Hotspot Shield VPN


Hotspot Shield VPN

Perhaps the best known free VPN service based in the USA but their free offering is feature limited and ad supported.


Our rating: 

License: Free (Limited features)
Review & Alternatives: Best Free VPN

Pros & Cons:

Desktop versions have a reasonably generous 750MB data limit every 24 hours (mobile 250MB); Secure 256 bit encryption over OpenVPN; Easy to use clients for Windows, OS X, iOS and Android.
Free service only has access to US servers; Intrusive advertising injected into your browser; Privacy policy is very open ended and thus quite worrying; No access to Netflix, Hulu and some other video streaming sites; The slowest network speed of any of the free VPNs we tested.

Our Review:

Hotspot Shield is perhaps the best known free VPN service. Based in the USA their free offering is feature limited compared to their commercial service. It is also ad supported. The free version only has access to servers in the United States and has a data limit of 750MB every 24 hours for desktop clients and 256MB for mobile.

Hotspot Shield Free does not allow access to NetFlix, Hulu and some other streaming video sites. Additionally the free VPN network runs so slow that it's likely you will see a lot of stuttering watching streamed video.

The advertising feature of Hotspot Shield has been criticized because the program changes your browser settings in order to inject ads into your web browsing. Some have even labeled the product as spyware but in reality it is simply adware.

Whatever, the company's rather open ended privacy policy does not re-assure. With its combination of ads, USA-only servers, data limits, streaming site bans, privacy concerns and pretty ordinary network speeds, Hotspot Shield’s offering is simply not competitive with the other free VPNs we tested.

Hotspot Shield VPN was reviewed by on based on version 4.15.3.