With so many choices, it can feel nearly impossible for you to put every VPN brand through its paces. Two VPNs that we give high marks to are Hotspot Shield and Atlas VPN. We will use a series of lists, tables, and charts to make side-by-side comparisons of these two VPNs for you.
Once you read through the comparison information, we’ll give you our selection for the overall winner (in case you want to skip ahead to the final chapter).
- Connections are extremely reliable
- Offers strong security features
- Handles all major streaming services well
- Has 24/7 live chat support
- Unthrottled speeds perfect for streaming
- Unlimited simultaneous connections
- Offers a reasonable price point
- Has strong security features
Hotspot Shield vs Atlas VPN pricing
Hotspot Shield has a higher price point than Atlas VPN, although Hotspot Shield does offer a Basic tier for free. Atlas VPN does not have a free tier. In addition to the Basic tier, Hotspot Shield has a Premium and a Premium Family tier, while Atlas VPN only has one pricing tier.
Both VPNs allow you to pay month to month, but this ends up being quite a bit more expensive in the long run than paying for a full year up front. If you are not sure whether you want to commit to either Hotspot Shield or Atlas VPN for the long run, you can sign up month to month to start before migrating to an annual plan.
Atlas VPN’s single tier is cheaper than either of Hotspot Shield’s subscription tiers on the month-to-month plan. Atlas VPN costs $10.99 per month, while Premium with Hotspot Shield costs $12.99 per month and Premium Family costs $19.99 per month.
If you want to pay annually up front, Atlas VPN remains cheaper, charging $49.01 for the year (or $4.08 per month). Hotspot Shield costs $95.88 per year for Premium (or about $7.99 per month) and $143.88 for the year for Premium Family (or about $11.99 per month).
Both Atlas VPN and Hotspot Shield offer a three-year plan, where you can pay for three years up front. At Atlas VPN, this plan costs $71.49 for the three-year period (or about $1.83 per month). It currently includes an extra three months for free.
Finding the three-year plan with Hotspot Shield is not easy, as it doesn’t show up on the main pricing page that you can access from the Hotspot Shield homepage. (We have a three-year coupon code you can use, though.) Hotspot Shield’s three-year plan costs $107.64 up front (or about $2.99 per month).
If you prefer Atlas VPN, its annual and three-year plans offer a significant savings versus its month-to-month plan, so we would recommend sticking with one of those plans. For Hotspot Shield, the three-year plan is by far the best deal, so if you plan to subscribe to Hotspot Shield, check out the special coupon.
BEST DEAL FOR HOTSPOT SHIELD:Save 77 percent over the regular price with the three-year plan, which costs $2.99 per month.
BEST DEAL FOR ATLAS VPN:Save 83 percent over the regular price with the three-year plan, which costs $1.83 per month.
Hotspot Shield vs Atlas VPN features
|No value||Hotspot Shield||AtlasVPN|
|Website||Hotspotshield.com||atlasvpn.com||Simultaneous connections||5||Unlimited||Operating System Apps||Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux, Android TV, and Amazon Fire TV||Windows, Linux, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux, Android TV, and Amazon Fire TV||Manual install devices||Select routers||Set-top boxes||Split tunelling||Yes with Android||Free extras||Browser extensions (Chrome, Edge, Firefox)||MultiHop servers, SafeBrowse|
|Best deal (per month)||$2.99
SAVE 77% on the 3 year plan
SAVE 83% on a 3 year plan
Both Hotspot Shield and Atlas VPN provide support for the majority of operating systems, including Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux, and smart TV options like Amazon Fire TV and Android TV.
One of Atlas VPN’s biggest advantages versus Hotspot Shield is that Atlas VPN allows an unlimited number of simultaneous connections. You can have all your devices connected and protected at the same time.
Hotspot Shield, meanwhile, allows up to 10 simultaneous connections in its Premium plan. In its Premium Family plan, Hotspot Shield offers up to 25 device connections, but you can only have a maximum of five devices for each of five different members on the account.
Hotspot Shield uses a feature called Smart VPN to allow split tunneling. Atlas VPN is a bit more limited, as split tunneling is only available through Android devices. With split tunneling, you can select whether any particular app must make use of the VPN or can skip it.
