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HideMyAss Review 2018

HideMyAss VPN Review: A Consistent and Classic VPN Service with Servers Across Six Continents

With the cyber world throwing threats and chances of possible security breaches galore, the need for VPNs or virtual private networks is constantly felt. One of the most popular ones I tried to protect my identity and data online is HideMyAss. You see how direct the name is? With a straightforward and fuss-free interface, the app looks friendly too. In fact, I had taken a liking for it in the first look itself. But then, it’s not without its share of few discrepancies. For example, the expensive plans and session logging policies might be a turn-off for some users. Let’s take a look at the features to know whether HideMyAss can be an ideal VPN service for you.


PROS:
  • Integrated server speed testing
  • Nice speed test results, above all consistency
  • Kill switch feature is a new one
  • Device compatibility is satisfactory
  • Simultaneous 5 connections
  • Simplicity in ease of use and interface
  • Large number of servers and almost all major nations and smaller ones covered

CONS:
  • Expensive
  • Stringent logging policies
  • Potential suspicious file in the install files
  • Located inside 5 eyes security
  • Blocked in major parts of China
  • Netflix access is partially prohibited
  • Customer support is a tad incompetent in comparison to others


Overview

Strange as it may sound, HideMyAss is often called the ‘donkey VPN’! With a sprawling number of servers based all over the world (above 840 in close to 350 locations in 190 countries and more), HideMyAss stays a top favorite for most people also because of being the oldest VPN service provider. Despite this widespread availability, HMA has not forsaken on the performance and speed aspects.

Considering all the pros and cons of HideMyAss, there are reasons to fall for this VPN. With the kind of unmatched servers’ networks in the industry, great pricing plans and updated version of the software in particular, you can be very comfortable using this software. Not that it’s sans its own share downsides, but those are easily overlooked when it comes to the efficiency of HMA.

Features table

Location

Does VPN keep logs?

Hiding IP

Kill-Switch

Max Connections

Total Servers

Total Countries

Compatible Devices

Compatible with TOR

Torrenting

Netflix

Does it work in China?

Average Speed Tests

Usability

Customer Support

Price

Great Britain

5

880

190

Windows, Android, MAC, iOS, Linux- all

Fast

Easy to use

Good knowledgebase and support offered via live chat and emails, but can be better an experience

$11.99/month (1 month license)

$7.99/month (6 months license)

$6.99/month (12 months license)

 

Functions/features like – Compatibility with TOR and Torrenting are actually supported but with certain limitations so I marked them as not supported. Read below for more details on how to overcome some limitations. 
1

Locations

HideMyAss has the biggest VPN network in the world. Added to that are locations, countries and IPs that no other competitor can possibly touch. With an ‘incredible’ number of 880+ servers, HideMyAss is spread over 10000 ‘available’ IPs. These servers are scattered in 340 locations and more that cover about 190 nations all over the world, which is more than any other VPN provider at present. So you will actually find this in most nations that you visit enabling accessibility of several sites, security and speed.

2

Does VPN keep logs?

Yes. You can be rest assured knowing that once you’ve logged into HideMyAss, the encryption internet tunnel connection acts as a barricade between the site activity done and anybody trying to see that online. While using, I have seen that the IP address is the only thing that can be traced and that too for 3 months only, which is also largely because of legal requirements and complying with local laws, rules and regulations.

3

Does VPN hide IP address?

Yes, but there’s a catch. It actually collects some log files. For example, it would collect your original IP address, the connection and disconnection time. This data is deleted from their server after three months. Cody Kretsinger, hacker who hacked into Sony Pictures database and was later detained by the police and he is now serving his time in jail. You might wonder who handed over Cody’s IP address to the law enforcement officials. It’s HMA. Apparently, if you are not into some illegal activities, you are safe and HMA won’t disclose your data. But that’s all theory. They routinely store usage data (it’s even in their logging policy) and if they wish, they can share your data with a third-party. There’s always a thin chance.

4

Does VPN have a kill switch?

Hidemyass kill switch

Yes! Kill switches are vital VPN components and the best of VPNs usually comes with the feature. The Kill Switch facility has been added fairly recently in HMA and there has been no looking back since. In fact, HMA has resorted to one of the best kill-switch technologies. It is way advanced than the traditional form as it allows for specific programs (like torrent client) to access the internet using a certain IP only. So consider yourself lucky if you have HMA, for you also have the kill switch as a strong safeguard.

