HMA VPN vs. ExpressVPN in 2023
ExpressVPN and HMA VPN – previously known as HideMyAss – are veteran VPNs that have been around since the 2000s. Both promise security and anonymity on the Internet and are popular with users. So, it’s not surprising that many are stuck choosing between them.
Well, here’s a spoiler alert. After a thorough review and multiple tests, ExpressVPN emerges as the winner of the HMA vs ExpressVPN battle. ExpressVPN has a bigger server fleet, better security, richer features, faster speeds, and more effective streaming capabilities, among other things.
However, HMA VPN isn’t one to quietly back down from a fight. Instead, in its corner, it has military-grade encryption, a sprawling server network, and competitive pricing.
That’s why we’d recommend reading this HMA vs ExpressVPN comparison to get a clearer picture of where each of them shines. Let’s jump right in.
HMA vs ExpressVPN
ExpressVPN wins the HMA vs ExpressVPN comparison for a few reasons. ExpressVPN is more expensive but justifies its higher price tag with robust security and great features. ExpressVPN also has better speeds compared to HMA VPN.
Additionally, ExpressVPN has about three times more server options. That said, HMA VPN’s servers are more geographically-dispersed. Moreover, ExpressVPN is excellent at unblocking most streaming sites’ geo-restrictions, while HMA VPN struggles immensely. Considering everything, ExpressVPN offers better overall value.
|🥇 Overall rank:||#6 out of #40||#30 out of #40|
|🖥️ Servers:||3,000+ servers in 94 countries||1,080+ servers in 210 countries|
|📖 No logs policy:||No logs||No logs|
|💵 Pricing:||From $6.67/month||From $2.99/month|
|🔥 Coupons:||ExpressVPN coupon 49% OFF||-|
|🔒 VPN protocols:||Lightway, OpenVPN, IKEv2||OpenVPN and IPsec|
|🍿 Streaming services:||Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Disney+, and more||Youtube|
|🖥️ Platforms:||Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS||Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS|
|📥 Simultaneous connections:||8||5|
|💁🏻 Support:||Knowledge base, FAQs, email, 24/7 live chat||Knowledge base, tickets, live chat|
Netflix and streaming performance
ExpressVPN dominates the ExpressVPN vs HMA VPN streaming capabilities battle. It easily bypasses geo-restrictions and unblocks a long list of streaming sites like multiple Netflix libraries, HBO Max, Hulu, and BBC iPlayer. That’s quite a feat, as many VPNs have trouble accessing these sites — especially Netflix with its advanced geo-blocks.
Unfortunately, HMA VPN doesn’t work on numerous streaming sites, including Netflix and BBC iPlayer. But you can still try your luck. In rare instances, it works on selected sites if you can get the right server.
However, the only sure success we saw with HMA VPN was with YouTube. It smoothly unblocks geo-restricted videos on the platform, but that’s a low bar. After all, most VPNs can do at least that.
|Amazon Prime Video||✅||❌|
Additionally, ExpressVPN has another advantage in this round of ExpressVPN vs HMA since it offers MediaStreamer – a SmartDNS service that helps to unblock geo-restricted content on devices that don’t support VPN apps natively. For instance, certain smart TVs and game consoles.
Plans and pricing
ExpressVPN and HMA VPN keep things simple for pricing. Longer subscriptions have lower prices, while short-term subscriptions bear hefty price tags. Also, simultaneous connections are capped at five devices per account for both VPNs.
|Check Latest Discounts||Check Latest Discounts|
ExpressVPN’s prices are on the higher side and you’ll get the best deal by signing up for its 1-year plan. For instance, the plan that costs $12.95 when billed monthly only costs $6.67/month when billed annually.
Meanwhile, HMA VPN is cheaper, but only if you commit long-term. Otherwise, the differences between ExpressVPN and HMA VPN’s prices aren’t that far removed. For example, the difference between ExpressVPN and HMA VPN’s monthly and 6-month plans is only a buck.
Speaking of payment, the pair is very flexible with their payment methods. Credit and debit cards, PayPal, and bank transfers are all accepted. ExpressVPN even allows Bitcoin. So, be sure to check out our ExpressVPN coupon page for special deals. And, just in case, both VPNs provide 30-day money-back guarantees.
HMA vs ExpressVPN: which is more secure?
|Encryption||AES-256-GCM or ChaCha20/Poly1305||AES-256-GCM|
|Outside of the 14-Eyes Alliance||Yes||No|
|DNS leak protection||Yes||Yes|
ExpressVPN and HMA VPN both rightfully place security at the forefront. However, between them, ExpressVPN is more secure.
ExpressVPN and HMA VPN default to AES-256-GCM for encryption, which is one of the most secure and widely-used ciphers. Their no-logs policies have been independently audited by security firms, too. They are also armed with nifty security features like kill switches and DNS leak protection.
However, ExpressVPN has a few significant advantages in this HMA vs ExpressVPN battle.
For starters, ExpressVPN uses RAM-only servers for added security and privacy. Besides that, ExpressVPN isn’t based in a 5-Eyes Alliance country since it’s incorporated in the British Virgin Islands.
