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Our Score: 7.6

If you’re looking for a reliable Hotspot Shield review, well - you’ve come to the right place. Hotspot Shield has been garnering a lot of attention as of late - some positive, and some not so much. Well, don’t worry - we’ll cover everything from what is Hotspot Shield all the way to is Hotspot Shield safe or not.

As you'll see from the review itself, safety truly is key here - with online identity theft incidents becoming more and more prevalent, VPNs are at the forefront of information protection tools[1]. That's why it's essential to choose the right one for yourself. 

TL;DR: Hotspot Shield offers users a lot of different features to choose from, with an acceptable price tag attached. While the company has dealt with a fair share of controversies, it seems that they are trying to climb back up the ladder of trusted and safe VPN providers.

Pros

  • Great speed
  • Torrenting and Netflix unlocked
  • Decent pricing

Cons

  • DNS leaks
  • Logs some information

Hotspot Shield Review: PROS

To start this Hotspot Shield review off the right way, let’s talk about the things that this VPN provider does well when it comes to their security measures. After all, if you’re looking for Hotspot Shield VPN reviews, chances are that security is a top priority to you - as it should be!

Hotspot Shield review: front page.

Kill Switch for When Things Go Wrong

I’ve noticed that many Hotspot Shield reviews fail to mention this, but this VPN provider has a really cool feature in place that acts as an “Eject” button in the Batmobile (na na na na Batman!).

While you’re using a VPN, many different things might happen. Your internet connection might go out, there might be some networking issues, or even the VPN itself could crash - these things do happen! Well, no worries - in these types of situations, kill switches step in to save the day!

To put it very simply, a kill switch terminates and closes all of your processes (file downloads, browsing tabs, etc.) upon detecting that you have disconnected from the VPN.

You see, as soon as you disconnect, all of your data is served on a plater to the prying eyes of third parties. A kill switch prevents that from happening - a very interesting tool indeed!

High-Tier Encryption

When it comes to data protection and encryption, different VPNs employ various different techniques to keep their user information safe and sound. If you’re wondering is Hotspot Shield safe, you’ll be happy to find out that this VPN service provider offers its customers the AES 25-bit data encryption.

If your natural reaction sounds something like “what in the world is he talking about?”, let me explain.

Hotspot Shield review: security features.

AES 256 is the most popular form of encryption used these days. This type of data encryption is used by the US government to conceal and protect sensitive information. When I found this out, it was truly overwhelming - Hotspot Shield offers its users governmental-level data encryption!

Amazing Speed

Another thing that people who wonder “what is Hotspot Shield?” should be aware of is the speed that this VPN provider offers. Truth be told, if you read through other Hotspot Shield reviews, a lot of them claim that Hotspot’s upload and download speeds are unmatched.

Well, since I had highly doubted that, I decided to check it out for myself.

Hotspot Shield review: speed test.

I chose to test their US server. And goddamn, was my skepticism proven wrong.

You don’t need to know a whole lot about Hotspot Shield reviews to figure out that this is actually a really good result.

The ping is quite high, but that’s not the highlight of the test - that would be the download speed. Honestly, from what I’ve seen from other VPN providers, Hotspot might actually indeed have the best download speed (given that the VPN connection spans to the other side of the world, that is)!

Torrents Allowed

Probably the vast majority of people looking through and reading Hotspot Shield reviews need a VPN so that they could share files with another party in peace. This is known as P2P, or Peer-to-Peer file sharing.

Some VPN providers, however, shy away from being associated with torrenting. While they might still offer this service, they don’t really advertise about it publicly.

HOTSPOT SHIELD

Number of Servers

500

Number of Countries

25

Simultaneous Connections

5

Offers OpenVPN

Speed

|
|
|
|
|
very slow
average
very fast

Table: Hotspot Shield features

Hotspot does allow the usage of torrents. What’s more, they even have a whole section called “Using torrents safely and anonymously” on their Support page.

The way that this works is that most VPNs have specifically-designated servers that are used for torrenting files or watching Netflix (we’ll get to this in a bit, too). These servers are usually more secure and faster - perfect for P2P file sharing and the prevention of DDoS attacks, connectivity issues, and so on.

