There is an overwhelming array of VPNs on the market, making choosing the right one for you difficult. Therefore, we have compared two of the most popular VPN providers on the market, HideMyAss, and ExpressVPN, to help make your decision simpler.
HMA has an impressive network of server locations, a range of well-designed, useful clients, and an interesting array of privacy and security features, making it one of the best VPN services on the market today. However, its relatively high subscription prices and disappointing streaming performance leave room for improvement.
HideMyAss VPN is now known as HMA and is one of the longest-operating VPN providers on the market, with more than 15 years of experience in the internet security industry. HMA boasts an extensive range of servers across more than 190 countries, meaning that it has one of the largest networks available. There are dedicated apps for all major devices and operating systems, including Windows, Linux, macOS, Android, and iOS.
Confusingly, the HMA subscription options are somewhat difficult to find on its website. The dedicated pricing page offers the option of a free trial, 1-year plan, and 3-year plan. However, other parts of the HMA website offer access to 1-month, 6-month, 2-year, business, and family plans.
Most users will want to begin with the free 7-day trial; however, it will still be necessary to enter your payment details. If you forget to cancel the subscription within the first 7 days, you will automatically be billed for the annual plan. However, canceling is easy and can be done so within the website, and you can still avail of the full 7 days.
The rolling contract’s monthly price comes in at $11.99 a month, which is relatively expensive and much more than most of its competition. The 6-month option will set you back $7.99, which is still more than we would like to pay a month.
As with any VPN service, you will see significant discounts on the monthly price if you commit to a longer-term subscription. If you pay for a year in advance with HMA, this price will drop to $6.99 a month. Sign up for 2 years at $4.99 a month, or 3-years for $3.99 every month.
HMA also offers family and business plan options that enable access to a higher number of simultaneous connections. The HMA Family plan starts at $5.99 a month for 10 device connections if you commit to three years in advance. Business plans offer even more simultaneous connections; for $32.99 a month, you can get 30. If you need, even more, there is the option to get a tailored quote too.
The VPN operates on industry-standard AES-256 bit encryption and boasts 2 kill-switches to block your internet connection if the VPN fails for any reason. There are some P2P servers to protect torrenting activities, although they are available in just a few locations.
Thanks to an impressive network of over 3000 servers across 94 countries, first-rate privacy and security features, an independent audited no-logging policy, and impressive streaming capabilities, ExpressVPN is arguably the best VPN provider on the market in 2021.
It is powerful, easy to use, and offers everything you could require in a VPN product. It is based in the British Virgin Islands too, a country that enjoys excellent data privacy laws, making it a great choice for security-conscious users.
Although it is not the cheapest provider on the VPN market, the additional investment may well be worth it for many users. Prices start at $8.32 a month if you commit to a year with the provider. However, if you want the freedom of a rolling monthly plan, you will be paying an eye-watering $12.95 a month.
The VPN service operates on military standard AES-256 bit encryption as well as a 4096-bit RSA certificate by default to ensure your private online activity is always secure and anonymous. Perfect Forward Secrecy technology alters encryption keys regularly so that none of your previous VPN sessions could ever be linked to your current one.
All of the ExpressVPN servers operate on RAM-only memory, also known as TrustedServer, which is much more secure than traditional hard-drive storage. This means that none of your data can be stored by the VPN. The provider’s no-logging policy has even been independently audited by renowned security company PricewaterhouseCooper, providing evidence to back up its claims.
Connection speeds are impressive, and although they may not be the fastest on the market, they are sufficient for streaming and gaming in high-definition or even 4K. ExpressVPN boasts excellent streaming performance and is successful at unblocking geo-restricted content on almost every streaming service, including Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, YouTube, and more.
It is a great option for torrenting fans, too, thanks to full P2P support across all of its servers, advanced security features, no-logging policy, and unlimited bandwidth.
When it comes to functionality, the ExpressVPN clients are compatible with a wide range of devices and operating systems. There is a dedicated app for Wi-Fi routers, a Linux client, and a MediaStreamer that offers support for devices that do not typically support a VPN connection, such as SmartTVs and gaming consoles. All of the apps are simple to install and easy to use, even for beginner VPN users.
However, the limit of just 5 simultaneous connections is disappointing, especially considering the higher subscription price. There is impressive customer support, with a range of excellent written support and troubleshooting articles, as well as a 24/7 live chat option in case you need instant assistance.
