Hotspot Shield VPN Overview

Hotspot Shield is one of the most popular alternatives to some of the larger VPN providers. In addition to standard privacy and location-masking, Hotspot Shield uses the proprietary Hydra protocol — providing expert-tested data encryption and security. In fact, three of the biggest reasons why Hotspot Shield is so popular are its advanced security, fast speed, and low cost. We cover each in detail to help you decide whether Hotspot Shield is a good fit for you.

Hotspot Shield’s Best Features

Hotspot Shield is emerging as one of the most secure VPNs on the market. However, it doesn’t just provide a safe and private connection. Hotspot Shield offers several unique and valuable features that make it a solid choice for both consumers and businesses:

  • High-level encryption — Nobody wants to feel unsafe while browsing the internet or using online applications. With Hotspot Shield, you get the Hydra protocol, a multilayered security system that dozens of third-party auditors have tested. According to Hotspot Shield, this military-grade protocol helps block more than 57 million malware and phishing websites every day.
  • 24/7 customer support — Since people need access to VPNs in virtually every time zone, it stands to reason that VPN companies should provide round-the-clock support. Fortunately, Hotspot Shield has customer representatives ready to field emails and live chat requests at any time of day or night.
  • Global network — The number of servers varies widely from one VPN provider to another. While Hotspot Shield does not have the most servers, it does provide more than enough to reach millions of users across the globe. In fact, Hotspot Shield has customers in 80+ countries — more than nearly any other VPN provider.
  • Family plan option — Most VPNs will only allow a few devices to utilize the same account simultaneously. The standard number of devices per account is five, which also holds true for Hotspot Shield. That said, Hotspot Shield offers the family plan option, which allows up to 25 separate devices to connect to a VPN with up to five accounts per subscription.
  • Free plan option — Hotspot Shield is one of the few VPN providers that gives you the option to use the service for free. The “Basic” plan comes at no charge to you, providing you with a unique IP address on a single device. However, this free plan only allows users to access U.S.-based content, and it does not allow video playback. Hotspot Shield’s free version is supported by ads and limits you to just 500 MB of internet data usage per day. As a result, it may not be the best choice for everyone, especially if you want a VPN to stream video content.
  • Multi-device functionality — It’s easy to set up the Hotspot Shield VPN on just about any Apple or Microsoft computer. However, Hotspot Shield doesn’t limit its reach to notebooks and desktops. With the Premium or Family plan, you can connect your VPN to any iOS, Android, or Linux device, as well as smart TVs and routers. By connecting to a router, you can even get the benefit of a whole-home VPN without having to set up your account on individual devices.

How Does Hotspot Shield Work?

Hotspot Shield hides your local IP address by routing the connection through a remote server. This makes it seem as though you’re accessing the internet from a different location, thereby protecting your identity and providing an added layer of security to your internet browsing. It also grants you access to region-specific websites and services. Once you subscribe to Hotspot Shield, you can simply download the desktop and/or mobile application and turn the VPN on to start using the service.

With the exception of the Basic plan, all Hotspot Shield subscriptions allow you to access Netflix, Hulu, and other region-locked streaming platforms from virtually any location. However, you have to keep in mind that accessing Netflix and similar websites from an undisclosed location is a breach of service of their terms. As a result, you should always proceed with caution.

In any case, here is a list of all the countries in which Hotspot Shield has a server (i.e., in which you can pretend you’re located):

Hotspot Shield VPN locations in The Americas

  • The United States
  • Argentina
  • The Bahamas
  • Belize
  • Brazil
  • Canada
  • Chile
  • Colombia
  • Costa Rica
  • Ecuador
  • Guatemala
  • Mexico
  • Panama
  • Peru
  • Uruguay
  • Venezuela

Hotspot Shield VPN locations in Europe

  • Albania
  • Andorra
  • Armenia
  • Austria
  • Azerbaijan
  • Belarus
  • Belgium
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Bulgaria
  • Croatia
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Georgia
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Ireland
  • Isle of Man
  • Italy
  • Jersey
  • Latvia
  • Liechtenstein
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Macedonia
  • Malta
  • Moldova
  • Monaco
  • Montenegro
  • The Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Romania
  • Russia
  • Serbia
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Turkey
  • Ukraine
  • The United Kingdom

