Hotspot Shield VPN Review

Hotspot Shield VPN Review

Secure & safe web surfing is no more unattainable with the inception of VPN in the technology market. VPN services have made surpassing web-based limitations pretty easier. With the elapsing of time, numerous VPNs have been introduced even that selecting the most reliable one has become a real struggle.

Hotspot Shield VPN

Hotspot Shield VPN is a US-based VPN service that stands at a higher rank in the US app store; in fact, it claims to be a top-grossing app in terms of productivity, having around 650 Million users worldwide. The respective VPN service owns 1800 servers located across 80+ countries.

The high figure of available servers presents more connection choices to its users. The Hotspot Shield VPN is approachable worldwide, and even it can be used in China (as China restricts the usage of VPN services in most of its regions). The users can access millions of restricted websites anonymously using this VPN.

Highlights of Hotspot Shield Review

If you are running out of time, these highlights of the Hotspot Shield VPN review can give you a basic concept of the features & limitations of Hotspot Shield VPN.

Pros 

  • High filesharing speed 
  • Best streaming 
  • Secure & reliable 
  • Fast connection speed 
  • Split tunneling 
  • Variant server locations

Cons 

  • Costly 
  • Data logging
  • Ad-supported 
  • Data limit in free version 
  • Speed limit in free version

Security-Is Hotspot Shield safe to use?

Security

It is a fact that security should be the ultimate target of any VPN service. So, you must be interested to know, “is Hotspot Shield safe to use?” In this perspective, you can assuredly count on Hotspot Shield VPN service as it offers the highest level of security to its worldwide users over the established connections.

Whatever the VPN server you are connected to, all of your data would remain confidential for sure; you can experience safe & malware-protected browsing with the entirely secure IPs on Hotspot shield VPN client as it ensures even the security of your DNS requests.

Surprisingly, the security level it offers may vary with the specific sort of service you are using. You can experience the connection security at its peak in the windows platform as it provides comprehensive security for its windows app users by “Automatic kill switch.”

This Automatic kill switch won’t let your data leak even after a sudden drop in VPN connection. In contrast, if you have been using the Hotspot Shield free VPN chrome extension, you won’t find it as secure as it can be on its windows client.

Irrespective of its high-end security and vigorously implemented encryption techniques, there are few associated things you cannot neglect over. Security research carried out to test the security level of Hotspot Shield free VPN service in early 2018 revealed a critical security breach in it that it is supposed to leak out its user’s data to some extent such as country name or Wi-Fi network name.

In the same vein, back in 2017, the CDT (Center for democracy and technology) department highlighted an issue regarding the unprotected data sharing and traffic redirection in the Hotspot Shield VPN service. Thus, these are security aspects you must be cautious of while using a Hotspot shield client.

Speed-How fast is Hotspot Shield VPN?

Speed

Internet speed is such a vital & demanding perspective that it can’t be compromised over at any cost. Given this massively demanded factor, Hotspot shield VPN puts forward its best to serve its users with the most incredible speed. If you look over its average speed, you will find that it usually ranges between 50 to 70Mbps.

Though you can come across the various virtual private networks in the market that offer excellent speed, the Hotspot Shield VPN claims to provide the fastest VPN service among all competitors. Basically, it works on Catapult Hydra protocol that is efficient enough to provide the fastest connection speed by eliminating the latency probabilities entirely.

Generally, it is said that the speed gets downed whenever you connect to a server located at a distant location. Specific tests have been conducted to measure & record the varying VPN speed found by establishing the connection to various servers; the generated speed results illustrated that Hotspot Shield free VPN offers an excellent connection speed.

Irrespective of the server variations, you can always expect to experience great speed no matter how distant the relative server is. You can always have a stable & non-drop connection even if connected with a remote Hotspot Shield free VPN server; that being the case, Hotspot Shield VPN stands in the list of best VPN services due to its fast connection speed attribute.

The further test results showed that Hotspot Shield VPN’s downloading and pinging speed is more significant on its windows app than Mac OS. Contrarily, the uploading speed has been recorded greater on devices with Mac operating systems.

Downloading speed on Windows OS

  • With VPN: 63.36Mbps
  • Without VPN: 77.71Mbps

Downloading speed on Mac OS

  • With VPN: 52.24Mbps
  • Without VPN: 75.27Mbps

Uploading Downloading speed on Windows OS

  • With VPN: 21.38Mbps
  • Without VPN: 28.98Mbps

Uploading speed on Mac OS

  • With VPN: 27.68Mbps
  • Without VPN: 28.18Mbps

 Pinging speed on Windows OS

  • With VPN: 66 ms
  • Without VPN: 12 ms

Pinging speed on Mac OS

  • With VPN: 64 ms
  • Without VPN: 10 ms

Data logging-What does Hotspot shield VPN log?

