Hotspot Shield VPN Review 2024: Features, Pricing And More

Hotspot Shield VPN Review

Hotspot Shield VPN Review is provides top-notch services and comes with numerous advantages for the average user. It is effective for unblocking Netflix and various other streaming platforms, and it also facilitates torrenting. Users have the option to utilize the VPN’s free version and install it on Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS devices, or opt for a dedicated browser extension. Nevertheless, Hotspot Shield VPN lacks transparency in terms of security and privacy, making it less suitable for privacy-focused users due to its location in one of the surveillance alliance countries – the US.

For those seeking a VPN service that prioritizes privacy, we suggest exploring reliable alternatives like NordVPN. If you want to learn more about Hotspot Shield VPN, keep reading this detailed review, which covers speed tests, pricing, security, and other aspects of the service.

Hotspot Shield VPN Review

Hotspot Shield VPN is a popular choice among internet users looking to protect their online privacy and security. The VPN service offers a range of features that help users browse the web anonymously and securely. With Hotspot Shield, your internet connection is encrypted, ensuring that your data remains private and protected from hackers or prying eyes. Additionally, the service allows you to access geo-restricted content by masking your IP address and making it appear as if you are browsing from a different location. Hotspot Shield VPN also boasts fast connection speeds, making it ideal for streaming or downloading content. Overall, Hotspot Shield VPN provides a reliable and user-friendly solution for those seeking to enhance their online privacy and security.

Hotspot Shield VPN is a popular choice for many individuals looking to protect their online privacy and secure their internet connection. With its strong encryption and extensive network of servers, Hotspot Shield allows users to browse the internet anonymously and access geo-restricted content. The VPN also offers additional features such as malware protection and ad-blocking, further enhancing the user’s online experience. However, it is important to note that Hotspot Shield does collect some user data, which may be a concern for those seeking complete anonymity. Overall, Hotspot Shield VPN is a reliable option for individuals looking to enhance their online security and privacy.

Hotspot Shield VPN Review 2024 Overview

⭐ Rating:
🥇 Overall rank: #1 out of #42 #27 out of #42
🖥️ Servers: 6,000 + servers in 61 countries 3,200 + servers in 80 countries
📖 No logs policy: No logs Keeps logs
💵 Price: From $3.39/month From $2.99/month
🔥 Coupons: NordVPN coupon 67% OFF Hotspot Shield coupon 77% OFF
🔒 VPN protocols: OpenVPN, IKEv2/IPsec, WireGuard (NordLynx) Catapult Hydra, IKEv2
🖥️ Streaming services: Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Disney+, and more Netflix, BBC iPlayer, YouTube
🖥️ Platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS, and Chrome
📥 Simultaneous connections: 6 Up to 5
💁🏻 Support: Knowledge base, FAQs, email, 24/7 live chat Knowledge base, FAQs, email, 24/7 live chat

What Sets Hotspot Shield Apart

Hotspot Shield made our list for the top best VPNs of 2024 and specifically ranked best for streaming. The company is also one of the few to offer a free VPN option, and though it comes with limitations, the free version is a solid choice to consider. In addition, Hotspot Shield is the most well-reviewed VPN we’ve analyzed. At 1.5 million reviews, it surpasses any other service significantly—all while maintaining higher than a four-star rating across the App Store, the Play Store and Trustpilot.

Hotspot Shield pros & cons

Hotspot Shield is a popular VPN service that offers both pros and cons. One of the main advantages of Hotspot Shield is its user-friendly interface, making it easy for even beginners to navigate and use. It also provides fast connection speeds, ensuring a smooth browsing experience. Another benefit is its large server network, which allows users to access content from around the world and bypass geo-restrictions. On the downside, Hotspot Shield has faced criticism for its privacy policy, as it has been known to collect and share user data with third parties. Additionally, the free version of Hotspot Shield comes with ads and limited features, so upgrading to a paid version may be necessary for more advanced functionality. Overall, Hotspot Shield is a reliable VPN option with its own set of advantages and drawbacks to consider.


Speed performance 2024 Is Hotspot Shield fast?

The speeds of Hotspot Shield VPN are truly remarkable. Perhaps credit should be given to the Catapult Hydra protocol, but there is no question as to why this VPN earned Ookla’s speed badge – the download speed varies from a 1% to 28% decrease with an average drop-off of 15%.

Despite the slightly slower upload speed, the numbers remain impressive, ranging from 0% to 95% with an average reduction of approximately 80%.