5

Maximum number of connections

One of the best things about HMA is that you can have 5 simultaneous connections with it. This means you connect your PC, laptop, mobile device and any such thing and keep working. Besides, there are no restrictions or limitations as regards the download or upload speed is concerned, transfer limit and connection trials.

6

Total number of servers

When I talk about the total number of servers, there’s no beating HMA. It’s amazing how HMA has a record number of 890 servers with more than 100000 IPs. You can check the website for the number of servers available and the nations where it happens.

Though NordVPN is the absolute leader in the number of servers around the world (about 5000) it still loses to HMA in the number of countries they are located, 62 vs 190.
7

Number of countries

A total of 190 countries have access to HMA VPN. The servers are present in large numbers in almost all these countries. Besides, it also reaches out to 6 inhabited continents. To reach out to remote places like Africa, Middle East, smaller Pacific Islands and Greenland is not easy. But then the only place that is deprived of HMA is Antarctica. What more!

8

Compatible Devices

HMA works with almost all major platforms, including Windows, Android, Mac, iOS, Linux and more.

9

Is HMA compatible with TOR?

Well, this is a little problematic at times. But if you use Tor with HMA’s Freedom Mode, then running it won’t be an issue anymore. Well, speed loss might be a bit of a turn-off for obvious reasons.

10

Does HideMyAss support torrenting?

Well, yes, but not really. There’s a big difference between allowing the Torrent on your network and being Torrent-friendly. HMA actually allows VPN subscribers to download torrents, excepting for few scenarios, especially when the account gets suspended or cancelled without prior warning or when HMA is known to block or slow down torrents on some USA based servers and so on. Frankly speaking, there are evidences where HMA has cancelled the accounts of torrent downloading peoples who keep doing that on a frequent basis. That’s not all! They have also forwarded the complaints to users who have possibly downloaded infringing files (thanks to their long-term logging policy). I have found on the official forum that you can still use torrents but you should connect to their servers in Frankfurt, London, New York, Amsterdam and Prague.

11

Does HideMyAss work with Netflix?

Most individual users these days use VPN services for torrenting and watching movies on Netflix only. In case of HMA, it’s not true that it doesn’t work with Netflix but then again, not all the time. Think of USA where most HMA servers would allow you to log in to Netflix but not stream all the content, since it detects you are using a VPN. The only server that provides some allowance for streaming is Liberty Island, LOC 1 and LOC 2. To stream Netflix in a glitch-free manner, ensure you clear your cache and cookies also.

12

Does HMA work in China?

Bypassing restrictions imposed in China as regards to use of VPNs is not that easy. Despite its growing popularity and support provided to major VPN protocols, HMAs primary website is blocked at present in China. Well, that’s a sad piece of news surely, but breaking through the firewall is no mean feat. Even some time back, HMA had 3 Chinese servers- Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen, with the latter being the best option for all those who wished to access any content that was restricted in mainland China. The Beijing server was a virtual one in Czech Republic, but meant to allow the Beijing IP address. You would actually be doing that to the Czech one and naturally the virtual nationality would act as a saviour. As per records, that’s history. HMA has proved unsuccessful in bypassing the blocks in the nation with the IPSec protocol. So accepting it is a better decision.

13

Average Speed Tests

To an extent, the performance and speed of VPNs keep differing, largely because of the server chosen at a specific location or country and also the conditions of the internet at that point of time. One good thing about HMA is that it makes no speed claims on their website. When the testing was complete, I noticed that 15Mb/s was the download speed while upload was at 5 Mb/s at home. After some time, with no VPN being enabled and at Speedtest.net for the best test target, 18 ms ping, 15.40 Mb/s download speed and 5.57 Mb/s upload speed was found. A general trend that I observed was for most locations, download speeds didn’t exceed a couple of megabits slower than the baseline. Also, the upload speeds showed an erratic tendency, with sometimes proximity displayed at the baseline test and the other times, it was 30-40 % slower. It’s indeed impressive that the speed for the most part remained consistent across several tests of the same place. Even when disconnection and reconnection happened for fresh testing, the results showed a steady path.

