ExpressVPN vs Hotspot Shield: Which VPN is the Best?

ExpressVPN VS Hotspot Shield: Which VPN should you subscribe to? A VPN is a commitment and your VPN choice drastically affects your privacy. So, of course, you want to make sure that you’re making the right decision. If you’re stuck between ExpressVPN and Hotspot Shield, two of the most downloaded VPNs, check out this comparative review to find out which VPN deserves your attention. Please note that this comparison is based on the Premium version of Hotspot Shield.

ExpressVPN vs Hotspot Shield - Which VPN is the Best

ExpressVPN vs Hotspot Shield – Which VPN is the Best

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ExpressVPN VS Hotspot Shield – Features and Services

To give a comprehensive view of the features and services both providers offer, I’ve compared the pricing, customer service, internet speed, device support, and servers of both ExpressVPN and Hotspot Shield.


Let’s start by going over the pricing plan of both ExpressVPN and Hotspot Shield.

ExpressVPN offers 3 different pricing plans:

  • $12.95 per month (Monthly plan)
  • $9.99 per month (Bi-annual plan – billed at $59.95)
  • $6.67 per month (Yearly plan – billed at $99.95 + 3 free months on the first year)

Hotspot Shield offers 4 different pricing plans:

  • $12.99 per month (Monthly plan)
  • $8.99 per month (Bi-annual plan – billed at $53.94)
  • $5.99 per month (Yearly plan – billed at $71.88)
  • $3.49 per month (3-Year plan – billed at $125.64)

When it comes to pricing, Hotspot Shield offers better plans for users on a budget. Their 3-year plan is only roughly $26 more than ExpressVPN’s yearly plan.

ExpressVPN offers a 30-day money-back guarantee, dictated clearly in their refund policy, with no questions asked. Hotspot Shield offers a 45-day refund policy, however, I was unable to find their refund policy online to see if there are any restrictions on the policy. I did contact their customer support and was informed that their policy has no restrictions on bandwidth or connections.

ExpressVPN VS Hotspot Shield Pricing Verdict: Hotspot Shield.

Customer Service

Both Hotspot Shield and ExpressVPN have a live chat option for their customer support.

With ExpressVPN, you can access the live chat portal anywhere on the website. They do not ask you for any identifying information for the live chat to work. The customer support agents are fully briefed on all that ExpressVPN has to offer and respond quickly to any question thrown their way. If the agent needs to double check information, they will inform you of that and ask you to be patient while they get back to you with the answer.

Hotspot Sheild’s live chat option was a bit of a disappointment. To start, you can only access the chat portal from their pricing page. There is no button for you to click, the chat will just pop-up at the bottom of the page. They also require a name and email address before you can talk to a customer support agent. During the multiple tests conducted, their agents continuously¬†stopped replying for long periods of time (the maximum I experienced was 2 minutes of radio silence) without informing me of the need to delay the answer. They answered all of the basic questions about their service but answered with very vague replies on any question that isn’t in the FAQ.

ExpressVPN VS Hotspot Shield Customer Service Verdict: ExpressVPN.


Our experts ran speed tests for both ExpressVPN and Hotspot Shield.

ExpressVPN’s speeds were fairly consistent across all of the servers tested. In general, the download speeds decreased by about 10% on all servers.

Hotspot Shield’s speeds weren’t as consistent across the servers our experts tested out. The download speeds were sometimes only 0.9% slower and other times 22.7% slower.

ExpressVPN VS Hotspot Shield Speed Verdict: Hotspot Shield.

Device Support

ExpressVPN offers supported apps for:

  • Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS, Blackberry, and select router models.
  • Extensions for: Chrome, Firefox, Safari.

With ExpressVPN, you get up to 3 simultaneous connections at a time.

Hotspot Shield offers supported apps for:

  • Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Windows phone.
  • Extensions for: Chrome and Firefox.

With Hotspot Shield, you get up to 5 simultaneous connections at a time.

ExpressVPN VS Hotspot Shield Device Support Verdict: ExpressVPN


ExpressVPN offers 2000+ servers in 148 server locations across 92 countries. Their server list is available on their website.

Hotspot Sheild was a little trickier. I had to wait until the I downloaded the app to figure out how many servers they have. Even then, though, I was still unable to find out how many servers they had on offer. What we do know is that Hotspot Shield has servers in only 24 countries.

ExpressVPN VS Hotspot Shield Server Verdict: ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN VS Hotspot Shield – Privacy & Security

Regardless of the features, the most important aspect of a VPN’s service is its approach to a user’s privacy and security. Here is how these two providers tested:

When we’re assessing the security of a VPN, we usually look at their VPN protocols, their encryptions, and their logging policy. Here is what we found with ExpressVPN VS Hotspot Shield:


  • VPN Protocols: OpenVPN with TCP/UDP – SSTP – L2TP/IPsec – PPTP.
  • Encryptions: 256-bit AES encryptions, AED-256-CBC, Data-channel Symmetric Encryption Scheme, Forward Encryption.
  • Logging Policy: ExpressVPN has a strict zero-logs policy (tried and tested).

Hotspot Shield:

  • VPN Protocols: Hotspot Shield uses their own protocol called Catapult Hydra, developed by their mother company AnchorFree.
  • Encryptions: 128-bit AES encryptions, TLS 1.2 servers, forward secrecy.
  • Logging Policy: Hotspot Shield has a zero-logs policy (according to Privacy Policy, contended by the Center for Democracy and Technology).

ExpressVPN proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that they do not keep logs of their users browsing activities. Hotspot Shield, on the other hand, was accused of sharing its users’ data with third parties.

ExpressVPN VS Hotspot Shield Privacy & Security Verdict: ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN VS Hotspot Shield – Final Verdict

Based on the tests that we’ve done and the features offered by both Hotspot Shield and ExpressVPN, it’s clear that ExpressVPN comes out as the clear winner. Hotspot Shield might be more affordable, but its features and it’s Privacy & Security did not fare well against those of ExpressVPN. If you’re still stuck between both providers, do not hesitate to subscribe to ExpressVPN. It might be more expensive, but at least you are guaranteed a truly secure and private connection with its services.

ExpressVPN vs Hotspot Shield
  • Speed
  • Support
  • Server Location
  • Privacy & Security
  • Refund Policy

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