Hotspot Shield is a decent free VPN, but the commercial Hotspot Shield Premium is a whole lot better. Paying from just a few dollars a month gets you unlimited bandwidth, full access to 2500+ servers in more than 70 countries, support for connecting up to 5 devices, 24/ 7 support, and of course absolutely no ads at all.
Performance was a major highlight in our tests, with Hotspot Shield’s proprietary Catapult Hydra protocol helping to deliver some of the best download speeds we’ve seen, even from the most distant locations. Not only that, but those speeds are consistent, too.
But there’s a problem, too. As Hotspot Shield only uses its own Catapult Hydra protocol, and no longer supports standards like OpenVPN, you can’t manually set it up on your router, games console, Chromebook, or anywhere else you might want to use the service. That means the service can only work on devices where you can run its Windows, Mac, Android or iOS apps.
There are a few other issues, like no Bitcoin support, a shortage of configuration options in the apps, and an inability to unblock BBC iPlayer, at least during our tests.
These won’t matter to everyone, though, and if you’re just looking for raw speed at a very low price then Hotspot Shield is well worth a look, and the 7-day trial makes it easy to test the service for yourself.
As usual, you can get the very best value for money by increasing the length of the subscription. The longer you commit, the less you’ll pay in the long run.