Compare Hotspot Shield Side by Side With Others

Did you know?

Compare Hotspot Shield Side by Side With Others

All VPNs may look similar to you but they're NOT all the same!

Yes! Show me the Comparison Chart

Netflix USA Available to International Users

Lately, Netflix has been trying to block the use of VPNs from accessing the platform’s geo-locked content. These attempts have been rather successful, too - a lot of VPN providers have stated that they no longer support Netflix.

When it comes to this Hotspot Shield review, however, things are a bit different.

Hotspot Shield offers the ability for their international users to connect to Netflix USA and access the region-locked content with ease. Same as with torrenting, there are specific, designated servers that should be used to do so.

That said, Netflix has already locked some of the Hotspot servers from accessing its content. The only one that is still functional is their Canada-based server. Do keep that in mind!

Hotspot Shield Review: CONS

As you will find mentioned in other Hotspot Shield reviews, the company has come under some serious fire as of late. Let’s take a look at some of the claims and accusations.

Before we move on, though, let me just tell you this straight off the bat - there are better VPNs in the market. Take ExpressVPN, for example - an industry-leading VPN provider that comes equipped with all of the essential features, and then some!

Hotspot Shield Logs Information

Information logging is an extremely serious topic when it comes to VPNs. Quite frankly, logging happens when a VPN provider keeps track of sensitive information about its customers. This provider can then sell the information to third parties, most notably - advertising firms.

A lot of VPNs do keep some sort of information about their customers. This information is usually essential for both the company’s well-being and good customer support. Examples can include email addresses, billing info, performance data, and so on.

This is all common practice, and is not considered to be (quote, unquote) “data logging”.

Hotspot Shield review: data logging policy.

The claims about Hotspot are much more severe than that, however.

Some Hotspot Shield VPN reviews mention this, but there’s actually a whole FTC (Federal Trade Commission) investigation launched on to the company.

The reason?

It is claimed that Hotspot Shield tracks its user data (the websites that the platform’s users visit most frequently) and sells it to third-party advertisers.

These advertisers then perform what is known as “targeting your audience”, and point specific ads to customers that might be interested, based on the information that they’ve received from Hotspot.

Those are some really serious claims, but what are they backed with?

Well, Hotspot Shield is owned by a company called AnchorFree. This company is very openly associated with multiple different advertising agencies. Furthermore, Hotspot’s privacy policies are rather… ambiguous, to say the very least.

At a certain point, some Hotspot Shield source code analysis was performed, and it revealed that the company is indeed involved in some shady business.

Although no specific conclusions can be made until the investigation is over, it would be difficult to ignore such a huge (and, seemingly, backed-up) accusation in a Hotspot Shield review.

DNS Leak History

DNS (Domain Name Systems) leaks are a well-known problem within the VPN industry. While the biggest names in the game (such as ExpressVPN or CyberGhost) don’t have a single issue associated with this topic, Hotspot Shield hasn’t managed to climb out undamaged.

HOTSPOT SHIELD

Data Logging

IP Leaks

DNS Leaks

WebRTC Leaks

Jurisdiction

USA

Five/Nine/Fourteen Eyes

Five

Strongest Encryption

AES-256

Kill Switch

Anonymous Payment Support

0

P2P File Sharing

Table: Hotspot Shield security feature information

This VPN provider leaks its customers DNS through a certain type of Chrome extension. Although it’s a rather specific scenario, a company that wants to be taken seriously shouldn’t have a single problem with DNS leaks. Put that on top of their current data logging controversies, and, well…

Things start looking pretty grim.

No Tor Support

People trying to find out is Hotspot shield safe and whether it’s worth your attention or not should also know that this VPN provider does not support Tor (otherwise known as the Onion browser). Now, why should this be a big deal?

Tor is infamous for being the “middleman” between a person who’s trying to access the Deep Web, and the Deep Web itself. While it has built a shady reputation around itself, Tor can actually be used by people who just want to maximize their security.

A scenario in which you use both a VPN and Tor is probably the safest that you’ll manage to create! So, to reiterate this Hotspot Shield review point, it’s rather odd that a VPN provider wouldn’t support Tor.

