Hoxx VPN’s main focus is on it’s free browser extension, which has rave user reviews and over 800k users.
But it also offers a paid version with both desktop and mobile apps, and claims ‘lightning’ speeds. Is this a VPN worth paying for? We put Hoxx through its paces to get the full story.
- Record server numbers
- 6 connections allowed
- 2 kill switches
- Specialist servers
- Some very cheap prices
- Slightly faster speeds
- 94 countries
- Record Netflix access
- Full access torrenting
- Easy-to-use app
Speed & Expectations
Speed is usually top of a prospective VPN buyers list, so let’s get this out of the way first. You would expect a VPN to slow your internet speeds down somewhat, because of the extra processes involved.
We put Hoxx VPN to the test using three standard speed metrics:
- Download speed: The rate at which data is transferred from the server to your device. This is measured in megabytes per second (mbps) and a higher number is better.
- Upload speed: The rate at which data is transferred to the server from your device. This is also measured in megabytes per second (mbps) and a higher number is better.
- Ping (or latency): Tested by “pinging” the server, it’s the amount of time it takes for it to receive and process your request. This is measured in milliseconds (ms) and a lower number is better.
We tested all three metrics on various Hoxx servers across all the main continents. We also ran a baseline test, using our default connection without a VPN. This was conducted using a 100mbps internet connection in Chicago, IL, .
We also ran each test 5 times to increase the reliability of our results.
Unfortunately, Hoxx doesn’t currently have any servers in South America, so we couldn’t test this region.
First we ran our baseline tests:
So the average baseline score was:
- Download: 90.5mbps
- Upload: 12.1mbps
- Ping: 9.4ms
Next we ran our tests on a Hoxx United States server:
US averages of the 5 different speed tests were:
- Download: 80mbps (11.6% slower)
- Upload: 11.5mbps (5.1% slower)
- Ping: 62.6ms (566% longer)
(You would expect these speeds to be the best considering we are based in the US, so server distance is the shortest).
Next we tested Europe:
Europe’s averages were:
- Download: 3.6mbps (96.1% slower)
- Upload: 1.2bps (89.7% slower)
- Ping: 112.6ms (1097.9% longer)
Asia’s averages were:
- Download: 6.5mbps (92.8% slower)
- Upload: 9.3mbps (23.5% slower)
- Ping: 241.6ms (2470.2% longer)
Finally, we tested Africa:
Africa’s averages were:
- Download: 29.3mbps (67.6% slower)
- Upload: 6mbps (50.5% slower)
- Ping: 272ms (2793.6% longer)
Next we compared these figures against other VPNs we’ve reviewed using the same speed tests.
First up, let’s take a look at download speeds:
Download speeds are well below average for the US, just above average for Africa, but well below average for Europe and Asia, with both over 90% slower than the baseline. It scores the top result for both the US and Africa.
Next, how did upload speeds compare?
Hoxx is well above average for the US and Asia (scoring the top results), above average for Africa, but well below average for Europe, scoring the slowest result.
And finally latency:
Hoxx doesn’t do so well for latency speeds. It’s just above average for Asia, just below average for Europe and Africa, and well below average for the US, with a staggering 566% increase.
Hoxx VPN has average speeds overall, with some extreme results on either end.
Performance & Features
VPNs come with all sorts of features to improve your experience. We measure the key ones here.
Number of servers: 1,000-2,000.
How many active servers are available to connect to across all countries, regardless of their physical location.
Hoxx VPN claims to have an extremely vague ‘1000-2000’ servers, and they were reluctant to disclose even this estimate.
Most VPNs show the exact figure clear on their website and have all of their servers available to users all the time. This is decidedly dodgy.
But ‘1000-2000’ is fairly high, as VPNs go.
Number of countries: numbers: 33 (21 on free version)
How many countries the total number of servers cover, regardless of how many are located in a single country.
This is low, and means some popular countries won’t be available. It distinctly lacks any countries in South America, for example. But the free version is generous compared to most.
