HideMyAss 2016 Review: What you NEED to know

HideMyAss 2016 Review
  • Price
  • Reliability
  • Speed
  • Policy
  • Support

Summary

HideMyAss would be ideal for the new-comer who wants to protect their privacy while on public Wi-Fi or access geo-restricted content.

Pros

  •  Easy to use software.
  •  PC, Mac, iOS, Android & Linux support.
  •  Over 190 countries available.
  •  Plenty of support methods.
  •  Unlimited bandwidth.
  •  Unlimited server switching.

Cons

  •  Monthly package expensive.
  •  Speed average.
3.8
User Rating 0 (0 votes)
Sending

HideMyAss are without a doubt the most well-known name in the VPN industry but the question remains, are they actually any good?

Over the past few weeks I’ve been looking at, testing and basically peeling the HideMyAss service apart to let you know if they’re worth spending your hard earned cash on or if you should look elsewhere.

So without further ado let’s get on with the HideMyAss Review 2016.

The Packages:

HideMyAss like most providers these days have one main package that varies in price depending on how long you sign up for.

This is pretty standard across the VPN industry now and means you get access to all the features, all the software and everything else the service offers without picking a package or messing about with different combinations of features. A good start for HideMyAss.

The pricing is as follows.

  • 1-Month US$11.52 (approx £8.13)
  • 6-Months US$49.98 (approx £35.29)
  • 1-Year US$78.60 (approx £55.51)

The longer you sign up for the greater the saving. The 6-Month package works out at just US$8.33 per month which is roughly £5.88 and the 1-Year package is cheaper again at only US$6.55 per month which is roughly £4.62.

As you can see there is a massive monthly price difference between the 1-Month account and the 1-Year account with nearly a 50% saving. It’s worth considering how long you’ll need the service for as you can make some big savings signing up for longer periods of time.

HideMyAss now offer a massive 30-Day Money Back Guarantee which means there really is no risk signing up to test the service because if you’re unhappy with it then ultimately you can get your money back, nothing lost, another plus for HideMyAss!

The Service:

Having last reviewed HideMyAss back at the start of 2015 a lot appears to have changed with the service. The biggest change is HideMyAss were acquired by leading anti-virus firm AVG. This alone puts a large corporation behind HideMyAss and can only be a good thing for current and future customers.

HideMyAss support the OpenVPN and PPTP protocols via their custom desktop client. L2TP/IPSec is also available but outside of the desktop client so if you want to make use of this protocol you’ll have to manually set it up following the HMA instructions.

Custom Software & Apps

The HideMyAss service is available across all major devices and systems. Custom clients are available for Windows PC, Mac, Android, iOS and even Linux systems.

Many of the larger VPN providers support the 4 major devices but Linux is often overlooked so it’s definitely a plus for the HideMyAss service if you’re a Linux user.

HideMyAss allows you to use their service on 2 simultaneous devices meaning you can protect both your desktop or laptop system and also a mobile device too. There are no device requirements so you can protect a combination of any two devices at the same time.

The HideMyAss desktop software for both Windows and Mac look identical. While visually I’m not a huge fan of the software it does do the job of getting you connected and protected and there are some more advanced options that you don’t find with some other provider’s software.

HideMyAss Windows Software 2016

HideMyAss Windows Software.

As I said visually the HideMyAss desktop client isn’t the prettiest but the functionality is there. From the initial screen you can enter your login and password details, select a server and get connected.

For usability this is great, no complicated clicking around or searching to protect yourself. Other sections are available such as the map view as can be seen in the above screenshot which lets you select servers that way.

Other useful areas include:

  • IP Address Settings

Allowing you to specify if you want to automatically change your IP Address and how often.

  • Secure IP Bind

This works as a kill switch and stops certain programs from working should the connection drop.

  • Speed Guide

Allows you to find the fastest server.

HideMyAss Settings 2016

Advanced settings of the desktop client.

One of my favourite features of the HideMyAss Windows client that has been available for some years is their server load balancing. If you attempt to connect to a server that already has a good number of users on it then it recommends another nearby server that is less utilised. In theory, this should give you better speeds and a better overall experience.

I also put the Android app to the test.

The Android app in comparison to the desktop one is actually really visually appealing. It’s actually one of the most attractive VPN apps I’ve seen and not only does it look good but the functionality is simple which makes it great for beginners.

If you just want to connect quickly to a server to protect your Android device then the HideMyAss Android app will certainly allow you to do that.

Take a look at the following video to see how easy it is to navigate around the Android app, add favourites and get connected and secure.

The Android app is light on features which is ideal if you’re new to VPN use. The settings area allows you to launch the app on boot and also connect to the VPN automatically upon launch. Apart from that, there are no other configurable options.

HideMyAss Android App 2016 windows

HideMyAss Android app

Server Locations

HideMyAss is without a doubt the biggest VPN provider in terms of available server locations.

At the time of writing HideMyAss currently have 934 VPN servers around the world. They offer 354 different locations and have connection points in 190 different countries.

While HideMyAss will allow you to appear in more places than any other VPN provider one area to note is some of the connection points are virtual locations.

While other VPN providers have servers in the actual country you appear from, when you connect to HideMyAss they use a little bit of IP trickery to make you appear in a location, however, the physical server you connect to isn’t actually always in that location.

For example with HideMyAss you can appear in North Korea of all places but of course, the actual server you’re connecting to won’t be located in North Korea.

While it’s great to hide your identity and appear in another location be aware that your surfing will be under the jurisdiction of where the real server is located and not where you appear to be from when connected. Unfortunately it’s not an easy process to discover where the actual server is.

General Observations

HideMyAss are the people’s champion when it comes to VPN providers. The software is easy to use and the apps are extremely attractive.

