We’re here to help if you’re struggling to choose between Surfshark and HideMyAss (HMA), two of the more recognizable VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) on the market. We’ve compared the providers in key areas such as speed and security, with a clear winner overall.
This head-to-head pits Surfshark vs HMA, as we take a look at a duo of VPN services which differ in their approach in a number of ways. Read on to find out who emerges victorious.
Surfshark vs HMA – Which is best?
Surfshark and HMA are two of the better known VPN services on the market. HMA has been operating for over a decade, while Surfshark launched in 2018, quickly becoming a market leader.
If you don’t have time to read through the entire comparison, Surfshark would be our pickas the superior service overall.
There’s no doubt that Surfshark offers better value for money.
HMA splits coverage between plans allowing for five simultaneous connections, and 10 simultaneous connections. (For the purposes of this review, we’ll look at the plans for five devices.)
HMA’s one-month deal is hidden away on a separate page, and comes in at $11.99 USD for five simultaneous devices. It’s slightly cheaper than one month of Surfshark, priced at $12.95. However, Surfshark allows for unlimited connections, making it significantly more affordable if you’re able to share an account.
To find HMA’s one-month option, you’ll have to click ‘View more plans’ at the bottom of the pricing page.
Surfshark and HMA aim to get the user to sign up for longer, offering substantial savings for yearly deals. For example, 12 months of HMA works out to $4.99 per month, or $59.88. A contract for 36 months drops the price down to $2.99, via a single payment of $107.64.
Surfshark can do even better. 12 months is priced at $3.99 ($47.88), while 24 months comes in at $2.05 ($53.28), with two months extra for free.
One perk with HMA is that it offers a seven-day free trial, which should be more than enough time to test it out for yourself. Surfshark is the only provider to allow for anonymous payment methods via cryptocurrencies, with HMA facilitating credit and debit cards, PayPal, and wire transfers.
Each provider offers a simple 30-day money back guarantee, allowing the user to claim a refund without having to jump through any hoops.
Which has better features
Let’s take a look at the key features you’ll find with each service.
Surfshark offers unlimited device connections, which makes HMA’s decision to split pricing between five and 10 devices look especially stingy. Worse still, Surfshark is the cheaper option when looking at longer plans.
HMA’s network consists of 1,000 servers found in 210+ countries, while Surfshark has 3,200+ servers split over 100+ countries. Over 200 countries is impressive, and it includes a number of far-flung locations you won’t find elsewhere.
Both providers offer split tunneling. This allows the user to choose which services are routed through the VPN, and which can connect directly to the internet.
Additionally, HMA has an IP refresh tool which gives the user a new IP address in the same location, and it’s great for improving privacy. Its free proxy service has servers in the US, Germany, the Netherlands, the UK, and the Czech Republic.
Surfshark supports MultiHop connections, allowing you to route traffic through an additional server. It comes with a Smart DNS service, and its static IP feature is available with its Windows and Android apps.
Winner: It's a draw
Connecting to a VPN with a router will allow you to protect every device within your home network. This ensures that all of the data leaving your home is encrypted, and it will help to conceal your IP address from any online services.
HMA is compatible with a couple of Asus models, and it offers pre-configured solutions via FlashRouters. (It’s much easier to get started if the VPN is already installed on the router.)
Surfshark is also compatible with Asus routers, along with OpenWRT, DD-WRT, Portal, Tomato, and many others. You’ll also be able to get Surfshark pre-flashed on a variety of models at FlashRouters. Lastly, each service has various setup guides to help you get started.
What services do they unblock?
From streaming services to banking apps, the ability to access blocked services from abroad is one of the greatest benefits of using a VPN.
Both providers score well when it comes to streaming. HMA is able to access US services like ABC and NBC, as well as BBC iPlayer and Amazon Prime. However, Surfshark is one of our go-to VPNs for bypassing online restrictions, and it won’t be beaten in this respect.
What Netflix libraries
Netflix tends to be the most popular streaming service to access with a VPN, thanks to the many international catalogs containing various shows to watch. For example, Netflix US has different content to Netflix UK, and regional versions of the platform can be unblocked by switching over to a new server location.
Once again, it’s a good showing from HMA, but Surfshark would be our top recommendation for watching Netflix streams. It’s able to unblock more catalogs, so it’s the clear winner in this category.
Torrents allow the user to share files quickly and easily. However, P2P traffic is sometimes blocked by ISPs, who want to stop users from being able to download unsanctioned copyrighted material.
You’ll be able to torrent with HMA, but the service told us that "we do not support the use of Torrent to share copyrighted material illegally. If you use our VPN service for such activity, you will probably cause us to receive DMCA notices from the copyright holders, who monitor Torrent trackers."
