If you are looking for a VPN service, you have likely heard of NordVPN, considering that it is one of the best and most popular providers on the market. The VPN is not bad value either, with prices starting at just $3.71 per month if you opt for its long-term 2-year plan.
As with any VPN service, prices are significantly higher if you want the freedom of a rolling contract. Signing up for one month with NordVPN will set you back an eye-watering $11.95 a month. However, there is support for a wide range of payment options to suit various users, including PayPal, credit card, Bitcoin, and other cryptocurrencies.
Nord comes with military-standard AES-256 bit encryption and a range of advanced security features such as Double VPN encryption and Onion over VPN. The VPN offers access to a range of obfuscated servers that will mask the fact that you are using a VPN.
NordVPN also comes with a reliable integrated kill-switch to ensure you are always protected, even if the VPN drops for any reason. The kill-switch will cut your internet connection so that no unencrypted information or your real IP address ever get exposed. The company has even completed multiple independent security audits to confirm its no-logging promise, reassuring any security-conscious users.
Connection speeds are impressive, especially on the NordLynx protocol. NordVPN is successful at unblocking a range of streaming services, including BBC iPlayer, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, YouTube, and more. There is support for P2P sharing and torrenting too.
The NordVPN desktop clients are well-designed and easy to use, even for beginners. However, the mobile interfaces can be somewhat difficult to use on smaller screens. There is only support for 6 simultaneous connections, which is somewhat disappointing. There is 24/7 live chat support and a wide range of setup and troubleshooting articles in case you run into issues while installing or using the service.
HideMyAss or HMA is a well-established VPN with over 15 years of experience in the internet security industry. The VPN service boasts an extensive network of servers that span more than 190 countries, making it one of the largest VPN services on the market.
There are dedicated HMA VPN clients for Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, and iOS. HideMyAss offers a wide range of payment plans, including one-month, 6-month, 12-month, 2-year, and 3-year options. There is a 7-day free trial; however, it is necessary to enter your payment details before you can test the service. If you forget to cancel within 7 days, you will automatically be charged for the 1-year subscription.
The monthly rolling option comes in at $11.99, which is relatively expensive; the price drops slightly if you opt for the 6-month option, at $7.99. However, the most cost-effective option is the 3-year option, which comes in at just $5.99 a month.
HMA comes with industry-standard AES-256 bit encryption, 2 kill-switches, and a range of other advanced security features to ensure your private activity and identity are protected online. There is support for P2P sharing on some, although not all, of the provider’s servers.
All HMA clients offer a simple, easy-to-use interface that operates similarly to most other VPN products on the market. Connection speeds are decent too and sufficient for streaming and gaming in high definition without lag or buffering. The VPN service enables access to a range of geo-restricted content on sites including BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime Video, and Netflix.
For many users, pricing is the most important factor when choosing between VPN providers. Let’s take a look at HideMyAss vs NordVPN regarding their pricing plans, discounts, and money-back guarantees.
Overall, NordVPN is not the cheapest VPN provider on the market, especially if you opt for the freedom of a monthly rolling contract, which will cost you an expensive $11.95 a month. However, as will all VPNs, you will see significant savings if you commit for a longer-term. On the 6-month NordVPN subscription, you will pay $9 a month, but it is necessary to pay $54 upfront.
Sign up for a year with Nord, and the price will drop further, to just $6.58 a month. However, the best discount comes with the 2-year subscription, at $3.71 a month; this offers a significant 70% discount compared to the rolling monthly option.
However, if you are worried about signing up for a longer-term, signing up for the one-month plan may be the best option to begin with. Doing so will reduce the initial cost and allow you to either request your money back within the first 30 days if you are not happy or upgrade to a longer subscription once you know you are happy with the service.
NordVPN offers a wide range of payment options, including credit card, PayPal, prepaid card, UnionPay, GooglePay, AmazonPay, and iTunes. There is also support for cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, Monero, and more, reassuring security-conscious users who want to remain anonymous online.
If you do want to avail of a free trial, sign up for NordVPN on the Android or iOS client, and you will receive access for free for 7 days.
HMA offers more pricing plans than NordVPN as well as most other VPN providers on the market. However, it is somewhat difficult to find the available plans on the HMA VPN website, making things confusing.
The HMA basic monthly plan on a rolling monthly contract comes in at an expensive $11.99 a month. However, you should expect to pay a premium price for the freedom of a short-term contract with any VPN provider. The HMA 6-month plan is slightly more affordable than NordVPN’s option, at $7.99; however, this is still more than we would like to spend.
