Hotspot Shield Review

3.3
Rated 3.3 out of 5
3.3 out of 5 stars (based on 132 reviews)

While we have mixed feelings about Hotspot Shield, we lean towards a positive review, and for good reasons. Its features are outstanding, as well as its VPN connection speed, thanks to the tech they’ve developed. It offers fairly affordable packages, with the three-year deal particularly standing out.

Hotspot Shield Review Summary

Hotspot Shield VPN has been in the business since 2005. They claim to have over 650 million users in more than 200 countries, but we believe they mean total downloads. Over a 12 month period in 2018, Hotspot Shield’s user base grew by a dazzling 100 million downloads, which sounds right when you consider how popular they are online.

Other than the fact that Hotspot Shield offers some of the most comprehensive set of features, it also has a broad server network of over 2,500 servers spanning across 25 countries. Its customer support includes a sizable knowledge base, a blog, a responsive live chat, and email support. Its VPN services are compatible with most devices, including routers, mobile, Mac, Windows, iPhone/iPad, and Android devices. On top of it all, the packages are available at considerably affordable prices. We recommend them, read this Hotspot Shield review to learn more!

Hotspot Shield VPN Features

Hotspot Shield VPN vows to add several layers of security to keep hackers, data thieves, and digital criminals at bay. The company promises to keep your online privacy and anonymity intact by offering the following features:

  • Military-grade 256-AES encryption
  • Anonymous and unlimited browsing
  • No log policy
  • Up to five devices under one VPN account
  • Claim to have the fastest VPN connection in the industry
  • Geo-unblocking, particularly of streaming sites like Netflix and YouTube
  • Integrated kill switch
  • Torrenting-friendly

If you know your way around VPNs, you’ll definitely appreciate some of these features. Strong encryption, no-logging policy, geo-unblocking, decent speeds, unlimited bandwidth, and a kill switch feature are some of the most important features to look for in a VPN provider.

Hotspot Shield SERVERS & COUNTRIES

Hotspot Shield VPN may not have the most expansive network that we’ve seen, but it has servers in some of the most popular countries, including:

  • The USA
  • Canada
  • The UK
  • France
  • Denmark
  • China
  • Australia

Hotspot Shield also offers its services in some censorship-oriented countries like Russia and Turkey. Overall, the provider has over 2,500 servers in 25 countries.

While we’ve certainly seen bigger networks than this one in terms of countries with a server in them, but it is fair to point out that the provider has covered some of the most popular countries. This fact makes Hotspot Shield VPN ideal for geo-unblocking.

Reliability & Speed Tests

Hotspot Shield explicitly states that its VPN is the fastest. Not one of the fastest, not lighting-fast, but the fastest of all VPNs. We will be testing these claims out extensively. On its website, Hotspot Shield explains that they are the fastest due to:

  • Hotspot Shield VPN has invested heavily into developing its own protocol named Catapult Hydra. The company has spent many years perfecting this technology which they say delivers “ultimate performance and next-level security.”
  • This protocol supposedly optimizes a wide range of server connections that are significantly stronger and faster over long distances.

These are very ambitious claims, and we love to see VPNs developing new tech, but a blazing-fast VPN connection is no good if your personal data is being sold to third parties. Let’s see how its logging policies bode below.

Pricing and Payments

Hotspot Shield VPN offers both cheap and expensive packages. The monthly package comes at a high price, taking into consideration the industry average. However, long-term plans are quite affordable:

  • One-month plan: $12.99/month
  • Six-month plan: $8.99/month
  • One-year plan: $5.99/month
  • Three-year plan: $3.49/month

The three-year plan offers the biggest savings, as it is almost four times cheaper than the one-month plan. The features and privileges remain the same for each plan; the only difference among these packages is the time you’re ready to commit. If you’re budget-friendly-oriented, subscribing to the three-year plan is a great choice.

Payments can be installed via PayPal, credit cards, Alipay, Yandex, GiroPay, UnionPay, and others. They actually claim to work with “hundreds” of payment systems!

