Hotspot Shield VPN
Software to protect your identity when browsing online
Hotspot Shield VPN is an app from AnchorFree that uses their VPN service to shield your connection from monitoring.
Hotspot Shield is arguably the oldest free VPN service that's still in business. Their free app promises anonymity without cost. There is only one country option, and the speeds are noticeably much slower than the paid version. It does form an effective VPN, but especially at peak times, the network can become almost unusable. This can be remedied by paying for their VPN, but it can be a major issue for people who just want to use it temporarily.
Hotspot Shield VPN has a nice interface and is relatively straightforward. Once you're actually connected, the VPN is usually fairly stable. Their advertising model on desktop PCs is to show ads on websites visited. Oddly, the same company whose business is to stop tracking uses targeted advertising based on tracking. This model doesn't quite work on mobile devices, so they instead chose to show advertising on connection and disconnection. This can interrupt the experience, and there are some malicious ads that open up the App Store automatically.
Overall, if you're willing to put up with some delays and annoyances, the free version is alright. If you're planning to stream videos, be prepared to fork over some money or find a different VPN service. In the case of Hotspot Shield VPN, you're putting up with these barriers to get a well-known service for free.
- Very well-known VPN service
- App itself is fairly robust
- Lots of advertising that can get in the way of the service
- Conflict of interest with business model and advertising model
- Very limited free options
We’re always working to improve Hotspot Shield with bug fixes and optimizations. Whenever we add awesome new features, we’ll let you know!