Baseline: 300 Megabits per second download and 300 Megabits per second upload


Download speed

Upload speed
















In addition, Hotspot Shield offers the choice to utilize the IKEv2 tunneling protocol. Based on our testing, the average download speed reaches 262.2 Mbps, with upload speeds at 45.4 Mbps. The decrease in download speed varied from 2% to 32%, averaging at 20%, while upload speeds showed a slightly poorer performance, ranging from 3% to 98%, with an average drop of 86%.

In addition, it’s important to note that while the IKEv2 protocol is recognized for its effectiveness, we experienced some slight connection issues when connecting to the server in Florida, United States. Therefore, users should consider this when selecting protocols. Besides this, Hotspot Shield VPN delivers fast speeds even without using the WireGuard protocol. For optimal performance, we recommend choosing Catapult Hydra over IKEv2.

Streaming 2024 does Hotspot Shield work with Netflix?

Hotspot Shield is an excellent VPN for accessing geo-blocked content on popular streaming platforms, with a network of over 3200 servers in 80+ countries, allowing you to choose from various streaming servers to bypass location-based restrictions and enjoy the movies or TV shows of your choice.





BBC iPlayer




For instance, we encountered no difficulties in accessing the US Netflix library. Throughout the trial, the latest movies and TV shows loaded promptly without any compromise in image quality. The overall Netflix viewing experience was seamless to the point where it would be challenging for anyone to discern the use of a VPN. Additionally, Hotspot Shield VPN effortlessly bypassed restrictions on YouTube, enabling access to popular videos globally. It’s important to note that after entering your password, Google may prompt for identity verification, as the service can be sensitive to unfamiliar IPs at times.

Yet, we encountered difficulties accessing other streaming platforms. While it successfully unblocked BBC iPlayer, there was initial buffering. Apart from that, the streaming quality was satisfactory, and we encountered no interruptions.

Is Hotspot Shield & Good for Torrenting?

Hotspot Shield VPN allows for torrenting since it does not block P2P connections. While there are no specific servers exclusively for torrenting, its 3200+ servers offer a wide range of choices to secure a fast and safe connection for P2P downloads.

The download speed was tested and reached 2.3MB/s (18mbps). It’s important to consider that several factors affect download speed, such as the number and location of seeds. Therefore, the speed test result may not be as impressive due to potential external factors.

Is Hotspot Shield Safe & Secure?

Hotspot Shield is a secure VPN service from a technical perspective. Your security is ensured with no DNS leaks, robust encryption, and exclusive tunneling protocols.

On the other hand, it doesn’t compare to the NordVPN, which leads the market with its advanced security and privacy features. In contrast, there are many unanswered questions about the business location and owners of Hotspot Shield VPN. This makes it challenging to determine if your online activities will stay private.


Hotspot Shield not only conceals your IP address but also secures the connection between your device and the VPN server. It utilizes the AES-128-CBC cipher, known for its unbreakable nature, which is adopted by numerous governmental and financial institutions for secure document transmission. The encryption is so complex that even modern computers would require an indefinite amount of time to decrypt it due to the multitude of variables involved.

Most VPNs choose the more secure AES-256 cipher. Given Hotspot Shield’s focus on speed, it’s reasonable to use the faster AES-128. Hotspot Shield employs the secure SHA-256 hash function for authentication, which is standard in the VPN industry, although some go further with SHA-512. While this encryption suite is robust, it falls short of some others.

Tunneling protocols

Regardless of the tunneling protocol you choose, your connection will be encrypted. However, each tunneling protocol has its own strengths and specific uses. When using Hotspot Shield, you will only be able to select from two protocols in the advanced settings.

Catapult Hydra – Hotspot Shield’s exclusive tunneling protocol, which relies on OpenSSL (utilized by HTTPS websites) and the widely used OpenVPN protocol, is likely the key to their impressive speed, despite limited public information about it.

IKEv2 – Despite being an older protocol, it remains widely utilized for maintaining a stable connection, making it ideal for seamless switching between Wi-Fi and mobile data on mobile devices.

Understanding the reliance of antivirus services with VPN capabilities on Catapult Hydra adds a level of credibility. It is advantageous for companies such as McAfee or Bitdefender to align with services that adhere to their rigorous standards. However, a transparent public audit or embracing open-source technology would be even more beneficial.

Kill switch

Hotspot Shield includes a kill switch security function that halts all traffic if you experience a sudden disconnection from the VPN server due to a weak internet connection. It is not activated automatically, so you will need to remember to enable it. In my testing, the kill switch functioned effectively when I terminated the VPN connection process. The application indicated that the kill switch was activated and began the reconnection process.

Upon termination of the app’s background process, the app would identify a problem and automatically initiate a restart to resolve the connection, ensuring that my IP was not exposed at any time during the test.


