Hotspot Shield Review October 2017
|3.0 / 5.0 User Ratings||6 |
|United States |
Going around the internet reading through Hotspot Shield review I discovered displeasure amongst users of the 5.2.1 & 5.2.2 version s of their Windows apps. Numerous torrents & file sharing users’ have provided testimonials of the app messing with downloaded files.
One of the more recent user reviews added that after connecting to the apps, Hotspot Shield directs customers to 3rd party e-commerce websites. A similar reaction was also available on CNET where a user commented that the HS Elite support got him to install a third party app installer that caused more problems, have a read:
HotspotShield Elite Vs PureVPN
|No ads||Comes with adware|
|No free trial||Free limited plan|
|150+ Countries||6 Countries|
After reviewing Hotspot Shield’ pricing plans, the prices for yearly subscription are more feasible for the value against the services offered in our opinion. The overall average cost per month is also low and each purchase comes with 30 days money back guarantee.
That is sufficient time to fully test out the service, core features, performance, and to know whether the product lives up to your expectations or not.
HotSpot Shield Company Overview
Hotspot Shield, developed by AnchorFree, is a VPN service that provides online security, privacy, online freedom, and carefree web browsing. AnchorFree ponders upon providing the best internet security to everyone.The company’s mission is to drive the global online security, accessibility to content, and to protect online privacy of everyone.
Located in Silicon Valley and led by their CEO and cofounder, David Gorodyansky, AnchorFree allows users to be in control of the web. AnchorFree developed Hotspot Shield with one thing in mind; users should be able to secure their networks for free.
Hotspot Shield Elite/Free Unique Selling Features
This is an important section and one that I always like to explore in every VPN service that I review. It allows me to highlight that one factor that singles out the specific VPN from others.
The unique selling point, according to our Hotspot Shield review is that it is available for free and paid versions for mass public. A free version will provide you the basic features of a VPN like unblocking the websites. It is not as good as the paid version. The free counterpart does however provide maximum security, privacy and accessibility and if you are looking for a quick solution for online security, Hotspot Shield is the best fix.
Hotspot Shield Pricing and Plans Review
Our Hotspot Shield review unveils that customers have two options for subscribing to the service. You can go with either the free plan (that you can download directly) or the Elite package that offers more locations, dedicated customer support, ad-free browsing experience, and multi-device support. The latter of course comes at a price.
Typically, if you want to purchase the Elite plan, you have four options available (all of which tend to be extremely expensive). For the monthly subscription, you will have to pay a high amount of €15.99. Users that opt for the 6-months package leverage a 31% discount, reducing the monthly price to €10.99. This means, you pay a total for €65.94.
The yearly plan offers users good value, but still tends to be rather expensive. You receive a 53% discount, lowering the per month price to €6.99. This means, you will have to pay €83.88 for annual access. The best value of all though comes in the form of a limited offer. The Elite has a plan that gives you VPN access for 2 years at a price of €139.99.
All these packages come with a 45-Day Money-Back Guarantee, so that you can try out all the features of the provider. If you are not satisfied with the service of the provider, you can easily request a refund to save your money. To add more devices to any of the Hotspot Shield Elite plans, you will have to submit a request to support.
HotSpot Shield Elite Payment Process Reviews
Hotspot Shield accepts different formats as payment methods. The options include purchasing the Elite package with your credit card or through PayPal.
The process of purchasing the elite package (6 month or yearly plan) is easy and consists of three basic steps; cart àreview à confirm.
In the cart phase, you need to fill out all the details about your credit card or PayPal account, personal information (name, email, zip code, country), and coupon code. After filling out the details, hit submit order and next process will be to review. Go over the order details and confirm.
Hotspot Shield Free vs HotSpot Shield Elite
Now that you know the different pricing plans, here are the differences between free version and the elite version of Hotspot Shield.
The difference between both the versions is the number of features and add-ons available in Elite package and the free version.
The security, privacy and accessibility features are almost same in the both the versions, showing that Hotspot Shield doesn’t take your online protection for granted. But the paid subscription will always benefit you more in terms of protecting your data than as compared to the free counterpart.
The Hotspot Shield Elite allows you to choose the different virtual location from a range of servers, while in the free account you do not have the liberty to do so. The paid version blocks ads while the free to download is ad supported.
In addition to this, the Elite version has additional features that would increase your browsing and streaming speeds, malware protection plus, and dedicated customer support (elaborated below).
Hotspot Shield Elite Crack is Malware
Readers who are hoping to find a Hotspot Shield Elite crack will be disappointed to know that it is a malware & adware hoax. You may be able to find a cracked version but there is no guarantee that it will be a stable & malware free version.
