HideMyAss VPN Review

HideMyAss Review
HideMyAss

HideMyAss Logo

Product Name: HideMyAss

Offer price: 4.29

Currency: $

Availability: OnlineOnly

Overall
3.9









  • Price









  • Service









  • Apps









  • Speed









  • Policy









Summary

.

Pros

  • 30-day money-back guarantee.
  • Well-designed apps.
  • Decent download speeds.
  • Easy to use.
  • Works with US & UK Netflix + BBC iPlayer.

Cons

  • Use virtual servers.
  • Located in ‘5-eyes' country.
  • Charges for more connections.


HideMyAss (HMA) has been around for years and their donkey logo is one of the most enduring images in the industry. It had a bit of a fun, cartoonish feel to it.

This was kind of appropriate as their reputation has been mixed for a few years now. Speeds have been sub-par, apps were not updated for a long time, and overall customer satisfaction was mixed at best.

But in recent times there has been several big changes. Apps have been given a radical overhaul, the website has been updated, and a more professional looking brand has been created.

The question is, how have these changes improved HMA's overall service? This is exactly what we'll be trying to find out in this review which looks at every bit of the HMA VPN service, its clients, and its policies.

If you are considering signing up for HMA VPN, you need to read our detailed VPN review first.

Service

Speeds

VyprVPN Speeds header

Over the years, HideMyAss VPN hasn't been known for its VPN speeds. We've been pretty underwhelmed in the past when we sit down for our annual HMA VPN review and run speed tests on them.

Last year, we reported a notable improvement in the HMA VPN speeds, though. However we did factor in rather a significant caveat: HideMyAss' use of Virtual Servers, about which more below.

Our HMA VPN speed test was run on many servers but we can still not be 100% sure where our speed test results are from, real or virtual VPN servers.

We ran our speed test on a UK residential internet connection to mirror the connection type you would likely be using.

Our connection speed without VPN was: 207.1 Mbps.

The following are a selection of results when connected to HideMyAss:

  • UK – 166.9 Mbps
  • France – 128.3 Mbps
  • Netherlands – 147.1 Mbps
  • Switzerland – 142.3 Mbps
  • Sweden – 123.8 Mbps
  • New York, US – 104.2 Mbps
  • Australia – 47.9 Mbps

The speeds achieved certainly aren't the fastest we've encountered but they're not too far off the mark.

They're certainly a marked improvement on what HMA VPN used to return. But as we have already noted, we can't guarantee all servers were physically located where they're suggesting they are.

Please note speed tests are not 100% reliable. They are merely a glimpse of performance at a certain period. Your results may differ depending on your location, time of usage, services accessed, device used and many other factors.

Logging Policy

The logging policy is perhaps the area where HMA has made the biggest changes. It now professes on its website to be a no-user logs VPN and has even deployed an external auditing company to verify this claim.

While this change is very welcome and long overdue, there is a slight catch.

In their press release announcing the change, Hide My Ass VPN admitted that they will still be logging some ‘behavioural data' and internet access user details such as your email address. No further information about this data logging has come to light in the past twelve months.

HideMyAss VPN insists any data collected would be anonymised and kept separately from user account details.

But it is never that difficult to unanonymise data like this, so the fact that HMA VPN is collecting it at all is far from ideal and does challenge the idea of them as a no logs policy VPN, especially given their UK jurisdiction.

Having said that, they are no longer keeping a log of your connecting IP Address, which is progress.

Simultaneous Connections

All HMA VPN subscribers are allowed to connect up to five devices to the HMA network simultaneously. There was a time when HMA only offered two concurrent connections, so this is definitely a step forward.

Having said that, five simultaneous connections is just about the minimum number of connections we would expect to see from VPN companies these days. Other providers offer ten, twelve, or even an unlimited number of concurrent connections these days.

Five should be enough for most HMA VPN users, but we suspect it is only a matter of time before this number needs to be increased.

HMA has actually added an option to increase this to ten concurrent connections but to get this, you have to sign up for a far more expensively priced package.

This model is something we haven't seen elsewhere and to be honest, we're not hugely impressed with the idea of charging increased prices for what many other VPN services offer as part of their standard packages.

