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Hotspot Shield vs Buffered VPN 2023

Table of Contents

    Which VPN is better?

    Author Image Kate Richards
    Kate Richards

    Managing Editor

    Hotspot Shield and Buffered VPN are both very popular for their ability to break through tough geo-restrictions on providers like Netflix. Both services include wi-fi and ISP tracking protection, but malware protection is only available with Hotspot Shield. On the other hand, Buffered VPN offers a built-in firewall and DoS protection, which are absent in Hotspot Shield. If you’re interested in downloading torrents, you should be aware that while Buffered supports P2P activities on some of its servers, Hotspot Shield completely prohibits torrenting on its entire network. In terms of cost, Hotspot Shield offers more budget-friendly plans. It also offers a 45-day money-back guarantee, whereas Buffered offers refunds on new orders only within 30 days. Hotspot Shield also provides a free version of its product, which is very useful for trying out the service. The free version is limited, however, and sometimes displays ads from the provider. We have provided a side-by-side comparison across several categories below to help you determine which VPN is better for you. NOTE: The comparison primarily focuses on Hotspot Shield Elite, the paid version of Hotspot Shield’s service.


    Features 9.1/10
    Pricing 9.0/10
    Ease of Use 9.0/10
    Reliability & Support 8.6/10
    Features 8.2/10
    Pricing 6/10
    Ease of Use 8.8/10
    Reliability & Support 8.4/10


    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 Katie Kasunic
    Katie Kasunic

    Technology Researcher


    Update: Buffered VPN merged with We have thoroughly tested, and you can find everything you need to know in our review. Buffered VPN has a lot to offer due to its user-friendly interface, fast connection speeds, and reliable security. One thing it can't do is unblock Netflix, you'll need a premium vendor like ExpressVPN for that. In addition to dedicated apps available f...

    Read all
    Latest positive user review
    Don Bartlem
    I considered a number of VPN's before going with Buffered which I find excellent.

    No issues in any aspect, On the rare occasions that I required assistance (in the initial set up stage... ), the Help Desk was outstanding. Would highly recommend Buffered to anyone considering using a VPNMore

    Latest negative user review
    They are no more

    After being a customer for more than 2 years and paying a premium price for a good service. THEY DON'T...  EXIST ANYMORE.. No warning, just logged in one day and my app doesn't work and they have changed their website name. STAY AWAY, sounds dodgy.More


    Starting price $2.99/month
    Money Back Guarantee (Days) 45 Days
    Number of devices per license 5 devices
    Starting price $8.33/month
    Money Back Guarantee (Days) 30 Days
    Number of devices per license 5 devices

    Best VPN by category

    Hotspot Shield provides a reliable service with consistently fast servers, innovative features, and a very responsive live chat support channel. Buffered VPN offers a smaller but effective VPN service, with solid encryption and the ability to bypass tough geoblocks.

    Buffered allows you to torrent anonymously on some of its servers, while restricting P2P activities on others. Meanwhile, Hotspot Shield does not allow any form of P2P file sharing on its servers.

    Hotspot Shield’s Windows app is easy to set up and includes advanced security features like tracking and malware protection. It also includes a clever kill switch that allows you to specify which applications must disconnect from the internet if the VPN connection drops. With Buffered, you’ll get a dedicated Windows client that features a firewall-based kill switch and wi-fi protection.

    Hotspot Shield offers a very robust VPN service for Android, with an intuitive app that features protection from tracking, malware, and hacking. Buffered VPN’s dedicated app for Android features a built-in firewall, DoS protection, and direct access to the provider’s 24/7 live chat support channel.

    The key features available in Hotspot Shield’s dedicated MacOS app are wi-fi protection and the provider’s Catapult Hydra technology, which compresses your traffic to improve connection speed. Buffered competes with a simple-looking MacOS app that offers firewall protection and strong encryption.

    The availability of a kill switch and access to over 2,500 servers makes Hotspot Shield’s iOS app very appealing. The app also features protection from third-party tracking and malware. Buffered VPN for iOS features AES 256-bit encryption, protection from Denial of Service (DoS) attacks, and a built-in bandwidth test.

    Hotspot Shield is an ideal VPN for bypassing US geoblocks, as it provides hundreds of US servers as well as a dedicated streaming feature that allows you to unblock Netflix and many other American media platforms. In spite of having just one US server, Buffered still manages to reliably unlock Netflix and other similarly geoblocked sites and services.

    The Bottom Line

    Although Buffered offers a very innovative VPN service with some nice features, Hotspot Shield wins this comparison by providing a faster service for the US, a far larger global server network, and better subscription prices. Additional offerings like its 45-day money-back guarantee and exceptionally responsive technical support also help Hotspot Shield stand above all but the very best VPNs. Speaking of the best VPNs, check out our comparisons of Hotspot Shield against elite services like ExpressVPN to see just what it takes for a VPN to earn one of our top rankings.

    Time to decide which one is best for you


    Is Hotspot Shield better than Buffered VPN?

    Yes, Hotspot Shield is better overall than Buffered VPN. 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 Buffered VPN?

    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 Buffered VPN?

    Yes, Hotspot Shield is faster than Buffered VPN. 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 Buffered VPN offer any deals?

    Both Hotspot Shield and Buffered VPN 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.