AnchorFree’s Hotspot shield offers VPN as a service to general users. Although there were other software applications out there providing security to business individuals, this is a VPN service for general users. It is easy to download and install, and works with all types of browsers.
Free or Paid
It comes in two different options; one is a free version which includes a substantial amount of pop-up ads. The other is the Elite Hotspot version which includes several payment plans such as a $4.99 monthly plan, a $29.95 yearly plan and a pay as you go payment plan. If you do the math, the yearly plan is the perfect option.
How Does It Work?
After the easy step-by-step installation, it makes a Hotspot shield shortcut on your desktop and a crescent shaped shield icon in the system tray. An icon is also added to the top of the browsers. Earlier versions included a toolbar option on top of the browsers which have been disabled now due to user demands.
Once turned on (the system tray icon turns green), AnchorFree assigns an IP to your computer. After that, you are routed through the IP. When hotspot shield is on, if any site tries to sneak in or look up your IP address or geographic location they will be shown AnchorFree’s location and servers instead.
All of the data you download, all the passwords, everything is encrypted, making it impossible for shady hackers to break in. Hotspot shield allows users to view every website as if they are HTTPS secured sites. Once connected, you can click on the shield icon which displays a small window which shows you the status (connected/disconnected) and the amount of encrypted data sent and received.
- Wi-Fi Security– If you are habitual of browsing the internet through public networks, Hotspot Shield offers ultimate security for all your data.
- Protection from Malware– Hotspot shield warns you if you connect to a website which contains malware. AnchorFree claims that the shield pre-blocks 3.5 million websites which could harm your computer or smart phone.
- Invisible Surfing– Hotspot shield creates a safe ‘vacuum’ between you and the internet. We know that the internet is not a safe place to be, therefore, it allows you to roam around anonymous and invisible.
- IP address camouflage– A hacker who might be interested in your information needs to locate and identify your IP address first. Hotspot Shield gives you a new US IP address making it impossible for anyone to locate you. Different geographical locations for VPN servers are also available depending on your package. The free version gives you a US IP address while the paid versions have more options.
- Unlock and unblock websites– When you are at school, college or your office, blocked Facebook, YouTube or Twitter can be really annoying. Hotspot Shield allows you to access your favorite content, no matter what the restrictions are at your location.
- Aggressive Advertising– Using the free version can be really annoying. There are a lot of advertisements popping up at the top of your screen the whole time. Although the software is free these ads can be really agitating, but that’s what they are designed to do right? Annoy the users enough to shift to a paid Elite version. The free version also re-routes you to different websites where you have to wait 15 seconds before you can go back to your intended website.
- Slow Internet Speed– Some users have complained that using Hotspot shield reduces their internet speed. Use websites such as Speedtest.net to confirm whether you are getting the same speed or whether it has decreased. Using Hotspot Shield for gaming or VOIP applications is not recommended.
- Reverts Browser Settings To Default When Uninstalled– Another setback that users found awfully irritating was that once uninstalled, no matter which browser you are using, settings such as home page, toolbar and icons go back to default.
Overlooking the cons, if you really are serious for internet security and you are willing to pay, go for the Hotspot Shield Elite version. Professionally designed, it provides an efficient and easy-to-use solution to all your web security related needs.