HideMyAss, or HMA for short, is a VPN service founded in the UK in 2005 and acquired in 2015 by AVG and later by Avast itself, a company more known for its antivirus software.
It is undoubtedly one of the most well-known VPNs and was shunned until May 2020 because, unlike almost all of its competitors, it logs information such as IP addresses. Based in the UK – one of the best jurisdictions for data privacy.
However, the service now has a no-logging policy, which has been verified by VerSprite. Sounds good, but as you’ll see later, that’s not all.
One of the highlights is still the comprehensive server coverage: it includes quite a few African countries, something you usually don’t find with other VPN services. Quite a few (over 200) virtual locations are included, but they are marked as “about [location]” in the app.
Speaking of speeds, HMA also specifies connections at 20 Gbps (for some of its servers) and has an IP shuffle feature that lets you choose how often your virtual address changes to prevent website trackers from tracking you and to help you access blocked websites.
The distribution of HideMyAss options across multiple menu tabs can make finding the settings a bit difficult, but the VPN actually offers a number of nice features. For starters, it includes two things you always look for in a VPN: a kill switch and a way to set up some sort of automatic connection when you boot up your device.
HMA’s kill switch works as well as it can, blocking traffic only when the VPN connection is accidentally interrupted. This is different from other kill switches, such as AirVPN’s “network lock”, which blocks traffic even if you intentionally disconnect the VPN connection.
The auto-connect option is the same bog standard. For example, you can’t choose where the VPN connects to. Instead, the VPN simply chooses where you last connected. However, you can set it to automatically connect only to public networks and not private ones, so it’s a good way to avoid the dangers of public WiFi.
In addition to these basic elements, HideMyAss currently supports two other features. The first is an app kill switch, which allows you to define a list of VPN programs that will cause the HMA client to specifically block traffic to those apps if the VPN connection is accidentally interrupted.
The second goodie added is a feature called IP shuffling. The VPN changes its IP address periodically at configurable intervals (a similar feature previously existed for private Internet access). This improves security and privacy and makes it harder (almost impossible) for someone to track your online activity.
However, the kill switch must be turned on for this feature to work. Otherwise, every time you switch, there will be a vulnerability when your real IP address shows up. We would also like to point out that the HMA kill switch is turned off by default, and we ask anyone who uses it to change this setting as soon as possible for a more secure setup.
To test the speed of HideMyAss, we tested both US and UK servers in our US labs. All tests were performed with a 500 Mbps internet connection and the official HMA VPN client. The test results were about average.
HideMyAss server in Seattle: 357 Mbps(On average)
Considering my base connection speed of 500 Mbps, this is not very fast, but not very slow either.
Next was the HideMyAss VPN server in Los Angeles: 321 Mbps(On average)
Again, this is the average. Most of the faster VPNs I’ve tested are between 200 Mbps and 300+ Mbps at this location.
The closest is the HMA server in New York: 352 Mbps(On average)
That’s about the same as the other HMA speed tests.
Finally, I tested the HideMyAss server in the UK. Here is the London server with a speed of 325 Mbps(On average)
While HideMyAss is certainly not the fastest VPN I’ve tested, it’s not the slowest either. And the speeds were stable, ranging from about 150Mbps to 165Mbps.
HMA! offers three unique pricing tiers. For each of them, you get the exact same features. The only difference is that there is a slight discount for longer subscriptions.
- $11.99 per month
- $83.88 per 12 months ($6.99 per month – 42% discount)
- $119.76 for 24 months ($4.99 per month – 58% discount)
There is a 30-day free trial period. You must provide a valid credit card or PayPal to use it. But they also offer a 30-day money back guarantee. This means that you have about 60 days to test the service. This is one of the best deals you can find.
The only issue with the refund is that you must use less than 10 GB of bandwidth on your first purchase of HideMyAss! you will need to fill out a refund request.
The annual commitment of $6.99/month isn’t the cheapest VPN on the market, but the long trial period is worth the extra few dollars.
