ExpressVPN vs Hotspot Shield [Test Results 2020]
Recent statistics show that more and more people are starting to use VPNs and take their online security seriously, and as the demand for VPNs rises, so too does the supply. The industry is now more competitive than ever before, with a lot of different VPN providers out there to choose from. ExpressVPN and Hotspot Shield are two of the big names you might be considering.
Both of these providers have a lot to offer, standing out for their affordable prices, strong security features, and easy to use programs, but which one is the best value VPN for you? A lot of people find themselves asking that particular question, and it’s quite a tricky choice, as both of these VPNs are highly rated and well-liked by countless users around the world.
Still, even though they both have many things in common and rank highly in terms of overall quality and value for your money, there are some big differences between these VPNs that need to be taken into account. This side-by-side comparison guide to ExpressVPN and Hotspot Shield will help you see the key differences and make the right choice.
Top Selling Points – Let’s get to know them
Let’s start off our Hotspot Shield and ExpressVPN comparison by taking a close look at some of the key selling points that have helped to make these two brands such big names in the VPN business. Both of them have come a long way since the early days and consistently rank among the best options on the market, so what do they have to offer?
We’ll begin with ExpressVPN. This VPN is marketed as the fastest and most secure option on the market, and unlike a lot of other brands that promise big things and fail to deliver, ExpressVPN actually lives up to this promise. It really is one of the best VPNs you can buy, excelling in the areas of speed and protection.
In tests, time and time again, ExpressVPN has proven to be one of the fastest VPNs you can hope to find. It won’t slow you down in any way, nor will it interfere with your connections. It’s also been proven to be exceptionally secure. It’s based out of the British Virgin Islands, which is one of the top spots around when it comes to VPN jurisdictions for user protection.
Moving on, let’s now take a closer look at Hotspot Shield. Part of what makes Hotspot Shield such an interesting choice is that it offers more than just a VPN. As long as you opt for the Premium plan when purchasing your Hotspot subscription, you’ll also get a range of additional security features like identity theft protection, password management, spam call blocking, malware protection, and phishing protection, too.
These bonus security features are a great part of the overall Hotspot packages, helping to make Hotspot Shield a good choice for those looking for an all-in-one digital security solution. It’s also a speedy and reliable VPN, working well across the world and offering over 2,500 servers to connect to.
One of the most important aspects to consider when working out the overall quality of any VPN is how fast it is. Many people worry that installing a VPN might lead to lag, delay, and general speed drops in terms of uploads and downloads, and nobody wants to experience sudden speed issues, so how do these two providers compare?
Well, as mentioned above, when it comes to speed, ExpressVPN is king. It’s by far one of the very best possible VPNs you can choose if you care about having fast, reliable internet with super high speeds for downloading and more. In our tests, we’ve never seen any speed issues with ExpressVPN whatsoever. In fact, there are times when speeds actually get better when using this VPN.
As for Hotspot Shield, it does pretty well in the speed department, due in part to its large server network that extends to over 80 countries worldwide. Tests have shown that Hotspot Shield performs really well no matter where you happen to be, and it’s actually able to keep up with ExpressVPN in terms of speed in many situations. However, it might not be quite as consistent overall. Still, the speeds it has to offer are more than good enough.
Another big aspect to consider when it comes to picking which VPN you want to use is the price. A lot of people have a set budget in mind for their online security. They don’t want to spend too much cash each month or year in order to stay safe online, as they have a lot of other subscription charges to cover and bills to pay. So how do Hotspot Shield and ExpressVPN compare in this area?
Well, there are actually some big similarities between these two commercial VPN providers when it comes to price. Both of them offer a range of different plan options to choose from, with ExpressVPN providing one month, six months, and yearly subscriptions, while Hotspot offers just monthly and yearly choices.
The lowest possible price you can pay with ExpressVPN is about $6.67 per month, whereas Hotspot Shield actually offers an entirely free ‘Basic’ plan of its VPN, which lets you enjoy some degree of protection on one device at low speeds and with a 500MB data limit. It’s not very useful, but it’s nice to see that this company took the time to offer a free option, which isn’t the case with ExpressVPN.
When it comes to the paid plans, prices between Hotspot Shield and ExpressVPN are actually quite similar. Both companies run sales events throughout the year and both of them offer discounts to those who sign up for longer periods of time. ExpressVPN gives you a 30-day money-back guarantee period, whereas Hotspot offers 45 days.
Yet another way in which we can compare VPNs is in terms of what features they have to offer. After all, some VPNs are relatively basic, providing the bare minimum features and functionality, while others come with all kinds of useful extras and additional features for users to play around with. So how do these two providers compare in terms of features?
Well, ExpressVPN comes with a terrific range of features that have helped it become such a popular brand over the years. Subscribers will get access to split tunneling, kill switches, add-ons for browsers like Chrome and Firefox, detailed guides and tutorials to install the program across many different devices, obfuscated servers, and much more.