The subscription price drops to $6.99 a month if you commit to a year with HMA, $4.99 on a 2-year plan, and just $3.99 if you commit for 3-years. However, the 3-year plan with HMA is still more expensive than NordVPN’s 2-year option, which comes in at $3.49 a month.
However, if you are happy with HideMyAss VPN’s service, these prices are relatively cost-effective but not the most affordable on the market. If you require a higher number of simultaneous connections, you can upgrade to the HMA family plan, which supports 10, for $12.99 a month on the monthly plan, $7.99 a month if you pay for a year upfront, and $3.99 a month if you pay for 3 years in advance.
It is good to see that HMA VPN offers a family subscription option; however, it is necessary to note that other VPN services such as Surfshark offer unlimited simultaneous connections for a much lower monthly price.
HideMyAss VPN also offers a range of subscription options for business users that support a greater number of simultaneous connections. For 10 simultaneous connections, the HMA VPN Business plan comes in at $13 a month, $23.99 a month for 20 connections, or $32.99 a month for 30 simultaneous connections.
There is also the option to get a tailored quote from the provider if you require even more. Again, it is necessary to consider that providers such as Surfshark offer unlimited connections for no additional cost.
Security-conscious users are likely to be disappointed as HMA VPN does not support Bitcoin payments on any of its plans. The provider does support credit cards and PayPal.
If you want to test the HMA VPN product for free, there is a 7-day free trial which is useful, although a lot less than most other providers offer. It is also necessary to enter your payment details to avail of the free trial, and you will be automatically charged for the annual HMA VPN plan if you do not cancel before the 7 days are up. However, canceling is easy and can be done so online.
If you sign up for the VPN service, you are protected by a generous 30-day refund guarantee that matches the guarantee offered by NordVPN. Previously the guarantee’s terms and conditions included catches; however, this is no longer the case. Unlike many other VPN services, HMA will offer as many refunds as appropriate, even if you have already had one, as long as there are at least 6 months between each.
Like all of the best VPN services, NordVPN employs military standard AES-256 bit encryption. It also offers perfect forward secrecy technology to ensure encryption keys are altered regularly. This means that your current VPN session cannot be linked to any previous ones. NordVPN also utilizes 4096-bit Diffie Hellman encryption keys for an additional layer of online protection.
Once you connect to NordVPN, you will have access to a range of other advanced security features too. This includes the option to use Onion over VPN, which will reroute your private internet traffic through NordVPN’s server first, then through the Onion network before it reaches its end destination.
Re-routing your internet traffic through the Onion network offers an extra layer of obfuscation, which will make it extremely difficult for anyone to link your activity to you or your device. However, it is necessary to note that it will significantly reduce your connection speeds as your traffic runs through multiple servers around the world rather than just one. Fortunately, you do not need to know anything about the Onion network to use this feature. No setup or installation is required; connect to one of the NordVPN specialized Onion over VPN servers, and the software will automatically reroute it.
NordVPN also offers double VPN encryption that will serve to reroute your private internet data to one VPN server, re-encrypt it, and then send it through a second server before it reaches its destination. Although this level of protection may not be necessary for most users, it is good to know that it is available with NordVPN. This feature will slightly reduce connection speeds, but not as much as you may expect.
NordVPN offers DNS leak protection to ensure your private internet information is always protected. NordVPN also comes with a reliable integrated kill-switch that will, if your VPN drops for any reason, cut your internet connection and cease the transfer of any unencrypted information until the VPN connection is re-established. NordVPN offers a general kill-switch to block internet access if the VPN connection fails, as well as an app kill-switch that will shut your current application if the connection drops.
It is necessary to note that NordVPN experienced a server hack in 2018 that it blamed on a third-party data center. One single server in Finland was compromised, but it is not clear what information was affected. Since the incident, NordVPN has taken steps to secure its service and has regained users’ trust.
NordVPN upgraded all of its VPN servers from hard-drive to RAM storage, which is much more secure. The VPN service has even completed multiple independent security audits carried out by the renowned PricewaterhouseCooper. The audits covered NordVPN’s servers, infrastructure, and policies and found no evidence to suggest that the service violates its privacy promises in any way.
