With 20+ years in the IT industry and a privacy-focused search engine under its belt, it's not surprising HotBot has turned its attention to the VPN market. As a fan of the search engine, I wanted to see if HotBot's VPN matches up.
I took the VPN for a test run to see how it performs in comparison to some of the best VPNs on the market today. I looked at its speeds, unblocking abilities, security measures, and more to find out whether HotBot VPN truly provides a safe and reliable service.
While it impressed me with its speed and security features, HotBot VPN let me down on some pretty crucial areas. Read on to find out what they were.
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Short on Time? Here Are My Key Findings
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HotBot VPN Features — Updated in February 2023
Money Back Guarantee
Does VPN keep logs?
Number of servers
Number of devices per license
Based in country
Streaming — Very Limited Unblocking Capabilities
HotBot VPN was unable to unblock nearly every streaming site I tested.
Since the speeds were fast on most servers, this was a huge disappointment. If it unblocked more streaming services, HotBot VPN could have been a very good option for bufferless streaming.
Unblocked: YouTube TV
The only platform I could unblock was YouTube TV. I could access country-specific content for all locations I tested, including the US, UK, and Canada.
Blocked By: Netflix, Disney+, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, HBO Max, ESPN, ESPN, Peacock TV
No matter which server I tried, I couldn’t bypass geoblocks on any streaming platform.
The UK servers let me access BBC iPlayer, but I got the “BBC iPlayer only works in the UK” message whenever I tried to play something.
Other platforms such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, Disney+ wouldn’t even load.
I could access BBC iPlayer, but HotBot VPN wasn’t powerful enough to pass its geoblocks
If accessing streaming services is important to you, I’d suggest you pick one of these VPNs instead.
Speeds — Good Speeds on Most Servers
HotBot VPN provided me with good speeds, even on some faraway servers.
My base connection without a VPN was 50 Mbps download, 3 Mbps upload, and a ping of 10 ms.
I started with US servers and experienced around a 20% speed drop, which is what I’d expect from any VPN. My average download speed with US locations was 39 Mbps, 0.8 Mbps upload, and a ping of 162 ms.
||41.17 Mbps (14% decrease)
||1.43 Mbps (37% decrease)
||45.23 Mbps (5% decrease)
||1.02 Mbps (55% decrease)
||39.12 Mbps (18% decrease)
||0.58 Mbps (74% decrease)
||23 Mbps (52% decrease)
||0.40 Mbps (82% decrease)
UK servers gave me around a 10% speed drop, which worked out at 40 Mbps download, 1 Mbps upload, and a ping of 50 ms.
I had fast speed on most HotBot VPN servers, even with locations that were further away
More distant servers were still decently fast. The Canadian server gave me 39 Mbps download, 0.6 Mbps upload speed, and a ping of 137 ms.
However, I experienced the biggest speed decrease of 50% while connected to the Australian servers. My download speed dropped to 23 Mbps, the upload was 0.4 Mbps, and the ping went as high as 342 ms. Although I could still stream quite comfortably with 23 Mbps, the ping was shockingly high. Anything above 100 ms can impact activities such as gaming and downloading files, so 300+ ms isn’t good.
I can recommend HotBotVPN for its speeds. It’s not one of the fastest VPNs I’ve tested, but it performed well.
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Are HotBot VPN’s Speeds Fast Enough for Gaming? No
I wouldn’t recommend using HotBot VPN for gaming, especially if you need to use more distant servers.
Yes, HotBot VPN is fast. But on more distant servers, ping goes over 100 ms. The best ping for gaming is between 0-60 ms. While connecting to international servers, ping may go up to 100ms but you should still have a decent gaming experience. Anything at 100ms or higher can cause disconnects and lags.
If you plan on using a VPN for gaming, take a look at our list of the best gaming VPNs to find a faster option.
Server Network — Good Coverage with Useful Locations
There are 2,000+ servers in HotBot VPN’s network. It’s not a huge network, but you can easily find a reliable nearby connection.
HotBot VPN has servers in the UK, US, Canada, Australia, Belgium, Ireland, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Norway, France, Germany, Italy, Hong Kong, Singapore, Israel, Japan, Mexico, United Arab Emirates, and more.
When you open the app, the VPN's Recommended Location feature automatically connects you to the best server based on where you are. For me, it worked great. It connected me to the Bulgarian server which is really close to my real location. This is very useful if you don’t have a location preference and want to browse the internet safely and at fast speeds.
The server locations are listed in alphabetical order. For each country, you can open a dropdown list that displays the cities where the VPN has servers, and ping readings for each one.
HotBot VPN’s server list is easy to navigate and provides each server’s ping time
If you click the small arrow next to the location info, you’ll see a list of Recent Locations.
All the servers I tested are reliable, the indicated ping info is correct, and they connect really quickly (in around 10 seconds). For these reasons, I can recommend HotBot VPN for its server network.
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Security — Basic, But Keeps You Safe
HotBot VPN has basic security features. It uses military-grade AES-256 encryption, which is the industry standard as it is basically unbreakable. This means that your connection is almost impossible to break, even by the most skilled hacker with the strongest computer.
