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 What is a VPN? to learn more about Hotspot Shield VPN.
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 Wi-Fi network can be just as unsafe as a Public Wi-Fi 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
Hotspot Shield VPN is “a top choice for encrypting your Wi-Fi connection.” - PCWorld
Start enjoying these benefits in just a few clicks. Download Hotspot Shield VPN and give it a try for free.
How does a VPN work?
When you are at home, at a coffee shop, or while traveling, and connected to ISP without 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 — to commit fraud.
Frequently asked questions
Corporate vs personal VPNs
A corporate VPN 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:
- United Arab Emirates
- North Korea
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 among 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.