"> Is It the Right Choice to Protect Your Privacy? - Engr Kabir Saleh

Is It the Right Choice to Protect Your Privacy?

Looking for a VPN tool for macOS or iOS, but don’t know which service to choose? If you’re looking for an affordable and reliable VPN solution for your Mac, iPhone, iPad, or Android device,  Hotspot VPN might seem like an attractive option.

But does it deliver the private, secure, fast, and reliable VPN solution you’re looking for? Let’s find out.

Why Choose Hotspot VPN Unlimited?

Virtual Private Network (VPN) services should be fast, private, and secure. So why choose Hotspot VPN?

On offer is a product described as an “ultra-fast VPN,” something we’ll come back to later. Hotspot VPN offers unlimited browsing and streaming, and will keep you safe and anonymous when using a public Wi-Fi network.

The Hotspot VPN iPad app

Hotspot VPN supports content unblocking, which means you can use an overseas VPN to access certain sites. For example, many people in the UK use VPNs to access the US version of Netflix and its larger library. You can take advantage of more than 1,200 servers around the world to protect your online privacy and hide your IP address with Hotspot VPN.

How many devices do you want to protect with your VPN subscription? Hotspot VPN offers protection for up to five simultaneous connections from your account. So while you might have the app installed on more than this, only five can connect at once.

The ad-free service has no restrictions on use and offers “high quality” customer support, along with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Pricing for Hotspot VPN Unlimited

Thinking of signing up for this VPN service?

All you need to do is head to Hotspot VPN’s pricing page and select a package, add your email address, then pay. The service accepts major credit cards; there is no support for Bitcoin (or other cryptocurrency) or PayPal.

Three packages are on offer:

  • The 1-month plan is $9.99 per month
  • A 12-month plan is $27.99 a year, which works out to $2.33 a month
  • You can also select the “Lifelong plan” for a single $59.99 fee

Of course, there is no guarantee how long any VPN service service will stick around. As such, you might prefer to take the monthly or annual plan if you’re careful with cash.

Where Can You Install Hotspot VPN Unlimited?

Hotspot VPN is available on Apple devices, as well as Android. You will find two versions in the App Store: Hotspot VPN Unlimited Proxy X, and Hotspot VPN Best Super X+Free. The Unlimited Proxy X version is what’s linked on the developer’s website, so we reviewed this version on a first-generation iPad Air.

In addition, Hotspot VPN has a desktop version for macOS. The installation file for this is hosted on Google Drive, which is a bit out of the ordinary. In any case, the Mac offering has a similar appearance to the mobile app.

Finally, you’ll find the Android version of Hotspot VPN on Google Play.

Hotspot VPN: Easy to Set Up

You can sign up for Hotspot VPN on the website, or via the app. You’ll need to give permission in both macOS and iOS for the app to add a VPN configuration to your system.

Once your username and password are confirmed, simply sign into the Hotspot VPN app to start using it.

The Fast connection option selects the nearest quick VPN server for you to connect to. In testing, the first such VPN was based in the Netherlands. As I’m in the North East of the UK, this is not too surprising.

Choose fast or advanced in Hotspot VPN

An alternative Advanced connection is also available. When tapped, this states “IP address hidden”—but isn’t this the point of a VPN anyway? It’s not entirely clear what the Advanced mode brings to the party.

The side menu is largely for account management and feedback, though it also holds a tool for switching Protocols. These are not clearly labeled other than Protocol A, Protocol B, etc., with each configured in a specific way. For example, Protocol B is more suited to security and unblocking content.

The Protocols menu in VPN Hotspot

Like the Advanced connection option, this feature appears useful but brings a degree of obfuscation to an otherwise simple app.

What Can You Do With Hotspot VPN Unlimited?

Hotspot VPN features a straightforward user interface that makes the app easy to use. But what other benefits does it offer?

  • Get online quick: The Hotspot VPN app has a smart, intuitive user interface. With the app open, simply tap the Connect button to get online. You can select VPN servers from the dropdown menu at the top of the screen.
  • Surf anonymously: Hotspot VPN is designed to retain your privacy while surfing the web. So long as you’re not signed into websites and apps, your activity will be completely anonymous.
  • Stream video: When testing Hotspot VPN with Amazon Prime Video, we streamed an episode of The Grand Tour. The quality setting was set to Good, with the iPad situated within six feet of the router. Despite problems with the Prime Video app displaying TV and movie show covers, the video streamed well, with some occasional pixelization.

Is Hotspot VPN Really “Ultra-Fast”?

Hotspot VPN claims to be “ultra-fast,” but what does this really mean?

To find out, we compared connections using the Speedtest.com mobile app. On the first attempt, with the VPN enabled and connected to a London-based server, the Speedtest app also connected to a London server. You’ll notice the low ping rate (which is good).

Hotspot VPN speedtest with VPN on

Following this, we ran the test again with the VPN disabled. The Speedtest app connected to a UK server, this time closer, in Gateshead. Again, see the solid ping rate.

Hotspot VPN speedtest with VPN off

You’ll notice the results with the VPN connected are noticeably slower, although the ping rates also differ. It’s worth highlighting that the connection to the VPN dropped during the speed test, despite proximity to the router. It’s not clear why this happened, but certainly raises some questions.

Ultimately, “ultra-fast” appears to be marketing jargon. With everything considered, it’s likely that Hotspot VPN is no faster or slower than other VPN services.

Hotspot VPN’s Logging Policy

Hotspot VPN’s logging policy states the following:

  • “Hotspot VPN guarantees a strict no-logs policy for Hotspot VPN services, meaning that your activities using Hotspot VPN Services are provided by automated technical process, are not monitored, recorded, logged, stored or passed to any third party.”
  • “We do not store connection time stamps, session information, used bandwidth, traffic logs, IP addresses or other data.”

The recently updated privacy policy does not provide specific information about encryption protocols.

Hotspot VPN Privacy Updated

 

In addition, the policy states that “Hotspot VPN stores limited personal data for the whole period when the Hotspot VPN Services are used and for no longer than 2 years after last use of the App and/or the Services.”

How Private Is Hotspot VPN?

One of the key reasons to use a VPN is privacy. While the Hotspot VPN website details the level of encryption in use, we don’t know what VPN protocols is employs. There’s also no mention of OpenVPN support.

So while Hotspot VPN boasts a detailed logging policy, the service is something of a riddle. Any questions over the privacy of a VPN service should be a red flag.

Should You Use Hotspot VPN Unlimited?

Hotspot VPN is an affordable VPN service for macOS, iOS, and Android. We tested it on an iPad and were reasonably impressed.

In terms of the software and service, the app is good, the VPN service works, and the privacy policy is satisfactory. There is some question over its suitability for torrenting, but for video streaming, Hotspot VPN works fine.

Better still, the service is affordable, with one of the best VPN subscription prices available.

However, despite a logging policy that instills confidence, the absence of information about protocols and encryption should encourage you to look elsewhere for a VPN.



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