If you want a wider range of countries, check out PureVPN which has an impressive 140.
Number of connections allowed: Unlimited.
How many devices can be connected to a server (or number of servers) based on a single VPN account or subscription.
This is incredible as most VPNs limit users to 5 connections. Only a few VPNs offer unlimited connections, and Hoxx offers this for both it’s Premium and free versions. Very charitable on their part.
Torrenting allowed: No.
Whether you can download and share files on a peer-to-peer or P2P network as opposed to a single server.
Hoxx has a blanket ban on torrenting and is very anti-torrenting on its website. Torrentors should look elsewhere. Most other VPNs are more torrent-friendly, and some like IPVanish allow torrenting on all their servers.
Kill switch available: No.
Whether the VPN software can disable your connection to the network in the event you disconnect from the VPN server. This prevents your IP address from being exposed.
Unfortunately Hoxx doesn’t offer a kill switch on any of it’s apps or extensions. They’re not alone in this, but a lot of VPNs do offer kill switches if you want one.
Performance and Features (Summary)
Hoxx definitely isn’t a feature-packed VPN, offering a low number of countries, no kill switch and no torrenting. However, it does offer unlimited connections, which is rare. They couldn’t tell us their exact server numbers, estimating a vague ‘1000-2000’.
Privacy & Security
Privacy and security is crucial to most people using a VPN. Sure VPNs encrypt your data, but do they do it effectively? What records do they keep on you? We cover all these concerns in this section.
First we looked at Hoxx VPN’s technical vulnerabilities:
Protocols/Encryption: 4096-bit RSA, HTTP Tunneling, ShadowSocks.
You probably know a VPN encrypts your data, and it does this using protocols and encryption methods. It’s important to note which ones as there are some big differences.
As for protocols, it uses HTTP Tunneling for browser extensions, but Shadowsocks for desktop and mobile.
Again, this is far behind the industry-standard; most use top-of-the-range OpenVPN or IKEv2/IPSec. Shadowsocks is far less secure and is actually a proxy, with limited program functionality.
Let’s see how Hoxx’s weak security holds up against DNS, IP and WebRTC leaks, as well as viruses/malware:
DNS leaks: None found.
IP leaks: None found.
WebRTC leaks: Detected.
Viruses/Malware: None found.
Chrome extension leaks: Detected.
Not surprisingly, we found both WebRTC leaks and Chrome extension leaks in our testing, which means our true IP address was leaked despite using the VPN.
Jurisdiction: USA. Hoxx VPN HQ is located in Florida, USA, which is a founding member of the Five Eyes Alliance. These countries have intelligence-sharing agreements. This makes VPN users wary as it basically means that if the US gets hold of any of your internet data, they could share it with other countries.
Logging policy: Full logs policy.
Logging policy is another thing to be aware of. This is how much of your online activities are stored by the VPN itself for its own uses.
Hoxx goes the other way.
It can be summed up in the following sentence:
“We log information about your use of our website, including your browser type and language, access times, pages viewed, your IP address and the website you visited before navigating to our website.”
Basically logging everything it can, even the website you visited before using them.
This is terrible. A VPN encrypts your data, but if Hoxx keeps a record of everything you do anyway, it kind of defeats the point.
Especially since its based in the US, with its NSA surveillance concerns, and is part of Five Eyes.
It also has no qualms in handing all your data over to the authorities:
“We can (and you authorize us to) disclose any information about you to law enforcement.”
Privacy and Security Summary
Hoxx VPN obviously doesn’t prioritize security, with extremely weak encryption and protocols. Multiple leaks were found. And to top it off, it has a terrifying logging policy. Not exactly what you want in a VPN.
This section looks at the following usability aspects of Hoxx VPN:
- Overall UI/UX
Can you use Hoxx VPN for streaming? For a few years now Netflix has been flexing it’s digital muscles and blocking VPNs at an alarming rate.
It’s therefore vital that you test whether your favorite streaming service actually works, otherwise you could be in for a big disappointment.
