A free and unrestricted internet can be a dangerous place, but it’s always important for the tools that prevent government or corporate censorship of the web to stay one step ahead of the blockers.
Hotspot Shield, the world’s largest VPN Proxy service with over 350 million downloads to date, just launched a pair of web browser plugins for Chrome and Firefox browsers that will make browsing blocked content around the globe easier than ever.
Unlike past iterations of the service Hotspot Shield for web is completely ad-free, while still offering unlimited bandwidth usage so users can access sites like Facebook, Netflix and YouTube regardless of whether the websites are blacklisted in the user’s country.
I chatted with Levent Sapci, the Director of Marketing at Hotspot Shield, who told me that their product has had a major influence across the globe in protecting people’s access to an internet not restricted by government censorship.
This has been a bizarre time for internet freedom in countries like Russia that have (shortly) blocked sites like Reddit and Wikipedia. Meanwhile, users in countries like China have long relied on VPNs to access sites such as Facebook in their country, which has a worse track record for keeping the internet free than most.
VPNs aren’t just for combatting blacklists from repressive governments, they also allow users to access streamed content that may not be approved for playback in their country. Services like Netflix, for instance, aren’t available in every country, but with a Hotspot Shield plug-in users can toggle on the VPN and access the US/UK/French/Canadian Netflix or any other Netflix region regardless of where they are.
Ultimately, Sapci said that Hotspot Shield’s goal was to make their products as accessible to users as possible, and that browser plug-ins, with their direct browser integration and quick install times, were ideal for users that may not have utilized a VPN before to protect their web traffic and liberate their browsing experience.