HotSpot Shield vs ExpressVPN - Comparing Performance, Speed, Prices
Virtual Private Networks, or VPNs, enable users to enjoy access to geo-restricted content online and protect their privacy. Some websites might be restricted to selected countries, or limited in their offerings. VPNs give users access to any website they want, as well as streaming services like Hulu, Netflix, and Spotify. They also protect users’ identities online, helping round out their value-added offerings.
ExpressVPN and HotSpot Shield provide a wide range of VPN services and features. Our tech experts have compared both companies, measuring a variety of features and characteristics, giving one of our competitors a slight lead. See how these two rivals stack up in our VPN comparison!
How We Compare the Brands
As the internet evolves, we need better ways to protect our privacy and sensitive data online. VPNs offer a variety of services, and while most providers offer similar tools, some stand out from the rest. With such fierce competition, it can be difficult to find the right one.
Our tech experts decided to compare VPN services to see which one is the best, and we’re examining ExpressVPN and HotSpot Shield to determine the victor. We test each service on a variety of factors, including prices, performance, server locations, and more. Both offer great solutions, but we did identify a clear winner. Read on to find out more!
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A key measure when you compare VPN providers is how available they are, and how well they let you access geo-restricted content. Companies with more servers can provide better connections and broader access to popular services. ExpressVPN offers 148 server locations in 94 countries, and is available for both Windows and Mac OS, as well as iOS and Android. By comparison, HotSpot shield hosts servers in only 24 countries, with services applicable on major platforms including Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android.
Bandwidth is also important as many users have VPNs to stream video or download files. We were happy to see that each VPN service provides unlimited bandwidth with its paid subscriptions.
Available Streaming Services. A major selling point for a VPN is how well it can access geo-restricted services such as Netflix. Both services tested very well, with Hotspot Shield offering access to a few more services relative to the competition in this case.
Mobile Apps. Mobile devices are just as susceptible when you connect to a vulnerable connection such as public Wi-Fi. ExpressVPN and HotSpot Shield have each developed mobile apps for Apple and Android devices, so you can protect your identity even when on the go.
Protocols. Tech-savvy users appreciate the ability to further customize their VPN by choosing specific protocols that offer more speed or security. ExpressVPN works with a high strength PPTP and L2TP protocol to encrypt its clients’ data, whereas HotSpot Shield uses IPv6.
Money Back Guarantee. Companies confident in their services offer money-back guarantees, as not every product is ideal for a specific user’s needs. We were pleased to see both providers issue guarantees for their solutions.
Speed. VPNs can sometimes slow down internet connections, though the best minimize the impact. While both companies claim to provide high-speed services, HotSpot Shield has faced complaints of slower internet connections in the past.
Kill Switch. If a connection becomes insecure, it’s vital to disconnect it immediately to avoid any breaches. Kill switches let users disconnect automatically if their VPN coverage fails. We were pleased to see these services have built-in kill switches.
Zero Logs Policy. Companies that don’t maintain logs of user activity improve the privacy and protections for their users. In this case, each competitor went the extra step to protect their users with clear zero-log policies.
Security and Privacy
Web surfers turn to VPNs to provide a secure and anonymous connection to the internet, encrypting their data as they browse. ExpressVPN utilizes a 256-bit encryption, the most robust protocol available. HotSpot Shield uses a proprietary protocol though they have not shared specifics on it. Both firms also underline firm no log policies (as mentioned above), which means their systems do not copy and store personal details while using the service.
We also compare VPNs based on the client experience they deliver. ExpressVPN customer support representatives are quick to answer any questions via an inquiry form, email, or even live chat. The latter is available around the clock. HotSpot Shield also answered fairly quickly, but only through an e-form, which lagged well behind ExpressVPN’s comprehensive service.
VPNs providers offer a broad spectrum of pricing options, so finding a combination of features and affordability is possible. ExpressVPN provides a monthly plan for $12.95, a 6-month plan for $9.99 per month, and $8.32 per month for their yearly subscription. They also issue a 30-day money-back guarantee to give users a chance to test their services.
Hotspot Shield Elite costs $12.99 per month, or $8.99 per month with a 6-month plan. Yearly subscriptions start at $5.99 per month, or $119.99 if paid upfront. The company stands out with a 45-day money-back guarantee which goes above and beyond most services. It is important to note that HotSpot Shield does offer a free version of their VPN service. However, there are a few limitations – you will only have access to the US server, the Elite Payment Wall will be displayed when accessing certain streaming sites like Netflix, Hulu, and BBC iPlayer, and there are going to be ad pop-ups.
Who Takes the Crown?
Both ExpressVPN and HotSpot Shield have great features to offer their potential and existing clients, but ExpressVPN separated itself in this VPNs comparison. The company’s extensive server locations, stable connections, and outstanding service make it a clear winner. For users seeking a slightly more affordable plan with straightforward features, HotSpot Shield is an appealing alternative. If you would like to suggest brands for us to compare, leave us a comment below!