NordVPN vs Hotspot Shield Comparison (2020)

Winner
4.8/5

vs

Loser
4.6/5

NordVPN and Hotspot Shield are both large, popular providers.

While NordVPN banks on it’s robust security and water-tight privacy policy, Hotspot Shield excels when it comes to speed.

Overall, NordVPN is slightly better.

Even though Hotspot Shield has faster connections, NordVPN offers better features and is more intuitive to use. NordVPN also has more affordable prices across the board, with its current three-year plan being among the cheapest in the market.

But which is the better VPN for you – NordVPN or Hotspot Shield?

In this Hotspot Shield vs. NordVPN comparison post, I’ll take a side-by-side look at the two VPN services and show you how they stack up in each category.

Quick Overview

CriteriaHotspot ShieldNordVPN
Rating4.6 of 5
4.6/5
4.8 of 5
4.8/5
PriceView Best PriceView Best Price
JurisdictionUSPanama
Logging PolicySome loggingStrict No Logging Policy
Servers & Countries568 Servers in 43 Countries5200+ Servers in 59 Countries
Torrenting / P2P
YesYes
EncryptionAES-256-bitAES-256-bit
Customer Support24/7 Live Chat + Email24/7 Live Chat + Email
Simultaneous Connections5 Devices6 Devices
Supported PlatformsWindows, Mac, iOS, Android, Android TV, Amazon Fire TVWindows, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android, Android TV, Amazon Fire TV, Routers
Free PlanYesNo
Refund Policy
30 Days30 Days
Visit:Go with Hotspot ShieldGo with NordVPN

Cost: NordVPN vs. Hotspot Shield

NordVPN offers better prices than Hotspot Shield.

NordVPN also tops Hotspot Shield when it comes to the total number of subscription plans.

In total, NordVPN has four pricing plans, while Hotspot Shield has three.

All their plans have the same features, with the subscription period being the only thing that changes.

Hotspot Shield pricing plans include:

  • 1-month plan at $12.99/month
  • 1-year plan at $7.99/month
  • 2-year plan at $6.99/month
Hotspot Shield pricing

NordVPN subscription plans, on the other hand, include:

  • 1-month plan at $11.95/month
  • 1-year plan at $6.99/month
  • 2-year plan at $4.99/month
  • 3-year plan at $3.49/month
NordVPN plans

NordVPN is in every way cheaper than Hotspot Shield.

If you opt for NordVPN’s 3-year plan, the monthly cost will be 50% less expensive than Hotspot Shield’s most economical plan (2 years).

Payment Methods

Hotspot Shield and NordVPN both allow you to pay for their service using Visa, MasterCard, AmericanExpress, and Discover credit cards. Hotspot Shield additionally supports payments via JCB credit cards and PayPal.

While I was disappointed to find out that NordVPN doesn’t accept PayPal payments, I was thrilled to see that they allow you to pay through Bitcoin.

Free Trials & Money-Back Policy

Both NordVPN and Hotspot Shield maintain reliable and trustworthy refund policies.

All NordVPN subscription plans are backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee, which is commendable.

That said, here the plaudits go to Hotspot Shield. The provider offers a 7-day free trial and an industry-best 45-day money-back guarantee allowing you to test the service exhaustively.

Overall, NordVPN still manages to edge out Hotspot Shield in this category thanks to its great combination of affordable pricing and rich-feature list.

Winner: NordVPN

Security – Encryption, Protocols, & Features

VPNs are designed to protect your data and allow you to surf anonymously.

In this regard, NordVPN comes out on top. The service uses military-grade AES 256-bit algorithm, which is currently the most robust VPN encryption. As for the security protocols, NordVPN supports both OpenVPN and IKEv2/IPsec.

Hotspot Shield, on the other hand, uses Catapult Hydra, a proprietary protocol developed by AnchorFree. While the VPN does support AES 256-bit encryption, it features the less secure but much faster 128-bit AES as the default encryption.

On their website, Hotspot Shield admits that Catapult Hydra is focused only on the performance of the VPN data transport while using standard encryption.

So, while NordVPN’s encryption is geared towards security, Hotspot Shield’s encryption is focused more on the speed and reliability of their server connections.

Winner: NordVPN

Jurisdiction & Logging Policy

One of the most significant differences between Hotspot Shield and NordVPN is in the area of privacy.

Hotspot Shield privacy policies and logging policies have long been derided.

And despite the service now being operated by new owners (Pango Inc), it still retains the same logging issues.

As mentioned earlier, the provider does some keep some logs.

Some of the data they collect includes:

  • Your IP address
  • ISP name
  • Server queries
  • Timestamps
Hotspot Shield collects information

NordVPN keeps neither activity nor connection logs.

