What is a VPN?

A virtual private network, or VPN, extends across a public or shared network and acts like a tunnel so you can exchange data securely and anonymously across the internet as if you were connected directly to a private network. Watch our What is a VPN? video below to learn more about Hotspot Shield VPN.

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VPN explained

Information traveling between a connected device (computer, smartphone, tablet) and a VPN server is encrypted, and as a result, any applications running on the VPN network benefit from the security, functionality, and strength of the private network.

What many people don’t know is your home WiFi network can be just as unsafe as a Public WiFi network. Additional layers of security are needed to keep hackers, cyber criminals, and data thieves at bay. A VPN provides the privacy and data security you need.

A top-tier VPN service, like Hotspot Shield VPN, has the following advantages:

  • Helps you avoid censorship blocks
  • Masks your IP address
  • Hides your physical location
  • Encrypts data between your computer and the VPN server
  • Does not log your browsing activity
  • Allows you to access popular streaming services like Netflix and YouTube from other countries

Start enjoying these Hotspot Shield benefits in just a few clicks. Download Hotspot Shield VPN and give it a try for free.

Hotspot Shield VPN is “a top choice for encrypting your WiFi connection.”

PC World

How does a VPN work

VPN is off

When you are at home, at a coffee shop, or while traveling, and connected to WiFi without a VPN, you are connected to a public or shared network through your Internet Service Provider.

This means that any information you send through the public network is just that: public. Since an ISP can see what information you’re accessing, they can control the content you have access to by blocking and censoring websites.

Virtually anyone with the tools and know-how, including governments and businesses, can see what you’re doing, track when you do it, and where you do it from.

What’s worse is hackers and cybercriminals can steal your personal information — such as credit cards, bank account numbers, passwords, and other personal data you don’t want out in the open — and use it to commit fraud. Hence connecting to public WiFi without a VPN is not safe.

How does a VPN protect me?

Hides your IP address and physical location

With a VPN, you are borrowing the IP address and physical location of the VPN’s server, thus you do not expose your personal information. In addition, many people use the same server simultaneously, so it’s much harder to separate your data from the data of others on the same server. Changing your IP address is especially important. With your IP address exposed, anyone can track your location, so you need to know how IP addresses work and use a VPN to protect yourself.

No logging

Hotspot Shield VPN does not log your browsing activity. Almost all Internet Service Providers (ISPs) track your browsing history. So when you use a VPN like Hotspot Shield, there is no record of the websites you have visited and which apps you use. This prevents hackers from exploiting vulnerabilities in these websites/apps to get to your personal information.

Data encryption

Your data is encrypted between your device and the VPN server. Even if a hacker is able to intercept your data between your device and the VPN server, it’s virtually impossible for them to decipher the information.

Kill Switch protection

Insist on a VPN that has Kill Switch protection. There is a security vulnerability that can reveal your private information if your VPN connection is lost, even just for a few seconds. The solution is to be sure that you’re protected by a Kill Switch. A Kill Switch stops all data from being sent to the internet until a secure VPN connection has been re-established. If your VPN software does not have a Kill Switch, your computer might be leaking your private information without your knowledge.

Hotspot Shield VPN provides all of the benefits mentioned above. Get protected in just a few clicks.

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How do I use a VPN?

Using a VPN is simple, with Hotspot Shield VPN you can connect with just one click. Once you download Hotspot Shield VPN and sign up, all you have to do is:

  • Step 1

    Connect to the internet with any device

  • Step 2

    Open the Hotspot Shield app

  • Step 3

    Click “Connect”

It’s really that easy! Now, you’re free to access the content you want when you want it, wherever you are.

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What are the main benefits of using a VPN?

  • Stream everything

    Stream everything

    With unlimited bandwidth, you can access all your favorite content — like unblocked games and streaming sites — from any device, anywhere. Hotspot Shield is rated “by far the fastest VPN” by PC World.

  • Location privacy

    Location privacy

    By connecting to a VPN, you can hide your IP address and location from public view. Hotspot Shield has over 3,200 servers in more than 70+ countries so you can choose where you connect.

  • Military-grade security

    Military-grade security

    Hotspot Shield VPN uses best-in-class security and 256-bit AES encryption to ensure your data is protected so you can’t be watched or tracked, even from public WiFi hotspots.

  • Anonymous browsing

    Anonymous browsing

    Anonymous browsing with Hotspot Shield VPN never tracks, logs, or stores any of your personally identifiable information, including your IP address.

Why else should I get a VPN?

  • Avoid censorship and surveillance

    Avoid censorship and surveillance

    Governments, businesses, and hackers all over the world can see your private data, censor your favorite sites, and steal sensitive information. Unblock websites, prevent snoopers and hackers, and put a stop to it with Hotspot Shield VPN.

