Podcast: Hotspot Shield – Free Ad-supported VPN – A Conversation with AnchorFree CEO

I spoke with AnchorFree CEO and Co-Founder David Gorodyansky about the firm’s free ad-support Virtual Private Network (VPN) service…

Hotspot Shield

I did not feel comfortable enough with the service and its software before speaking with David to record this podcast. By the end of my discussion with him, I felt comfortable enough with the service and its VPN client software to install it on my netbook running Microsoft Windows 7 Beta. AnchorFree also has a free Mac OS X VPN client available. And, the iPhone’s native VPN support can be configured to work with Hotspot Shield.

The Hotspot Shield VPN provides an SSL (Secure Socket Layer) connection between your computer (Windows PC, Mac, or iPhone) and AnchorFree’s VPN servers. Browser sessions that already use SSL (https:// URLs) remain untouched. However, everything else gains an extra layer of 128-bit encryption. This can be very helpful when, for example, you are using a notebook or netbook at a public WiFi hotspot like a coffee shot, airport, or hotel.

Here’s what I learned while speaking with David for the podcast…

– Ads that are 90 pixels high are added to some (but not all in my experience) web pages. These inserted advertisement support the free VPN service
– You can remove this advertisement bar
– The iPhone does NOT display advertisements when used with the Hotspot Shield VPN service
– AnchorFree does not collect or store end-user IP addresses

Here’s what I learned after installing the Hotspot Shield VPN client on my netbook running Windows 7 Beta…

– AnchorFree does NOT ask any information of any kind from you before downloading the software from their website or during the software installation process. I was not asked for any information at all.
– The VPN client can be connected and disconnected at will.
– I saw both my normal 192.168.x.x non-routeable IP address assigned by my home router as well as a non-routeable 10.x.x.x IP address assigned by Hotspot Shield after running the client. A couple of checks indicated that my external IP address switched from my cable modem company’s IP address localized to my region to one from Hotspot Shield located in Colorado.
– I didn’t notice any perceptible performance issues while using Hotspot Shield
– I did, however, note a few web pages that didn’t render correctly when using Hotspot Shield. I need to do a bit more research to confirm this, however.

I’m glad David took the time to speak with me about Hotspot Shield. I think I’ve found a service that I’m going to use going forward. I’d be interested to know if anyone who listens to this podcast also feels more comfortable after listening to it.

– You can listen to the podcast right now from your web browser by using the embedded player above.
– You can also subscribe to the podcast in iTunes or this RSS feed.
– You can also point your smartphone’s browser at mobiletoday.podbean.com to listen to or download the MP3 file over the air to your phone.