Hotspot Shield VPN Review

Hotspot Shield VPN Review 2019 – Long-standing VPN Plagued by privacy-related chargesByNovak Bozovic-May 2 2019 ‘ 2/2.1559.jpg ‘ Those of you who are searching for a VPN have probably met a group of providers offering their services for free. Perhaps the most notable brand offering both paid and free services is among those Hotspot Shield VPN’s. How good does Hotspot Shield really do, though? Is long term investment worthwhile in this VPN? Can Hotspot Shield unblock popular streaming media sites like Netflix? Well let’s work it out. Quick Facts Jurisdiction The U.S. (5-Yes Alliance). Logs No information which is personally identifiable. 73 Servers of 2500 + countries. Parallel Connections 5 The AES-256 Catapult Hydra VPN Protocol encryption standards. On average 44 percent. P2P Support YES Chrome Live Chat Support YES Windows MacOS Android iOS. Price Runs at $2.99/month. Get Hotspot Shield VPN If you want to unblock media streaming services using Hotspot Shield you want to know which services this VPN supports. This is where our table below comes in so take a look. Amazon Prime Video NO Kodi NO And last but not least we want to share our findings with you. If you don’t have the time to read this whole article we’re sure you’ll find the following helpful information. So before we present our full review of Hotspot Shield VPN, we have one more table for you. Pros Easy to use Simple setup A lot of servers. Cons Limited platform compatibility Possible performance Mediocre data collection comes from the USA. The Final Verdict Our Score 5.1/10 Let’s continue with the introduction behind us by taking a deep look at everything Hotspot Shield has to offer. Keep reading, and learn all you need to know about this VPN.

Hotspot Shield VPN – TechNadu’s Hands-On Review We’ve reviewed dozens of VPNs so far, and developed a systematic approach to how we test VPNs. Click on the provided link for more details. With that said we will start by checking the Hotspot Shield background information.

Background Jurisdiction Reputation

“2/2.1560.jpg” We have found information about Hotspot Shield’s jurisdiction and we have also done a background check of this VPN service. Our findings are as follows.

Jurisdiction Applicable laws

It has been tougher than we thought to find background information on Hotspot Shield. In many cases, VPNs proudly state their country of origin and what their users mean by that information. The situation was kind of complicated when it comes to this VPN.As you can expect all of the above has been addressed by the CEO of Hotspot Shield who said all those claims were unfounded. The company also issued its Transparency Report saying that over the years they have had numerous requests for user data – but they never had a single file that could be handed over because they’re not gathering information that allows them to trace Internet usage. Most innovative FastCompany enterprise. This annually published article is ranked among the fifty most innovative companies in the world and AnchorFree has been named # 1 in the security domain for ‘ helping users dodge online censorship and monitoring. ‘

Devices supported by Platforms

This VPN has limited support. What is shocking is that you can not mount it on routers which has become one of today’s VPNs ‘ standard features. Our Rating: Score 4/10. When choosing a VPN you want to make sure you are able to use it on all your computers. So let’s check that Hotspot Shield VPN aspect out. MacOS Windows Desktop Platform Compatibility Platform. Android and iOS. The Google Chrome web browsers. N / A routers. S / A. Despite being one of the market’s oldest VPNs Hotspot Shield supports a handful of platforms. You can utilize this VPN on Windows and MacOS when it comes to computers. Mobile users can count on apps from native Android and iOS. And there’s also an extension to Chrome that you can install. And here’s where the supported device list ends. Hotspot Shield is not available on other devices due to the fact that it is powered by its proprietary VPN protocol. This includes media streamers from Amazon FireOS to Linux Windows Phone routers or any other platform. This also means that Hotspot Shield can not even be manually installed or configured on those devices. We have to say that after reviewing dozens of VPN services, we believe Hotspot Shield brings the most limited platform support yet – despite being able to use it on 5 devices simultaneously.

“2/2.1562.jpg” Luckily Hotspot Shield gives an easy way to install the application. The whole procedure is simple, and without distractions. Our Score: “10/10. To use Hotspot Shield, you need to sign up for an account first. Although you can test-drive it for up to 7 days, having a premium subscription is the only way to unlock all of its features. Then download the application from its official website.” 2/2.1563.jpg “Considering that Hotspot Shield has been on the market for some time now, we expect to see a full feature.According to Hotspot Shield’s official website this VPN has over 2500 servers. We have to admit that this number impresses us even though some top-rated alternatives deliver from 3000 to 5000 + servers. Additionally, the server network of Hotspot Shield stretches across 73 countries with included popular regions. What’s troubling here is that we can’t check if this VPN really has as many servers as it claims. However, you are not able to connect to different regions towns or individual servers (although you can connect to individual US cities alone). You can only select a country instead and Hotspot Shield will decide which server you can connect to. Or put it another way, openness is not something this VPN provides.

