proXPN vs Hide My Ass vs TunnelBear vs Hotspot Shield: VPN Options Reviewed
A virtual private network, or VPN, is a tool that can help you bypass blocks of various kinds, or just keep your computer private and away from prying eyes. Here are some popular VPN options currently on the market, plus a review and comparison of each of their services.
ProXPN is a Freemium VPN service that has both a free Basic account and a Premium account option that costs a bit over $6 per month. One of the notable things about the service is that the free accounts don’t have data or time limits, though the speed is throttled.
- Unlimited Data Transfer and Connection-Many free tools limit how much data you can transfer total in a month, but ProXPN doesn’t. It also doesn’t limit your time under the free account the way many do.
- Free Premium Trial-You can try out the Premium version of the service for free for 30 days. You can only do this if you’re a new customer, though.
- OpenVPN-Even the free version of ProXPN gives you access to OpenVPN, which is a highly popular way to use VPN services since it’s open source.
Hide My Ass
HideMyAss is an effective service for staying clear from monitoring from private institutions, and it’s feature-rich in this regard.
- 8/10 on TrustPilot-The independent reviewing site, TrustPilot, has a high score for Hide My Ass from over 1500 reviews. People who use it for unblocking or other non-government approaches really like it.
- Secure IP Bind-This feature allows you to set specific conditions for a specific application that you use to access the Internet. This way, you can prevent applications from running when you lose the VPN connection.
- Dynamic IP Address Switching-HideMyAss makes it so that you can change your IP address randomly on a pre-scheduled loop. This also comes with an IP checker from a third party so that you have a constant sense of what your IP address actually is online at all times.
TunnelBear has strong features for VPN users including software that’s intuitive and easy to pick up, as well as a high level of security and a high maximum devices allowed at 5.
- Connect 5 Devices per Account-This includes phones, tablets, computers or other devices that can connect to the Internet.
- Vigilant Mode-TunnelBear makes it so that your connection just turns off completely when the VPN is down. That way, you don’t have to worry about unsecured traffic.
- Military Grade Encryption-Tunnel Bear has the 256-bit AES encryption as its default mode. The site actually says ‘weaker encryption isn’t even an option.’
More than 400 million people have downloaded Hotspot Shield, and it’s popular with places like Forbes, CNN, ABC, Forbes, and others.
- Chrome Extension-You can install the Hotspot Shield VPN extension into Chrome to make it easy to turn it on real quick on the fly.
- Unblocking-The service is known for helping you to get around blocks on games, social media, videos, and other sites. These blocks are sometimes imposed by free WiFi hotspots, for example.
- Hotspot Safety-When you use the service, it’s specifically designed to make sure that you remain secure at Hotspots. Free WiFi hotspots are not usually secure, so this can really help.
Head to Head
ProXPN is free to use for a Basic Account. If you want a Premium Account, the cost goes as high as $6.25 per month. For this amount, you get extras like Unlimited VPN speed, the ability to use Torrents, your complete choice of ports, customer support options, and more.
If you pay ahead of time, Hide My Ass goes for $6.53 per month, making it just a bit more expensive than ProXPN. The difference is that ProXPN doesn’t make you pay ahead of time, so you have more flexibility there.
TunnelBear has a free option that gives you free 500 MB of data every month. This contrasts with ProXPN that doesn’t limit your data at all even with a free account. The “Giant” plan is about $8 per month for unlimited data. If you pay it yearly, this goes down to $4.16 per month. This makes it cheaper than Pro or Hide My Ass.
Hotspot Shield is free to use at a basic level, but you can upgrade to the “Elite” membership. This includes a unique option called “Forever” which is a one-time payment of $100 that lets you use the service for as long as you want. If you pay 2 years in advance, it’s only $2.08 per month. Otherwise, it’s $12 a month with some iterations in between. You can pay through credit card or PayPal. This makes it the cheapest option by far if you go far enough into the future.
ProXPN doesn’t allow Torrents if you use the free version, but they do open this up to you, including the necessary ports, if you go Premium. What they absolutely do have, however, is unlimited data and time constraints on free accounts.
Hide My Ass has definitely known a little controversy in its past since they worked with the police to identify some of their customers on at least one occasion. Overall, though, those who use the service appear very happy with it, and those who aren’t worried about government or police surveillance at all will be able to use the service just fine.
TunnelBear lets you connect 5 computers per plan, which is an advantage over many other services like Hide My Ass, which only gives you 2. TunnelBear has “Vigilant mode” which blocks all unsecured traffic until reconnected. This is similar to what Hide My Ass has, except its universal rather than program specific. Some people have complained about the support options on the site, however, saying they can be unreliable.
Hotspot Shield gives you virtual locations in USA, UK, Japan, China, India, Honk Kong and Germany, though this is fewer spots than you get with Hide My Ass, and it’s only with the Elite version. The service does have a unique option of giving you cloud-based malware protection while browsing, however.