HotspotShield Premium 2024 Review: 3 Cons and 2 Pros

HotspotShield Premium 2024 Review: 3 Cons and 2 Pros

  1. HotspotShield Premium Provides Dedicated Servers for Streaming and Gaming

    • Available solely in English
    • Collects and potentially shares user data
    • Based in a country that monitors online activity of citizens
    • Easy-to-use application
    • Features dedicated servers for streaming and gaming

    HotspotShield Premium is managed by US-based company, AnchorFree, Inc.

    A significant disadvantage of this service is its ambiguously articulated privacy policy. It suggests that information related to visited websites or IP addresses is retained. There have been previous allegations of user data leaks.

    HotspotShield Premium earns praise for its user-friendly application and proprietary Hydra protocol, which enhances security and improves data transfer rates. With a tally of 3,200 servers, HotspotShield Premium ranks among the more competitive VPN services in the market. Furthermore, certain servers in the US are specifically dedicated to streaming video and gaming. A unique feature automatically connects you to the fastest server, exclusively in the US.

    The range of supported platforms is fairly average, but HotspotShield Premium can be utilized on a router, providing effective protection for all devices connected to the network.

    The most economical subscription option for HotspotShield Premium is priced at $8.68 per month, which is relatively higher than its competitors. Services like NordVPN or Surfshark offer numerous additional security features.

  2. HotspotShield Premium Subscription: Discount Code, Free Trial, Money Back Guarantee…

    • Your Price: $13.65​36% off  $8.68 /mo (10 devices)
    • Money Back Guarantee: Yes (45 days)
    • Free Trial: Yes (7 days)
    • Cryptocurrency payments:
      Bitcoin :No
      Dash :No
      Ethereum :No
      Ripple :No

    HotspotShield Premium subscriptions can be billed monthly or annually. The annual subscription, which comes at a discount, equates to as low as $8.68 per month. The purchase is backed by a 45 days of money-back guarantee.

    A 7 days of trial version of HotspotShield Premium is available, although a payment method must be specified to use it. Following the trial period, the monthly subscription is automatically activated.

    During the preparation of this review, we encountered unexpected issues when attempting to purchase the service. Via the HotspotShield Premium website, it was impossible to arrange either a new subscription or utilize the trial version of the service. Even the customer support was unable to assist in resolving the issue. Eventually, we managed to activate the subscription only via the mobile app, where Apple Pay or Google Pay was saved as a payment method.

    When ordering through the website, payments can be made using a debit or credit card, or PayPal. Payment through cryptocurrencies is not supported.

    A standard HotspotShield Premium subscription can be linked to 10 devices. Additionally, a Family option is available where you can create 5 separate accounts and protect up to 5 devices under each.

    A free version, HotspotShield Free, is also available, albeit with a limited number of servers and certain restricted features.

  3. HotspotShield Premium and Supported Devices: Android, iOS, macOS…

    • Device limit: 10

    Platforms supported

    • Android:
      Android is supported by 98 % of reviewed VPNs
    • Android TV:
      Android TV is supported by 36 % of reviewed VPNs
    • Apple TV:
      Apple TV is supported by 18 % of reviewed VPNs
    • Fire TV:
      Fire TV is supported by 43 % of reviewed VPNs
    • Chromebook:
      Chromebook is supported by 20 % of reviewed VPNs
    • Chromecast:
      Chromecast is supported by 16 % of reviewed VPNs
    • iOS:
      iOS is supported by 99 % of reviewed VPNs
    • Kodi:
      Kodi is supported by 21 % of reviewed VPNs
    • Linux:
      Linux is supported by 61 % of reviewed VPNs
    • Mac:
      Mac is supported by 98 % of reviewed VPNs
    • NAS:
      NAS is supported by 24 % of reviewed VPNs
    • nVidia Shield:
      nVidia Shield is supported by 14 % of reviewed VPNs
    • Playstation:
      Playstation is supported by 20 % of reviewed VPNs
    • Raspberry Pi:
      Raspberry Pi is supported by 17 % of reviewed VPNs
    • Roku:
      Roku is supported by 16 % of reviewed VPNs
    • Router:
      Router is supported by 53 % of reviewed VPNs
    • Windows:
      Windows is supported by 100 % of reviewed VPNs
    • xBox:
      xBox is supported by 20 % of reviewed VPNs

