Is it the great, funny name, or the user friendliness? Independent of the answer, HideMyAss has been among the most popular VPN providers for quite some time. Obviously, a service needs to have something to offer to gain such massive popularity, and ‘HMA’ delivers. The UK based operation offers a wide range of countries you can connect your computer to, and an unending sea of IP-addresses for your perusal. Some 850 VPN-servers cover over 280 locations in 190 countries – staggering numbers that make for an unprecedented global coverage. Included are rare locations such as Guam, Taiwan, Macau, and even several locations in African countries. Please note HMA is also active in China and Russia: local conditions to anonymous browsing most probably apply.
The speeds we clock on HideMyAss’ servers are top quality. Upon connecting your computer, HMA automatically selects a server with a low number of active VPN connections running, thus securing the fastest up- and download speeds for each user.
Despite the VPN blocking efforts of streaming services like Netflix and BBC iPlayer, HideMyAss seems to be ahead of the curve. Its ‘Donkeytown’ servers are set up in such a way to connect to BBC iPlayer (or circumvent geoblocks in any way) without problems. US Netflix, off-limits to European users, has a similar range of special VPN servers on HMA’s (fictional!) ‘Liberty Island’ locations. Expect uninterrupted streaming – until Netflix catches up, that is.
Smaller, more local streaming services offer even less resistance to the streaming of their geo blocked content. Sporting events for instance, aired through national broadcasters, are easily within reach.
HideMyAss’ applications excel in their simplicity and utility. Everything in its straightforward design is aimed towards finding the right VPN-server for you in the quickest time possible. A built-in load-balancer guides all your traffic through the fastest server available at the moment you need it. Ensuring you get very acceptable speeds in the process.
There’s three modes to choose from: Instant mode for simply getting online fast. Location mode for connections to specific servers and locations, like those servers used for Netflix or BBC iPlayer. Freedom mode is the final option: a mode built around the needs of those who use VPN to evade censorship. This connects users’ computers to servers in the nearest ‘free’ country, and give them less to worry about when they ponder the consequences of their online activities. Uniquely, HideMyAss actively lists countries supportive of free speech and who are anti-censorship. Or blocks them when the opposite is the case.
On a minor note: experienced VPN users will probably find the apps lack some of the more bespoke options we see at other services. Making HideMyAss more of a service for the non-specialists seeking quick and safe access to anonymous internetting.
Internet speeds through a HideMyAss VPN connection are good on average. The smart load balancing built into the service ensures your browsing is routed to the quickest and most stable server available. And available they are: experienced VPN users will be surprised to find relatively speedy servers in locations that have a bad rep when you use other services.
Speeds within Europa and the US are excellent. Browsing, streaming, and even gaming are absolutely possible. The latter suffers only a minimal amount of lag, as per usual when you use VPN.
HideMyAss’ main audience are inexperienced VPN users, people who want to use VPN casually. The pricing of the service is tailor-made for them. It isn’t too high, nor too low, which makes it easy for us to recommend HMA. A single month of access takes you back 11,52 dollar, a six-month subscription costs 8,33 per month. The cheapest option is a yearly subscription: 6,56. This is slightly above the pricing of the cheapest VPN-providers. But HMA gives you a good bang for your buck, considering the quality and overall user friendliness. Free VPN’s are available, but we don’t recommend using these.
There is a money back guarantee for dissatisfied customers, if you ask a refund within 30 days of purchase. And if you have not exceeded 10GB in use, and did not pay with Google Play or iTunes gift cards.
Privacy and security
Anonymous surfing is easy when using HideMyAss. Every important security protocol is observed and we could not find any leaks or other security issues when we tested the service. HMA seems to really do a good job here! You can find more info on testing your VPN connection in our dedicated article on this matter.
A nice extra touch that shows you just how smart HMA is about security is the ‘IP-binding’ function. This informs selected software programs to connect to the internet only through VPN. If your secure connection breaks, these programs immediately go offline, thus stopping any chance of leaking information.
HideMyAss is part of security specialists Avast Software, known for their excellent virusscanner. This certainly adds to HMA’s reputation, although the support of large international companies has the disadvantage of possible government interference.
Is there really no downside to the use of HideMyAss? Alas, there is. HMA’s policy concerning logs raises some eyebrows. Even though the company does not log your online activities, it does store information about you. HMA saves the IP-address you use to start your HMA account for up to two years after your registration. Also, the company keeps session logs: their computers mark when you log on and off, plus how much data was transferred, leaving a trail that’s vulnerable to government intrusion.
Of course, this isn’t much of an issue to upstanding citizens. But to others it may be interesting to remember one of the hackers who thrashed the Sony network a couple of years back was arrested after officials requested his VPN logs. Also note that HideMyAss, as a UK company, is only obliged to transfer logs to countries that have an extradition treaty with the UK. Which leaves most of the Middle-East region safe for users.
Netflix and Torrents
Accessing US Netflix from abroad is relatively easy when you use HideMyAss. Simply connecting to one of HMA’s specialised servers, located at the completely fictitious ‘Liberty Island’, will do the job for you. Other services have slightly different ways to access their contents, but work on the same principle. BBC iPlayer is easily accessible from the US, for instance, and for German Netflix you simply select a server in Berlin. Most of the time you’ll find internet speeds are sufficient for streaming activities, even on higher image settings.
Using Bittorrent is also possible through HideMyAss VPN, but with the caveat of the session logs we mentioned before. Even though chances are you’ll never run into any problems after downloading a torrent through VPN, it’s wise to keep in mind these aforementioned logs do exist. If you want to use VPN without the slightest chance of log keeping, we’d suggest you look for VPN services which offer exactly that.
HideMyAss is an easy-to-use service, but if you still need assistance, there are several good options available. The live chat program takes care of basic questions through a live chat program, 24/7, and for more complicated stuff there’s an online email form. Next to this, the HMA website has an extensive FAQ section, that answers most of your queries. Still unsure about the solution? The HMA forum is quite the lifely place, with a community that’s open to guiding you through the specifics.
HideMyAss offers an excellent service for casual VPN users. Anonymous surfing is a walk in the parc, and as long as you keep your activities within the confines of the law, your privacy is not a concern. Access to popular streaming services like US Netflix or BBC iPlayer (UK) from abroad is a breeze. Bittorrent users are advised to look into other options, to avoid the off chance of finding that dreaded bill on the doormat.
HMA is also advisable for companies, with several options and functions supporting company networks.
In conclusion: To us, HMA is a highly recommendable service, one that is very easy to use and offers speeds that compare very favorably to other services. HideMyAss may not be the cheapest or best VPN server around, it certainly sits close to the top offerings (that bill you a lot more than HMA does).