While NordVPN has a reputation for being a user-friendly and modern VPN, Hotspot Shield has found its way to the VPN market from a different angle. Generally known as a free VPN solution, Hotspot Shield attracts users via its free-of-charge plan and makes them switch to its premium plan for extra features.
So, are these two VPNs comparable? How to know which one is more aligned with your needs? If that’s what you’re wondering, you’ve come to the right place.
In this NordVPN vs Hotspot Shield comparison, there can only be one clear winner. Without further ado, let’s start with the comparison.
Security and privacy
In terms of encryption and VPN protocols, NordVPN can satisfy even the most demanding users. Backed up by AES-256, this VPN features OpenVPN, IKEv2, and SSTP. This is complemented by a powerful kill switch as well as a full set of data leak protection mechanisms (DNS, IPv6, and WebRTC leaks). And if that’s not enough (and we strongly doubt you’ll be left wanting for more), NordVPN can take advantage of two servers at the same time (DoubleVPN).
Then, we have the not-as-impressive Hotspot Shield. Interestingly enough, this VPN comes with a protocol called Catapult Hydra, which is an enhanced TLS/OpenSSL protocol. With this said, we can’t recommend it to those looking for the best possible online protection. To make things worse, this VPN was found to cooperate with the authorities in the past.
Without any doubt, NordVPN is the winner of this category. You’ll hardly find a VPN on today’s market that packs as many advanced security features.
Speed and performance
If you want to take a peek at different corners of the Web, you need an array of strategically placed servers. With this said, we’re sure that you’ll be impressed by NordVPN and its 5400+ servers spread across 59+ countries. Then, we have Hotspot Shield which lets you use its 3200+ servers found in 80 countries.
Those who care about having the fastest Web connection should know that these two bring comparable performance. You will feel some throttling with both of those, where Hotspot Shield takes the lead in this photo finish.
However, don’t forget that NordVPN takes care of your privacy in a better way, all while bringing faster speeds.
Ease of use and support
No matter if you’re a first-timer or if you have plenty of experience, you’ll want a nicely designed UI. Well, we’re happy to say that NordVPN and Hotspot Shield both come with brilliantly simple UIs that are quite intuitive and easy to use.
NordVPN has always been dedicated to bringing highly polished graphics, and its native apps are among the best-designed ones. We can’t say that Hotspot Shield will give you a problem navigating through its menus, but we’ll note that its UI has remained the same for several years now. In comparison, NordVPN tries to freshen up its UI on a yearly basis.
Inexperienced users will also care about customer support. This is where these two VPNs are on par. They both offer live-chat support, plenty of self-help material, and you can count on having your issue resolved quickly.
Torrenting and P2P
Not every VPN supports torrenting. And even among those that do, you will find dramatically different results. This is why going for an optimized VPN that comes with P2P servers is always a good choice. And if they come with a free SOCKS5 proxy, you’ll be sure that your download speeds won’t suffer. Well, that is precisely what NordVPN offers.
Hotspot Shield isn’t a terrible solution for torrenting – it’s just that it isn’t optimized enough. And since it comes nowhere near NordVPN in terms of its server network, you can only hope that this VPN’s nearby server won’t give you any performance issues. On the plus side, Hotspot Shield includes protection against malware and other types of malicious files and scripts.
Unblocking Netflix and other platforms
Both NordVPN and Hotspot Shield can be used to unblock Netflix and its numerous regional versions. Besides, both of these come with fast performance, which means that streaming in HD and 4K is possible. So, who’s the winner of this category of our NordVPN vs Hotspot Shield comparison?
To select a winner, we must include additional streaming services as well. NordVPN can help you unblock Hulu, HBO, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, and plenty more. Hotspot Shield can’t match that, even though it unblocks BBC iPlayer on occasion. And in the long-term, NordVPN and its army of servers seem like a good bet that you’ll always have a solution to unblocking media streaming websites.
Bypassing China’s Great Firewall and other censorship
We’re going to be short and on-point here. The only way to overcome the Great Firewall is by using a highly capable VPN. This means having access to obfuscated servers that can fight against DPI (Deep Packet Inspection) to overcome any geographical and political borders. And among the rare VPNs with this capability is none other than NordVPN.
Hotspot Shield doesn’t work in China. Its website is blocked, and this VPN is ineffective against Chinese anti-VPN measures. The same applies to countries like Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE, Oman, Pakistan, and Iran.
Therefore, the only way to fight anti-VPN measures and overcome any type of censorship is by using NordVPN.
When picking a VPN, you must make sure that you’re covered by native apps. This means easy installation and getting to use every single feature of your chosen VPN. So, here’s what to expect from our two contenders.
NordVPN is natively available for Windows, MacOS, Linux (via manual configuration), Android, and iOS. Then, there are web browser extensions and an app for Android TV. And if you want to protect your entire household at once, you can install NordVPN on your router. Plus, you get to use up to 6 simultaneous connections.
Since it doesn’t offer OpenVPN, Hotspot Shield comes with limited compatibility. You can only install it on Windows, MacOS, Android, iOS, and Chrome. You can’t even install this VPN on a router, which is undoubtedly a significant downside.
If we compare the prices of NordVPN and Hotspot Shield, we can see that NordVPN is a more affordable option. For example, this VPN service will cost you $11.95 per month, while Hotspot Shield is priced at $12.99 per month.
It’s also interesting to note that only NordVPN has a plan that’s longer than one year. Its two-year deal brings the price down to $3.71/month. In the meantime, the cheapest deal that Hotspot Shield has to offer is the annual $7.99/month.
If you care about anonymous payment methods, please note that NordVPN supports a range of cryptocurrencies which isn’t the case with its competitor.
NordVPN vs Hotspot Shield – which is better?
So, which VPN deserves your time, trust, and money? Well, NordVPN beats Hotspot Shield in almost every aspect, while bringing a more affordable price with most of its plans. In fact, we would really have to nitpick to find something we don’t like about this user-friendly VPN.
Therefore, if you’re looking for a way to stay protected online, unblock websites, battle censorship, and pretty much anything else in between – NordVPN is our strong recommendation.