IPVanish vs Hotspot Shield: Which wins?

IPVanish and Hotspot Shield are two established VPNs that have continued to grow in popularity over the years. While these services may share some similarities, the reality is that, like most VPNs, they also differ in many ways. Needless to say, this can make it more difficult to come to a decision, particularly if you’re new to using a VPN.

In this post, we’ll explore every single aspect of IPVanish and Hotspot Shield. This includes their pricing, features, security, level of customer service, and more. In doing so, we hope to find out how these two VPNs compare in key areas. By discovering all of their pros and cons, we’ll be better placed to decide which VPN wins. With any luck, we’ll also save you a lot of time and energy!

Don’t have the time and just want to know the winner? IPVanish came out on top. Keep reading to find out how we came to that conclusion.

Highlights

IPVanish

  • Fast, consistent connections for streaming
  • Unlimited simultaneous connections per account
  • Live chat support is available 24 hours a day
  • Secures your data with high-end encryption

Hotspot Shield

  • Servers available in 80 countries worldwide
  • Includes a 45-day money-back guarantee
  • Provides 24/7 support via live chat and email
  • Doesn’t keep logs by which you can be identified

IPVanish vs Hotspot Shield Pricing

No valueIPVanishHotspot Shield
WebsiteIPVanish.comHotspotshield.com
Subscription periodsOne month, one year, two yearsOne month, one year, three years
One year price$51.95$95.99
Money back guarantee30 days45 days
Best deal (per month)$1.99
SAVE 85% on the 2 yr plan + 3 FREE months
$2.99
SAVE 77% ON THE 3 YEAR PLAN

If you’re only looking for a VPN for a few weeks, a monthly subscription is usually your best bet. However, because there’s less commitment, you’ll usually end up paying a little more than if you’d signed up for a longer term upfront. IPVanish and Hotspot Shield both offer monthly and annual subscriptions. However, this is where the similarities end. The pricing and discounts that these two VPNs offer are quite different.

The monthly option with IPVanish costs $9.99 USD/month although the first month costs just $4.99. There’s also a slightly more expensive plan which includes cloud storage which is $10.99 monthly and $5.49 for the first month. The monthly plan of Hotspot Shield is more expensive, at $12.99. It also has a family option that gives you five accounts for $19.99/month.

If you’re really looking to save some money, you may want to consider IPVanish and Hotspot Shield’s annual plans. IPVanish is available for $39.99 ($3.33/month) for the first year and $79.99 each year following. If you select the plan that includes storage, it’s available for $49.99 ($4.15/month) the first year and $99.99 the following year. With Hotspot Shield, you can save 38% with an annual Premium plan ($7.99/month) or 40% with Premium Family ($11.99/month) by signing up for a year’s coverage.

What’s clear is that IPVanish is the more affordable option both short-term and long-term. This is even the case if you opt for the more expensive IPVanish plan which includes cloud storage. However, one advantage of Hotspot Shield is that it comes as part of a bundle of services (more on these further below). Further, it has a money-back guarantee of 45 days as opposed to the 30 days of IPVanish. This gives you an extra 15 days to try it out risk-free.

Best Deal for IPVanish:Save $40 with the IPVanish annual plan and pay as little as $3.33 per month.

Best Deal for Hotspot Shield:Get 40% off and pay just $11.99 for up to five accounts with the Premium Family yearly plan.

IPVanish vs Hotspot Shield Features

No valueIPVanishHotspot Shield
WebsiteIPVanish.comHotspotshield.com
Simultaneous ConnectionsUnlimitedUp to 10
Devices SupportedWindows, MacOS, iOS, AndroidWindows, MacOS, iOS, Android, Linux, Amazon Fire TV, Chrome, Smart TVs, Routers
Manual install devicesLinux, routersSelect routers
Free extrasChrome browser extension, automatic wifi protectionBrowser extensions (Chrome, Edge, and Firefox), built-in speed tester
Best deal (per month)$1.99
SAVE 85% on the 2 yr plan + 3 FREE months
$2.99
SAVE 77% ON THE 3 YEAR PLAN

IPVanish sets itself apart from Hotspot Shield with the number of simultaneous connections it allows. With IPVanish, you can connect as many devices as you want at the same time. This makes it a particularly good value option and a great choice for sharing with family. In contrast, Hotspot Shield lets you secure a maximum of five devices at once which will still be more than enough for the needs of most users.