Always ask yourself why the app is paid for in the first place and why would someone think of cracking the premium app in the first place. The crack version offers backdoor for hackers to infiltrate user devices while they are using Hotspot Shield Elite.
Hotspot Shield Elite Servers Review
Our Hotspot Shield review finds the service offering different servers located across various countries. The exact list and number of servers is not known on the company’s website. However it does state the following locations: USA, Australia, UK, Japan, Germany, and Canada.
These servers allow you to unblock all the blocked contents, protect against different threats online, and mask your identity by hiding your IP address.
Do note that if you are using the free plan, you will not be able to select the server location of your choice. This option is only available in the Elite version.
The new VPN software now allows you to choose the server of your choice, even if you are using the free version. Previously, in the free plan you could not select the server location of your choice. This option was only available in the Elite version. However, with the new version and improvements made by Hotspot Shield, you can easily select the server of your choice.
Hotspot Shield Free Speed Tests Servers Review
During our Hotspot Shield review of the Free version, we checked out the speeds against the speeds achieved without any VPN service using speedtest.net.
Although there are numerous factors to consider during the speed test: the ISP, certain time of the day, your physical location to the location of the server, etc; the speeds observed by you might differ from the ones observed by us.
Following was the speed achieved without VPN switched on:
When we switched Hotspot Shield on and connected to the US server, following speeds were achieved:
The speed tests show that there isn’t much difference in the download speeds but there is a significant drop in the upload speeds.
There was another issue, as some of the websites we tested in this review did not open up upon clicking. A second or third attempt was needed to open the websites. This was, frankly, a bit disappointing as you need the VPN to be quick to let you access the websites in an instant.
Testing out the free service showed quick connectivity as well but slower speeds when compared with the elite version. There was a significant reduction in the download and upload speeds, making it a parable problem when accessing streaming websites. In addition to this, same problem existed where certain websites required reloading /refreshing to load.
HotSpot Shield Elite Customer Support
The customer support center is often the most important element that allows you to retain users and avoid losing them. In times of dire need for technical support, the customer support service always steps up to save your day.
Hotspot Shield Elite showed that in the customer support center, you can choose from setup guides (based on the operating system), frequently asked questions, forums, or submitting requests. The setup guides allow you to resolve basic issues and how to setup the VPN service on your device.
HotSpot Shield Elite Tutorials And Knowledge Base
In the help center of the company’s website, you can view tutorials about various topics for Hotspot Shield Elite, depending upon the platform. The tutorials can be viewed on topics ranging from setup of the software, login issues, changing the settings, problems with speed and connection, and how to uninstall the VPN from your operating system.
HotSpot Shield Elite FAQ`s
The FAQ section also provides answers to basic questions. The questions are divided into different sections like getting started or account management. However, this section could have been more detailed in our opinion.
HotSpot Shield Elite Ticketing System
If the FAQ and setup guides do not provide you the solution, you can submit a request and state the problem you are facing. The process starts by selecting the request type, providing your email address, and filling out the details of your problem.
HotSpot Shield Elite Videos Sections
We also found some videos located at the bottom of the support page, which can be helpful as well. Hotspot Shield Elite has its own YouTube channel where all the videos are archived.
HotSpot Shield Elite Dedicated Live Chat Support
The users with Hotspot Shield’s elite package have the facility of dedicated elite support which offers live chat. You can chat with the support staff and get hands on assistance to resolve your issue.
HotSpot Shield Elite Apps Compatibility
Hotspot Shield Elite is compatible with different platforms and operating systems. The operating systems include Mac, Android, Windows, and iOS.
However there are variations in VPN service across these operating systems. In the review of Hotspot Shield elite, we observed the official notice displayed by Hotspot that not all the features are available on all platforms.
The mobile application for iOS differs from the ones used on Mac PC. There are variations in the setup of the software and also there are limitations on the features available on iPhone.
If you have purchased the elite version of Hotspot Shield and you plan to use it on your iOS device, be careful as there is no option for selecting your virtual location. The VPN service works completely fine on Windows and Mac; however, there is no app for Windows phone but you can manually configure the software onto your device.
Hotspot Shield Free Android App APK Review
Hotspot Shield is available free for Android devices and can be downloaded either directly from the provider’s website or from the Google Play Store.
Hotspot Shield Android app prospects can also choose to test the service using the free app also available on the Google Play Store. Hotspot Shield’s Android app is really easy to use and one feature that we loved was the apps ability to add phone apps that the service is securing. Browsing speed was really good and files were downloading really fast, impressing us even more during our Hotspot Shield review.
