Hotspot Shield VPN has been operating since 2005 and is operated by Pango (formerly AnchorFree Inc), USA. Pango also owns Betternet VPN and TouchVPN. All brands have repeatedly received lawsuits connected with user data collection and sale, redirection to partner sites, and sometimes too active surveillance by third-party partners. And yet, millions of people use them.
Most use Hotspot Shield VPN for free: 500 MB of data is available per day, one location in the US, and speeds up to 2 Mbps. And a lot of intrusive ads.
In the paid version of Hotspot VPN, Netflix and P2P are available, 115 locations, including 80+ countries and 35+ cities; it is possible to connect up to 5 devices for $12.99 per month or $7.99 for an annual plan. Money-back - 45 days.
Hotspot Shield VPN is a registered company of the United States of America, a country known to be part of the 5, 9, 14 Eyes alliance, promoting strict data retention laws. The service's counter-argument is the publication of an annual transparency report, according to which the provider has never disclosed information about users.
Set up a VPN on a router and connect up to 5 devices at once with a Premium account.
Best to use for
China Hotspot Shield VPN users in China gain access to Google services, Viber, WhatsApp, and country-banned apps by connecting to secure servers with obfuscation technology. The connection takes place in one-click, without additional settings.
Works in China (stealth-servers )
Unblocks Netflix US
In addition to accessing US and UK Netflix libraries, freely watch BBC iPlayer, Hulu, or Disney +.
Pricing and Plans
Hotspot Shield VPN develops on a freemium scheme: a free version is available with the demonstration of ads and limited traffic (500 MB per day), the number of servers (1 in the US), and speed (2 Mbps).
Money back days
Free Version Available
No Credit Card Trials
Paid subscriptions are divided into three groups: Plus from $6.99 per month, Premium for as little as $7.99 per month, and Family from $11.99 per month. The maximum subscription period is one year, which puts the service on par with ExpressVPN for the price.
Privacy & Security
The provider uses proprietary Catapult Hydra protocol based on Open SSL. It uses 128-bit AES encryption and supports AES-256. Kill Switch, DNS, and WebRTC leak protection is available, although there is no split tunneling.
Integrated Kill Switch
No Log Policy
DNS leak protection
Double VPN servers
256-Bit Strong Encryption
Onion Over VPN
Hotspot Shield is a conditional VPN without logs, while it collects information about the duration of sessions, the maximum speed, and domains connected during the session.
Servers and Speed
Access more than 1,800 servers of the provider across 80 countries. Regardless of the connection point, users will be able to use P2P connections by downloading files anonymously via torrents.
Servers in Countries
The built-in ad blocker disables banners and tracking trackers in the browser. This feature does not work in the free version - it has ad inserts integrated into the client.
It helps solve problems via voluminous FAQ, which contains links to all kinds of malfunctions and connection problems on different devices. Separately, it answers questions regarding the 45-day money-back for subscriptions, account, and device management are provided.
When you need help from a specialist, use an email call or live chat with an operator.
Platforms and Devices
You can download Hotspot Shield as a VPN for Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, and iOS. Since 2020, Smart-TV support has appeared, and instructions for setting up a secure connection on routers with DD-WRT firmware have appeared. There is no connection for game consoles using SmartDNS.
Hotspot Shield VPN plugin is available for Chrome and Firefox. The extension works autonomously without the need for a client on a PC.
VPN for MAC
Compatible with macOS 10.12 or later. After installation, it takes 25 MB of memory.
Personally, I prefer Hotspot Shield as it has the most servers Worldwide and even in China itself (unlike other VPNs), therefore the chances of a very fast internet are higher no matter what’s your location as you will be close to at least one of the servers. The price is also very low and this service has 45-days guarantee in case it does not meet your expectations.