Indeed, you’ll be able to use these VPNs on most of your devices because IPVanish and Hotspot Shield both provide apps for desktop and mobile. This includes apps for WindowsMacAndroid, and iOS. The key difference here is that IPVanish also provides an app for Amazon Fire TV/Firestick. However, Hotspot Shield does offer a browser extension for Chrome and a command line-based installer for Linux, whereas IPVanish doesn’t offer either of these.

If you’d like to use IPVanish or Hotspot Shield with your wireless router, you can although you’ll have to manually configure it. In both cases, manual setup guides are provided to make the process quicker and easier. The two VPNs also offer a split tunneling feature which lets you choose which apps can bypass the VPN connection. In the case of IPVanish, this is available on Android. However, it’s available on Hotspot Shield’s desktop and mobile apps.

When it comes to features, IPVanish is pretty basic and doesn’t offer any free extras of note. However, Hotspot Shield Premium comes with a password manager (1Password), spam call blocker (Robo Shield in the US), and identity theft protection (Identity Guard). This is clearly advantageous if you’re interested in these services. Equally, you may decide that it’s not worth the extra cost if you’re only looking for a VPN without all these extras.

Streaming and unblocking

No valueIPVanishHotspot Shield
WebsiteIPVanish.comHotspotshield.com
Unblocks Netflix (Regions Tested)US and JapanYes, multiple libraries including the US and UK
Unblocks Sky Go
Unblocks Prime Video
Unblocks BBC iPlayer
Unblocks ABC
Unblocks CBS
Unblocks NBC
Unblocks ITV
Unblocks Channel 4
Unblocks Netflix (Regions Tested)US and JapanYes, multiple libraries including the US and UK
Best deal (per month)$1.99
SAVE 85% on the 2 yr plan + 3 FREE months
$2.99
SAVE 77% ON THE 3 YEAR PLAN

Overall, IPVanish and Hotspot Shield are both capable of accessing popular streaming services such as those listed above. However, it’s worth noting that whether a VPN can unblock a particular website or service is a fluid situation and can change at a moment’s notice.

Indeed, IPVanish struggles to work with some versions of Netflix as well as Amazon Prime VideoBBC iPlayer, and Hulu. Hotspot Shield has been known to struggle with Disney+ as well as Sky Go in our testing with these services. However, both work with Netflix US at the time of writing.

Just as important as unblocking ability is speed, particularly when it comes to streaming. If you don’t want to face regular lag and buffering while watching your favorite TV shows, you should look for a VPN with unlimited bandwidth. Fortunately, IPVanish and Hotspot Shield don’t throttle bandwidth. What’s more, both VPNs provide good, reliable speed and there’s little to separate the two in this area. You may also be interested to know that these two VPN services allow torrenting on their servers.

Do these VPNs work in China?

The strict censorship in China makes accessing your favorite websites and services almost impossible. Even the likes of Facebook and Google are blocked within the country. Unfortunately many VPNs are also blocked by the Great Firewall of China, the country’s internet censorship system. In order to avoid potential restrictions, VPNs must agree to government logging of user activity. Needless to say, any VPN that takes privacy seriously simply won’t agree to this.

We used our “Blocked in China” tool and found that the websites of IPVanish and Hotspot Shield are blocked in China. This makes it more difficult to download and install the apps when you’re already in the country. As such, you’re best off having everything set up ahead of time, if possible. Unfortunately, IPVanish is unable to bypass the Chinese firewall but at least provides manual configuration guides if you’d like to try anyway.