In general, numerous VPN services don’t keep logs of their users’ online activities because logs often prove to be a riskier aspect in the long run. In a similar context, Hotspot Shield VPN claims that it doesn’t keep records of users’ online activities while using the VPN that sounds a pretty good measure.

On the other hand, it records a broad range of additional information; the privacy policy of hotspot shield states that it generally collects:

  • Username
  • IP address
  • User’s email address  
  • Operating system version
  • Hardware model
  • Unique Mobile ID
  • Language
  • Network information
  • Utilized bandwidth
  • Sessions durations  
  • Domain information

Though it keeps all this information confidential still might seem alarming to many users, all this information is stored by the VPN company, and we never know how they may use it later on. 

Moreover, the scenario even gets worse in its free version because the Hotspot Shield free VPN version shares a few of the collected user information to the third-party advertisers. Such as:

  • Wireless data carrier
  • IMEI (Unique Mobile ID)
  • Mac address
  • Unique advertising ID
  • City-based location information

All the above-stated information shared with the third-party advertisers is enough to shatter the anonymity strategy that might be the primary objective of using a VPN service.

Cost-Is Hotspot Shield VPN is free to use?

Cost

Indeed, paying for certain software or programs won’t be heavy on individuals with deep pockets, but many of the users being financially down can’t afford to pay for the software. So, this kind of worry can go off with Hotspot Shield free VPN version, which costs nothing, and the users can use it without paying anything.

However, the free version imposes few limitations on its usage. Such as:

Limited Bandwidth: 500 MB (The users are allowed to use the data up to 500Mb only in a single day.)

Fixed speed limit: 2Mbps

Server location: US

Simultaneous connection:  1

With a free subscription plan, you can access the Hotspot Shield VPN service only on one device; moreover, the connection will get dropped automatically when the data limit reaches 500 Mb. Contrarily, if you look over its competitors’ free subscription plan, you will find that the imposed limitations are relatively lower. Such as the ProtonVPN service has no data limit in the free version, too, and the users are allowed to use unlimited data. Furthermore, the speed limit the Hotspot Shield free VPN offers is critically low even on mobile versions too.

If you don’t feel it is sufficient to meet your requirements, you can upgrade it to its elite version; you can opt for a paid plan that best fits your needs. It costs approximately €12.99- subscription fee per month, but if you go for the yearly subscription plan, you would have to pay € 95.88 once a year that costs around 7.99 per month, and you can save up to 38% this way.

Monthly: 12.99 

Yearly: 95.88 

Consequently, you won’t have to encounter any sort of restriction or limitation on paid subscriptions and can avail of the following features.

  • High definition streaming
  • Unlimited data
  • Military-grade encryption
  • Optimization for streaming platforms
  • 115+ virtual servers
  • Access on 5 devices

By subscribing to the Hotspot Shield VPN three-years paid plan, you can save up to 77%. Nevertheless, the paid subscription plans of other competitive VPNs available in the market are relatively lower as NordVPN costs only $3.30 per month.

The good thing is that you will have the choice to take a U-turn; in case if you are not satisfied with the Hotspot Shield VPN services, you can take your money back by ending the subscription anytime within the preliminary 45 days. However, it offers the most prolonged money-back guarantee period in the market.

Third-party ads: Does Hotspot Shield VPN has any Ad-blocker?

Third-party ads

Everyone knows that Hotspot Shield VPN is an Ad-supported service in its free version, and it doesn’t include any Ad-blocker within its VPN service.

Obviously, none of us like to watch unwanted advertisements; if you can’t compromise over the third-party ads, then you can opt for the paid version of Hotspot Shield VPN as Hotspot Shield Elite, or paid version offers an ad-free experience totally.

If you don’t want to go for the paid version of the VPN service, given its cost aspect, then still you have a choice to install an Ad-blocker extension on your browser to avoid annoying ads even in Hotspot Shield free VPN version. Still, it’s not sure that this strategy will work in your case or not, as not all browsers support this addon while using a VPN.

Streaming-How good is Hotspot Shield VPN for streaming?

Streaming-How good is Hotspot Shield VPN for streaming?

Streaming might encounter inconsistencies without a virtual private network; in fact, many VPN services come up with streaming latencies, especially the one that works on the mechanism of OpenVPN & IPsec protocols.

The struggle of exploring the best VPN for streaming ends up with the Hotspot Shield VPN. Because when it comes to the streaming competencies, Hotspot Shield VPN is so far an ideal choice. A few websites have taken anti-VPN measures so that the users from specific regions can’t access their websites even using a VPN, but Hotspot Shield VPN can overtake such measures quickly.