14

Interface and Ease in use

HMA VPN interface

HMA stands for ease of use and a relatively simple interface. Both the website and clients display noticeable simplicity in understanding and navigation, which makes it a rather easy choice for VPN users. Now that the Pro version has come in for desktops, the working has been all the more streamlined and friendly. The individual connection modes are offered to configure the VPN connection. All the modes find the fastest server from the vast VPN network of HMA. So when choosing instant mode, you will find quick and easy set-up, location mode facilitates browsing from more than 190 nations and over 900 servers, while the freedom mode comes handy to bypass stringent and unnecessary censorship laws.

Basically, the instant mode, as the name suggests, makes sure that the immediate connection is automatically chosen. Location Mode is the most complicated of the three and the Freedom Mode gives you the added advantage when travelling in a nation where strict government firewalls prevent the accessibility of internet.

15

Security and Privacy

Based in the UK, HMA is subject to British laws for the data capture and retention. The company has kept its transparency when it comes to logging policies. As stressed earlier, the IP addresses and bandwidth usage are recorded, but I can assure you that details of specific websites that you browse through will not get revealed anyway or for that matter, the actual data that you wish to transfer.

From the security standpoint, there’s good news too. From the beginning, HMA implemented the 128-bit Blowfish data encryption, which is way shorter than the AES-256 standard employed by competitive VPNs. The DoILeak’s IP and DNS leak tests have also proved strong enough and allowed US Netflix to be accessed. Guaranteeing on the continuity is a tad tough, but then good things are up your way!

16

Performance

Even some time back in the past, HMA’s speeds have just proved mediocre but that’s far advanced now. When connectivity has been established via UK and Netherlands based servers, a decent level of 86% and 83% of normal and non-VPN download speeds have been obtained.

17

Google Trends

HideMyAss Google trends

Of the enormous number of VPN providers making their presence felt in the market, HideMyAss has stayed popular for its availability and age-old charm. I usually use Google Trends to learn what people are searching for in a specific domain, and it’s actually a popular tool among marketers and web researchers the world over as it helps them in understanding seasonal trends. I searched with the keyword ‘HideMyAss’ on google Trend and found some very interesting information.

From the very beginning, it’s been a premium one and known for its hefty price. If the recent trends are observed, the last 5 years show a noticeable decline in the popularity of HMA among internet users in the US, even when the Pro version comes packed with a lot of features that was presently absent from the VPN service. It’s quite likely that most sophisticated VPNs have made their mark in the industry, which partly explains why the trend of using HMA has decreased, particularly in the last two years. In certain regions of America, the popularity has grown. Also, the price has also justified the working of this service.

18

Customer Support

The HMA site is an interactive one and you can always resort to it for resolving any query that arises anytime. For any help or questions, the support team is present at the beck and call. You need to simply click on ‘Help’ and then type your question or keyword and press ‘Enter’. The top results will be there for you to see on the widget and that can solve the issue to an extent. The ‘Live Chat’ option is also present, whereby you can type your name and the email address and put down your query or problem for which you require assistance. Besides, there is the knowledge base where you find answers to all your queries in addition to the community that provides advice and news from users like me who are acquainted with this provider.

19

Pricing plans

  • 1 Month

    $11.99 /month
    • Billed $11.99 every month
    • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • 1 Year

    $6.99 /month
    • Save 42%
    • Billed $83.88 every 12 months
    • 30-day money-back guarantee

HideMyAss was recently acquired by AVG Technologies, and the level of privacy and pricing have improved a lot since then. At present, you can snag the monthly plan for $11.99/month, the twelve-month plan for $6.99/month, and the two yearly plan for $4.99/month. There’s a 30-days money back guarantee that comes with each paid plan. Unfortunately, for availing the free 7-day trial, you have to provide your payment information, and post the 7 days, you will be automatically billed for whole one year.

20

Should you buy it? 

If shelling out a few extra bucks doesn’t hurt you much, you should try this classic VPN service. Besides, HMA has undergone a total makeover from over the past few years, so the Pro version and all the excellent features that come with the different custom-designed packages. When it comes to connectivity options and support, HideMyAss is still the undisputed king of the VPN world. With unlimited data use and transfer and an option to change your IP address at any point, you might just fall in love with this VPN service within a few days.

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8.3 Total Score
Good

Features
8.5
Download Speed
9.5
Usability & Support
8
Price
7
PROS
  • Number of countries with servers location
  • Good speed results
  • Simultaneous 5 connections
  • Leak free connection
CONS
  • Rather expensive
  • Not stable Netflix support
  • Partial support for torrenting
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