Last update: 09.07.2018
Is Hoxx a VPN that rocks, or a hoax that won’t satisfy the security needs of today’s web users? Unfortunately, our money is on the latter.
Created by the company VPN1.com, Hoxx VPN describes itself as “lightning fast”, easy to use, reliably secure and much, much more. As usual with VPNs, the website makes a range of claims that sound appealing at first glance, but this Hoxx VPN review will look at those promises in more detail.
Based in Coral Gables, Florida, Hoxx is an all-American operation, although it offers over 50 servers dotted around the world. Users can pick between free and premium accounts, and the focus is on browsers – so smartphone users may need to look elsewhere. As we’ll see later in this review, there could be issues for Netflix or Torrent users as well.
Anyhow, the only way to find out whether Hoxx measures up against the competition is to put it to the test. So stick with our Hoxx VPN review for the low down on this popular internet privacy tool.
Is Hoxx VPN safe to use?
As we noted at the outset, Hoxx makes some bold claims about security, promises end-to-end encryption, virus protection, blocks on vulnerable ports, protection while using public wi-fi spots, and blocks against cookie-based ad trackers. All of that is encouraging, but nothing special for high-quality VPNs.
The key question remains: is Hoxx VPN safe to use, or are they trying to deceive potential users with big promises?
Well, the bad news is that there’s room for suspicion here. For instance, one thing that dismayed us when writing this Hoxx VPN review is the fact that Hoxx routinely “save logs for a certain period of time to prevent abuse of [their] network.” Many VPNs manage to protect the integrity of their network without keeping any logs, and for us, this was a big red flag.
The problem seems to be that Hoxx works closely with government authorities – which is fine, but not if you get too close to them. That’s why Hoxx blocks access to “illegal forums” or torrenting sites. It all adds up to a relationship which seems too close for comfort.
And the scope of their logging practices is pretty extensive. As their privacy terms describe, Hoxx record every site you visit, how long you stay there and even the site you were viewing before you turned on the VPN. As far as we’re concerned, this contradicts what VPNs are all about, and it hands too much information over to the VPN provider.
Then there’s encryption. While Hoxx VPN Proxy says that their services are “military trade safe” (a strange way to word things), they actually use the 4096-bit RSA cipher (or so they claim). Usually, 4096-bit RSA is reserved for the Handshake, so it’s unclear whether this is an issue with communication or not. Their site doesn’t provide detailed information on their encryption.
DNS leakage is another potential issue, particularly from Hoxx VPN’s Chrome Extension, which seemed very porous indeed. And if you want to go deep undercover with Tor, forget about it. Hoxx VPN’s clinging to strict legality means that the Tor network simply won’t work with their client.
So, all things considered, the verdict of this review is pretty clear: if security means a lot to you, stay clear. There are many VPNs around that are better than Hoxx VPN.
Speed & Performance
Then again, speed is an area, where Hoxx does quite well. We tried both the free and premium plans and found major differences between them, which is worth bearing in mind. While the free packages were average at best, Hoxx VPN’s premium services performed well, offering download speeds in excess of 50 Mbps.
Premium users enjoy unlimited connections (handy for home entertainment or business setups with multiple computers) and the server selection is very broad. This means that finding a fast connection shouldn’t be hard.
However, one thing to mention is variability. Some servers slowed our connection by 80-90 percent (which is a lot), while others had a tiny effect. So you may need to experiment with a few servers before finding one that performs to your standard.
How to download Hoxx VPN Proxy
If you’d like to know how to download the Hoxx client, don’t worry – it’s very simple. The best way to do so is by heading to the Hoxx VPN website and using their download page. Somewhat weirdly, you won’t find hoxx.com on the first page of Google, so you may also go through Google Play or some other store.
The client is available for Chrome, Firefox, Android OS, Windows, and Linux, but there’s no iOS or Opera functionality right now, and no version for Mac either. iPhone and Opera versions are in the pipeline but in the meantime, it’s probably a good idea to try a different VPN.
How to install it
You don’t need to be an IT expert to know how to install Hoxx VPN. In fact, getting it up is a matter of seconds.
Just click the download link and follow the prompts, and the software will be installed onto your system. If you chose the Chrome or Firefox version, it will be set up for your browser, although you may need to reboot the browser to activate your VPN protection.
Before activating, users need to register for a Hoxx VPN Proxy account. This is also easy to do. Just load up the client and choose the “create new account” option. Enter an email address and Hoxx will send through an activation password that can be used to activate a free account.
Before you press “register” make sure you read through the privacy terms and conditions. As we stressed earlier, there are some clauses that might make privacy-conscious users think twice before signing up.
Finally, if you’ve tried and enjoyed the free package, you can upgrade to one of Hoxx’s paid packages by heading to the pricing page.