It not only unblocks top streaming websites but also offers optimization for YouTube, Hulu, Netflix, BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, Amazon prime video, and many more. Given the high-definition and ideal streaming, Hotspot Shield VPN stands among the few top leading VPN services.

Torrenting: Are torrenting sites accessible via Hotspot Shield VPN?

Torrenting

Access to torrenting websites can often be denied as torrenting is an illegal measure, even if it can put the user in riskier situations in terms of legal action.

In this regard, Hotspot Shield VPN allows the users to access the torrenting websites and have a safe torrenting experience due to the utmost anonymity; your identity to torrenting websites would remain anonymous. You Can access and download the torrents at a fast downloading speed with the hotspot Shield VPN because its servers support P2P connections & file sharing.

In addition to this, the Hotspot Shield VPN provides a comprehensive knowledge-based guide to give primary insights with torrenting and certain strategies that can ensure users’ safety while accessing torrents.

Compatibility

Compatibility

The Hotspot Shield VPN is compatible with Windows, Mac, IOS, Android & fire Tv; you can connect up to 5 different devices simultaneously as long as you have its paid subscription. It also offers router & Linux compatibility, but you would need to install Hotspot Shield VPN setup manually on these two.

If you don’t know the manual installation procedure, you can go through the installation manual or guide provided by the Hotspot Shield VPN service. Generally, it runs on specific OS versions of compatible devices.

Supported devices

Supported devices

Android compatibility

 Any android device, including tablets, phones & smart Tv running an Android 5.0 Operating system or later, is compatible with Hotspot Shield VPN.

Windows compatibility

All windows devices (desktops & laptops) running Windows 7 or later OS support this VPN service.

Mac compatibility

Certain Apple devices such as Mac, Mac Pro, Mac Mini, MacBook, MacBook Air, and MacBook Pro running Mac X 10.12 or later operating system supports Hotspot Shield VPN.

Linux compatibility

All sorts of Linux devices.

Unsupported devices

Unsupported devices

There are few devices that are not compatible with the Hotspot Shield VPN service, such as follow:

  • Smart Tv (other than Android Tv)
  • Windows phone
  • Gaming consoles
  • Kindle tablets
  • Kodi

If you still want to use Hotspot Shield VPN on these unsupported devices, you might need to install it manually on these devices. Still, the manual installation procedure for unsupported devices isn’t defined by the Hotspot Shield VPN itself.

Customer support: How efficient is the Support service of Hotspot Shield VPN?

Customer support

Usually, users expect to get a response within few minutes; the 24/7 support team is supposed to get back to customers instantly whenever a user submits a query, but this doesn’t happen in Hotspot Shield VPN as it does not offer any direct channel of communication. In general, VPN services often don’t provide direct chat channels.

Though the Hotspot Shield VPN claims to offer 24/7 support services to its users it actually doesn’t, as it has an embedded ticket submission system. In such a system, 24/7 support is of no use because submitted tickets can take even days to resolve the queries.

Is Hotspot Shield VPN better than NordVPN?

Customer support
No! underlined by pencil

Though the Hotspot Shield VPN review is the core of this comprehensive discussion, till now, you would have got enough insights into Hotspot Shield VPN specifications, and you might have reached the grounds to decide on selecting the VPN service.

However, if we move on to the comparison perspective, NordVPN being a leading competitor in the market, offers similar VPN services with few variations. As you have noticed, the logging concerns in Hotspot Shield VPN, but there are no logs in the NordVPN. It sounds pretty fantastic, isn’t it?

Though the money-back guarantee period is relatively shorter in NordVPN, it might seem splendid to most of the users because it costs quite low on its paid subscriptions, given the users’ affordability.

In its extras, the NordVPN also offers malware scanning & auto ad-blocking browser extensions that you won’t find in Hotspot Shield VPN. So, in short, all these factors prioritize the NordVPN on Hotspot Shield VPN doubtlessly.

Conclusion

What can be the potential drawbacks of Hotspot Shield VPN?

The factors that can likely oppose the usage of Hotspot Shield VPN vary in free & paid versions. At first, if we look over the Hotspot Shield free VPN version, that is totally useless considering its data limit, low connection speed, and logging. On the other hand, though its paid version has hashed out the limitations of the free version, it is relatively cost-driven.

Why does Knowtechmag recommend Hotspot Shield VPN?

Irrespective of the stated opposing aspects, Hotspot Shield VPN owns few attributes that are pretty inclined towards users’ privacy. Apart from the fact that it has Kill switch in its application that serves as a key factor in security, the Hotspot Shield VPN provides its users dynamic IPs at the beginning of each session that improves the anonymity features and eliminates the chances of being tracked or hacked. Based on the given solid grounds, Knowtechmag recommends Hotspot Shield VPN usage.

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