Having trouble deciding which Virtual Private Network (VPN) to use? We have put two of the most popular providers, NordVPN vs. Hotspot Shield, head-to-head to find out which is better for the average user.
Both well-known VPN providers, NordVPN and Hotspot Shield, hold great rankings in the VPN industry. While NordVPN provides top-class security, Hotspot Shield is famous for fast-speed connections.
With the facts, how can you decide which VPN is best for your requirements? Therefore, to help you choose the suitable service for your needs, we have compiled this NordVPN vs. Hotspot Shield review. In this post, we will differentiate between the performance, security, speed, and other interesting aspects of both VPNs.
Quick comparison: NordVPN vs. Hotspot Shield
Here’s a table for a quick comparison between NordVPN and Hotspot Shield:
|No. of Countries||60||80|
|Streaming Channels||Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, Disney+, and others.||Netflix, YouTube, BBC iPlayer|
|Logging Policy||Keeps no logs||Keeps logs|
|Compatibility||Andriod, Mac, Windows, Linux, iOS, Chrome, and Firefox||Android, Mac, Windows, Linux, iOS, and Chrome|
|Protocols||OpenVPN, WireGuard (NordLynx), IKEv2/IPSec||IKEv2, Catapult Hydra|
|Customer Support||24/7 live chat service, email support, FAQs, Knowledge base||24/7 live chat service, email support, FAQs, Knowledge base|
|Pricing||$3.49/mo (Get 57% Off + 3 Months FREE on 2-Year Plan)||$7.99/month for 1 year of service|
|Simultaneous connections||Up to 6||Up to 5|
|Money-back Guarantee||Within 30 days||Within 45 days|
Detailed Analysis: NordVPN vs. Hotspot Shield
Here’s a detailed analysis of NordVPN vs. Hotspot Shield comparison:
Speed performance: NordVPN vs. Hotspot Shield
In the majority of speed comparisons, NordVPN has outperformed with lightning-fast speeds powered by NordLynx. However, while testing the VPNs for this review, the results were quite surprising, probably due to the Hotspot Shield protocol performing better this time with fast speeds.
Let us check which one from Hotspot Shield or NordVPN works faster.
The baseline speed taken for these tests was 1 ms/300 Mbps download/upload.
|Catapult Hydra/NordLynx||NordVPN||Hotspot Shield|
|Average Download Speed||190 Mbps||261 Mbps|
|Average Upload Speed||131 Mbps||50 Mbps|
From the above results, it’s evident that Hotspot Shield’s Catapult Hydra performs much faster for the download speed range. At some points, the decrease in download speed had been reported to be as little as 2%.
While NordVPN’s NordLynx shows remarkable download speed, but not as faster as Hotspot’s Hydra.
However, in terms of upload speed, Hydra was way slower than NordLynx, marking it unfit for high-bandwidth activities like gaming and streaming.
|Average Download Speed||215 Mbps||262 Mbps|
|Average Upload Speed||51 Mbps||45 Mbps|
Both NordVPN and Hotspot Shield support an efficient tunnelling IKEv2 protocol. Here again, Hotspot Shield provides a faster download speed as compared to the NordVPN speed test. Whereas its upload speeds were again not up to the mark.
Overall, deciding the best performer in speed is hard because of the mixed results shown by both NordVPN and Hotspot Shield. One provided better download speeds in the two tests, while the other gave more upload speeds. Therefore, this speed test ends with a tie.
You can check the NordVPN review for more details.
Netflix and streaming
Everybody looks up to various online options for entertainment, and what’s better than streaming? VPNs are mostly used for unblocking Netflix and other streaming platforms to enjoy unrestricted streaming.
Let’s check which of them is the best streaming VPN for online streamers.
|Amazon Prime Video||✔||✔|
From these results, we can observe that Hotspot Shield works well for streaming. It can unblock a few channels, such as Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Netflix, YouTube, and Amazon Prime Video. However, Hotspot Shield fails to unblock HBO Max, and Disney+.
On the other hand, NordVPN easily unblocks Netflix, Hulu, and all other streaming platforms tested for this review. It is capable of unlocking almost any streaming channel that is given, such as Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max, etc. No buffering issues were encountered with NordVPN, allowing users to access movie libraries across several countries not limited to the US or the UK.
NordVPN is undoubtedly the best VPN for accessing Netflix due to its capability of unblocking around 16 different libraries. Additionally, it offers a SmartDNS feature that lets users to stream content on all devices, including those that don’t even support a VPN connection.
Therefore, with NordVPN, we have a clear winner for streaming.
Torrenting is a common activity performed by internet users frequently. It involves downloading content from the websites, such as media files or documents of various types.
NordVPN and Hotspot Shield are both reasonable options for torrenting. Although Hotspot Shield facilitates torrenting on nearly all of its servers, NordVPN takes the lead with its exceptional service delivery.
