HotSpot Shield is a VPN service that offers ultimate security to maintain privacy on the internet and access location-restricted content. It has 3,200+ servers in more than 80 countries, so you can easily switch servers. User identity protection is the top priority for the service, so all your data is protected from attackers. The tool also provides malware protection to keep your devices from being infected. Its proprietary Hydra protocol ensures you can smoothly browse the internet while being completely anonymous. But HotSpot Shield has some drawbacks too. In this review, we will tear the tool apart to show you the features, pros, cons, and pricing plans of HotSpot Shield. Let’s get started!
Top Features of HotSpot Shield
Let’s take a closer look at the top features of HotSpot Shield VPN, and see how they compare.
Premium VPN Servers
As we have already mentioned, HotSpot Shield has over 3200 premium VPN servers worldwide. These servers are scattered around more than 80 countries. So, switching to a different server according to your needs is very easy. And when you want to access location-restricted content, it becomes much easier due to so many servers in different locations. You can even access virtual servers here.
The main reason people use VPNs is to maintain privacy while browsing the internet. When your device sends a connection request using a VPN, the request is routed via the intermediary server after your IP address is masked. As a result, web servers can’t figure out the actual IP address of your device.
HotSpot Shield lets you hide your identity on the internet so that third parties can’t track your browsing behavior and preferences to create ad profiles for you. Plus, you remain safe from people with evil intentions of stealing your data midway. With the ultimate security of HotSpot Shield, no one can intercept the data you send or receive. This is one of the best features to have when it comes to using VPNs.
Many VPN service providers tend to collect user data and keep records of them for further use. But that is against the core idea of VPNs. Among the data, they can collect IP or activity-specific information that may threaten your security online. Your physical location can be traced using this data, so you might want to remain completely anonymous when using VPNs.
HotSpot Shield has a zero-log policy, which states that no user data is collected. Even the officials can’t see what you are browsing. To be more aware of their logging policy, we read the whole policy. It says the tool might record the domains you visit, but it doesn’t record any of the URLs or browsing history.
Even though your IP address is recorded when you use the VPN connection, this data is removed as soon as you disconnect the network. So, it should give you peace of mind that HotSpot Shield VPN doesn’t collect any user data to manipulate users.
Protocol refers to the method of sending and receiving data through the VPN. HotSpot Shield supports multiple protocols so that you can use the desired protocol. The automatic protocol is chosen to deliver maximum speed and security if you select a virtual location.
HotSpot Shield also uses the standard IKEv2 protocol, which is quite fast. But the security of this protocol may not be as high as the proprietary protocol of HotSpot Shield, called Hydra Catapult.
This unique protocol was developed in-house. It is by far the safest and fastest protocol in the industry. So, you can benefit from this VPN provider in terms of secure and fast browsing.
Encryption is used to boost the security of your data while it travels through the networks. An encryption key is used to turn your data into scrambled characters so that no one can intercept the information midway. When the data reaches the target, it is decrypted using the key.
Among many methods of encryption, HotSpot Shield uses Advanced Encryption Standard or AES for the safety of your data. To be more specific, it offers AES-256 encryption, where the encryption key is 256 characters long. This format of encryption is far more secure than the AES-128 standard.
As a result, you can be relaxed while using HotSpot Shield VPN.
In many cases, the VPN connection can be terminated for some reason. It runs the risk of data flow in the background, and you can lose important data if there is no protective measure. Luckily, HotSpot Shield has a kill switch to block internet traffic when the VPN stops working unwantedly.
You can turn it on from the Advanced tab in the Settings menu.
The auto-protect feature of HotSpot Shield VPN is extremely helpful when you connect to public Wi-Fi. For example, if you go to a restaurant and connect to its Wi-Fi network, HotSpot Shield VPN will be automatically connected to protect you from malicious threats. To use this feature, you must turn it on from the Settings menu. And then, it connects automatically after sensing a public network. So, the chance of losing critical data over such networks is almost zero when you use HotSpot Shield VPN.
Unlimited Content Access
A big reason behind using VPNs is accessing restricted content in various locations. As you get a lot of servers to choose from, accessing any content is super easy. But unfortunately, this feature is limited on low-tier plans. You have a data cap on the lower plans. So, you will only benefit from this feature if you avail of high-tier plans.
Though the data cap is limited on low-tier plans, you can increase that by watching ads. But if ads are irritating for you, switch to high-tier plans to enjoy an ad-free browsing experience. On these plans, you can use the VPN without getting obstructed by ads.
Most users find this feature highly beneficial. HotSpot Shield offers unlimited bandwidth so that you can perform operations like live streaming without worrying about bandwidth. So, even if you use VPN, the data transmission speed will be super fast. In fact, HotSpot Shield was delivering the highest speed among the VPN service providers we tested.
When you choose high-tier plans, you can connect to multiple VPNs at the same time. Also, you can use the VPN service on multiple devices. On higher plans, one account can be used on a maximum of ten devices. And it is great for family use.
This advanced feature of HotSpot Shield lets the selected apps or web pages bypass the VPN when necessary. For example, you might need to use a VPN in one tab and the other doesn’t require a VPN. You can use different tunnels to transmit and receive data in such cases.
Pros and Cons of HotSpot Shield
HotSpot Shield has some impressive features, but there are some drawbacks of the platform.
- Massive collection of servers across the globe
- Unlimited bandwidth for data-hungry tasks
- AES-256 encryption for better data safety
- Auto protect kicks in when connected to a public network
- Compatible with almost all operating systems out there
- Multiple devices and concurrent connections
- Zero-log policy for better privacy
- Supports multiple protocols, including Hydra
- Free plan and 45-day money-back guarantee
- Kill switch for enhanced data protection
- 24/7 customer support
- No dedicated IP, so it’s not the best for business use
- Quite expensive compared to other VPN service providers
- Some servers are extremely slow
HotSpot Shield Plans & Pricing
HotSpot Shield offers three pricing plans, and one of them is free. Let’s check what these plans have to offer and how much they cost.
- Basic – free
- 1 member account
- 1 device connection
- 1 virtual location
- 800+ fast VPN servers
- Premium – starting at $12.99/mo
- 1 member account
- 10 device connections
- 125+ locations
- Optimized for Netflix, YouTube, Disney+ & more
- Premium Family – starting at $19.99/mo
- 5 member accounts
- 25 device connections (5 per member)
- Up to 1 Gbps connection
- Optimized for Fortnite, Roblox & more
Our Take on HotSpot Shield
The free version of HotSpot Shield is commonly used for smaller tasks. But if you need to have the best features in your arsenal, premium plans offer everything you can demand from a VPN service provider. Privacy is of the utmost priority here. So, get to choose the right protocol depending on how much speed and security you want. Its proprietary Hydra protocol ensures maximum speed and data safety. HotSpot Shield has a vast number of servers in various locations. With AES-256 encryption, all your data and anonymity are protected while browsing the internet. The tool also has a kill switch to take protection to the next level. As there is no dedicated IP, HotSpot Shield might not be the best choice for business use. But it offers multiple connections, and the tool is compatible with various operating systems. The Basic plan is free, but the Premium plan starts from $12.99 per month.