NordVPN vs. Hotspot Shield VPN 2024: Which VPN Offers the Best Speeds and Overall Value?

Find out if NordVPN's advanced security features and global server network outshine Hotspot Shield's ease of use and family-friendly interface for streaming, privacy, and more.
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Best for Speed, Security, and Streaming

5.0
Editorial Rating
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On NordVPN's website

VPN
NordVPN
Up to 69% off 2-year plans + a Saily eSIM data gift
  • Ultra-secure, high-speed VPN complete with malware protection and automatic blocking of intrusive ads and third-party trackers
  • Other benefits include a premium password manager, dark web monitoring, and access to IP-restricted content
  • 3 plans to choose from for custom protection on up to 10 devices

Best for Beginners and Families

3.4
Editorial Rating
Learn More
On Hotspot Shield's website

VPN
Hotspot Shield
  • Extremely fast with easy controls
  • Helpful customer service
  • Logs some data and headquartered in the U.S.

Both NordVPN and Hotspot Shield VPN are good VPN services, but for different reasons. NordVPN offers advanced encryption protocols, a large number of servers around the world, a strict no-logs policy, and has excelled in our speed tests.

Hotspot Shield VPN, on the other hand, works for someone who needs an easy interface. As such, it's perfect for any casual user or family with basic VPN needs. While NordVPN offers plans at a lower rate, Hotspot Shield offers a free version and solid performance in its premium service.

In this article, we'll discuss the features, performance, and pricing in more detail to help you decide which VPN is the best for you.

In this article
NordVPN vs. Hotspot Shield VPN at a glance
NordVPN vs. Hotspot Shield VPN: Prices
Which VPN is faster?
Which VPN is more secure?
NordVPN vs. Hotspot Shield VPN: Compatibility and customer support
FAQs
Is NordVPN or Hotspot Shield VPN better?

NordVPN vs. Hotspot Shield VPN at a glance

NordVPN and Hotspot Shield VPN both offer high-end security features and a large network of servers, but they cater to different user needs. NordVPN offers robust security features, making it ideal for privacy enthusiasts or users who want to access content from around the world.

Hotspot Shield VPN boasts user-friendly controls — an advantage in a complicated market, catering to casual users and families with up to 10 connections.

  • NordVPN: Best for security-focused users and streaming enthusiasts
  • Hotspot Shield VPN: Best for ease of use and families

How do NordVPN and Hotspot Shield VPN compare?

Price As low as $3.99/mo (billed every two years) As low as free or $7.99/mo (billed annually)
Max # of connected devices 10 1 or 10
24/7 customer support
Compatibility Android, iOS, Windows, macOS, Linux, Chrome, Edge, Firefox, AndroidTV Android, iOS, Windows, macOS, Linux, Chrome, Firefox, smart TVs, routers
# of servers 6,300+ in 111 countries Servers in 80+ countries
VPN protocol OpenVPN, NordLynx, IKEv2/IPsec Catapult Hydra, OpenVPN, IPsec
No-logs policy No logs Logs some data
Unblocks Netflix?
Learn more Get NordVPN

Read NordVPN Review

Get Hotspot Shield VPN

Read Hotspot Shield VPN Review

How we test and rate VPNs

We complete standardized hands-on tests for each VPN we review so we can put their claims to the test. This includes vigorous third-party testing by comparing our internet speed while connected to different servers, checking for DNS leaks, making sure the kill switch actually works, and more. We also make sure we can comfortably access popular streaming sites, like Netflix, and still do our day-to-day work without interruption.

Once we’ve completed the testing, our editorial rating is calculated by taking into account key features you’d expect from a good product. We score each VPN in the following categories and use a weighted average to calculate the final rating out of 5 stars: price, server count, speed, security, and features.

NordVPN pros and cons

NordVPN stands out in the premium VPN market with its comprehensive security features and extensive server network. Priced from $3.99/mo (billed every two years) for the Basic 2-year plan, NordVPN offers a robust suite of features, including AES-256 encryption, a kill switch, and advanced protocols like OpenVPN and NordLynx. It also supports up to 10 devices simultaneously and has a strict no-logs policy, verified by independent audits.

NordVPN excels in speed tests and consistently unblocks popular streaming services such as Netflix, making it a top choice for privacy-conscious users and streaming enthusiasts alike.

