OVPN VS Hotspot Shield

Choosing between two VPN providers can be daunting, especially if you only look at each provider’s marketing. To really know whether a particular VPN provider will suit our needs, we need to go beyond marketing. We need to test each service and compare the results, and that’s exactly what we’re doing in this post. We’ll look at each provider’s ins and outs to determine which one to recommend.

This post compares OVPN and Hotspot Shield in a number of key areas to see which one comes out on top.



  • Decent speeds
  • Service is optimized for security and privacy
  • Only supports secure VPN protocols (OpenVPN, WireGuard)
  • Only works with three Netflix libraries


Hotspot Shield

  • Poor speeds
  • Works in China
  • Collects more data than most competitors
  • Very good streaming performance

OVPN VS Hotspot Shield pricing

OVPNHotspot ShieldHotspot Shield
Hotspot Shield PremiumHotspot Shield Family Premium
Subscription periodsOne monthOne monthOne month
Six monthsn/an/a
One yearOne yearOne year
Two yearsn/an/a
Special offer
Highest price per month$11.00$12.99$19.99
Lowest price per month$4.99$7.99$11.99
One-year price $59.88$95.88$143.88
Money-back guarantee 10 days45 days45 days

Looking at the prices listed above, we immediately see that Hotspot Shield’s prices are significantly higher across the board. That applies regardless of your subscription’s term. OVPN will leave more money in your pocket whether you sign up for three years or a single month.

Hotspot Shield does, however, provide a better money-back guarantee than OVPN. Hotspot Shield offers a very generous 45-day money-back guarantee, whereas OVPN only offers a ten-day refund period. I feel that ten days is enough time to test the service and see if it fits your needs, but OVPN should align with the rest of the industry and offer a 30-day refund period.

OVPN VS Hotspot Shield features

OVPNHotspot Shield
Simultaneous connections4, 5, or 6 (depending on subscription)10 or 25 (depending on the subscription)
Operating system appsWindows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOSWindows, macOS, Android, iOS, Linux, AndroidTV, Amazon FireTV, routers
Manual install devicesLinux, routers, NAS devicesNo
Split tunnelingNoYes, Smart Routing feature
Free extrasBrowser extension for Chrome, Firefox, and VivaldiNo

In terms of platform support, while our two providers don’t support the same devices, they both provide extensive support that includes many different operating systems/devices – they’re just different devices. Both providers support the usual suspects (macOS, Windows, iOS, Android). Both apps have native Linux support, which is quite rare. And both support routers and provide online tutorials on how to configure them. But Hotspot Shield supports AndroidTV and Amazon FireTV, while OVPN supports additional NAS devices.

Only OVPN includes an ad/tracker blocker with its subscriptions. And it’s also the only provider of the two to offer browser extensions. It makes extensions for Firefox, Chrome, and Vivaldi.

Conversely, only Hotspot Shield supports split tunneling. Split tunneling is a very popular feature that enables you to choose which apps or URLs are sent through the VPN and which are sent to your ISP gateway. In Hotspot Shield’s implementation, called Smart Routing, you can split your traffic by app, URL, or a mix of both. It’s a very flexible feature that is well implemented in the Hotspot Shield app.

The number of simultaneous connections both providers allow varies by subscription. On its one-month plan, OVPN supports up to four simultaneous connections. On its yearly plan, it pushes that number up to five. And it goes further up to six on its two-year plan. Hotspot Shield allows for ten simultaneous connections on its Premium plans and up to 25 simultaneous connections on its Family Premium plans.

This section feels like a draw to me.


SpeedOVPNHotspot Shield
North America95 Mbps48 Mbps
Europe115 Mbps49 Mbps
Asia100 Mbps48 Mbps
Global103 Mbps48 Mbps

While I wouldn’t consider either of these VPNs as blazing fast, OVPN clearly performs better than Hotspot Shield. Not much to see here – OVPN takes it. If you have a very high-speed internet connection, both these providers will slow you down, but OVPN will slow you down a bit less. Check out our list of the fastest VPNs for some better connection speeds.

Streaming capabilities

OVPNHotspot Shield
Streaming service
NetflixUS, Germany, SwedenUS, UK, Canada, Australia
Sky GoNoNo
Amazon Prime VideoYesYes
BBC iPlayerNoYes
ITV HubYesNo
HBO MaxNoYes
Channel 4 (All 4)NoYes

OVPN supports streaming and works with a fair number of streaming services. It worked with Netflix US, Germany, and Sweden. It also worked with Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, and ITV Hub. That’s not bad.

Hotspot Shield supports quite a few more streaming services than OVPN. It also provides some dedicated streaming servers in its apps. And with streaming services working overtime to block VPNs these days, Hotspot Shield’s broad streaming support is welcome.

If streaming over VPN is important to you, you should look at our recommended VPN providers for streaming.


