Last update: 01.09.2019
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. While the website with outdated design and a bunch of broken links says that their number is increasing every week, after four months we saw no change.
Users can pick between free and premium accounts, and the focus is on browser extensions. This means that Hoxx is a proxy first and a VPN service second. 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 privacy tool.
Is Hoxx VPN safe to use?
As we noted at the outset, Hoxx makes some bold claims about security. It promises end-to-end encryption, virus protection, blocks on vulnerable ports, protection while using public wifi spots, and blocks against cookie-based ad trackers. All 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 without substance to back them up?
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 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, especially when the parent company of Hoxx is located in the US, a Five Eyes country.
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.
Then there’s encryption. While Hoxx VPN 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 leaks are 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 doesn’t work with their client.
So, all things considered, the verdict of this review is pretty clear: if security means anything to you, stay clear of this service. 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 good download speeds.
Premium users enjoy unlimited simultaneous connections (handy for home entertainment or business setups with multiple computers), and the server selection is pretty broad. This means that finding a fast connection shouldn’t be hard.
However, one thing to mention is variability. Some servers drastically slowed our connection by 80-90 percent, while others had a very minor 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. Strangely, you won’t find hoxx.com on the first page of Google, so you may also go through Google search instead.
The client is available for Windows, Mac, and Android platforms. iOS is labeled as “coming soon,” but this hasn’t changed since September 2018. Linux is not even mentioned, so it would be hard to expect an app for this OS.
Hoxx VPN also offers browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox, which can be named proxies. Opera version is also “coming soon,” but we advise to try a different service instead of waiting for Hoxx to bring something to the table.
How to install Hoxx Proxy
You don’t need to be an IT expert to install a Hoxx VPN proxy. In fact, getting it up and running is a matter of seconds.
Just click the download link and follow the prompts, and the software will be installed onto your browser. You may need to reboot it first to activate Hoxx proxy 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 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 on their website.
How to install Hoxx VPN
While installing a Hoxx browser extension is a piece of cake, doing the same with the Windows or Mac version means going against common sense. If you download, install, and launch Hoxx VPN client, you will see a puke-inducing login screen with no link for setting up a new account.
If the version 0.4.0 didn’t scare you away, you will need to install the Hoxx browser extension first to use the VPN version. The process will be especially unpleasant to those who use neither Chrome nor Firefox because there’s no Opera or Safari version.
How to use it
While setting up Hoxx VPN Proxy is relatively 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, especially a paid one.
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 much time learning how to use Hoxx VPN or proxy. The clients are empty enough so that finding servers takes a second or two. That’s not the problem…
…It’s what happens when you log on. This is concerning to us and should concern anyone willing to take a risk with Hoxx.
Apps & Extensions
Some of the best things about Hoxx VPN are the browser extensions. That’s not really surprising given the company’s emphasis on browsing instead of emails or streaming. The Windows version is 0.4.0 when Chrome has 3.5.4 which clearly shows where Hoxx is aiming at.
The browser extensions 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 web browsing beginners who need basic IP address protection.
Can you use Hoxx VPN for Netflix streaming?
Unfortunately, we couldn’t get Netflix to work with Hoxx VPN, which is a 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, choose one of the best VPNs for Netflix for 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 is access to torrents with apps like uTorrent or BitTorrent.
Experienced VPN users will be familiar with the developers’ attitude 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 (based in the US) 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 contact form with prompt responses and live 24/7 chat on the side. That said, 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’s quite transparent about the many limitations of Hoxx VPN. So you know what you’re getting into when you download their client.
One thing we did like about Hoxx VPN was their free package. Free users can use unlimited simultaneous connections. This is something 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, the free service only uses 1024-bit encryption. Which is hardly any protection at all.
The Premium packages offer 4096-bit encryption (better but still outdated) and the full range of servers to choose from. Prices can seem very low, at $1.99 per month for a two-year plan. However, you can find similar deals offered by premium VPN providers which include torrenting and streaming services.
Also, 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, even with the 14-day money-back guarantee offered.
Bottom line of our 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 with Hoxx, from poor encryption to worrying logging practices. Also, no torrenting or Netflix capabilities. So why would you opt for Hoxx over other, better services?