CyberGhost vs. Hotspot Shield – Comparison & Test Results 2019

CyberGhost is a great choice for VPN users looking for a provider that offers a better-than-average level of service. The provider offers fast connection speeds and top-notch privacy protections.

CyberGhost logo

CyberGhost provides a fine level of features, all for a reasonable price.

Visit CyberGhost


Hotspot Shield offers a VPN option that provides excellent connection speeds, privacy protections and BitTorrent support.

Hotspot Shield logo

While the provider is a bit lacking in the global server coverage department, Hotspot Shield could make for an excellent option for new, value-minded VPN users.

Visit Hotspot Shield

How to Choose a VPN

It’s time for another battle in my ongoing, one-on-one Virtual Private Network (VPN) competitions. This time around, I’m pitting CyberGhost against Hotspot Shield.

I’ll introduce the top 10 categories you should carefully consider when researching a VPN provider and tell you why each category merits careful consideration. After revealing how well both VPN providers perform in each category, I’ll name a category victor.

After I’ve covered all 10 categories, I will tally the scores and declare an overall victor. By that time, you should have enough information to make an informed decision as to which of the two providers best fits your VPN needs.

Connection Speed

I don’t know about you, but it seems like every electronic device I purchase these days is connected to the internet.

Sure, there are the usual suspects, like computers and smartphones – but even my alarm clock is connected to the internet! A fast internet connection is more vital than ever these days.

We here at Pixel Privacy frequently test the download speeds of the protected connections of VPNs using the Speedtest.net app. We conduct the tests as follows:

  1. We use a gigabit Ethernet connection based in North America.
  2. 3 users perform the tests, each located in different areas of the world. They connect to VPNs in 3 different locations – the United Kingdom, the United States and Hong Kong – at 3 different times of the day over the course of 3 days.
  3. We perform the tests using the Windows version of each provider’s app. The app is configured to connect to the VPN server through the OpenVPN protocol over UDP.
  4. Once all of the speed tests are complete, the overall average speed is calculated for each provider.

Average Connection Speed

Both providers scored well in the download speed category. However, Hotspot Shield scored particularly well.

Hotspot Shield provides download speeds just a few digits shy of 100 Mbps. Meanwhile, CyberGhost delivers around half that speed. However, both providers offer more than enough “oomph,” with plenty of speed for just about any online activity you can think of.

Average Connection Speed Winner: Hotspot Shield

Provider

Avg. VPN DL Speed Link

Hotspot Shield

95.75 Mbps Visit Site

CyberGhost

58.22 Mbps Visit Site

Read Review

Pricing

Both of our head-to-head competitors offer reasonably priced subscriptions. Either provider will be an attractive option for online users looking for a budget-priced VPN option.

The monthly cost for a CyberGhost annual subscription is priced in the neighborhood of a good deli sandwich. The price jumps to the cost of a sandwich and a side if you opt to pay monthly. And yes, it is almost lunchtime while I’m writing this, why do you ask?

As for Hotspot Shield, their annual subscription will run you a few dollars more, and their monthly option hits your pocketbook for the same price as CyberGhost.

Pricing Winner: CyberGhost

Provider

Money-Back 

Guarantee Period

Link

CyberGhost

30 Days Visit Site

Read Review

Hotspot Shield

45 Days Visit Site

Privacy

How can you tell if a politician is lying? His lips are moving.

How can you tell if someone is trying to monitor you on the internet? You’re connected to the internet.

Thanks folks, I’ll be here all week, don’t forget to try the veal!

But seriously, when you’re on the internet, you’re being tracked. It might be your ISP collecting information about your browsing habits so they can sell it to the highest bidder, or even the guy in the corner of the coffee shop trying to hack your bank information.

To determine how well a VPN provider protects your privacy, find out the following:

  • Is the provider located in a privacy-respecting country?
  • Does the provider keep no logs of their customers’ online travels?
  • Does the provider accept private payment options, like Bitcoin?

CyberGhost’s home country of Romania doesn’t require VPN providers to keep logs, so they don’t. They also accept Bitcoin as payment.

Hotspot Shield is based in the U.S., where there isn’t currently a requirement for VPN providers to keep logs. The provider happily takes advantage of this, keeping no user activity logs. Although this provider doesn’t accept Bitcoin, they will take merchant gift cards as payment.

Privacy Winner: It’s a Tie!

Provider

Privacy Star Rating Link

CyberGhost

5.0 Visit Site

Read Review

Hotspot Shield

5.0 Visit Site

Features

When you’re researching VPN providers, don’t make the mistake of concentrating on just a few attractive features.

While a cheap price or a fast download speed is always attractive, if the provider doesn’t adequately protect your connections or provide comprehensive global server coverage, it’s worthless.

In this section, I’ll be taking a look at how well both VPN services perform in selected categories. I’ll provide details on how well each one performs in each category, then declare a winner for that particular arena.

At the end of the article, I’ll calculate each provider’s overall score and name a head-to-head winner.

Security

A VPN’s encryption is the layer of protection used to protect your online activities from prying eyes. In addition to an encrypted connection, a VPN provider should also offer other protections that allow you to travel on the net anonymously.

CyberGhost uses 256-bit encryption to protect their connections, using OpenVPN with TCP/UDP, IPSec, PPTP and L2TP/IPSec protocols. In addition, they offer malware-, tracking- and ad-blocking, as well as DNS leak and IPv6 leak protections.

