Which VPN protocol should I choose?

A VPN protocol is how the VPN encrypts data that the app sends to its servers. In many cases, changing your device's protocol can help with connection issues. Be sure to change protocols if you do encounter an issue. 

Hotspot Shield offers many different protocols available to choose from. Be sure to always update to the latest version for the most current list of options.

By design, Hydra, our award-winning proprietary protocol, is built to be the fastest and most secure option. We recommend using Hydra or Automatic whenever possible, the latter of which will choose the best option for your network. If Hydra is blocked or you’d like to try another protocol, here’s how you can choose the protocol.

Go to Settings > VPN protocol. Then select the protocol you want to use.

Here’s a brief summary of each protocol: 

  • Hydra (proprietary) - best overall performance with strong privacy (looks like regular encrypted web traffic) and difficult for censors to block.
  • Automatic (recommended) or Smart - auto connects to the best overall performance protocol. 
  • Ipsec (ikev2) - has high security, fast, is easier to block than Hydra, high security.
  • Wireguard - A new protocol we have implemented into our VPN. This is currently only available for Android and Mac devices. A faster and easier protocol with a less chance of decryption and high security.