HMA offers over 1,000 servers in over 200 countries worldwide. This gives you more choice than most high-end VPNs. HMA has a small number of servers in smaller countries, while larger countries (such as the UK) have more physical and virtual servers to choose from. The smaller choice of servers in a country makes it more difficult to access geo-restricted content, as VPN connections are more likely to be detected and blocked.
Virtual servers can increase connection speeds and help you access geo-restricted content in countries that are not accessible through physical servers. However, using a virtual server means your connection will go through other countries, which can slow you down.
During my testing, the HMA app indicated when I was connected to a virtual server, but that information didn’t show up in the server location list. The app also doesn’t always tell me which country the connection is going through when I use the virtual server location.
HMA VPN is a great provider when it comes to customer service. Live chat is available 24 hours a day on their website and agents are helpful and knowledgeable. The customer service representatives always respond promptly and we found them to be very accommodating. Overall, we found the service to be excellent as we received a quick response regarding unlocked content, help with installation, or other issues.
In addition, the site has a community where you can ask other users questions about the service; a blog where you can read helpful articles about VPNs, privacy, and using VPNs to access content from around the world. There’s also a knowledge base with plenty of FAQs and guides to help you with most setup and troubleshooting issues.
We’ve found these resources to be excellent and a great complement to live chat support.
HMA is located in the United Kingdom, which has been the subject of several troubling privacy-related stories in recent years. For starters, Russia is a member of the Five Eyes surveillance organization, which gathers and distributes huge amounts of internet data; member nations even spy on each other’s people via email, text messages, and, yes, browser data.
Recent UK legislation dubbed as the Snooper’s Charter has likewise alarmed many privacy advocates. The contentious bill may allow the government to force firms (including VPNs) to put backdoors on their servers and decode encrypted data on demand, but different privacy groups are seeking to get these sections removed before they go into effect.
Activists were successful in overturning several of the UK’s other intrusive privacy regulations, such as one that enabled the government to compel private firms to preserve communications data. The UK Supreme Court has decided that the government may no longer utilize broad warrants to surreptitiously hack into people’ devices and conversations.
The future of internet privacy in the United Kingdom appears to be changing by the day. If you intend to use your VPN for anything that you don’t want the British authorities to know about, it’s a good idea to go with a service based in a different jurisdiction.
Devices and Platforms
HideMyAss native platforms:
- Microsoft Windows
As previously said, HMA is available on a wide range of desktop and mobile devices. They permit an infinite number of installations, but with one critical restriction. They point out;
“Installing HMA VPN isn’t the same as “using” HMA VPN. While it can be installed on an unlimited number of devices, it can only be activated in up to 5 devices at once, or 10 with our friends and family plan.”
Five simultaneous devices isn’t a lot, and you’ll have to pay extra if you want to use their ‘friends and family plan.’ A 12-month package with five connections costs $4.99 per month, while a 12-month plan with ten connections costs $7.99 per month.
You’ll also be able to connect the VPN to compatible routers, as well as gaming consoles and other network devices.
Logging and Privacy Security
HideMyAss! contains so many tiny sections of text that the legal section has a sidebar that contains no less than 12 separate sections.
This is not as bad as it sounds at first. The main reason why the documents pile up is that HideMyAss! moved the most important sections into separate articles to make them easier to find, and most of them are clearly structured and well-written (though if you’re allergic to fine print and just want to know the basics).
HMA’s website provides only rough details about the scope of the audit, which included, for example, “analysis of client-side and server-side data, traffic, and storage, as well as the elimination of links between user identities and data containing information about online user activity.” Since the report is not publicly available, it is impossible to judge the significance of the findings. Nevertheless, any VPN that has undergone such an independent audit is to be applauded, and we hope that the HMA will conduct further audits in the future.
Streaming and Torrenting
HideMyAss is an excellent VPN for unblocking streaming content. It consistently removes geo-restrictions for services like Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and Amazon Prime Video.