However, NordVPN's variety of plans can be somewhat confusing for new users. While the service offers significant discounts on long-term plans, its monthly rates are higher than some competitors. Despite these minor drawbacks, NordVPN's impressive security, fast connection speeds, and reliable performance make it a worthwhile investment for those seeking a high-quality VPN.

Pros
  • Extensive server network
  • Strong security and privacy features
  • Fast and reliable speeds
  • Supports torrenting
Cons
  • Higher cost than some competitors
  • Too many plan options can be confusing

Hotspot Shield VPN pros and cons

Hotspot Shield VPN is renowned for its ease of use and reliable speeds. The VPN uses its proprietary Catapult Hydra protocol alongside OpenVPN and IPsec, ensuring secure and swift connections.

Starting with a free plan for 1 device, Hotspot Shield provides a user-friendly interface and then supports up to 10 devices with its Premium plan. It’s particularly suitable for families and casual users who need multiple device connections and straightforward controls without compromising on performance.

Despite its strengths, Hotspot Shield has a few notable limitations. The VPN logs some user data, which might be a concern for privacy-focused individuals. And according to our testing, it struggles to reliably unblock Netflix, which could be a dealbreaker for those looking to access geo-restricted content. Plus, issues with the kill switch feature requiring a complete uninstallation to fix can be frustrating.

Even so, Hotspot Shield remains a solid choice for those who prioritize speed and ease of use over other advanced features.

Pros
  • Has a free plan with unlimited data
  • User-friendly interface
Cons
  • Logs some user data
  • Does not unblock Netflix reliably

NordVPN vs. Hotspot Shield VPN: Prices

Best Value
Price range $3.99–$15.99/mo Free or $7.99–$12.99/mo
Best value plan 2-year plan for $3.99/mo (billed every two years) 1-year plan for $7.99/mo (billed annually)
Money-back guarantee Yes — 30 days Yes — 45 days
Learn more Get NordVPN

Read NordVPN Review

Get Hotspot Shield VPN

Read Hotspot Shield VPN Review

When comparing NordVPN and Hotspot Shield VPN on the basis of price, there are clear distinctions in their pricing structures and value plans. NordVPN's price range spans from $3.99–$15.99/mo, with the best value found in its 2-year Basic plan at $3.99/mo (billed every two years).

The Basic 2-year plan offers comprehensive security features, including AES-256 encryption, a kill switch, and access to 6,300+ servers, making it a cost-effective VPN choice for those seeking both affordability and advanced features. Additionally, NordVPN offers a 30-day money-back guarantee, allowing users to try the service risk-free.

Hotspot Shield VPN, on the other hand, ranges from a free plan to $7.99–$12.99/mo, with the best value in its annual Premium plan at $7.99/mo (billed annually). This plan provides fast speeds, easy controls, and supports up to 10 devices, making it ideal for families and casual users.

Despite its higher cost compared to NordVPN, Hotspot Shield offers a free plan with limited features and a 45-day money-back guarantee to the premium plan, providing an extended period for users to evaluate the service. However, for those prioritizing budget and advanced security, NordVPN's longer-term plans present a better overall value.

Payment options

Both NordVPN and Hotspot Shield VPN offer a variety of payment options, allowing users to choose the method that best suits their needs. Certain payment types, such as cryptocurrencies, can provide additional VPN privacy by minimizing the amount of personal information shared during the transaction. Here's a detailed look at the payment options for each VPN:

NordVPN payment options

  • Credit card
  • Debit card
  • Google Pay
  • MoMo
  • Cryptocurrencies (Bitcoin, Ethereum, and more)
  • PayPal

Hotspot Shield VPN payment options

  • Credit card
  • Debit card
  • PayPal
  • JCB
  • Diners Club

Winner: NordVPN offers the best price, particularly with its 2-year plan, which combines affordability with advanced security features.

Which VPN is faster?

When choosing a virtual private network, speed is a critical factor, especially for activities like streaming, gaming, and video conferencing. Our tests measured the percentage change in speed when connected to various VPN servers compared to not using a VPN at all.