Support

This is another area where Hotspot Shield reviews well. When we looked at their customer support we found an extensive and rich support section:

  • Blog: Their blog addresses the main VPN issues of the day. You can find articles concerning new updates, latest news, VPN tips, and other content relevant to VPNs.
  • FAQ: Answers some of the most commonly asked questions from customers.
  • Payments and subscriptions: This section is filled with content which clarifies different payment issues.
  • Common issues: This section focuses on some of the most common problems that might arise while using Hotspot Shield VPN.
  • Live chat: They have a highly-responsive live chat feature which is recommended for simple questions.
  • Email support: The email support can be reached by submitting a request via a ticketing system. This type of customer support is recommended for those who seek in-depth insights on some technical issues.

We tested Hotspot Shield’s live chat support; the responsiveness passed with flying colors. The customer support employee was more than happy to assist us after a few minutes of sending our initial message. The interaction was friendly, immediate, and informative.

Hotspot Shield Live Chat

On top of it all, Hotspot Shield offers a dedicated customer support section called “Hotspot Shield Help” for your particular platform. The covered platforms include Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, and Chrome browser.

POLICIES & LOGGING

Hotspot Shield VPN may offer a fast VPN connection, but how well does it protect your connection? Hotspot Shield offers the following customer protection policies:

  • No logging: According to its website, Hotspot Shield VPN does not log your browsing activity. While you’re using Hotspot Shield, there won’t be any record of visited websites and used apps, preventing hackers from exploiting any vulnerabilities to access your data.
  • Refund policy: Hotspot Shield claims that it may terminate your paid subscription at any given time with or without notice. If such termination occurs while you’re a paid subscriber, you may be entitled to a pro-rated refund of your current subscription payment. If your account is terminated due to your breach of their agreement, you will not be entitled to a refund. Hotspot Shield offers a 45-day money back guarantee.
  • Privacy policy: Hotspot Shield collects two types of personal information—the personal information you choose to share with the provider, and the personal information which is automatically collected when you use the VPN services. Hotspot Shield claims that its premium version is ad-free, while its free version is supported by ads. It will also serve you cookies to enhance the functionality of its website. Keep in mind that the policy also states that Hotspot Shield or its third-party providers may collect information from your device through cookies, beacons, and similar technologies.

All in all, this is where Hotspot Shield comes a little short. Its privacy policy is a little loose, as well as its refund policy. We’ve certainly seen more flexible customer protection policies than the ones offered by Hotspot Shield VPN.

Expert Recommendation

While we have mixed feelings about Hotspot Shield, we lean towards a positive review, and for good reasons. Its features are outstanding, as well as its VPN connection speed, thanks to the tech they’ve developed. It offers fairly affordable packages, with the three-year deal particularly standing out. It supports geo-unblocking and torrenting. It has rock-solid AES-256 encryption. The customer support is also top-notch, with a lot of useful content and a responsive live chat team.

The only thing that could be a potential deal-breaker for some is Hotspot Shield’s customer protection policies. While it has a no-logging policy, the privacy policy is not so clear, and the refund policy could be improved. All in all, we recommend Hotspot Shield VPN for anyone who likes to experience blazing fast VPN connections while enjoying all the perks that come with a cutting-edge VPN provider.

Hotspot Shield User Reviews

3.3
Rated 3.3 out of 5
3.3 out of 5 stars (based on 132 reviews)
Excellent47%
Very good11%
Average5%
Poor4%
Terrible33%

Good Very Good!!!

Rated 5 out of 5
June 24, 2021

Good Very Good!!!! Best Of Best!!!!

Seven

Great but Need Improvement

Rated 4 out of 5
June 16, 2021

Been using the Paid Version since 2016 when i moved to Dubai to bypass the VoIP blockade. It works fine most of the time but the annoying part is when it automatically logout my premium account on Firefox after maybe 16-18 hours and my downloads are usually disconnected.For use in China, it’s marginal. It works sometimes and sometimes it does not especially while using Chinese Telco mobile data.

Ralph

i love hotspot shield but there is one problem...

Rated 5 out of 5
June 5, 2021

i love hotspot shield! its the safest and most presentable looking VPN i have ever encountered. ik that sounds weird but i am a neat person who likes my things to look a certain way and if it does not meet my expectations… delete. it also used to give me unlimited amount of time to use it but now it make me pay 🙁 i don’t have money since i am young and don’t have a bank account but i need VPN for certain things such as school projects or watching youtube and my dad does not want to pay for things such as VPN becuase it is expensive where we are and i live in a place where i can not use google apps without VPN… please lift the ban i beg of you.

