Hotspot Shield Review by our expert
Rating ?
4.4 / 5.0
Features 4.6 / 5.0
Ease of Use 4.7 / 5.0
Pricing 3.9 / 5.0
Reliability & Support 4.8 / 5.0

With over 2,500 servers in 25 countries, Hotspot Shield Elite is a fast and reliable service that gives users access to a selection of well-encrypted IP addresses. This service has proven to be one of the most effectual at hiding data, drastically reducing the risk of interception by employing 128-bit AES and 256-bit...

updated: Apr 19, 2018
Hotspot Shield User Reviews
3.4
Kevin Sandoval
Apr 19, 2018
  •  5
Vpn hotspot is amazing

This vpn hotspot app is amazing it has always been really fast and honestly there’s no other vpn as fast as this one I always use it during school and it just connects really fast and works amazing great job to the people working on it


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Mitch
Apr 19, 2018
  •  5
Working great

Working great. This is the second year I have had it for blacked out baseball games and is working even better than last year. Customer service is fast and always there for help. I would recommend this to anyone from blackouts to security


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SiriusMac
Apr 6, 2018
  •  2
Doesn't always work

I was one of those folks that early on got a VPN and didn't do my homework. I purchased a lifetime plan, which I got very cheap. That should have been the first warning sign. The biggest issue I have is it sometimes freezes my internet connection. I also get a lot of errors on forums saying my IP is blocked so I can't post. When it works it's very fast, but I am finding more and more that I can't go anywhere. I can shut down or switch to say Canada from the USA and then it will work. I actually find the Canadian servers more reliable. Nonetheless, I decided I wanted another VPN so that set me on my quest to try ExpressVPN and NordVPN. Both of them are much more stable overall. The other thing; no kill switch. They are also based in the USA, they do some logging and honestly I am very concern that if the FBI or other law enforcement agency push it they would likely have to produce whatever they have. This is why you are better off with a VPN outside the USA's ability to enforce any kind of subpoena. Also what is it with the contact bugging you to rate them even after you rate them. They also redirect sometimes to other web site. Again, I don't trust these guys. I think your review was way more generous than I would have been based on using the service for over a year. You did just snap shot and they should rate much lower.


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Compare Hotspot Shield with the top alternative VPNs
Features Description
Number of Server Locations (countries) 90
Number of servers 200
Does VPN keep logs Partially
Includes Kill Switch No
Devices per license 5
How to use Hotspot Shield 4.7 / 5.0

1. Download the program from here
2. Find the file in your downloads folder, right-click on it and choose "Run as administrator"
3. Follow the instructions that appear in the pop-up window
4. When Hotspot Shield is open, use the drop-down menu to select the server you wish to connect to, then click "Connect" (when the connection is established the "Connect" button will be replaced with a timer)
5. To sign in to your account in order to enable the Elite features, you must click the menu icon in the top left (the 3 lines), then click "sign In or Create Account" (if you are not signed in the top of the program will say "Account Type: FREE")
6. Enter your VPN username and password, then click "sign In"

For detailed instructions on how to open a HotSpot Shield account and download, see our how-to here.

Download

Watch the short video review and tutorial below of Hotspot Shield
Pricing 3.9 / 5.0
Elite 2-Year Plan
$2.99/month
Elite 1-Year Plan
$5.99/month
Elite 1-Month Plan
$12.99/month

Hotspot Shield has one paid-for service, called Elite. Subscriptions to the service are available for 6 or 12 months. Hotspot Shield also offers an Unlimited plan, which lasts five years and costs $119. There is a 45-day money back guarantee on this service, but they also offer a free version. The free version only allows access to servers in the US and it does not allow the use of several streaming sites such as Netflix and Hulu.

Reliability & Support 4.8 / 5.0

Aside from the information given on their website, they have a forum, where along with knowledgeable users, support agents work on answering your questions (usually within a day, if you post under the "help" tab).  However, the forum doesn't look as well-used as other forums we've come across.

HotSpot Shield also now provides an email address and a live-chat feature. But, we did not have success with the live-chat.

The Bottom Line
Ran Greenberg
(New-Media and online expert, Venture Capitalist and investor)
A no frills, low-price vendor that will get the job done

Hotspot Shield is basically a simple, no frills VPN service. For the most part, the free version will get the job done, but those who want more server options and access to streaming services will need to upgrade to the paid version.

 

4.4 / 5.0
Detailed expert review of Hotspot Shield
Ran Greenberg
(New-Media and online expert, Venture Capitalist and investor)

With over 2,500 servers in 25 countries, Hotspot Shield Elite is a fast and reliable service that gives users access to a selection of well-encrypted IP addresses.

This service has proven to be one of the most effectual at hiding data, drastically reducing the risk of interception by employing 128-bit AES and 256-bit AES encryption.

Using their protocol Catapult Hydra, Hotspot will also compress your data, which allows even faster transmission.

According to Hotspot Shield, they automatically delete user IP addresses, replacing them with company IP addresses, and therefore protecting user privacy.

