Sunday, 5 August 2012
Hideman VPN and Hotspot Shield VPN: surf safe over unsafe internet connections
Ancient problem: how do you send confidential information when you can't trust the messenger? Modern solution: virtual private networks turn unsafe traffic on public WiFi in bars and coffeeshops into secure encrypted connections. Unfortunately most VPN services want your money, but there are some exceptions. Hideman VPN and Hotspot Shield give you VPN for free, usually at decent speed.
Hideman VPN gives you 5 hours of secure internet per week for free. That doesn't sound like a lot, but it's enough for online banking and shopping. For most other web surfing you don't need a secure connection, so five free hours a week will do the job for almost everyone.
The app is so simple that anyone can VPN on Android. Launch, connect, go online, and disconnect when you're done. Connection speed varies, but in my tests it's adequate for surfing the web, email, and doing stuff with your Android online banking app. It's too slow for video streams or downloading movies and music, but why would you need a VPN for that if you're on public WiFi?
Hotspot Shield VPN doesn't have any time limits. It's ad-supported, but I've never seen an ad in this app. I guess AdAway is doing what it's meant to do ;)
Minor problem: Hotspot Shield can be really slow (disconnecting and reconnecting usually speeds things up a bit), but slow and safe is better than fast and leaky. Major problem: Hotspot Shield doesn't have an off switch and keeps a big ugly red icon in your notification bar. Hotspot Shield is one of the reasons why task killers can be useful.
Hideman VPN is better than Hotspot Shield, but it's a good idea to keep both apps. When your free hours on Hideman run out you can switch to Hotspot Shield for a slower but functional secure connection.
To check that your VPN connection is working as it should, head to ip.cih.ms before and after you switch on your VPN app. The IP address reported by ip.cih.ms should change when you connect to a VPN.
• Hideman VPN
• Hotspot Shield VPN