I couldn’t find information on which protocols the VPN uses, and there’s no option to choose a protocol in the app. So I reached out to HotBot’s customer support. Apparently, it only offers the IKEv2 protocol. I usually use OpenVPN, but IKEv2 is also a good, fast option.
The VPN does provide solid DNS and IP protection though. In my tests, all servers were safe and I didn’t find any DNS, IP, or WebRTC leaks.
In my tests, HotBot VPN prevented IP, DNS, and WebRTC leaks
There is an internet kill switch too, which shuts down your connection if there’s an interruption in the VPN service. Its purpose is to protect you from any data leaks. There’s also an app kill switch that will close selected apps if the VPN connection drops. Both these kill switches are off by default. This is a little inconvenient, as you won’t be fully protected as soon as you connect. You have to go into Menu, then Privacy, and turn them on yourself.
The VPN has some good security features, but there’s room for improvement. For example, I missed having an ad blocker and port forwarding. Port forwarding helps you to connect to machines that are behind a firewall or NAT router, and can be useful if you need to connect to peers in a torrent swarm.
If you want a service with better and more advanced security features, pick one of these super-secure VPNs instead.
Privacy — Keeps Your Data Protected
HotBotVPN has a transparent no-logs policy.
The VPN makes it clear that it does not collect your data including IP address and location, browsing or download history, network traffic, used bandwidth, or session information.
However, it does collect the following:
- Your username, email address, and password in order to provide you with an account.
- A timestamp of your previous active session, which is used to ensure no user exceeds the simultaneous device connection limit (but it claims this is deleted as soon as you disconnect from the session).
- Diagnostics and performance data, but only if you allow it.
- Customer service emails and chats in order to better train its representatives.
This is fairly standard information for a VPN to keep.
The service is headquartered in the Seychelles, which is a privacy-friendly country outside of the 5/9/14 Eyes alliance. That means it can’t be compelled to collect or share user data, even after a government request.
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Torrenting — Enabled on Most Servers
HotBot VPN can be used for P2P traffic, but not on all servers.
In fact, the VPN explains that if you connect to a server that does not allow P2P, it will automatically detect it and redirect you to a server you can use for P2P transfers. However, these locations are not optimized for torrenting.
With the combination of excellent security features, no-logs policy, and good speeds, HotBot VPN is a decent choice for P2P activities.
But, if you want a service that supports torrenting across its network (or has servers specially optimized for P2P traffic), I recommend you pick one of these safe VPNs for worry-free torrenting.
I don’t condone torrenting copyrighted material, so always double check every file you click on to make sure it’s public domain content. Additionally, laws vary when it comes to torrenting, so check the rules in your location to make sure you are abiding by the law.
Does HotBot VPN Work in China? No
There’s no info on HotBot VPN’s website, and I couldn’t get an answer from support. Since the VPN couldn’t unblock any streaming platforms, I would conclude it doesn’t work in China.
If you need a reliable VPN that enables you to access the internet from behind the Great Firewall, I recommend you choose one of these VPNs that are proven to work in China.
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Installation & Apps
Device Compatibility — Limited
HotBot VPN offers native apps for Windows, Android, macOS, iOS, and AndroidTV.
There are no apps for other platforms or guides for manual setup, which feels a little restrictive. Setting up HotBot VPN on your router is not available either. I’m used to being able to use VPNs on all my devices so this compatibility offering is disappointing.
Simultaneous Device Connections — Up To 6
You can use HotBot VPN on 6 devices simultaneously, using only one subscription.
This allows you to use the VPN on multiple devices without having to log out. For example, you can install and use it on your Windows laptop and your Android smartphone at the same time.
Set-Up & Installation — Minimalistic Interface
Download and installation of HotBot VPN apps is fast and simple.
I installed the VPN on my Windows laptop and my Android smartphone. The apps have the same clean and minimalistic interface, making it super easy to move from one device to the other.
The home screen displays basic information and options, including a big connect button. Right under that is your connection status and info about the server you’re connected to. At the bottom of the home screen are the options to move between Home, Locations, and Menu.
HotBot VPN’s apps have a clean interface and are simple to use
The Locations tab is where you’ll find the server list. Servers are displayed alphabetically. For each country, you can open a dropdown that shows the exact cities where the VPN has servers. It also displays the ping reading for each one of them.
In the Menu to the lower right of the app, you’ll find several tabs for your account, auto-connect, privacy, and support. Under “Account”, you can see your personal details such as username, email address, account status, and the expiration date of your subscription.
If you toggle auto-connect on, the VPN automatically activates when you launch the application. This area also has an option to choose “Auto-connect Insecure Wireless”. This means that the VPN automatically connects when you use any open public WiFi network. You’ll also find the option “Auto-connect Location”, which displays the location the VPN will use if you enable auto-connect.
Under “Privacy”, you can turn the kill switch on. This feature disables your internet access completely if the VPN disconnects, even for a second. There is also an app kill switch which you can set to close specific apps in case the VPN connection drops.
The “Settings” tab gives you options to launch the VPN on startup, enable minimized notifications, and change the language.
HotBot VPN’s app is easy to navigate. There are plenty of ways to make your VPN settings suit you, giving you extra control over your connections.