We review vendors based on rigorous testing and research but also take into account your feedback and our affiliate commission with providers. Some providers are owned by our parent company.
Learn more
vpnMentor was established in 2014 to review VPN services and cover privacy-related stories. Today, our team of hundreds of cybersecurity researchers, writers, and editors continues to help readers fight for their online freedom in partnership with Kape Technologies PLC, which also owns the following products: ExpressVPN, CyberGhost, and Private Internet Access which may be ranked and reviewed on this website. The reviews published on vpnMentor are believed to be accurate as of the date of each article, and written according to our strict reviewing standards that prioritize professional and honest examination of the reviewer, taking into account the technical capabilities and qualities of the product together with its commercial value for users. The rankings and reviews we publish may also take into consideration the common ownership mentioned above, and affiliate commissions we earn for purchases through links on our website. We do not review all VPN providers and information is believed to be accurate as of the date of each article.
Advertising Disclosure

vpnMentor was established in 2014 to review VPN services and cover privacy-related stories. Today, our team of hundreds of cybersecurity researchers, writers, and editors continues to help readers fight for their online freedom in partnership with Kape Technologies PLC, which also owns the following products: ExpressVPN, CyberGhost, and Private Internet Access which may be ranked and reviewed on this website. The reviews published on vpnMentor are believed to be accurate as of the date of each article, and written according to our strict reviewing standards that prioritize professional and honest examination of the reviewer, taking into account the technical capabilities and qualities of the product together with its commercial value for users. The rankings and reviews we publish may also take into consideration the common ownership mentioned above, and affiliate commissions we earn for purchases through links on our website. We do not review all VPN providers and information is believed to be accurate as of the date of each article.

How To Get a Hotspot Shield Free Trial: Tested & Safe in 2024

Andjela Nikolic Updated on 24th May 2024 Fact-checked by Eric Raue Cybersecurity Researcher

Hotspot Shield offers a limited free version, but you can test all its premium features with a 7-day free trial. The only catch is that you must provide credit card or PayPal details, but you won't be charged if you cancel within the trial period.

7 days sounds like a lot, but I need more than a week to test a VPN. With its money-back guarantee, you can also use HotSpot Shield free for 45 days and claim a full refund.

I tested its refund policy and found it straightforward. The support agent I spoke with via 24/7 live chat didn't try to persuade me to stay when I canceled and processed my refund immediately. The money showed up in my account after a few days.

Try Hotspot Shield Risk-Free >>

Quick Guide: How To Get a Hotspot Shield Free Trial in 3 Easy Steps

  1. Create a Hotspot Shield account. To get Hotspot Shield without paying, just click on Start Free Trial on the homepage. Then enter your email and payment details.
  2. Download Hotspot Shield. Download the appropriate app for your preferred device and operating system.
  3. Start browsing. Now, you can test all of Hotspot Shield’s premium features free for 7 days.
Editor's note: Hotspot Shield and the other VPNs below follow no-logs policies. So, your data won't be logged or shared. It's up to you to follow all applicable rules and regulations of your country and the online services you use. The vpnMentor team and I are firmly against breaking any laws, including copyrights.

Why You Need a VPN To Stay Safe Online

A VPN protects your online privacy by routing your internet connection through its network of private servers. Your data gets encrypted and becomes almost impossible for anyone to decipher. A VPN masks your IP address, which is your digital identity. Hiding it with a VPN means what you do online can't be traced by websites, ISPs, advertisers, or governments.

However, a VPN slows your connection slightly due to the encryption, but with a premium VPN, you won't notice any slowdowns and can stream in HD from anywhere. In fact, by hiding your online activities, VPNs are also helpful to avoid ISP throttling. Internet service providers (ISPs) sometimes intentionally limit your data or slow down your internet based on your online activities. For example, they might throttle your speed when you're streaming videos, playing online games, or downloading large files to reduce congestion.

Short on Time? Here Are the Best Hotspot Shield Alternatives in 2024

  • Editor's Choice
    ExpressVPN
    ExpressVPN
    The fastest VPN with robust security features protects your data without causing delays.
    70% of our readers choose ExpressVPN
  • CyberGhost VPN
    CyberGhost
    Dedicated servers make it easy to stream, torrent, and game from anywhere.
  • Private Internet Access
    Private Internet Access
    Unlimited simultaneous connections to conveniently secure all your devices.

