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Hotspot Shield 2022 Review – Is Hotspot Shield Safe?

Hotspot Shield 2022 Review – Is Hotspot Shield Safe?


Hotspot Shield, or HSS for short, has made a lot of changes over the past few years. After wrestling with the issues surrounding the recording policy, she worked hard to rebuild her reputation. Among other changes, the VPN is now part of a new company Aura, which has merged with previous parent company Pango. So what does all this mean for users? Is Hotspot Shield Worth Considering? Do you compare to higher rated providers like NordVPN or Surfshark?

(Editors’ note: Hotspot Shield is owned by Pango, Comparitech’s parent company.)

In this 2021 Hotspot Shield review, I tried out the latest versions of the Hotspot Shield mobile and desktop apps to answer questions like:

  • Is HSS fast?
  • Can Hotspot Shield help me access Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime Video and other streaming sites?
  • Has HSS’s logging policy improved?
  • Will Hotspot Shield work in China?
  • Is HSS Worth the Price?

You will find the answers to these and more in this review.

I’ve been using Hotspot Shield to stream, browse, download and keep my online activities safe from snoopers like my ISP.

There is a short summary of my results below but you can read the full review to learn more about this provider and whether it is right for you.

Note that although Hotspot Shield offers a limited free version, I will focus on the Premium (paid) service in this review.

Hotspot Shield Summary

Hotspot Shield is a secure VPN perfect for streaming. It has a lot of site options, is great at unblocking, and installs very fast speeds. Plus it works in China. This provider has strong security and privacy features, but there is room for improvement. The live chat support might be a bit better and the price might be a turn off for some users.

Hotspot Shield key data

Overall Rating: #6 out of 49 VPNS

Score: 8/10

Average speed*: 48 Mbps
Video streaming support: 4K UHD Resolution

Score: 9/10

Netflix: Yes
Other broadcast services: Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime Video, 4 All

Score: 7/10

Encoder type: 256-bit AES with perfect forward secrecy
kill switch: Yes, Windows and Android
Log policy: no records
Protocols: hydra catapult
money value

Score: 7/10

Lowest monthly cost: US $2.99
Money Back Guarantee: 45 days

Hotspot Shield Pros and Cons

Here are some of the major advantages and disadvantages that I have discovered while using this service. You’ll find more details about each below.


  • Constant speeds
  • Expanded server network
  • Unlocks Netflix and other sites
  • Connect 5 devices at the same time
  • 45-day money-back guarantee
  • working in china


  • The Kill Switch feature is not available in all apps
  • Bitcoin is not accepted
  • Support can be improved
  • Collects more user data than many competitors
  • Supports Unaudited Local VPN

Speed: How fast is Hotspot Shield?

Hotspot Shield’s tagline is “The Most Secure VPN Service”. I’ll move on to the security part later, but first, let’s see this speed prompt.

Speed ​​tests were conducted at different times of the day on servers in North America, Europe, and Asia. At all times and locations tested, Hotspot Shield average download speed was 48Mbps. That’s a little lower than the average speed I noticed the last time I tested it, but it puts Hotspot Shield in the middle of the pack compared to the competition.

Here are the results broken down by region:

  • North America: 48 Mbps
  • Europe: 49Mbps
  • Asia: 48 Mbps

As you can see, speeds are fairly constant no matter what server you’re connected to. It was also very consistent across different times of the day. At these speeds, I was able to stream 4K video and video conference in HD. Switching between servers is very fast, and usually only takes a few seconds. I didn’t see any noticeable slowdown while browsing nor did I experience any connection drops.

For a specific site, you should be automatically connected to the fastest server. If you are connecting to a US server, you can choose a city. Choosing a server that is geographically close should generally give you a faster connection.

Note that the above tests serve only as a general guide to what you may see when using the Service. The random nature of the internet and the many factors that can affect speed means that you may see very different results.

Applications: What devices will Hotspot Shield work with?

Hotspot Shield lets you connect up to five devices under one paid plan (unless you sign up for a Premium Family plan – more on that below). Applications are available for the following:

  • Windows 7 and later
  • macOS 10.12 and later
  • iOS 12.0 and above
  • Android 5.0 and above
  • Linux Ubuntu, CentOS, Debian, Fedora
  • Amazon Fire TV

You can Manually configure VPN on specific routers. This enables you to protect devices that are not compatible with native apps and ensures that all your devices are secured. There is also a Chrome extension, but note that this only encrypts your browser traffic, leaving other apps on your device exposed.