Two poor aspects of the free app are that you have no idea what server you are connected to by default and it delivers advertising. This automatic server selection also raises questions over the data & activity logging of free users connected to the app, considering the free version of Hotspot Shield Android app has had well over 5 million downloads.
Get the Hotspot Shield Android apk today to trial the service with the free app, or visit Hotspot Shield elite to sign up for a premium account with added security features & functionality. The Hotspot Shield Elite apk is also available separately on Google Play.
Download Hotspot Shield Elite/Free App for PC
Hotspot Shield also offers both an Elite version and a free version of the service for PC users. The Hotspot Shield PC software can be downloaded from the website.
The Hotspot Shield app for PC is also brilliantly designed with no extra buttons and features difficult to understand. Once click connectivity, lite on system resources and an attractive interface has really impressed us while penning down our Hotspot Shield PC app review.
The free version of Hotspot Shield PC is offered with advertising which means your data is being shared. The free app also offers limited bandwidth and does not allow you to choose desired servers.
Hotspot Shield Elite/Free VPN Client for Windows Review
In our Hotspot Shield review, we tested the VPN software for Windows. Hotspot Shield have revamped their software client and updated it from the previous version. The new version is much slicker and easier to use than the previous software.
While testing the new client for this review, we were pleased with its overall performance. The installation was easy as the setup wizard took care of all the steps and with minimal input you can easily configure Hotspot Shield on your Windows device.
Once you have installed the software, it will automatically connect you to the VPN service. The new Hotspot Shield VPN client also offers some impressive new features. You can switch from ‘Smart Protection’ to ‘Full Protection’ where all your internet traffic is tunneled through the VPN network.
Under the Smart Protection setting, Hotspot Shield automatically detects the networks as safe or unsafe, and sets the optimum security settings. You can also choose ‘Select Site’ which acts as split tunneling feature. You can select particular websites that should be tunneled through Hotspot Shield VPN connection.
Although new and improved version of the VPN client allows you many new features to play with and has a much easier user interface, it still does not allow you to select the protocol or encryption level of your choice. This was one of the disappointing factors as we hoped that the software would provide information regarding encryption and protocols as the website and the support center were of no help to us.
Hotspot Shield Free Extension for Chrome
Hotspot Shield for Chrome is available through the Chrome Web store that you can access from Google Chrome’s settings menu. To add Hotspot Shield Chrome extension, go to the extensions Store and search for the app.
Once you have the result simply click the “Add to Chrome” button and wait for the browser to install the extension. Once installed just click and start securing your privacy while browsing the internet free as a bird.
Hotspot Shield Elite Mac App Review
During our HotSpot Shield review, I test Mac for myself, I had belief in the app and its ability to secure my IP address & location. But, then I clicked and read the following reviews on CNet:
I had to go back and test the service again for torrents and file downloads. The Elite service did not work with either uTorrent or while downloading a 100 MB video file, both downloads seemed to slow down after a few minutes. The Windows and Android apps worked absolutely fine with both torrents and ordinary file downloaders.
Even ratings for the HotSpot Mac app were not all that attractive list right below the actual review on CNet. Surprisingly, 43 people thought the app was either good or excellent, while exactly 43 people rated the app to be average or below. Even the current version of HS Elite for Mac does not have an attractive rating on CNet.
I would consider a more reliable VPN for Mac that does not divert to 3rd party websites, install spyware/ adware, and provide white listed IP addresses. Consider looking at ExpressVPN, IP Vanish and PureVPN.
HotSpot Shield Elite iPad App Review
Users have given the iPad Hotspot Shield app good reviews when it comes to use when travelling and using the internet on the go. The HS Shield iPad app for iOS devices is available to download on the Apple App store and is free to use.
You can also find real time user reviews on the app download page to determine the good and bad. I still can’t seem to understand the mixed reviews of Hot Spot apps over the internet.This is possibly the case of using the free &premium apps, since the free version displays ads, slows down downloads and directs users to 3rd party websites.
Hotspot Shield Elite CNet Review
CNet offers adetailed editorial review of HotSpot VPN along with real time ratings and user testimonials.There isn’t much insight that the CNet editors review provides except telling us simply how much the service costs and what it can do for you.
It is the user reviews that follow that give you additional insight into apps, pricing, support and other features of the service. Take these customer reviews for example:
Everything about the service would sound fine and dandy until you get to some of the grieving subscriber reviews, like these:
Two very important aspects are highlighted by these users who were aggrieved by HotSpot Shield’s services.User Solar778 was unhappy that the provider charged his card $12 extra for a 6 month subscription, no comment of a refund was ever made on this testimonial, so be careful what financial details you are giving away to the company.