Hotspot Shield uses a proprietary form of encryption called “Catapult Hydra.” Not much information about the encryption protocol is available. The provider also offers a kill switch, IPv6 and DNS leak protections, and the option to automatically turn on VPN protection on untrusted Wi-Fi hotspots.

To learn more about security features, check out my VPN Security Features article.

Security Winner: It’s a Tie!

Provider

Overall Security Score Link

CyberGhost

5.0 Visit Site

Read Review

Hotspot Shield

5.0 Visit Site

Simultaneous Connections

If you run a small business or a large family, the number of simultaneous connections a VPN allows on a single account can be an important consideration.

CyberGhost allows 7 simultaneous connections at once.

Hotspot Shield allows 5 concurrent connections at once.

Simultaneous Connections Winner: CyberGhost

Provider

# of Simultaneous Connections VPN Allows Link

CyberGhost

7 Visit Site

Read Review

Hotspot Shield

5 Visit Site

Streaming Support

Video streaming service subscribers who are looking to unblock their favorite services while visiting foreign lands will be glad to know that both of our competitors can unblock a good amount of streaming content.

CyberGhost and Hotspot Shield both offer Netflix-unblocking for the American version of the streaming service. Both providers offer easy-to-follow FAQs for connecting to American Netflix content, which you can find at the links in the previous sentence.

CyberGhost also offers Netflix U.K.-unblocking, along with unblocking for various other streaming services, including the U.K.’s BBC iPlayer and Channel 4, as well as Amazon Prime, HBO, Sling TV, YouTube Red and others in the U.S. Other services in various countries are also unblocked.

Hotspot Shield also offers access to the Netflix U.K. library of content, as well as BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub and All 4 in the U.K., and Hulu and Amazon Prime Video in the U.S.

Streaming Support Winner: CyberGhost

Provider

# of U.S. Streaming Services VPN Unblocks # of International Services VPN Unblocks Link

CyberGhost

17 23 Visit Site

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Hotspot Shield

3 4 Visit Site

BitTorrent Support

Peer-to-peer file sharing, also known as P2P and BitTorrenting, is one of the most popular activities on the internet. Users legally share documents and other types of files.

However, there are users who share copyrighted files, such as video and music, spurring many ISPs to block file sharing on their networks. Depending on a user’s location, they can also face legal and financial penalties for sharing such materials.

CyberGhost allows P2P activity on VPN servers in 66 countries.

Hotspot Shield allows torrenting activity on all of its servers, which are located in 70+ countries.

BitTorrent Support Winner: Hotspot Shield

Provider

# of Countries Where VPN Allows BitTorrent Access Link

CyberGhost

66 Visit Site

Read Review

Hotspot Shield

70+ Visit Site

Global Server Coverage

A VPN service’s global server coverage is the key that unlocks access to content that might normally be blocked in your region. The more countries your provider has servers located in, the more foreign content you can unblock.

CyberGhost has 5,900+ servers located in 90 countries.

Hotspot Shield has 3,200 servers in 70+ countries around the globe.

Global Server Coverage Winner: CyberGhost

Provider

Server Count Countries Link

CyberGhost

5,900+ 90 Visit Site

Read Review

Hotspot Shield

3,200 70+ Visit Site

Multi-Platform Support

If you’re like me, you own and use more than one device that can access the internet. That’s why I always look for a VPN provider that supports as many device platforms as possible.

CyberGhost provides native app support for the Android, iOS, macOS, Windows, Linux, Amazon Fire TV and Android TV platforms. In addition, you can use the service with Raspberry Pi devices, NAS devices and numerous routers. Browser extensions are available for the Chrome and Firefox browser platforms.

Hotspot Shield’s multi-platform support consists of native apps for the Windows, macOS, iOS and Android platforms. A browser extension is available for the Chrome platform. The provider does not offer router support.

Multi-Platform Support Winner: CyberGhost

Provider

# of Platforms Supported Browser Extensions? Link

CyberGhost

7 Yes (Chrome, Firefox) Visit Site

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Hotspot Shield

4 Yes (Chrome) Visit Site

Customer Support

Customer support is like that can of Fix-a-Flat you keep in your car’s trunk. Hopefully you’ll never need to use it, but it’s nice to have it available when you do.

CyberGhost provides 24/7 live chat, a “submit a request” form and a searchable knowledge base.

Hotspot Shield’s customer support consists of a 24/7 live support chat option, a support request form and a searchable support library.

Customer Support Winner: It’s a Tie!

Provider

Customer Support Star Rating Link

CyberGhost

5.0 Visit Site

Read Review

Hotspot Shield

5.0 Visit Site

Winner:

While the race between CyberGhost and Hotspot Shield was a close one at first, CyberGhost quickly began to pull away, never relinquishing the lead.

CyberGhost logo

CyberGhost scored the best in the pricing, simultaneous connections, streaming support, global server coverage and multi-platform support categories.

Meanwhile, Hotspot Shield won in only 2 of the head-to-head battles, those of connection speed and BitTorrent support.

Both companies offered equal showings in the privacy, security and customer support arenas.

For more information or to purchase a VPN subscription from our victor, visit the CyberGhost website.