Hotspot shield review: money-back guarantee.

Hotspot does offer its users an alternative, though many Hotspot Shield VPN reviews state that it’s a rather weak option. The company has, what is called, the “Catapult Hydra” protocol in place. It is a type of protocol that is supposed to guarantee users the optimal amount of security.

However, the problem with this is that there aren’t any more options to choose from - while Hotspot did support the usual OpenVPN protocol, they dismissed it with the introduction of Catapult Hydra.

Risky Location

If you don’t even know what is Hotspot Shield, you might not be aware of the fact that the company is based out in the US. Now, why is that a problem?

Hotspot shield review: censorship.

Many of the biggest VPN providers locate themselves in seemingly odd places. Panama and the British Virgin Islands are just a couple of the more popular countries in which VPN providers choose to base their operations. This isn’t done without a specific reason, though.

Some Hotspot Shield reviews fail to mention this, but the United States is a country that belongs to the 5-Eyes jurisdiction.

This means that all of the VPN providers that are located within the jurisdiction of the US are obliged to provide the government with the information of their users and their browsing history, on-demand.

This can be a detrimental fact when it comes to reading through Hotspot Shield reviews and deciding whether or not it’s worth trying this VPN provider out.

Price

Finally, let’s talk about the pricing plans the Hotspot Shield offers its customers.

Hotspot shield review: pricing.

At the time of writing this Hotspot Shield review, three of the most popular plans have some hefty discounts. The 12-month option would cost you $7,90 per month (here, $1 = €1,13). That’s actually a pretty mediocre sum to pay for a year’s worth of VPN services!

One thing that definitely mentioned in too few Hotspot Shield reviews is that the company offer a 45-day money-back guarantee. Now that’s generous - most VPN providers give you 30 days from your initial purchase (if that!).

Summary

As you might have guessed already, running a VPN service isn’t easy. All it takes is a single slip and your reputation and credibility go down the drain.

Or do they..?

Hotspot Shield serves more than 650 million users worldwide - that's an insane amount of people! You would think that, with so many negative aspects that a lot of Hotspot Shield reviews mention, the brand would have already gone bankrupt, but the reality is actually the opposite!

One of the main reasons for why that might be the case is that the people behind Hotspot seem to actually be learning from their mistakes and improving their services.

Just to give you an example, before I actually went on and bought the VPN to try it out myself, I had read through many online Hotspot Shield reviews. A whole lot of them mentioned that Hotspot doesn’t have live customer support - only ticketing.

Well, they do. I checked it out myself.

Hotspot Shield review: customer support.

This means that the company is actually trying to fix their problems and implement a lot of changes to make the user experience that much better.

Conclusion

Would I recommend the Hotspot Shield VPN?

Well… That’s a tough question to answer.

If all that you’re looking for is an aesthetically pleasing interface and the ability to watch Netflix and maybe torrent a couple of files, then sure - it might be an option. Great download speed and a hefty amount of device connections (up to 5 simultaneously) are great, and it comes with a reasonable price tag.

However, if the security of your personal information is your number one priority, well… Let’s just say that there are VPNs out there that have a much cleaner history when it comes to data logging and DNS leakage. Even though Hotspot does seem to try and improve their services, these reputation stains are tough to ignore.

That being said, if Hotspot Shield isn’t really up-to-speed with what you’re looking for, check out our best VPN list. Who knows - maybe you’ll find something of your liking there?


Scientific References

1. Leyla Bilge, Thorsten Strufe, Davide Balzarotti, Engin Kirda: 'All your contacts are belong to us: automated identity theft attacks on social networks'

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Recent Hotspot Shield User Reviews

4.2/5.0 - Hotspot Shield User
2020-10-15

Not the Best, Not the Worst

I bought the plan because, I knew no better but now I see that I cannot connect to Netflix USA sometimes and I have no idea why, contacted their team, let's see

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5.0/5.0 - Hotspot Shield User
2020-10-14

Customer Service 5/5

Excellent VPN, very fast & with a variety of servers :) very pleased with customer service as they reached out fast when I wanted to renew my plan.

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5.0/5.0 - Hotspot Shield User
2020-10-14

Would recommend !

