Hotspot Shield

Best for USA and Europe
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Hotspot Shield recently underwent significant changes, including a revamp of its logging policy and a change in management following various controversies. The question arises: has it shown improvement?

A comprehensive evaluation was conducted, examining every aspect of what Hotspot Shield offers to assess its safety. This included a thorough examination of its logging policy to ascertain whether its security features effectively prevent data leaks. Additionally, tests were conducted on its speeds, customer support responsiveness, streaming and gaming capabilities, and other relevant features.

The results of these tests indicate that Hotspot Shield stands out as a top-quality VPN across various categories. It boasts excellent security features, reliable customer support, and a more precise no-logging policy. While a few minor issues prevent it from claiming the top spot, the free version serves as a decent introduction. For those wanting to explore all features, Hotspot Shield offers a 45-day money-back guarantee, which was tested to ensure its trustworthiness, and obtaining a full refund proved to be a straightforward process.

Privacy and encryption

Hotspot Shield is a safe VPN service from a technical standpoint. No DNS leaks, strong encryption, and proprietary tunneling protocols guarantee your security.

However, it’s nothing like the market-leading NordVPN and its advanced security as well as privacy measures. Meanwhile, when we look at the business location and owners of Hotspot Shield VPN, there are a lot of questions left unanswered. All of this makes it difficult to evaluate whether your online activity will remain anonymous.

Hotspot Shield will not only hide your IP address but will also encrypt the connection between your device and the VPN server. For that, it uses the AES-128-CBC cipher, widely regarded as uncrackable. Many governmental and financial institutions adopted it for classified documents. There are just too many variables even for modern computers to figure out, so decrypting it would take an indefinite amount of time.

With that said, most VPNs opt for the more secure AES-256 cipher. Since Hotspot Shield has speed as a top priority, the faster AES-128 is understandable.

Hotspot Shield uses the secure SHA-256 hash function for authentication. This is the standard in the VPN industry, albeit some take it up a notch with SHA-512.

Overall, this is a strong encryption suite, but it doesn't go as far as some others.