There are no download limits on the HideMyAss service and you can switch servers as many times as you wish.

HideMyAss offer a huge 30-day money back guarantee which is quite rare in the VPN world and off the top of my head only ExpressVPN match that length of guarantee.

The Speeds:

Speed is one of the most critical aspects of a VPN service and I’ve been putting HideMyAss through their paces in this 2016 review.

I’ve been using HideMyAss for my everyday browsing and found overall their service to be very good for general tasks. There is no problem streaming from sites such as BT Sport, Sky Go, Netflix and more. You could definitely use the internet for your everyday use while permanently connected to the HideMyAss service without issue.

To test the servers I carried out our standard test procedure which includes downloading a 10gb test file while connected to the HideMyAss service across a range of randomly selected servers. I used the HideMyAss custom software on a Windows 10 system using OpenVPN via UDP with 128 bit encryption.

All tests were carried out on Monday 7th March 2016 between 11:00 and 12:00 noon.

My connection speed without VPN at the time of testing was 212.72 Mbps.

HideMyAss Server Speed 2016

The servers tested in order were as follows.

  • Amsterdam, Netherlands – 39.19 mbps
  • Manchester, United Kingdom – 67.48 mbps
  • New Jersey, United States – 26.20 mbps
  • Paris, France – 2.48 mbps
  • Bucharest, Romania – 41.55 mbps
  • Sweden – 45.34 mbps
  • Switzerland – 15.60 mbps

HideMyAss have so many server choices that finding a fast server can take a bit of connecting and disconnecting to find out which works best for you.

While HideMyAss aren’t breaking any speed barriers overall I found their server speeds to be of an acceptable level. Their French server was really disappointing but if you have more time there are a wealth of other French servers which are likely to perform better.

Watching 4k Netflix wouldn’t be an issue on the majority of HideMyAss servers and other video streaming and everyday browsing tasks will definitely be suitable.

If you’re a big downloader and want maximum speeds then you may want to take a look at another provider such as IPVanish or keep an eye on our monthly speed tests where we list the fastest providers.

The Encryption & Policies:

Encryption

OpenVPN uses BF-CBC and 128-bit encryption. Unfortunately this is at the lower end of the scale and something I’d love HideMyAss to upgrade in the near future.

Nearly all providers have now moved to 256-bit encryption and it’s about time HideMyAss played catch-up.

The good news is HideMyAss has increased the security of their handshaking and now use a 2048-bit RSA key.

Although PPTP certainly isn’t recommended these days due to a lack of security HideMyAss use MPPE protocol for encryption, with RSA RC4 algorithm and 128 bit keys.

L2TP makes use of IPSec with 256 bit key for encryption, 3DES/AES algorithm.

Policies

HideMyAss are based in the United Kingdom and that comes with all the benefits and trappings of being located there.

HideMyAss retain all the usual information when you sign up for billing purposes. When you connect to one of their servers they record the time stamp of your connection and disconnection, your IP address, the amount data transferred and the IP address of the server you used.

While this may seem quite a lot it is quite common across many providers to store similar information. This information is retained for between 2 and 3 months unless they’re required by law to store it longer.

As HideMyAss are located in the United Kingdom it will be worthwhile keeping an eye on the Investigatory Powers Bill that may in future require services like HideMyAss to log the URLs accessed by all users. Although this is not a certainty it may be a consideration in future.

The Support:

When it comes to support methods HideMyAss are king.

They have a support ticket system, a forum, live online help and also a direct dial telephone number open in UK business hours.

With so many ways to get in touch with HideMyAss it’s easy to get a resolution to any issues and I’m pleased to see an actual telephone number you can ring which I haven’t seen any other provider offer.

The Verdict:

HideMyAss are the most well known VPN provider and it’s easy to see why.

The monthly package has recently increased in price so it’s certainly worth checking out the 6-month or 1-year package as the savings can be nearly as much as 50%.

I’d recommend HideMyAss to newcomers and those who are concerned about their online security but don’t want the hassle of trying to understand encryption and the working behind a VPN service.

If you want a simple VPN service that works across a range of devices including Windows, Mac, Android, iOS & Linux and doesn’t give you a headache to set-up then HideMyAss are certainly for you. HideMyAss offer all the most popular VPN protocols including OpenVPN, L2TP & PPTP.

While their desktop software isn’t the nicest to look at it is easy to use and gets you connected. The mobile solutions are friendly looking and allow you to protect mobile connections with ease.

HideMyAss will allow you to appear in more locations than any other VPN provider that I know of with over 190 countries to choose from. If you’re a little more of an advanced user it should be noted that some locations are virtual servers and the location of the physical server is not actually in the country you appear in (ie; North Korea, Cuba etc.)

Speeds on the HideMyAss service are average and suitable for everyday browsing habits from visiting websites to streaming videos from YouTube, Netflix and other such sites. If you’re a heavy downloader and have an extremely fast internet connection then HideMyAss probably isn’t suitable for you.

The Encryption from HideMyAss is a little on the low side. If you’re new to VPN usage then they’re a good starting point and will definitely help you protect your connection when using public Wi-Fi or other such uses. If of course you just want to access geo-restricted websites like streaming content then it’s certainly suitable for those purposes. If you’re an advanced user looking for high-end encryption then you’ll need to look elsewhere.

Overall I’d recommend HideMyAss for new to intermediate users who want some protection and the ability to access geo-restricted services without the confusion of technical terms and hard to install software or apps. If you’re a more advanced user then you’ll probably want to look to other providers such as IPVanish, VPN.ac or LiquidVPN.

Having said that, HideMyass do offer a massive 30-day money back guarantee so you’ve got nothing to lose by trying them!