Last modified January 9, 2015 by Paul Nash

Hotspot Shield Elite Review

Hotspot Shield is widely known for its free solutions in encrypting Internet activities. But aside from Hotspot Shield’s free offering, it also has a premium VPN service that provides more features.

Hotspot Shield is powered by AnchorFree and offers VPN technology that caters to all types of users worldwide. The free VPN service is more popular than the paid version. It generally works well which makes users already contented with the service opt not to pay for the monthly subscription anymore.

The main disadvantage with the free VPN service is that it is ad-supported and can be problematic with connection stability resulting in performance dropped due to system overload. For those who are enjoying the free Hotspot Shield VPN access, you can upgrade to the Elite version in order to maximize security and privacy of your activities online.

Here is our take on the Hotspot Shield Elite VPN service.

Hotspot Shield Elite Features

Hotspot Shield Elite

The Elite version is an ad-free browsing experience, with improved encryption and keeps all your activities online secure and private. Elite also gives users a secure gateway to access censored and blocked sites worldwide.

A great advantage of upgrading to the premium VPN service is the availability of a dedicated customer support. Hotspot Shield also promises a complete cloud-based malware protection, high speed connections and unlimited bandwidth to Elite users.

Pricing Details

Hotspot Shield Elite is only available on a monthly or annual recurring billing subscription. One month of Elite features costs $4.99. The annual subscription allows you to save 50 percent off. If you opt to be billed annually, you will pay $29.95. A money back guarantee also applies within the 30-day period after you have purchased an Elite subscription.

Users may pay through different payment channels like Paypal, Credit Card, MOL (Money Online), Rixty and Western Union. Hotspot Shield also accepts payment via mobile phone using your existing iTunes or Google Play account.

With an Elite subscription, you can connect five devices simultaneously. If you have more than five devices (if you have a business for instance), you can also avail of the Hotspot Shield Elite VPN for Business version. You can connect up to 100 devices for a reasonable price of $84.95 per month or $399.95/yr.

Supported Devices and Operating Systems

Hotspot Shield Elite is compatible with Windows, Mac, Android and iOS devices. Your Elite license will work on all supported platforms. You may download the software on your account dashboard or via Google Play or App Store.

Hotspot Shield Elite

Speed, Errors Encountered

In terms of speed, we didn’t really encounter any annoying slow downs while the VPN was running. However, we can say that there were certain deteriorations in speed. It did not bother us though.

We tested the VPN on a PC, Mac, Android and iOS devices.

We encountered a problem with the Android and iOS app though. The issue was with server switching particularly on the Android app. We noticed that the app wasn’t changing server connections or IP address real time. We still had to completely close the app and turn it on again to change the server we wanted to connect to.

Customer Support

Hotspot Shield offer different types of customer support but unfortunately it left one important channel which is the live chat feature. At present, customer support is only available via email, web forum and ticket requests.

We tested the response promptness of the customer service and all we experienced was disappointment. We tried sending a ticket request but we had to wait for a while just for feedback.

The lack of live chat kills it for Hotspot Shield’s customer support. We were misled with the promised “dedicated support” as we were expecting a reliable, reachable and available round the clock live chat feature. We also tried asking for help through their social channels but instantaneous help was to no avail. We only got a feedback after seven long hours.

User Privacy

According to Hotspot Shield, it does not collect nor store logging activities. Here is what is stated on HSS’ privacy policy.

AnchorFree does not collect any personally identifiable information on Hotspot Shield. Hotspot Shield automatically collects certain non-personally identifiable information from Users that is used in the aggregate only. AnchorFree does not collect, store, or share any permanent identifiers of Users, including IP addresses. Please note that Hotspot Shield only enables privacy and encrypts user Internet sessions when it is turned ON. Having Hotspot Shield on the desktop, without turning it ON does not do anything. Unless Users turn Hotspot Shield ON and opt into the service, Hotspot Shield will be completely idle.

Hotspot Shield Elite Review Conclusion

The thing that we like most about the Elite version is the minimal connection speed slowdowns. With the intrusive ads gone, the connections are now more stable and more secure. Unfortunately, we can’t help but think that there’s still something missing with this VPN service. Compared to its competition, it failed to match what top VPN providers have to offer.

For the price of $4.99 per month, one of the cheapest premium VPNs today, we can say that it is better than the pricier VPN services from new and unknown VPN providers.

The bottom line here is Hotspot Shield Elite works and it’s cheap. It has servers in the US, Australia, Canada, Germany, Japan and UK. So, if you have the need to access content from the countries mentioned, HSS is a good choice for a premium VPN.