Temwani Joy Mabo

Not good

Rated 1 out of 5
May 29, 2021

Not good. Somehow it says I used 500MB in seconds when nothing was open or in use

MrBlackHalo1

Not good

Rated 1 out of 5
May 29, 2021

Not good. Somehow it says I used 500MB in seconds when nothing was open or in use

MrBlackHalo1

pretty good

Rated 5 out of 5
May 29, 2021

pretty good, free Completely

dc y

very good

Rated 5 out of 5
May 1, 2021

very good! I like it.

王平

good proxy,good server

Rated 5 out of 5
April 15, 2021

good proxy,good server。

succter

fast, reliable, and free!

Rated 5 out of 5
April 15, 2021

fast, reliable, and free! above allOne of the most struggling time is to fail to download a file or refresh a page. The hotspot Shield fix it in a few seconds. It’s wonderful!

hailey hu

I’m so pleasantly surprised

Rated 4 out of 5
April 12, 2021

I’m so pleasantly surprised Seems better than express vpn in terms of stability of my connections. The only drawback is that servers are sometimes little in non US locations like European ones . However, it seems to work anyway! I think I will stay beyond my 30 day to refund as I have 3 year subscription and it seems a reliable easy app. It just works Ad blocker could improve experience

Beata

Best by far

Rated 5 out of 5
March 22, 2021

I have been using HSS for more than 10 years now, I have tried others as well, and every once in a while I kinda try other softwares as well. the fastest, least issues is by far HSS. if youve got a problem with it its your hardware and not not the software.

Hussein El Refai

Best by far

Rated 5 out of 5
March 22, 2021

I have been using HSS for more than 10 years now, I have tried others as well, and every once in a while I kinda try other softwares as well. the fastest, least issues is by far HSS. if youve got a problem with it its your hardware and not not the software.

Hussein El Refai

Consistent connection with variable speed.

Rated 5 out of 5
March 10, 2021

The Chrome add-on of Hotspot Shield is the only consistently working VPN that I have used ever. Here in China, VPNs have a limited window for use, being constantly blocked by the powers that be. I have been using this VPN for well over a year now and it still works. Sometimes it is slow, sometimes it takes a while to connect properly, but I always have a connection. This is something that cannot be said about any other free VPN ever on any platform.

Simon Brennan

Consistent connection with variable speed.

Rated 5 out of 5
March 10, 2021

The Chrome add-on of Hotspot Shield is the only consistently working VPN that I have used ever. Here in China, VPNs have a limited window for use, being constantly blocked by the powers that be. I have been using this VPN for well over a year now and it still works. Sometimes it is slow, sometimes it takes a while to connect properly, but I always have a connection. This is something that cannot be said about any other free VPN ever on any platform.

Simon Brennan

Terribleprogram

Rated 1 out of 5
March 8, 2021

Hotspot shield is by far, BY FAR, the worst hotspot program out there. Every time my computer turns on this stupid little piece of software opens up and turns on. Want to play a game? Lag because of hotspotshield. Need to check the news? Can’t, you have to disable hotspot shield. I didnt even download it, and now i cant delete it either. There are so many better programs out there for you to use. This is one of the only reviews i have ever written, and probably will be the last for a while. Thats how much this program pisses me off.

Washing Lady

speed still slow but I think with a…

Rated 4 out of 5
March 5, 2021

speed still slow but I think with a free version this problem can ignore. thanks

Anh Nguyen Xuan

This App works all over the world and…

Rated 5 out of 5
February 23, 2021

This App works all over the world and saved me lots of times !! I love it!! Thank you guys!!

Mary Fuller

Do not sign up for this hotspot Vpn

Rated 1 out of 5
February 9, 2021

Do not sign up for this hotspot Vpn! There is no unsubscribe button or to remove your credit card payment. They saved in their system and there is no way you can unlink it! And they auto renew without u knowing and none email were received! Went to the live chat twice! To tell them I have unsubscribe. But they just keep charging u everytime on your renewal date! And give no solution on subscribing and unlink a payment method! Think twice before choosing this service! They do refund. But if u did not check your credit card. They will just charge it without u knowing! Beware!

