HideMyAss – Secure and Anonymous VPN Service
Hotspot Shield in a few words: “Free Anonymous Browsing – 100% Security Through a VPN“. More: “It’s FREE!”
This small software creates a VPN – virtual private network between your computer and an Internet gateway. The tunnel prevents snoopers and hackers from viewing your email, instant messages, credit card information or anything else you send over the network.
So, you can use Hotspot Shield not only to hide your IP address but for complete anonymity! It is ideal if you need to change your IP to a US one. There several reasons you might need a US IP address, such as watching videos from Pandora or Veoh, playing an online game Mabinogi, etc.
How to use Hotspot Shield
Hotspot Shield security application is free to download and is easy to install and use.
After you download the product, you have to unzip the file and launch the setup. Hotspot Shield will be installed in a matter of seconds. When the product starts, the VPN connection is initialized as you will see in the configuration page (to see all values click Show Config):
In order to check your new IP address, go to XMyIP.com.
When you are done and you what to use your real IP address Disconnect from the VPN or exit Hotspot Shield.
Hotspot Shield – Pros and Cons
Now, I have listed several Pros and Cons regarding this solutions. Make sure you read them, especially the Cons. 🙂
- It’s free!
- It uses VPN technology
- It is more than a hide IP software, it provides total anonymity (including email, chat, etc)
- It has a 3GB limit usage per month (it was more for previous versions)
- You don’t have any guaranty that the traffic is not logged (this is my main concern). My advice is to use it with care and make sure you read the terms and conditions of using Hotspot Shield.
HotspotShield Malware Protection
HotspotShield recently added malware protection for its users. The new HotspotShield malware protection function alerts users if they access domains that are known to contain malware. The add-on is available for Windows, Mac, and iOS and uses a database of more than 3 million sites.
Speaking about the new feature, David Gorodyansky, the founder, and CEO of AnchorFree said:
“Malware is one of the biggest threats on the Web — and it’s growing every day. People go to great lengths to avoid desktop viruses, but many of us still leave our browsing sessions unprotected and open to hacking attacks. Merging our powerful encryption and private browsing technology with malware protection now makes Hotspot Shield the world’s most comprehensive Internet security solution — available at no cost to consumers.”
How the HotspotShield malware protection works
When active HotspotShield protection module throws up a warning like the one you see in the screenshot below:
There are two options in the upper right corner of a blocked page:
- Get me out of here that redirects the users to a little-known search engine for similar results.
- Go to the real site that is not recommended for obvious reasons.
How to Watch NBC Streaming Video with Hotspot Shield
In order to get NBC’s streaming video player running on your computer, you have to:
- Sign up for an NBC video account. Just go to http://my.nbc.com/accounts/registeremail and fill in your email address and then set up a password
- Temporarily, change your system time to Arizona or Mountain time. The location is important because Hotspot Shield servers are located there. This has to be done in order to trick NBC servers that you’re using a computer in the continental United States.
- Start Hotspot Shield.
- When you start the NBC video player again it will ask for your location in the United States and for a zip code. Important! The system pairs up that zip code with a specific service provider. In order to obtain a valid zip code post google “(any city) zip code” or take one from here.
- You are done! You should be able to watch everything NBC is streaming.
How to Watch Fox.com Streaming Video using Hotspot Shield
If you are located outside the US and you trying to watch your favorite show on Fox.com you’ll get the following message:
Thank you for your interest in FOX.
This episode is currently only available to viewers living in the United States.
How to unlock Fox.com from outside the US
Part of the solution is to change your IP with a US IP address. You can do this by using Hotspot Shield.
It works just fine for NBC, ABC, Hulu but it is not enough for Fox.com (thanks to Scott Piro for letting me know). The second part of the solution is that you have to delete your cookies before activating Hotspot Shield and changing your IP.
The explanation is that the first time you visit Fox.com, the site stores your location in a cookie on your computer. Next time to try to connect to the site, the information from the cookie will show your real location even though in the meanwhile you have changed your IP.
How to remove the Fox.com cookie
Here is how to delete your Fox.com cookie for Firefox users:
- Go to Tool -> Options
- Click on Privacy tab and then on Show Cookies button
- In the list box search for Fox.com
- Click on the item
- Press Remove Cookies button
After that, you can turn Hotspot Shield on and reload Fox.com.
IP ok. Still not working!
The removal of the Fox.com cookie should solve the IP problem and unlock Fox.com, but you can encounter other problems as mentioned on this forum. Here is what AriXar is saying:
Some people do actually have trouble with the fox flash player. They passed the IP check but the video won’t buffer, load or stream at all. This is because fox uses a special kind of flash player. If you haven’t watched a show on Fox or ABC via their streaming sites, you will not have this addon installed.
If your IP check went fine, you will no longer get the message that you cannot watch the show if you live outside the US, instead, you will now get a message that you have to install a new flash player addon. If you don’t get this message you can also get the addon here: http://www.movenetworks.com/install-move-player
Once installed, restart your browser and it should work fine with Fox on demand. Now, you should be able to watch your favorite show from Fox.com. Enjoy!
Hotspot Shield Connection Problems? Try this!
Sometimes Hotspot Shield can’t connect due to unknown reasons. Here is a small tip, proposed by Patrick Soon, that may solve the problem:
- Install HotSpot Shield.
- When it has finished installing it will try to open the HotSpot Shield website in your default browser: http://127.0.0.1:895/config/?action=connect&l…
- When your web browser opens go to the Address Bar and copy and paste the address into Notepad and save.
- If you get an error message stating that there is no connectivity then continue on to step 5.
