Hotspot Shield is one of the world's leading VPN providers. The company provides a virtual private network plan for all budgets. There is even a free plan to choose from. Using a VPN from this company can help users increase their Internet security, and a VPN can also be useful for travelers who need to circumvent geographical restrictions.
- Secure Internet browsing
- Hides true IP address
- Free VPN with many server options
- Extensions for popular browsers
- Free to use
- Many server locations around the world
- Uses latest methods of encryption
- Has suffered data breaches in the past
- May sell user data to third parties
- Paid plan is expensive
VPN technology has become increasingly popular over the years as individuals become more conscious of their online privacy. Hotspot Shield was one of the first providers to offer a free VPN for web browsing, and the company has grown into one of the world's most popular VPN services. Hotspot Shield was developed by Anchor Free and launched in 2008. The initial version of the VPN was free. A free option is still available, but the company now also offers a paid premium service that includes more server locations and other additional benefits. A vast majority of individuals still prefer the free version of the software. The company offers a 7-day free trial that allows individuals to test drive the VPN service before they commit to a purchase. There are extensions for Firefox and Chrome which make using the VPN quick and easy. Most users report that they do not see a significant reduction in connection speed when using Hotspot Shield. What the VPN from this company does is create an encrypted tunnel between a user's device and an ISP. As data passes through this tunnel it is encrypted and becomes very difficult to decipher. As a result, it is hard for hackers and data thieves to steal a user's private information. A VPN can also obscure a user's true IP address. The address displayed will instead be that of the VPN provider. There have been some issues reported with the service. One security analyst exposed a bug which revealed a user's true IP address. The company was quick to fix the issue, however. More concerning is the fact that Hotspot Shield has been accused in the past of providing user browsing data to third-party advertising companies. This could be how the company supports offering its VPN for free. There are some 500 million individuals around the world who use Hotspot Shield for Internet privacy. The general feedback for the company is positive. Most of those who choose to use the service use the free version. Hotspot Shield Elite can be somewhat pricey but includes more features. Some of these features may be necessary for expats and those who need to access restricted websites in certain areas. Using this VPN is easy. All that is required is entering the credentials provided by the company into the VPN client that is found on all modern computing devices. There is no additional software for users to download.
This should not be labeled freemium. It's a paid service with a limited free trial. If you need to enter your credit card details to use it, it's not really freemium. There is no ongoing free option. And the need to enter credit card details is a major discouragement to free users even for trying an app out.
(correction to my previous review) App starts with a confusing and buggy splash screen. This is for hotspot shield PREMIUM trial (which still requires a credit card). If you click on the back arrow you can use the free version. The x button at top-right doesn't work. So, confusing and buggy. Even still, I couldn't get it to work here in Japan. Endlessly connecting...