the necessity. So, nobody could track our IP, and even they could not guess our true location. All our information gets traverses in a secure and encrypted tunnel, and we are safe and anonymous.

Perfect Forward Secrecy

Unfortunately, this feature is not supported and it could have been better if it is provided at least to the Elite users. The perfect forward secrecy can guard us our past sessions as well, and it is expected among its users.

P2P

We are glad about the Hotspot Shield review that it allows P2P activities at least for the Elite customers. It is better that it allows this feature for the free users as well (read the anonymous Torrent guide for better torrenting and P2P file sharing experience).

Faster Browsing

Hotspot Shield offers faster connections with lower ping times and download times. It is useful for those who use torrents. After including a good encryption such as 256-bit, the speedy connections is awesome from the VPN provider.

Simultaneous connections

For the free VPN services, it allows only one connection at a time. But for the Elite plan, it allows five simultaneous connections and even we can get 60 concurrent device connections through personalized plans. But we need to pay more for that exclusive connection.

Server switching: Hotspot shield allows server switching for the Elite plan, and we are free to choose any server from the list of available servers. It is appreciable that this VPN provider despite having lesser number of servers allows server switching.

Other Features

Multiple language support

The website supports more than ten languages including English, Dutch, French, Urdu, Arabic, Chinese, Portuguese, Turkish, Spanish, etc. It is an excellent feature for those who wish to view contents in their native language, in fact, most people are comfortable in reading only their native language.

Quicker Installation

The VPN client is just lesser than 20MB and can installed very quickly. Also, it has an automatic start-up enabled as and when you boot your Windows system. If you wish not to connect to the VPN every time, then you can disable the option.


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No Personal information required

Our Hotspot Shield review identifies that it never asks for any of our personal information except our e-mail id. So, we can just connect to the VPN after a simpler download process.

Firefox and Google Chrome extensions

It provides free extensions for Firefox and Google Chrome, and we can easily connect to the VPN from our web browsers in a more secure and safer manner. So, just a single click can enable us to send our data through the secure VPN tunnel.

Data Limitations in the free plan

Though it does not put any limits on the data usage for its Elite customers, Our Hotspot Shield review has identified that it limits its free users to use only up to 256MB per day in the case of Android devices. In the case of a desktop, they are restricted to use up to 750 MB per day.

Unblocking Geo-restricted contents

Though it advertises that the users can unblock geo-restricted contents all over the world, our Hotspot Shield review has identified that it possible only with an Elite plan. In the free plan websites such as Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Netflix, etc. is blocked, read more how to unblock geo-restricted sites.

Personalized Plans

We can also get personalized plans to suit our individual needs and one such case it extending the number of simultaneous connections. For example, we can even connect 60 devices concurrently through a single VPN connection of Hotspot shield. But we need to pay more for that personalized plans.

Compatibility

Platform Compatibility

It supports platforms such as Windows, MAC, Android, and iOS. But it lacks supporting Linux. It even has dedicated Apps for Android and iOS. The quicker installation in every supported OS is an added advantage for its customers.

Device Compatibility

Our Hotspot Shield review identifies that it extends it support to almost every device such as laptops, desktops, tablets, Smartphone, iPad, iPhone, Kindle, etc. It works well on every device, and the setup process can be carried out easily on any device. It supports Blackberry devices and also the Google Chromebook.

Server Locations

The server count seems to be very lesser, and it looks like it is around 20 in number. Also, there is no clear statement from the VPN provider regarding the server count. From our Hotspot Shield, we have identified that it has no own servers and rely on third-party servers for its services. It has servers in countries such as Australia, USA, Japan, India, Canada, UK, Hong Kong, China, and Germany. But the VPN provider has to clearly mention the list of its servers around the globe so that it is easier for the users to identify whether service has been provided in the country in which they need it. Unless this condition is met, people find it difficult to go for the paid plans. After spending the money if they do not get service in a particular country, then it is frustrating. So, it is better to ensure whether the service is being there in the country before you go for Hotspot Shield.