Editors' Note: Intego, Private Internet Access, CyberGhost and Expressvpn are owned by Kape Technologies, our parent company.

How To Get Hotspot Shield Premium For Free: Step-by-Step Guide

There's a 7-day free trial for Hotspot Shield Premium, but you must provide a valid payment method. I used PayPal, but you can also use credit and debit cards like Mastercard, American Express, Visa, JCB, Discover, and Diners Club International.

To activate Hotspot Shield's free trial, follow the steps below.

1. Go to the Hotspot Shield’s Website

Visit the official Hotspot Shield website and click on Start Free Trial in the upper-right corner of your screen. On some browsers, a blue button may appear on the left side of the screen.

Screenshot of Hotspot Shield's website homepage with the option to start a free trialI like that the free trial isn't limited to mobile signups, like most VPNs

2. Enter Your Email and Payment Details

Hotspot Shield only supports payments via PayPal and credit and debit cards. You won’t be charged if you cancel your subscription within 7 days.

Entering my payment details to activate the free trial on Hotspot Shield's websiteI also didn't have to verify my account via email

3. Create an Account

Enter your email address again and create a password. You’ll receive a confirmation mail from Hotspot Shield stating that your free trial has started.

Creating a Hotspot Shield account for activating the free trialI like that Hotspot Shield didn't ask for more personal details

4. Download the Hotspot Shield App

Use your credentials to log into your account dashboard. There you can find the apps for all supported devices, including Android, iOS, Windows, Max, Linux, Smart TVs, and routers. Installing the VPN on my Windows laptop took less than a minute. For smartphones, you can also download the app via Google Play Store or Apple App Store.

Screenshot showing Hotspot Shield account dashboardHotspot Shield is compatible with various devices, including routers

5. Test Hotspot Shield for 7 days

Launch the app and connect to a server to secure your online activity. You’ll have 7 days to test all Hotspot Shield features for free, but remember to cancel before the week is up. Since Hotspot Shield has a global network of servers, it's possible to safely access popular streaming platforms from anywhere.

How To Cancel Hotspot Shield's Free Trial

To avoid automatic payments, you need to cancel your subscription within 7 days of signing. After I canceled, my account remained active for the duration of the trial. This means you can cancel right after subscribing, so you don’t forget to do it later.

If you used PayPal or another direct payment method, you might also need to cancel the automatic payments directly through that service.

Here’s how to cancel your free trial through the Hotspot Shield website:

1. Log in to Your Hotspot Shield Account

Open your account dashboard and find Account Info. There you'll find the options to change your password, update your payment data, and cancel your account.

Screenshot showing where to find the I recommend doing this right after you sign up to avoid charges

2. Click on Cancel Plan

Choose the reason why you want to cancel your subscription. Then you’ll need to click on another Cancel plan button.

Screenshot showing how to cancel the Hotspot Shield free trial from the Hotspot Shield websiteYou'll still be able to use the VPN until the trial period expires

3. Confirm Cancelation

You’ll be redirected to a page listing all Hotspot Shield’s benefits. You can go back if you’ve changed your mind. If not, click on Confirm cancelation. You’ll then see a notification that your subscription has been canceled. You’ll also receive a confirmation email.

Screenshot of an email from Hotspot Shield confirming the cancelation of my free trialI received the confirmation email 2 minutes after canceling

If you’ve signed up for Hotspot Shield using a mobile app store, follow the guide below to avoid automatic payments:

Cancel Hotspot Shield's Free Trial via Google Play:

  • Open the Google Play app.
  • Tap the profile icon at the top right.
  • Select Payments & subscriptions then Subscriptions.
  • Find and select your Hotspot Shield subscription.
  • Tap Cancel subscription and follow the prompts to confirm the cancelation​.

How To Cancel Hotspot Shield's Free Trial on the Apple App Store:

  • Go to Settings on your iOS device.
  • Tap your name, then tap Subscriptions.
  • Select the Hotspot Shield VPN subscription.
  • Tap Cancel Subscription and confirm your decision to cancel​.