In contrast, HMA VPN is based in the UK, which is in the alliance and far from privacy-friendly. Moreover, ExpressVPN’s security features are more advanced compared to HMA VPN.
ExpressVPN was one of the first VPNs to switch to RAM-only technology back in 2019. Called TrustedServer, the feature upgrade comes with considerable advantages. To start, there’s no hard drive to store data like usage logs. Plus, the servers are wiped upon each reboot to prevent tampering and minimize the risk of a breach.
In sharp contrast, HMA VPN hasn’t made a move over to RAM-only servers.
The two use AES-256 for encryption, which is considered the standard in the industry. However, that’s about where their similarities end and their differences come to light.
ExpressVPN is incorporated in the British Virgin Islands, a privacy-friendly location free from the 5-Eyes alliance’s surveillance and intelligence-sharing. Meanwhile, HMA VPN is based in the UK and right smack in the eye of the alliance.
Their differences are even more apparent if we compare HMA vs ExpressVPN in terms of tunneling protocols. ExpressVPN offers Lightway (its proprietary protocol), OpenVPN, and IKEv2. All three protocols are known for their speed, security, and reliability.
In contrast, HMA VPN only has two options: OpenVPN or IPsec. However, OpenVPN UDP is used by default, and IPsec is only available on its macOS and iOS applications.
ExpressVPN and HMA VPN promise that your data is safe from logging and actually give substance to their no-logs claims with independent audits.
ExpressVPN has undergone multiple audits by various third-party security firms. For its no-logs policy alone, it was independently audited by Big Four accounting companies PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) in July 2019 and KPMG in November 2022.
Similarly, HMA VPN’s no-logs policy was also independently audited by cyber-risk consultant firm VerSprite. The firm awarded the service provider the highest possible rating of “low-risk user privacy impact.”
Speed comparison: HMA vs ExpressVPN
For this HMA vs ExpressVPN comparison, we tested the speed of the two providers and counted the average download and upload speeds. ExpressVPN showed significantly faster download and upload speeds, while HMA VPN clearly struggled.
ExpressVPN offers multiple protocol options: Lightway, OpenVPN (UDP and TCP), and IKEv2. Among them, its proprietary Lightway provides the best speed results, which we used to compare against HMA VPN.
Meanwhile, HMA VPN offers only OpenVPN (UDP and TCP) and IPsec. The latter is only available on its macOS and iOS applications, and OpenVPN TCP is the slower protocol. So, we used its default OpenVPN (UDP) for this comparison.
|ExpressVPN (Lightway)||HMA (OpenVPN UDP)|
|Average download speed||170.5 Mbps||66 Mbps|
|Average upload speed||108.5 Mbps||82.25 Mbps|
You can see, that there wasn’t much competition between the two VPNs. ExpressVPN clearly is the superior one when it comes to both download and upload speed results. HMA VPN, on the other hand, slightly improved its results with the upload speeds.
|ExpressVPN features||HMA features|
|Split tunneling||✅ Yes||✅ Yes|
|Kill switch||✅ Yes||✅ Yes|
|Smart DNS||✅ Yes||❌ No|
ExpressVPN comes out on top in the HMA VPN vs ExpressVPN feature comparison. While both VPNs offer various security features, ExpressVPN is the more generous of the two. Its features are also more well-rounded, functional, and intuitive than HMA VPN’s versions.
Split tunneling is an incredibly helpful feature that lets you choose the internet traffic that goes through the VPN and the traffic that doesn’t. Although both VPNs provide the feature, ExpressVPN’s split tunneling outshines HMA VPN’s version easily.
With ExpressVPN, all your traffic goes through the VPN server by default. However, you can also use the split tunneling feature to either exclude specific apps from the VPN or allow only selected apps to use the VPN. Either way, you’re in control.
The feature is available on Windows, Android, and even older macOS. This is a perk since very few VPNs offer split tunneling for Mac.
In contrast, HMA VPN’s split tunneling feature is restrictively only available on Android. But, on the bright side, it’s easy to use. You just need to mark the boxes of the apps that you want to use an encrypted connection.
To protect your IP address and other sensitive information from leaks, a kill switch automatically shuts down your internet connection if the VPN connection is lost, interrupted, or compromised.
ExpressVPN named its kill switch Network Lock, which operates on the system level. This means that it will stop all network traffic instead of only affecting specific apps. Network Lock is enabled by default, but you can turn it off.
Meanwhile, you’ll need to activate HMA VPN’s kill switch yourself. Here, you have the freedom to decide if the feature should work on the system level or the app level.
In addition to the above, ExpressVPN has many more features to offer. You can read our in-depth take on them in our ExpressVPN review.
Here are some noteworthy ones:
- Stealth servers. A protocol that masks the fact that you’re using a VPN to help bypass censorship and VPN blocks. According to ExpressVPN, your connection automatically switches to stealth servers when the VPN detects Deep Packet Inspection (DPI).
