CyberGhost vs. Hotspot Shield
Comparison & Test Results 2018
CyberGhost is a fine 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 provides a fine level of features, all for a reasonable price.
Hotspot Shield offers a VPN option that provides excellent domestic connection speeds, privacy protections and BitTorrent support.
While the provider is a bit lacking in the global server coverage and encryption departments, Hotspot Shield could make for an excellent option for new, value-minded VPN users.
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.
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 obvious suspects, like computers and smartphones - but even my alarm clock is connected to the internet! A fast internet connection is more vital than ever.
For the connection speed tests, I use Speedtest.net. I performed these speed tests using a gigabit fiber internet connection.
Domestic Connection Speeds (U.S.)
This domestic connection speed test is designed to give you an indication as to what type of performance you can expect to see when using a VPN server located in your own country. (I’m in the U.S., so I test using a U.S.-based server.)
VPN DL Speed
International Connection Speeds (U.S. to U.K.)
The international connection speed test will offer you an indication of the type of performance you should be able to expect when using a VPN server located in another country. (I use a server located in the U.K.)
VPN DL Speed
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 them 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:
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.
Both of our head-to-head competitors offer reasonably priced subscriptions.
A CyberGhost subscription is $2.75 per month (payable as $49.50 annually), or $11.99 per month if you decide to go for the month-to-month payment plan.
Hotspot Shield’s subscription rate comes in at $5.99 per month (payable as $71.88 annually), or $12.99 per month if you’d like to pay monthly.
Money-Back Guarantee Period
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 2,780+ servers located in 60+ countries.
Hotspot Shield holds their server count information close to the vest, but they do reveal that they have servers located in 27 countries.
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 and Windows platforms. In addition, the service can be used with Raspberry Pi devices, NAS devices and numerous routers. Browser extensions are available for the Chrome, Opera and Firefox browser platforms.
Hotspot Shield’s multi-platform support consists of native apps for the Windows, Windows Phone, macOS, iOS and Android platforms. Browser extensions are available for the Chrome and Firefox platforms. The provider does not offer router support.
# Platforms Supported
Netflix subscribers in the United States who are looking to unblock their favorite service while visiting foreign lands will be glad to know that both of our competitors can unblock U.S. Netflix content.
CyberGhost and Hotspot Shield both offer Netflix-unblocking for the American version of the streaming service. Both VPN providers offer easy-to-follow FAQ’s for connecting to American Netflix content, which can be found at the links in the previous sentence.
When I tested them, both providers offered reliable access to U.S. Netflix content. However, access to Netflix in other countries was not available from either provider.
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 live support chat option, a support request form and a searchable support library.
Customer Support Winner: It’s a Tie!
Customer Support Star Rating
A VPN’s encryption is the layer of protection used to protect your online activities from prying eyes.
CyberGhost uses 256-bit encryption to protect their connections, using OpenVPN with TCP/UDP, IPSec, PPTP and L2TP/IPSec protocols.
Hotspot Shield uses a proprietary form of encryption called “Catapult Hydra.” Not much information about the encryption protocol is available.
AES-256 encryption, using OpenVPN with TCP/UDP, IPSec, PPTP and L2TP/IPSec
Proprietary “Catapult Hydra” encryption
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.
# of Simultaneous Connections Allowed
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 that 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 30 countries.
Hotspot Shield allows torrenting activity on all of its servers, which are located in 27 countries.
# of Countries Where VPN Allows BitTorrent Access
# of Categories Won
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 scored the best in the international connection speed, pricing, global server coverage, multi-platform support, encryption, simultaneous connections and BitTorrent support categories.
Meanwhile, Hotspot Shield took only one competition, that of domestic connection speed.
Both companies offered equal showings in the privacy, Netflix and customer support arenas.
CyberGhost took the overall crown due to its fast connection speeds, good global server coverage, wide platform support, encryption options, concurrent connection allowance and torrenting support.