There is nothing bad to say, been an user of HOTSPOT SHIELD for almost a year and I haven't feel unsafe, my IP is always hidden and the price is low, it's for sure a great VPN.

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4.4/5.0 - Hotspot Shield User
2020-10-14

Amazed!

The best VPN I have used, I've got a discount code and wow! I paid so little for so much, never found a glitch and the speed is always reliable

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5.0/5.0 - Hotspot Shield User
2020-10-14

Netflix USA

I have been using it for a year and I'm very satisfied. I use it to watch Netflix USA because I'm in France at the moment. I recommend it for anyone looking for the best and fastest VPN!

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3.6/5.0 - Hotspot Shield User
2020-10-14

A very useful tool

It worked surprisingly well for a year, always on my side. Unfortunately, it blocked me out of my tabs by the time a year finished WITHOUT a subscription as if forcing me to buy a subscription. I removed and redownloaded it, it's iffy to me.

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5.0/5.0 - Hotspot Shield User
2020-10-13

AMAZING VPN

I NEVER TURN IT OFF BECAUSE IT SPEEDS UP MY CONNECTION, CRAZY, RIGHT? I LOVE LOVE HOTSPOT SHIED!! WILL RECOMMEND

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4.2/5.0 - Hotspot Shield User
2020-10-13

Seen Better

Tried NordVPN And It Was Too Expensive. Tried Hotspot But It Lacks More Servers. I Think The Best Its All Its Features/Easy To Use.

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3.6/5.0 - Hotspot Shield User
2020-10-13

Somewhat reliable VPN

The VPN works when you give it time, but it doesn’t always function properly and frequently lags or doesn’t provide enough download/upload speed. Premium runs much smoother and works much faster than the free version

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3.8/5.0 - Hotspot Shield User
2020-10-12

Great look, works good, but you need to pay for it.

It looks great, but is pretty expensive as for a VPN. Still, it works.

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4.0/5.0 - Hotspot Shield User
2020-10-12

Looking for a shield, use Hotspot Shield..

Have been using Hotspot Shield for a year now. I can say I’m completely satisfied with the unlimited version. It does not compromise the speed of my network as well as protects my privacy. The desktop application is user-friendly, a single push of button establishes the VPN connection. The time taken to connect to Hotspot Shield server is also very short.

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4.0/5.0 - Hotspot Shield User
2020-10-12

Very strong and fast client

I love hotspot shield. It was very easy to set up on all of my devices, even my phone! I consider the monthly subscription a bit too expensive for how much I use it so I just upgrade when I need to and use the free account the rest of the time. Very solid VPN service!

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3.8/5.0 - Hotspot Shield User
2020-10-12

Easy to use

It disconnects by itself, but it's fast. Use it for streaming and for programming, enjoyed it alot but it's expensive compared to most Vpns which sucks, to be honest it's the easiest i've found to use and would enjoy it again.

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4.7/5.0 - Hotspot Shield User
2020-10-11

Almost good!

I use Hotspot Shield mostly to watch Netflix movies, however I spent so much time trying to configure it for Tor, and it didn't work :((

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5.0/5.0 - Hotspot Shield User
2020-10-11

Easy to use, affordable and all round brilliant

I have been using Hotspot Shield for just over a year now and i can safely say it is one of the best VPN's on the market. With features like kill switches and having all kinds of apps for every platform it makes Hotspot shield so easy and fuss free to set up. Without this VPN i couldn't do half the things i need to do.

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5.0/5.0 - Hotspot Shield User
2020-10-10

THERES NO BETTER

I OBVIOUSLY DID ALL THE RESEARCH NEEDED BEFORE DECIDING FOR HOTSPOT AND HONESTLY IT'S BEEN ALL IT CLAIMED, I CONNECT TO ANY WEBSITE AND NETFLIX AT FAST SPEED.

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4.5/5.0 - Hotspot Shield User
2020-10-10

Pay to get the best

With the free version was ok, but honestly you need to pay to get a decent version, its performance it's amazing and the connection, believe, IT'S FAST.

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5.0/5.0 - Hotspot Shield User
2020-10-10

AMAZING! No other app like This one out there!