Surfshark also offers the ability to share files via P2P, although neither service supports port forwarding.
Winner: It's a draw
Setup & usability
Both services are easy to install and get started with, and no technical knowledge is necessary.
Surfshark and HMA deploy a collection of performant clients for key operating systems (macOS, Windows, iOS, and Android).
Surfshark offers app support for Linux, while you’ll need to set up and install HMA manually. Each VPN has browser extensions for both Chromeand Firefox, so most bases are covered.
The apps themselves are reasonably simple to use, with the ability to click and connect as standard. HMA’s desktop clients also contain a kill-switch, and it’s easy to find within the settings menu.
Surfshark’s interface is clean and minimalistic, mimicking the overall design of its website. With no important differences unless you’re a Linux user, we’ve scored this section as a draw.
Winner: It's a draw
HMA and Surfshark each have apps for iOS and Android, which share a similar design to the desktop versions.
One flaw is that the HMA iOS app doesn’t come with a kill-switch. Encryption options are also limited, as you’re stuck with OpenVPN for Android, and L2TP/IPsec on iOS. As such, there’s an easy winner in this matchup.
Performance & speed
Ourspeed testscheck servers in multiple regions at different times throughout the day. How do Surfshark and HMA fare in terms of performance?
When it comes to pure connection speeds, HMA emerges as the victor. We were able to record some of the fastest maximum speeds we’ve seen during testing with HMA. It compares to ultra-premium providers, so you’ll never have to deal with lag or buffering.
However, HMA’s average speed is lower than much of the competition, so it’s a slightly uneven service. (For example, Surfshark has faster average speeds.) Maybe this is due to the sheer number of locations that HMA has on offer. It’s still a great result for the provider, and it hands HMA its first win so far.
Surfshark is no slouch, but it can’t match up to the superb connection speeds seen with the older service.
Technical security ensures that a provider is safe to use. The service may also offer extra features, helping to improve upon the basic functionality of a VPN.
|IPv6 leak protection|
|WebRTC leak protection|
HMA doesn’t have much in the way of additional security features. It has a basic collection of protocols, with support for OpenVPN, Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP) and Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol (L2TP). We’re not fans of PPTP, given the outdated option is a serious security risk.
Surfshark is able to offer WireGuard, which boosts connection speeds with no additional security risks. (However, HMA is still quicker overall.) Shadowsocks is also a nice addition, while NoBorders mode is helpful if you’d like to use Surfshark in restrictive regions with no issues.
Each provider has a kill-switch, and offers DNS and WebRTC leak protection.
Can the providers be trusted when it comes to protecting your privacy?
HMA was acquired by Avast back in 2015, but the VPN is still headquartered in the UK. This isn’t ideal from a privacy perspective, especially as they have handed over logs to homeland security in the distant past. The UK is a Five Eyes country, and a founding member of the intelligence alliance.
Surfshark is based in the British Virgin Islands, which is a much better location in terms of data privacy.
|Jurisdiction||British Virgin Islands||UK, CZ|
|User details required for sign up?|
|Anonymous payment options?|
A logging policy informs the user of what the VPN does with any data that has been collected.
HMA now keeps absolutely no logs of user data, which is a major improvement compared to its previous stance. Surfshark collects some basic diagnostic information, but nothing that could be used to identify anyone.
Both providers have been audited by a third-party service. HMA’s logging policy has been checked by cybersecurity consulting firm VerSprite, while Surfshark commissioned its first audit in 2018 and its second in 2021. Both were conducted by Cure53.
Outright Winner: Surfshark
|Free trial||7-days (macOS and mobile apps)||Yes - 7 days|
|Money-back guarantee length||30 days||30 days|
Both HMA and Surfshark are great in terms of customer support. Alongside email, you’ll have the ability to get in contact via 24/7 live chat. Customer service reps know what they’re talking about, so it’s never difficult to get a quick answer.
You’ll also find detailed guides and how-to articles if you’d prefer not to get in contact directly.
It’s hard to fault either provider, so we’d have to score this particular matchup as a draw.
Winner: It's a draw
Surfshark is the overall winner by a fair margin. It’s not that HMA is a poor service, it’s just that it can’t match up in terms of pricing, privacy, or features. HMA is a great VPN for casual usage, but it’s outmaneuvered by a younger provider that does a lot of things better.
However, if you need the fastest connection speeds possible, or to connect to a far-flung location, HMA shouldn’t be disregarded.
Outright winner: Surfshark
Interested in checking out more VPN comparisons? Here’s how Surfshark fares against some of the biggest providers on the market: