How to Bypass Internet Censorship

Hotspot Shield

Hotspot Shield is a free (but commercial) VPN solution available for Microsoft Windows and Mac OS, which can be used to access the uncensored Internet through a secure tunnel (over your normal, censored Internet connection).

Hotspot Shield encrypts all your communications, so your censor's surveillance software can't see what sites you're accessing.

General Information

Supported operating system
Localization English
Web site



How to get Hotspot Shield

Download the software from The file size is about 6MB, so on a slow dial-up connection this can take up to 25 minutes or more. If the download is blocked from where you are trying to access it, write to and include at least one of these words in the subject line of your e-mail: "hss", "sesawe", "hotspot" or "shield". You will receive the installer as an e-mail attachment in your inbox.

Important: if you are using Firefox with the NoScript extension enabled, you may experience some issues when trying to use Hotspot Shield. Make sure that all URLs that Hotspot Shield connects to are whitelisted, or that you temporarily allow scripts globally while using this service.

Installing Hotspot Shield

  1. After a successful download, locate the downloaded file on your computer and start the installation by double clicking the icon

  2. Windows may ask you for permission to install the software. Click Yes.

  3. Select your preferred installation language from the dropdown menu.

  4. After you select the language, you will see a welcome screen. Click Next.

  5. Accept the license agreement by clicking on "I Agree".

  6. You will see a window informing you about additional software which can be installed optionally. Click Next.

  7. On the next screen you can uncheck the option to install the optional Hotspot Shield Community Toolbar. This feature is not needed to run Hotspot Shield.

  8. Additional options will be presented at the next screen. All these features are optional, and you don't need any of them enabled to run Hotspot Shield.

  9. Select the location on your hard drive where you want Hotspot Shield to be installed. In most cases you can leave the default values and proceed by clicking Install.

  10. Windows may request additional permissions several times to install different components of Hotspot Shield. You can safely proceed by clicking Install every time.

  11. When the installation is completed, click Next.

  12. Finally, you can launch Hotspot Shield immediately after installation and you can create an icon for your desktop. Choose your preferences and click Finish.

Hotspot Shield is now installed on your computer.

Connecting to the Hotspot Shield service

  1. Click on the Hotspot Shield Launch icon on your desktop or from the menu Programs > Hotspot Shield.

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  2. Once you launch Hotspot Shield, a browser window will open with a status page showing different stages of the connection attempt, such as "Authenticating" and "Assigning IP address".

  3. Once connected, Hotspot Shield will redirect you to a welcome page. Click Start to begin surfing.

  4. Please note that after you click Start, Hotspot Shield may redirect you to an advertisement page such as the one displayed below. You can close this tab and start surfing the Web as usual. You can check that you are connected to the Hotspot Shield service by looking at the green Hotspot Shield icon in your system tray (next to the clock).

  5. To check your connection status, simply right click on the Hotspot Shield system tray icon and select Properties.

Disconnecting from the Hotspot Shield service

  1. To disconnect from the Hotspot Shield service right click on the system tray icon (see image above) and select Disconnect/OFF.
  2. Hotspot Shield will ask you to confirm this action. Click Disconnect.

  3. A status window will appear confirming you are now disconnected and surfing on your normal (filtered) connection. Click on the "CONNECT" button to resume circumvention.