Users should be aware, however, that the Center for Democracy and Technology has filed a complaint to the FTC claiming that Hotspot Shield does in fact collect user data, actively injecting JavaScript codes for advertising, and intercepting traffic in order to redirect users to e-commerce sites. You can read more about the investigation here.

Usability:

There are servers located in the US, but their locations or the number of IP addresses available is not disclosed by the service.

Unlimited bandwidth is offered to users, but the rules and regulations of your internet service provider still apply.

When it comes to connection options, Hotspot Shield Elite offers users an OpenVPN connection, which compared to PPTP and LT2P, is more stable and secure.

While testing this service, we noticed that Google was unable to recognize the proxy. Our IP address was hidden effectively and the service's anonymous server location and the IP address appeared instead.

Hotspot Shield Elite also offers its users proprietary data compressions. When in use, the size of your data is reduced significantly, allowing it to be transmitted very quickly. One thing you must keep in mind though is that your internet speed is dependent on multiple factors. This includes the how far the Hotspot Shield server is to your actual location and your particular internet service.

Features & Tools

The service comes with malware protection on its proxy browser, so you can rest assured that your computer will not be exposed to viruses when using Hotspot Shield Elite.

The service can be used on up to five devices with one license. You can get the Hotspot App from iTunes or Google Play for use on Apple and Android devices. Apart from this, you can also use this proxy service on your PC or Mac, where it’ll support almost every web browser.

The "preferences" automatically connects you to a proxy browser. It also warns you whenever you are about to access a network for which you may need to use a proxy.

Nevertheless, if you want to do things manually, you can do so by setting the preferences accordingly.

Setup & Configuration

It's extremely easy to install and set up Hotspot Shield Elite. There is no configuration required for its use either. All you need to do is the installation.

However, you also have options available if you want to configure it according to your network. Moreover, adjusting your preferences is easy, thanks to Hotspot Shield’s intuitive interface.

An access code keeps your username and password anonymous when using the proxy browser. However, if you do not want to use the access code, you can also log in directly with your email address and password.

It's easy to tell when you’re connected: When your connection is being established, a check mark appears, and a timer shows how long you’ve been connected. If the connection is unprotected, the red bar across the window will let you know.

When you connect to the server, the red bar turns yellow, but you also have the option to stop the connection if needed. When connected, you can see the server to which you are connected, as well as the amount of data that is being uploaded and downloaded.

Support

For tech support, an email address is provided. There is also an FAQ page where you will find useful information regarding the proxy service and its usage.

On the online forum, you will find detailed instructions that will walk you through the setup, usage, and uninstalling the service. However, the live chat is not always available.

Hotspot Shield Elite offers a 45-day money back guarantee, giving you ample time to evaluate the service. In comparison to other services, this is quite a lengthy guarantee, which we found really impressive.

Hotspot Shield Elite VPN Summary

All in all, this proxy browser is quite easy-to-use and reliable, and the data compression is a great feature that increases speed. As for the server locations, there are servers in the US, UK, Australia, Japan, Canada, Hong Kong, China, India, and Germany.

 

Money Back Guarantee (Days): 30
Mobile app:
Devices per license: 5
Ran Greenberg
(New-Media and online expert, Venture Capitalist and investor)

The review for this sub category of VPNs is not available yet for this VPN Provider. If you feel they provide a good solution, please add your review as a user, and we'll follow with a detailed expert review

Money Back Guarantee (Days): 30
Mobile app:
Devices per license: 5
Ran Greenberg
(New-Media and online expert, Venture Capitalist and investor)

The review for this sub category of VPNs is not available yet for this VPN Provider. If you feel they provide a good solution, please add your review as a user, and we'll follow with a detailed expert review

Money Back Guarantee (Days): 30
Mobile app:
Devices per license: 5
Ran Greenberg
(New-Media and online expert, Venture Capitalist and investor)

The review for this sub category of VPNs is not available yet for this VPN Provider. If you feel they provide a good solution, please add your review as a user, and we'll follow with a detailed expert review

Money Back Guarantee (Days): 30
Mobile app:
Devices per license: 5
Ran Greenberg
(New-Media and online expert, Venture Capitalist and investor)

The review for this sub category of VPNs is not available yet for this VPN Provider. If you feel they provide a good solution, please add your review as a user, and we'll follow with a detailed expert review

Money Back Guarantee (Days): 30
Mobile app:
Devices per license: 5
Ran Greenberg
(New-Media and online expert, Venture Capitalist and investor)

The review for this sub category of VPNs is not available yet for this VPN Provider. If you feel they provide a good solution, please add your review as a user, and we'll follow with a detailed expert review

Money Back Guarantee (Days): 30
Mobile app:
Devices per license: 5
Ran Greenberg
(New-Media and online expert, Venture Capitalist and investor)

The review for this sub category of VPNs is not available yet for this VPN Provider. If you feel they provide a good solution, please add your review as a user, and we'll follow with a detailed expert review

Money Back Guarantee (Days): 30
Mobile app:
Devices per license: 5