    Browser Extensions

    • Brave :
      The Brave browser add-on is offered by 43 % of reviewed VPNs.
    • Chrome :
      The Chrome browser add-on is offered by 43 % of reviewed VPNs.
    • Edge :
      The Edge browser add-on is offered by 21 % of reviewed VPNs.
    • Firefox :
      The Firefox browser add-on is offered by 34 % of reviewed VPNs.
    • Opera :
      The Opera browser add-on is offered by 43 % of reviewed VPNs.
    • Safari :
      The Safari browser add-on is offered by 0 % of reviewed VPNs.
    • Vivaldi :
      The Vivaldi browser add-on is offered by 43 % of reviewed VPNs.

    With a single subscription, HotspotShield Premium can be used on up to 10 devices.

    The app supports Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, and Linux devices. Among Smart TVs, HotspotShield Premium is compatible with Android TV and Amazon’s Fire TV.

    HotspotShield Premium also supports router traffic, securing all devices connected to the same network. The router counts as a single device, and it’s important to verify its compatibility with the service. Refer to our guide on how to install a VPN on a router.

    Support for NAS, Apple TV, Chromebook, and PlayStation and Xbox gaming consoles is not directly provided.

    While preparing this review, the Chrome browser extension was promoted on the HotspotShield Premium site. However, we were unable to find it in the Chrome add-ons menu, and the link from the HotspotShield Premium site was nonfunctional.

  4. HotspotShield Premium App: User-friendliness, whitelist, server selection…

    • App Languages: 🇺🇸 English
    • Whitelisting:
      Whitelisting is supported by 52 % of reviewed VPNs

    The HotspotShield Premium app sports a modern design and a limited number of features, making it fairly easy to use. It allows setup of all features, including kill switch, whitelist, or blacklist. From the mobile app, you can directly contact technical support, while the desktop version simply links to the website. The app interface varies slightly between operating systems, but most functions remain the same.

    Server selection is done from a list, with no visually appealing world map version available. A Quick Access tab lists frequently used servers.

    Upon launch, the application home page displays the assigned IP address, the amount of data transferred, and the location of the connected VPN server.

    In the settings, you can enable automatic VPN connection when the device is turned on, as well as rapid connection to the last selected location. In the advanced settings, the connection protocol can be chosen.

    One drawback of the HotspotShield Premium app is that it only supports English. Personalization options are also quite limited; for instance, the color theme is fixed and cannot be changed. On the HotspotShield Premium website’s account management page, an overview of connected devices is displayed, and it is possible to disconnect them remotely.

  5. HotspotShield Premium Connection Speed: Upload, Download & Latency

    • Traffic limit: Unlimited

    Download speed

    Upload speed

    Server latency

    HotspotShield Premium does not impose data transfer limits, which is standard for paid VPNs.

    HotspotShield Premium advertises itself as the fastest VPN on its website, a claim made by several VPN providers. In our tests, HotspotShield Premium was faster than average, but it was not among the top performers.

    In repeated measurements, we observed an average download speed of 142 Mb/s and upload speed of 93 Mb/s. These speeds are sufficient for streaming 4K videos and transferring large files.

    An automatic selection of the fastest server is not provided in the app; this is only available when connecting to US servers. Consequently, we had to manually select the server. The server connection was speedy.

    We also evaluated the server’s response speed, which is crucial, for example, when gaming. We measured an average value 37 ms for HotspotShield Premium that can be considered satisfactory. US-based users of the service can utilize a special gaming server, optimized for the lowest possible latency. A lower value is preferable for response speed, as opposed to connection speed.