The provider is located in a privacy-friendly jurisdiction, Panama, and is not subject to any mandatory data retention laws.

Panam jurisdiction

Hotspot Shield is a US company. A core member of the 14-eyes alliance, the United States requires providers to store data and, when necessary, share it with the authorities.

Winner: NordVPN

Speed & Performance

Imagine purchasing a VPN only to find out you can’t even watch a standard definition video without buffering. Unfortunately, that’s the reality many VPN users find in themselves in.

Still, several providers in the market offer fast and stable connections.

From what I’ve seen, both NordVPN and Hotspot Shield do a pretty decent job in regards to speed. Both provide fast connections and speed optimized servers, which is good for streaming and gaming fans.

But which is the best option for speed conscious users? I conducted a series of speed tests using different servers and locations to find out.

Here is a summary of the results.

Note: When conducting the tests, my benchmark speeds (standard internet connection) were 99.46 Mbps download and 48.71 Mbps upload.

Hotspot Shield VPN Speed Results

Hotspot ShieldPingDownloadUpload
Connected to UK server49 ms81.48 Mbps (-18.08%)44.03 Mbps (-9.61%)
Connected to US server97 ms74.79 Mbps (-24.80%)41.89 Mbps (-14.01%)
Connected to Hong Kong server146 ms55.18 Mbps (-44.52%)23.94 Mbps (-50.85%)

NordVPN Speed Results

NordVPNPingDownloadUpload
Connected to UK server33 ms78.91 Mbps (-20.66%)42.14 Mbps (-13.49%)
Connected to US server88 ms72.45 Mbps (-27.15%)40.32 Mbps (-17.22%)
Connected to Hong Kong server176 ms57.63 Mbps (-42.06%)38.58 Mbps (-20.79%)

Overall, Hotspot Shield has better speeds than NordVPN, but the difference was very minimal.

In some locations like Asia (HongKong), NordVPN was even faster thanks to its multitude of high-speed servers in the region.

Winner: Hotspot Shield

Global Server Coverage

While NordVPN wins when it comes to the total number of servers, Hotspot Shield has more server locations. Both aspects have their advantages.

A vast server list increases your odds of finding fast and stable servers.

On the other hand, a high number of server locations allows you to find servers near you regardless of your physical location.

Here, it’s a WIN-WIN for the two providers.

To get the full picture, NordVPN has 5437 servers in 59 countries, while Hotspot Shield has 3200+ servers in 80+ countries.

Winner: Tie

Streaming & Torrenting

Do NordVPN and Hotspot Shield support Netflix?

As mentioned earlier, both VPNs are fast and great for streaming.

However, to impress in this category, providers have to deliver more than just fast speeds.

Why? Most streaming services are increasing geo-restricting their content.

Take Netflix, for instance. The popular streaming has thousands of movies and TV shows that are only viewable in the US. If you are traveling or living outside the US, it can be a cause of frustration.

Netflix’s geo-blocking measures are so robust that only a few VPNs can bypass them.

Thankfully, both NordVPN and Hotspot Shield work well with the streaming service.

Hotspot Shield and NordVPN also allow P2P traffic and are secure enough for torrenting.

Winner: Tie

Compatibility & Ease of Use

I was delighted with Hotspot Shield VPN apps. They are beautifully designed and very easy to use. However, that’s not to say NordVPN apps are terrible.

In fact, it’s quite the opposite – they are sleek and intuitive to use.

As for compatibility, both VPNs support Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Android TV, and Amazon Fire TV.

NordVPN is additionally compatible with Linux – great news if you use Ubuntu, Fedora, or some other Linux distro. Again, NordVPN also supports routers, which allows you to protect every single device connected to your home Wi-FI.

Winner: NordVPN

NordVPN vs. Hotspot Shield – Customer Support

The two providers offer good support via live chat support.

However, the ease of access to the live chat differs.

While NordVPN’s live chat can be accessed easily without any registration, you’ll need a Pango account to use Hotspot Shield’s.

On top of the live chat, both providers have email support and a Knowledge Base section where you can find guides, troubleshooting resources, and other useful information.

Winner: NordVPN

So Which Is the Better VPN?

It’s got to be one of the two, right?

Well, we’ve seen the tests and the core features. So which is the better option?

Overall, NordVPN comes out on top, but Hotspot Shield is no slouch either.

Hotspot Shield delivers faster connections, and I found their more extensive server network to be quite impressive.

NordVPN, on the other hand, has much more advanced security and privacy features and comes at a much lower price. Their server network and connection speeds aren’t off either.

Ultimately, the best choice for you will depend on your specific needs and preferences.

Both have their pros and cons, but if I had to choose, I would go with NordVPN since it delivers better all-around performance.

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