Pricing & Plans
HideMyAss offers one all-inclusive plan, with three different tiers of pricing available: 1, 6, and 12 months. While the month-to-month price is a bit high, the annual plan is fairly cheap at just $4.99 a month.
HideMyAss pricing stays pretty close to the industry average, although it’s not quite as affordable as Private Internet Access or ibVPN.
HideMyAss allows various payment options when signing up, including all major credit cards, PayPal, and bank transfer. I was disappointed to see the absence of a Bitcoin option, but even this small detail seems to fit right in with HMA’s general lack of privacy.
HMA has a 30-day money back guarantee in place, although this isn’t available for orders made through Google Play or iTunes.
The free trial does require payment information to be submitted, but HideMyAss doesn’t charge you until the trial is up. You can cancel any time during the trial, which should be enough time to see if the service is right for you.
- Website is easy to navigate
- Only need an email to sign up
- Additional free services
- Relatively affordable
- Seven-day free trial
- Based in the UK
- Poor track record with privacy
HideMyAss started in 2005, originating as a free proxy service, and has now grown to become one of the largest VPN providers around. Unfortunately, a black mark on the service is that it is based in the UK and is subject to mandatory logging and GCHQ monitoring.
HideMyAss operates under Privax LTD, a company based in the UK. Privax was purchased in 2015 in a deal worth up to $60 million by AVG Technologies, whose security software has over 200 million active users. It is worth noting that AVG has itself been recently acquired by Avast Software, meaning HMA is in line for another change in ownership.
Due to immense popularity, HideMyAss has the largest network of any VPN provider, with over 940 servers and 120,000 IP addresses in 350 worldwide locations.
I was somewhat disappointed to see that HideMyAss only offer up to two simultaneous connections, which is slightly lower than average. IPVanish allow up to five, while ExpressVPN support up to three connections at a time.
HideMyAss does stand out from other competition by offering a nice array of free services to take advantage of. You can download free Chrome and Firefox extensions, which include a Panic Button, IP Checker and Web Proxy service. I’ll highlight some of these services further down.
Security & Privacy
HideMyAss users have the option to choose between four available protocols: OpenVPN-UDP, OpenVPN-TCP, PPTP, and L2TP. The OpenVPN protocol comes as the default, but can be changed according to your needs.
As mentioned already, HMA are in the UK, which might be one of the worst countries for privacy in the world (other than the obvious ones!) This Means that no matter what HMA might claim, they are subject to the same data retention policies as everyone else.
As mentioned already, HideMyAss offers four protocols to choose from with OpenVPN-UDP set as the default. I was disappointed to learn that HMA uses 128-bit Blowfish encryption, a far cry from the industry-standard AES-256. Hash authentication is SHA1-160 with RSA-1024 handshake encryption. While these levels of encryption are acceptable, I’d like to see improvements before recommending HideMyAss.
While HMA stresses that it does not keep any usage logs, this doesn’t seem to be the case considering past events. HMA do claim to keep connection logs for “diagnostic purposes” and this is somewhat of a grey area as well. Time of connection and disconnection, duration, and bandwidth usage are all included in these logs.
Looking to combine a VPN service with P2P activity? HideMyAss doesn’t explicitly state if P2P is allowed on their servers, but I was able to torrent and download without any issues. That being said, BestVPN has recieved comments from readers who have been sent DMCA notices while using HMA. Tread carefully!
HideMyAss has a nice website that is easy to navigate and has an account management area that makes managing your subscriptions a breeze. You can also access the referral system as well as business plan options from the homepage.
HMA also has a blog kept regularly updated with helpful security tips and VPN installation guides.
HideMyAss’s customer service is what I have come to expect with most VPN providers, with options for live chat and e-mail, as well as an extensive knowledge base. I was slightly disappointed (but not surprised) to see the absence of telephone support.
To get a better idea of the quality of HideMyAss support, I conducted a quick live chat test. I did the test on a weekday morning to see what kind of response time I could receive. Surprisingly enough, I received an answer just a few minutes after submitting, with a knowledgeable rep being very helpful regarding encryption.
Social media is a huge deal these days, and HideMyAss doesn’t miss a beat by maintaining a profile on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus. HMA appears to be quite responsive on these profiles, regularly posting content and engaging with followers.
Signing up to HideMyAss is pretty quick and only requires an email and your payment details in order to get going. If you are signing up to the trial like I did, take comfort knowing that HMA won’t charge until the seven day period expires.