The table below shows the impact of each VPN on internet speed across different server locations, highlighting how much slower or faster the connection became:

Our Pick
U.S. 44.72% faster 23% slower
Canada 41.30% faster 26% slower
UK 31.47% faster 38% slower
AU 12.21% faster 24% slower
Learn more Get NordVPN

Read NordVPN Review

Get Hotspot Shield VPN

Read Hotspot Shield VPN Review

NordVPN generally showed an increase in speed across all tested servers, which is an impressive feat. The significant speed increases in the U.S., Canada, and U.K. servers highlight NordVPN's strong performance in these regions.

Conversely, Hotspot Shield VPN demonstrated a decrease in speed for all tested locations, with the most considerable slowdowns observed when connected to U.K. and Australian servers. These slowdowns are expected due to the physical distance from the testing location to the servers.

Speed test results for NordVPN while connected to an US server.
Speed test results for NordVPN while connected to an U.S. server

Winner: NordVPN is the fastest, showing speed increases across all tested server locations, whereas Hotspot Shield VPN exhibited slower speeds overall.

Which VPN is more secure?

Our Pick
Number of servers 6,300+ servers in 111 countries 3,200+ servers in 80+ countries
No-logs policy No logs Logs some data
VPN headquarters Panama United States
Encryption AES-256 AES-256
VPN protocol OpenVPN, NordLynx, IKEv2/IPsec Catapult Hydra, OpenVPN, IPsec
Kill switch
Split tunneling
DNS leak protection
Ad blocker
Learn more Get NordVPN

Read NordVPN Review

Get Hotspot Shield VPN

Read Hotspot Shield VPN Review

When it comes to security features, NordVPN and Hotspot Shield VPN offer a range of protections, but NordVPN clearly stands out. NordVPN operates over 6,300 servers in 111 countries, compared to Hotspot Shield’s undisclosed servers in 80+ countries.

A critical advantage for NordVPN is its strict no-logs policy, independently audited by PricewaterhouseCoopers AG in 2018 and 2020 and by Deloitte in 2022 and 2023. This policy ensures that user activities are not tracked or stored.

In contrast, Hotspot Shield logs some user data, which can be a significant drawback for privacy-conscious users. Both VPNs use robust AES-256 encryption, but NordVPN’s inclusion of the advanced NordLynx protocol (built on WireGuard) provides an additional layer of security and performance.

NordVPN also offers more comprehensive security features, such as a built-in ad blocker and an independently verified no-logs policy. These features are crucial for users who prioritize privacy and a seamless, ad-free browsing experience. Hotspot Shield’s lack of an ad blocker and its data logging practices can be seen as significant downsides.

NordVPN Threat Protection's settings allow you toggle on and off different levels of protection,
NordVPN Threat Protection

Both services have a kill switch and split tunneling, which are essential features that protect users’ data if the VPN connection drops and allow specific traffic to bypass the VPN.

Winner: NordVPN offers the best set of security features overall, including a verified no-logs policy, advanced encryption protocols, and additional privacy tools like an ad blocker, making it the superior choice for security-conscious users.

NordVPN vs. Hotspot Shield VPN: Compatibility and customer support

Our Pick
Windows
macOS
Android
iOS
Linux
Routers
Smart devices
Browser extensions Yes — Chrome, Firefox, Edge Yes — Chrome, Firefox
24/7 customer support
Customer support options Live chat, email, online guides, forums Live chat, email, phone, online guides, forums
Learn more Get NordVPN

Read NordVPN Review

Get Hotspot Shield VPN

Read Hotspot Shield VPN Review

In terms of compatibility, both NordVPN and Hotspot Shield VPN support a wide range of devices, including Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, Linux, routers, and smart devices. Both also offer browser extensions, with NordVPN supporting Chrome, Firefox, and Edge, while Hotspot Shield supports Chrome and Firefox. This extensive compatibility ensures that users can protect their data across all their devices seamlessly.

Both VPNs provide user-friendly interfaces; however, NordVPN stands out with its intuitive design and easy-to-navigate settings. Hotspot Shield is also easy to use, but it has reported issues with certain features, such as the kill switch, which may require additional steps to troubleshoot.

The NordVPN dashboard open on the VPN tab.
NordVPN dashboard

The Hotspot Shield dashboard and interface are clean and easy to use.
Hotspot Shield VPN dashboard

When it comes to customer support, both NordVPN and Hotspot Shield offer 24/7 support through live chat and email. NordVPN also includes comprehensive online guides and forums, while Hotspot Shield adds phone support to its repertoire. Both services provide a range of resources to help users resolve issues quickly. 