  6. HotspotShield Premium Server Locations

    • Number of servers:
      The average number of servers for the reviewed VPNs is 1699.
    • Number of countries:
      The average number of countries available for the reviewed VPNs is 41.
    Europe 🇧🇪 Belgium 🇧🇬 Bulgaria 🇨🇿 Czech Republic 🇩🇰 Denmark 🇫🇮 Finland 🇫🇷 France 🇭🇷 Croatia 🇮🇪 Ireland 🇮🇸 Iceland 🇮🇹 Italy 🇭🇺 Hungary 🇩🇪 Germany 🇳🇱 Netherlands 🇳🇴 Norway 🇵🇱 Poland 🇦🇹 Austria 🇷🇴 Romania 🇬🇷 Greece 🇸🇰 Slovakia 🇬🇧 United Kingdom 🇪🇸 Spain 🇸🇪 Sweden 🇨🇭 Switzerland 🇹🇷 Turkey
    North America 🇨🇦 Canada 🇲🇽 Mexico 🇺🇸 USA
    South America 🇦🇷 Argentina 🇧🇷 Brazil 🇨🇱 Chile 🇨🇴 Colombia
    Asia 🇭🇰 Hong Kong 🇮🇳 India 🇮🇩 Indonesia 🇮🇱 Israel 🇯🇵 Japan 🇰🇷 South Korea 🇷🇺 Russia 🇸🇬 Singapore
    Oceania 🇦🇺 Australia 🇳🇿 New Zealand

    HotspotShield Premium provides access to 3,200 servers across 41 countries worldwide. Available locations include the US, Canada, UK, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand.

    The majority of servers are situated in Europe and Asia, while North America, South America, and Oceania are also represented. The number of locations is reasonably good compared to other paid VPNs, but it’s worth noting that, for example, Surfshark operates servers in 97 countries.

    HotspotShield Premium utilizes both physical and virtual servers, whose locations are not disclosed due to security considerations. These servers do not employ RAM memory, which is generally viewed as superior because it does not permit long-term data storage. However, the company assures that user data is safeguarded through other measures.

    In the US, HotspotShield Premium maintains a selection of dedicated servers specifically for video streaming and gaming. These servers are tailored for such traffic types and are only available on certain devices.

  7. HotspotShield Premium Security Features: DNS Leak Protection, Kill Switch…

    • DNS leak protection :
      DNS leak protection is offered by 92% of the reviewed VPNs.
    • Kill Switch:
      Kill Switch is supported by 87% of the reviewed VPNs.
    • Multi-Hop:
      Multi-Hop connection is offered by 20 % of the VPNs reviewed.
    • Tor:
      Tor support is offered by 19 % of the reviewed VPNs.

    HotspotShield Premium incorporates DNS leak protection. During our service testing, our actual IP address remained concealed and no DNS leaks were detected.

    By employing Hydra, the usage of VPNs is also disguised, which is beneficial in situations where Internet Service Providers (ISPs) block private network access.

    The kill switch is a crucial security feature that disconnects the device from the internet if it loses its VPN server connection. This guarantees that the user’s actual IP address and location remain undisclosed. HotspotShield Premium also introduces an “Always-on VPN” feature, which automatically restores the VPN connection in case of failure.

    The HotspotShield Premium protocol menu includes IKEv2, WireGuard, and Hydra. IKEv2 is a proven protocol gradually being replaced by the more contemporary WireGuard due to its higher speed and security, making it the standard for many VPN providers. Hydra, a protocol based on OpenVPN and directly supported by HotspotShield Premium, accommodates both 128-bit and 256-bit encryption. By default, the application is configured to automatically select the protocol, typically choosing Hydra.

    The HotspotShield Premium can also operate on the Tor network.

    HotspotShield Premium does not offer additional security features such as two-factor authentication or dark web data leak monitoring.

  8. HotspotShield Premium & Streaming: Netflix, YouTube, Amazon Prime…

    • Amazon Prime:
      Amazon Prime streaming is supported by 52 % of reviewed VPNs
    • Disney+:
      Disney+ streaming is supported by 53 % of reviewed VPNs
    • HBO:
      HBO streaming is supported by 57 % of reviewed VPNs
    • Hulu:
      Hulu streaming is supported by 49 % of reviewed VPNs
    • Netflix:
      Netflix streaming is supported by 67 % of reviewed VPNs
    • YouTube:
      YouTube streaming is supported by 97 % of reviewed VPNs

    HotspotShield Premium is an excellent choice for video streaming.