There is a 30-day money-back guarantee, enabling you to test the product for a month before committing to a paid subscription plan. If you are not completely satisfied, just request a refund, no questions asked.
One of the most important things to consider when choosing between VPN providers is affordability and value for money. Therefore we have compared ExpressVPN vs HMA in terms of their pricing options, discounts, and money-back guarantees.
As with any VPN provider, if you opt for the ExpressVPN rolling monthly contract, you will be paying a premium price of $12.95 a month. We would only recommend this option as a one-off if you are worried about committing to a longer-term plan and you want to test the product.
If you commit for a longer-term, you will notice significant discounts. Signing up for 6 months will cut the price slightly to $9.99 a month. However, this is still relatively expensive compared to its competitors’ prices, and it is necessary to fork out $59.94 in advance.
The best discounts come if you sign up for a year or more with ExpressVPN. On the 1-year plan, the monthly price falls to $8.32 a month or $99.84 a year. Even though this is quite a lot more than some of the most affordable VPN services on the market, it is a relatively good price considering the excellent array of first-rate features on offer with ExpressVPN.
The additional monthly investment will be worth it for many users if you consider the streaming performance, wide server network, and range of high-quality security features offered by the provider.
When it comes to payment methods, ExpressVPN provides a decent choice. There is a range of traditional options such as PayPal and credit cards. There is support for anonymous payment methods such as Bitcoin, AliPay, Yandex Money, Web Money, and more for security-conscious users. Fortunately, opting to pay with cryptocurrency makes it almost impossible for your VPN activity to be linked back to you.
If you do want to avail of a free VPN trial, ExpressVPN comes with 7 days of access on Android or iOS for free. Also, every ExpressVPN long-term plan comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee. This means that you can test the product for one month and request a refund, no questions asked, if you are not entirely satisfied. However, unlike some other VPN services, the ExpressVPN guarantee is only available once per user.
Canceling is fortunately easy, and all you need to do is contact the ExpressVPN support team and ask for your refund. They will oblige, and there will be no investigation into your use of the service, and as long as it is still within the thirty days, you will receive your money back.
Unlike ExpressVPN, the HideMyAss payment options are confusing and difficult to find on the website. HMA offers a free VPN trial, a 1-year plan, and a 3-year plan on the standard pricing section. However, other websites advertise monthly, 6-month, 2-year, Business, and Family subscription plans.
Users can avail of a 7-day free trial to start with, but it will be necessary to enter your payment details upfront to test the VPN product. It is also important to note that you will be automatically charged for the annual plan if you forget to cancel within 7 days. Fortunately, canceling your subscription with HideMyAss is easy, and you will still be able to use the service for the full 7 days.
If you decide to upgrade to a paid subscription with HMA VPN after the free trial, the standard monthly price on the rolling contract comes in at $11.99, which is quite expensive compared to other more affordable options on the market.
The 6-month plan is slightly cheaper, at $7.99, although still more expensive than ExpressVPN and most other VPN services. If you pay for a year in advance, the monthly subscription price will drop to $6.99 a month. For 2-years, it will set you back $4.99 a month and $3.99 for 3-years.
HMA also offers a range of family plans in case you require an additional number of simultaneous connections. The Family plan enables access for 10 devices instead of the standard 5. Prices start at $12.99 a month but drop to $5.99 a month if you pay for three years in advance.
There are Business plans too which increase the number of simultaneous connections available even more. If you require up to 20 simultaneous connections, the Business plan will cost you $23.99 a month. For 30 connections, the monthly price increases to $32.99 every month.
Although the longer HMA subscription plans do offer decent discounts, the provider significantly raises the monthly price to increase the number of simultaneous connections available. This is difficult to justify considering that many other VPN providers offer unlimited simultaneous connections for no additional cost.
Arguably, the most important aspect of any VPN service is the level of privacy and encryption offered. ExpressVPN utilizes a 4095-bit SHA-512 RSA certificate combined with military-standard 256 bit AES encryption and an HMAC safeguard. This ensures that your private internet data is undecipherable.
For an additional layer of online protection, ExpressVPN employs Perfect Forward Secrecy to ensure a new encryption key is created every time you log in to the VPN, as well as every 60 minutes thereafter. This means that even if your VPN session is compromised for any reason, the hacker will gain access to a maximum of 60 minutes.