How To Try Hotspot Shield Risk-Free for 45 Days

Thanks to its money-back guarantee, you can test Hotspot Shield's premium account free for 45 days and get a refund if you don’t like it. Unlike with the free trial, you'll pay upfront, but you can get your money back if you cancel your subscription and ask for a refund within 45 days.

1. Get Hotspot Shield Premium

If you aren’t already using the free version or the 7-day free trial, go to Hotspot Shield’s website and click on the Start Free Trial button. Download the appropriate app for your device. After 7 days, you’ll be charged for the subscription. Alternatively, open your Hotspot Shield app and click on Upgrade to Premium.

Screenshot of Hotspot Shield's Windows app with the option to upgrade to a Premium versionAfter choosing the plan, I was redirected to Hotspot Shield's website

2. Choose a Plan

Hotspot Shield offers long-term and short-term subscriptions. I got 77% off my subscription when I opted for the longest plan. Each option offers the same features and a money-back guarantee, so you can start with a 1-month plan if you're not ready to commit, but it does cost a lot more.

Screenshot of Hotspot Shield's checkout page on its websiteThe yearly plan is selected by default

After selecting your plan, enter your email and payment details. Hotspot Shield accepts credit/debit cards and PayPal.

3. Download the App and Connect to a Server To Test It

Like with Hotspot Shield's free trial, you can download the app straight from the website or the app store. The apps are user-friendly, and you can simultaneously use Hotspot Shield on up to 10 devices.

Screenshot of Hotspot Shield Windows appUse the "Auto" connect option to find the fastest server in the US

4. Cancel and Ask For a Refund

If you’re not satisfied and want to quit using Hotspot Shield, you can cancel and request a refund by contacting support. I used 24/7 live chat to cancel before the 45-day money-back guarantee ended. I received the money in my account 7 working days later.

Requesting a Hotspot Shield refund via live chat The entire conversation lasted less than 3 minutes

Hotspot Shield Free Trial vs Money-Back Guarantee

The 7-day free trial and 45-day money-back guarantee give you access to all Hotspot Shield features. However, the money-back guarantee requires upfront payment, unlike the free trial. Still, you must provide your payment details to use Hotspot Shield for either option. You'll be automatically charged if you forget to cancel your free trial.

Hotspot Shield also offers an entirely free plan, but it limits you to servers in 5 locations and significantly slows your speed. To properly test all the VPN has to offer, I recommend purchasing subscriptions and testing it out risk-free using the money-back guarantee.

Warning. If you download Hotspot Shield via the Google Play Store or Apple App Store, you may be subject to their respective terms and conditions, which could affect your eligibility for a refund. Signing up on the website means you are covered by Hotspot Shield’s 45-day money-back guarantee, allowing you to thoroughly evaluate the service without financial risk.

What You Get With a Hotspot Shield Free Trial and Money-Back Guarantee

Best Feature Catapult Hydra protocol is designed for a seamless online performance
Server Network 1,800 servers in 80 countries to securely stream from anywhere
Speeds Reduced my speed by only 4% on nearby servers
Device Connections Protect up to 10 devices simultaneously

Hotspot Shield’s proprietary Catapult Hydra uses advanced transport optimization techniques to deliver impressive speeds. Even over long distances or on congested networks, I never noticed buffering. Hotspot Shield allowed me to stream Netflix in UHD during tests. You only need 25Mbps to watch content in 4K, and my average download speed remained around 119Mps from a base connection of 124.66Mbps. Netflix is known for its tough geoblocks, but accessing most libraries is easy with Hotspot Shield.

Screenshot of Hotspot Shield's Windows interface showing its streaming and gaming-optimized serversOther US servers I tested also worked well for streaming

Your privacy is protected with military-grade AES 256-bit encryption, a kill switch, and IP/DNS leak protection. If the VPN unexpectedly drops, the kill switch cuts your internet connection, so you're never online without protection. I also tested servers in 9 different countries for leaks and didn't detect any.

