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Which VPN is better?
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While both VPNs allow P2P traffic, Hotspot Shield is based in the US, where torrenting is severely restricted. Furthermore, Hotspot Shield doesn’t offer any torrent-specific features. Surfshark, however, explicitly states that P2P is permitted with the VPN, and maintains a list of torrenting websites and clients that work well with the service.
Both providers focus on ease of use in their Windows clients, along with essential features like quick connect and a kill switch. Surfshark takes things further, however, with split tunneling, obfuscation settings, and DNS leak protection. However, you may prefer Hotspot Shield if you want more server options from your VPN.
Surfshark performs very well on Android, with an intuitive app running the IKEv2 protocol. Notable features include WhiteLister (split tunneling) and DNS leak protection, but there is no kill switch. Meanwhile, Hotspot Shield offers a very solid, minimalist Android app. It’s easy to use and looks great, but there aren’t many special features or settings.
Apple users will be happy to know that Surfshark offers the same excellent features for Mac as it does in its Windows version. The only difference is that it runs the IKEv2 protocol by default instead of OpenVPN. Hotspot Shield’s MacOS client looks rather basic compared to what you get on Windows, and there’s no kill switch. It's much too apparent that Hotspot Shield was developed for Windows and later adapted for Mac.
Surfshark’s iOS app is identical to the Android client, meaning you get plenty of features and fast, stable connections. You’re also allowed to connect as many devices as you want with this VPN – not only rare, but incredibly useful. On the other hand, Hotspot Shield offers the standard five simultaneous connections and an iOS app that gets the job done well, with access to a farther-reaching server network.
Despite its smaller server presence in the USA, Surfshark was the faster VPN in our tests. We had no trouble reaching popular services like Netflix and Hulu, and streaming was smooth and uninterrupted. That said, Hotspot Shield is excellent for unblocking US content as well, and its bigger US server network may serve you better if you need access to regionally televised sports events.