Last updated: 27 February 2021
Hotspot Shield is a VPN service operated by Pango. It was created in 2005 and uses a freemium license. The company is registered in the US and is subject to its jurisdiction. The service has servers in 55 countries and is actively advertised as number one in VPN. Is it really so? Let's check it out
You can use this service for free if you are ready to put up with 2 Mbps connection speed. Also at your disposal will be a limited number of servers. By default, the service has a 500 MB data limit. We tested the paid version to find out the real possibilities of connecting to the network.
The initial download speed was around 82 Mbps, and upload was 81.22 Mbps. We connected to the most remote location and received 72.85 and 70.72 Mbps, respectively. It is a good indicator, given that the servers are overloaded with free requests from other users.
Many people use such services to watch movies and TV shows on streaming platforms. We tested the app and connected it to 6 streaming services. In most cases, the quality of the connection was acceptable. We were able to access various types of content and watch movies without buffering.
The only caveat was the problem with connecting to Brazilian Netflix servers. The rest of the VPN coped without complaints. It should be noted that comfortable viewing of video content is possible only in the case of the premium version of the this VPN. It is because the free usage model has limitations on the amount of traffic.
This service is good for torrenting. We tested this option and were able to circumvent the regional restrictions of our provider. The service is suitable for downloading and uploading data. The company even published a separate guide on the site for setting up P2P activity. In general, the speed of torrenting was at a good level. We did not feel any discomfort or any restrictions.
Is it safe? This question does not have a clear answer. Applications for PC and mobile devices have a good degree of protection. They reliably protect users from data leaks. We tested this parameter and found no flaws. It is worth mentioning the kill switch option, which works even when the Internet connection is disconnected.
But user safety when using the extension in Chrome and Firefox browsers sends several DNS addresses for the websites we visit. At a minimum, web resource owners will know that you are using this service.
The company uses the freemium distribution model of its product. You can install the application on a computer, laptop, or mobile device for a free web connection. The only nuance is the speed limit, few servers and not so much traffic. You can test all the service functions, correspond in social networks, and conduct financial transactions through blocked payment services.
However, you will not be able to fully download large amounts of data or watch streaming video in high quality. The company also has a monthly subscription with a 45-day money-back guarantee. During this period, you can refuse the service and get your money back.
Like many other services, Hotspot Shield provides round-the-clock chat with technical support. You can ask questions that are relevant to you and receive answers within 3-5 minutes. Also, on the company's website, there is a detailed guide to solve the most common problems. You can also write companies by e-mail. This format of communication is not very fast. We were answered in two days. But we can attribute this to a large number of requests.
As we mentioned earlier, the company has developed applications for computers running Windows, Linux, and macOS. There are versions for Android and iOS and extensions for browsers. You can also install this software for TV and routers. Versions for computers and laptops work best. They provide the greatest degree of protection.
Does Hotspot Shield Keep Logs?
First of all, it is worth noting that the company is registered in the United States. It’s not a good sign for a VPN. The company does not store user logs.
Nevertheless, there are several options that we did not like. Firstly, the company saves real IP addresses for the duration of an active session. VPN also stores mailing addresses, mobile identifiers, data on computer equipment, the version of the operating system, and strange information. If you can still put up with all the nuances, then the abstract item "Network information" raises several questions. And this information is collected when using the paid version.
When using the free version and especially extensions, you will have to come to terms with some more holes in your privacy. For example, it collects and can transmit information about your MAC address, IMEI, or city location. This information is enough to reveal your identity on the network.
It has several interesting features, a free version, and many servers. You can also rely on data encryption technology. The free version has several limitations, but a monthly subscription will allow you not to feel the speed limits.
A serious drawback is the large amount of information that the company collects. The worst situation is with the free version and browser extensions. You should use this VPN service if you do not count on 100% anonymity and connect to a blocked social network to chat with friends.