Hotspot Shield’s location is considered one of the least favorable for a privacy-focused service due to the United States’ involvement in the Five Eyes alliance and the presence of powerful intelligence agencies. While the VPN claims not to log user activity, there are exceptions for the free version, which may collect and share certain user information. Therefore, individuals concerned about their privacy should avoid using the free client.

Regrettably, even their paid version has its own set of concerns. They claim to delete your IP address immediately after your session ends, but they will adhere to legal requirements if they need to retain this information for a longer period. Essentially, the VPN operates on the principle that purging an IP address is a privilege that can be revoked if necessary. The fact that the service does not accept anonymous payments further exacerbates the situation. Therefore, if you believe that using cryptocurrencies for payment would provide a necessary layer of anonymity, this is not the case.


Hotspot Shield changed ownership last year and was purchased by a cybersecurity firm named Aura. The new owner, Aura, was created through the merger of iSubscribed Inc. and Intersections Inc. Despite the change in ownership, the Hotspot Shield brand has a history of controversies. In 2017, the Center for Democracy and Technology filed a complaint with the FTC regarding misleading data retention practices. Subsequently, Hotspot Shield updated its privacy policy to clarify the data storage practices.

AV-TEST GmbH, a malware test lab in Germany, conducted testing on the service and published a comprehensive report for the public. Hotspot Shield received acclaim for its performance and compatibility features, although AV-TEST did not assess its privacy policy compliance. The evaluation essentially focused on product review aspects, leaving detailed investigation for a potential audit. The company issues yearly transparency reports, a positive step for a cybersecurity firm. However, it wouldn’t hurt to undergo a thorough third-party security or privacy audit.

Hotspot Shield features Of Extensive Range

Hotspot Shield boasts excellent speed and robust security features, but what sets it apart from other VPNs are the additional benefits it offers to its users. However, it’s worth noting that some of these extra features are only available with premium subscription plans. These features include access to servers in more countries, unlimited data usage, and ad-free browsing. Hotspot Shield also offers a malware protection feature which blocks harmful websites and protects your device from viruses and phishing attacks. Overall, Hotspot Shield is an excellent choice for those looking for a VPN with advanced security features and additional benefits to enhance their online experience.


Numerous VPN services offer comparable features, albeit with different names. SmartVPN offers traditional split tunneling, allowing users to exclude certain apps or webpages from the VPN tunnel and connect to them directly. However, the only customization option available for this feature is pausing the tunnel temporarily. It’s important to note that using split tunneling in reverse mode is not supported, meaning you cannot use the VPN exclusively with a specific set of apps. If you intend to use a VPN with only certain essential apps or websites, this limitation should be taken into consideration.

The feature is exclusive to Windows and Android users, with the latter having a peculiar implementation. Therefore, if you’re using iOS or macOS, you won’t be able to access it in your app.

Cybersecurity suite

A Premium Hotspot Shield subscription offers more than just VPN services; it also includes three additional products – 1Password, Hiya, and Aura antivirus. This expansion of features allows for a wider range of usage scenarios beyond just VPN usage. For instance, 1Password can help users securely manage their passwords while Hiya can protect them from unwanted calls and texts. The Aura antivirus provides comprehensive protection against malware, viruses, and other online threats. Together with the VPN service, these products can enhance online security and privacy for users in various ways.


If you’re a long-time reader of CyberNews, you may have seen our review of one of the best password managers on the market. It offers valuable features to simplify managing multiple passwords for online platforms and services. With secure storage and password generation, it enhances online security and eliminates the need to remember multiple passwords.

In addition to using a military-grade cipher to encrypt your vault and keep your passwords secure, it also includes a scanner to monitor if your data is discovered on the dark web. For further details on this password manager, please refer to our 1Password review.

Spam-call blocker

Hotspot Shield offers a spam-call blocker feature that automatically detects and blocks scam calls, available for both iOS and Android users. This feature uses crowdsourced data to identify blacklisted callers, allowing users to see spam numbers on-screen as the phone rings. It’s important to note that this feature requires access to your contacts, which privacy-oriented users should consider.

Aura Antivirus

Apart from virus protection, this antivirus software also offers additional features such as personal data monitoring, Wi-Fi security, and malware detection. This means that it can help you identify and remove junk files or malicious programs from your device with ease. With just a click of a button, you can keep your device secure and free from unwanted clutter. The personal data monitoring feature also ensures that your sensitive information is protected from prying eyes. Moreover, the Wi-Fi security feature helps keep your online activities safe even when connected to public Wi-Fi hotspots.

Since Aura is a new antivirus in the market, there are minimal reviews or reports available regarding its performance. At this point, I would recommend waiting for independent malware labs to test it before considering installation on my device.

