When you’re on the Internet, always assume you’re being watched, because you probably are. Hackers are always looking to steal your personal and business-related info, and your ISP is now allowed to sell your browsing habits to advertisers and other interested parties. This is the reason why comprehensive privacy protection is so important for you to have while surfing the Internet.
A good VPN is the best way to browse the Internet securely and without restrictions. With so many options, however, choosing the right one to fit your needs can be tricky. Focusing on some of the most key features can help, and comparing them to each other can give you the best idea of which one is the right VPN for personal web browsing.
With new alternatives popping up on the market every day and so many companies offering similar services, identifying the right fit is harder than it looks. Our tech experts have decided to jump in and try to find answers so that prospective users can figure out which VPN solution is the most applicable option for their browsing needs. Today we look into the world of Express VPN and Hide My Ass, put them together and see which one triumphs the other.
|EXPRESS VPN||HIDE MY ASS|
|RATING 8.8/10||RATING 9.0/10|
|PRICING 8/10||PRICING 9/10|
|SPEED 8/10||SPEED 10/10|
|SUPPORT 10/10||SUPPORT 10/10|
|FEATURES 9/10||FEATURES 9/10|
|SECURITY 9/10||SECURITY 8/10|
ExpressVPN’s location in the privacy-respecting British Virgin Islands means that the provider doesn’t need to keep logs of any kind related to your online travels. They also accept Bitcoin in return for their services.
However, Hide My Ass! doesn’t cover your privacy particularly well, because the U.K.-based provider does log their customers’ online activities and has shared that info with authorities in the past. The provider also doesn’t offer any type of privacy-enhancing subscription payment options.
Neither of these providers will ever be mistaken for a bargain-basement-priced provider. That said, both providers offer their customers a good bang for their buck.
Hide My Ass! charges $6.56 per month (payable at $78.66 annually) or $11.99 per month when you opt for the monthly payment plan.
ExpressVPN’s price is $8.32 per month when you go for the $99.95 annual option, or $12.95 for a month-to-month plan.
Compared to most other VPN services, ExpressVPN has fair prices and packages that are affordable to HMA. They also provide their users with unlimited bandwidth and a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Customer service is crucial for VPNs, because questions and problems might arise at any moment. ExpressVPN prides itself on its strong emphasis in this area and offers outstanding support. The company provides 24/7 support, alongside a no-questions-asked 30-day money-back guarantee with all new subscriptions. Customers can access a live chat at any time to receive instant responses from a representative.
Hide My Ass also offers a few channels of communication, but their chat is not a main feature, and is more meant for last-resort troubleshooting. We did find that they are quick to respond to their other means of communication, and always provide good answers. They also provide a 30-day money-back guarantee for users who wish to cancel their service.
A major factor for many people, selecting a VPN is based on how well it can access video streaming services such as Hulu and Netflix. Most of these services are Geo-restricted and simply not available outside of the US, so users have to scramble to catch their favorite shows and movies. ExpressVPN has been confirmed to access Netflix, Spotify, Hulu, BBC’s iPlayer, and HBO Go.
Although Hide My Ass is also good for unlocking certain services, recently some users have noted that they were having trouble accessing Netflix and Amazon Prime. Luckily, these issues don’t seem to be on all of their available servers, but convenience-oriented users may prefer ExpressVPN instead of searching through Hide My Ass’ multiple server locations.
While VPNs offer a decided advantage in browsing security, they sometimes suffer a drop-in encryption, or a blackout in coverage. When this happens, users are left unprotected and vulnerable to data leaks or snooping. Many offer a ‘kill-switch’ feature, which will shutter their current connection as soon as such a leak is detected. Both ExpressVPN and Hide My Ass include this in their standard features, showing their commitment to user security.
Privacy-oriented users and the more tech-savvy niche prefer to customize their VPN’s access and security protocols to offer a more robust encryption, or to enhance their browsing speed. Luckily, ExpressVPN offers a full array of available connection protocols including SSTP, UDP, PPTP, L2TP, and the standard OpenVPN. Hide My Ass trails close behind, offering similar protocols, except for SSTP. Overall, however, both are ideal services for users who like to customize their VPN’s access to match their preferred settings.
VPNs are excellent for masking browsing activity, however, there will be times when you will wish to leave certain websites and pages unmasked for specific reasons. The best VPNs offer the ability to ‘split-tunnel’, or hide certain activity through the VPN, while leaving the rest untouched. ExpressVPN offers this feature, giving greater flexibility in browsing when compared with side-by-side with Hide My Ass.
In the end, the goal with any VPN is to enhance your security and privacy while browsing. Connections in public locations, and even at home, can be monitored and hacked easily, even by hackers with not that much experience. As such, a VPN should always show a strong commitment to protecting their users’ data. We were happy to find that both Hide My Ass and ExpressVPN offer the strongest encryption possible—AES-256-bit encryption—as well as different settings for connection protocols. Unfortunately, neither support VPN connections over Tor browsers.
Another key consideration for choosing a VPN is for users to know which type of activity the VPN will be logging. This is because these records can be easily used to identify a computer, defeating a VPN’s purpose. ExpressVPN is transparent about their logging activity, as they do collect time stamps, server access, and data usage information, though they do not collect IP addresses. Most of their data collection is for operational purposes. Hide My Ass does keep track of assigned IPs and user IPs, though they only share it when legally compelled. For privacy-minded shoppers, this may be a concern.
Regardless of what you use a VPN for, one of the most challenging aspects is how some services can slow your browsing and downloading speeds. The best services take advantage of robust connections or expansive server networks to balance their loads and offer reliable connection speeds with minimal latency. Most VPN providers also include a speed test to let users find the best available connection every time they use their browser.
In ExpressVPN’s case, the company does offer a test. It is also known for having excellent domestic speeds. Its international latency, however, has been notably high in some cases. Hide My Ass also offers a speed test. Although the company’s latency has been recorded as low as 5.6%, and it only slowed downloads by an impressive 6.8%, there are several instances of users’ complaints on HMA! Because their speed was unreliable and slow on a few occasions .
ExpressVPN is easier to use, provides excellent customer support, has more security options but is more expensive than HMA. The speed, including the download speed, of the ExpressVPN service is good. However, it is not something that is better than other VPNs. You can get the same service from other locations as well. However, since it has a 30-day money-back guarantee, users can give it a try and see how it works for them.
HMA is a much better VPN service as compared to ExpressVPN and a lot of other VPN services. There are numerous IP addresses that a user can use with secure protocols. The price is very reasonable and is cheaper than many other VPN service providers. It gets even cheaper if you opt for a one-year subscription.