If you are into excessive torrenting, then we suggest using NordVPN as your service, as it comes with specialized servers and P2P-optimized connections. It also allows you to connect to its extremely secure Onion over VPN servers.
NordVPN provides an integrated SOCKS5 proxy to serve the different needs of torrenting clients.
In terms of features, both NordVPN and Hotspot Shield are equipped with a variety of options that make them stand out. Let’s discuss some of the features below:
1. Split Tunneling:
Both NordVPN and Hotspot Shield offer split tunneling that lets you use a VPN connection on some selected applications and programs, letting the rest of the traffic travel unmasked. With this option, you don’t have to switch the VPN on and off constantly.
Upon comparing the two VPN providers, NordVPN’s split tunneling turns out to be highly configurable. You can easily add or remove specific applications on Android and Windows from the VPN connection.
Whereas, with Hotspot Shield, you get SmartPIN, which gives you split tunneling capabilities. You can select apps and even websites to use a VPN connection with this SmartPIN feature. However, for exclusion, this feature has limited functionality.
2. Malware Blocking:
Some VPNs offer extra protection from both snoopers and malware. For this advanced protection, NordVPN provides a CyberSec feature, which blocks malicious websites and ads. NordVPN prevents your system from getting infected.
In the same way, Hotspot Shield sends notifications when you are about to open an infected webpage. It also protects you against phishing attempts, viruses, scams, etc. For better analysis, you can check our detailed Hotspot Shield review.
NordVPN offers SmartDNS that allow streaming on Netflix and other streaming platforms on devices with no VPN connection support, including some smart TVs and gaming consoles. With this feature, you can easily set up NordVPN on Xbox or PlayStation and watch your favorite titles regardless of your location.
However, on these connections, your traffic will be unencrypted while using a foreign IP address.
After carefully testing all of these features, NordVPN turns out to be a clear winner, providing better results than Hotspot Shield.
The security of a VPN service is one of the most important aspects of protecting your personal data and shielding your identity on the network. In this section, we are going to scrutinize the two VPNs on the basis of the security they provide.
Encryption and Tunneling Protocols:
Most VPNs use the standard AES-256 cipher for encryption. Following the standard, NordVPN uses AES-256 for encryption. However, Hotspot Shield uses a comparatively less secure yet virtually uncrackable AES-128. The reason behind this is that less complication leads to faster speeds, which is proven by Hotspot Shield.
In the tunneling protocols domain, NordVPN brings you more options than Hotspot Shield. It lets you choose from NordLynx, OpenVPN UDP, OpenVPN TCP, and IKEv2. However, with NordLynx being an improved version of WireGuard, you are more likely to use it because of the best speed and security it delivers.
In contrast, Hotspot Shield gives two protocol choices between IKEv2 and Catapult Hydra, known for optimized speed based on SSL.
While comparing the VPNs on the basis of jurisdiction, NordVPN has a prominent edge over Hotspot Shield, as NordVPN has headquarters in a privacy-friendly country, Panama. Whereas Hotspot Shield is based in the US, which is the worst-known region in terms of privacy.
Whereas Hotspot Shield collects user information being a member of the 5 Eyes Alliance country despite claiming no logs collection. It records your city-level location to recommend you the fastest servers available. This can be a concern for privacy-oriented users.
A kill switch is an important property of a VPN, which shuts down the internet immediately after the VPN connection crashes abruptly. With this feature, your true IP address doesn’t get exposed or leaked.
While testing, the Kill switch in NordVPN worked fine being customizable. Users can either shut down the internet completely for the whole device or particular applications.
On the other hand, Hotspot Shield’s kill switch also passed our tests. However, it doesn’t let users choose apps like NordVPN.
As per our experience with all of these security features, NordVPN leads the race by a great margin, providing us far more extensive sense of security than Hotspot Shield.
Plans & pricing
The pricing strategy of both NordVPN and Hotspot Shield is similar. The prices drop as the subscription period increases. We can easily observe which of the two offers better VPN deals. NordVPN brings cheaper plans than Hotspot Shield.
Although Hotspot Shield offers a free plan apparently, it restricts users to access data up to a certain limit of the bandwidth. It enables users to use up to 500 Mb of data, which can end with little internet surfing. While NordVPN lacks a free plan.
To give you a clear picture of the pricing models of both the VPNs, we present a table below:
|Pricing Plan||NordVPN||Hotspot Shield|
NordVPN offers monthly, yearly, and 2-years plan at a comparatively lower price. In contrast, Hotspot Shield has a monthly and yearly subscription plan where it charges more than NordVPN. Furthermore, it has no deal for a 2-year subscription.