Seany

a very delpful extension

Rated 4 out of 5
February 5, 2021

a very helpful extension

Roni Gunawan

Simply the best one you could have

Rated 5 out of 5
January 22, 2021

Simply the best one you could have! I use the extension and it is so amazing, just one click and quickly the VPN starts. The speed is great too

Yash Patil

Customer support of a paying customer

Rated 1 out of 5
January 18, 2021

My personal experience of this service has been poor. A new app or update seemed to make it unworkable in my region, an area where you need a VPN. Did use the customer support and to be honest support was terrible. The support seemed to follow a script so stiffly that it was clear my discretion of the issue where simple being ignored.

L W

Extension

Rated 5 out of 5
December 30, 2020

Good Work This Extension

Sxxx Khan

Very happy with the basic plan (free)

Rated 5 out of 5
December 17, 2020

Very happy with the basic plan (free). Am not looking for anything else 🙂 Highly recommended!

Jose Arechavala

the best VPN

Rated 5 out of 5
December 9, 2020

hotspot shield is very fast and effectivethis is the best VPN program that I’v been used sure.

Levent Tosyalı

It don't provide Japan and Korea servers

Rated 4 out of 5
December 3, 2020

It don’t provide Japan and Korea servers,please provide more servers to connect.

孙志行

nice

Rated 5 out of 5
October 26, 2020

best for microsoft edge

Eggie Herdjuno

It seems that this VPN SOMEHOW makes my…

Rated 2 out of 5
October 20, 2020

It seems that this VPN SOMEHOW makes my internet way slower. It doesn’t speed it up at all. Disappointed

Mikayia Monday

Very friendly...

Rated 4 out of 5
October 19, 2020

Very friendly….It should be completely free…..One of the best VPN provider…

AADITYA

Works pretty good

Rated 5 out of 5
September 30, 2020

Works pretty good. Sometimes take a bit longer time for first start but all good.

Sergei Pogrebniak

works so well

Rated 5 out of 5
September 26, 2020

works so well! Till now!!!

Played In Effort

The interface is amazing.

Rated 5 out of 5
September 23, 2020

What I liked about this VPN extension, the interface is kinda cool. I used Browsec for a along time and I like it’s performance too, but I never liked the UI and shifted here.

Kishor Pasha Imon

waste of time...cant choose contry of…

Rated 1 out of 5
September 20, 2020

waste of time…cant choose contry of vpn unless you pay….very NOT FREE

Will Tucker

Paid for premium cannot connect to most…

Rated 1 out of 5
August 12, 2020

Paid for premium cannot connect to most servers only some and keeps crashing with errors on windows pc Look elsewhere

Chris

I use it all the time

Rated 5 out of 5
August 10, 2020

I use it all the time. It’s very Nice.

banyan fire

and its nice

Rated 5 out of 5
August 8, 2020

it works fine on microsoft edge

William We

almost good

Rated 4 out of 5
July 23, 2020

Almost perfect so I give just 4 stars

Tadd

Stay away from the free trial

Rated 1 out of 5
July 22, 2020

Decided to give it a try since it was free… Big mistake. Once it’s on your PC, it ain’t leaving. Basically a virus that gives you a really weak VPN connection. Wasn’t impressed with it TBH and was really annoyed that I’m now stuck with this thing forever. Thanks.

RN82

it does it's job

Rated 4 out of 5
June 17, 2020

it does it’s job. i haven’t tested how well it does it but it looks like it’s working.

mipacem

Malicious Chrome extension

Rated 1 out of 5
June 7, 2020

After using the Chrome extension for a couple of weeks, I suddenly got a pop-up warning from Chrome, saying: “this extension has taken control of your proxy settings, which means it can change, break, or eavesdrop on anything you do online”. Uninstalled immediately.

Studerende

One of the fastest vpn services.

Rated 5 out of 5
June 6, 2020

I first heard this vpn service when Paksitani Govt blocked access to youtube and facebook few years ago. This is the vpn that everyone used for free to unblock these sites.Now i have premium subscription of this vpn.Hotspot Shield team is higly skilled and educated on both development end and on support. Its one of the fastest vpn using its hydra protocol. Hotspot shield premium provides user with the best privacy and unblocks streaming services.I recommend this vpn service to people reading this review. I wish to see more amazing feature like wireguard protocol. Keep up the great work hotspot shield.

Aziz Ur Rehman

GREAT

Rated 5 out of 5
June 5, 2020

GREAT GREAT GREAT GREAT!