- Go to: Start -> Control Panel -> Network Connection -> Local Area Connection -> Properties.
- In the General Tab, you will see a short list of ticked boxes.
- Scroll down the list and you should find Hotspot Shield Helper Driver
- Remove the tick from this box.
- Close and reopen your web browser it should now connect to your default web page.
- Remember that address you saved as a text document? Copy and past it into the address bar of your browser.
- Press the refresh icon.
- The Hotspot Shield Website will now open and assign you an I.P address i.e. it will connect you.
- It should now work normally as before.
HotspotShield Doesn’t Connect with Daemon Error. What Can I Do?
As far as I know, the Daemon Start Error is thrown if:
- You have exceeded the 3GB / month bandwidth limit. Here is an article that might help you: Fix Hotspot Shield Pulling Options Looping and Daemon Start Error Problem
- Your IP is banned by the server. It is possible that the entire class of IPs (192.xxx.xxx.xxx) is blocked because of (stupid) spammers. If this is your case, write an email to the AnchorFree support.
How To Install Hotspot Shield On Windows Vista 64 Bit
The video below shows how to install Hotspot Shield on Windows Vista 64 Bit and how to use HS to access Hulu.com.
As Jono shows in his post, there is a solution to this problem. As Hotspot Shield offers a service for the iPhone which uses L2TP to create the VPN connection, you can use the same connection within Windows Vista (and any other operating system which supports L2TP) to use the same service. Jono describes how to do it:
- Create a new VPN connection (Start > Network > Network and Sharing Center > Set up a connection or network > Connect to a workplace > Use my Internet Connection (VPN)).
- Go to Hotspot Shield for iPhone home page
- Click the Get Account ID button
- For iPhone, the instructions are clear and straightforward. To solve the problem for Vista 64-bit we need the following information:
Account: ureafp (You will get your own account)
Password: ureafp (and password)
- Enter 22.214.171.124 for the Internet Address. For Destination Name, you can enter anything you want, for example, HotspotShield. Be sure that Don’t connect now; just set it up so I can connect later is ticked.
- Enter the username and password you got and then click Remember this password and close the window.
- Go to Start->Connect To and right click on the connection you created and choose Properties.
- On the Networking tab, change Type of VPN to L2TP IPsec VPN and then click IPsec Settings.
- Choose the Use preshared key for authentication option and type in the password for the Key (this is what the iPhone calls Secret).
That’s it! For now on you will be able to connect to Hotspot Shield from your Vista 64-bit.
Update: It seems that the latest version of Hotspot Shield (1.22) solves this problem. So, download the latest version!
How to Block Ads When Using Hotspot Shield
One of the cons of using Hotspot Shield is the annoying ads built into HSS monetization scheme. The problem is the massive box on the top of every page users surfs to as well – completely vanquishing an incredible chunk of screen real-estate. This the reason Hotspot Shield is free. By running ads, AnchorFree is paying for the servers they are using.
Here is how to solve this problem and block HotspotShields ads: run Adblock add-on.
First, you should use Firefox or at least use it when browsing using Hotspot Shield. Then download an add-on called Adblock. No need to configure the add-on, it just lodges in place and has a solid, constantly-updated subscription to ad definitions. This solution does not work every time but it’s still very easy to turn the extension on/off via a button in the toolbar.
Hotspot Shield milestone
On the 6th of January, 2010, AnchorFree announced that they had reached another amazing milestone: that of surpassing more than a billion monthly page views in November. This is definitely The Wednesday to celebrate for Anchor Free. This milestone is just a reflection of the increasing user base and popularity of the product.
Another significant change was the inclusion of a new member of AnchorFree’s advisory board. This new member is Rick Roth, marketing communications veteran and former worldwide CEO of Ogilvy Action. There is no doubt about the fact that Rick Roth’s years of experience in marketing and brand development will do great things for the corporation. This can only mean faster growth and continued global expansion.
The increasing internet censorship being employed by certain governments has to lead to an even greater demand for AnchorFree’s HotSpot Shield as more and more people are anxiously trying to hold on to their right to uncensored internet surfing, even if they have to do so anonymously under protection from VPNs. Started in 2006, HotSpot Shield has seen an exponential growth in its user base and consumer quantity. The consumer base has crossed 7.5 million monthly users worldwide. Hot Spot Shield works on iPhones, as well as personal and public computers at homes, offices, airports and coffee shops around the world keeping the security, identity, and freedom of netizens safe throughout the world.
The one billion landmark was no doubt a result of two very important advances made by Anchor Free in HotSpot Shield. The first was the new release of HotSpot Shield for Windows and Macintosh. The latter allows users throughout the world to view this tool in seven different languages.
Anchor Free and Webroot
The second of these steps was the new partnership between Anchor Free and Webroot. Together these two giants announced the release of a better, Ad-free version of HotSpot Shield, which was to be paid for but would allow the user the same security offered by the older Hot Spot Shield which was powered by advertising. This is good news indeed as this means the integration of the Webroot antivirus and antispyware protection with Anchor Free’s superb encryption technology.
Founder and CEO of AnchorFree, David Gorodyansky, was optimistic about the company’s plan to expand the reach of HotSpot Shield to an even wider consumer base.
The most important role played by HotSpot Shield is the ‘democratization’ of the internet space, allowing people over the world access to various websites which may or may not be ‘prohibited’ by law in their respective countries.
To sum up, Hotspot Shield is an excellent free anonymous browsing tool to hide your IP and get a US IP address, but, as with other good things in life, do not abuse it.
If Hotspot Shield does not work for you or it is blocked in your country, you should try some alternative VPN services.