    During our service testing, we successfully unblocked streams from Netflix, YouTube, Disney Plus, HBO Max, Amazon Prime Video, and Hulu without any problems. The playback was smooth, and there was no lag when scrolling through the video. The average download speed of 142 Mb/s is more than sufficient for 4K video playback, which typically requires at least 50 Mbps.

    Certain streaming platforms combat VPN services by blocking their IP addresses. If playback issues arise, disconnecting and reconnecting from the VPN might help. This could change the IP address to an unblocked one. If connection issues continue, HotspotShield Premium offers a solutions database for each streaming service.

    HotspotShield Premium‘s servers are also optimized for streaming video from popular platforms.

  9. Features of HotspotShield Premium: AdBlock, Static IP…

    • Blocks Ads:
      Ad blocking is offered by 44 % of the VPNs reviewed.
    • Blocks Malware:
      Malware blocking is offered by 33 % of the VPNs reviewed.
    • Blocks Trackers:
      Trackers blocking is offered by 38 % of the VPNs reviewed.

    Compared to competing VPNs, HotspotShield Premium offers fewer features. Additionally, some of these are only available when using the Hydra protocol. However, for basic internet protection, the provided features are adequate.

    Among the commonly available features, HotspotShield Premium lacks ad blocking, malware and tracker blocking capabilities. Users are only provided with anti-phishing protection, which warns them when accessing suspicious websites.

    There is also an automatic VPN connection at device startup. Although HotspotShield Premium displays a notification when connected to public wi-fi, it no longer enables automatic VPN connection as some competing services do.

    Split tunneling lets you create a list of sites that your device will always connect to without a VPN. Conversely, a blacklist ensures selected apps and websites always use VPN protection.

    The service does not support multi-hop connections, also known as Double Hop or Double VPN. This optional feature allows connection through two different VPN servers consecutively, resulting in increased security and privacy. If one layer of protection is compromised, the second VPN server protects the user.

    HotspotShield Premium does not provide dedicated or static IP addresses, even for an additional cost.

  10. HotspotShield Premium‘s CPU usage and App Performance

    VPN applications are typically designed so they do not hinder the user’s usual activities.

    HotspotShield Premium is no exception; the application uses roughly 30 MB of disk space and the CPU load during use was approximately 1% of the total performance. RAM usage varied between 40 and 50 MB, and the computer’s battery power consumption was 0.1%.

    A brief spike in values only occurred during VPN server connection. The measured values were minimal in our case, so the application can be used without any issues even on older computers. If you’re not using the VPN, you can fully close the application and reduce system resource consumption to zero. Normally, HotspotShield Premium runs in the background even when VPN protection is off.

  11. HotspotShield Premium Torrenting Servers

    • Torrenting servers:
      Torrenting support is offered by 89 % of the reviewed VPNs.

    HotspotShield Premium supports torrenting. The provider does not limit this type of traffic, and the measured values for both download (142 Mb/s) and upload (93 Mb/s) are ample for large file transfers.

    None of the HotspotShield Premium servers are explicitly optimized for P2P data sharing, but any of them can be used for torrenting. HotspotShield Premium will conceal your actual IP address, which can be exposed in peer-to-peer sharing.

    The service is compatible with popular P2P clients like uTorrent or BitTorrent. Remember, downloading and sharing copyrighted files is illegal, even for personal use.

  12. What is the country of origin of HotspotShield Premium?

    • VPN Provider: Pango LLC (an Aura company)
    • Country of origin: 🇺🇸 USA

    HotspotShield Premium is operated by AnchorFree, Inc., situated in Redwood City, California. The company, which was founded in 2005, launched the VPN service in April 2008. As part of the Pango group, AnchorFree, Inc. has developed numerous applications and systems to enhance internet security.

    The company’s location in the United States might deter some users as this country is a member of the 5/9/14 Eyes alliance. Intelligence agencies and police authorities in these countries scrutinize internet traffic and user activities. They may share the gathered information to tackle security or other threats.