We tested Hoxx’s might against all major streaming services in various servers in the US, Europe, Asia and South America.
- Netflix: Detected. Netflix was detected and blocked on all servers. They don’t mention this on the list of websites they unblock, so at least they’re honest on this front.
- Hulu: Detected. Hulu was blocked as well.
- YouTube: Undetected. YouTube worked on all locations. This is by far the easiest one to get past.
- Kodi: Detected. Unsurprisingly, no luck with Kodi either.
Hoxx lets you connect as many of your devices as you like, but the big question is will they actually work? Compatibility is a real mixed bag across VPNs.
So we tested everything from Tor, iOS devices, Android devices, Smart TV’s, Amazon Firestick, Mac, Windows, to routers:
- Tor browser: Not Supported. Tor is outright banned on government-friendly Hoxx, which it states is ‘illegal’.
- iOS (iPad, iPhone): Supported. Hoxx works fine on Apple devices running iOS, including the latest versions of iPad and iPhone.
- Android: Supported. Hoxx also works with Google’s Android operating system which covers everything from smartphones, tablets, laptops, and even TV media sticks.
- Smart TV’s: Not Supported. Unfortunately Hoxx doesn’t support any SmartTV functionality.
- Amazon Firestick: Not Supported. Unsurprisingly, Firesticks aren’t covered either.
- Windows: ‘Supported’ but not working. A Windows client is available for download, but we couldn’t get it work on multiple computers in our testing.
- Mac: Supported.
- Routers: Not Supported. Hoxx doesn’t offer any router support.
Finally, what’s the UX/UI like? No one wants to use a horrible app even if it’s full of great features.
Well, sadly the Windows client didn’t work at all in our testing. Despite our best efforts, we could not get it to load on multiple computers.
This is all we saw of the Windows client.
Shockingly, the support team just said that this sometimes happens and told us to use their browser extension instead.
In fairness, they are very clear on their website that the browser extension is their main focus.
And it shows: their Windows client is on version 0.4.0, whereas their browser extension is at 3.5.6. Quite a difference.
So if you’re looking to use a VPN on Windows, we recommend you go elsewhere.
We moved on to their much-lauded browser extension.
The Chrome extension is unintrusive, hanging out in the top right-hand corner till you need it.
It’s gray when you’re not connected to a server and blue when you are. It displays a country shortcode to show which server you’re connected to.
It’s a simple list-based interface with two lists for Free and Premium, but they are listed by country only. There’s no way to view the actual servers; they just connect you to the best available server in that country. This is highly unusual.
You can pin servers to the top by clicking on the right-hand side. You can also sort alphabetically.
Connection times are fast. When you do connect, the whole interface changes.
This means you have to disconnect before connecting to another server, a rather long-winded way of doing things.
You can check for IP leaks and do a speed test, but be aware clicking these options just takes you to a non-Hoxx website (ip8.com) which anyone can use.
There’s also the ‘Prevent WebRTC IP Leak’ option. This makes you download a second extension, which is hardly a seamless user experience. However, it’s definitely worth doing.
Without this additional extension our IP was nearly always leaking.
We also got this error message at one point:
‘Highly recommending’ the desktop client totally contradicts their website and support.
There’s no settings menu; the only advanced feature available is split tunnelling, which is accessed by clicking the arrows on the main screen.
Here you can specify websites to avoid the VPN tunnel. You can see Tor’s already on the list, and sadly this cannot be removed.
The mobile app (we tested Android) is at version 4.3.0, which suggests it’s regularly updated. Phew.
This looks similar to the extension but there are some differences.
The biggest one was that there are way less servers; only 6 countries under free servers and 11 on the Premium servers. What now?
I hoped this was an error. However after contacting Support, it seems they’re fully aware of this.
Would be nice of Hoxx to tell people that upfront.
One positive difference is that you don’t need to disconnect from servers each time, as the interface remains the same once connected.
But the additional WebRTC protection isn’t available on the mobile app, which is a big downside. Our IP was almost constantly leaking.