- MediaStreamer. A SmartDNS feature that unblocks geo-restricted content on devices that don’t support VPN natively.
- Threat Manager. Blocks all tracking and potentially-malicious activities when you’re browsing the web or using apps. Currently available on Mac, iOS, and Linux.
HMA VPN isn’t as liberal with its features. But, even then, it has some interesting ones you can learn more about in our HMA VPN review.
That includes the likes:
- Lightning Connect. Previously called Instant Mode, it automatically finds the fastest server for you.
- IP Shuffle. Periodically changes your IP address to prevent tracking. You can configure the feature to shuffle at predetermined intervals or set up custom intervals.
When it comes to HMA VPN vs ExpressVPN for server locations, the two are on an equal footing.
ExpressVPN has an impressive fleet of 3,000+ servers, which is three times more than HMA VPN’s 1,080+ servers. However, ExpressVPN’s servers have a smaller global coverage and are available in 94 countries. In contrast, HMA VPN’s vast network covers 210 countries.
ExpressVPN and HMA VPN both support torrenting. ExpressVPN allows P2P connections on all of its servers. During our tests, its download speeds were initially slower but picked up after a short while – fluctuating between 6 and 15MB/s.
Contrastingly, HMA VPN only allows torrenting on servers in eight locations across six countries. Its file downloading also took a while to pick up speed. However, once it did, our tests showed that it lingered between 6 and 9MB/s.
Platforms, interface, and ease of use
|Supported platforms||Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS||Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS|
|Other software and devices||Android TV, Fire devices, routers||❌|
|Browser etensions||Chrome, Firefox, Brave, Edge||Chrome and Firefox|
In terms of compatibility, ExpressVPN has the edge in the HMA vs ExpressVPN faceoff. That said, both providers support all the major operating systems and allow five simultaneous connections.
Where ExpressVPN gained the upper hand is that it also supports other software and devices like smart TVs, which is not an option with HMA VPN. Additionally, ExpressVPN also has a broader selection of browser extensions.
ExpressVPN offers desktop apps for Windows, Mac, and Linux devices. Its Windows and Mac apps look very similar to each other and also have the same features. Intuitive, streamlined, and well-organized, you won’t have any trouble finding all the features.
Meanwhile, ExpressVPN’s Linux version has slightly more complex navigation. Here, you’ll use command lines for control.
Similarly, HMA VPN’s Windows and Mac apps also look alike and are easy enough to use. They share almost similar functionalities as well.
Meanwhile, HMA VPN only offers a script version for Linux. After testing it, we find it to be fiddly and unintuitive. More often than not, it couldn’t even connect to a server.
ExpressVPN and HMA VPN’s mobile apps are responsive and easy to navigate. However, as is typical, the Android versions have more features than the iOS versions. For instance, both VPNs’ iOS apps are missing a kill switch.
Additionally, we also had some connection problems with HMA VPN’s Android app. The app would disconnect us from a server when our phone was locked, which is annoying.
|24/7 live chat||✅||✅|
|Guides or articles||✅||✅|
ExpressVPN and HMA VPN provide various support options, including 24/7 live chat, email, and ticketing. They also have plenty of self-help resources like articles, guides, and FAQs.
However, where ExpressVPN’s agents are quick to respond and efficient, HMA VPN’s response times are often longer than ideal. And its agents are professional, but they failed to resolve our issues on multiple instances.
HMA VPN vs ExpressVPN: which one wins?
|Ease of use||✅||❌|
All things considered, ExpressVPN is the better VPN in the HMA vs ExpressVPN comparison. It has excellent streaming capabilities, abundant servers, strong security, good speeds, and robust features. Plus, it’s easy to use. Considering all of the above, they more than justify its higher price tags.
Meanwhile, HMA VPN has its strengths, like affordable pricing and geographically-diverse servers. However, it’s let down by its shortfalls, such as poor streaming capabilities, sketchy privacy protection, and sparse features.
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HMA vs ExpressVPN for torrenting – which is better?
ExpressVPN is better for torrenting. It allows torrenting on all 3000+ of its servers in 94 countries. In contrast, HMA VPN only allows torrenting on servers in eight locations.
Do HMA vs ExpressVPN have a free trial?
Yes, both of them offer a free trial option. HMA VPN has a free 7-day trial, and ExpressVPN also has a 7-day free trial for mobile. Both trials require you to provide your payment information.
Is HMA better than ExpressVPN?
No, HMA isn’t better than ExpressVPN. ExpressVPN has better streaming capabilities, more servers worldwide, more robust security, faster speeds, and fuller features. Additionally, ExpressVPN also has better customer support.
Who owns HMA VPN?
Czech cybersecurity firm Avast currently owns HMA VPN. The VPN has been a subsidiary of the cybersecurity firm since 2016 when Avast acquired its former parent company AVG Technologies.
Can I use HMA VPN for free?
Yes, you can use HMA VPN for free, but not indefinitely. HMA VPN has a free 7-day trial that you can use after plugging in your payment details. Just note that failure to cancel after those 7 days means you’ll be charged for a 12-month subscription.