Jurisdiction

HMA VPN is based in the UK. While UK citizens may think this is a good thing and like the idea of staying local, bear in mind that this is not necessarily a good thing.

Being based in the UK means that HMA VPN is based in a five eyes country with what Edward Snowden has described as “the most draconian online surveillance laws in the democratic world”.

At the present moment, there is nothing in UK law that is forcing British VPNs like Hide My Ass to log user data, and the HMA VPN logging policy shows that it doesn't.

But British data retention laws have been moving that way and new legislation like the ominously-titled Online Safety Bill, which is progressing through Parliament as we write this VPN service review, will only make things worse.

Privacy-conscious users might want to consider a VPN with an offshore location where such privacy concerns are unlikely to come up.

Customer Support

HMA VPN customer support is pretty good among its rival VPN providers.

HMA support offers a 24/7 live chat support service that is responsive and helpful. We have run a number of queries past their 24/7 live chat support team and whether it was a technical issue, related to security features, or a simple query about their servers, they were always able to offer a prompt and fast response.

Email customer support and a packed FAQ section are helpful too but it is the live chat support that most people will be using and we were really impressed with the HMA live chat feature.

Server Locations

Server locations

HMA's VPN server network is, on the face of it, very impressive and it has grown even further since last year.

The VPN servers network offers more than 1,040+ VPN servers in 290+ different locations and 210+ countries worldwide. These VPN servers are spread across six continents, focusing on Europe and North America and cover just about every country you can think of and then some.

World map showing HideMyAss' server locations

However, it includes places like Greenland, North Korea, and Iran, which does raise a few questions about just how these VPN server locations operate.

The fact is that the majority of the HMA server network are not physical servers. They are a prolific user of virtual VPN servers, which are located in one country but spoof the location of another. Virtual server locations are used by a number of VPN services but we have never seen them deployed quite so extensively as with HMA VPN.

A virtual server location can be useful to access the internet services of countries like Iran and China. A virtual server will give you an IP Address from one of these countries without the challenges and risks of running a physical server there.

But the truth is that using virtual locations can also result in poor performance and also affect speeds in the country where these servers are actually located too.

As HMA is still yet to confirm how many of its servers use virtual locations and where HMA's servers are actually located, there is a chance that their use of virtual server locations could impact the performance of the entire HMA network. Details of which server locations are available can be found on their website.

We like a large VPN server network as much as the next person, but not if it risks compromising the integrity of the server network as a whole. Our fear with HMA VPN is that this is exactly what happens.

There was a time when HMA was one of the go-to VPNs for China. They even offer (virtual) servers based in China which not too many other providers can claim.

But these days, they are apologetically open about the fact that HMA does not work behind the Great Firewall in China. They do not have workaround suggestions or even old apps that might still function.

When we spoke with their customer support team, we were given some hollow words about ‘working on a solution' but there seemed little confidence this was coming any time soon and nothing seems to have changed since our last HMA VPN review in that regard.

There are lots of top quality VPN services that can work inside China, but HMA is not one of them at the moment.

Security and Safety

Protocols and Encryption

Protocols and encryption

Most VPNs offer a wide range of VPN protocols as standard but HMA is different.

HMA offers OpenVPN UDP as its standard protocol on its Android and Windows client. OpenVPN UDP is a highly secure and reliable VPN protocol so we have no problem with this.

MacOS and iOS users have to make do with IKEv2/IPsec which is the protocol that interacts with Apple's operating systems the smoothest. Again, this protocol is fine for the HMA apps for Apple devices.

What we are less happy about is their lack of customer choice when it comes to VPN protocols. There are no options for users to switch protocols and there is still no WireGuard protocol available on HideMyAss VPN at the moment and no indication of when it might be introduced.

WireGuard is a fast and secure VPN protocol that has been adopted by many top VPNs so far. HMA is very much behind the curve on this one as with the lack of the OpenVPN protocol on all devices.

If you use HMA on an Android or Windows device, you will be connected to OpenVPN using 256-bit AES encryption with 4096-bit RSA keys for handshaking, authenticated with SHA256.

