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Hoxx VPN Review
- Hoxx VPN is a VPN with both free and premium options
- It is focused on browser extensions and proxy servers
- Based in Florida, in the United States, with about 50 servers
- The premium version uses stronger encryption than the free version
- It logs your data, granting no privacy
Table of Contents:
- What is Hoxx VPN
- Does Hoxx VPN Surveil You
- Why is This a Problem
- How are its Features
- The Paid Version
- How Easy is it to Use
- How is the Customer Support
- Who is Hoxx VPN For
What is Hoxx VPN? ➡️
Hoxx VPN is a virtual private network service that operates through two means: Either through an app or through an addon installed on your browser.
It touts itself as a VPN that you can install in seconds with no configuration. It emphasizes security over public networks as well as privacy during use.
It is important to note what it says in order to compare that to what it does. VPNs are meant to protect you from certain kinds of invasions of privacy. Specifically, they protect you from data collection.
This data collection is either going to be done by an institution, like a corporation, or an individual, like a hacker. In both cases they are after the same thing: Obviously, they want to log your keystrokes to get passwords and banking information. But they also want to look at your internet traffic habits.
The goal of most surveillance is to find out how a person behaves. Once that behavior is analyzed, the person or persons doing the surveilling can manipulate that behavior. Advertising is an example of this.
There are two sides to that process: The actual surveillance, and the use of that information to modify the behavior of the surveilled person. VPNs protect you from the latter so you can avoid the former.
But what if your VPN does not protect you from being surveilled upon? In fact, what if your VPN is the one doing the surveillance? After all, virtual private networks do have access to your own network.
Does Hoxx VPN Surveil You? 👀️
It is a tall accusation to accuse an application of spying on its users. Such a thing cannot be said lightly, nor can it be said with any degree of uncertainty. So, it falls to us to prove that it is actually happening.
They state that while “It is impossible to know if you visited an illegal site” they “will hand over logs of your activity to the authorities” if they ask. From this statement we can infer one important thing: Hoxx VPN keeps logs of your activity while using their VPN.
And finally, their contracts and agreements make no mention of any promise of how they plan to use these logs. They collect all of this data while you use their VPN, with not even a word of their intent.
Why is This a Problem? 🤔️
There are two reasons why Hoxx VPN’s policy on logging your activity is a problem.
- It means that they are one security breach away from losing it.
- It means they can sell it themselves at any time.
When corporations like Facebook and YouTube collect data, they usually do it to feed it to advertisers. They watch what you do on your web browser, log it, and then sell it to anyone who will pay.
Most of the time, the paying customers are advertising agencies that use bots to figure out what sort of products to put in front of you. But obviously, there is also the chance of them selling it to a group that is a little more direct in their money-making approach. Many robocalls are the product of this business.
This is part of the reason why so many social media sites require a phone number of two-factor authentication when an email address will do just as well: They can then sell your phone number.
So, what is stopping Hoxx VPN from doing the same thing? They have no obligation to divulge their business operations to you. Therefore, they can see you, but you have no way of seeing them.
They could be selling your data behind your back. Not only is that your data they are making money off of, but you also have no say in who it is being sold to. This is what VPNs are supposed to protect you from. This does not mean that they are selling your data, but you would have no recourse if they were.
And of course, similar to Facebook, all that data being collected and stored in one place makes it a prime target for hackers. If Hoxx VPN’s logs are compromised (which is more likely than it is with large corporations since large corporations have better security) then your data is compromised with it.
How are its Features?
Now, while Hoxx VPN going against the functions of a VPN might be bad, not every user is going to consider this a deal-breaker. Most will, and many should, but there are those who will be willing to trust.
And if you are, go to town. In that case, let us consider the features of Hoxx VPN.
To begin with, Hoxx VPN is more of a proxy server service than it is a real VPN. What does that mean? Well, VPN stands for virtual private network, and it does not really establish a private network for you.
What Hoxx VPN does is establish an artificial network connection with false or scrambled location data. That means you can either set your location to somewhere specific or set it to be non-specific. If you are setting it to be specific, then you can gain access to region-locked websites.
