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Hotspot Shield vs VPN 2023

Table of Contents

    Which VPN is better?

    Author Image Kate Richards
    Kate Richards

    Managing Editor

    Hotspot Shield (HSS) and are trusted by millions of users worldwide for the speed and security they provide with their VPN services. Both providers offer a free limited version, which is handy if you’re an occasional VPN user. Hotspot Shield and also both offer strong 256-bit encryption, although HSS also offers 128-bit as an option. offers dedicated IP addresses on its topmost subscription tier, which is essential for bypassing geoblocks that detect shared IPs. It also supports torrenting and provides dynamic port forwarding for complete anonymity. Hotspot Shield does not support P2P activities, but does offer advanced features like malware protection and a dedicated streaming service. Hotspot Shield offers a pretty large network of 2,500+ servers in 25+ countries, whereas has 150+ servers in more than 34 countries. HSS also has a 45-day money-back guarantee, while only offers a 15-day refund option. Furthermore, while Hotspot Shield allows up to five simultaneous connections on all its paid plans, only’s topmost paid plan allows that many. See below for all the details of this comparison to find out which VPN emerges as our winner.


    Features 9.1/10
    Pricing 9.0/10
    Ease of Use 9.0/10
    Reliability & Support 8.6/10
    Features 9.0/10
    Pricing 7.6/10
    Ease of Use 8.4/10
    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 Husain Parvez
    Husain Parvez

    Cybersecurity Researcher

    8.0/10 claims to be the most secure VPN with a free plan. This sounds too good to be true, so it got me wondering — is it really a good alternative to the premium VPNs? So, I put through a series of tests to see if it’s safe, reliable, and effective. I found it offers great security, decent speeds, and a beginner-friendly user experience. It's easy to use and brings robust privacy ...

    Read all
    Latest positive user review
    Anonymous Reviewer
    Best VPN for free

    It works perfectly fine, the speeds are good, and there are a lot of different locations. I have had ... no problems with this VPN, and I like that it has a 10GB data limit monthly (more than most competitors). I tried every other free VPN, but all of them are slow and aren't as fast as this one. In my opinion, download this VPN and you will be happy.More

    Latest negative user review
    Not working with my Asus RT-AX88U

    Will not work with Asus routers - Service has no Interest in compatibility with Routers. I ha... d to change the Provider from to NordVPN and its all OK now. I had a Bad Time and now the sun shines on the VPN Sky - thanks NordVPN.More


    Starting price $2.99/month
    Money Back Guarantee (Days) 45 Days
    Number of devices per license 5 devices
    Starting price $3.84/month
    Money Back Guarantee (Days) 30 Days
    Number of devices per license 10 devices

    Best VPN by category

    Hotspot Shield offers a very attractive service that includes many strong security features, budget-friendly subscription prices, and outstanding 24/7 live support. is also a trusted VPN that provides an unrestricted service on its paid plans, with an emphasis on security features.’s support for P2P file sharing on its network and provision of a dynamic port forwarding feature makes it the better VPN for downloading torrents anonymously. We do not recommend Hotspot Shield for any P2P-related activity, as the provider forbids torrenting on its servers.

    Hotspot Shield offers a dedicated Windows app that provides access to features like malware and tracking protection. Meanwhile, offers a very intuitive Windows app that includes features like IPv6 leak protection and strong encryption.

    If you need an Android VPN app with a smooth interface and features like an automatic kill switch and tracking protection, HSS will serve you well. On the other hand,’s Android app includes all the essential VPN features you’d expect from a top provider, along with a unique VoIP unblocker and automatic server selection.

    One of the standout features of Hotspot Shield’s MacOS app is its proprietary Catapult Hydra technology that intelligently compresses your traffic for improved connection speed. It also includes malware protection and solid 256-bit encryption. also has a secure service for MacOS, with a dedicated app that includes IPv6 leak protection.

    Hotspot Shield has a smooth and intuitive iOS app, and all of the provider’s paid plans include support for up to five simultaneous device connections, which is great if you own several iOS gadgets. also provides a feature-rich service for iOS with a dedicated app. The main drawback is that the provider only supports multiple simultaneous connections on the most expensive paid plan.

    Hotspot Shield provides a very attractive VPN service for the USA, including a dedicated streaming feature on all its apps that seamlessly unblocks Netflix-US and other geoblocked US websites. also offers dedicated US servers, but they do not unblock US Netflix. However, they do allow you to access other US websites with geo-restrictions that are easier to bypass.

    The Bottom Line

    While both Hotspot Shield and appear to offer real value for your money, its provision of more security features and a larger network makes HSS the winner of this comparison. Hotspot Shield’s ability to unblock Netflix-US, support for more simultaneous connections, and more generous refund policy for paid plans also contribute to a decisive HSS victory in this contest. However, Hotspot Shield does not fare nearly as well when matched up against the most elite providers, such as NordVPN and ExpressVPN.

    Time to decide which one is best for you


    Is Hotspot Shield better than VPN?

    Yes, Hotspot Shield is better overall than 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 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 VPN?

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

    Both Hotspot Shield and 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.