On Mac and iOS devices you will also get 256-bit AES connections but through the IKEv2/IPsec protocol as this is more compatible with the operating system.

This puts HMA up there with the some of the best when it comes to encryption and keeping you safe from hackers. But we would definitely like to see a bit more customer choice built into the HMA VPN protocol options.

Policies

HMA's user privacy policies and specifically its logging practices, have long been the biggest single criticism of their service.

There is no denying that things have got much better in recent years. They have made many notable improvements to the privacy policy with the promise of more improvements in the pipeline.

But while they now claim to be a no user logs VPN, there are still questions they need to answer about the anonymised data they continue to collect:

  • Why do they need this?
  • What is it used for?
  • Who is it made available to?

While HMA might be able to make their no user logs claim stand up on a technicality, the fact remains that they do still harvest more user data than most of their rivals. If you want a VPN that offers no user logs policies, the fact is that there are many better options out there than HMA.

HMA is also based in one of the five eyes countries, specifically the UK. This means it is subject to the UK's domestic law, which is among the most intrusive in the free world. The privacy policy isn't unduly affected by this yet, but it may well be in the future.

The HMA service also has a track record of complying with local law enforcement and if asked, they will hand private details over to the authorities. It remains to be seen how the changes they have made to their logging practices affect this cooperation.

That said, HMA will still hide your real IP Address effectively. The questions are not about protecting your true IP address, they are all about its broader data retention policies.

Top Tip

Check out our Best Logless VPN selection for a more secure service.

In the past they have also been known to suspend accounts they deem in breach of the law and actively discourage users from downloading BitTorrent files. However, they do now seem to have “P2P” tagged servers which could signal an easing of this policy.

There are a number of HMA VPN features that are available alongside their core service. These include an IP Checker, which can tell you what people can find out about your VPN IP Address and your real IP Address.

There is also a DNS and a WebRTC leak test which checks for DNS leaks that could reveal information about your DNS requests and other internet activity.

There is a limited free web proxy service available to all users too. Their Lightning Connect feature sounds very futuristic but in reality, lightning connect is another way of describing their quick connect button.

They also offer an app Kill Switch feature too. This kill switch will cut your internet connection if your VPN connection drops out. If you are a Windows app user, you can even configure the kill switch on an app-by-app basis too. This kill switch feature isn't available on iOS apps yet though.

There is a Split-Tunneling feature. Split tunneling, for those not already familiar allows you to choose which apps to route through your VPN connection and which you prefer to connect directly. A growing number of VPNs are starting to offer split tunneling so its good to see HMA VPN in the vanguard.

The handy IP Shuffle feature lets you set HMA to automatically change IP Addresses within the same location anywhere from once every ten minutes to once a day. By changing IP addresses regularly you are enhancing your privacy online.

For those looking for dedicated torrent client features, there are no specific apps features for this but we did find that we could torrent on HMA without a problem.

There is no denying that the latest incarnation of HMA is feature-heavy and with lots to play with. The question is whether these little toys make up for deficiencies elsewhere in their basic VPN service.

Apps

Apps

Mobile Apps

HMA offers user-friendly VPN apps for iOS and Android devices. We tested out their service on an Apple iPhone device using the latest version of the HMA iOS app. We also put their Android app through its paces.

HideMyAss mobile app

There is no doubting that they have dramatically improved the HMA app for mobile devices, which are now one of the best designed and most user-friendly we have come across.

Once you log in, the app homepage offers a simple blue screen with a large quick connect button in the middle to hook up to the VPN tunnel.

You can change the location by tapping the Location button, which opens a selector in a new window.

Advanced features like the kill switch and VPN settings can be accessed easily from the bottom of the app window.

The HMA client for iOS devices is slick, easy to use and looks great – a significant improvement on their previous versions. We liked the Windows app too.

Desktop Apps

The HMA desktop apps are available for Windows, Mac, and Linux devices and have been restyled in much the same user-friendly way as their mobile apps.

HideMyAss Windows app

We tested both the Windows app and HMA's MacOS app, which have also been redesigned to offer a quick connect button from the main screen.

The desktop apps have changed quite rapidly over the years and while a little too often, they've always changed for the better.

