A VPN protects your web traffic from ISPs making it difficult for spies and advertisers to track you online. Hotspot Shield is one handy VPN with an impressive speed, an array of security services, and an impressive collection of servers around the world.
Hotspot’s Catapult Hydra protocol is designed to improve the user’s experience by enhancing speed. During our test, we clocked an impressive 200 Mbps on a 600 Mbps connection which is significantly higher than our best pick-ExpressVPN.
Admittedly, the connection reduces on long-distance connections. For example, during our test, we got speeds of more than 60 Mbps on a UK server to Vietnam.
Unlike other VPNs that use an OpenVPN protocol, Hotspot uses Catapult Hydra protocol. Many privacy purists may mourn this loss, but the protocol goes a long way to prove its commitment to fighting cybercrimes.
Brands like McAfee, Telefonica, and Bitdefender have used the Catapult Hydra protocol. What’s more, Hotspot Shield provides additional security by incorporating an automatic kill switch to ensure your IP address isn’t accessible in the event of a VPN error.
Ease of use
Setting up an account with Hotspot Shield is straightforward. After signing up, you’re redirected to its web console that displays the download links for Mac, Android, Windows, iOS, and Linux apps.
If using a desktop, you want to download the Windows link. It opens a dark panel showing the current location and a toolbar with additional options. Its interface is very easy to use allowing even new users to explore.
Apart from its expensive monthly subscription ($12.99) it has a free plan. However, the free trial restricts users to 500 MB a day and the connection speeds are relatively low as they are capped at 2 Mbps.
We’d recommend subscribing to the premium plan for the real VPN experience. The plan provides access to all of Hotspot’s VPN features, a one-on-one customer experience and unblocked streaming content. Alternatively, you may opt for the annual plan that charges $7.99 or the three-year plan of 2.99 per month.
- Device compatibility: HotSpot Shield runs on Windows 10 desktops and Mac devices flawlessly. It also has an Android app set up making it easy to use on mobile devices running on this OS. Notably, some features aren’t available for mobile users. For example, the IKEv2 protocol isn’t available on Android and iOS mobile devices.
- Customer support: In case of any problems, you can get in touch with Hotspot Shield’s customer reps via the live chat option or email. Its live chat option is more effective as the agents respond within a minute.
- Streaming sites unblocked: You can use Hotspot Shield to unblock streaming sites like Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, Netflic, and Disney+. It’s also a reliable torrenting VPN.
Its high speed is obviously a selling point but like all products there’s a tradeoff. First, it’s a tad expensive for a VPN that lacks many security protocols.
Secondly, while its free subscription comes in handy, it lacks basic features users would like to explore before subscribing to the plan. Overall Hotspot Shield is a solid buy, but many users may find greater value in other VPN products.