Two of the most well-known VPN services on the current market are HideMyAss! VPN, better known as HMA, and ExpressVPN. While ExpressVPN regularly tops ‘best VPN’ lists, HMA is often lagging behind, which begs the question: is HideMyAss a good VPN?
HMA is, in fact, an excellent VPN choice, especially for beginners. But whether or not it can surpass ExpressVPN in areas such as security and speed is not clear.
To see which of the two VPN providers is the best and will suit your internet privacy needs, we’ve compiled a comprehensive guide on the two VPNs. Read on to find out which VPN best meets our evaluation standards and is the best for you.
If you’re surfing the web without a VPN, you’re doing it wrong. By not using a VPN, you’re potentially exposing your browsing data to your Internet Service Provider (ISP), the government, and hackers. Let’s take a look at how HMA and ExpressVPN protect your data.
First of all, ExpressVPN uses AES-256 bit encryption and Perfect Forward Secrecy to chance encryption keys at every session to keep your internet traffic private. As well as using the highest grade of encryption, Express offers a selection of connection protocols to adjust the strength of your VPN connection; these include OpenVPN, IKEv2, IPSec/L2TP, PPTP, and Lightway.
Lightway is ExpressVPN’s innovative proprietary protocol, based on the open-source protocol WireGuard. It provides users with a secure connection like with OpenVPN but is faster, which bodes well for users.
HMA also employs AES-256 bit encryption with 4096-bit RSA keys to ensure your web browsing isn’t seen by anyone else. Like ExpressVPN, it also employs Perfect Forward Secrecy and offers several tunneling protocols, including OpenVPN over TCP/UDP, PPTP, L2TP/IPSec, and IKEv2. While there are default protocols on every app, you can easily change the tunneling protocol in the settings.
As well as the above, both providers have private DNS on all of their servers. This means that they process DNS queries on their networks, ensuring there is constant DNS leak protection. There is also IPv6 leak protection with both VPNs to protect your real IP from leaking.
ExpressVPN has a strict no-logging policy and is committed to user privacy. The provider stores account information such as your email address, name, and billing details but doesn’t share this. In terms of your VPN connection, ExpressVPN logs data relating to the date of your VPN session, the server you used, and how much data was transmitted during the session.
The headquarters of a VPN can determine how the provider handles user data. Certain countries have strict data retention laws in place, like the UK. Worryingly, HMA VPN is based in the UK. However, since it has a strict zero-logs policy, it won’t have anything to hand over to the UK government if it is forced to.
ExpressVPN, on the other hand, is based in the British Virgin Islands, a great jurisdiction in terms of data privacy laws. The company is not required by law to monitor or store any data on its server network.
What else do the VPN providers offer in terms of security and privacy protection? First of all, HMA has an automatic kill switch that users can activate in the app. The kill switch terminates your internet connection if your VPN connection falters, ensuring that your internet traffic isn’t at risk of exposure to third parties.
ExpressVPN also has a kill switch called the Network Lock. The kill switch is automatically activated in the app, saving you from remembering to enable it. Express uses RAM-based servers. RAM servers are safer than hard drive servers since the data stored on them is wiped whenever they are switched off.
The winner: It’s a difficult call, but ExpressVPN is the winner regarding security and privacy. ExpressVPN isn’t owned by an external parent company and is based in the privacy-friendly British Virgin Islands. We also like that it uses volatile RAM servers since these are safer than hard drive servers.
A VPN can enhance your online experience by providing you with access to various features and enabling you to carry out many activities online.
ExpressVPN and HMA VPN both offer 5 simultaneous connections. This is standard for the industry, but nowadays, many VPNs are offering more device connections. It would be great to see both VPNs increase the number of connections they offer.
A VPN’s ability to unblock streaming sites is a big selling factor. ExpressVPN is one of the best VPNs for accessing streaming sites and can successfully unblock content on Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, and many other platforms. ExpressVPN’s MediaStreamer allows users to watch streaming sites on their Smart TVs without receiving VPN encryption.
HMA VPN also is a great streaming VPN with more than 165 streaming servers. It can unblock Netflix in the US and other countries and Hulu, BBC iPlayer, and Amazon Prime Video, providing you with access to international content.
If you frequent torrenting platforms like BitTorrent, then you should use a VPN. You’ll be able to file share using a shared IP address and hide your torrenting from your ISP. ExpressVPN supports torrenting on its network, although it doesn’t heavily advertise this fact. ExpressVPN highlights the risks of P2P networking but doesn’t prevent it.
HMA supports torrenting on its network as well and doesn’t impose any restrictions when it comes to accessing platforms like BitTorrent. However, many customers have reported issues in recent years when it comes to torrenting. While we didn’t have any issues, it is worth keeping other user experiences in mind.
The two providers each offer split tunneling features. Split tunneling allows you to customize your VPN use, deciding which website and apps you want to receive VPN protection and which you want to access under your regular IP address. It’s a great VPN feature that you can customize in the apps.
It’s worth mentioning HMA’s IP Shuffle feature. This is an excellent tool that enables users to determine how often they want their IP address changed. The advantage of employing this feature is that it allows you to avoid trackers and websites that will follow your movements online based on your IP address.
The winner: Based on its ability to unblock streaming services, ExpressVPN is the best choice if you’re looking for a provider with extra features.
