If you're interested in better protecting your data, you may be wondering, “Do I need a VPN?” After all, online privacy and security are of paramount importance, and securing your data can help you keep personal information private.
The best virtual private network (VPN) services offer a host of features for all your internet-enabled devices. From protecting your device from malware to blocking ads and even letting you access content that may be blocked in your region — a feature-rich VPN can do it all.
In this Hotspot Shield VPN review, we take a look at this service to help you figure out if it’s the right VPN for you.
Best VPN for iOS
Hotspot Shield offers fast internet speeds and is well-suited for those with iOS devices. The VPN boasts a straightforward, visually appealing app that takes little effort to start using. The app is also compatible with all devices running iOS 11.0 or later, meaning nearly everyone with a modern iPhone or iPad should be able to download it.
A Premium Hotspot Shield VPN subscription is also a particularly good solution for streaming. this plan level comes with unlimited data and connection speeds of up to 1 Gbps, which is optimal for high-definition streaming. Also, the VPN can reliably access geo-blocked content from popular platforms like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Twitch and YouTube.
Hotspot Shield VPN pros and cons
- High connection speeds
- Compatible with several iOS versions
- Ideal for streaming
- 45-day money-back guarantee
- Underwhelming free version
- Price is on the higher side
- Frequent ads in the free version
High connection speeds
Thanks to its proprietary Hydra technology, Hotspot Shield enables remarkable speeds while connected to the VPN’s servers. This helps maintain an uninterrupted streaming, downloading and browsing experience.
The free version of the VPN gives you a maximum connection speed of up to 2 Mbps, but the Premium subscriptions provide speeds of up to 1 Gbps — fast enough to play online multiplayer games and stream Ultra HD 4K video without any issues.
Compatible with several iOS versions
While most popular VPNs offer an iOS app, not all of them support older models or operating systems. Hotspot Shield for iPhone is compatible with all phones running iOS 11.0 or later. This includes all models from iPhone 5S up to iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro, iPhone 12 Pro Max, and iPhone 12 Mini.
Ideal for streaming
Hotspot Shield is a great option for fans of streaming foreign content thanks to its ability to unblock and access geo-restricted content on popular streaming platforms. Hotspot Shield’s high speeds also contribute to this by minimizing unpleasant slowdowns and buffering.
Unfortunately, the VPN’s free version can’t reliably unblock content outside your region from these streaming services, so you’ll need a Premium subscription to use them.
45-day money-back guarantee
Hotspot Shield offers Premium and Premium Family plans, both of which have a generous 45-day money-back guarantee. This is plenty of time to try out the service and, if you're not satisfied, ask for a refund.
The refund procedure at Hotspot Shield is easy. If you’ve purchased the service through an app or website, you can contact customer support and request a refund. If you’ve bought the service through Microsoft or Apple stores, you must apply for a refund through the store itself.
Underwhelming free version
While the paid version of Hotspot Shield is great, the free version offers what is clearly a subpar experience. Its biggest downside is the 500 MB daily data limit — just about enough to stream an episode or two of content — and the 2Mbps speed limit. Sometimes, you may get even lower speeds if the network is congested, since free servers tend to be the most crowded.
Free users don’t get access to many of the perks the company boasts about, either. This means no location selection, no multi-device support and no live tech support. Even security features like anti-phishing protection are turned off for the VPN’s free version.
Price is on the higher side
Hotspot Shield VPN’s Premium plans are expensive compared to those of competitors that offer similar services. A Premium subscription costs $12.99 per month or $95.88 annually. The Premium Family subscription, which raises the device limit from 10 to 25, is even more expensive at $143.88 per year.
Frequent ads in the free version
Hotspot Shield VPN's free version has ads, which isn’t too bad on its own. Many free apps have ads to help justify offering their services for free. However, several users of Hotspot Shield's Android app have complained about repetitive and disruptive ads that are difficult to close. This could significantly affect the experience of many users.
Hotspot Shield VPN plans
Hotspot Shield offers two paid plans: Premium and Premium Family. There is also a free version of the VPN that comes with some restrictions.
Hotspot Shield’s Basic plan is free of charge but has limited features and access. You can consume 500 MB worth of data in a day, which is good enough for basic browsing. No unused data may be stored and transferred to the next day.
The Hotspot Shield free VPN allows you to connect only one device and won’t exceed connection speeds of more than 2 Mbps. Because of its 500 MB daily limit, the free version isn’t a useful tool for data-heavy activities like streaming and downloading large files. Moreover, the free version is supported by ads, and users of the free version can’t contact the live chat support team.
Hotspot Shield VPN’s Basic plan is a good enough option if you simply want to test the service before purchasing a Premium plan or don’t need much data. However, you may be able to find other free VPN providers with less stringent limitations.