Like NordVPN, HideMyAss operates on industry-standard AES-256 bit encryption and comes with 2 integrated kill switches. The standard NordVPN kill-switch will block all web traffic if the VPN drops, while setting up an app kill switch will ensure that specific applications are closed if the VPN fails for any reason. NordVPN will also be automatically activated if you access particular apps. The kill-switch is a handy feature for torrenters if you want to ensure your internet connections are protected all of the time, even if you forget to activate NordVPN manually.
HideMyAss VPN features support for a range of first-rate VPN protocols, including OpenVPN, arguably the best and most secure protocol available. It is open-source, which means that developers have heavily scrutinized it for potential weaknesses. The iOS and macOS clients operate on IKEv2, which is also safe in terms of data security.
NordVPN offers a clear and transparent no-logs policy that is better than most other VPN companies’ policies. The VPN features a strict no-logs policy for its VPN service which means that it will never monitor, record, log, store, or share your online activity data or browsing history. Nor does the service store VPN connection timestamps, bandwidth utilizes, web traffic logs, accessed or originating IP addresses, or private browsing data.
The NordVPN no-logs policy covers general data logging as well as session logging information such as incoming IP addresses, as well as your allocated IP address. Many companies claim to be no-logging but continue to carry out forms of session logging, so it is good to see that Nord clarifies this.
A VPN service can make any promises on its website; however, unlike most other providers, NordVPN has evidence to back up its claims. NordVPN hired one of the world’s best security companies, PricewaterhouseCooper, to audit its service and infrastructure and verify its logging promises. The security audit was in-depth and verified that Nord does not violate its no-logging claims in any way, which is reassuring.
There is some logging amount, including the date of your VPN connection and a general indicator of transferred data. HMA suggests that this data collection is necessary to enable troubleshooting, network capacity, and customer service.
If you are still wary, there is no need to take the provider’s promises on trust. In 2020, the service completed an independent audit by VerSprite, which offered evidence for its no-logging policy. The audit analyzed data, storage, and traffic and resulted in a ‘low risk’ user privacy rating, which is good to know.
Nord VPN features a wide range of servers around the world in 15 United States cities, 3 Canadian cities, Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, Costa Rica, Chile, 5 Australian cities, Singapore, Japan, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Taiwan, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, South Korea, Thailand, South Africa, 2 Indian cities, United Arab Emirates, Israel, Turkey, and European servers in the United Kingdom, Germany, the Netherlands, France, Sweden, Switzerland, Belgium, Denmark, Norway, Poland, Ireland, Czechia, Italy, Spain, Finland, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Bulgaria, Hungary, Latvia, Romania, Portugal, Luxemburg, Ukraine, Greece, Estonia, Iceland, Albania, Cyprus, Croatia, Moldova, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, and North Macedonia.
HMA VPN boasts an impressive server network with European locations in Andorra, Albania, Austria, Aland Islands, Bosnia, Belgium, Bulgaria, Belarus, Switzerland, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Germany (Berlin, Frankfurt, Frankfurt Virtual- Canada, Frankfurt Virtual- United States), Denmark, Estonia, Spain (Barcelona, Madrid), Finland, Faroe Islands, France (Marseilles, Paris), United Kingdom (Donkey Town, Glasgow, London, London Virtual-Portugal, London Virtual- United States, Georgia, Gibraltar, Greece, Croatia, Hungary, Ireland, Iceland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Latvia, Monaco, Moldova, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Malta, Netherlands (Amsterdam, Amsterdam Virtual-United States, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Russia (Saint Petersburg, Moscow), Sweden, Slovenia, Svalbard and Jan Mayen, Slovakia, San Marino, Ukraine, and the Vatican.
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 (Liberty Island, New York, New York Virtual-Canada, New York Virtual-Germany, New York Virtual-France, New York Virtual- United Kingdom), Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin, West Virginia, and Wyoming.
In the rest of North America, there are HMA 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, and the British Virgin Islands.
In South America, there are HMA servers in 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.
Across the Asia Pacific, HideMyAss provides 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.
In the Middle East, 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.
For many users, the streaming performance of a VPN product is a priority so let’s compare NordVPN and HMA in terms of their unblocking capabilities.
On its website, NordVPN suggests that it is one of the best VPNs for accessing geo-restricted content on a range of streaming sites. During testing, the provider enabled access to Netflix, YouTube, Disney+, and Amazon Prime Video with ease. However, it struggled when it came to accessing the BBC iPlayer, which was unavailable on the desktop client.
