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Hotspot Shield Review

written by: Karishma Sundaram•edited by: Bill Bunter•updated: 5/5/2010

Geographical restrictions apply no more, when using HotSpot Shield to encrypt connections to and from a network.

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    HotSpot Shield is an application that is designed to allow censor-free Internet usage, regardless of location. For example, VoIP software applications like Skype are banned in some areas of the world, or Hulu videos are not visible to people outside of the United States. For these particular individuals, installing HotSpot Shield is the difference in being able to access that content without the restrictions of geography.

    HotSpot is able to accomplish this magnificent feat of Internet magic by encrypting all the communication to and from the requesting computer. There is a cap of a 5GB transfer limit, and one of its drawbacks is the rather large advertisements that the application displays.

    More importantly however, this technology is also leveraged to protect users from snooping individuals on a public network. Essentially, HotSpot Shield creates a VPN (Virtual Private Network) within which it operates, keeping the user’s IP address hidden entirely.

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    Test Machine

    Compaq Presario CQ50 Notebook PC

    AMD Athlon Dual-Core QL 1.90 GHz

    2.00 GB RAM

    160 GB Hard Disk

    Microsoft Vista Home Basic

    Google Chrome/Mozilla Firefox Browsers

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    Rating Average

    The installation file for Hotspot Shield comes in a zipped file, which requires extraction to install. The installation file creates a desktop shortcut to the application, which when clicked, opens up in a web browser.

    There will be a little trouble during installation if there is a firewall operational. The installation does warn the user about shutting down firewalls before continuing with the installation though. However, there was no firewall running on the test machine, and it was only by shutting down all the security software and restarting the computer did the installation finally work.



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    Product Features

    Rating Average

    Creates a VPN to connect to various public networks, thus ensuring complete privacy and shielding the user’s IP address and system from public view

    Ability to access geographically restricted content through the use of encryption on the connection requests to and from the machine in question.

    Application runs within an existing browser, through the use of a toolbar.

    Runs on both Mac OS and Windows operating system computers.

    Presents a secure environment in which to use public Wi-Fi networks. These networks are notorious for the very same reason that they work so well – they can be accessed by anyone.

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    HotSpot Shield has a couple of drawbacks, with the large advertisements and the transfer limit of 5GB. However, it does get the job done. Also, the conflicts arising with the security software is a little worrisome, however this may not be the case on all systems. It is a little difficult to gauge its complete effectiveness on a public network like Wi-Fi though.

    HotSpot is a great option for those wanting to view US content outside the country, for which the application works perfectly.