Like the extension, you can split tunnel apps to your heart’s content.
You can also switch off ‘advanced mode’ to auto-connect to random servers which each click. I guess this is handy if you’re just trying to find any server that works or doesn’t leak your IP.
Like the extension there’s no real Settings panel. This is common for extensions but unusual for mobile apps.
I guess this reflects Hoxx lack of features; normally you can do things like choose your protocol, auto-connect options, and kill switch.
Hoxx VPN won’t work for streamers, which is a big shame. Compatibility is also poor, with no Tor access and the Windows client not working in our testing.
Hoxx’s main offering is its browser extension, which is fairly simple and easy to use with effective WebRTC protection and split tunneling. The Android app has a lot less servers and no WebRTC protection, resulting in constant IP leaks.
Pricing & Refunds
Hoxx VPN offers both a free and paid version, which is nice since this is quite rare amongst VPNs.
Let’s take a look at both versions.
The free version offers:
- 21 countries
- Unlimited bandwidth
- Unlimited connections
As free versions go, this is very generous. It has a nice number of servers and unlimited bandwidth is extremely rare for a free VPN, let alone unlimited connections.
Since the servers aren’t specified on their website, here’s a full list: US, UK, Canada, Australia, France, Italy, Germany, Netherlands, India, Japan, Singapore, Russia, Hong Kong, South Korea, Czech Republic, Sweden, South Africa, Israel, Poland, Switzerland, Ukraine, Slovakia, Greece and Austria.
The paid version has:
- 33 countries
- Unlimited bandwidth
- Unlimited connections
The 12 additional countries available are largely European: Switzerland, Spain, Greece, Ireland, Belgium, Norway, Finland, Moldova, Estonia, Lithuania, Romania, and Turkey.
In terms of price, Hoxx has very flexible pricing options in terms of commitment, offering from 1 week to 2 years.
Offering a one week option is extremely unusual and let’s you test out the VPN for just $3. And a lot of VPNs don’t stretch up to the 2 year mark either.
All these prices are below average, making this a cheap VPN provider. The 1 year price works out at $3.33 a month, or the 2 year price at $2.08 a month. You won’t find much lower.
Payment options are also wide including credit card, Paypal, Alipay, Mint, and even a range of Cryptocurrency:
A lot of VPNs only offer Bitcoin, so Hoxx gets points for offering more.
The signup process isn’t the smoothest though. You have to download the free app first, follow two instructional videos to register, reopen the app, login and only then can you even view the prices.
After this, the checkout process itself is smooth sailing.
It also has a 14-day money-back guarantee, which is nice considering they already offer a free version. There’s no sneaky clauses here either, and the refund period is a fast 7 days.
Hoxx VPN has a generous free version that includes unlimited bandwidth and connections.
The Premium version is very cheap with flexible commitment and a 14-day money-back guarantee. There’s a wide variety of payment options including Alipay and cryptocurrencies, but the signup process isn’t the quickest.
Tragically support is email only, even for Premium users.
There’s a deceiving chat button on the left-hand corner of the website, but this actually just sends them an email using a ticket-based system.
The quickest response time I got was 6 hours, some were about a day, but a lot of of my emails weren’t responded to at all.
It’s safe to say that the support team staff didn’t seem very eager to help.
For example when I first asked about total servers numbers, they responded with the number of countries:
So I asked again.
Only after I begged them to give me atleast a rough idea since I was writing a review, did I get a vague response of ‘1,000-2,000’ servers.
In fact, getting information about their service was like trying to get blood out of a stone. They mostly gave minimal or irrelevant answers.
And when the Windows client failed to work, I got this response:
This is a major problem that I feel they should have taken a lot more seriously. Telling me to use their browser extension is not really acceptable.
If you offer an app, you should at least make an effort to make it work.
It’s when you encounter real technical issues like this that you really feel the burn of lacklustre support.
Fair enough for the free service I suppose, but what about the Premium users?
Quite a letdown.
