Reviewing HMA seems so much of a thankless task knowing that the provider already has over 6803 customer reviews (read applauses) on its site.
But as a responsible reviewer, we know that only an unbiased, thorough and independent look into the provider will be of any help to you. So folks, our brand new HideMyAss review is here.
Background and Introduction
Hidemyass (HMA) is owned by Privax Limited, a London-based company with its registered office in London, England. The company has been operating since 2005, and today boasts as the proud owner of top-notch VPN service.
In addition to free proxies and pro VPN service, HMA also offers remarkable products for online privacy such as Anonymous Email, Privacy Software, Anonymous Referer, and Private File Uploading Service.
Here, we present you a detailed view of the the VPN service offered by HideMyAss. Other privacy products are beyond the scope of our HMA review.
Pricing and Packages
HideMyAss pricing plans are offered under the banner of Pro VPN. The premium plans are meant to give a complete, unrestricted and feature-full VPN experience not available for free proxy users.
Here is a snapshot at HMA order page showing 3 of HMA usual plans, prices, discounts and per month costs.
At $ 11.52, the 1 month plan is somewhat higher than the industry average. But given the absence of any free trial of HMA pro VPN, this one will come as a handy option for users new to the VPN world.
Go for the 6 months plan in case you are not a first-timer. It is priced at $49.99 which spreads to a friendlier $8.33 per month. This plan will give you a 27% saving a month in comparison to the first option.
The most suited plan is obviously HMA’s full year plan. At $78.66, it gets you a superb discount of 43% and costs just $6.55 for a month. If you have already established a good connection of trust on HMA, go for this one.
You do not need to worry if you experience dissatisfaction in using HMA service even after you have used some your HMA subscription. They have a credible 30 day money back guarantee so you could test drive their service at all levels.
In addition to the above three plans, HMA also offers deals for business and bulk customers. Hit HMA enquiry if you’re looking for one of custom bulk plans for your workplace, school or any other setting.
Unique Selling Proposition
The first impression anyone would take (or expect) from HideMyAss review is that it is the best VPN service you can have. And to some extent, this presumption is right.
There is no denying that HMA tops the list of VPN service providers in one way or the other. It has the highest number of VPN users. Its server coverage is the largest, i.e. 69 countries.
It offers a host of other privacy software like anonymous mail and private file uploading service.
But that said, finding a USP for HMA is like an up-hill task. It doesn’t beat many competitors in prices. It doesn’t even win on speeds. So what exactly will be the one unique selling proposition which keeps HMA over the top of the VPN world?
Its free proxy service!
Yeah, if a schoolchild knows how to login Facebook through bypassing filters, he would simply type ‘free proxy’ on Google and have HMA as the most prominent result.
All VPNs impact internet speed to some extent. This is because VPN makes a private gateway for encrypting, securing and transporting your online data.
VPN speed tests tell us how much toll a VPN takes on your internet connection and speed. The lesser it is, the better.
Even though HMA has more users than many big providers, it has been able to manage its VPN servers quite effectively by distributing bandwidth loads. Hence, you would find HMA to have decent speeds in most times of the day.
Here are the speed test results for HideMyAss for a Netherlands, Switzerland, Sweden and Luxembourg servers. You can do one for yourself using HMA’s built-in speed test tool.
I used a 10 Mbps internet connection and ran the speed test at the peak time (between 8pm-10pm). To make the test objective and accurate, I made use of PPTP protocol, the one that is known to have the lightest load on your internet speed.
As you can see, the download test result is quite impressive, with only a few turns offs for Amsterdam servers. The upload speed, over 100 KB/s, is also really consistent for most of HMA servers.
The ping time isn’t very impressive, but its consistency shows that you won’t experience great fluctuations once you are used to HMA.
HideMyAss: Server Coverage
HideMyAss has one of the widest server base and coverage that extends to 69+ countries and 144 locations. With a single Pro VPN plan, you get an unlimited amount of bandwidth and usage from HMA’s 592+ Giga-byte tier 1 servers.
Altogether you have 73’000+ IP addresses to switch from, and you won’t have to incur any additional cost for all that.
Because of rising demanding in the past year, Hide My Ass has smartly outdone other VPN providers in server expansion and coverage. Here is a map that shows this.
North America (US, Canada) alone counts for HMA’s 300 servers and 40000+ IPs, indicating a really heavy subscription from this region.
HMA also has 80+ servers in UK, 16 servers in Netherlands, 17 in France, 7 each in Italy and Luxembourg, 9 in Norway, 5 in Saudi Arabia, 5 in Egypt, 6 in Australia and up to 3 servers each in Asian countries like Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines, Taiwan and Thailand.
HMA probably has the highest coverage in South American states like Brazil, Uruguay, Chile and Colombia.
HMA Protocols and Encryption
Encryption of online data is one of the most important reasons users sign up for premium VPN services. For personal VPN services like one of HMA, effective encryption levels go up to 256 (sometimes 512) bits.
Depending on how well the encryption is accounted for in the VPN software, you can experience different levels of security and effects on speed on your internet connection.
HMA supports all major protocols needed for secure transmission of online data. Three most preferred and suggested protocols, the OpenVPN, L2TP and the PPTP, come as default in HMA client.