ExpressVPN also offers access to a range of obfuscated servers that mask the fact that you are using a VPN. This is helpful if you need to overcome VPN blocks or firewalls in places that do not typically support the use of VPNs, such as universities, libraries, or offices.
The provider operates its own zero-knowledge DNS across all of its servers. This removes the need to rely on vulnerable third-party DNS servers or OpenDNS. There is complete IP and DNS leak protection too, which is reassuring.
ExpressVPN also comes with a kill-switch to ensure your internet connection is cut if your VPN connection fails for any reason. This ensures that your real IP address and unencrypted data do not become exposed to hackers or cybercriminals. Without a kill-switch, you may be browsing or torrenting for hours without realizing that you were not collected.
Moreover, ExpressVPN operates on completely RAM-only memory, which is much more secure than typical hard-drive storage. If a server became compromised, ExpressVPN could wipe its servers by simply shutting down the network.
Like ExpressVPN, HideMyAss (HMA) comes with 2 kill-switches. The standard kill switch cuts your entire internet traffic connection if the VPN fails or drops for any reason. This worked reliably during testing and ensured our IP address never leaked if the app was forced to close.
There is also the option to set up the HMA kill-switch to close specific apps or clients if the VPN connection drops and re-launches them once the connection is re-established. This helps torrenting fans who want to ensure that they are always protected, even if they forget to activate the VPN manually every time they want to download or share.
HMA offers access to a limited number of P2P-optimised servers but, these are limited to a few locations, which is somewhat disappointing. However, it is good to see that there is torrenting support with HideMyAss VPN.
Split tunneling is available too. This enables you to decide which apps or clients use the VPN connection and those that bypass it and use your normal ISP internet instead. This is helpful if you want your torrenting client to utilize the VPN connection, but you want to browse as normal without the VPN.
With HideMyAss, there is support for a wide range of first-rate VPN protocols, including OpenVPN and IKEv2, which is reassuring; however, there is not currently support for the newest WireGuard protocol. The provider does utilize RSA-4096 for handshaking and SHA-256 encryption for data authentication. HideMyAss also utilizes its own DNS servers to prevent DNS leaks, and it also protects against dangerous phishing websites.
Another important thing to consider when choosing a VPN provider is data logging and user protection. So, we have compared the no-logging policies and security audits offered by HideMyAss vs ExpressVPN.
On its website, ExpressVPN states that it believes privacy to be a fundamental user right. The provider does not store, log, monitor, or share VPN connection or user online activity logs. Moreover, ExpressVPN offers a simple, readable no-logs statement, which is extremely reassuring. ExpressVPN also states that it does not store accessed IP addresses, login timestamps, originating IP addresses, any data traffic, or any information regarding the websites you visit.
However, there is still some amount of logging, including the date of your VPN connection, chosen server, data bandwidth utilizes, as well as the version number of your VPN client. However, since the provider does not store the time, IP address, or browsing information, there is no way that your VPN activity could be linked to you, your device, or your actual IP address.
Moreover, ExpressVPN is based in the British Virgin Islands, a country that enjoys excellent privacy laws. This means that the provider is not required to store or submit any information to the United States or the United Kingdom, and it is not a member of the 5 or 14 Eyes Alliances either.
Like ExpressVPN, HideMyAss carries out a minimal amount of logging, namely the date of your VPN connection and a general indicator of transferred data. However, HideMyAss states that this data is stored for the purpose of customer service, troubleshooting, and analyzing network capacity and server coverage, which is understandable.
However, HideMyAss has even completed an independent security audit of its no-logging policy if you are still concerned. VerSprite, a well-known security company, carried out the audit. The audit analyzed data, internet traffic, and storage on the HideMyAss client and server network. HideMyAss received the lowest possible user privacy rating from VerSprite.
Setting up and installing ExpressVPN is easy. All you need to do is sign up for an ExpressVPN account; then, the site will detect your system OS and redirect you to the relevant client download link. There is also the option to download the .APK file for Android, use a QR code, or email yourself a client setup link for use on a different device.
Once you have downloaded and installed the ExpressVPN client on your device, you will need to verify your identity with an activation code, which is simple and reduces the need to enter your login information. ExpressVPN offers dedicated clients for Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS, and more. If you want to use a different client, you can also use the ExpressVPN OVPN configuration files.
