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Hotspot Shield is a leading VPN provider that boasts of 600 million+ downloads, and it currently has more than 2,500 global server locations.
However, never be tempted to subscribe yet because of the impressive stats. You need to understand some certain things about the VPN, ranging from its performance and reliability, TOR compatibility, security and Encryption, privacy and logging policy, and lots more.
Fortunately, we’ve discussed everything in this detailed Hotspot Shield Review, so make sure you read through!
Hotspot Shield VPN Review
WHAT WE LIKE
– Super-fast streaming and downloading
– Over 2,500 global server locations
– Multilingual – it is translated into 10 different languages (English, Russian, German, Spanish, Turkish, French, Arabian, Japanese, Korean and Portuguese)
– Military-grade security and encryption
– 45-day Money Back Guarantee
– Unlimited bandwidth
WHAT WE DON’T LIKE
– The free version is barely useful & stuffed with advertising
– Not as speedy in the US
– Doesn’t unblock Netflix nor BBC iPlayer
– Support is ticket-based and slow
PRICING & DEALS
Hotspot Shield currently offers two service levels, including Hotspot Shield Free & Hotspot Shield Elite.
Hotspot Shield Free is an ad-supported VPN and it is usually clogged with lots of adverts, which might be frustrating at times.
You don’t need to register to use the free version, and you can use it on an unlimited number of devices. It also works with all the major device platforms & OS, including Android, iOS, browsers, etc.
On the other hand, the premium version (Hotspot Shield Elite) contains no ads & it also cuts across every device platform & OS.
The current prices for the Elite subscription level are:
$12.99 when purchased on a monthly basis
$8.99 per month for six-month access (31% off)
$2.99 per month for 2-year access (76% off)
It will please you to know that Hotspot Shield allows you to make payment with your major credit cards, PayPal and even wire transfer. Unfortunately, they don’t provide room for anonymous payment methods, such as Bitcoin.
Unlike many other providers, Hotspot Shield allows you to purchase a lifetime subscription, which is quite impressive.
Perhaps you are still sceptical about the capabilities of Hotspot Shield Elite, you can opt for the 7-day Hotspot Shield free trial option on the Elite subscription.
Hotspot Shield also provides the Elite users with an astonishing 45 day period to request a refund after purchase. All you need do is to contact the Customer Support and supply them with your details like your registered e-mail Address, the Premium Access Code received after your purchase and the Order Number for the transaction.
SPEED & RELIABILITY
Upon testing the Hotspot Shield with various servers, we were able to get some impressive results. When it comes to speed, this VPN outperforms most of its competitors for about 10 Mbps (based on the European and Asian server). However, we were not satisfied with the speed gotten on the United States servers, because they were extremely lower compared to what other competitors are offering.
If you are looking for European Union or Asia based servers, Hotspot Shield is the fastest VPN for that. But if USA servers are all you need access to, you may consider using other providers.
As of March 2019, Hotspot Shield Elite VPN has more than 2,000 servers spread across 20+ countries, including US, UK, Australia, France, etc. However, we thought the VPN provider should try expanding their country lists (instead of the current 25) since they have over 2,000 available servers. By doing so, they will be able to offer better VPN services to their users.
STREAMING & TORRENTING
One of the key parameters for determining a good VPN is its ability to access geoblocked websites, and this is why we tested it out on Hotspot Shield. We tried accessing some of the popular geoblocked websites such as Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and Youtube. But the results we got were a mixed one.
The VPN gave us quick access to all the geoblocked YouTube clips we tested it on, that’s not a great deal though [YouTube is not that difficult to unblock].
As regards BBC iPlayer, a better-protected platform. We were able to access some of the contents therein, but not often.
How about Netflix? Hotspot Shield could not access the website in all the attempts we made. This wasn’t really surprising though. Since Hotspot Shield is a renowned provider, it is expected that Netflix would block their services.
Although Hotspot Shield doesn’t really lay any emphasis on its P2P policy, the VPN provider supports P2P on all servers. This simply means that you will be able to download torrents just immediately you connect your clients to the internet.
Also, Hotspot Shield operates with unlimited bandwidth, meaning that you can enjoy the service as much as possible.
The encryption protocol is yet another key aspect to consider when evaluating a VPN. Hotspot Shield uses its own unique in-house protocol [Catapult Hydra], rather than the regular protocols such as IKEv2, which is loaded with the latest in security features.
In the VPN industry, there are two major VPN encryption standards that are commonly used, including AES-128, which uses a 128-character key to protect data and is already impenetrable. The second is AES-256, which keeps data hidden behind a 256-character key, and it is more secure than the latter. The more secure option, AES-256 is what Hotspot Shield uses for encryption.
Hotspot Shield offers military-grade security, which allows the users to enjoy a safe streaming and surfing experience. The VPN comes with additional enhancements to protect users against a wide range of online malware vectors such as Trojan site, phishing pages, infected sites, content farms, among others. Its clients are also packed with advanced security features and strong antivirus protection that keeps users safe while browsing online.
PRIVACY AND LOGGING
Hotspot Shield operates under a parent company, AnchorFree, whose headquarter is based in the US. The VPN provider took to its website to claim that they don’t collect, store, or share any permanent identifiers of users [IP Addresses inclusive], as well as activity logs, be it a free or premium user.
However, there have been lots of controversies surrounding the VPN’s log policy since it is based in a country where there are widespread internet surveillance laws on its books.
As a result of this, we tested Hotspot Shield for certain issues like DNS blocking and WebRTC leaks, which might reveal your data to a third party. Upon testing with special tools like ipleak.net and dnsleaktest.com, the VPN didn’t reveal any issues, meaning that your details are protected when using Hotspot Shield.
Hotspot Shield also offers a wide range of privacy enhancing features on its clients, including the kill switch feature, which automatically alerts the users whenever the connection drops, and it will also try reconnecting on-the-spot.
Hotspot Shield is such an amazing VPN with excellent speed for streaming and downloads, over 2,500 global server locations, Military-grade security and encryption, honest no-logs policy, but to mention a few. Overall, we are so much impressed with the performance we got on the VPN, the company only needs to work on its low speed in the US region, and they should also ensure that the customer support is made active. You can never go wrong with the Hotspot Shield; you will get real value for your money!