Use-friendliness

Hotspot Shield is geared towards average users who want to automate everything. You can’t really dive into various options and just fine-tune this VPN. Our Rating: 7/10. You will be immediately connected to an ‘ optimal ‘ server after downloading and launching Hotspot Shield, which is the server nearest to your physical location. Once you’re logged in, you’ll see the home screen of this VPN from where you can switch to and use various options. “2/2.1567.jpg” The UI is very simple as you can see from a screenshots. The Home Screen displays information about the session in progress that gives you a glimpse of the duration of your connection and how much data you have transferred. You can also search your virtual IP address, and there is a map that allows you to connect to various countries. You can’t connect to specific servers as noted earlier. You can only select one country, instead. Click on the map on the right side of the Home Screen to do this, and select a country from the list. Hotspot Shield will take you a couple of seconds to connect, and you are ready to go. You can use the hamburger icon in the top-left corner (three horizontal lines) to delve deeper into what this VPN service offers. Let’s see what each of these options can do: Account: This tab allows you to check your subscription-related information. You can see what type of subscription you use, and when it will expire. There is an option which also allows you to sign out. Settings: Surprisingly there aren’t many options here. You can decide whether to lunch Hotspot Shield on startup to prevent IP leaks, and enable / disable the kill-switch functionality of the VPN. Finally, you can opt to use this VPN automatically on safe and unsafe Wi-Fi connections. “2/2.1569.jpg” Facebook: You can share your love via Facebook in case you become obsessed with Hotspot Shield. This is something we believe a premium-priced tool shouldn’t offer so aggressively. “2/2.1570.jpg” Quit: The name says everything. This is where you can quit the application if you do not need the protection it offers any more. All in all we think Hotspot Shield delivers a beautifully designed UI. It’s obvious that it’s oriented towards casual users who don’t want to dive deeply into various options. Rather, all is pretty much automated, which is great for average users. Tech enthusiasts seeking many options need to look elsewhere.

Media Streaming Torrenting Support “2/2.1571.jpg” Unfortunately Hotspot Shield should not be your choice because it can not unblock any of the most popular streaming devices in the world. It also appears to throttle traffic on P2P. Our Rating: 1/10. Would you like to see American Netflix, even if you’re outside the USA? Well a VPN might be the best way to do that. Not every VPN will answer that need though. Here’s how that ranks Hotspot Shield. Media Streaming Torrenting Support Netflix US Torrenting (P2P) YES We tried this VPN with the most popular streaming media services worldwide. Yet Hotspot Shield couldn’t unblock any of them. There are reports that they once supported Netflix and Hulu but this is no longer the case. The situation is rather better when it comes to torrenting. This VPN fully supports transfer of P2P files and its sales representatives will tell you they do not impose any limitations on torrenting. We’ve tried to download torrenting using this VPN and we’ve got to say we’ve been throttled. We’re not sure if Hotspot Shield deliberately throttled our web connection or if we’d just had bad luck connecting to an apparently slow server. Anyway we can’t even recommend it for torrenting. Hotspot Shield does a good job of preventing any active leaks.

“2/2.1572.jpg” However the privacy policy of this VPN leaves a lot to be desired. Our Score: Score 4/10. Even the most attractive features don’t mean much if you can’t keep your chosen VPN safe online. With this said we will audit Hotspot Shield by testing its logging of encryption and DNS leaks.

This VPN offers AES-256 which is considered the industry standard when it comes to encryption. Nevertheless, ‘ traditional ‘ protocols such as OpenVPN L2TP IPSec and others do not follow this level of encryption. Instead Hotspot Shield uses Catapult Hydra protocol. According to this VPN official website Catapult Hydra has many advantages over OpenVPN and other VPN protocols. It maximizes performance, while ensuring that your private data never leaves the tunnel secured. Naturally we will test how fast this VPN is so keep reading to learn more.