Another interesting aspect is the money-back guarantee that the two VPNs offer. NordVPN gives a 30-day money-back guarantee for you to decide if you want to continue the service or not, while Hotspot Shield offers a complete refund within 45 days. While NordVPN doesn’t have a free package, it does offer a 7-day free trial for mobile users.
Good and extensive server connections are essential for quality service. The greater the number of servers, the more users can avail of connectivity.
NordVPN has more than 5500 servers in 60 countries, whereas Hotspot Shield offers more than 1800 servers in 80 countries. If we consider the server locations, Hotspot Shield takes the lead. In the case of a number of servers, NordVPN is the winner.
Here’s an overview of NordVPN vs. Hotspot Shield servers comparison:
|No. of servers||5500+||1800+|
The service provider with more servers, such as NordVPN is likely to be less crowded. It is expected to provide timely connections and deliver unrestricted service.
Hotspot Shield has no specialized servers; meanwhile, NordVPN comes with a variety of servers, such as P2P-optimized, Onion over VPN, and Double VPN. Considering the wide server network and additional perks, NordVPN gets more credit.
Platforms, interface, and ease of use
VPNs with easy-to-use interfaces and simple designs are convenient for users. Likewise, supporting a wide range of platforms facilitates clients on various devices.
|Browser Extensions||Firefox and Chrome||Chrome|
|OS Compatibility||Android, Linux, Windows, iOS, and macOS||Android, Linux, Windows, iOS, and macOS|
|Other device support||Android TV, Fire devices, and Kodi||Android TV, and Fire devices|
|Simultaneous device connections||6||5|
NordVPN and Hotspot Shield have easy-to-install setup and use apps. Both support all major operating systems, such as Windows, iOS, and Android as mentioned in the above table.
The NordVPN desktop apps seem similar for macOS and Windows. The apps are beginner-friendly and have a map for users. However, on Linux, you need to operate via the command line as no graphical user interface is available yet.
The desktop app of Hotspot Shield is similar to easy-to-use apps for macOS and Windows, but a missing graphical interface in the Linux app.
NordVPN mobile apps for Android and iOS devices have almost the same design, but different features. For instance, the Android app offers auto-connect options, a configurable kill switch, and a split tunneling feature.
Whereas the iOS version has Dark Web monitoring, which is extremely useful for detecting data leakage on the dark web. However, you cannot disable the kill switch in this app.
The Hotspot Shield mobile apps are mini replicas of the desktop versions with similar features and functions. The iOS versions and the rest are feature-rich.
When it comes to digital-world clients, they prefer products with active and reliable support services. Therefore, VPNs with operational customer support service win the credibility of the buyers.
While testing, NordVPN was found to be offering remarkably quick responding live chat support available 24/7, which is very impressive. The best thing is that you can write your query to their service without even having an account. Furthermore, you get email support, and a FAQs section to get helpful resources.
In contrast, Hotspot Shield’s live chat service is restricted to use by a paywall, requiring you to pay before you can talk to a human agent directly. Users can read troubleshooting guides without any payments.
NordVPN vs. Hotspot Shield – which one wins?
NordVPN wins the race!
VPNs enable users to secure their online connections and enjoy unrestricted activities by unblocking content from around the world. NordVPN and Hotspot Shield are two top choices with remarkable features and services.
|Test Category||NordVPN||Hotspot Shield|
|Ease of use||✔||x|
In our effort to compare NordVPN vs. Hotspot Shield, we considered various factors like speed, security, interfaces, customer support, etc to evaluate their performance. Although both VPNs perform well, NordVPN has been the winner in many of our tests.
NordVPN offers blazing-fast speeds, advanced security protection, top-class privacy solution, and reasonable prices to shield your online activities. We highly recommend using NordVPN to enjoy a seamless online experience.
FAQs: NordVPN vs Hotspot Shield
Is NordVPN better than Hotspot Shield?
Yes, NordVPN is way better than Hotspot Shield VPN due to greater unblocking capacity, extra security features, strict no-logs policy, and lesser prices. However, Hotspot Shield can be preferred by users to access super-fast download speeds.
Is Hotspot Shield faster than NordVPN?
Yes, Hotspot Shield is faster than NordVPN in terms of download speeds with an occasional drop-down of just 2% from the original speed. However, NordVPN serves greater upload speeds to its users.
Is Hotspot Shield Good for streaming?
Yes, but only Hotspot Shield’s premium plan is good for streaming, as the free version doesn’t let users access popular streaming platforms. With a premium account, Hotspot Shield provides greater connection speeds suitable for high-definition streaming.
Is Hotspot Shield VPN strong?
Yes, Hotspot Shield VPN is strong as it implements AES-128 cipher for encryption. It also guarantees leak protection against IP, DNS, and WebRTC leaks. Hotspot Shield also has split tunneling, a kill switch, and fast connection speeds. Overall, it is a reasonably strong VPN.