Hotspot Shield's Premium plan allows users to connect up to ten devices at once and offers optimized servers for streaming and gaming. With this plan, customers get high-speed access to Hotspot Shield servers in over 80 countries. The Premium plan has no data limit and you can expect speeds of 1 Gbps.
Additionally, the Premium plan has malware and phishing protection, as well as a Smart VPN feature that lets you select apps and sites that will bypass the VPN. You also get access to 24/7 chat support.
The Hotspot Shield VPN Premium Family plan lets you have five different accounts under one subscription. With a five-device limit on each account, you get a total of 25 simultaneous connections. This plan also comes with malware and phishing protection, the Smart VPN feature and 24/7 chat support.
Hotspot Shield VPN pricing
Both the Premium and Premium Family plans have a 45-day money-back guarantee. Hotspot Shield is one of the few VPN service providers to offer such a long refund period, as most other VPNs offer a 30-day money-back guarantee.
As for annual plans, these are billed all at once. Hotspot accepts only credit cards and PayPal. Unfortunately, this means you can’t use cryptocurrency to pay for a subscription.
While Hotspot Shield VPN can be considered expensive, we found the service justifies its pricing. The service is not exceedingly expensive unless you opt for the Premium Family plan. Even then, with 25 devices and the company’s entire range of VPN-associated services, $143.88 per year is a fair deal.
It's worth noting that more affordable options are available if your VPN needs are relatively basic. However, if Hotspot Shield’s high speeds and numerous servers meet your requirements, the service may be worth considering given its price.
Hotspot Shield VPN financial stability
Hotspot Shield VPN is part of Massachusetts-based cybersecurity company Aura. The VPN claims to have millions of users, and it offsets the cost of its free users with the revenue made from its paid subscription members. The Hotspot Shield VPN app has also been downloaded over 100 million times on the Google Play Store.
Neither Fitch Ratings, S&P Global nor Moody’s — three of the largest credit rating agencies — publish information about Aura. Though we can’t vouch for the company’s financial stability, its high number of users suggests the company may be stable for the foreseeable future.
Hotspot Shield VPN accessibility
Hotspot Shield is available across multiple devices and operating systems. The VPN service is compatible with Windows, Mac and Linux computer systems. You can also use it on iOS and Android phones and tablets.
The Hotspot Shield VPN can be downloaded as a Chrome extension for your browser, as well. Finally, you can install it on your Android, Amazon Fire or regular smart TV, as well as on your router. This comprehensive device compatibility is complemented by a wide geographical footprint since the VPN service has servers in over 80 countries.
You can use Hotspot Shield VPN from almost any country on the planet. You can find the Hotspot Shield VPN app for your device on the company website or through the Apple and Google app stores.
You can connect with Hotspot Shield VPN customer service through a contact form on its website or at the following email address: email@example.com. You can also contact the company via phone at 408-744-1002. Premium members get the option of a 24/7 live chat support function, as well.
Hotspot Shield has received overwhelmingly positive feedback from users. As of November 27, its app holds a 4.3 rating out of 5 from over 100 million online reviews in the Google Play Store and a 4.5 rating out of 5 based on nearly 230 thousand reviews in the App Store. Several customers point to the VPN’s high speed and simple interface as strong points; others mention how the company responds quickly, usually within a day, to customer complaints.
Hotspot Shield VPN customer satisfaction
Much of the feedback for Hotspot Shield online makes note of polite and helpful customer service representatives who have helped solve various customer issues. Many customers say they have used the service for several years and are still pleased with it, which suggests that Hotspot Shield VPN has high customer satisfaction.
Hotspot Shield VPN FAQs
Is Hotspot Shield a good VPN?
Is Hotspot Shield VPN safe?
How to use Hotspot Shield VPN?
Your device is now protected. If you have a Premium subscription, you can change your virtual location and pick another country. The VPN may take a few moments to recalibrate before it confirms you're surfing the internet through a server in your chosen country or region.
How we evaluated Hotspot Shield VPN
We evaluated Hotspot Shield VPN across several metrics for this review. The major factors we looked at include:
- Streaming capabilities: Hotspot Shield works well with streaming platforms, but you need a Premium subscription to access the most popular streaming sites.
- Speed and security: The VPN’s fast speed and military-grade security make it good for streaming and gaming.
- Products and pricing: The VPN service offers a free version, a Premium subscription and a Premium Family version. The Premium plan prices are a little high, but the Premium Family subscription provides a good value.
- Financial stability: The company has a substantial customer base and appears to be financially stable.
- Customer experience: Hotspot receives great customer feedback on multiple platforms, and long-term customers are still happy.
- Accessibility: Services are available in almost every country and on most operating systems, including as a browser extension for Google Chrome.
Summary of Money's Hotspot Shield VPN review
Despite a lackluster free version and expensive premium subscription, Hotspot Shield’s exceedingly fast and secure connections make it a solid VPN. The fact that it can reliably access streaming services and its customer service is responsive and efficient at addressing user needs further solidifies its status as a strong VPN option.