As suggested by the NordVPN website, which tried to unblock iPlayer on the browser extension instead and successfully gained access. Despite these minor issues, NordVPN is an excellent streaming VPN thanks to its range of server locations and unlimited bandwidth.
NordVPN is also an excellent choice for torrenters. Although it does not offer full torrenting support, there is access to hundreds of P2P-friendly servers worldwide, and the VPN will automatically connect you to one of the suitable servers if it detects P2P activity. For gamers, there are DDoS protection features too.
The HMA website claims to offer access to a host of geo-restricted content on a range of services thanks to its dedicated streaming servers. On Windows, HMA offers a filter feature that will display streaming-optimized servers. However, there are currently just 5 country locations, which means that there is little choice for streaming fans.
HMA did enable access to content on Netflix; however, it failed to unblock BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime Video, and Disney+, which is extremely disappointing. Therefore, NordVPN is the clear winner when it comes to streaming performance.
Downloading and installing NordVPN is quick and easy. There is also a wide range of setup guides available on the website if you need them. Once you have installed the NordVPN desktop client, a well-designed interface will launch.
There is a large server map that allows you to select a server by clicking on a location. The map can be difficult to use, especially as many servers are located close to each other in many areas. However, there is a regular server location list too that allows easier access.
Unfortunately, NordVPN has recently replaced its Favorites system with a Recents feature, which is slightly less useful. There is a range of advanced features, though, including the option to switch between NordVPN protocols, activate the kill-switches, and more.
Signing up for HMA works like most other VPNs. Select a subscription option, choose a payment method (credit card or PayPal), and you will be redirected to a download page. Choose the relevant app for your device and follow the setup tutorial.
All of the HMA clients have recently been updated and now feature cleaner and simplified interfaces. The Windows app operates similarly to most other VPN products on the market, with a Connect button, server location list, and a Settings section.
A Location Picker allows you to find your desired server by viewing locations by continent, type or using the Search box. There is even a Favorites system to save your most used servers for easy access later on. The location names do not come with latency or load indicators, but a speed test feature displays the best available servers in terms of speed and proximity.
During a speed test, the client performed well, speeds are average but sufficient for most online activities, and the VPN connected within 5 seconds.
A sidebar offers a range of configurable features, including the option to allow the VPN to automatically connect whenever you access the internet, enable the two kill-switches, or activate the IP Shuffle feature, which will alter your IP address at a defined interval for an additional layer of security.
The service comes with dedicated apps for Android and iOS too. Both mobile clients feature a similar interface to the Windows version and are extremely easy to use. HMA’s mobile apps feature a range of advanced features that are rarely seen available on mobile devices, including the option to configure OpenVPN UDP/TCP connections, IP Shuffle, split tunneling, auto-Connection, and more.
HMA comes with dedicated apps for Android and iOS too. Both mobile clients feature a similar interface to the Windows version and are extremely easy to use. HMA’s mobile apps feature a range of advanced features that are rarely seen available on mobile devices, including the option to configure OpenVPN UDP/TCP connections, IP Shuffle, split tunneling, auto-Connection, and more.
NordVPN is excellent on iOS and Android too. Both mobile apps feature a similar map-based interface, which is even more awkward to use on a smaller, hand-held screen.
Installing the NordVPN mobile clients is quick and easy; sign up for a NordVPN account, and you will be automatically redirected to the relevant app store. Once the app launches, you will have access to an auto-Connect feature, a Whitelist, CyberSec for ad-blocking, and malware protection.
The Android app does not offer a real kill-switch; however, you can set up a similar feature by allowing “Always-On VPN” and “Block Connections without VPN” in the Settings.
No matter what VPN product you choose, things can go wrong occasionally. Therefore, it is reassuring to know that there is help on hand at all times. Here we compare NordVPN and HMA in terms of their troubleshooting articles and 24/7 customer support options.
With NordVPN, a range of support guides are available on the website that feature setup instructions for a range of devices and operating systems, including macOS, Windows, iOS, Android, Linux, and more. The content of the support articles is excellent and informative.
There is 24/7 customer support in the form of a live chat in case you require immediate assistance. The support agents are knowledgeable and helpful, and you can expect to resolve any issues in a matter of minutes. There is an email support option; however, you will be waiting longer for an answer to your queries.
The HMA website offers a wide range of customer support resources, including setup and troubleshooting guides, FAQs, a web forum, and a live chat option. The customer support articles are not as comprehensive as those offered by NordVPN, nor is the content organized efficiently.