Hotspot Shield also comes with an impressive range of extras, including split tunneling and browser extensions. It doesn’t work on quite as many platforms and operating systems as ExpressVPN, but it does have the advantage of being able to offer the aforementioned security extras like password management and malware protection.
Security and Encryption
One of the big selling points of any trustworthy VPN like Hotspot Shield or ExpressVPN is the security and privacy it can offer to its users. Most people get a VPN in the first place because they want to be safer online, have encrypted connections, and protection from hackers or trackers interfering with their devices or spying on their connections.
Both of these leading VPNs make use of 256-bit encryption, which is the highest and strongest standard currently available in the industry, so they can both be trusted to keep your connections secure and prevent ISPs or government agencies from spying on the sites you visit or the files you download.
Both ExpresVPN and Hotspot Shield have kill switches too, meaning that they’ll be able to cut your internet connection automatically if the VPN protection fails in any way. They also offer a range of VPN protocols like OpenVPN and L2TP for ExpressVPN, and Hydra and IKEv2 for Hotspot.
ExpressVPN has an OpenVPN control channel encryption, and it comes with cipher-block chaining, meaning that it comes with slightly stronger security standards overall. However, Hotspot does have the advantage of offering a range of extra security features to its users like phishing protection and password management.
Want to learn more about security? Read our ultimate guide for VPN security.
Along with security, a lot of people hope to find a VPN that can offer them peerless privacy, and services that hide their IP address, mask their identity, and help them stay anonymous online. There are a lot of hackers, agencies, and companies out there that try to track your online activities, but a VPN can help you avoid these risks entirely, and both Hotspot Shield and ExpressVPN perform admirably here.
ExpressVPN is based out of the British Virgin Islands, which is not a part of any of the big global security alliances like Five Eyes or Nine Eyes, so there’s no risk at all of this company cooperating with government security or intelligence agencies and handing over your user data. Hotspot Shield, meanwhile, is based in the US, so it might not have quite as stringent privacy and data protection standards.
Read More: Why Your VPN’s Country of Origin Matters?
Still, Hotspot Shield, just like ExpressVPN, does have a no-logs policy, meaning that it won’t store any of your data or sell it on to advertisers in any way, which is a good bonus. It also offers excellent privacy protocols to hide your IP address and keep you safe and anonymous online, as well as the aforementioned kill switch and security features for your protection.
Overall, both of these providers perform well when it comes to privacy, but it’s clear to see that ExpressVPN is just a little better overall, thanks to its location. ExpressVPN even lets you pay anonymously via Bitcoin if you like, which isn’t an option with Hotspot right now.
It’s common for VPN users to share their VPN connections with friends, family members, or roommates, but most VPN providers limit the number of simultaneous connections you can have at one time. In many cases, you’ll only be able to connect to the VPN with three or four devices at once, but some companies can be more generous. Are ExpressVPN and Hotspot Shield among them?
Well, on ExpressVPN, you are allowed to connect up to five devices to the VPN servers simultaneously. This means you can have a PC protected by the VPN in one room, a phone under VPN protection in your pocket, and two other devices all connected at once, which is ideal for families and mid to large-sized households.
Interestingly, Hotspot Shield also allows its users to have up to five simultaneous connections at once. So, just like ExpressVPN, it allows you, your spouse, your children, and so on all to be connected to different devices at the same time, up to a maximum of five. The only difference is that ExpressVPN has wider compatibility with different devices, including Linux, whereas Hotspot is a little trickier to set up on certain systems.
If ever anything goes wrong with your VPN or you just need some help setting it up, making a change to the settings, or learning about one of the features, it’s helpful to be able to head over to the company’s official site and speak with a friendly customer support agent. Hotspot Shield and ExpressVPN both have their own attitudes to customer care.
With ExpressVPN, you’ll get a flawless customer support experience every single time. The official ExpressVPN site is filled up with tutorials, guides, videos, and step-by-step instructions to help you install the software on many different devices and make the absolute most of your subscription. You’ll also be able to contact an ExpressVPN support agent at any time via live chat or email.
Hotspot Shield also has a very impressive customer service department. They offer 24/7 help through chat or email, and in our tests, we got rapid responses and results when using these services. Hotspot also offers its own guides and help sections for you to read through, although they’re not quite as comprehensive as those provided by ExpressVPN.
ExpressVPN vs Hotspot Shield – Which One’s Better?
Overall, it’s clear to see that both ExpressVPN and Hotspot Shield are among the finest VPNs you can find right now. They both stand out in all the areas that matter the most, like security, privacy, and speed, and provide high-end performance for every user.
Both of them also have their own unique selling points and advantages. Hotspot Shield has the advantage of a free trial option to test it out, plus the bonus security features and software you get when signing up, while ExpressVPN boasts of incredible customer support, lightning-fast speeds, and unmatched security.
Picking a winner isn’t easy, as both of these VPNs can be recommended, but our top pick has to be ExpressVPN. It wins out in most of the key categories, especially speed, and privacy, helping to make it one of the very best VPNs you can possibly buy.