On the downside, The VPN is based in a 5-Eyes Alliance country, the US, known to share data about its citizens. However, Hotspot Shield doesn't record or share your personal information, like the websites you visit with anyone as it adheres to a strict no-logs policy.

You can get a long-term Hotspot Shield subscription for $2.99/month. But if you want to try it out first, you can use its 7-day free trial to get a feel for it and continue with the 45-day money-back guarantee if a week isn't long enough for all your tests. I tested the refund policy and found it trustworthy.

Useful Features

  • Split tunneling. You can choose which apps or websites use the VPN connection and protect sensitive data while leaving the rest of your traffic unencrypted. This could slightly improve your speeds.
  • Ad and malware protection. While it’s not as powerful as a traditional ad-blocker, I noticed fewer ads while testing Hotspot Shield.

How Does Hotspot Shiled's Free Trial Compare to the Best VPNs in 2024?

If you’re not 100% set on Hotspot Shield, my top VPN recommendations also offer free trials and reliable money-back guarantees. These VPNs protect your data with high-grade security and privacy features, have fast speeds, and are compatible with all major operating systems. They also have servers in more countries than Hotspot Shield to securely access popular streaming services worldwide.

Free Trial Lowest Price Server Network Speed Refund Period
🥇 ExpressVPN 7 days on iOS/Android only $6.67/month 3,000 servers in 105 countries The fastest VPN 30 days
🥈 CyberGhost 1 day on desktop, 3 days on Android, 7 days for iOS $2.03/month 11,690 servers in 100 countries Excellent speed 45 days
🥉 Private Internet Access 7 days on iOS/Android $2.03/month 29,650 servers in 91 countries Very fast 30 days
Hotspot Shield 7 days desktop and mobile $2.99/month 1,800 servers in 80 countries Excellent speed 45 days

1. ExpressVPN — Best Overall VPN With Impressive Speeds and Advanced Protection

ExpressVPN’s Lightway protocol uses less code with high-level encryption to secure your data without compromising speed. Lightway is on by default and only slowed me down by 3% on local servers, beating Hotspot Shield's Hydra with 1%. I also tested several ExpressVPN servers for IP/DNS leaks, and my real location stayed private. The VPN also regularly rotates its IP address, enhancing online privacy and avoiding VPN blocks.

Unlike Hotspot Shield, ExpressVPN has a smart DNS feature (MediaStreamer) to stream US and UK content in HD on any device, including game consoles. However, it's already easy to install and use on smart TVs with native Apple and Android TV apps. ExpressVPN's worldwide server network uses obfuscation technology to conceal VPN traffic, enabling it to securely access popular streaming services, like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video from anywhere.

The only drawback is the VPN’s slightly more expensive price. However, ExpressVPN offers discounts of up to 49% on long-term plans. Additionally, you can test it risk-free using its 30-day money-back guarantee. I tested its refund policy by canceling via 24/7 live chat. It took 3 minutes for the agents to approve my refund request, and the money was paid to my PayPal account after 2 days.

ExpressVPN Offer June 2024: For a limited time only, you can get an ExpressVPN subscription for up to 49% off! Don't miss out!

2. CyberGhost — Easy To Use With Servers Optimized For Streaming, Gaming, and Torrenting

CyberGhost’s dedicated servers are conveniently sorted into tabs for specific online activities. The torrenting and gaming servers can be sorted by latency to easily pick the fastest. Streaming servers are labeled according to the platform and country they can safely access from anywhere, like Hulu and Disney+. You can also use the search bar to find a specific server. Although slightly slower than ExpressVPN at a 5% speed drop, none of the CyberGhost-optimized servers I tested caused noticeable lag.

One minor con is the VPN’s short-term plans are pricey and only have a 14-day refund period. However, long-term CyberGhost subscriptions cost only $2.03/month and offer a generous 45-day money-back guarantee.

June 2024 Deal: CyberGhost is currently offering 84% off its most popular plan! Take advantage of this offer now and save more on your CyberGhost subscription.