Logging Policy What is important is that Hotspot Shield claims that it will not collect any of your data. Their privacy policy says they only collect data related to your IP address, which is collected as soon as the application is launched. However, while the session is active, that data is encrypted and immediately afterwards deleted. This sounds very reassuring as you can see. Nevertheless let’s not forget numerous past accusations. Hotspot Shield has been accused of storing your data and exchanging with authorities by reputable independent organisations. There is also a problem buried deep within the documents of Hotspot Shield relating to advertisers. It is said that ‘ advertisers can collect certain information independently of you, including the IMEI MAC address and wireless carrier advertising ID of your device. ‘ With all this said, we can’t say this VPN is the right choice if you care about anonymity online at 100 per cent. Although it says there are numerous loopholes and problem reports from the past that make us question the intentions of this VPN, it doesn’t collect the data.

DNS Leak Test Last but not least we will do a DNS leak test to see if Hotspot Shield can protect your identity online. This test will show us what third parties can see as you hide behind this VPN by browsing the web. “2/2.1573.jpg” The results can be checked in the screenshot above. As you can see our real information stays hidden. This means third parties only see how Hotspot Shield lets them know – and that is our virtual IP address. There are in other words no intentional leaks.

Velocity LeistureAccording to Hotspot Shield’s official website this VPN has over 2500 servers. We have to admit that this number impresses us even though some top-rated alternatives deliver from 3000 to 5000 + servers. Additionally, the server network of Hotspot Shield stretches across 73 countries with included popular regions. What’s troubling here is that we can’t check if this VPN really has as many servers as it claims. However, you are not able to connect to different regions towns or individual servers (although you can connect to individual US cities alone). You can only select a country instead and Hotspot Shield will decide which server you can connect to. Or put it another way, openness is not something this VPN provides.

Use-friendliness

Hotspot Shield is geared towards average users who want to automate everything. You can’t really dive into various options and just fine-tune this VPN. Our Rating: 7/10. You will be immediately connected to an ‘ optimal ‘ server after downloading and launching Hotspot Shield, which is the server nearest to your physical location. Once you’re logged in, you’ll see the home screen of this VPN from where you can switch to and use various options. “2/2.1567.jpg” The UI is very simple as you can see from a screenshots. The Home Screen displays information about the session in progress that gives you a glimpse of the duration of your connection and how much data you have transferred. You can also search your virtual IP address, and there is a map that allows you to connect to various countries. You can’t connect to specific servers as noted earlier. You can only select one country, instead. Click on the map on the right side of the Home Screen to do this, and select a country from the list. Hotspot Shield will take you a couple of seconds to connect, and you are ready to go. You can use the hamburger icon in the top-left corner (three horizontal lines) to delve deeper into what this VPN service offers. Let’s see what each of these options can do: Account: This tab allows you to check your subscription-related information. You can see what type of subscription you use, and when it will expire. There is an option which also allows you to sign out. Settings: Surprisingly there aren’t many options here. You can decide whether to lunch Hotspot Shield on startup to prevent IP leaks, and enable / disable the kill-switch functionality of the VPN. Finally, you can opt to use this VPN automatically on safe and unsafe Wi-Fi connections. “2/2.1569.jpg” Facebook: You can share your love via Facebook in case you become obsessed with Hotspot Shield. This is something we believe a premium-priced tool shouldn’t offer so aggressively. “2/2.1570.jpg” Quit: The name says everything. This is where you can quit the application if you do not need the protection it offers any more. All in all we think Hotspot Shield delivers a beautifully designed UI. It’s obvious that it’s oriented towards casual users who don’t want to dive deeply into various options. Rather, all is pretty much automated, which is great for average users. Tech enthusiasts seeking many options need to look elsewhere.

Media Streaming Torrenting Support “2/2.1571.jpg” Unfortunately Hotspot Shield should not be your choice because it can not unblock any of the most popular streaming devices in the world. It also appears to throttle traffic on P2P. Our Rating: 1/10. Would you like to see American Netflix, even if you’re outside the USA? Well a VPN might be the best way to do that. Not every VPN will answer that need though. Here’s how that ranks Hotspot Shield. Media Streaming Torrenting Support Netflix US Torrenting (P2P) YES We tried this VPN with the most popular streaming media services worldwide. Yet Hotspot Shield couldn’t unblock any of them. There are reports that they once supported Netflix and Hulu but this is no longer the case. The situation is rather better when it comes to torrenting. This VPN fully supports transfer of P2P files and its sales representatives will tell you they do not impose any limitations on torrenting. We’ve tried to download torrenting using this VPN and we’ve got to say we’ve been throttled. We’re not sure if Hotspot Shield deliberately throttled our web connection or if we’d just had bad luck connecting to an apparently slow server. Anyway we can’t even recommend it for torrenting. Hotspot Shield does a good job of preventing any active leaks.

