Hotspot Shield Review

From $ 3.99 a month

Speed - 7/10
Usability - 8/10
Price - 7/10
Reliability - 5/10

6.8/10

Characteristics

HotSpot Shield is a widely known VPN service. This has to do with the fact that they have a large marketing budget and that a free variant of their service is available. The VPN service is often referred to as HSS, this is an abbreviation of the full name Hotspot Shield.

Hotspot Shield is aimed at people who just want to use a VPN and are not as technically gifted. For example, the service is suitable for people who want to easily hide their IP . In this Hotspot Shield review we discuss the most important features of this VPN service and share our experience.

Servers

The amount of servers from Hotspot Shield is not entirely clear. It is clear that the servers are spread over 25 countries at the moment. It is indicated that the server capacity per location is supplemented according to the demand of the users. This is a nice tactic, you know which locations there are and that it is therefore ensured that the capacity at all locations is and remains sufficient.

Only with the Elite subscription you have access to all locations. With the free subscription this option is much more limited, you only have access to the free VPN servers that are available there.

Hotspot Shield software

The software for both the free and the paid variant is the same. During the testing of the software it appeared that the software is easy to use on all platforms because a clear interface is used. The software is therefore easy and intuitive to use.

We read on the internet a lot of experiences that there are also bad experiences with the software. For example, many people seem to experience difficulties with stability. In practice, this means that the VPN connectionssometimes get lost because the software is not stable enough.

There are apps available for the most used operating systems. For example, there is an app for iOS that can be installed on the iPad and iPhone. In addition, there is software for computers that use Windows and MacOS (for Apple computers) as the operating system. And there are also apps available for the Android phones and tablets.

Android app from Hotspot Shield VPN

Many people will want to use the Hotspot Shield VPN connection on an Android phone. Fortunately there is a good app available for Android. The app gives you access to the most used options. This way you can select the country with which you want to connect. You can also set the connection to start when you start your phone. The latter is an option that you will certainly not find in every Android VPN app .

Windows

There is also easy-to-use software for Windows . As with the mobile apps for iOs and Android, the ability to adjust settings is limited. For example, it is not possible to choose a protocol of your choice. Hotspot Shield uses the OpenVPN protocol on Windows as standard.

Chrome and Firefox options from Hotspot Shield

Hotspot Shield has released an extension and addon for the web browsers Chrome and Firefox respectively. With the addition in the browser it is possible to make a connection in your browser window with a VPN server of Hotspot Shield of your choice.

This works easily and quickly when you need a VPN connection for your surfing behavior. For example, if you want to surf anonymously or watch a missed NPO broadcast from abroad .

Privacy and security

If you are looking for a VPN service to guarantee your privacy, we do not recommend Hotspot Shield. As far as we are concerned, the service is too unclear about their logging policy. Moreover, it is a service that operates from the United States. This means that they fall into a jurisdiction where the government can demand the data of users of Hotspot Shield if desired.

In addition, research by a university has shown that Hotspot Shield stores more data about their users than they submit in their privacy policy. For example, it seems that they display advertisements based on surfing behavior and they even map out the unique registration number of your device and which networks you use.

Protocols

Hotspot Shield makes a number of other choices when it comes to protocol selection in comparison with other VPN providers. In this way, conscious speed is chosen. In practice, this means that the L2TP and PPTP protocol is used. According to Hotspot Shield, the advantage is that the connections are set up faster, are faster, and that less data has to be sent back and forth. This would be up to 2.5 times as fast over long distance connections

We have our doubts about this approach. Certainly for people who want to guarantee their privacy, Hotspot Shield is not the best choice in our eyes. Moreover, we think it is a shame that we no longer have control over which protocol is used. There are certain situations in which we want to decide for ourselves which protocol we use.

Kill Switch and automatic connection

A kill switch option ensures that all internet traffic is closed when the VPN connection is lost. This prevents data that you prefer to keep private from being sent and received unencrypted. Fortunately, Hotspot Shield Elite has built this function into the software.

The automatic start-up of the software and automatic connection is also available. This is possible on both smartphones and computers.

These last 2 points are another positive surprise during the review of this service.

Malware protection

An option that Hotspot Shield Elite offers while other providers do not offer is blocking malware. Hotspot Shield Elite keeps a list of known phishing sites and malware sites and prevents you from connecting to these sites. This is a nice option in itself but not very important in our eyes.

Speed ​​Hotspot Shield

The download speed is good. We achieved very acceptable speeds while we were connected during this review of Hotspot Shield.

The upload speed, on the other hand, was very poor. The upload speed was more than halved when we tested the speeds for this service.

Watch American Netflix with Hotspot Shield

With the paid version of Hotspot Shield it is possible to watch the American Netflix. The VPN service is actively doing its best to keep the American Netflix accessible to users. Our experience with watching the American Netflix via the VPN servers of Hotspot Shield is very positive, it always worked during the last test week.

Netflix from other locations such as Japan sometimes works, but not always. In addition, Hotspot Shield itself also indicates that its focus is only on circumventing the VPN blockade for the American version of Netflix.

Torrent with Hotspot Shield Elite

It makes sense that while downloading torrents you want to do that anonymously . With the paid Hotspot Shield Elite the company allows to download files via Bitorrent, with the free version torrent traffic is blocked. Since the upload speed is low, it is possible that your upload ratio is low and therefore gets a lower download.

It is true that we are questioning the privacy policy of Hotspot Shield. For example, if you want to download anonymously with torrent, we recommend ExpressVPN .

Costs of Hotspot Shield

The costs of Hotspot Shield are reasonable, compared to other VPN providers the prices are average. Just like with most other VPN providers, the longer the subscription is that you take out the cheaper the price per month.

Hotspot Shield actually has 3 types of subscriptions that you can choose between. If you take out a monthly subscription you pay € 15.99 per month. If you close and pay for a year immediately, it will cost you € 6.99 per month. For 3 years this amount is converted to € 3.49 per year.

Free Hotspot Shield subscription

Just like all providers of free VPN services, there are also certain limitations with this free variant. The limitations for the free HotSpot Shield edition are:

  • Only servers in America that may be used
  • No access to BBC, Netflix, Hulu, adult content etc.
  • Advertising can come into your browser when you go online with your browser.

In addition, there is of course the paid Hotspot Shield Elite. We also tested the paid version for this review. The price of Hotspot Shield Elite is € 3.99 per month if you close these 3 years. When you take a shorter subscription, for example a month you pay considerably more. The subscription that you can take out per year costs, for example, already € 6.99 per month. Nowadays it is also possible to pay with iDeal at Hotspot Shield.

Of course you will not be bothered by advertisements with the paid version and you will have access to all servers.

Conclusion, our experiences with Hotspot Shield

Hotspot Shield is an easy-to-use VPN service, the software is well-arranged and works intuitively. It is also good to use on the most used operating systems such as Windows, MacOS, iOS and Android. The software and the VPN service in general does not really add anything. The VPN is simply sufficient for people who want to use a VPN connection in an easy and fast way.

The price for the paid service Hotspot Shield Elite is reasonable. In addition, it is nice that a free version is available, which of course has certain restrictions.

We do, however, question the privacy policy and it is unfortunate that you cannot make much adjustments in the client. It seems that they collect and log more data about their users than they report themselves. We think this is a very bad thing and gives the impression that your privacy is not properly guaranteed at Hotspot Shield.

If you mainly take the VPN for changing location and extra privacy protection is not a priority, you can certainly purchase Hotspot Shield Elite in our experience.