3. Private Internet Access — Unlimited Simultaneous Connections To Protect All Your Devices

Private Internet Access (PIA) is a good option if you have multiple devices or a large household since you can secure all your devices with one subscription at only $2.03/month. I tested PIA by connecting 7 devices at once, including my Windows laptop, Android TV, and tablet. My average download speed dropped by only 7%, the same as when I only used it with one device. So, it's possible to stream content in HD from anywhere.

My only concern is that, like Hotspot Shield, PIA is based in the US, which is a member of the intelligence-sharing 5 Eyes Alliance. Luckily, the VPN uses a proven no-logs policy to keep your online activities anonymous. You can test it free for 30 days using its money-back guarantee.

June 2024 Update: PIA doesn't usually have deals or discounts (it's already so affordable), but right now you can get a new subscription for a crazy 83% off!

Our Methodology For Testing VPNs With a Free Trial

We regularly test various VPN features multiple times to determine how well they perform for speed, security, and versatility. We also check whether a VPN works with major streaming services and if their apps are user-friendly. However, a VPN's primary function is to keep you safe online, so we put a lot of emphasis on testing security features, like its kill switch and IP/DNS leak protection, and confirming its privacy policies.

For a more in-depth understanding of our testing methods, visit our methodology page. There, you'll learn how our international team tests each VPN, with detailed insights into the process.

How To Get Other Free Trial VPNs

If you’re considering testing some Hotspot Shield alternatives, here’s how to get a free trial with some of the best premium VPNs:

FAQs on Hotspot Shield’s Free Trial

Is Hotspot Shield safe?

Hotspot Shield is safe to use, whether it's the 100% free option, free trial, or money-back guarantee. All options provide the same high-level security features. Hotspot Shield uses military-grade encryption, a kill switch, and IP/DNS leak protection to protect your online data from snoops and hackers.

Can I get a Hotspot Shield free trial without a credit card?

No, you can't start a free trial of Hotspot Shield without a credit card. However, you won’t be charged until the trial period ends as long as you cancel before the 7 days end. To avoid forgetting to do it in time and being automatically charged, you can cancel right after you sign up and keep using the service for the full trial period.

Is there a free version of Hotspot Shield?

Yes, you can get Hotspot Shield's Basic subscription for free. However, it comes with a lot of limitations compared to the premium version. For example, you can only use 5 server locations, and will experience steep speed drops. This is fine for light browsing, but not the best option for data-intensive online activities like torrenting.

To summarize, these are the best Hotspot Shield alternatives with a free trial...

Rank
Provider
Our Score
Discount
Visit Website
1
medal
9.9 /10
9.9 Our Score
Save 49%!
2
9.7 /10
9.7 Our Score
Save 84%!
3
9.5 /10
9.5 Our Score
Save 83%!
Privacy Alert!

Your data is exposed to the websites you visit!

Your IP Address:

Your Location:

Your Internet Provider:

The information above can be used to track you, target you for ads, and monitor what you do online.

VPNs can help you hide this information from websites so that you are protected at all times. We recommend ExpressVPN — the #1 VPN out of over 350 providers we've tested. It has military-grade encryption and privacy features that will ensure your digital security, plus — it's currently offering 49% off.

Visit ExpressVPN

We review vendors based on rigorous testing and research but also take into account your feedback and our affiliate commission with providers. Some providers are owned by our parent company.
Learn more
vpnMentor was established in 2014 to review VPN services and cover privacy-related stories. Today, our team of hundreds of cybersecurity researchers, writers, and editors continues to help readers fight for their online freedom in partnership with Kape Technologies PLC, which also owns the following products: ExpressVPN, CyberGhost, and Private Internet Access which may be ranked and reviewed on this website. The reviews published on vpnMentor are believed to be accurate as of the date of each article, and written according to our strict reviewing standards that prioritize professional and honest examination of the reviewer, taking into account the technical capabilities and qualities of the product together with its commercial value for users. The rankings and reviews we publish may also take into consideration the common ownership mentioned above, and affiliate commissions we earn for purchases through links on our website. We do not review all VPN providers and information is believed to be accurate as of the date of each article.

About the Author

Andjela is a technology and cybersecurity writer for vpnMentor, dedicated to helping readers protect their privacy online with detailed VPN reviews, testing all features, and providing the facts.

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