  • Get unlimited bandwidth

    Get unlimited bandwidth

    Never worry about how much data you use ever again. Unlimited bandwidth means unlimited access to all your favorite content for streaming Netflix, browsing, accessing blocked social media sites and apps, and more with our VPN.

  • Keep your information private

    Keep your information private

    Hackers, cyber criminals, and identity thieves scour the internet for your personal data. Using our VPN for private secure browsing, your data is indecipherable because we use the highest standard of encryption.

  • Use the fastest VPNs available

    Use the fastest VPNs available

    With over 30 patents, our unique, proprietary VPN technology optimizes multiple server connections that are stronger and faster over long distances. Hotspot Shield has been proven to be the fastest VPN on the market.

  • Connect on any device

    Connect on any device

    Just like you, we’ve got a lot of different devices, so why not connect them all? Connect up to 5 devices under 1 VPN account, for Mac, Windows, iOS, Android, Chrome, and more.

  • It’s super easy to use

    It’s super easy to use

    Sign up, install, and connect. That’s it. Once you see the check mark, you’re good to go. We’ve engineered Hotspot Shield VPN for the easiest, most intuitive user experience on the market.

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Frequently asked questions

Corporate vs personal VPNs

A corporate VPN, or VPN for business, allows remote workers to connect to the secure private network at their workplace. These trusted connections allow employees to be productive when they are out of the office, while keeping the company’s network safe.

A personal VPN uses similar technology, but has an entirely different function. This type of VPN allows you to protect your privacy when you’re online. It’s especially useful when you’re using an unsecured internet connection.

Is a VPN 100% anonymous?

A VPN is the easiest way to have a high level of privacy protection when you’re online. This is especially true when using public or unsecured internet connections. However, VPNs cannot provide complete anonymity. Here are three ways that you won’t be able to remain anonymous, even when using a VPN.

First, if a VPN service logs your browsing history, then that information can be linked to your customer account. Next, if a government agency like the NSA wants to monitor you individually, there are ways to do it. Using a VPN like Hotspot Shield VPN will provide a high level of protection against blanket government surveillance and hackers. But no VPN will protect you against sophisticated, highly targeted government surveillance.

Finally, the websites you visit can track you with cookies or browser fingerprinting. No VPN service can protect against these monitoring techniques and you will need to use browser plugins or other security measures to protect your privacy.

Are free VPNs safe?

There’s no such thing as a completely free VPN. It costs money to maintain a VPN service. If you don’t know how a VPN service is making money, then they are probably selling your data to pay for their expenses.

We subsidize our free version by displaying advertisements and we do not collect or sell your personally identifiable information. Our free version provides the same basic level of protection that is included in our paid plans. If you would like to remove the ads and get additional benefits, then you can upgrade to Hotspot Shield Premium. When people upgrade to our premium version, it provides additional revenue to keep our service running smoothly.

The bottom line is that a free VPN isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but you need to understand how a service makes money. If you just need a basic level of privacy protection, then a free VPN from a reputable company can be a perfect solution for you. To get started with our free version, click here: Download Free VPN.

Is it legal to use a VPN?

It’s perfectly legal to use a VPN in most countries. However, there are a handful of countries where VPN use is a legal gray area or banned altogether. Some countries only allow the use of approved VPNs and others have separate laws for companies and individuals.

Be particularly careful when traveling to the following countries:

  • China
  • Iran
  • Oman
  • Russia
  • Turkey
  • United Arab Emirates
  • Belarus
  • Iraq
  • North Korea
  • Turkmenistan

Hotspot Shield VPN works in most countries, but that doesn’t mean it’s always legal to use a VPN in a specific country. If you have any doubts about the legality of using a VPN in a certain country, always consult a qualified lawyer because laws can change quickly. If you’re still unsure, then it’s best to play it safe and abide by the most conservative guidelines of a country.

Will a VPN slow down my internet connection?

It depends on what VPN service you use. Since VPN services encrypt your data and require you to connect to a VPN server before connecting to the internet, these extra steps will slow down your connection, at least a little bit.

Low-quality VPN services will cause a significant slowdown on even the fastest internet connection. Sometimes the difference is so drastic that it can render a high-speed connection almost unusable.

However, if you’re using a top-tier VPN service, the difference in speed usually isn’t noticeable, and can sometimes speed up your connection. You can still watch streaming videos and download large files without interruption. Our VPN servers are the fastest in the industry and we work hard to keep it that way. Download Hotspot Shield VPN and get privacy protection without sacrificing speed.

Does a VPN work on mobile operating systems like iOS and Android?

Yes, you can download a mobile app on these operating systems and get the same protection that you enjoy on your desktop or laptop computer. Our premium plan allows you to protect up to 5 devices, so there’s no need to worry about privacy or security on any device you’re using.

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