Hotspot Shield Review
By business.com editorial staff, business.com Writer | Updated Jun 25, 2018
Hotspot Shield Elite offers enterprise VPN services for those who need a secure connection to guard personal data on the internet. This service provides virus protection, firewall services and anonymous browsing and is the paid version of the advertisement-supported free version of Hotspot's popular Shield program.
This internet VPN, offered by AnchorFree, uses the infrastructure and authentication protocols from business-oriented site-to-site VPNs to provide a similar level of safety and confidentiality for non-professional web browsing. You can activate the software, log into any internet gateway and browse as you normally would. The software creates a tunnel for browsing that protects private data and may speed up downloads, depending on the strength of the underlying connection.
Hotspot Shield Elite encrypts all traffic with a proprietary encryption algorithm that converts normal HTTP interactions online into secure HTTPS traffic. The paid service also blocks pop-ups and warns you when a requested site matches one of the 3.5 million malicious sites listed on the company's in-house registry. Another benefit of using AnchorFree's servers to browse the web is that they circumvent the filters used for internet censorship, making this service popular for users living in or doing business with countries where such restrictions exist.
Since this enterprise VPN service comes packaged as a downloadable app, it works independently and is likely to be compatible with your browser. It can be switched on or off from an icon in the toolbar, letting users switch from an unsecured home connection to a public Wi-Fi and then to the secure office network without extra steps. The Hotspot Shield icon appears in the browser window when the program is running. This icon turns red when the enterprise VPN service is switched off.
AnchorFree's Hotspot Shield Elite enterprise VPN service is not without its drawbacks. While the service may speed up some connections, especially over slow networks, if you're accustomed to fast connections, you may notice a lag when loading pages or streaming video. The program's free version feeds advertisements to your browser, though only when the VPN is active, and the program shows a disturbing tendency to reorganize browsers it works with by inserting itself as a toolbar icon. Hotspot Shield reverts browsers to their default settings when it is uninstalled.
The enterprise VPN service offered through Hotspot Shield is safe, secure and reasonably fast, though some lag may be noticeable. The program takes some untoward liberties with adjusting your browser's settings and bombarding you with advertisements, but these annoyances are balanced by the program's overall ease of use.