Out of our two providers, only Hotspot Shield works in China. However, it has been toning down its marketing about working in China. It now publishes a list of countries where its service may not work – and China is indeed on the list. But it apparently still works reliably in mainland China. That situation might not last forever, but for now, you can connect to a Hotspot Shield VPN server from China.

It’s getting increasingly difficult to bypass China’s censorship, and many VPN providers would rather put their resources elsewhere. Case in point: OVPN does not claim to work in China, and you don’t find a single reference to China in its marketing.

You can have a look at our post listing the best VPN providers that work in China.

Setup and interface

OVPNHotspot Shield
Automatic setup wizardWindows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOSWindows, macOS, Android, iOS, Linux, AndroidTV, Amazon FireTV
Main location selection List-basedList-based
Extra settings pages YesYes
Mobile friendly YesYes

Both OVPN and Hotspot Shield have desktop apps that are well-designed and easy to understand. OVPN’s app is somewhat cramped due to its smaller UI. You’ll have to sift through more pages to configure the app to your needs.

Hotspot Shield’s app is more straightforward and easier to navigate. You can navigate the app from the left-side pane. Server selection is list-based or task-based (for streaming or gaming). You can select your server by country and city. While streaming may work with one of Hotspot Shield’s “regular” VPN servers, I’d recommend you use one of Hotspot Shield’s streaming-optimized servers.

HSS - App - Servers

As mentioned above, OVPN’s app is more cramped and a bit less intuitive. Still, it will be easy enough for most VPN users to understand. Server selection is list-based only. You can search for servers by region and drill down to a specific city. OVPN’s app can also automatically connect you to the fastest server in your selected region.

OVPN - App - Servers

Both apps provide a Settings page for users to customize the settings to their needs. OVPN exposes many more options than Hotspot Shield, but this creates a more complex app. Hotspot Shield provides simpler option menus, making the app’s settings easier to navigate and understand and less cluttered. While many users will appreciate OVPN’s approach of exposing more settings to its users, it’s a balancing act between convenience and complexity. And a VPN provider should be careful not to alienate greener users. So it may come down to how tech-savvy you are.

HSS - App - Settings

Hotspot Shield app settings

OVPN - App - Settings

OVPN app settings

OVPN and Hotspot Shield both provide mobile apps for iOS and Android. They’re both easy to understand and navigate. And they’re properly designed for a smaller screen.

HSS - App - Mobile

Hotspot Shield mobile app

OVPN - App - Mobile

OVPN mobile app


OVPNHotspot Shield
Server countries32Over 80
Total number of servers118Over 1800

OVPN has a pretty small network. Some users (like me) prefer smaller networks, as it makes me feel like more care goes into the configuration of each server. But others legitimately prefer having a great many servers to choose from. Hotspot Shield’s network is much, much larger than OVPN’s network. And that’s true for both the number of countries and servers.

So if you need a big VPN network with many servers and locations, you should go with Hotspot Shield on this one.

Below is a list of countries where each provider hosts VPN servers:


OVPNHotspot Shield
VPN protocolsOpenVPN, WireGuardWireGuard, IKEv2, Catapult Hydra
OpenVPN data encryption AES-256AES-256
OpenVPN control channel encryptionRSA-4096RSA-4096
Cloaking technologyNoneNone
App securityKill switchKill switch
DNS statusPrivate DNSPrivate DNS

Both providers support secure VPN protocols. OVPN supports OpenVPN and WireGuard. Hotspot Shield, for its part, supports WireGuard, IKEv2, and Catapult Hydra. If you’ve never heard of Catapult Hydra, it’s Hotspot Shield’s home-grown, custom VPN protocol. And I wouldn’t recommend using it. It’s a proprietary protocol that hasn’t been publicly peer-reviewed. So it could be great, or it could be terrible – no way to tell. I’d stick with either WireGuard or IKEv2.

OVPN and Hotspot Shield use 256-bit AES encryption with 4096-bit RSA keys for OpenVPN/IKEv2. WireGuard uses different ciphers that are also deemed highly secure.

OVPN vs HSS - Encryption

OVPN and Hotspot Shield provide a kill switch in all their apps (mobile and desktop). They also both use their own no-logging DNS servers inside the VPN tunnel by default. Another distinguishing security feature is that OVPN owns its entire infrastructure, which is a big plus for security as it eliminates the risks that come with third-party handling.

So as far as security goes, OVPN wins this one.


OVPNHotspot Shield
HQ baseSwedenUnited States
Connection logsNoneNone
Activity logsNoneNone
User details for sign-upEmail addressEmail address
Anonymous payment optionsBitcoin, Ethereum, MoneroNo

OVPN is based in Sweden, and Hotspot Shield is based in the United States. Sweden is part of the 14 Eyes Alliance, an intelligence-sharing network for member nations that has the United States as the head of the organization. So if your primary reason for using a VPN is privacy, both these jurisdictions are likely to put you off.