HideMyAss specializes in dedicated servers for the most popular streaming services, making it as easy as possible for you to access Netflix and BBC iPlayer in the US.
These dedicated streaming servers are some of the most reliable we’ve tested, so you can access your favorite streaming sites without any issues.
However, these streaming servers are not clearly labeled, so we’ve identified them for you.
- With Liberty Island, you can unlock the American Netflix
- Donkey City successfully unlocks BBC iPlayer
HMA is not only capable of unlocking the most important streaming services – thanks to incredibly fast download speeds, streaming Netflix and BBC iPlayer is also fast and buffer-free.
Another HideMyAss representative confirmed that torrenting copyrighted material violates the VPN’s terms of service and threatened that it would result in the suspension of HMA accounts.
HideMyAss should know better. Otherwise, it’s a good choice for torrent users due to its high speeds and multiple server locations. All HideMyAss servers allow torrenting of copyright-free material, and dedicated servers are available for P2P sharing, allowing for fast leaching and seeding.
However, the selection of available 7 dedicated P2P servers is limited, especially for torrenters outside Europe and North America who don’t have an option nearby.
Like most modern VPNs, HMA VPN uses 256-bit AES encryption. This is the highest encryption standard available for commercial VPNs. In addition, the provider primarily uses OpenVPN, which is by far the most secure protocol. Here are the protocols offered by HMA VPN
- PPTP: This is a slightly older protocol with acceptable speeds. The downside is that PPTP is no longer stable and secure. It is not recommended to use this protocol. In our testing, we found that PPTP is no longer standard in the latest version of HMA VPN. This means that HMA is also moving away from outdated VPN protocols.
- IKEv2/IPsec: IKEv2/IPsec is the protocol used by iOS. iOS does not support OpenVPN. In terms of encryption protocols, IKEv2/IPsec is currently the best protocol for iOS.
L2TP/IPsec (manual): HMA VPN offers L2TP/IPsec, but only for certain devices. You also need to install it manually. Some other VPNs provide this option more easily.
Installation and Use
HideMyAss offers apps for all major platforms, including Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, and Linux. However, the software can only be downloaded if you pay for the VPN. It only takes a few minutes to register an account on the website.
Once you complete the registration, you can download the installation file and install it on your device. You can run up to 5 devices at the same time with one subscription.
Using HideMyAss VPN is very simple. If you are a new VPN user, you will love the instant setup. Instant mode automatically connects to the fastest server, so you don’t have to search for the right one.
If you’re in a restricted country (where there’s routine censorship), you can choose free mode, which searches for a country with no restrictions and connects to a server there.
No matter what platform your device is running on (Android, Windows, Mac or iOS), HideMyAss offers you the best military-grade encryption – 256-bit AES. Again, all servers are fully encrypted. Thus, no matter where the server is located, it is secured against online thieves, hackers and other such forces.
In addition to the above features, HideMyAss has P2P-optimized servers, multi-device connectivity (up to 5), 10gbps site servers, a central data center with 20gbps speeds, and 24/7 best-in-class customer support
Games and Consoles
HMA VPN seems good enough for gaming, with great security features for desktop or laptop gaming and dedicated clients for Playstation and Xbox. It’s also pretty easy to install and use, as long as you follow the clickable instructions.
Many people use VPNs for gaming to protect their private data from prying eyes. Considering HMA’s full name (HideMyAss), that’s also the reason why it’s like this. Its security features are meant to protect you from IP leaks, malware, and usage monitoring.
Regionally blocked content
Thanks to its wide selection of websites and servers, HideMyAss has proven to be one of the most successful VPNs for accessing and watching content from Netflix, iBBC iPlayer, and Amazon Prime. So, you don’t have to give up your love for sports or evenings with ice cream and shows.
HideMyAss offers 20Gbps servers that can handle streaming at the highest quality. In our tests, we were able to stream in Ultra HD quality throughout and most servers have content unlocked for the region.