It's nice to see features like their Kill Switch is able to be enabled/disabled and its a neat app-based Kill Switch which we haven't seen much of from other providers.

Apart from the Kill Switch functions, there aren't a whole lot of others. An IP Shuffle will periodically disconnect you and connect you to a new host gaining a new IP Address.

You can also force using TCP connections as opposed to the default UDP.

But aside from that, there isn't much more. The HMA mac app looks great, is simple to use, and does the basics very well indeed.

Other apps

Hide My Ass has expanded its range of apps quite significantly since our last HMA VPN review and installing HMA is possible on a wide range of devices now.

In addition to the standard apps for Mac and iOS, Windows and Android devices listed above, there is a Linux app and help for setting the service up on Apple TV and Android TV, and for Playstation and Xbox games consoles.

Other manual setups are available for routers and possibly other devices with the help of the HMA customer support team.

Sadly there is still no Amazon Fire TV app which is a big letdown if you utilise one. But for Android TV and Apple TV users, HMA has got you covered.

Top Tip

If you need an Amazon Fire TV VPN, ExpressVPN has a very good app.

Yes. There are HMA browser extensions available for the Google Chrome browser. There used to be a Mozilla Firefox browser extension available too but this appears to have been discontinued now.

Yes. HMA is compatible with a number of VPN-enabled routers, including popular models from Linksys, Asus, and Netgear.

Full details of which routers are compatible can be found on their website and the customer support team are always ready to help with advice and guidance.

Streaming

Streaming

Surprisingly, HideMyAss now works with all the most popular streaming sites, which hasn't always been the case in our previous HMA VPN reviews.

When it comes to online streaming, HMA is a VPN provider that is undeniably up there with the best. It offers dedicated streaming servers in popular countries like the US, UK and Germany but we found streaming services worked on more servers as well.

Plus, with their unlimited bandwidth promise, you can stream as much as you want without worrying about restrictions.

Does HideMyAss work with Netflix?

Not only is HMA VPN great for streaming Netflix from the US, but Hide My Ass actually says it can unblock Netflix services from all around the world. This is a bold claim and not too many other VPNs will claim to unblock all regional Netflix services.

In theory, all you have to do is choose a VPN server in the country where your chosen Netflix service is based and then log in. HMA says its service will work with any Netflix platform, so in theory, there is no limit to what Netflix shows you can watch.

There have been some user reviews of Netflix not working with some HMA servers, including Netflix US. We tried Netflix US on multiple servers and didn't encounter any problems. The same was true with UK Netflix as well.

The problem with these big boasts is that they are hard to verify absolutely. But in our tests, we have no problem accessing Netflix using Hide My Ass VPN. It is a good idea to try for yourself too though.

Does HideMyAss work with BBC iPlayer?

BBC iPlayer is another streaming platform that tries to block VPNs, but again we had no problem watching BBC iPlayer shows using HMA's servers based in the UK.

All you need to do is connect to a UK server and you should have no trouble unblocking BBC iPlayer and watching whatever you want.

Does HideMyAss work with Disney+?

No. While HMA VPN is a great tool for most streaming sites, Disney+ is one that it cannot unblock at the moment.

Does HideMyAss work with Amazon Prime Video?

Amazon Prime video is another streaming site that works hard to block VPNs.

HMA VPN can unblock Amazon Prime Video but it is not perfect. We had no problem with the US services but other server location options such as the UK and Germany were hit and miss and we're not convinced they work.

There is a bit of trial and error involved but the customer service team is always on standby to help if you encounter any problems.

Does HideMyAss work with other streaming services?

We tested HMA VPN with a few other streaming platforms and the results were mixed.

HMA VPN doesn't have specific streaming servers but it claims that these sites should work on all servers. This doesn't appear to be the case in our tests but it is still possible to get most sites working with a bit of trial and error.

Prices and Plans

Prices and Plans

HMA has refined its payment plans since our last review which is no bad thing since there were a lot of HMA subscription options before and it could get a little complicated.

Today there are two simple subscription plans to choose from and, refreshingly, HMA VPN is upfront about the total cost of the plan rather than hiding behind a monthly figure. The current price points are:

  • 1-Year: $59.88 / £39.48 a year (for the first year) – rising after that.
  • 3-Years: $107.65 / £86.04 for three years – again, rising after that.