However, NordVPN's support is noted for being particularly responsive and helpful, offering quick solutions and extensive documentation. The presence of a helpful chatbot on NordVPN's website further enhances its support system, making it easier for users to get immediate assistance.

Winner: NordVPN offers the most comprehensive compatibility, a user-friendly interface, and robust customer support options, making it the better choice for most users. However, both VPNs provide excellent compatibility and reliable support, so the decision may come down to personal preference and specific needs.

FAQs


+

Is NordVPN better than Hotspot Shield?

Yes, NordVPN is generally considered better than Hotspot Shield due to its comprehensive security features, faster speeds, and strict no-logs policy. It also offers a wider range of server locations and more advanced security protocols.


+

Is NordVPN the safest VPN service?

NordVPN is one of the safest VPN services available. It has AES-256 encryption, a strict no-logs policy verified by independent audits, and advanced protocols like NordLynx. It also includes features like a kill switch, DNS leak protection, and an ad blocker.


+

Can Hotspot Shield be trusted?

Hotspot Shield can be trusted for basic security needs and fast connections, but it does log some user data, which might concern privacy-focused users. It offers robust encryption and a user-friendly interface, making it reliable for casual use.

Is NordVPN or Hotspot Shield VPN better?

NordVPN offers a robust set of features, including advanced security protocols, a strict no-logs policy, and an extensive server network. It provides excellent speeds, especially for streaming and torrenting, and includes additional privacy tools like an ad blocker. However, its higher cost and somewhat complex plan options might be a drawback for some users.

Hotspot Shield VPN, on the other hand, excels in speed and ease of use. It's user-friendly and supports multiple devices, making it ideal for families and casual users. However, its logging practices and issues with accessing some streaming services are notable drawbacks.

Overall, NordVPN is the better choice for users who prioritize security, privacy, and access to global content. Its comprehensive feature set and strong performance make it a superior option for most users. However, if speed and ease of use are your primary concerns, Hotspot Shield is still a reliable choice.

Customizable Coverage That is Simple to Use
5.0
Editorial Rating
Learn More
On NordVPN's website
VPN
NordVPN
Up to 69% off 2-year plans + a Saily eSIM data gift
  • Ultra-secure, high-speed VPN complete with malware protection and automatic blocking of intrusive ads and third-party trackers
  • Other benefits include a premium password manager, dark web monitoring, and access to IP-restricted content
  • 3 plans to choose from for custom protection on up to 10 devices

NordVPN vs. Hotspot Shield VPN alternatives

If neither NordVPN nor Hotspot Shield VPN meets your needs, consider these top tested VPN alternatives:

Best for Speed and streaming Privacy and budgets Advanced security
Price From $6.67/mo (billed annually) From $2.19/mo (billed every two years) Free or from $4.49/mo
Max # of connected devices 8 Unlimited 10
24/7 customer support Yes Yes Yes
Compatibility Android, iOS, Windows, macOS, Linux, routers, and more Android, iOS, Windows, macOS, Linux, smart TVs, and more Android, iOS, Windows, macOS, Linux
# of servers 3,000+ servers in 105 countries 10,000+ servers in 91 countries 4,950+ servers in 90 countries
VPN protocol OpenVPN, IKEv2, Lightway OpenVPN, IKEv2/IPsec, WireGuard OpenVPN, IKEv2/IPsec, WireGuard
No-logs policy No logs No logs No logs
Unblocks Netflix? Yes Yes Yes
Learn more Get ExpressVPN

Read ExpressVPN Review

Get Private Internet Access

Read PIA Review

Get Proton VPN

Read Proton VPN Review

Customizable Coverage That is Simple to Use
5.0
Editorial Rating
Learn More
On NordVPN's website
VPN
NordVPN
Up to 69% off 2-year plans + a Saily eSIM data gift
  • Ultra-secure, high-speed VPN complete with malware protection and automatic blocking of intrusive ads and third-party trackers
  • Other benefits include a premium password manager, dark web monitoring, and access to IP-restricted content
  • 3 plans to choose from for custom protection on up to 10 devices

Author Details
Ryan Clancy is a freelance writer and blogger. With 5+ years of mechanical engineering experience, he's passionate about all things engineering and tech. He loves bringing engineering (especially mechanical) down to a level that everyone can understand.