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Hotspot Shield vs AirVPN 2023

Table of Contents

    Which VPN is better?

    Author Image Kate Richards
    Kate Richards

    Managing Editor

    Hotspot Shield and AirVPN are two very popular VPN service providers known for their focus on security. You can expect 256-bit encryption from both providers, as well as support for multiple VPN protocols. Unlimited bandwidth and support for anonymous payment methods like Bitcoin are some of the additional perks you can expect to find with either of these VPN providers. The most obvious difference between these providers is that while Hotspot Shield provides dedicated apps for MacOS, Windows, iOS, and Android, AirVPN does not provide any mobile apps. The other major difference is that downloading torrents is only possible on AirVPN, as Hotspot Shield prohibits all P2P file-sharing activities on its servers. In terms of security features, Hotspot shield offers malware protection, while AirVPN competes with port forwarding. Hotspot Shield also offers 24/7 live chat support, which is absent with AirVPN. Keep on reading to see which of these VPNs we recommend over multiple categories. NOTE: This comparison is for the paid Hotspot Shield plan, Hotspot Shield Elite.


    Features 9.1/10
    Pricing 9.0/10
    Ease of Use 9.0/10
    Reliability & Support 8.6/10
    Features 8.0/10
    Pricing 8.7/10
    Ease of Use 7.8/10
    Reliability & Support 7.8/10


    Review by our expert
    Author Image Kennedy Otieno
    Kennedy Otieno

    Cybersecurity Researcher


    Hotspot Shield claims its proprietary Hydra protocol makes it faster than most VPNs — but is that true? I tested HSS on my fast internet connection (it allows up to 1Gbps speeds) to discover how it does with streaming, gaming, and torrenting. Mostly, I had a seamless internet experience — watching shows on Netflix and Amazon Prime Video without buffering. Its 1,800 servers in 80 countries ...

    Read all
    Latest positive user review
    Great Interface, easy to use and smooth/zippy.

    It just feels well put together. Turns on automatically, which is no bad thing (if you don't like that... , turn the damn thing off with a click). The speed is consistently above average, and on a couple of inadvertent occasions, the Kill Switch operated as it should. I especially like the GUI, which is really simple, solid, yet has a refined/slick feel - far superior to a few I've tried but won't name here. I see no issues with it, although the security issues pointed out in the article are a bit alarming. I'm using the 'Business' version. Nice VPN, IMO.More

    Latest negative user review
    Blocked by Real-Debrid on just about every us city and nearly all countries

    Easy to connect speed pretty good multiple platforms not great from streaming.. which is where you nee... d the speed. Nord vpn and Express are both cooperative providers with real-debrid meaning no connection problems. Even if you do find a server that connects frequently this is blocked during streaming.More

    Review by our expert
    Author Image Benjamin Lee
    Benjamin Lee

    Junior Editor


    Founded in 2010, AirVPN started as a passion project for a group of individuals dedicated to internet privacy and net neutrality. It offers a large selection of 7 subscription plans, which makes it seem like it would be a good value for money. So, I was curious to test it out and see how it works with some of the popular streaming platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, Disney+, and oth...

    Read all
    Latest positive user review
    I am AirVpn cusomers since 2015, and on my gear works remarkably well

    I am working in the biggest country in Asia since 2006. I constantly use AirVpn on my MacBook Pro sinc... e 2015, and on my iPhone - iPad. I never had an issue, of any kind, with it, and I was quite amazed to read the article above. Lately, it is very difficult to get it properly run on iPhone and iPad, but this is more the result of this country where I live in restrictions than the vpn in itself. While in Hong Kong was still working fine, but as soon as I crossed the border troubles started. I will tweak that as soon as I will be out again. In the rest of the world, I never had issues. So I do not give the 5th star just because of my at present troubles using it on my iPhone and iPad. For the rest, I will stick with it.More

    Latest negative user review
    Very bad performance

    AirVPN is by far the slowest VPN I have ever used. Whichever protocol and/or server I have used, it di... dn't make any difference. My internet speed decreased by over 90%, download speed as well as upload speed. When you take a look at the AirVPN forum, you will notice loads of users are experiencing the same issue, for which AirVPN obviously has no solutions.More


    Starting price $2.99/month
    Money Back Guarantee (Days) 45 Days
    Number of devices per license 5 devices
    Starting price $2.93/month
    Money Back Guarantee (Days) 30 Days
    Number of devices per license 5 devices

    Best VPN by category

    With Hotspot Shield, you get access to a large server network and many practical security features for an exceptional overall VPN experience. AirVPN provides a straightforward and secure service, however, capable of bypassing tough geoblocks and keeping your online activity hidden at all times.

