Some features of the Hotspot Shield software application by AnchorFree include protecting a user's privacy by allowing anonymous web browsing, bypassing Internet censorship and restrictions, guarding a user's data and personal information, enabling a secure Wi-Fi connection, and safeguarding a device from malware, phishing and malicious sites. The service also incorporates data compression that allows a user to download up to two times the content for the same bandwidth cost from their data providers, potentially saving the user money.
When a user accesses Hotspot Shield, he connects to a Virtual Private Network, or VPN, allowing him to send encrypted data over what was formerly an unencrypted network. This connection allows private and secure web browsing, giving the user anonymity.
When a web surfer uses Hotspot Shield, he bypasses any filters and firewalls, effectively unblocking any websites such as social networks, web-based email and gaming sites, to which a network administrator may have restricted access. It also allows a user to access websites that are blacklisted or unavailable in his country. For example, some Arab Spring protesters in Egypt, Tunisia, and Libya used Hotspot Shield to bypass government censorship.
Hotspot Shield is a free service supported by advertising. It is also available in a subscription version offering users a premium level of Internet security. The service works for PC, Mac, iOS, Android and Kindle devices.