How to use it
While setting up Hoxx VPN Proxy is very simple, using the client wasn’t as smooth or enjoyable. In fact, we found accessing the service frustrating at times, and far too unreliable for a paid VPN provider.
For example, many times users choose a server, only to find that the client is completely unable to establish a connection. That’s bad (only working servers should be advertised) but when you do connect, there’s a good chance of receiving an error message informing you that your DNS information is being leaked. Now, we appreciate the alert, but it’s not an encouraging way to start using a VPN.
Sometimes, the VPN would also cut out or fail to establish connections with mainstream websites, and a totally smooth browsing session was relatively uncommon.
That said, beginners won’t take to much time learning how to use Hoxx VPN. The client is well laid out and finding servers takes a second or two. That’s not the problem. It’s what happens when you log on which concerned us.
Apps & Extensions
One of the great things about Hoxx VPN Proxy is how well adapted it is for popular web browsers. That’s not really surprising given the company’s emphasis on browsing instead of emails or streaming. And it’s definitely one of the VPN’s strongest areas.
The add-ons aren’t invasive, so they won’t dominate your Chrome or Firefox menus. All you see when logged in is a small reminder in the bottom right-hand corner of the screen. And they are easy to download and setup.
While they won’t be much use to those who want to use Hoxx VPN for Netflix or torrents, these extensions are ideal for low-level web browsers who need basic IP protection.
Can you use Hoxx VPN for Netflix streaming?
Unfortunately, we couldn’t get Netflix to work with Hoxx VPN, which is a major shame. It looks like Hoxx is one of those VPNs which hasn’t invested enough time and expertise in creating workarounds to deal with Netflix’s beefed-up security measures.
We tried our hardest to log onto the video streaming site. No Hoxx VPN Proxy servers worked, so if you’re planning to use your VPN for entertainment purposes, steer well clear. Instead, head to services like ExpressVPN which still deliver reliable access to Netflix from locations around the world.
Is using Hoxx for Torrenting a good idea?
The same applies to torrenting and P2P in general. As we noted earlier on in this review, the developers of Hoxx VPN have tried to protect themselves from legal problems as much as possible. One of the casualties of this approach (which is understandable) is access to torrent services like eMule or BitTorrent.
Experienced VPN users will be familiar with the attitude of developers towards torrenting. But most of the time this means they suppress torrenting speeds, without blocking torrents entirely. That’s not the case with Hoxx, which is why we cannot recommend Hoxx VPN for torrenting at all. Again, look elsewhere for bolder VPNs which can handle the bandwidth demands and legality of torrenting.
Does Hoxx VPN work in China?
Hoxx VPN promise users the ability to “bypass government restrictions” by masking your IP address and location. This should be music to the ears of users in places like China, where the authoritarian government constantly tries to meddle in the private browsing of web users.
However, our Chinese contacts reported limited connectivity when using Hoxx VPN Proxy – far worse than other competitors. The positive was that when connections were established, the presence of over 100 Japanese and over 20 South Korean servers meant that speeds weren’t too bad.
But there are better options around for Chinese web users, so the answer to the question does Hoxx VPN work in China is, “yes, but with qualifications.”
Refreshingly, Hoxx VPN is open about providing contact details, listing the corporate address of their parent company VPN1 and an email address for their support team (but no telephone number).
They used to offer a customer query form for submitting specific questions but have removed that feature, focusing on direct emails. We would have preferred a submission form with prompt responses and live chat on the side, and we didn’t have much luck eliciting responses via the email address provided.
While correspondents receive automated replies straight away, actual human responses can take a day or more, and we weren’t impressed by the quality. The FAQ section is also poorly organized, although it is quite transparent about the limitations of Hoxx VPN. So you know what you are getting into when you download their client.
One thing we did like about Hoxx VPN was their free package. Free users can use unlimited connections – something very rarely offered by other VPNs, and there’s a selection of 4 servers. That’s not much given the wider Hoxx network has hundreds of nodes, but it’s functional. There are also no restrictions on bandwidth.
However, the free package has huge shortcomings as well. Aside from the restrictions on torrents and streaming services we’ve mentioned, the free service only uses 1024-bit encryption, which is hardly any protection at all.
The Premium packages offer 4096-but encryption (better but still outdated) and the full range of servers to choose from. Prices can be very low, at $1.99 per month, but the payment process is very clunky, with users needing to register for a free account before moving onto Premium. It’s all time consuming and frankly not worth it.
Conclusion of the Hoxx VPN Proxy review
While this Hoxx VPN Proxy review has highlighted some strengths such as server selection, price, and ease of use, we can’t really recommend Hoxx as a viable privacy option.
There are so many problems associated with Hoxx, from poor quality encryption to worrying logging practices and no torrenting or Netflix capabilities. So why would you opt for Hoxx over other, better services?