OVPN has an excellent privacy policy. Its no-logging claims were tested in 2020. Specific film companies went to court in an attempt to compel OVPN to disclose user data after the film companies found that some of their copyrighted content had been illegally downloaded over an OVPN IP address. But the court ended up ruling in favor of OVPN and its no-logging policy. It found no evidence to contradict the claim that OVPN never collected the sought-after data and ruled that OVPN could not be compelled to disclose information it never had in the first place.

Turning to Hotspot Shield, things aren’t as rosy… Its privacy policy states that it collects the following data points:

  • Session durations
  • Domains accessed by users (claimed to be anonymized data)
  • Device hashes

And while it says it doesn’t collect your IP address within the context of your browsing activities, it does collect it for the following reasons:

  • To protect against fraud
  • To obtain your location and information on your ISP/carrier
  • To determine nearby servers
  • For advertising purposes

That’s a lot of user data in my book. It’s also significantly more than what other reputable VPN providers collect. Let’s hope Hotspot Shield tones down its collection practices some more.

OVPN has much better privacy practices than Hotspot Shield. Topped by its willingness to stand up for user privacy in court, OVPN takes the Privacy category.


OVPNHotspot Shield
Address allocationShared or private (add-on)Shared
Static IP address possibleNoNo
DDoS protectionNoNo
Ad & malware blocking YesNo

Shared IP addresses are better for privacy than dedicated IP addresses, and it’s easy to understand why. With a shared IP address, all the users on a given VPN server use the same IP address – the VPN server’s IP address. So the web traffic of all those users appears to be coming from the same source. And that makes it much more difficult to correlate any of that traffic to a specific user.

OVPN and Hotspot Shield both assign their users shared IP addresses by default. OVPN also provides a dedicated IP address as a paid add-on. A private VPN IP address can be useful when hosting servers that should be accessible from the internet but that you want to place behind the VPN for enhanced security.

Only OVPN, however, offers an ad and malware blocker that works via DNS blackholing. DNS blackholing works by checking your DNS requests against a list of known ad networks and malware domains. If any of your requests match the entries on the list, they get blocked. If they don’t match, they go straight through. It’s a great feature, and I hope to see more VPN providers support it.

Customer service

OVPNHotspot Shield
Live chatYesNo
Ticket supportNoNo
Email supportYesYes
Average email response time12.5 hours2.6 days
Phone supportNoNo
Searchable knowledge baseYesYes
Video guidesNoNo

OVPN and Hotspot Shield both provide email and live chat support. And they both feature a searchable knowledge base on their respective websites.

We wanted to test each provider’s response time with customer service emails. To do that, we sent each provider three questions in three separate emails. The first two questions are quite common and should be easy to answer with entry-level knowledge. The third question is more challenging to answer by design and requires a deeper understanding of VPNs and networking. Also, each provider’s third question is different since they support different features.

The results are below:

QuestionInitial response timeNumber of emailsQuestion answered
What kind of logs does OVPN keep?12 hours1Yes
OVPN on a DD-WRT router?12 hours1Yes
What's the difference between the OVPN app and the browser extension?14 hours1Yes
Hotspot Shield
QuestionInitial response timeNumber of emailsQuestion answered
Question What kind of logs does Hotspot Shield keep?6 days1Yes
Question Can I install Hotspot Shield on a DD-WRT router?33 hours1Yes
Question What is the difference between a proxy server and a VPN?Never answered1No

While both providers’ answers were polite and informative, Hotspot Shield only answered two of my emails. And one of its responses took six days to arrive. OVPN, for its part, answered all of my emails within 13 hours. Its answers included more details and demonstrated more industry knowledge than Hotspot Shield’s responses. So it’s pretty much night and day here.

OVPN takes it in the customer service category. Waiting six days for a reply is simply too much, no matter how good the response is.

The winner: OVPN

OVPN - Winner

And the winner is OVPN. While it didn’t score better in every single category, it’s a better overall choice – even for greener users. Hotspot Shield does have better streaming support and offers more simultaneous connections. But its customer support is far from great, and custom VPN protocols just don’t sit well with anyone who sees VPNs as a privacy and security tool. Hotspot really should ditch Hydra, especially as it doesn’t provide better speeds than Wireguard. Hotspot Shield also provides a longer money-back guarantee, but such minutiae isn’t enough to make a difference at this point.

So, in a nutshell, here’s what hands the win to OVPN:

  1. OVPN is significantly faster than Hotspot Shield.
  2. Its security and privacy practices are excellent (and have been tested).
  3. Its streaming support is acceptable – though not the greatest.
  4. OVPN only supports secure, open-source VPN protocols (no custom protocols here).
  5. It blocks ads and malware
  6. OVPN is cheaper on most subscription plans.

There are no two ways about it; OVPN is the better option out of the two.

See also: