Hotspot Shield is what we like to call an “entry level” VPN provider, tailored for beginners and casual VPN users. It’s an excellent way to start with VPNs due to its free version, which allows you to experiment and get a feel for the app and browser extension.
Hotspot Shield was launched by AnchorFree back in 2008. It is completely free of charge, even the part of the service now known as Hotspot Shield Elite. This would definitely account for the alleged 500 million people who downloaded the service over the years.
So, if you’re a beginner in the VPN world or just a casual user who would like to stream some geo-restricted content, this post can help you learn how to use Hotspot Shield the right way.
The signing up procedure with Hotspot Shield is very simple. The first thing you’ll need to do is choose between the free and paid versions of the platform. If you’re a complete beginner, we definitely recommend testing the service before spending any money on it.
If you’re adamant about choosing the paid service, however, you’ll have to select the length of your plan and your preferred payment method, then provide the company with some basic contact details (first and last name and email and billing addresses).
In order to get your app and browser extension, you don’t have to enter any personal information whatsoever. Once you go to the official website, you’ll see a “free download” button. Simply click on it and the installer download will begin. Once the download is finished, just click on the file and you’ll run the installer. The entire process takes only a couple of minutes and you shouldn’t have any problems as long as you follow the instructions.
Hotspot Shield Features
Once you’ve successfully completed the installation process, you’ll see a corresponding shortcut on your desktop. The service doesn’t require any log-in data, so you can use it right away.
The most prominent parts of the user interface are the drop-down list of server locations and your connection slider. Here, you can choose the optimal server for your location and simply click connect. If you’re a free user, however, this list bears no utility since you will be limited to one US server.
You’ll also be able to monitor the download/upload connection speeds thanks to the live report offered by the app. English is the default language of the app but you can change it on the settings page, which is accessed through the hamburger menu. Note that any changes you make to the app take immediate effect.
You can also install the browser extension on Firefox and Chrome browsers. You can find it on the Mozilla site, Apple iTunes Store or Google Chrome Store, depending on your operating system.
After you press the connect button, the extension will automatically connect you to the most optimal location. If you want to change your server, you can do it by clicking on the “optimal location text.” Keep in mind that free users can’t connect to the servers located in the UK.