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Hotspot Shield vs Betternet vs VPN Unlimited 2023

Which VPN is better?

Author Image Daniel Krohn
Daniel Krohn

Cybersecurity Researcher

Except for the military-grade AES 256-bit encryption and money-back guarantees, these three VPNs don’t have much in common. While Hotspot Shield and Betternet offer free versions, VPN Unlimited only has a 7-days free trial.

Hotspot Shield is a great choice overall. It has 1,800 servers in 80 countries and reliably unblocks many streaming services. This includes Amazon Prime Video, Netflix US, Disney+, Hulu, and more. This VPN is also excellent for torrenting, as it offers unlimited P2P traffic, fast speeds, an efficient kill switch, and DNS leak protection.

VPN Unlimited and Betternet come with a few limitations, especially on their free subscriptions. For example, Betternet doesn’t have a kill switch, and VPN Unlimited restricts torrenting on some servers. Although it’s great at unblocking many streaming services, VPN Unlimited can sometimes have inconsistent speeds. Betternet, on the other hand, allows unlimited torrenting and 5 simultaneous device connections, but it can be unreliable for accessing Netflix.


Features 9.1/10
Pricing 9.0/10
Ease of Use 9.0/10
Reliability & Support 8.6/10
Features 8.1/10
Pricing 6.2/10
Ease of Use 8.7/10
Reliability & Support 8.5/10
Features 6.5/10
Pricing 8.8/10
Ease of Use 8.6/10
Reliability & Support 7.0/10


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 MJ Marsden
MJ Marsden

Cybersecurity Researcher


BetternetVPN found itself under fire in 2016 when an academic study discovered it put its users at risk of third-party tracking software. Since then, it says it has made a lot of changes, improving its overall features and security. I wanted to find out if this is true or not. I tested the premium plan to find out what BetternetVPN has to offer, including its speeds, server network, and securi...

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Latest positive user review
Good App

Absolutely free VPN. BTW just click the exit button to close the free-trial box. It will continue to r... un without it. I don't experience any ads that I am aware of but I have an ad-blocker and a no-script installed on my browser which may account for that. I get a better connection on public WiFi generally. Their Terms and Conditions state they do not keep log files of your actual IP address or sites accessed; and they do not sell your information for money. They are supposed to be paid by premium accounts and the ads generated which, like I previously stated I haven't really seen much of. Lastly, they allow p2p and torrenting, though they will collect your data if they get subpoenaed to for illegal downloads. Overall, excellent VPN app in my opinion.More

Latest negative user review
Dangerous Service

What most people don't know about BetterNet VPN is that it's running by Hamid Rezazadeh, the son of En... sieh Khazali, a very radical Iranian government official (or 4th Reich), he's moved to Canada to mass collect users' data under this service!More

Review by our expert
Author Image Andreea Juganaru
Andreea Juganaru

Senior Editor


VPN Unlimited comes across as a very capable VPN, with its main focus being unblocking multiple streaming sites. I wanted to see if it delivered on this promise, and to test whether its security, privacy, and customer service stacks up against the best VPNs in the industry. While it certainly delivered on some of its assertions, unfortunately, it fell short in some essential areas. It unblocke...

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Latest positive user review
Very Happy with Lifetime license

I picked up a lifetime license and honestly, it's been "solid". It delivers at good speeds, no leaks ... so far have been detected. Offers a wide range of streaming options & Protocols. I've contacted customer service several times and received replies quickly. The servers for P2p are limited to three locations but are still very functional. I'd appreciate a public audit of how secure the service is but it seems none of this info is published for customers, or potential customers to view.More

Latest negative user review
Stay away

Again they block logins: Except now changing ... browser does not help nor support bothers to respond. I can also confirm receiving DMCA notices as other users reported. This provider is probably honey pot, I would stay away. Should be 0 stars.More


Starting price $2.99/month
Money Back Guarantee (Days) 45 Days
Number of devices per license 5 devices
Starting price $7.99/month
Money Back Guarantee (Days) 45 Days
Number of devices per license 5 devices
Starting price $4/month
Money Back Guarantee (Days) 30 Days
Number of devices per license 10 devices

Best VPN by category

Hotspot Shield is the best overall choice. It surpasses the strengths of both of its competitors. It has strong security features, and it’s faster than Betternet and VPN Unlimited. Additionally, it’s great for both streaming and torrenting, whereas if you decided for one of the other two VPNs, you’d have to forego one activity.

Hotspot Shield is the only reasonable choice for torrenting out of the three VPNs. It allows torrenting on all servers, has good speeds, a trustworthy no-logs policy, and a reliable kill switch. On the other hand, VPN Unlimited limits torrenting to only a couple of servers, and Betternet doesn’t have a kill switch, so it’s not safe.

Hotspot Shield is the best option for Windows. All three VPNs have native Windows apps, but Hotspot Shield comes with faster speeds and more options, including its proprietary Hydra protocol. Hydra is designed for faster and more consisted connection speeds compared to other widely-used protocols.

Hotspot Shield has an Android app that’s easy to use, fast, and secure. Additionally, the VPN is not only compatible with Android smartphones, but also with Android TVs. The other two VPNs are close contenders when it comes to app design, but HSS looks better.

All three VPNs have easy-to-use apps for Mac, but Hotspot Shield wins this category thanks to its Hydra protocol that improves connection speeds. It also has the most features available out of the three VPNs. Plus, its app design looks the best.

All three VPNs have native iOS apps, but Hotspot Shield is the best choice. For the most part, it’s thanks to its proprietary Hydra protocol together with the IKEv2 option, which is one of the fastest protocols for mobiles.

Hotspot Shield and VPN Unlimited offer streaming-optimized servers in the US, but Hotspot Shield has slightly better speeds. Additionally, it’s secure, private, and good for both torrenting and streaming. It unblocks Netflix US, Disney+, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, and many more US streaming sites. Betternet unblocks some US platforms too but it doesn't have optimized servers.

The Bottom Line

Hotspot Shield wins thanks to its robust security, privacy, and intuitive apps. Although all three vendors provide good levels of encryption and might seem relatively safe, Betternet's apps lack a kill switch, and VPN Unlimited has a questionable privacy policy. Hotspot Shield, on the other hand, offers all essential security features, as well as some advanced options such as the Hydra protocol. Additionally, Hotspot Shield is great for unblocking geo-restricted sites, as well as for torrenting, whereas its competitors lack one or the other ability.

Time to decide which one is best for you


Is Hotspot Shield better than Betternet and VPN Unlimited?

Yes, Hotspot Shield is better overall than Betternet and VPN Unlimited. 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, Betternet and VPN Unlimited?

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 Betternet and VPN Unlimited?

Yes, Hotspot Shield is faster than Betternet and VPN Unlimited. 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, Betternet or VPN Unlimited offer any deals?

Hotspot Shield, Betternet, and VPN Unlimited 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.