Hotspot Shield Review

hotspot review

Hotspot Shield has over 650 million users that connect to the internet safely and privately, making it one of the largest and most popular VPN service providers in the world. With a simple pricing structure and industry-leading features, Hotspot Shield is a contender for the top VPN provider available today.

Hotspot Shield has thousands of high-quality servers around the world and uses military-grade data encryption to keep your information safe and secure. You can use these VPN services on a wide range of devices, including mobile phones, tablets, desktops, and laptops, meaning you can browse safely no matter what device you’re on.

Information security is a top priority for Hotspot Shield, and with a strict no-logging policy, you can be sure that your information is safe, secure, and never stored. An automatic kill switch cuts your connection as soon as the server detects that your device drops from the network.

Staying safe online is important, and Hotspot Shield is one of the best ways you can stay safe and secure on the internet. In our Hotspot Shield review, we’ll show you everything you need to know about the service, its features, pricing structure, and more, so you can decide if Hotspot Shield is right for your needs.

Pricing and Value

hotspot shield

As we mentioned, Hotspot Shield has a very simple, straightforward pricing structure. Some VPN providers have complex price structures that charge a per-device fee that can vary from device to device. With Hotspot Shield, you pay one price for up to five different devices on your account, whether those devices are all tablets, all phones, all computers, or any combination of devices.

Hotspot Shield is currently offering a free trial for new users. When you sign up for a free Hotspot Shield account, you can take advantage of the free trial on up to five devices before continuing with a paid subscription. If you’re not sure if a VPN service is right for you, a free trial is the perfect way to get started. You can cancel the free trial at any time or upgrade to a discounted long-term plan.

While there is a month to month option, we don’t recommend signing up for the month to month option long-term. At $12.99 per month for a month to month plan, it’s one of the more expensive month to month VPN plans out there. However, if you’re shopping around and testing out different providers, we like that Hotspot Shield has a month to month option so you’re not required to commit to the service if it isn’t what you’re looking for.

If you decide to use Hotspot Shield long-term, there are three additional plan options that offer significant savings for the same great service. They offer a six-month plan at $8.99 per month, billed every six months. There is also a one-year plan at $5.99 per month, and even a three-year plan at $3.49 per month. The three-year plan is certainly the best value, but we definitely understand not wanting to pay for it up front.

However, paying just $125 for three years of industry-leading VPN service is a fantastic deal, so if you know you need the service for a long time, it’s one of the best deals out there.

Features

hotspot shield review

Hotspot Shield has no shortage of incredible features that are included in your Hotspot Shield account. Thousands of servers, reliable connections, and unlimited data sessions are just a few of the many fantastic features that Hotspot Shield has to offer. Hotspot Shield’s top features include:

  • Dedicated live support available 24/7 via online chat
  • Military-grade data encryption to keep your information safe on the web
  • Up to five devices on one account
  • Lightning fast speeds and unlimited bandwidth
  • Select your server and change servers at any time
  • Automatic kill switch if your device loses connection to the server
  • Simple setup and connection through the mobile or desktop application
  • Proprietary VPN technology called Catapult Hydra that is designed to optimize your connection and performance

The Catapult Hydra VPN technology is often debated. Rather than using standard VPN technology such as OpenVPN or PPTP, Hotspot Shield created its own structure that is designed to optimize performance and connection stability. There are some that may see that as a drawback because Hotspot Shield doesn’t use a typical VPN protocol, but after seeing what Hotspot Shield can do, we see that as one of its strengths.

In fact, Catapult Hydra is being used by a majority of international security companies and consistently passes rigorous security audits. You can try it yourself for free by downloading the Hotspot Shield desktop or mobile app right to your phone or computer.

Speed

With over 2,500 servers worldwide, you’ll notice incredibly fast connections when you connect to a Hotspot Shield server. Due to the proprietary VPN protocols, Hotspot Shield has been able to increase speeds without compromising connection reliability or security. In dozens of speed benchmarks, Hotspot Shield is consistently ranked as the fastest VPN service provider out there.

Equally as impressive as the fast speeds virtually regardless of which server you connect to is the unlimited bandwidth usage. Hotspot Shield is designed with the user in mind, meaning you’re going to get a consistently strong, fast connection on all your devices at any given time.

While most VPN services promise fast speeds and reliability, Hotspot Shield truly lives up to that promise. You’ll even experience incredibly fast speeds in server locations that you might not expect, so no matter where you connect, you’re going to have a great experience.

Netflix

Currently, Hotspot Shield can be used to stream Netflix. However, that could change at any moment, so Netflix availability is as of the writing of this article. There are servers that are blocked by Netflix, but continual server updates by Hotspot Shield unlock new servers regularly.

You may need to try connecting to multiple servers to gain access to Netflix while connected. Hotspot Shield VPN services allow you to get around the ever-evolving Netflix geo-blocking protocols, meaning you can get access to shows and movies that aren’t available in your country on a normal internet connection. Netflix is working tirelessly to block any and all connections via VPN, but as of now, Hotspot Shield is winning that battle.