For example, Liverpool and Manchester City Premier League games are available in the UK, but not in India. HideMyAss has this covered – just connect to the UK HMA servers and have fun! HideMyAss can bypass blocked content in your region.
Number of Devices
One of the things users want to know before buying a VPN is how many devices can be connected to a license. With HideMyAss, you can connect up to 5 devices at a time. You can have an unlimited number of installations, but only 5 people can use the VPN at a time perfect for home and small business use.
How to Cancel HMAVPN
- Log in to your HMA account
- Click the “Cancel” button under the “HMA License” heading
- Confirm the cancellation
- Make sure the auto-renew option is turned off
Canceling your HMA service is quick and easy. HMA provides a 30-day money-back guarantee on the plan page; this is explained in more detail in the provider’s terms and conditions. To cancel your subscription, you must do so within these apps when you set up your account through Google or Apple.
If you signed up for a seven-day free trial, you entered your credit card number at the beginning. Remember to cancel your subscription before the seven days are up, or you will have a monthly subscription.
Pros and Cons
- Excellent results in speed tests
- Friendly, easy-to-use interface
- Convenient IP shuffler
- Shared tunnel
- Expensive monthly subscriptions not available in some areas
- Needs to continue to improve its privacy practices
- Unclear where servers are located
- No up-to-date transparency reports
Frequently Asked Questions
Is HMA worth the price?
HMA is not worth the price as it cannot bypass almost all major streaming platforms. It only managed to access Netflix on a handful of servers, while blocking other popular streaming services. Therefore, it’s hard to recommend HMA when alternative providers successfully unblock Disney+, HBO, etc.
One positive feature is that HMA offers dedicated P2P servers, which makes it a good choice for torrenting. If you’re worried about privacy, there are also 2 kill switches to protect your data from DNS leaks. However, these features are not enough for me to recommend HMA.
Is my data safe with HMA?
Yes, your data is safe thanks to HMA’s no-logging policy. VerSprite, a network security company that is also used by other VPN providers, independently verifies user privacy.
HMA has also moved all of its physical servers outside of Russia, so it is not forced to give the government access to its data. This shows how serious HMA is about ensuring transparency and building user trust.
The only product that still leaves a stain on HMA’s reputation is its free VPN proxy browser extension. The extension continues to collect personal data, including IP addresses, websites visited, and files downloaded to your device. As long as you use a VPN instead of your proxy, you can safely browse the Internet.
Does HMA VPN work in China?
Currently, HMA VPN is blocked in China because it does not offer any special features to bypass the Great Firewall of China.
Is HMA VPN reliable?
Yes, despite privacy concerns in the past, HMA has been independently verified and has been officially announced as a log-free VPN in 2020.
Does HideMyAss work with Netflix?
No, even though HMA VPN offers a dedicated streaming server, they do not allow you to unblock Netflix.
Can HMA VPNs bypass geo-blocking?
Absolutely. With its extensive infrastructure, you’ll almost certainly find a server where content is not geo-blocked. Thus, you’ll be able to watch broadcasts without any problems.
If you encounter an error code, HMA VPN’s IP updates can help you change your IP address immediately. Eventually, an acceptable IP will spoof the streaming service and give you access to restricted content.
While we don’t like to be negative, HMA is disappointing in many ways. We’re not thrilled that they’re based in the UK and track IP addresses and network traffic in a browser extension. Also, not all devices have access to kill switches, and the same goes for split tunnels. While we appreciate the streaming and torrenting aspects of HMA, it’s probably the best VPN option for most people.
We recommend HMA as an app only; stay away from browser extensions. It’s also better suited for those who aren’t overly concerned about privacy and have a Windows, Mac, or Android device that uses a kill switch. HMA is best suited for Android users who want to share tunnels, kill switches, and Netflix access. If you are one of those people, take advantage of HMA’s industry-lowest price.