The good news is that Hotspot Shield does work in China. However, it’s worth remembering that you’ll need to set it up before your arrival. You may occasionally come across the issue of blocked IP addresses (this is just one of the ways in which the Chinese government enforces censorship). In this case, simply select another server to change your IP address and, with any luck, it should be working fine.

Setup and interface

No valueIPVanishHotspot Shield
WebsiteIPVanish.comHotspotshield.com
Automatic setup wizardWindows, Mac, Android, iOSWindows, MacOS, Android, iOS
Main location selectionMap-based/List-basedList-based
Extra settings pages
Mobile-friendly
Best deal (per month)$1.99
SAVE 85% on the 2 yr plan + 3 FREE months
$2.99
SAVE 77% ON THE 3 YEAR PLAN

The desktop and mobile apps of IPVanish and Hotspot Shield allow for easy setup thanks to the automatic setup wizard. Indeed, signing up, downloading, and installing shouldn’t take more than a few minutes. Once, logged in, you’ll find that the apps have very simple, streamlined dashboards which are free from unnecessary clutter.

In the case of the mobile apps, you’ll find an on/off switch as well as a drop-down list of locations sorted by country and city. Overall, the Hotspot Shield apps are more aesthetically pleasing. The IPVanish desktop app in particular provides more information than you might need such as the VPN protocol you’re currently using.

With IPVanish, you have the option to connect to the best (fastest) available server which tends to be the one closest to your location. There’s also an auto connection option with Hotspot Shield, as well as further quick access to servers optimized for gaming and streaming. If you want to delve a little deeper, you can access the settings menu with a single click.

Servers and performance

No valueIPVanishHotspot Shield
WebsiteIPVanish.comHotspotshield.com
Server countries7580+
Total number of servers2,200+1,800
Mobile-friendly
Best deal (per month)$1.99
SAVE 85% on the 2 yr plan + 3 FREE months
$2.99
SAVE 77% ON THE 3 YEAR PLAN

Hotspot Shield provides the larger network of servers. In total, it has over 1,800 servers compared to the estimated 1,500 of IPVanish. Furthermore, Hotspot Shield servers are located in 80 countries compared to IPVanish which can be found in a little over 50 countries. As such, if you’re looking for a server in a country such as ChinaPanama, or Russia, Hotspot Shield is your best bet.

Of course, both VPNs have servers in the most popular countries including the United States. In particular, Hotspot Shield has servers in over two dozen US cities while IPVanish has servers in a dozen US cities including Los Angeles and New York. The more servers a VPN has in a particular location, the less server load you’re likely to experience. In theory, this means connections should be faster and more consistent, although your speed depends on several other factors too.

In terms of the performance of IPVanish and Hotspot Shield, they’re actually very similar. They’re both fairly fast which means you shouldn’t have any issues whether browsing, streaming, or torrenting. Furthermore, the two services also offer unlimited bandwidth. While some VPNs and even ISPs throttle your connection, IPVanish and Hotspot Shield don’t impose any restrictions whatsoever so you can stream lag and buffer-free.

Below, you’ll find a list of every country in which these VPNs have servers:

IPVanishHotspot Shield
Albania
Algeria
Andorra
Argentina
Armenia
Australia
Austria
Azerbaijan
Bangladesh
Belarus
Belgium
Bosnia & Herzegovina
Brazil
Bulgaria
Cambodia
Canada
Chile
China
Colombia
Costa Rica
Croatia
Cyprus
Czech Republic
Denmark
Ecuador
Egypt
Estonia
Finland
France
Georgia
Germany
Greece
Guatemala
Hong Kong
Hungary
Iceland
India
Indonesia
Ireland
Israel
Italy
Japan
Kazakhstan
Kenya
Latvia
Liechtenstein
Lithuania
Luxembourg
Malaysia
Malta
Mexico
Moldova
Montenegro
Myanmar
Nepal
Netherlands
New Zealand
Nigeria
North Macedonia
Norway
Pakistan
Panama
Peru
Philippines
Poland
Portugal
Romania
Russia
Serbia
Singapore
Slovakia
Slovenia
South Africa
South Korea
Spain
Sri Lanka
Sweden
Switzerland
Taiwan
Thailand
Turkey
Ukraine
United Arab Emirates
United Kingdom
United States
Uruguay
Uzbekistan
Venezuela
Vietnam

