Since its inception, AnchorFree’s service has been divided into two offerings: a completely free VPN service, and a premium version known as Hotspot Shield Premium. With over 600 million installations worldwide, it’s clear that this product is widely popular on the global stage.
The majority of these installations are of the free version, and it’s undeniable that Hotspot Shield has been a valuable resource for individuals living in regions with website blackouts. For example, during the Arab Spring protests, it was the primary VPN used.
Hotspot Shield Elite is a speedy VPN that excels at unblocking content but falls short on privacy since it doesn’t support OpenVPN. Despite this drawback, we found its performance to be very impressive in our tests, achieving speeds that were around 75% of our baseline rates. Hotspot Shield Premium is particularly suited for streaming, with a focus on buffering and fast speeds. This makes it an excellent choice for users who want to access streaming services like US Netflix without any hassle.
Hotspot Shield pricing
Hotspot Shield’s subscription construction has changed; think about switching to Pango. It now covers the following four services in a package:
- A password manager is 1Password.
- The spam call blocker Robo Shield (this is replaced by Hiya for users outside the US and Canada)
- Identity Guard: defense against identity theft
The package costs $7.99 per month if you pay annually or $12.99 per month if you subscribe to the Foundation plan. When you consider the additional three services, the monthly fee is a bargain and comparable to many top-rated VPN providers for the same period.
However, compared to other suppliers who give steeper reductions for longer contracts, the annual pricing is a little on the high side. If you’re only looking for a VPN, this may be a little out of your price range, but if you’re interested in the additional services, it’s still a great offer.
Pango exclusively accepts credit cards for payment. Some customers who care about their privacy won’t be satisfied by the lack of a cryptocurrency alternative.
Privacy, anonymity, and trust
David Gorodyanksy, the company’s CEO, and Eugene Malobrodsky, its CTO, are also co-founders.
a password, which is typically required for popular VPN services. Payments made using Bitcoin or other semi-anonymous methods are not possible at all.
It does, however, “collect anonymized aggregate data about the websites and apps you visit.” This information is never linked to any of your personally identifying information, such as an email address, home IP address, username, or password, according to AnchorFree, who claims to conduct this for analytics and troubleshooting. However, that doesn’t change the fact that AnchorFree continues to gather your browsing information. Some customers might not care, but those that value their privacy highly should shop around.
Accordingly, the business published its initial transparency report in November 2017. According to the study, AnchorFree “does not and is unable to provide information to authorities regarding what websites our users view when using our solutions. As of now, AnchorFree hasn’t given the authorities access to its users’ identities or other personal information.
Additionally, the corporation collects information about your hardware, operating system, browser type, language, wireless network, and mobile network. Once more, this data is anonymous and can be used for analytics and troubleshooting.
You can even give HotSpot Shield marketers personally identifying information if you use the free, advertisement-supported edition. Although this has nothing to do with HotSpot Shield Premium, it serves as a great reminder of why using an ad-supported service will make it more difficult for you to browse the internet anonymously.
According to HotSpot Shield’s privacy statement, it is safe to assume that it does not support complete online anonymity. HotSpot Shield, however, does that if your main aim is to encrypt your online browsing so you may browse safely from any location.
Hotspot Shield pros and cons
Here are some of the key advantages and pitfalls of using this service. You will find more detail about each below.
- Outstanding speeds
- Expansive server system
- Unblocks Netflix and other websites
- Connect 5 devices simultaneously
- 45-day money-back guarantee
- Works in China
- A kill switch is Windows-only
- No IPv6 or WebRTC escape protection
- Just accepts charge cards
- High-cost tag
Hotspot Shield Performance
In our testing, which was conducted in a suburban New York house utilizing standard cable company internet service, Hotspot Shield performed reasonably well.
Using Ookla’s Speedtest.net service, broadband speeds, connection times, and network delay (latency) were analyzed. Before each individual support was evaluated, a baseline without a VPN connection was established.
Avira Phantom VPN, Hide.me, Hotspot Shield, the Opera browser VPN, ProtonVPN, Speedify, SurfEasy, TunnelBear, and Windscribe were the nine services whose free offers were examined.
We averaged 3.2 seconds to connect to Hotspot Shield’s server, which isn’t too bad and was just behind Windscribe and Speedify. Network latency increased by 58 percent to 29.5 milliseconds after the VPN was activated and only supported Avira Phantom VPN among other VPN providers.
Since it employs software to combine two independent net connections, such as cable internet and mobile data, Speedify was the fastest of all. If there is only one connection accessible, it will not be able to do its magic. It is so unique compared to other VPN services that we are evaluating it separately.)