In general, the applications are lightweight, modern and easy to use. Each one provides access to all of Hotspot Shield’s 1,800+ servers spread across 80+ countries. Hotspot Shield recently reduced the number of its servers (from around 3200) but continues to cover roughly the same number of countries as it did before.

In the desktop app, the servers are arranged alphabetically by country. For countries with multiple locations, for example, the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, and Canada, you can choose a city. There is no option to add servers to the favorites list but recent selections will appear in the Quick Access menu.

New on the home screen are shortcuts to US and UK streaming servers and US game servers.

You can customize the application’s behavior with options including automatic client startup and automatic connection to the last server. I’ll discuss these in more detail later, but other options include split tunneling, protocol switching, a kill switch, and automatic wifi protection.

The mobile application is similar in design to the desktop client, but has only one settings option (switching protocols). This is positive in the sense that the app just works without the need for configuration. But advanced users may lose the ability to design a VPN.

Streaming, Netflix and Kodi

Does Hotspot Shield work with Netflix?


Hotspot Shield Unblock US Netflix Easilyand Netflix UK and a few other bookstores. I tested it with several US servers and they all worked without issues.

Other VPN providers ask you to ask customer support which server to use. While this isn’t much of a problem, it’s a good idea that you don’t have to go through that extra step.

In addition to US Netflix, Hotspot Shield reliably unblocks the UK catalog. It also worked with a few other country releases I tested, including Netflix Canada, Australia, and India. I was unable to unblock Netflix in Japan, Brazil or Spain.

Looking to stream from other sites? Hotspot Shield unblocked the following during testing:

  • hollow
  • BBC iPlayer
  • Disney +
  • Amazon Prime Video
  • every 4

At great speeds, you should be able to stream HD video as much as you want.

Are you a Kodi user? Hotspot Shield now supports Kodi config.

Does Hotspot Shield allow torrenting?


Hotspot Shield allows torrenting and streaming backed by unlimited bandwidth, data, and shared IP addresses. The company is promoting the use of its service for torrenting activities using uTorrent and BitTorrent.

Hotspot Shield recently improved its privacy policy and claims to be a zero logs provider (more on that in the next section). The service has two other useful features for torrenting, including a kill switch (in the Windows client and Android app) and DNS leak protection.

Multihop servers?

Hotspot Shield VPN does not support multi-store servers at this time.

Multihop VPN servers route your connection through two consecutive VPN servers. This adds a second layer of encryption to your traffic. An additional server or hop makes it more difficult to track and identify you. We hope this comes to Hotspot Shield in the future.

Does Hotspot Shield Offer Canary Note?

A canary order is a document frequently posted by a service provider that states that it has not received a confidentiality order or gag order from law enforcement.

If at any time a provider receives a gag order or warrant, it can remove the gag order, indirectly signaling to its user base that the service has been compromised, without violating the gag order.

HSS is not offering a canary note at this time.

Security, privacy and registration

Hotspot Shield has come under fire in the past due to questionable logging practices, so I was keen to see how well the service’s current iteration protects user privacy.

Hotspot Shield was originally the flagship product of AnchorFree, a Switzerland-based company. However, in 2019, it became part of a new company, Pango, which was acquired by Aura, a US-based company.

The United States is Member of the Five Eyes Alliance, which can be frustrating for users who are particularly concerned about international intelligence gathering. However, this is only a problem if the VPN keeps logs.

Adding to the concern, Hotspot Shield doesn’t have a wholly rosy past when it comes to privacy. For example, a 2016 report highlighted some of the company’s questionable activities.

Additionally, a privacy advocacy group, the Center for Democracy and Technology, filed a related complaint against Hotspot Shield with the Federal Trade Commission in August 2017.

However, Hotspot Shield is cleaning up its privacy policy, slowly but surely. In a previous review of the service, I found that the company still logs users’ IP addresses for the duration of the session, but then deleted them. Now, the company claims that there is no logging of IP addresses at all, which makes it a true no-logs provider, a huge plus for privacy overall.

However, looking at its privacy policy, we find the following:

So the HSS logs:

  • Extended sessions
  • Domains accessed by users (claimed anonymous data)
  • device hashes

My biggest concern is recording the domains that users access.

Then we find the following somewhat contradictory statement:

While HSS says it does not collect your IP address in connection with your browsing activities, it does collect it for:

  • Fraud Protection
  • Get your location and information of your ISP/Carrier
  • Locate nearby servers
  • For advertising purposes

That’s still a lot of user data. It’s also more than other well-established and reliable providers collect. Let’s hope that HSS’s privacy policy cleanup continues and they tone down the group a bit more.


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