    HotspotShield Premium adheres to a zero-logging policy. It does not request any personal information from its users nor does it store any data related to the usage of the service. Therefore, if a data release order were to be issued, the service provider would have nothing to disclose.

  13. HotspotShield Premium and Privacy: Logging Policy, Security Issues…

    • No-Logs Policy:
      The No-Logs Policy is followed by 78% of reviewed VPNs.

    According to the HotspotShield Premium website, it doesn’t retain VPN usage logs that can be traced back to users. The privacy policy mentions that the company gathers user information but doesn’t associate it with a specific identity. The collected data comprises a list of visited domains, data consumption, and IP addresses. This data is encrypted during use and erased when the connection ends.

    Using HotspotShield Premium requires creating a user account. The registration form must be completed with a username and email address. If you’re paying by card, your full name and postal code are required. However, payment via anonymous cryptocurrencies is not supported, which might be seen as a disadvantage.

    The VPN provider also collects anonymized data to improve the app and other services.

    The HotspotShield Premium privacy policy also notes that the company might share the collected user data with third parties it cooperates with for payments, user support, and diagnostic data analysis. User data may be transferred outside your country of residence, with the US specifically mentioned.

    Up until 2019, HotspotShield Premium issued a Transparency Report where it shared an overview of all requests for user data disclosure. We couldn’t locate any more recent reports. Publishing up-to-date reports could help increase customer trust.

    HotspotShield Premium has been assessed by the independent AV-Test, but only regarding application performance, not security. We couldn’t find any audit of the service by a reputable company. Undergoing an audit and releasing the complete results could boost the service’s credibility.

  14. HotspotShield Premium Support: Chat, e-mail…

    HotspotShield Premium offers technical support to its subscribers through a round-the-clock live chat. On mobile devices, the chat is directly accessible in the app, whereas on desktop, users are redirected to the website. While English is the main communication language, the application translates the text into the device’s system language.

    Interactions are primarily with the chatbot, which during our testing continuously directed us to the knowledge base. It didn’t answer our questions, which made it largely unhelpful. Instead of connecting us to a live operator, our query was sent to the technical support via email. Although they responded to our query within a few hours, their assistance wasn’t much help. They couldn’t help with a more complex query and merely referred us to a technician at another email address.

    While HotspotShield Premium‘s tech support is commendable for its speed and 24/7 availability, it lacks in efficiency. The FAQ database on the site is reasonably extensive but not very clear. Some feature descriptions are outdated.

  15. HotspotShield Premium FAQ

    Is HotspotShield Premium a good VPN?
    HotspotShield Premium offers reliable privacy protection while browsing the internet. Its app is user-friendly, and the connection speed is above average. The server selection is average, but sufficient for the average user. It’s a plus that servers are available in South America and Oceania, regions often overlooked by some VPN providers.

    However, HotspotShield Premium lacks some advanced features found in industry leaders like NordVPN or Surfshark. Users might also be concerned about the quantity of data stored during VPN use. At $8.68 per month, the subscription price is slightly high.

    Is HotspotShield Premium secure?
    In our tests, HotspotShield Premium consistently concealed our IP address, and we detected no DNS leaks, even through WebRTC. The application supports reliable protocols and advanced encryption. Additionally, the custom Hydra protocol can be used to mask VPN usage from ISPs. The VPN includes a kill switch feature that disconnects the device from the internet if the connection to the VPN server is interrupted.

    HotspotShield Premium previously published a “Transparency Report” with a summary of government requests to disclose user data, but this practice ceased in 2019. The privacy policy is somewhat vague, and the company’s location in a 5 Eyes alliance member country may cause concerns among some users. An independent audit verifying the app’s security could alleviate privacy concerns, but HotspotShield Premium lacks this.

    Is HotspotShield Premium free?
    HotspotShield Premium is a paid version of the HotspotShield Free service. The most affordable subscription costs $8.68 per month, and a money-back guarantee is available within 45 days of ordering.

    You can try the VPN as part of a 7 days of trial, for which payment details must be provided. After the trial period, the more expensive monthly subscription is automatically activated. If you don’t wish to continue with a paid subscription, it’s advisable to set a reminder and cancel the trial early.

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