Just in case you are not aware, PPTP and L2TP are Microsoft powered tunneling protocols. PPTP generally uses AES 128 bit encryption, while L2TP makes use of a securer, 256 bit, encryptions.
Although not the best ones for security, both PPTP and L2TP are in wide use by VPN users due to their simplicity and lighter loads on speeds.
Third protocol, OpenVPN, is flexible yet secure protocol which can apply multiple encryption algorithms as defined by the VPN provider. OpenVPN combines security with speed to get the best performance for your VPN.
Read our detailed article on different VPN protocols here.
Log and Privacy Policies
Like all credible VPN services, HideMyAss won’t store information about your web sessions and browsing history. HMA has a strict no log policy and it cannot know what you do (or don’t do) over the internet.
However, you need to provide a minimum amount of information which HMA must collect to establish and register your VPN subscription.
These include username, email address, password (encrypted) and IP address with which you are using your VPN with.
At no level this information can identify what data is being transmitted through the actual VPN account, so you must have no worries about being watched over about your private activities in any way.
Remember, HMA’s pro VPN service has a more trustworthy setting than its free web proxy. In that, HMA must collect information related to your date & time of proxy use sessions, and even the files and websites you viewed via the web proxy.
Like all providers, HMA stores some of your VPN data such as use of bandwidth and IP addresses being accessed. This is necessary for effective server and load management for a VPN service provider.
HMA Software and Device Compatibility
HideMyAss has one of the most easily configurable VPN clients. HMA has dedicated VPN software for Windows and Mac users. And a cent percent compatibility is available for most models of iPhone, Android and DD-WRT routers.
In order to avoid the hassle of responding to a lot of router compatibility queries, HMA has listed some recommendations for the routers that are 100% compatible with its VPN.
Internet-enabled devices like Apple TV, PS3, XBOX and Boxee Box are operational with HMA if you’ve got one of the supported routers for HMA.
Linux users can only avail a CL client to configure HMA; they haven’t yet developed a user interface for Linux operating system.
The user interfaces for Windows and Mac clients are really simple and sleek. No strings attached with HMA super-fine VPN software. Here is the first look into the dashboard of HMA’s windows client.
Options for email support, live chat and forums are available at the top rightmost part of the user screen. This is something you will not find in VPN clients from other providers.
Further, there is an extensive ‘map overview’ of the available (active) servers in different locations. The following one is one of United States. Note the active server count in different locations.
HMA supported models for Mac included Tiger / Leopard / Snow Leopard / Lion / Mountain Lion / Mavericks. The user interface appears to be much like same as that of Windows client. See below.
The IP settings options came as really surprising for me. It shows up a short view of your new and change IPs/ISP locations so could be sure in an instant from where you have connected your VPN with.
There are also options for Quick VPN Country Change and Quick IP Address Management in case you are in need to appear with a specific country or IP.
Payment Methods and Portal
HideMyAss has a secure payment gateway and you can choose from among several options to settle your subscription.
Payment via credit card (visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover) will get you the quickest success with sign-up. PayPal, being the most common means for online payment, is also a popular payment means for settling your HMA dues.
PayPal holders get an additional security for payment and refund of service because HMA gets PayPal collections only after a certain date. Web Money is just another effective alternative for PayPal, even though it is not as popular.
Bitcoin, amongst the newest additions in the payment tray of HMA, is gaining some acceptance amongst users who do not wish to leave any of their personally identifiable financial information with HMA.
Being anonymous payment, you could be sure that HMA won’t become the cause of any leak of your financial data in any way.
HMA has one of the most comprehensive customer support plans you will find in the VPN industry. Depending on your needs, you can avail HMA support via live chat, email, forum, tutorials and set up guide.
HMA’s live chat support is up during 8am-10pm GMT, or 12 hours so to say. If you are need for support during off-business hours, you must look into some other option or wait.
Emails are answered within 24 hours, but you should only go with it if the issue for which you’re taking resolve needs expert-level assistance.
There used to be an on Call facility for HMA users in the past. However, like others, HMA has also turned off that option for some time now.
Keep in mind that HMA has one of the largest knowledge base on its website. It has extensive guides, FAQs and answers to most of problems with installation, setup and configuration.
So before you go for any other option, do have a short look into HMA’s extensive knowledgebase.
Conclusion and Recommendations
If experiencing with complex VPNs are not your class, don’t think for the second time while signing up for HideMyAss. It has established its name as the VPN of choice for privacy and security mindset.
Like me, you shouldn’t be betting for calling HMA as only an ‘average VPN service’.
With 500+ servers, 69+ countries, thousands of IPs, and multi-device/multi-OS compatibility, and an adequate customer support, HMA clearly takes the lead in the VPN industry.
And it is continuing to innovate with other privacy products to establish a lot more credibility into its VPN service.
HMA has a room for improvement in a couple of things. It needs to make its pricing packages a bit more flexible to make them appealing for VPN first-timers.
Proxy won’t be a happy choice for everyone, and it gives way too less than HMA’s pro VPN. So a middle ground price for HMA’s proxy lovers will do the task that is left.