Streaming and unblocking
When you travel to other countries and want to be able to use your streaming services as if you were back home, finding the right VPN can make this an easier process. Being able to use a streaming service through a VPN while in a foreign country is called unblocking.
Atlas VPN unblocks a few more streaming services than Hotspot Shield, although the two services are usable with the majority of the most popular streaming services. Hotspot Shield does not work with Sky Go, while Atlas VPN does.
Which of these VPNs work in China?
When traveling to China, it’s often difficult to work around the “Great Firewall,” as China uses extremely aggressive web-filtering tools.
Hotspot Shield does work inside China, and its streaming speeds remain high inside the country. You will have to download, install, and subscribe to Hotspot Shield before traveling to China. You cannot access the Hotspot Shield website once you are inside China.
Atlas VPN does not work inside China, even if you subscribe before traveling.
Setup and interface
We greatly appreciate – and we bet that you will, too – that both Hotspot Shield and Atlas VPN are extremely easy to install and use. Although we work with VPNs on a regular basis, we are confident that novices will have no problems with working with either of these VPNs.
Both Atlas VPN and Hotspot Shield deliver uncluttered interfaces in their desktop apps or mobile apps, meaning you can find the information you need quickly. Both VPNs fully support all the main operating systems for both computers and mobile devices.
Toggle the VPN on and off easily with either service. You also can activate a kill switch with either service that blocks all internet traffic if the VPN unexpectedly disconnects.
Servers and performance
Hotspot Shield offers more than double the number of server countries and the total number of servers versus Atlas VPN.
However, Atlas VPN does focus on the primary countries in which you’d expect to have service – other than China, as we mentioned earlier, as well as South Africa. Consequently, Hotspot Shield’s advantages here may be minimal in your particular case.
When you attempt to use Hotspot Shield in certain countries, the service makes use of virtual servers through DNS routing. This occurs in places like China, Russia, and Egypt. This gives you an IP address in the country from which you are operating, but the physical servers are located in other countries. As a result, you may have some privacy or latency concerns.
Although Hotspot Shield does have quite a few more servers than Atlas VPN, both services can meet the needs of most users. As long as Atlas VPN has a server in the locations you plan to visit most often, you should be able to use this service successfully.
In the United States specifically, Hotspot Shield offers servers in more than two dozen US cities, while Atlas VPN has servers in fewer than a dozen US cities. This may give Hotspot Shield a slight advantage for streaming certain sporting events that are blacked out in particular cities or for using online casinos in a certain location. This advantage may not apply to how you plan to use your VPN, however.
The same goes for Atlas VPN’s slight speed advantage. Both Hotspot Shield and Atlas VPN’s server speeds are more than fast enough for the average user looking for HD or 4K streaming without buffering. Our tests showed Atlas VPN with an average server speed of 247 Mbps, making it one of the fastest VPNs on the market. Hotspot Shield reached an average speed of 197 Mbps in our tests.
In terms of North America, we measured Atlas VPN at an average speed of 349 Mbps, while Hotspot Shield’s North American speeds were 207 Mbps. Hotspot Shield did have a slight advantage in speed versus Atlas VPN in our European tests at 195 Mbps to 180 Mbps.
Both Hotspot Shield and Atlas VPN offer high levels of security and protection. Both of them make use of WireGuard, which is a lightweight open-source protocol using security measures that do not hinder the performance of the VPNs.
Both of them support IKEv2, which works especially well on mobile networks. IKEv2 helps you overcome a dropped connection by re-establishing the connection quickly.
Hotspot Shield makes its own proprietary VPN protocol called Catapult Hydra. This is not an open-source protocol, but independent security experts have evaluated it.
Both Atlas VPN and Hotspot Shield make use of a 256-bit AES encrypted tunnel to route your internet traffic, protecting it and ensuring that your ISP and any hackers cannot view your usage data.
Both of these services offer encryption technologies that should easily meet the needs of most users. Atlas VPN does deploy a longer encryption key of 4096 bits, while Hotspot Shield’s encryption key is 2048 bits. Atlas VPN and Hotspot Shield both include a kill switch.
Both Atlas VPN and Hotspot Shield offer a similar level of privacy measures. For starters, neither service maintains activity logs of your usage, which is an important consideration when using a VPN to maintain your privacy.
