At this point, pretty much everyone agrees that VPNs are important. Whether it’s about protecting your privacy or bypassing geo-restrictions – everyone should use a VPN when they go online.

The only problem is the best VPNs cost money. Sure, there are some companies that offer cheap packages but nothing beats free, right?

Except that free VPNs come with a number of risks. They may inject malware in your device or they might monitor and sell your data. And why not? It takes a lot of resources in setting up and running a VPN server. If a company is offering you that for free, it must want something in return.

So it all boils down to which VPN to use – the free ones are risky and the paid ones are, well, paid. If you want to have the best of both the worlds, you can try the free version of a premium VPN like Hotspot Shield.

Companies like Hotspot Shield offer free packages to users to that they’ll like the services and upgrade to their regular packages. These plans offer the same security and other services as the paid ones but are often limited in their use.

Let’s review the two versions of Hotspot Shield and discuss their features.

Free vs. Paid Packages by Hotspot Shield

Hotspot Shield has a free plan and an Elite plan. You can use the free version but the connections will be slower and there will be no dedicated support services. That’s a fair trade-off considering it's free.

Here’s what you’ll get in the free version.

  • Only US servers
  • Ad-supported
  • Only 500MB per day
  • Slower than usual speeds
  • Premium Payment Wall will be displayed when you stream video content
  • No dedicated support

Compare this to the Elite package that will offer:

  • 29 virtual locations
  • No ads
  • No data caps
  • High speeds
  • No distraction when streaming video content
  • Ability to connect up to 5 devices simultaneously on one license
  • Dedicated support available

While the Elite version is better, it will cost you $3.49 per month on a 3-year package.

If you don’t want to spend that, you can use the free package. The problem is, 500 MB data isn’t enough for most people. You will need to cut back on websites and apps that eat your data, and streaming will be a rare treat.

Things you can do with 500MB per day

Google search

We look up so many things almost every day, almost always with Google. If you don’t want Google to track your activities, you can use the free version to search for things on Google.

Online shopping

Online shopping websites are usually optimized and load quickly. If you want to make a secure purchase, you can use the free version of Hotspot Shield.

Social media

A lot of people use VPNs for social media. They use fake accounts and a VPN provide IP address so they can express their views without risking their safety and security. The free version of Hotspot Shield will help you do that.

And if you want to do more with it, here’s how you can stretch out 500 MB.

Use it on your mobile

Mobile websites load faster and mobile caches keep downloaded images so if you have to open the same website again, the system doesn’t have to load everything.

Limit background data

Some apps keep using data in the background. This will eat up Hotspot Shield Free's data limit in no time. So disable the apps that use data behind your back.

When You Need More

While it’s possible to limit your consumption to just 500MB per day, you might be enticed into opening that cute cat video on Facebook or a recipe video on YouTube. If you want to load video content without any issues, you’ll need to switch to the Elite version.

While you’ll need to pay for it, $3.49 per month isn’t really that much. By spending that amount, you’ll get higher speeds, unlimited bandwidth, connectivity with more servers, and a lot more.

As you can see, the Elite version packs a lot more power to it. And the best thing is that there’s a 45-day money back guarantee on it. So if you’re not happy with their services, you can just claim a refund and they’ll send your money back. It’s simple, effective, and easy!

If you want a complete Hotspot Shield review from experts and users, you’ll find it here.