Is Hotspot Shield VPN work in China?

In the past, Hotspot Shield was a viable choice for use in China, but they have not stayed current. Despite the obfuscation and speed of their Catapult Hydra tunneling protocol, it is not effective for circumventing the Great Firewall of China.

IKEv2, another tunneling protocol they offer, isn’t up to the standard required to bypass this block. The website is blocked, and many online forum users have reported that Hotspot no longer works, particularly since the restrictions were intensified in July to quell human rights demonstrations in Hong Kong. If you need a top-notch VPN for this purpose, consider consulting a compilation of the finest VPNs for China.

Plans & pricing

Hotspot Shield stands out in VPN pricing by offering varying features in their pricing plans, unlike most providers. They also provide a free version with some restrictions, offering a glimpse of the service.





1-month plan


1-year plan


3-year plan


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The minimum subscription period is 1 month, which is the most costly, priced at $12.99 for Premium and featuring a 45-day money-back guarantee. The alternative is a 1-year plan, priced at $2.99 per month, which may seem more affordable when calculated on a monthly basis: $7.99/month and $11.99/month, respectively.

Hotspot Shield now offers a 3-year plan at just $2.99 per month, making it the most affordable option. This comprehensive plan provides versatile security features and is more cost-effective than the 1-month or 1-year plans. However, it only accepts credit cards and PayPal, limiting payment options and anonymity.

Free version

Hotspot Shield offers a free version that allows you to test the service without entering payment details. However, there are limitations, such as a 500MB daily cap, only one connection, and reduced speed to 2 Mbps, which hinders the experience of the amazing speeds available with the Free version.

The presence of ads and the collection of usage logs are significant drawbacks in this particular VPN version. This is especially concerning when compared to other VPNs that offer free versions with better privacy standards. Users should exercise caution and carefully consider the potential risks associated with using a VPN that collects personal data and displays advertisements. It is essential to prioritize privacy when selecting a VPN service, as it plays a crucial role in protecting sensitive information from unauthorized access or surveillance.

Hotspot servers & locations

As per their website, Hotspot Shield currently boasts approximately 3200 servers across 80+ countries and in over 35 cities. However, not all of their servers are physical; some are based in virtual locations. This implies that they are not actually situated in the specified countries but are configured to appear so in order to bypass geo-blocking. While their fleet may not be the largest, it does encompass a significant number of countries. Here’s a breakdown of their network:


Number of countries


16 countries


48 countries

Asia Pacific

28 countries

Middle East and Africa

7 countries

You will have plenty of server locations to choose from if you plan to connect to Europe, Asia Pacific, or the Americas.

User Friendly Interface & ease of use

Hotspot Shield VPN is a versatile software that can be used on both desktop and mobile devices. The application can be easily installed on popular operating systems such as Windows, macOS, and Linux, as well as iOS and Android smartphones. Additionally, Hotspot Shield VPN has an outstanding browser extension for Chrome, making it accessible across a wide range of platforms. While the interface of the VPN is user-friendly on all devices, it’s worth noting that some features of the software only work on specific operating systems. It’s recommended to check the compatibility of specific features before use to ensure optimal performance.

Desktop versions

The sleek design of apps on both Windows and macOS is identical, with modern and visually pleasing UI elements. However, I did experience some stuttering animations, which was unexpected given the great job done by their UX team. Server connections are resolved quickly on both Windows and macOS, displaying latency, connection speed peaks, server load, “new” IP address, and a data transfer graph.

It should be noted that in terms of features, the two apps have some differences. macOS appears to lack split tunneling. Even with the Premium plan, macOS users cannot download the Aura antivirus from the Hotspot Shield app, unlike Windows users. I have tried to find other ways to download it, but without success. Linux is supported, but only on Red Hat and Debian-based systems. Therefore, compatibility is not outstanding, much like the app itself. While you can log in and view the available servers, there are no customizable options within the app. Unfortunately, there is also no kill switch or auto-connect feature.

Hotspot Shield mobile apps

Android and iOS applications resemble a scaled-down version of their desktop counterparts, with modifications for smaller screens. This not only ensures a cohesive look but also makes it user-friendly, even for beginners. On iOS, users can access identity scanning, password management, and spam-call blocking features, albeit through separate installations. The premium add-ons seamlessly integrate with iOS, a platform often overlooked in terms of functionality.

The identical principle applies to Android, with standard additions such as split tunneling. However, the Android version of this function links you to a VPN server upon opening a specific app, rather than providing split tunneling for your entire connection. Additionally, default settings disable other options like “Disconnect on sleep” and “Show personalized ads.” While convenient, this feature differs significantly from its desktop counterpart.

