Hotspot Shield VPN
Hotspot Shield

Our score:

7.0 / 10
Review of:
Posted: 12-01-2017

Price from $6.99 per month

  • Speed - 7/10
  • Usability - 6/10
  • Price - 8/10
  • Reliability - 7/10
  • Customer service - 7/10

Hotspot Shield

Back to overview

HotSpot Shield is a widely used VPN. This is especially due to the user-friendly interface and the free account that HotSpot Shield offers.
Before you open an account with this VPN provider however, it’s wise to look at a HotSpot Shield review. In this review, you will find out all about this VPN provider and why you should or should not use their services.

What is HotSpot Shield?

Hotspot Shield is a fairly well-known VPN service, especially because they offer a free account with full use of their services. This service is also known as HSS (abbreviated: Hotspot Shield). What’s important to know is that this free variant is a limited version of the paid version, the so-called Hotspot Shield Elite.
The service was developed by AnchorFree. In 2008, there were already over 500 million AnchorFree users. A surprisingly high amount, but whether or not it means that this VPN connection is safe is the question. There are a number of concerns regarding the protection of your privacy. Further on in this review these issues will be highlighted.

What is HotSpot Shield?

For who is HotSpot Shield meant to be?

HotSpot Shield focuses on getting a broad audience. The provider focuses on people who want to use VPN for the first time or are very a-technical. HSS is especially suitable for people who want to keep their IP address hidden.
The advantages and disadvantages of HotSpot Shield
Before you start reading this review, you will get a brief overview of the advantages and disadvantages of this VPN provider.

Advantages
• There is a free version available
• Fast download speed
• Suitable for Windows, Mac, and Android. iOS and osX
• Connect with up to 5 different devices
• User-friendly interface

Disadvantages
• Sells advertisement information to the developer AnchorFree
• Is located in the United States
• Software includes tracking
• A vague logging policy
• Little choice of protocols
• Bad customer service

Registering at HotSpot Shield

HotSpot Shield has an attractive website that is very accessible and user-friendly. Registering with this VPN provider is also quite easy. In just a few steps you are an HSS user.
First, you must choose between a free account or a paid account. When you choose the paid account, you still have to choose for which term you want to use the VPN services and how you wish to pay. Then you need to provide some basic information, such as your first name, your last name, email address, and home address.
Hotspot Shield Privacy and Safety
HotSpot Shield obscures important information on their official website that is essential to users. The Privacy Policy and Terms and Conditions show the real details.

Benefits HotSpot Shield

Logging

HotSpot Shield has a fairly vague logging policy. A very good reason to doubt their service. Usually, VPN providers are very strict in their logging policies. Several countries maintain a strict legislation on data retention. Getting a VPN connection in these countries is therefore fairly reliable, but that is not true for HSS.
HotSpot Shield is located in the United States. The US is not well known as a country with a good privacy service. US copyright lawyers have had many successes in pursuing download sites. They forced those sites to reveal the identities of the users. With this in mind, the US can also pass on the records of customers.
HSS claims that personal information such as email addresses and payment information is retained, but that they are not connected to your online activities. All your browser information will be deleted after you complete your session. However, in the Terms and Conditions there is something else… HotSpot Shield has the right to collect and share user information with third parties.

AnchorFree advertisement firm

That privacy is a major disadvantage of Hotspot Shield due to their vague logging policy is clear, but there is more. AnchorFree has a second business, namely placing ads on websites frequently visited by VPN users. The fact that AnchorFree has such a second business makes HSS very unreliable.
Research from a university shows that Hotspot Shield stores more user data than they say in their Privacy Policy. As a result, AnchorFree can do whatever it wants to show ads based on your browsing behavior. Ultimately, the company can also find out what the unique registration number of the devices is.
Malware protection
HSS has a unique feature compared to many other VPN providers. HSS blocks malware. The service keeps track of which websites are phishing websites and malware websites. This prevents you from connecting to any of these websites.

Protocols

HotSpot Shield Elite and it’s free variant offer few protocols to choose from. A protocol is in charge of encryption of the data. This data is protected by encryption. The rules that apply to this are called protocols.
At HSS, Android and Windows use OpenVPN. The Apple devices make use of IPSec. It’s a disadvantage that you choose between protocols. OpenVPN uses SSL/TLS, is compatible with many devices and is quite fast. A disadvantage of this is that OpenVPN is somewhat vulnerable. Reliability of IPSec is similar to OpenVPN.

Kill switch

HotSpot Shield has a kill switch option. The kill switch option means that all Internet traffic will be terminated if the VPN connection is lost. As a result, you are ensured that all data is encrypted and no data is transmitted unintentionally.
Automatic connection
Another surprising aspect of this VPN provider is that the software automatically launches and automatically connects. This applies to both desktop and smartphones.
HotSpot Shield snelheid
Perform some speed tests with Hotspot Shield and find out what the speed of this VPN provider is. In the United States the download speed is very high. The upload speed is very low. There is a lot of room to improve.

Speed HotSpot Shield

HotSpot Shield Servers

It is not exactly clear how many servers Hotspot Shield has in use. It is known that this VPN provider has servers in more than 20 countries. The capacity of these servers depends on the number of users using these servers simultaniously.
Thus, the number of countries that can access HSS is high. However, you should remember that you will only have access to all these servers with an Elite subscription. When registering for a free account you have much less options. For example, there is no Hotspot Shield server in the Netherlands at all.

Servers HotSpot Shield

Hotspot Shield software

The software for the HotSpot Shield and HotSpot Shield Elite is exactly the same. Both connections drop down regularly. As a result, some users have negative opinions regarding the software, as evidenced by many online reviews.
The software is available for different devices, both for desktop and for smartphones. There is an iOS application that you can install on the iPad and iPhone. Also, HSS software is available for Windows and OSX. Additionally, their apps can be used for smartphones and other Android devices.
When using HotSpot Shield, you have the option to use it for up to 5 devices. This entails cost advantages. You can choose to take a paid account together with someone else. This allows you to share the costs.

HotSpot Shield Support

HotSpot Shield’s customer service is seen as very bad. That’s not without reason. On the HSS website you can start a Live Chat with the employees. However, it may take more than 24 hours for someone to respond to your message. For users of the free variant this is somewhat acceptable, but for paid users, this waiting time is unacceptable.

HotSpot Shield Elite costs

A paid account with Hotspot Shield Elite is not very expensive. A 2 year subscription costs $2.08 per month. As with nearly all other VPN providers, the subscription becomes cheaper as you use HSS’s services for a longer time.
You can also choose to pay a one-time fee for this service so that you can always use this VPN provider. This costs around €100,-.
Do you not want a paid account? Then it’s good to know what the restrictions of the free account are. The limitations of free HotSpot Shield edition are:
• Many servers can only be used in the United States.
• Your data will be sold to AnchorFree for advertising purposes.
• You do not have access to Netflix, Hulu, BBC and the like.

Conclusion HotSpot Shield review

HotSpot Shield is easy to use. As a result, this VPN provider is attractive to a-technical users. Still, there are many things wrong with this VPN service. You can question their privacy policy, AnchorFree’s dual business (VPN developer and ad business) and country of residence (United States).

Are you looking for a reliable VPN in the Netherlands? GOOSE VPN could be a better option. This VPN-provider is 100% free of logging, easy to use, offers Dutch support and secures all your data. Try GOOSE VPN for free for up to a month!


Written by

GoodVPNservice Kees van Vliet

Kees van Vliet

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