Hotspot Shield VPN locations in Asia Pacific

  • Australia
  • Bangladesh
  • Bhutan
  • Brunei
  • Cambodia
  • China
  • India
  • Hong Kong
  • Indonesia
  • Japan
  • Kazakhstan
  • Kyrgyzstan
  • Laos
  • Macau
  • Malaysia
  • Mongolia
  • Myanmar
  • Nepal
  • New Zealand
  • Pakistan
  • Philippines
  • Singapore
  • South Korea
  • Sri Lanka
  • Taiwan
  • Thailand
  • Uzbekistan
  • Vietnam

Hotspot Shield VPN locations in The Middle East and Africa

  • Algeria
  • Cyprus
  • Egypt
  • Israel
  • Kenya
  • South Africa
  • United Arab Emirates

Hotspot Shield VPN Subscription and Pricing

Hotspot Shield has a more complex plan and pricing structure than most VPN providers. Here’s a complete breakdown of Hotspot Shield’s plans, pricing, and features:

Monthly Plan Cost Annual Plan Cost 45-day Money-Back Guarantee Devices Connection Speed Data Limit
Basic Free Free N/A 1 Up to 2 Mbps 500 MB per day
Plus $9.99 per month $6.99 per month No 5 Up to 1 Gbps Unlimited
Premium $12.99 per month $7.99 per month Yes 5 Up to 1 Gbps Unlimited
Family $11.99 per month $19.99 per month Yes 25 Up to 1 Gbps Unlimited

Hotspot Shield allows you to choose between monthly or yearly recurring payments. If you pay for a year in advance, you can end up saving on the cost of your service. While the free plan is the most cost-effective, it is very limited and does not allow you to use content-streaming platforms like Netflix.

It’s important to note that the Premium plan also includes three applications that don’t come with any other subscription type. More specifically, Premium members get access to a spam-call blocker, password manager, and antivirus software. Combining the 45-day money-back guarantee and low annual subscription fee makes the Premium plan the best value for your money.

While Hotspot Shield gives you plenty of different ways to mix and match your plans and costs, it’s still not as affordable as some other VPN providers. Excluding the Basic version, most of Hotspot Shield’s plans fall somewhere in the middle of other competitors. For example, the Plus and Premium annual plans are cheaper than ExpressVPN’s 12-month plan ($8.32 per month), but more expensive than NordVPN’s one-year and two-year plans ($4.92 and $3.71 per month, respectively).

Hotspot Shield VPN Deals

Though not listed as one of Hotspot Shield’s “standard” plans, the VPN provider also offers a promotional three-year – Premium plan that comes out to just $2.99 per month. This is
77 percent cheaper than the regular price. As mentioned above, the one-year plan also provides a discount of up to 33 percent..

Aside from discounts based on subscription length, Hotspot Shield does not offer any in-house deals, discounts, or coupons.

Hotspot Shield VPN Free Trial

The 45-day money-back guarantee period is only available with the Premium and Family plans. Nonetheless, this gives you more than enough time to try out all that Hotspot Shield has to offer and see if the service is right for you. If you decide that you’d like to keep the service, you can simply keep automatic payments turned on. Alternatively, you can contact Hotspot Shield directly to cancel your service and return your money. While this is not a traditional “free” trial, it does offer more time than the standard 30-day money-back guarantee offered by most other VPN service providers.

How to Cancel Hotspot Shield

Thankfully, it’s pretty easy for you to cancel your plan at any time. How you cancel your Hotspot Shield subscription or turn off automatic payments will depend on the way you pay for the service. For example, if you pay by credit card or PayPal, you can simply log in to your Hotspot Shield account, navigate to the Account Info tab, and select “cancel plan.” If you purchased your subscription through the Google Play or Apple app store, you must cancel your subscription through your subscriptions option via your store account.

Is Hotspot Shield VPN Any Good?

Since 2008, Hotspot Shield has provided a fast, reliable VPN for millions of users worldwide. Dedicated to providing privacy to everybody, Hotspot Shield offers free and low-cost plans to people in more than 80 countries spanning six continents. With top-notch security, a free plan option, unique additional features, and a customizable pricing structure, Hotspot Shield is a great alternative to some of the larger VPN providers.