Browser extensions

If you often use Proxy add-ons, you will find Hotspot Shield’s Chrome and Firefox browser extensions familiar. Despite using an unspecified tunneling protocol, the add-on provides extensive control over blocking preferences. The standout feature was the capability to designate certain websites for permanent protection by the proxy, even when the proxy connection is inactive. Additionally, it permits the exclusion of specific websites from the proxy. However, the limited server selection was a letdown, as there are only 9 countries to choose from.

Customer support

Hotspot Shield, like other VPN services, offers a customer support website with guides and answers to common questions. It’s the primary support option for free users, although I’m not a fan of limited customer service for free versions. In order to use their live chat, a paid account is required. If your question is too challenging for a customer support agent to address immediately, it will be turned into a ticket, and you will receive a response by email. I had no problems with the apps, so I reached out to inquire further about their service. The wait times were brief, and the customer support representative made an effort to assist me, despite not being very knowledgeable about Linux.

Is Hotspot Shield any good & worth getting?

Hotspot Shield is a good VPN service that offers speeds comparable to competitors using the super-fast WireGuard or Lightway protocols. This is advantageous for streaming Netflix and torrenting, which both require high speeds. Additionally, their Premium subscription includes extra products, and all users can access a large global server network.

Although Hotspot Shield is effective for entertainment and basic tasks, there are areas that need improvement. For instance, it may not be suitable for users who prioritize privacy due to the company’s US jurisdiction, limited anonymous payment options, and lack of transparency regarding security and privacy. Therefore, individuals such as political activists or whistleblowers may need to consider other options. Additionally, the use of virtual locations does not address this concern.

Bottom Line

Hotspot Shield VPN is a powerful tool that provides users with enhanced online privacy and security. With its advanced features and affordable pricing, it is no wonder why Hotspot Shield VPN has become a popular choice among individuals and businesses alike. Whether you need to protect your personal information while browsing the internet or access geo-restricted content, Hotspot Shield VPN has got you covered. With its easy-to-use interface and reliable performance, it is an excellent option for anyone looking to enhance their online experience. If you’re ready to take control of your online privacy and security, give Hotspot Shield VPN a try today.

Hotspot Shield VPN Review 2024 FAQS

How much does Hotspot Shield cost monthly?

Hotspot Shield’s most affordable monthly plan comes in at $12.99, but opting for a 3-year subscription will bring the cost down to $2.99 per month.

Is Hotspot Shield completely free?

Certainly. Hotspot Shield offers a free version, but its features are limited, and you will trade your privacy for it (the app will display advertisements and collect your data).

Can I trust Hotspot Shield?

In the past, Hotspot Shield was seen to have privacy concerns, but these have been addressed. It is uncertain what alterations the brand’s new owners will introduce going forward.

Is Hotspot Shield a good VPN?

Hotspot is a solid choice for a VPN, especially for personal use. It offers the standard features needed for a good VPN and is easy to use. However, one of the drawbacks is the cost, which is higher than many competitors. Hotspot Shield also hasn’t been independently audited, which is the industry standard for VPNs.

Is Hotspot Shield free?

Yes. Hotspot Shield is one of the few VPNs that offer a free version (Proton VPN is another option). While the free option, which is called Basic, is limited, it can be a good option for one person who wants to use a VPN on one device. The company’s paid plans start at $7.99 per month, paid annually for the Premium plan and $11.99 per month paid annually for the Premium Family plan, which is best suited for use by multiple people.

What is a VPN?

A virtual private network provides online privacy to internet users by masking their IP addresses and encrypting their data. This allows you to browse the internet anonymously which can be useful to prevent marketing agencies from collecting information about your buying activities, for example. A VPN can also be used to view internet content that may be otherwise restricted in your country.

What are the disadvantages of using a VPN?

A VPN may slow down your internet speed. It may also prevent you from accessing specific websites that block VPNs. However, VPNs can also enable access to websites that would otherwise be blocked. And generally speaking, free VPNs aren’t recommended, as they can be used as data harvesting tools and may display malware-infected ads—very much defeating the purpose of using a VPN.

What can I access with a VPN?

VPNs can allow you to access georestricted content in other countries.  Many customers use them to access international content on streaming services that are not available in their home country. They can also be used to bypass any government restrictions you may have in your region.

Are VPNs illegal?

VPNs are legal in most countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada. Certain countries, such as China and Russia, have laws against using a VPN to bypass banned websites. Regardless of the country you’re in, however, doing anything illegal while you’re connected to a VPN is still illegal.

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