“2/2.1572.jpg” However the privacy policy of this VPN leaves a lot to be desired. Our Score: Score 4/10. Even the most attractive features don’t mean much if you can’t keep your chosen VPN safe online. With this said we will audit Hotspot Shield by testing its logging of encryption and DNS leaks.

This VPN offers AES-256 which is considered the industry standard when it comes to encryption. Nevertheless, ‘ traditional ‘ protocols such as OpenVPN L2TP IPSec and others do not follow this level of encryption. Instead Hotspot Shield uses Catapult Hydra protocol. According to this VPN official website Catapult Hydra has many advantages over OpenVPN and other VPN protocols. It maximizes performance, while ensuring that your private data never leaves the tunnel secured. Naturally we will test how fast this VPN is so keep reading to learn more.

Logging Policy What is important is that Hotspot Shield claims that it will not collect any of your data. Their privacy policy says they only collect data related to your IP address, which is collected as soon as the application is launched. However, while the session is active, that data is encrypted and immediately afterwards deleted. This sounds very reassuring as you can see. Nevertheless let’s not forget numerous past accusations. Hotspot Shield has been accused of storing your data and exchanging with authorities by reputable independent organisations. There is also a problem buried deep within the documents of Hotspot Shield relating to advertisers. It is said that ‘ advertisers can collect certain information independently of you, including the IMEI MAC address and wireless carrier advertising ID of your device. ‘ With all this said, we can’t say this VPN is the right choice if you care about anonymity online at 100 per cent. Although it says there are numerous loopholes and problem reports from the past that make us question the intentions of this VPN, it doesn’t collect the data.

DNS Leak Test Last but not least we will do a DNS leak test to see if Hotspot Shield can protect your identity online. This test will show us what third parties can see as you hide behind this VPN by browsing the web. “2/2.1573.jpg” The results can be checked in the screenshot above. As you can see our real information stays hidden. This means third parties only see how Hotspot Shield lets them know – and that is our virtual IP address. There are in other words no intentional leaks.

Velocity Leisture2/2.1576.jpg Figure 2 The functionality of a nearby server. We have permitted this VPN to select an ‘ optimal ‘ server located in one of our neighbours. This in turn should deliver speedy performance. But we were quite surprised by the results once the speed test was done. We only got 35.30 Mbps for downloading, and 8.19 Mbps for uploading. “2/2.1577.jpg” Figure 3-Remote server performance. Download Speed Upload Speed Reduction Baseline Speed 149.14 Mbps 0 per cent Nearby Server 35.50 Mbps 8.19 Mbps 76.3 per cent 132.41 Mbps 5.32 Mbps 11.2 per cent We can say that this VPN slowed us down by about 44 per cent on average which is quite deceptive. This isn’t utterly awful but it’s far from what top-rated VPNs deliver.

“2/2.1578.jpg” Hotspot Shield offers various ways to get help but none of its support channels really stand out. Even its live-chat can be vague and of little help. Our Score: Score 4/10. This VPN is offering several ways to get help to help you with technical difficulties. So here is a quick snapshot of what to expect. Live-Chat Support: Luckily Hotspot Shield on its website offers live-chat. We have spoken to representatives of the company a couple of times and we always managed to quickly find a support agent. If you experience simple technical problems this should be helpful. This type of help isn’t always useful though. When we asked about some of this VPN’s features, we got very vague answers to hide the fact that Hotspot Shield doesn’t offer the features in question (router support and IPv6 leak protection). This VPN offers several different pricing plans where their price and duration only differ. Differently said no matter which of those you choose you will always have the same set of features. Here’s how much you must pay in order to become a subscriber. $12.99 $12.99 0 percent 1 Year $71.88 54 percent 3 Years $107.64 $2.99 77 percent One last thing Hotspot Shield offers a 45-day money-back guarantee. That’s plenty of time to test-drive this VPN and see if you want to stay a subscriber – and we must say that this aspect of the VPN sounds more than generous.

Do we recommend Shield VPN for Hotspot?

“2/2.1580.jpg” PROS: Simple installation UI Beautifully designed A lot of servers. CONS: US based privacy-related charges from the past Can’t unblock media streaming websites Throttles P2P Mediocre performance traffic. OUR SCORE: 5.1 From 10! Although this VPN is not on par with top-rated alternatives, if you want to unblock certain local websites, it can be useful. This might be an interesting option if you’re not overly paranoid about data collection and mass surveillance. You can check out Hotspot Shield by yourself to learn more. UPDATE OVERVIEWSafety Privacy4 Speed Performance5 Customer Support4 Pricing6 SUMMARY 5.1 SCORE OVERALL