In my opinion, everything seems to work great. Really like the fact that it does not slow down my connection. The ad’s are not too annoying. Overall I’ve had a good experience using hotspot. I would recommend it to others.

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4.0/5.0 - Hotspot Shield User
2020-10-10

Mostly good.

Connecting was mostly easy. However, there were times it wouldn’t connect and I had to go to the can’t connect selection of the menu and diagnose the problem. However, it would always connect after doing this, so I give the app a 4/5.

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3.6/5.0 - Hotspot Shield User
2020-10-10

Only complaint is that I was occasionally disconnected, which hampered my gaming.

Easy. Cheap. Effective. Again, I wish the connection was more consistent, but very useful overall. The layout is easy to use. I appreciate that the default option is that it opens the program when you boot, but does not turn it on for you.

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4.6/5.0 - Hotspot Shield User
2020-10-09

available most of the times

as a loyal hotspot Shield user, it's uncommon that you cannot access a website, it usually always works at a good speed, sometimes is slow and I switch servers.

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3.7/5.0 - Hotspot Shield User
2020-10-09

best vpn? I dunno

Second time I use a VPN and it's been ok, nothing ¨great¨ to say, because although it works, free version is full of ads.

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4.0/5.0 - Hotspot Shield User
2020-10-09

HAD MY DOUBTS

AT THE BEGINNING IT DIDN'T WORK AS IT SHOULD SO I CONTACTED THEIR SUPPORT TEAM AND LUCKILY THEY ANSWERED BUT I THINK IT'S MY IPHONE'S VERSION THE PROBLEM... WILL KEEP USING IT

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4.6/5.0 - Hotspot Shield User
2020-10-09

Great!

My classmates and I used at school and it works great to bypass our university's security system, we see anything we want with the free version.

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4.0/5.0 - Hotspot Shield User
2020-10-08

a good VPN

definitely a good buy, Netflix United States has all the shows I want. Hotspot unblocks everything. Good ratio price/value

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4.5/5.0 - Hotspot Shield User
2020-10-07

All my data safe

Ok, I torrent, A LOT. I worry I get a ¨bad¨ file or sth so I got the VPN, I know there are other more fancy ones but this is ok, works good for basic stuff.

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3.8/5.0 - Hotspot Shield User
2020-10-07

Used it for a Month - Perfect

I've been using hotspot shield for about a month now. Very easy to connect and speed is amazing, Doesn't slow down any of my streaming, I used different vpns in the past and they all slowed down my internet speed.

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3.8/5.0 - Hotspot Shield User
2020-10-07

Does what it should

Hotspot Shield provides a secure connection and an IP address in one of their server locations. That's all you need to access content in America while abroad. Sometimes, I need to reconnect a couple of times - would have given 5 stars otherwise.

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3.6/5.0 - Hotspot Shield User
2020-10-07

Not a happy customer

Constant updates, constant random disconnections, not enough servers, insufficient coverage and repeated ads to upgrade. Very slow connection and intermittent internet service.

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5.0/5.0 - Hotspot Shield User
2020-10-06

Love the free version!

I'm lucky to use the free version, only downside it's the annoying ads... besides that it works perfectly 24/7 at a fast speed.

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4.9/5.0 - Hotspot Shield User
2020-10-06

free version :D

i wasnt gonna pay cuz im a student so tried it for free: ITS AWESOME i can unblock any website in the us, like a miracle, will buy someday !

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4.0/5.0 - Hotspot Shield User
2020-10-06

Good Free Plan

Its sometimes slow, high ping so no gaming but good enough, I've used it at school and at home for free, and its great for a free vpn. Unlimited bandwidth is a plus. My parents can no longer snoop my browsing history.

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5.0/5.0 - Hotspot Shield User
2020-10-05

Very fast

Very easy to use, excelled in all the areas. It's extremelly fast, don't hesitate and try it!

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3.8/5.0 - Hotspot Shield User
2020-10-05

Decent service, a bit slow however

I was given a 6 month promo code for premium, so I signed up for HS.It was actually quite easy to setup on my PC. However, after setup, the program wouldn’t open, so I restarted my pc and it did. I connected to the nearest server and some others, they all worked. The only thing was they were slow, as if a lot of people were using them, which is fair enough for a big company, but with the amount of money they have coming in, they could invest in either faster or more servers.