IPVanish vs Hotspot Shield Security

No valueIPVanishHotspot Shield
WebsiteIPVanish.comHotspotshield.com
VPN protocolsOpenVPN, IKEv2, WireGuardHydra, IKEv2, WireGuard
OpenVPN data encryption256-bit AES256-bit AES
OpenVPN control channel encryptionRSA-2048RSA-2048
Kill SwitchmacOS, Android Mobile, and Windows
Private DNS servers
Best deal (per month)$1.99
SAVE 85% on the 2 yr plan + 3 FREE months
$2.99
SAVE 77% ON THE 3 YEAR PLAN

With IPVanish, you can quickly and easily change your VPN protocol. It supports OpenVPN (the most popular and commonly used) as well as L2TP, SSTP, IKEv2, and PPTP. In contrast, Hotspot Shield supports IKEv2 and Catapult Hydra. The latter is Hotspot Shield’s own proprietary protocol which it created due to what it described as “performance and latency challenges” it found with the standard protocols.

One similarity is that IPVanish and Hotspot Shield both use 256-bit AES encryption to secure your internet traffic. This is virtually impossible for hackers and snoopers to crack. IPVanish offers cloaking technology with its OpenVPN obfuscation. This takes VPN traffic and disguises it as regular web traffic to bypass VPN blocks as well as government censorship. Given that Hotspot Shield works in China, it must also have its own cloaking mechanism, although understandably, it’s remaining tight-lipped about how this works.

Both VPNs provide a kill switch although in Hotspot Shield’s case, this is only available on Windows. In the event that your VPN connection drops, the kill switch cuts your internet connection, preventing data from being leaked. Speaking of leaks, IPVanish and Hotspot Shield both protect against DNS leaks. Furthermore, both VPNs use their own private DNS servers so your DNS requests aren’t exposed to third parties.

Privacy

No valueIPVanishHotspot Shield
WebsiteIPVanish.comHotspotshield.com
HQ base of operationUnited StatesUSA
Connection logsSome aggregated dataSome, but no identifiable data
Activity logs Anonymized data
User details for signupEmail addressEmail address
Anonymous payment options
Best deal (per month)$1.99
SAVE 85% on the 2 yr plan + 3 FREE months
$2.99
SAVE 77% ON THE 3 YEAR PLAN

Privacy is connected to security and it’s important that a VPN has both. Otherwise, there’s the risk that the lack of one can compromise the other. For example, it’s all well and good if a VPN states that it encrypts your data. However, this is far less impressive if the VPN is logging and selling your information anyway. Fortunately, IPVanish and Hotspot Shield both offer strong security while protecting your privacy.

Both VPNs are headquartered in the United States. This may give you some cause for concern because the US is a member of the Five Eyes intelligence alliance. In theory, these VPNs could be placed under surveillance by any member other than the US. However, these members could then simply hand the logs over to the US government freely. On the plus side, it’s important to know that IPVanish and Hotspot Shield have no-logs policies. This means that they shouldn’t have data to share in the first place.

Note that while IPVanish doesn’t keep any connection or activity logs, Hotspot Shield does store some aggregate data. However, you cannot be identified by this information. You don’t need to provide much personal information to sign up with either VPN. Indeed, IPVanish and Hotspot Shield only request an email address. However, one downside is that neither service accepts any anonymous payment methods such as Bitcoin.

Configuration

No valueIPVanishHotspot Shield
WebsiteIPVanish.comHotspotshield.com
Address allocationSharedShared
Dedicated IP possible?
DDoS protection
NAT firewall
Best deal (per month)$1.99
SAVE 85% on the 2 yr plan + 3 FREE months
$2.99
SAVE 77% ON THE 3 YEAR PLAN

Like most VPNs, IPVanish and Hotspot Shield use shared address allocation. When you connect to a server, you share the same IP address as other users. This means that your online activity is mixed with that of other users, making it difficult to link it to your identity. This further protects your privacy and safeguards your anonymity as a result.

