About Hotspot Shield
Hotspot Shield is another Virtual Private Network (VPN) product under the Aura digital security company umbrella. It was first released in 2008 by AnchorFree, then taken over in 2019. Regardless, both owners mean that jurisdiction falls under the sphere of the US, not precisely ideal for a privacy-oriented service.
Unlike the other VPNs under Aura, Hotspot Shield is a little more transparent in some ways. For example, the company hasn’t scrubbed existing history, so we can trace what it’s been through – at least until now.
|Price||Free / From $7.99/mo|
|Number of Servers||Unknown|
|Device Compatibility||Windows, macOS, Android, iOS|
Privacy and Security
Sadly, like UltraVPN (the other Auro-owned VPN service), Hotspot Shield is a little ambiguous in areas that it doesn’t want awareness of. Aside from the apparent pitch towards their proprietary Hydra protocol, we know little about the privacy and security features of Hotspot Shield.
The brand also claims “military-grade” encryption, typically taken to mean 256-bit, the highest available today. There is also malware and virus protection and a spam call blocker if you’re using it on a mobile platform.
Streaming Media with Hotspot Shield
Hotspot Shield lays claim to the title of “Fastest VPN,” which can be a little misleading. Before the Aura acquisition, Hotspot Shield was granted this recognition by a single review platform over three years ago. Still, it hasn’t stopped them from using it as a key selling point.
Nevertheless, speeds can be considered sufficient to support most media streaming platforms. Hotspot Shield officially claims optimization for various services, including Netflix, YouTube, Disney+, and more.
Customer support is pretty good here, with multiple channels available if you’re on a paid plan. Aside from the usual 24/7 support spiel, we at least know that you can get help via live chat or email. There’s also a comprehensive knowledge base that covers enough areas to be of reasonable first-line problem assistance.
Hotspot Shield is a pretty well-known brand in the “free” VPN space. There’s an entirely gratis tier, but that’s limited to 500MB per day. Just for kicks, that’s not enough for you to stream a single movie at decent resolutions. Speeds on that plan come capped at 2Mbps, barely past the dark ages.
Paid plans start at $7.99/mo, nearly double what some top-tier competitors like NordVPN charge. For that, you can connect up to 5 devices and access the rest of their value-added services like streaming optimization and more.
Hotspot Shield Pros & Cons
Pros of Hotspot Shield
- Decent spread of server locations
- 45-day free trial
- Multiple platform streaming support
- Many value-added inclusions
Cons of Hotspot Shield
- Service under US jurisdiction
- No Wireguard protocol
Conclusion: Should You Pay for Hotspot Shield?
Feel free to take the free VPN plan for a spin, but I’d not recommend it if you’re considering paying for Hotspot Shield. Prices are high for what they offer, and the risk of using a US-based privacy service is high. There are also many far better options in price, capabilities, and, more importantly, performance.