Every VPN provider offers different pricing plans. We recommend that you start with a monthly plan before signing up for something long-term.
Regarding subscription payment options, ExpressVPN accepts all popular credit cards, PayPal, and cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. HMA also accepts popular credit cards and PayPal, but not cryptocurrencies.
The winner: HMA offers better value for money, but its subscription plans are longer. While ExpressVPN offers a monthly plan, it costs a lot of money, so it is worth investing in a longer-term plan.
A great VPN should offer global server coverage, which both HMA VPN and ExpressVPN do.
ExpressVPN has more than 3000 servers across 160 locations and 94 countries which is impressive. The provider operates mostly in European, North American, and Asian countries but lacks servers in Africa and the Middle East.
HMA has a smaller VPN server network with over 1100 servers. However, the provider operates across 210 countries with 290 locations, with many server locations in Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Americas. The provider even operates in riskier places like Iran, Turkey, and Syria. This is pretty incredible, and HMA achieves this amazing server coverage through the use of proxy servers.
Are HMA’s proxy servers safe? Essentially a proxy server is located in a place different than where it claims to be. In some cases, this is for security reasons since certain locations are potentially risky, like North Korea. In that sense, it’s better to use a virtual server, but it can also make speeds slower if the server is physically far from the location it has an IP address for.
The winner: ExpressVPN has a larger VPN server network, but HMA offers servers in more locations. If you want a wider range of IP addresses, then HMA is the best option, but more servers equal lower server loads which is why ExpressVPN is the winner.
Whether you’re an Apple product die-hard fan or prefer Windows or Android devices, both Express and HMA offer support for many different operating systems.
ExpressVPN is by far the best when it comes to platform support. ExpressVPN provides support for Android, Windows, macOS, iOS, Linux, Android TV, Apple TV, and Amazon Fire Stick. ExpressVPN also offers browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox.
If you want to bypass the 5 device limit, you can connect the VPN to your router with ExpressVPN. You can also purchase a pre-configured FlashRouter with ExpressVPN on it and use a router app to change your location instead of going into the router settings.
HideMyAss also offers support for the same platforms as ExpressVPN or can be configured to routers with Asus, DD-WRT, Linksys, NetGear, or Tomato firmware.
It doesn’t matter if your a VPN novice or expert; a VPN app or client that provides easy navigation is essential.
ExpressVPN offers up a simple VPN app with a basic design. Upon launching the app, you’ll be met with a big connect button, which you can tap to connect to the best server nearby quickly. If you’re looking for a specific location, then you can scroll through the server list and connect to a server of your choice.
Users can also adjust the VPN in the app’s settings section, changing the protocol or enabling automatic protection. The app lacks some of the frills that other VPNs providers, like ProtonVPN, but it is easy to wrap your head around.
HMA’s apps are also extremely user-friendly. Like with Express, you can toggle the VPN on or off using a switch, connecting you to the nearest server. You can also click a small shuffle button when you want to quickly switch servers, removing manually having to select a new server.
Like ExpressVPN, users can adjust the settings, activate the kill switch, or switch on the IP Shuffle feature.
The winner: It’s a tie since both providers provide a similar app. We like that HMA’s has a kitschy design with a cartoon ass, but in terms of usability, both apps are simple.
Fast VPNs are obviously better than slow VPNs since internet speed can affect everything from streaming quality to page load times.
ExpressVPN is known for its lightning-fast connection speeds, especially on connections using the Lightway protocol. When connected to a US-based server, we experience download speeds of 40Mbps, which dropped to high 30s when connecting to servers in Europe.
HMA also provides fast connection speeds, but it is no match for ExpressVPN. Our internet speed varied more with HMA, and we noticed a greater disparity between US connections and connections in the UK. Our download speed dropped by about 7Mbps, which is quite a large change.
The winner: While HMA VPN offers good speeds, ExpressVPN is arguably the fastest Virtual Private Network on the current market. It is hard for any VPN provider to challenge ExpressVPN in this area, so for this reason, Express is our winner.
Where do you go to find help if you run into an issue with your VPN software? Most good providers have good customer support on their websites to help users get to grips with the VPN services.
ExpressVPN has a help section on its website that customers can access, with a lot of information about the VPN service and detailed guides on setting up the VPN on certain platforms. As well as this, there is customer support in the form of live chat support and the option to email the support team if you need information.
HMA also offers a knowledge base with answers to FAQs and a lot of content about the VPN service. There is also live chat support where you can speak directly to a customer support team member and a ticketed email service.
The winner: In terms of customer support, ExpressVPN and HideMyAss! have similar support services.
So, which is the best VPN out of ExpressVPN and HideMyAss? It would be easy to say ExpressVPN due to its stellar reputation and leave it there. However, HMA is a good VPN, and we don’t want to discredit it. HMA is great if you’re happy using proxy servers and want access to content in many different parts of the world.
ExpressVPN beats HMA because it is super fast and is great for streaming. It’s also very reliable, and we like that the provider only uses volatile RAM servers. This is excellent from a security point-of-view.
Moreover, ExpressVPN provides a monthly subscription service (albeit an expensive one). The lack of shorter subscription plans from HMA is slightly disappointing since it indicates customers cannot use the service unless they sign up for a very long time.