Unfortunately, neither VPN service offers the option to get a dedicated IP or static IP address. A dedicated IP address has its advantages. For example, if you’re the only person using an IP address, it’s less likely to be added to blacklists as a result. However, static IP addresses don’t allow complete anonymity because all of your activity is tied to that single IP address.

Neither VPN has anti-DDoS servers. However, these VPNs still protect you from DDoS attacks. If someone targets your IP address while you’re connected to a VPN, it hits the VPN servers instead of your device. As such, you’re protected from any such attacks (you can simply change the server as needed) while your IP address is also hidden.

Customer Service

No valueIPVanishHotspot Shield
WebsiteIPVanish.comHotspotshield.com
24/7 live chat
Ticket support
Email support
Average email response time4 hours3-4 hours
Searchable knowledge base
Phone support
Video guides
Best deal (per month)$1.99
SAVE 85% on the 2 yr plan + 3 FREE months
$2.99
SAVE 77% ON THE 3 YEAR PLAN

While both IPVanish and Hotspot Shield are easy to use, there may come a time when you need some assistance. The good news is that the two VPNs offer customer support which is available 24/7 via live chat as well as email. Live chat support is of course the fastest way to get an answer. During our testing, we found IPVanish’s email support to be very slow, taking an average of three to four days to reply. For comparison, Hotspot Shield took just 3-4 hours on average. It should be noted, however, that response time depends on several factors including the number of available support staff and how many other users are having problems.

One advantage IPVanish has over Hotspot Shield is that it also includes phone support. This is relatively rare for a VPN. Of course, you may prefer to search for an answer yourself and both VPNs also provide searchable knowledge bases to help. In them, you’ll find setup guides as well as a list of frequently asked questions. In some cases, screenshots are included which make it easier to follow the instructions, particularly for more technical topics.

We sent IPVanish and Hotspot Shield three questions to test their response time and quality of reply:

IPVanish
QuestionResponse timeNumber of
emails
Question
answered
Does IPVanish protect against
WebRTC leaks?
32 hours1Yes
Is IPVanish able to
unblock Netflix US?
48 hours1Yes
What kind of logs does
IPVanish keep (if any)?
5-6 days1Yes
Hotspot Shield
QuestionResponse timeNumber of
emails
Question
answered
Does Hotspot Shield protect against
WebRTC leaks?
2 hours, 5 minutes1Yes
Is Hotspot Shield able to
unblock Netflix US?
5 hours, 57 minutes1Yes
What kind of logs does
Hotspot Shield keep (if any)?
9 hours, 9 minutes1Yes

The Winner: IPVanish

IPVanish

Apps Available:

  • PC
  • Mac
  • IOS
  • Android
  • Linux

Website:  www.IPVanish.com

Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS

There isn’t a great deal to separate IPVanish and Hotspot Shield. They are two high-quality and reliable VPN services for browsing and streaming. However, IPVanish ticks more boxes overall, which makes it our winner.

What’s clear is that Hotspot Shield is the more expensive of the two options. If you’re just looking for a VPN without various extras (such as a password manager), IPVanish is your best bet. One area in which it particularly stands out is that it allows unlimited simultaneous connections per account compared to Hotspot Shield which lets you use up to five devices.

Speed-wise both VPNs are very similar, as is their unblocking ability. However, it’s in the area of security that IPVanish edges ahead. It supports more VPN protocols while its kill switch is available on desktop and mobile (the Hotspot Shield kill switch is only on Windows). It should also be noted that while IPVanish doesn’t keep any logs, Hotspot Shield does keep some non-identifying data.

What’s clear is that you can’t go far wrong with either service. That said, if you’re looking for great value and improved security and privacy protection, IPVanish is well worth trying out. It even comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee, meaning you can try it risk-free.

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