While this is ostensibly easier, which is welcome, there is now also the added complication of whether you want 5 or 10 concurrent connections. If you opt for 10, you will be paying the following prices (not the addition of a 2 year plan here):

  • 1-Year: $95.88 / £71.88 a year (for the first year) – rising a year after that.
  • 2-Year: $167.76 / £119.76 a year (for the first 2 years) – rising after that.
  • 3-Years: $215.64 / £165.24 for three years – again, rising after.

Our firm view is that this additional cost is not worth it when there are so many other great VPNs that offers ten connections and more for the standard price. If you need multiple connections, opt for the likes of Surfshark and IPVanish rather than paying more for HMA.

The standard prices are reasonable though if you like the sound of what HMA VPN has to offer. There are cheaper VPNs out there but there are pricier ones too.

The big feature when it comes to pricing that we love is the 7-day free trial.

A free trial is a rare thing on a VPN these days so it is nice to see HMA VPN offering a 7-day free trial. Users should be aware that they do still have to enter payment details and will be billed for a one-year deal at the end of the trial period. Be sure to cancel in advance if you don't want to proceed.

There is still a 30-day money-back guarantee available to all users too which is excellent, although there have been some loose reports of HMA being slow to pay up.

HMA accept payment by a reasonable variety of different methods including the usual credit and debit cards, PayPal, Apple Pay, and Pay Near Me (U.S. users only).

Since our last review they appear to have dropped support for the likes of Google Pay, UnionPay, Skrill Wallet, and Neteller. Unfortunately, payment by Bitcoin is still not currently an option.

Verdict

Verdict

The latest incarnation of the HideMyAss VPN service is a big improvement on its predecessors. As our HMA VPN review shows, it has has slick and well-designed apps, a professional website, a large server network, reasonable prices and a free trial now available to all.

Connection speeds are much improved, they allow unlimited bandwidth, they work with most streaming services, and their encryption has been stepped up significantly too. Sadly, they don't offer modern VPN protocols such as Wireguard.

The HMA VPN apps are much improved and now look great and are really user-friendly.

There are a host of security features such as a kill switch and split tunneling available that means HMA VPN work well for advanced users. You can also get a different IP Address regularly by using their IP Shuffle feature.

There have also been improvements to their privacy policies too but it is clear that HMA know they had a lot of room for improvement in this area.

They deserve credit for their efforts but the truth is that they still have some way to go before their privacy protections are on a par with their competitors and we can say with confidence that they make HMA VPN safe for privacy-conscious users. More privacy improvements have been promised and we can't wait to see if HMA can catch up with the pack.

The excessive use of virtual servers is an issue and undermines the HMA server provision which is otherwise very good. Their streaming provisions with the likes of Netflix and Amazon Prime are great, there is still room for improvements with others.

Prices are less confusing than they used to be but still more complex than necessary. But we like the 7-day free trial and there is a 30-day money back guarantee available too.

HMA VPN is an impressive VPN provider if you're after private internet access. But, despite all that HMA claims, it still has some way to go before it can compete with the big boys.

30-day money back guarantee

Consider these alternatives

Author: David Spencer

Cyber-security & Technology Reporter, David, monitors everything going on in the privacy world. Fighting for a less restricted internet as a member of the VPNCompare team for over 5 years.

Away from writing, he enjoys reading and politics. He is currently learning Mandarin too... slowly.

Comments

  1. Peter

    One of my favorite VPN provider at this moment. Service is very good. Speed around 3-4MB/s in my own country (def not my max connection, but good enough). I like it.

    • Christopher Seward

      Hi Peter,

      They’re not personally my favourite but thanks for taking the time to leave feedback as it will help others make a decision.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Sign up to our newsletter

Get the latest privacy news, expert VPN guides & TV unblocking how-to’s sent straight to your inbox.

49%
OFF

Our #1 Recommended VPN

Don't leave yet!

Get an exclusive 49% off a yearly
subscription deal using the link below.

Risk-free 30-Day money-back guarantee