Both services have their headquarters in the United States, which causes concern among some privacy advocates. Should authorities in the United States believe a major crime is occurring, they could force the VPN to begin creating activity logs without your knowledge. This would be a rare occurrence, however.
Atlas VPN also collects some device-level identifiers. It uses this information to track user engagement with the service, but it cannot use this information to track what you are doing while on the internet.
The tracking of device-level information through these connection logs probably won’t bother the average user. Ultimately, though, we’d prefer these services did not track any of this kind of data.
If you use Hotspot Shield’s free version, you will see advertising as part of the interface. These will not be targeted ads.
Atlas VPN accepts multiple payment methods, including a few cryptocurrencies, while Hotspot Shield only accepts credit cards.
Both Hotspot Shield and Atlas VPN use a shared IP configuration model. This means the services mix the IP traffic for everyone using the server, which makes tracking one person’s traffic nearly impossible.
Neither service gives you the ability to make use of a dedicated or static IP address. This may prevent you from being able to access certain services through your VPN that filter by an IP address.
Both Hotspot Shield and Atlas VPN provide above-average customer service performance, but Atlas VPN’s performance is slightly better. However, neither service offers telephone support. (This is typical, as the majority of VPN services don’t offer customer service via phone.)
You can access customer support via 24/7 live chat, email, or ticket submission with both services. We did find through our testing that both services answered our questions accurately.
During our tests of the two services’ email support, we received a response within about 45 minutes on average with Atlas VPN, which is outstanding performance, and within about 3-4 hours with Hotspot Shield, which is above-average performance.
You have the option of trying to solve any problems yourself through the searchable knowledge bases that both services offer. Only Atlas VPN provides video guides with advice and self-help instructions. Atlas VPN is not regularly active with its video guides, though, as it hasn’t posted a new one to its YouTube channel in more than two years.
Atlas VPN received a slight nod in our Hotspot Shield versus Atlas VPN comparison, although it was a very tough decision. Both VPN services deliver strong features at a reasonable price, and both are extremely easy to use.
Because both services are so similar, one of the most important tiebreakers was price, and Atlas VPN is the clear winner here. Whether you want to subscribe month to month, annually, or for three years, Atlas VPN has a lower price than Hotspot Shield. Even with a lower price, Atlas VPN doesn’t limit the number of simultaneous connections you can have among your devices.
Hotspot Shield does offer a longer money-back guarantee of 45 days, so you can try its service longer than Atlas VPN’s 30-day money-back guarantee. Hotspot Shield also offers a very limited free tier, while Atlas VPN does not. However, the pricing difference with Atlas VPN is enough to offset these Hotspot Shield advantages.
If you need to use your VPN in countries like China or South Africa or in smaller countries, Hotspot Shield offers the advantage, as it’s available in more than double the number of countries of Atlas VPN.
Both services have similar customer service performance, privacy protection features, and security tools. Importantly, both allow fast streaming with the majority of the most popular streaming services.
Atlas VPN and Hotspot Shield are both strong VPNs that made our list of the best VPN services. We gave Atlas VPN the slight nod, thanks in large part to its better prices and speed, but if you find that Hotspot Shield’s services would better fit your needs, it also would be a great choice.
Atlas VPN Coupon
SAVE 83% on a 3 year plan
Coupon applied automatically
Hotspot Shield vs Atlas VPN FAQs
Which VPN is better for torrenting?
Both Atlas VPN and Hotspot Shield allow torrenting. They both deliver the primary features we want to see for torrenting, so you can use either one successfully. Both of them include a kill switch, do not maintain activity logs, and do not expose your real IP address during inadvertent disconnects.
Will either VPN collect information about me?
No, neither Hotspot Shield nor Atlas VPN collect information about how you are using the internet while connected to the VPNs. By not collecting information in activity logs, both services give you a high level of privacy. Hotspot Shield and Atlas VPN will collect a little bit of device-level information to measure how users are engaging with the service, though.
Which VPN is better for gaming?
Atlas VPN made our list of the best VPNs for gaming, while Hotspot Shield did not, but both are strong VPNs for gaming. Both support WireGuard, which ensures plenty of speed for online gaming. Atlas VPN receives a slight advantage because of its faster performance speeds. If you are gaming in a country where Atlas VPN doesn’t have a server, however, you may want to check Hotspot Shield, as it has servers in nearly double the number of countries.