And what about their knowledge base for more general questions and issues? Well for Hoxx, this consists of just one page, their ‘FAQs’.
This is extremely subpar compared to a lot of other VPNs. Most offer extensive knowledge bases complete with setup and troubleshooting guides.
The FAQs are not even of high quality, for example:
They don’t even answer their own questions.
One question covers their server locations, which links to this convenient map:
…with nothing on it.
As a result, you can’t find the most basic information anywhere on their website, or from their support team it seems.
Hoxx VPN support is one of the worst I’ve seen, with only slow, very low-quality email support available, and no real knowledge base to speak of. Unfairly, it’s the same situation for both free and Premium users.
What Do Other Reviewers Say?
That’s our perspective on Hoxx VPN, but what about others? Here’s a roundup of what other review around the net.
Well, first off like us many were extremely impressed with the free package coming with both unlimited connections and bandwidth.
Unanimously they were shocked and appalled by the logging policy, with many writing the VPN off based on this. They were also very disappointed it didn’t allow any torrenting or the Tor browser, but weren’t surprised considering how strict they were legally.
Security was another shock to most reviewers, with most being disappointed with the weak and outdated encryption and protocols. However, one was impressed with the security, calling it decent for free users but best for Premium users. Most found leaks in their testing, but one didn’t.
Many like us reported no Netflix access in their tests, but one said it was good for streaming.
In terms of payment, some were impressed with the 14-day money-back guarantee. They agreed the payment options were varied, but one called the registration process itself clunky.
A big difference was they were perfectly happy with the server selection, both in terms of numbers and countries.
Reviewers also had mixed opinions on speed. Some had painfully slow speeds, whilst some reported average speeds for the free version and fast speeds for the premium version, that they said were perfect for streaming. A fair few reported lots of connection issues, from server non-connects to timeouts and error messages.
In terms of device compatibility, some were impressed since it focused on browser extensions, whilst some weren’t happy it didn’t offer support for things like routers and gaming consoles.
Opinions also varied a lot on the UX/UI, with some calling it easy to use and sleek, especially the Chrome extension which they said was non-invasive. However, most called the desktop interface outdated and frustrating to use. None mentioned the Windows app not working at the time of their reviews.
There were also mixed experiences with their support. One thought that they were generous to offer a free ticket system for free users. But most said that the quality of replies was not very detailed or helpful.
Like us, they waited from 6 hours to a day to receive responses by email. Some talked about Hoxx having a live chat service for Premium users, which must be outdated information.
Some concluded that it was good for basic browsing or streaming, whilst most agreed that whilst the Premium price was cheap, it wasn’t worth paying any money for the service.
What Do Other Reviewers Say (Summary)
Whilst reviewers were impressed with the unlimited connections on the free plan, and overall server numbers, most were shocked by the security and lack of privacy offered by the VPN.
Some reported high speeds and a sleek interface, but overall most didn’t think it was a viable option based on the poor security.
Our rating for Hoxx VPN is 1.5/5.0
This VPN has a generous free version or a cheap Premium version with fairly high server numbers…..but it’s not worth it.
The Windows client doesn’t even currently work, and the Android app has a lot less servers and constantly leaks your IP.
The popular browser extension is indeed their best offering, but overall with such poor encryption and protocols, your data is not protected.
Even if it was, it wouldn’t matter too much with Hoxx recording everything you do with its abysmal logging policy.
To top it off, support is pretty useless.
Hoxx VPN gives the strong impression it cares little for its users.
With both Tor and torrenting not allowed, and no streaming access, this VPN has very little going for it.
In a word: avoid. We give Hoxx an overall rating of 1.5 out of 5 and we would not recommend it.
Latest VPN Reviews
- NordVPN vs ExpressVPN (2019): Which One Wins?
- SurfEasy VPN Review (2019): Is It a Steal?
- Celo VPN Review (2019): Is it Good Enough?
- SpyOFF VPN Review (2019): Worth It or Not?
- VPN.ht Review (2019): What’s the Final Verdict?