Torrenting

Torrenting is one of the features that truly sets Hotspot Shield apart from most of its competitors. Unlike some VPN providers, torrenting is fully supported by Hotspot Shield. While there are no dedicated P2P servers, Hotspot Shield uses military-grade data encryption (AES 256 bit-key) to keep your data safe when torrenting anonymously.

Hotspot Shield takes internet security very seriously, and torrenting through Hotspot Shield’s VPN connection is one of the safest ways to share user-to-user data. You’ll even find articles and how-to guides on sharing information via P2P protocols.

Windows PC

Hotspot Shield is fully optimized for your Windows PC, and you can download the desktop app and get connected to one of over 2,500 servers in just minutes. The interface is simple and stunning, and makes using the service incredibly easy, even for beginners.

You won’t see any connection, speed or security compromises when you use Hotspot Shield on a Windows PC. The desktop app integrates seamlessly with Windows 10 and Windows 8, making for a world-class user experience every time you use it.

Mac

Hotspot Shield provides an equally enjoyable experience when you use the Mac desktop app. When you pair Hotspot Shield VPN services with the heightened security found in Macs, you get extreme browsing security. The desktop app interface is clean, simple, and easy to use, and you can quickly switch your connection between servers around the world.

The Hotspot Shield Mac desktop application is compatible with the latest versions of MacOS, including Mojave and High Sierra.

Servers

Hotspot Shield has over 2,500 servers around the world in over 20 countries, meaning you can connect virtually anywhere in the world and get the same fast, reliable experience. Hotspot Shield currently has servers in the following countries:

  • United States
  • Brazil
  • Mexico
  • Canada
  • United Kingdom
  • Czech Republic
  • Netherlands
  • Ireland
  • Germany
  • France
  • Denmark
  • Russia
  • Spain
  • Ukraine
  • Switzerland
  • Sweden
  • Japan
  • China
  • India
  • New Zealand
  • Australia
  • Turkey
  • Iran

With so many servers all around the world, you can choose exactly where you want to connect and change your server connection in just seconds. When it comes to Netflix and torrenting, having so many server options opens up access to content you never would have had access to before.

Security

Hotspot Shield was previously shrouded in controversy and unclear privacy policies. However, in recent years, Hotspot Shield has responded to customer concerns and has adapted their privacy policy accordingly, aligning with other major VPN providers on what information is stored and collected.

In a recently updated privacy policy, Hotspot Shield discloses that there is a strict no-logging policy, and your IP address, traffic information, and other identifying information is only stored for the duration of the VPN session. When the session is terminated, the information is deleted.

If you’re someone who needs extreme privacy online, you may want to review the Hotspot Shield privacy policy in full. While your information is never stored or logged when you’re connected to the VPN services, your device-specific information may be collected when you open the Hotspot Shield application and are not connected to VPN services.

This information is simply used for troubleshooting and analytics purposes, and only minimal information may be collected about your device. IP addresses may also be collected for marketing purposes, so if you are in need of complete online privacy, Hotspot Shield may not be the best option for you.

Customer Support

Hotspot Shield focuses on a fast, reliable VPN connection, an easy experience, and exceptional customer support. Their customer support was previously a ticketed support system, but it recently moved to live chat support system that is much more effective at resolving issues. Live chat agents are available 24/7 to answer all your questions and concerns.

Live tech support is only available for current subscribers, otherwise, general inquiries need to be submitted via the ticket system. You may also chat with a live agent if you are not a customer, but only to purchase service in the sales channel.

Hotspot Shield also has an excellent support database that you can use to get self-guided help to all of your VPN questions and concerns. Read tutorials, watch videos, and receive step by step guides on how to set up, use, and troubleshoot your VPN services.

Whether you need assistance setting up your application or in-depth troubleshooting support on all of your devices, the team at Hotspot Shield is there to help.

Summary

If we were to write this review just one year ago, it would have gone very differently. Hotspot Shield was recently riddled with scandal, unclear privacy policies, and users who were not confident in their proprietary VPN protocol. Now, Hotspot Shield is a leading VPN service provider that provides incredibly fast speeds, secure connections, and expert-level support.

We love to see just how far Hotspot Shield has come. Not only has it listened and adapted to customer wants and needs, but the service is now leading the industry and creating higher standards for VPN services and support.

The pricing structure is very easy to understand, and at prices starting at just $3.49 for up to five devices, Hotspot Shield is priced very competitively. Advanced encryption, an impressive selection of servers, and an impressive user interface are just a few of the many highlights you’ll see when you sign up for Hotspot Shield.

While the privacy policy does allow for some data collection when you’re not connected to VPN services, Hotspot Shield makes it clear that information privacy is one of their top priorities. You’re not going to find a VPN service that offers the same fast speeds, impressive features, and industry-leading support.

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