You know what it’s like…
Your favorite TV show’s second season is just about to start - but in another country. If you want to watch it as soon as it airs, the only way to do so is by using a VPN that tricks the apps into thinking you’re based in another country. And that’s just one advantage of VPNs such as Hotspot Shield.
In this article we’re going to give you an in-depth review of Hotspot Shield, starting with the basics, in case you’re not too familiar with VPNs and what they do. Then we’re going to talk about its key features, its availability, its pricing, and it’s tech support. Then were going to tackle some of your most frequently asked questions on the subject, before wrapping up with our concluding verdict.
Please, read on. But feel free to scroll to any areas of particular interest.
What Exactly Is Hotspot Shield, Anyway?
Hotspot Shield is a public VPN service. VPN stands for Virtual Private Network. A VPN ensures that the information traveling between your connected device (whether it’s your computer, smartphone, or tablet) and the VPN's server is encrypted.
With a VPN in place, your online activity is made secure, and cannot be hacked by cyber criminals and data thieves.
But that’s not all. With a VPN in place, you can also access restricted websites and apps from anywhere in the world.
There are a great many VPNs out there, but where Hotspot Shield is different from the others is how it markets itself as being the world’s fastest VPN.
Later on we’ll be discussing whether it actually lives up to this claim.
Very Brief History of Hotspot Shield
The first ever Hotspot Shield client app was released in 2008 for Microsoft Windows and MacOS operating systems, and it wasn’t until 2011 and 2012 that the technology was expanded for release on iOS and Android platforms.
During the Arab Spring protests in 2010, Hotspot Shield was famously used to bypass government censorship in Egypt, Tunisia, and Libya
Hotspot Shield Review
Key Features of Hotspot Shield
The encryption capabilities of Hotspot Shield are exceptional. You get military grade encryption, and it just doesn’t come any more safe and secure than that.
And not only does it enable the user's private browsing capabilities, but it keeps no logs of your online activities, so everything you do online will remain 100% completely private.
But, there are a great many other features available with Hotspot Shield beyond mere encryption, and private web browsing...
Thanks to Hotspot Shield’s premium VPN servers, you also get unlimited content access, and unlimited bandwidth provided that you pay for the one of the paid plans.
But what’s truly exceptional about Hotspot Shield is just how fast it is when used for streaming, gaming and downloading. And that’s what really gives it an edge over its counterparts.
And that’s not all. Paid versions of Hotspot Shield can also offer malware protection, and are entirely ad-free. We’ll go into more detail on what the different subscription plans have to offer very shortly.
Availability - Where Can You Use Hotspot Shield?
Hotspot Shield works in most countries, but that doesn’t mean it’s always legal to use a VPN in a specific country. That said, it’s perfectly legal to use a VPN in most countries.
If you’re considering using a VPN like Hotspot Shield, then we would strongly suggest that you look into the legalities of using it in your country, or any country you decide to travel to.
Hotspot Shield can be used on all of the major platforms and smart devices. Here is a full list for you:
- Microsoft Windows
- Google Android
- Google Chrome
- Smart TVs
- Linux, and
Pricing - How Much Does Hotspot Shield Cost?
Hotspot Shield offers three different subscription plans, which are as follows:
- A free to use basic plan
- Premium Plan at $7.99 per month (if you pay annually)
- Premium Family Plan at $11.99 per month (if you pay annually)
Please note, the price goes up considerably if you pay monthly rather than annually. The Premium Plan becomes $12.99 per month, and the Premium Family Plan becomes $19.99 per month.
Let’s take a look at each plan in turn.
- Free to use basic plan
The free version is good for secure, private web browsing. You get one account to be used on just one device, and it’s available on Windows, Mac, iOS, Android and Chrome.
You are given one virtual location, a connection speed of up to 2 Mbps, and a data limit of 500 MB per day.
And although the plan is pretty basic, you still get military grade encryption, and there’s no logging of any of your online activity.
- Premium Plan
To be frank, the premium plan is way better than the free to use basic plan. You get ALL the features of the free to use basic plan, and a lot more besides...
You get up to 5 devices connected, over 100 virtual locations, unlimited data usage, and a connection speed of a whopping 1 GB (1000 MB).
The result is that you get far better streaming and gaming, since the tech is optimized for all the big streaming apps, such as Netflix, YouTube, Disney+ etc., and is also optimized for some of the biggest gaming platforms, such as Fortnight and Roblox.
The other main advantage is that in addition to the platforms that the basic plan can work on, the Premium Plan will also work on Linux, Routers, and your Smart TV.
And that’s not all. The Premium Plan also includes malware and virus protection, automatic spam call blocking, and a password manager. And you also get 24/7 access to customer support.
- Premium Family Plan
The Premium Family Plan offers very similar features to the Premium Plan. In addition to the military grade encryption, You get over 100 virtual locations, unlimited data usage, and a connection speed of a whopping 1 GB (1000 MB).
And this means that you get far better streaming and gaming, since the tech is optimized for all the big streaming apps, such as Netflix, YouTube, Disney+ etc., and is also optimized for some of the biggest gaming platforms, such as Fortnight and Roblox.
But of course, the Family plan has more to offer again. You get up to 5 member accounts, and you can connect the app to 5 different devices for each member account, which works out to a total of 25 different devices.
And, like the Premium Plan, The Premium Family Plan can also work on the likes of Linux, Routers, and your Smart TV.
Strangely enough, however, the Premium Family Plan does not include some of the key features catered for in the regular Premium Plan, such as the malware and virus protection, automatic spam call blocking, and password manager. But you still get 24/7 access to customer support.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does Hotspot Shield Log Your Online Activity?
We touched on this previously, but it’s well worth repeating here. We’re pleased to inform you that Hotspot Shield does not keep any logs of your online activity. So you are free to use and enjoy the internet as you please, while everything you do online remains absolutely and entirely private and confidential.
What do users think of Hotspot Shield?
Hotspot Shield is clearly one of the most highly regarded VPNs on the market today…
PCWorld, for example, described Hotspot Shield as the fastest VPN they’ve tested by far.
And TechRadar described it as a fantastic VPN service. And they have also said that it delivers some of the best download speeds they’ve ever seen, regardless of location.
Then on CompareCamp, one of the leading software comparison sites, Hotspot Shield managed to earn an impressive score of 89%.
It also had rave reviews and testimonials from the likes of Ookla Speedtest, ZDNet, AV Test, and Fast Company.
And it seems to have gone down equally well with regular users of the service. On Google Play, after approximately 1.4 million individual ratings, it earned a 4-star rating out of a possible 5 stars. Likewise on Apple’s App Store it also managed to earn a good 4-star rating.
While Hotspot Shield offers excellent military grade encryption in its VPN, it’s true strength lies in just how fast it can be used for streaming large files such as movies, and for gaming and downloading.
However, to get this level of service, you will need to pay for one of their paid subscription plans. But these plans are very competitively priced, especially if you decide to pay annually rather than monthly.
And if you do go for one of the paid plans, you also get some rather nice extras thrown in, like the ability to stream directly to your smart TV, use on multiple devices, and malware and virus protection to boot.
So, we would definitely recommend it, but to get the most out of it, you will need to pay a small monthly fee.