When you launch the ExpressVPN client on the desktop, the interface is clean, simple, and easy to use. There is an automatically selected Smart Location and a large Connect button that allows VPN protection instantly. Clicking on the selected server location will offer a list of additional servers, as well as a search box to find a particular server.
The app also features a handy Favorites system which will save your most used servers for easy access later on. On Windows and macOS, you can also access your last three server connections on a menu panel without even needing to open the actual client.
There is little information regarding the internet speed, latency, or ping of a particular server. However, there is a built-in internet speed test option for precise server data.
In the Settings, you will have access to a choice of VPN protocols, including L2TP/IPsec, IKEv2, Lightway, OpenVPN UDP, and OpenVPN TCP. You can also activate the built-in kill-switch, IPv6 leak protection, and configure the DNS settings. There is a split tunneling feature, which allows you to choose the apps that run through the VPN connection and those that don’t.
Signing up for HideMyAss is easy; simply choose your desired payment plan, and select a payment method (either credit card or PayPal). The download page will offer the relevant download link for your device. There are dedicated HMA clients for Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS, and more.
The HideMyAss apps have recently been updated and are now simplified and easier to use. A list of server locations, a large ON/OFF button, and a Settings section features a range of configurable settings and features.
There is a useful Location Picker feature too, which means you do not have to scroll endlessly to find your desired server. You can view server locations by continent, streaming support, or P2P optimized. There is a Search box and a Favorites section too. There are no latency or internet speed indicators; however, you can check a particular server’s speed with the speed test.
The sidebar features a few configuration options, including the option to set up an automatic connection whenever you access the internet or to activate the VPN’s two kill-switches. HideMyAss also offers an unusual IP shuffle feature that alters your IP address at regularly defined intervals. This adds an additional layer of online protection and makes it almost impossible for anyone to track your activity.
ExpressVPN and HideMyAss offer dedicated apps for mobile that are well-designed and easy to use and come with a range of advanced security features.
On mobile, ExpressVPN is excellent too. The iOS, Android, and desktop apps are relatively similar. Both mobile apps can be easily downloaded from the relevant app store. Setup is simple and just requires you to enter your login information and accept some terms and conditions.
Both ExpressVPN mobile clients come with a range of interesting features, including an IP address checker, a WebRTC and DNS leak tester, and a strong password generator. Unfortunately, neither mobile app features the useful speed test available on the desktop version, so there is no way to tell how fast a particular server is.
However, a Smart Location feature enables easy access to the best available server in terms of internet speed and proximity. Although they lack some advanced desktop features, the ExpressVPN mobile clients are impressively powerful and well-designed.
As with ExpressVPN, the HideMyAss iOS, Android, and desktop clients are similar. Many VPNs neglect to include their best features on mobile versions; however, HideMyAss is different. The mobile apps feature OpenVPN UDP/TCP connections, IP Shuffle, split tunneling, Auto-Connect, and more.
The advanced features available on the HideMyAss mobile clients are rarely seen elsewhere. The apps are well-designed and easy to use, which means that they are a great choice even for beginner VPN users.
For many users, the streaming performance of a VPN service is one of the most important features.
As an ExpressVPN user, you will gain access to a host of geo-restricted content on streaming sites such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, YouTube, and HBO, making it one of the most reliable streaming VPNs on the market. The provider boasts excellent connection speeds, so you can stream your favorite content in high-definition or even 4K without lag or buffering.
However, HMA’s streaming reliability leaves room for improvement. The VPN can access BBC iPlayer and Amazon Prime Video, but it did struggle to access a host of other services, which is disappointing. HMA offers decent connection speeds, though, so if you manage to access your favorite geo-restricted content, you can stream it in high-definition with ease.
Although ExpressVPN does not openly advertise its support for torrenting and P2P sharing, the provider offers P2P optimization across all of its servers, which is incredibly impressive. This means that you do not have to worry about finding a torrenting server, as they are all suitable by default.
With ExpressVPN, there are excellent connection speeds meaning that you do not have to worry about long download times. With no bandwidth restrictions, you do not have to worry about how much data you are consuming. Moreover, there is split tunneling, a reliable kill-switch, leak protection, an impressive number of servers, and Bitcoin payment support, making it an excellent option for a torrenting user.
