Hotspot Shield Review by our expert
Rating ?
4.4 / 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-b...

updated: Nov 18, 2018
Hotspot Shield User Reviews
  •  1
This program sucks. App store wouldn't let it open.

Absolute failure to launch. I spent time downloading, offering my credit card info for this 'free' app, and it wouldn't even open despite repeated clicks. I am looking for a free VPN that actually functions. This one didn't.

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    •  5
    Used it for a Month - Perfect

    I've been using hotspot shield for about a month now. Very easy to connect and speed is amazing, Doesn't slow down any of my streaming, I used different vpns in the past and they all slowed down my internet speed.

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      David Price
      •  3
      Seems to work most of the time but....

      About every two weeks, the "Something went wrong" message comes up and the product will not work unless you go through time-consuming settings or re-settings in your PC. Getting to be a real pain...just when I'm short on time, in a hurry, it starts this nonsense.

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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 Yes
        Devices per license 5
        Ease of Use 4.5 / 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.


        Watch the short video review and tutorial below of Hotspot Shield
        Pricing 4.5 / 5.0
        2 years
        $2.99 /month
        1 year
        $5.99 /month
        1 month

        Hotspot Shield offers 45-day money back guarantee on any plan. You can pay with any credit card, Paypal and even Starbucks, Walmart or Best Buy gift card.

        Reliability & Support 4.3 / 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.


        Hotspot Shield
        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.


        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.

        We also tested this provider with regards to streaming, where Hotspot Shield turned out to be very competent. It unblocked all the big providers, including BBC iPlayer and Netflix.  

        Throughout our testing, 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.

        Rather than using some of the more traditional protocols, Hotspot Shield Elite uses Catapult Hydra, a proprietary protocol that compresses data, 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.


        For tech support, an email address anbd a live chat are 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. 

        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
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