Hotspot Shield is a popular VPN service bristling with top-tier features and blazing-fast speeds. Based out of California, the provider boasts hundreds of servers, streaming compatibility and convenient free service.

You may have heard about Hotspot Shield’s proprietary technologies and extensive device support. The following review will explore the VPN’s pros, cons, and features to evaluate whether it fits your needs.

Let’s find out.

Is Hotspot Shield Worth The Price?

Hotspot Shield offers free and paid plans. The free VPN supports one server location without monthly bandwidth limits. The one drawback is the app is packed with spammy ads, with no additional features or customer support.

The good news is if you have a flexible VPN budget, Hotspot Shield offers various high-end paid plans. Your options include:

  1. Hotspot Shield’s free plan includes only 1 device connection. You can add usage time by watching ads through its app.
  2. The Premium Plan costs €7.99/ month, billed annually or €10.99 monthly for a single user account and 5 device connections.
  3. The Premium Family plan costs €10.49/ month, billed annually or €16.99 monthly. This plan includes 5 user accounts and a total of 25 device connections.

All premium plans have a 45-day money-back guarantee, so if anything goes wrong, you’re generously protected. Before deciding, you can test all the VPN features through its free plan. Hotspot Shield accepts various payment methods, including credit & debit cards and Paypal.

*All prices were checked in August 2023. Actual prices may differ.

Summary Sheet

FEATURE AVAILABILITY
Does it offer a no-logs policy? Yes
Bandwidth? Unlimited
Number of servers? Over 3200
Server locations? 80+ countries
Does it have a kill switch? Yes
Compatible devices? Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux, Smart TV
Any refund policy? Yes, a 45-day refund policy
VPN encryption? AES 256 Bits
Is it suitable for streaming? Yes
Is it suitable for torrenting? Yes
Simultaneous connections 1, 5 or 25, depending on the plan. Premium plans support 5 devices per user account.
Free trial? No. Hotspot Shield offers a free VPN version to test out its essential features.

Using Hotspot Shield

Hotspot Shield has a range of apps designed specifically for different operating systems. Compatible devices include Windows, Mac, Android and iOS.  The app has a simple, easy-to-use interface with a blue connect button in the middle of its Home menu. 

Using the VPN is pretty straightforward. Download the app from the App Store, launch Hotspot Shield, and enter the login credentials. Then, follow the on-screen instructions to configure your device for VPN integration. Finally, press hit Hotspot Shield’s power button and begin surfing!

Streaming

Every robust VPN includes streaming-optimized servers. Hotspot Shield will help you effectively unblock Netflix US and other popular streaming sites. You can enjoy your binge-watching sessions without connectivity or buffering issues.

Torrenting

Hotspot Shield’s paid subscription supports P2P file sharing through in-demand apps like BitTorrent and uTorrent, similar to purevpn, which also offers robust torrenting capabilities. It allows fast and reliable torrenting on all its unlimited bandwidth servers. However, its basic free version doesn’t support peer-to-peer transfers.

Hotspot Shield Distinguishing Features

Hotspot Shield has many unique features. It’s infamous for its high-grade encryption, reliability, and fast speed. Here are a few notable Hotspot Shield features that place it above competing VPNs:

VPN Protocol and Encryption

VPN security always starts with encryption, authentication and protocol support.

Hotspot Shield primarily uses the proprietary Hydra VPN protocol. Hydra protocol claims to connect 2.4 times faster than other popular VPNs. It is used by major cybersecurity companies that integrate VPN services like McAfee and Cheetah Mobile.

Based on TLS 1.2 and OpenSSL with military-grade AES-128 and 256 encryption, Hydra translates into optimum security. But Hotspot Shield also offers IPSec’s IKEve protocol. This protocol is a suitable option for people looking for lightning-fast speed, no latency issues and instant reconnection.

SmartVPN

Split-tunnelling allows you to select which apps or websites you want to route via the VPN. SmartVPN is Hotspot Shield’s take on this technology. It allows you to unblock content while preventing location triggers on certain apps like online banking. Secondly, it also helps the VPN transfer data quickly and incurs minimal performance lags

Protection Against Malware

Hotspot Shield offers virus and malware detection for any Android, iOS, or Windows device.  The smart VPN scans all websites you want to visit. Thus, if you try to access a phishing or malware-infected site, it automatically alerts you of the dangers ahead.

No Bandwidth Limit

Not many VPNs implement unlimited bandwidth. But this is where Hotspot Shield outshines other options. This unlimited bandwidth has many benefits, including seamless streaming, downloading large files and unlimited server switching.

Hotspot Shield also has over 3,200 servers placed in 84 different countries, including China! This makes it a flexible VPN for boundless surfing.

Data Protection

Hotspot Shield has a zero-log policy to protect sensitive information like passwords, banking details, login credentials, emails, etc. It also prevents DNS, IP and WebRTC leaks by thoroughly encrypting all data.

Kill Switch

No VPN is truly reliable without a kill switch. This feature automatically turns off VPNs when the connection drops to prevent information leaks.

Hotspot Shield offers a Kill Switch for Windows, Mac and Android Devices. However, Apple devices that rely on iOS aren’t secure from data or password leaks. 

Hotspot Shield Decent Customer Support

Hotspot Shield has a dedicated Support knowledge base filled with articles. FAQs and solutions to common problems.  If you are a premium user, you can access 24/7 live assistance through the chat button at the bottom right corner of the screen.

+ PROS

  • Massive server network across 80+ countries, including China
  • Allows 5 simultaneous device connections for each user account
  • Torrent-download and streaming optimised.
  • Solid speeds with a 45-day money-back guarantee
  • User-friendly app and installation

- CONS

  • No Kill Switch on iOS devices
  • Previously accused of privacy-related issues
  • Free version includes ads and data-sharing

Hotspot Shield Rating

Features 8
Privacy & Security 9
Encryption Level 9
Media Streaming 8
Chat & Support 7
Torrenting 8
Average Rating 8.2

Hotspot Shield Review: Bottom Line

Hotspot Shield has a reputation for its speeds, torrenting ability, and clean UX design. It’s currently hailed as one of the fastest and most reliable VPNs in the world. If your priority is security and robust encryption, Hotspot Shield is a great network for you. However, it has its limitations, like all other platforms.