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Windows VPN Client Features of Hotspot Shield

Almost every VPN provider has their support for the Windows and Hotspot shield extends its support to various versions of Windows platform (get the best VPN for Windows). With this secure tunnel, we can enjoy anonymous browsing, and we also get a malware protection. It even supports Windows 8 and offers us a consumer VPN that enables us to connect to the office network from your home. Apart from that, it can protect us while using the public Wi-Fi. It also helps us to unblock popular social media like Facebook, etc. With random anonymous US IPs, it never let anyone know our true IP address and ensures us to unblock geo-restricted contents.

Mac VPN Client Features of Hotspot Shield

There is a general concern among many persons that Mac is more secure than a normal PC and it never allows any online threats. But it is not a fact and the Flash Trojan is evidence to disprove their beliefs. The virus has infected many Mac systems even though they have their security measures in place. The main reason for such an issue despite having its security measures is that the actual threat arises in the communication channel (get the best VPN for Mac to keep it secure). The channel can be the ISP that the person uses to send or receive data through the internet.

Therefore, it is a better idea to use a VPN to safeguard our sensitive information such as passwords, bank accounts, etc. Hotspot shield uses a good level of encryption and assigns a random IP which could not be traced by anyone. It also has an option named private internet browsing exclusively for Mac to keep our web sessions private. The blocked websites such as Facebook, Youtube, etc. can be viewed with the help of the Hotspot Shield VPN for Mac either with the free subscription or with the Elite plan. Even when we use public Wi-Fi’s, it encrypts your data, and we can enjoy a hassle-free browsing. Also, certain countries offer live streaming services to people of their country and not outside their country. When we have the Hotspot shield for Mac, we can listen to music services or video services of any website.

Android VPN App Features of Hotspot Shield

The exclusive Hotspot Shield App for the Android clients is simpler to set up, and it just resembles the functionalities provided for the desktop. All we need to do is to download it from the Google Play, and we can unblock the restricted contents, and we can watch live streaming videos or audios using your mobile devices. The security and privacy of your data accessed through the mobile devices are always there with Hotspot Shield for Android in place (get the best VPN for Android). Also, the VPN provider uses a great data compression and allows us to download or upload twice more when compared to using normal ISP services. Therefore, the 3G or 4G bandwidth limits provided with your mobile package would never get exceeded often. Today, people started accessing their bank accounts with their mobile devices, and if it not secured, then there is a potential financial risk. With complete anonymity, privacy, better encryption, Wi-Fi security, we can trust the services of Hotspot shield for the Android.

iOS VPN App Features of Hotspot Shield

Even for the iPads, iPhones, etc., Hotspot Shield offers security while using public Wi-Fis and enable us to access the blocked content. With a good compression, it helps us to save money in the form of mobile bills, and also we need not exceed the 3G or 4G bandwidth limits. It is easier to the App from the App Store, and it can safeguard us against more than 3.5 million malware. So for those who believe that the mobile phones are always safer than a desktop, it is not so! At any time you may get a malware intruded into your mobile device. So it is better to get the best VPN for iPhone even for your mobile devices if privacy and security are major concerns.

Customer Support Response

The customers get slower responses to their queries, and it takes more than 24 hours of time to reply even for simpler questions. It has to improve its response time and at least for the Elite plan. The lack of 4×7 live chat facilities is disappointing, and the VPN provider has to implement one such feature at least in the future.

Ticket-based support: In this system, the users have to raise questions in the form of tickets and are processed by the staff members in the order they originate. This is one of the usual methods for resolving customer issues and is a reliable solution as well.

Knowledge Base and Guides: There is a Knowledge Base that has supporting materials to our possible queries, but it is not exhaustive. Our Hotspot Shield review suggests that the VPN provider has to include more supporting guides and other related documents.


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Hotspot Shield Review- Final Words

Our Hotspot Shield review is favourablerable for it when we consider the features such as missing support for Linux platform, lack of exhaustive knowledge base, and annoying Ads in the free VPN service. The lesser server count along with the delayed responses to the customer queries is frustrating. Also, 24×7 live chat facilities are missing as well. Though it has the above drawbacks, its ping time and download time are lesser, and we can get faster connections at any time. The presence of lifetime plan is an added advantage for those who require VPN permanently and at a lower cost. The five concurrent device connections and an option to avail personalized plans is another advantage for its users. When speed is your major concern along with privacy and security, then Hotspot Shield is a good choice for you! Better test its performance with the free service and then go for the paid plans.