If you set your location to being non-specific, then at the very least you will be able to confuse certain businesses’ ability to track you. Part of the problem with Hoxx VPN is that it does not spoof much more than your location. It does encrypt things, but it only really acts as a VPN in the paid version.
The Paid Version 💵️
Hoxx VPN has a premium version that has much better encryption than the free version.
In this case, it acts more like a VPN due to the calls for your information from sites like Facebook and YouTube being encrypted by it, and then the information that your computer sends out being encrypted by it as well.
Talking about the premium version of Hoxx VPN is a good time to talk about its speeds.
There is no difference between the speeds of the free version and the speeds of the premium version. That sounds like a good thing for the free version’s users, but it is really a rip-off for the premium users.
The issue is that both speeds are relatively slow, bordering on dysfunctional. This gets worse when you try to spoof a location (which, as mentioned before, is its primary selling point).
And if you are based outside the United States and trying to use Hoxx VPN, then you are going to quickly find that the speeds are never going to be functional for you. It is just too reliant on physical data servers that are based in the United States. Therefore, it has to contact them to establish the server.
This is not helped by the fact that it is logging your activities while you use the internet.
How Easy is it to Use?
One of the biggest upsides to Hoxx VPN is that it is easy to use. Both its app and its browser plugins can be installed in seconds. That is simple and user-friendly. But there are drawbacks to this.
It is possible for an app to be too easy to use. This is because if an app is too easy to use, then that is usually because the app is lacking in features in some way. This is a balancing act that developers have worked on for years: The tension between features and a good user experience.
If an app can install itself, set itself up, and begin functioning with little to no input from you, then there is a problem: How do you know what it does? How do you get feedback on whether or not it is working?
Hoxx VPN does work once you install it. You can tell as much because it is not completely automated. But it can be difficult to tell the extent of what it does, especially when it says it is a VPN while violating some of the principles of what a VPN is meant to do. Basically, it lacks any fine customization options.
As with the previous issues we discussed, this will not be a deal-breaker for everyone. Most people like apps that are automatic and easy to use. But there is a conflict in that rule being applied to VPNs.
VPNs are naturally hard to understand. They require a base level of technological literacy that is higher than your usual apps. While most apps are trying to represent pre-existing functions from the real world in a more efficient digital form (maps apps, art apps, social media apps, etc.) VPNs are purely digital.
That means that their functionality is more abstract, and the overlap between their userbase and the technologically savvy users of the world is stronger. The main thing that technologically savvy users want is not necessarily the ability to customize their experience, but the ability to maximize its value.
For a lot of users, those two things are intrinsically linked. And that means that the lack of levers to pull and knobs to adjust in Hoxx VPN’s interface will be a turn-off for them. Using the app will feel less like an “event”, and some will feel like nothing is happening at all. And they will be mostly correct.
The line between what is happening and nothing happening will be much smaller than with most VPNs.
How is the Customer Support?
This is worth noting simply because it is different than most other VPN services. It is not necessarily a bad thing, but it is unique. Hoxx VPN’s customer support is done mostly over email.
This can be a bad thing, as it results in your queries taking up to 24 hours to get a response. If you are suffering through some sort of VPN emergency, then that will end up proving annoying.
However, it also means that communication will not rely on speaking to another person. That can be a huge issue for everyone involved. Bypassing that also means that the customer support agent can send you files, such as manuals to help guide you through your problem.
To some people, this will seem like a deal-breaker, but to others, it will be a deal maker.
Who is Hoxx VPN For?
The lack of true privacy while using this VPN means that it is not for anyone who wants a VPN in the interest of privacy. Some people are going to hear that and assume it excludes all of Hoxx’s potential userbase, but it does not. There are still people who can get use out of Hoxx.
If you want to use Hoxx VPN to spoof your location in order to watch TV shows on streaming services from outside the United States, then Hoxx VPN is a flawed, but serviceable (and free) way to do that.
It is slower than most, not really functional outside the United States, and keeps logs of your information. You are not going to be using it for torrenting, we can tell you that much.
But if you need something that is easy to use and can hide your location, then Hoxx VPN can at least do that. Just do not be surprised when you find out that it calls itself a “VPN” is a slight exaggeration.
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