The second more troubling issue is that of advertising and cookies being used byHotSpot Shield to deliver ads in browsers and your mobile apps. HS Shield have been previously criticized for the conducting the same type of marketing for their services time and time again.
Although I would consider HS Shield a brilliant premium VPN service, I would highly recommend subscribers try other VPN services if they wish to use a free service. Read CyberGhost review and try other prominent substitutes include Betternet and ZenMate.
Hotspot Shield Elite Reddit Review
The one place where you don’t want one of your angry customers to review you is Reddit. For some reason HotSpot management has completely missed out on this. Some of the top voted sub-reddits that you will see when searching for HS Shield reviews are:
I’m aware that this is basically me demonizing the service, but, why would I want you to go through all this pain. There are good reviews for HotSpot on Reddit yes, but, the reliability of these reviews goes out the window once you notice there is a pattern of fake reviews right below it.
Even Reddit reviews highlight that HotSpot Shield is a great option to try out on Android or PC, using the service over Apple devices creates BIG issues. There have been instances of device hijacking, data breach, malware, adware and unstable app performance. Read our Detail Reddit VPN review for more information
HotSpot Shield Elite/Free Protocols and Encryption
Hotspot Shield protects your data with secure protocols and encryption levels. We went through Hotspot Shield’s website over and over again to learn about how the company protects your data and other information using the encryption levels and protocols.
After much deliberation and extensive scanning of the company’s website, we were able to find that Hotspot Shield runs on OpenVPN protocol. The one clear element listed on the website is that Hotspot Shield encrypts your online browsing data using HTTPS protocol.
Apart from that, we were unable to find any other information on the encryption level that the company offers. Even the support center was of no help in this regard and the live chat assistance also didn’t reveal anything except for the information that we already conjured about protocols and encryption.
Is Hotspot Shield Elite Safe for Torrenting
Yes, one of the most common uses of the Elite plan is for downloading torrents and access torrent indexing websites. Since multiple users maybe using the same IP address, it is practically impossible to track anything back to your real IP address.
Hotspot Shield Elite Spyware Review
The claims that HotSpot Shield Elite leaves spyware in your devices has been reported time and again on social networks and review websites. It’s not exactly spyware, you have to understand here that HotSpot Shield Elite is not a “zero logs” provider. The service is not spying on you, they got your personal acknowledgement to retain personal information and monitor your online activities when you signed up.
Our Hotspot shield review also discovers that the VPN shares browsing habits and activities of their users with partners to deliver advertising. This implies that the service installs adware/cookies on your devices to ensure proper advertising is delivered to your browsers and mobile apps.
Our Hotspot Shield review shows that there are no usage logs maintained by the company and the data that is collected pertains to the different advertisements and promotional purposes.
Can I Get Hotspot Shield Elite Package For Free?
While HotSpot Shield is available to download and use for free there is no free trial version of the HotSpot Shield Elite service. The Elite version of the service is the premium version hence all free users must use the standard version available on the website.
Just as a reminder, for those of you wondering to download and use cracks for HotSpot Shield Elite should abandon ship now and go other free services. The cracked version has already been established as a malware designed to infiltrate user devices and at time completely render them useless.
Our Hotspot Shield review unveils that there are certain areas that the company needs to work on. The free version was bombarded with advertisements upon connection. The speeds achieved were also unpredictable as certain websites did not open on the first attempt.
Hotspot Shield can also improve its website and provide more information about the number of servers, the protocols it uses, and the encryption levels it supports.
Hotspot Shield Elite Pros
- Free VPN software (paid package is also cheap)
- Unblocks geo restricted content
- Masks your identity
- Provides basic online protection
- Does not store or share usage logs
- Excessive & disturbing advertisements in free version
- Lack of information on website about server, protocol & encryption
- Unpredictable speeds
- No live chat for free version users
- Lack of Technical support
Hotspot Shield is one among the top five best free VPN services we have reviewed. It provides the security and protection against cyber-goons, surveillance agencies, ISPs and any other entity trying to spoof your personal information.
It also allows you to access geo restricted websites such as Netflix, Hulu, Pandora, BBC iPlayer, ITV, and many more. You can use Hotspot Shield VPN to access Facebook and YouTube as well from regions where they are inaccessible.
So if you are looking to smash the geo restrictions, Hotspot is a good solution but for technical and heavy internet users looking for high online security, we would suggest other paid VPN services.