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3.8/5.0 - Hotspot Shield User
2020-10-05

Pretty good

It works good but it's a little laggy. I use it during class and it works but then at random times it lags my whole phone and it starts crashing. Other than that it works pretty smoothly and it bypasses the blocked apps from my school.

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3.8/5.0 - Hotspot Shield User
2020-10-05

Not as good as others until you buy the elite version

When I first started using its free version, it was really bad. I couldn’t access almost any website, it was too slow and it always had the same error. I decided to upgrade to the elite version to see if the performance of it improved and it worked just great. It is a good VPN provider but only after you upgrade it to the elite version.

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3.9/5.0 - Hotspot Shield User
2020-10-04

Needs to improve

It wasn't a waste of moeny but honestly I have seen better VPNs, maybe the lack of servers or something, I will see if it updates

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3.6/5.0 - Hotspot Shield User
2020-10-03

Didn’t work in China

I’ve used Hotspot Shield for many years, successful in UAE. However holiday in China, Jan 2020, connection to Hotspot wasn’t possible as it kept hanging. Tried a couple of others on free trial NordVPN & ExpressVPN and both works well in China, connected to YouTube, Netflix accounts successfully with reasonable speed, not full HD.

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3.6/5.0 - Hotspot Shield User
2020-10-03

Nothing exceptional

Mixed results. Sometimes speed was good but many times opening webpage took lot of time. Video calls & voice calls were not good at all .

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5.0/5.0 - Hotspot Shield User
2020-10-02

Superior VPN

It is the Best VPN on the market! Simple and user friendly and the most important of all it works smooth and like a charm. It can be worked at different platforms and systems including Mac. And price wise it is very reasonable and compatible! Strongly recommend

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FAQ

Is Hotspot Shield worth trying out?

It kind of depends on why it is that you need a VPN - if it's to watch Netflix or simply surf around online, then ya, Hotspot Shield is a decent choice. If, however, you're looking for a tool that would help you with the security of your data, then there are much better options around.

Customer Hotspot Shield reviews mention that the VPN supports "P2P file sharing" - what does that mean?

P2P file sharing, in most cases, refers to torrenting - a VPN that supports this type of file sharing allows you to download and upload torrent files from and to the web, without fear that your sensitive information will be compromised.

Can I use VPN for torrenting?

Yes, it can. The most popular content platform for top VPNs to unblock is Netflix. Even though it’s available almost everywhere, USA users have a much bigger content variety. That’s why a lot of people use VPNs to view that kind of content via USA-located servers. If the content you want to view is geo-blocked, you can look up which servers (in which regions) the top VPN providers possess and which ones are right for you. You can easily find this information for each best VPN service in our VPN reviews.

What sets Top50vpn apart from other top VPN review sites?

We strive to be as reliable as possible & we are not competing with anyone. Top50vpn goal is to provide readers with the most insightful & helpful information. That’s why our VPN review process is more thorough than anyone else’s - we use a lot of different testing methods as well as the brainpower of true professionals. We do not take payments for writing reviews or changing them. Also, all the user reviews you see on the site are genuine, which may not be the case with other review sites. To put it simply, we take more time to test & review top rated VPNs - that’s why you get unique insights from us on a daily basis.

Can VPNs be used to unblock content?

Yes, you definitely can (and you should!). Best VPNs usually offer safe P2P file sharing option, which means that while torrenting, you are connected to Peer-to-Peer file sharing in order to download really fast. If the VPN doesn’t shy away from using torrents, it will secure your connection from other people using the same connection. If you want to find out which top VPNs allow torrenting, check our thorough VPN reviews.

How do you decide which provider offers the best VPN?

Deciding which provider has the top VPN is not an easy task, but it sure is fun! We have a dedicated team of professionals who test each VPN from start to finish, measuring all of the most important features. We buy all the VPNs ourselves, use machine learning & data science algorithms, get opinions from hundreds of real users, MIT professors, internet security experts and more. The top VPN services are decided by measuring all these important metrics, and never by the request of the providers.