I liked the ability to combine HMA’s free anonymous email service when signing up, which adds some additional privacy to the process. More on that further down.
The HideMyAss Windows VPN client
The HideMyAss Windows client is pretty light when compared to the competition. The client is easy to use and comes with three options for connecting to HMA servers. The “Instant” option quickly connects to the nearest server and ensures the best speed. “Location” allows you to choose a server from HMA’s vast list. The final “Freedom” option is slightly gimmicky as it connects to the closest country with a “high level of freedom of speech”.
When I described the HMA Windows client as “light,” I wasn’t kidding. The only additional feature other than the connect/disconnect slider is an IP change feature which will randomly assign you a new IP address.
Performance (Speed, DNS, WebRTC and IPv6 Tests)
Speed tests were done on some of HideMyAss VPN servers (Germany, UK, and USA) to see how the service performs.
Graphs show highest, lowest and average speeds for each server and location. See our full speed test explanation for more detail.
As you can see, the speed test results were fairly consistent, even if they were quite slow. With HideMyAss based in the UK, I wasn’t surprised to see some of our best results coming from the UK servers. HMA’s New York City server did give some confusing results regarding upload speed (better than Germany!).
I also did run into some connection trouble with the Dusseldorf, Germany location and wasn’t able to access the Internet when connected. Whether or not the server is part of a bigger issue remains to be seen. In fairness, I didn’t experience any other connection issues with HideMyAss.
The usual checks for DNS or WebRTC issues resulted in no leaks through HideMyAss’s servers. When considering HMA’s controversial history regarding privacy, this was a sigh of relief.
In addition to the Windows client we mentioned already, HideMyAss has apps for iOS, Mac, and Android platforms. I gave the iOS app a whirl to get an idea of how the service performs on a mobile device.
After downloading the 10.5 MB HMA app from the App store, I was able to quickly sign in and choose from the wide range of servers available. The iOS app resembles the HideMyAss desktop client regarding functionality and design. You can choose your VPN protocol (IPSec, L2TP, or PPTP) and there is a setting that allows you to always stay connected to a VPN.
Installation guides and tutorials for additional platforms are also available directly on HMA’s website. Check them out if you have Android, Windows Phone or any other device.
Other/ Free Services
HMA also offers a range of free services that you can use from the website. While these aren’t jaw-dropping or reasons to instantly purchase a subscription to HMA, they are nice additional touches.
HideMyAss Free Proxy Service
For starters, their “Free Proxy Service” offers a simple way to bypass geo-restricted content on the Internet. You choose which country to connect to and the website you want to visit, and HideMyAss takes care of the rest.
While this is a nice way of allowing people browse restricted websites for free, the free proxy is also very limited. Streaming, encryption and gaming are not supported, and speeds are (understandably) lower than using a VPN.
HideMyAss Anonymous Email Service
HideMYAss also offers an “Anonymous Email” service, which allows you to instantly create a free email account. This allows you to hide your email address when signing up to services (such as HideMyAss!).
Anonymous email is a nice extra service that adds a certain degree of anonymity to the sign-up process. You can also set your email address to auto-delete after a certain period.
HideMyAss Anonymous Link Referrer Service
HideMyAss also has an Anonymous Referrer Service that allows you to create anonymous links that are untraceable back to you. The service is useful when you don’t want a website owner to know who referred traffic to their site.
When a website owner looks at a link create through this service, the only entity they will be able to trace the link back to is the HideMyAss website.
HideMyAss Review Conclusion
- Easy to navigate website and apps
- Additional free services
- Seven-day free trial
- Only need an e-mail when signing up
- Pretty affordable plans
I wasn’t so sure about
- Encryption strength
- Apps lacking some advanced features
- Based in the UK
- Poor track record with privacy
As one of the biggest VPN providers out there, there was hope that HideMyAss had corrected some of the issues since the last review. Unfortunately, a skimpy VPN service (minus the free services) in addition to some extreme privacy concerns have confirmed HideMyAss as one of the worst VPN providers out there.
HMA does boast an impressive list of locations (assuming they all work), and the website and clients are pretty easy to navigate. If you are looking for an affordable option for general web browsing, it might be worth checking out HideMyAss’s seven-day free trial.
My biggest concern with HMA is the privacy issue. With HMA being from the UK and subject to extremely strict laws regarding privacy, I don’t think my opinion will be changing anytime soon. Impending UK legislation such as the Snooper’s Charter creates even more doubts regarding HideMyAss.