YOUR C`0'R3

top one!

Rated 5 out of 5
May 26, 2020

top one! recomand every one!

Magirus933 Иван (БiБi)

Might damage hardware

Rated 1 out of 5
April 23, 2020

I got a message that i was running out of disk space, so i investigatedJust saw, that a log file in this app was over 170 GB.When i tried deleting it, it would just recreate itself constantly writing massive amounts of data to my SSD each second (possibly damaging it).I’m sure this is not intended, but never downloading again.

Danni Christensen

great speed

Rated 5 out of 5
April 18, 2020

great transfer speed when using vpn, where as other vpns I have used tends to slower the transfer rate/Internet speed. They should increase the number of free servers.

Mohaiminul Islam Akash

Edge and Chrome extension doesn't work at all in China.

Rated 2 out of 5
April 18, 2020

The PC client works well, but the Edge and Chrome extension doesn’t work at all in China.

Jimmy Gao (Jimmy.)

Problem with free version

Rated 1 out of 5
April 2, 2020

I got the free version and tried to connect to Canadian netflix with it. Not only did netflix pick up on it and prevent me from watching anything, but I was also blocked out from every website other than outlook web app. It came up with “(website name) unexpectedly closed the connection.” The issue was immediately resolved when I removed and uninstalled Hotspot Shield

Adam Kemp

F.u.c.k.i.n.g bad.

Rated 1 out of 5
March 22, 2020

F.u.c.k.i.n.g. bad.Try to get out from this scam.Can not stop my payment to this.DONT EVER TRY THIS SO BIG SCAM.

Johnny kurcaba sørensen

Worked for 2 months, then totally useless

Rated 1 out of 5
March 9, 2020

After a couple of months, the app disappeared all of a sudden from my PC after I went on vacation for two weeks. I have uninstalled and reinstalled different versions of it, depending on whoever is answering my requests for service/help, and nothing works. The servers get stuck in one location, when it did work about 10 days for one day. All of a sudden Pango is asking for my login credentials; it never did before. Now I am totally locked out of my account and Pango Pango has three years subscription that I paid–for no VPN service for the remaining 2 years 9 months.DO NOT SUBSCRIBE TO PANGO HOTSPOT. iT LOOKS GOOD ON THE SURFACE. I think it contracts out to Third World countries for customer service, the reps have no idea what they are saying.I was lured into thinking it would be good by the aggressive customer chat. It might work for a few weeks or even a couple of months but after that it falls apart and none of their updates does anything but cause havoc with your working life.I’ve only connected to it once in the past three weeks.After that I got the message that “it can’t connect to the VPN adapter. Uninstall app.”The app is nowhere anymore on PC so I can’t uninstall it (or re-install it with any of the updated versions).It has simply stopped working despite my tinkering it for hours, with “the help” of half a dozen of their staff.I slapped down $110 for this. It took a dozen or so emails finally for them to refund this. It was hardly worth the hours of frustration trying to tweek this thing, send & read emails back and forth, trying to make sense of all the different new instructions.I can’t believe this thing happens. No one would purchase VPN service is this were the norm.There has got to be a trustworthy VPN but this is NOT it. Do your homework.

Denny Chiu

Sorry to say that but one of the worst…

Rated 1 out of 5
February 18, 2020

Sorry to say that but one of the worst support, they simply ignoring me.- My account manager email does not exist.- First level support contacted at the end of Jan and got a generic reply (27 Jan) “Moving forward your case will be handled by an escalation team and they will get this email sent to the right department. They will get back to you directly as soon as possible.”- No response since then! Even though I emailed them several times politely asking about the status. Request number – 5327596

VPN den

I had a lifetime account for years…

Rated 1 out of 5
February 8, 2020

I had a lifetime account for years purchased through the actual company website, they have since merged with pango.co and now my lifetime account is gone. They are asking me to pay again for the same service just months prior I had full access to. I can still log into my account no problems. Soon as I try to use my paid for lifetime account it states I need to purchase a “basic” plan. I had a premium plan that was good and used for years. I was logged in and changed my password within the last six months and now since the merge they stripped my premium account status with lifetime benefits. Guess “lifetime” of the company” applies. Oh and I asked them to update my email address on file and they will not even communicate with me. All of my troubleshooting request are ignored.

Nathan

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