Perhaps you already know that your internet IP address is your identity on the internet. It can be used to identify you and locate you geographically on the world map. Free Hotspot Shield VPN is a free virtual private networking (VPN) service that allows you to hide your IP address, hide your online fingerprint, surf the web anonymously and more.
Hotspot Shield VPN is one of the most popular free VPN services available for Windows and Mac PC. It is also available for the iPhone and Android based mobile phones. It can replace the IP address assigned to you by your ISP with another IP address using the virtual private networking. This way when you use the internet, you do not expose your actual IP address to the world. Hotspot Shield can assign you a new IP address located in USA, Australia or UK.
You can download and install Hotspot Shield VPN from its website. The downloaded installer contains everything you need to get started including VPN driver files. The downloader also contains the Conduit toolbar which is not required for Hotspot Shield to work, so if you want, then you can select not to install the toolbar. After the installation, it places an icon in the notification area icon and automatically connects to the VPN server, fetches a new IP address for your PC and makes you anonymous. The green Hotspot Shield icon in the notification area shows that you are protected (which means that you connected to VPN and have a new IP address).
You can click on the notification area to see the protection status window. It would show how much data you have downloaded and uploaded through the VPN server. You can also view and switch the virtual location from United States, United Kingdom and Australia. If you click on the Test Protection in the Hotspot Shield status window, then it would open a website showing your current IP address and geo-location as seen by everyone else.
If you want to pause the protection for some time, then you can click on the Pause Protection button and choose for how long you want to turn off Hotspot Shield VPN. You can change the pause protection settings from the Hotspot Shield Settings window. In the settings, you can also change if Hotspot Shield should run automatically with Windows, place a status icon in the notification area, turn on VPN for new networks automatically and so on.
Hotspot Shield also displays the connection status in the window of all the web browsers. It works for Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox and other web browsers. This is very useful to see the VPN status right from the web browser window itself. The extension shows the status in form of an icon (exactly same as the notification area icon) – green icon means you are protected and connected to the Hotspot Shield VPN while the red icon means you are not connected.
Hotspot Shield works with both the wired and wireless network connections. You can use it to hide your real identity when accessing websites from your home computer or to access websites that are blocked in your own country. But it is not recommended that you use any kind of VPN service or proxy service while doing some financial transactions like accessing your bank account, opening PayPal website etc. The free version of Hotspot Shield displays advertisements on all the websites that you visit. If you do not want to view the advertisments, then you can get the paid version of Hotspot Shield which does not show any advertisements and costs about US$ 29.95 per year.
You can download and install Hotspot Shield VPN from http://www.hotspotshield.com/.