    AirVPN is our clear choice for torrents, as it supports P2P file-sharing on its servers without any restrictions. Hotspot Shield expressly forbids torrenting on all of its servers, and as a result, would not be a great choice for P2P activities.

    A kill switch, malware protection, and tracking prevention are some of the key features of Hotspot Shield’s user-friendly dedicated Windows client. Meanwhile, AirVPN for Windows includes a kill switch, a straightforward interface, and port forwarding to keep you anonymous.

    Hotspot Shield provides a dedicated Android app that’s beautifully designed and features wi-fi protection and access to over 2,500 servers from your mobile device. Although AirVPN does not have an Android app, it can be installed on Android devices using the universal OpenVPN app and manual configuration.

    With unique Catapult Hydra technology that optimizes server speeds for better performance over long distances, and additional features like wi-fi and malware protection, Hotspot Shield offers a very reliable VPN service for MacOS. AirVPN offers a dedicated client for MacOS that supports all VPN protocols including OpenVPN and features unlimited bandwidth and server switching.

    Apart from its military-grade encryption and protection from tracking, Hotspot Shield’s provision of a dedicated streaming feature makes it our recommended choice for iOS. AirVPN does not have a dedicated iOS app, but allows manual configuration via the universal OpenVPN app, available at the App Store.

    Hotspot Shield provides a very reliable service for bypassing US geoblocks and accessing your favorite American content from anywhere in the world. Its dedicated streaming feature flawlessly unblocks US Netflix and similar sites. AirVPN also has US servers for bypassing geoblocks, and uses a smart technology that allows you to unblock Netflix’s restricted content from any location worldwide.

    The Bottom Line

    Hotspot Shield easily wins this contest by providing user-friendly apps for all major platforms, including Android and iOS. Its servers are also considerably faster than AirVPN’s, especially for streaming. As long as you’re not interested in torrenting, you will find Hotspot Shield reliable and easy to use, and you’ll appreciate its innovative features like Catapult Hydra. Interestingly, even with its unique technology, Hotspot Shield places behind our top VPN providers in our speed tests. For a faster service than Hotspot Shield provides even at its best, consider subscribing to ExpressVPN or NordVPN.

    Time to decide which one is best for you


    Is Hotspot Shield better than AirVPN?

    Yes, Hotspot Shield is better overall than AirVPN. It has 1800 servers in 80 countries, fast speeds, and impressive security features.

    Best of all, you can take advantage of its latest discount and get it for only $2.99 a month.

    What should I keep in mind when choosing between Hotspot Shield and AirVPN?

    When choosing a VPN, you want to pay close attention to its number of servers, overall speed score, pricing, and the number of simultaneous device connections it offers. While some VPNs provide a flawless online experience, others will really slow you down.

    If you’re ready to commit, then Hotspot Shield may be perfect for you due to its performance during the tests .

    Is Hotspot Shield faster than AirVPN?

    Yes, Hotspot Shield is faster than AirVPN. Since your VPN is your computer’s main connection to the internet, you need to use a service that won’t slow you down by more than 20%.

    If speeds are important to you, then I recommend you take a look at ExpressVPN. It’s the fastest service out there, provides unlimited bandwidth, and you won’t experience any slowdowns even when you connect to the other side of the planet. You can try it out risk-free. It’s backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can get a full refund if you don’t like it.

    Do Hotspot Shield or AirVPN offer any deals?

    Both Hotspot Shield and AirVPN offer deals on occasion. You can check out the current coupons and discounts here. However, ExpressVPN has the best deals. Right now, you can get a 49% discount and up to 3 months for free with a new subscription.