HMA does offer support for torrenting; however, it is limited to a small number of locations, which may cause issues for some users. There are excellent privacy protection features, decent server coverage, IP Shuffle, and decent connection speeds, meaning that it is not a bad choice for torrenting, as long as you can find a P2P-optimised server close to you.
Problems can arise while using even the best VPN service, so it is reassuring to know that the provider offers decent customer support to ensure assistance is on hand when you need it most. Therefore, we have compared HideMyAss vs ExpressVPN in terms of customer service.
ExpressVPN offers a host of troubleshooting content on its website that is well-written, helpful, and comprehensive. However, if you do not have time to read through the articles, there is a 24/7 live-chat customer support option too for instant assistance whether you are having issues while web browsing or you want to find out more about the subscription payment options.
With HideMyAss, customer support is excellent, thanks to a range of setup and troubleshooting guides, FAQs, and a 24/7 live-chat customer support option. Although the content is not as in-depth or comprehensive as that offered by ExpressVPN, it is still helpful and will be sufficient for the average user.
There are ExpressVPN United States servers in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Los Angeles, Miami, New Jersey, Salt Lake City, San Francisco, Santa Monica, Seattle, Tampa, and Washington.
In the United States, HideMyAss offers servers in Alaska, Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Delaware, Florida (Jacksonville and Miami), Georgia, Hawaii, Iowa, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin, West Virginia, and Wyoming.
Users have a wide choice of European ExpressVPN locations as well, in Albania, Andorra, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Isle of Man, Italy, Jersey, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands, North Macedonia, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom.
HMA VPN boasts an impressive European server network with locations in Andorra, Albania, Austria, Aland Islands, Bosnia, Belgium, Bulgaria, Belarus, Switzerland, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Germany (Berlin, Frankfurt), Denmark, Estonia, Spain (Barcelona, Madrid), Finland, Faroe Islands, France (Marseilles, Paris), United Kingdom (Donkey Town, Glasgow, London), Georgia, Gibraltar, Greece, Croatia, Hungary, Ireland, Iceland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Latvia, Monaco, Moldova, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Malta, Netherlands (Amsterdam), Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Russia (Saint Petersburg, Moscow), Sweden, Slovenia, Svalbard and Jan Mayen, Slovakia, San Marino, Ukraine, and the Vatican.
In the rest of the Americas, there are ExpressVPN servers in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Uruguay, Venezuela. While with HMA, there are servers in Antigua and Barbuda, Anguilla, Aruba, Barbados, Bermuda, Bahamas, Canada (Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver), Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Greenland, Guadeloupe, Haiti, Jamaica, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Cayman Islands, Saint Lucia, Montserrat, Mexico, Nicaragua, Saint Pierre, and Miquelon, Puerto Rico, Turks, and Caicos Islands, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, the British Virgin Islands, Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Belize, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Falkland Islands, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Panama, Peru, Paraguay, Suriname, El Salvador, Trinidad and Tobago, Uruguay, and Venezuela.
In the Middle East and Africa, ExpressVPN offers servers in Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Kenya, and South Africa. While with HideMyAss, there are servers in United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Israel, Iraq, Iran, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, and Yemen. And in Africa, there are HMA servers Angola, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Benin, Botswana, Congo, Central African Republic, Republic of the Congo, Cote Divoire, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Republic of Djibouti, Algeria, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Gambia, Guinea, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Comoros, Liberia, Lesotho, Libya, Morocco, Madagascar, Mauritius, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sudan, Saint Helena, Sierra Leone, Senegal, Somalia, Sao Tome and Principe, Eswatini, Chad, Togo, Tunisia, Tanzania, Uganda, South Africa, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
ExpressVPN’s Asia Pacific servers include locations in Australia, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Macau, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, New Zealand, Pakistan, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Uzbekistan. Across the Asia Pacific, HideMyAss features servers in Afghanistan, Armenia, American Samoa, Australia (Melbourne, Perth, and Syndey), Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Brunei, Bhutan, Cocos Islands, Cook Islands, China, Christmas Island, Fiji, Guam, Indonesia, India, Japan, Kyrgyzstan, Cambodia, Kiribati, North Korea, South Korea, Kazakhstan, Laos, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Mongolia, Macau, Maldives, Malaysia, New Caledonia, Norfolk Island, Nepal, Nauru, Niue, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Pakistan, Pitcairn Islands, Palau, Solomon Islands, Republic of Singapore, and Thailand.