HidemyAss! (2021) Review + Guide
Are you looking for a new Hidemyass review? That’s logical, the last couple of years these services have gained enormous popularity, almost 30% of the internet users has been using VPN services over the past 5 years. We at Globalwatchonline.com tested and tried all different providers for you, read our comprehensive HMA review and learn everything about this service, we are sure that once you’re done reading you will know if this provider suits you.
Who and what is Hidemyass VPN?
HMA is a popular VPN provider with a large network of 1,070+ servers in 210+ countries. Some of this VPN’s biggest strengths are its user-friendly interface, impressive speeds, and ability to bypass geoblocks (even Netflix’s!) It’s newest update, HMA Version 5, includes new design features and an auto-generated diagnostics mode.
- Arguably the most impressive update is its Lightning-mode feature, which connects you to the fastest and closest server automatically.
- HMA also offers robust security; all apps are protected by military-grade encryption. Mac, Windows, and Android users enjoy additional protection from a smart kill switch.
The VPN also now maintains a no-logs policy for all compatible devices mentioned on its website, and has been verified no-logs by VerSprite.Downsides include the fact that you can’t opt for a month-by-month subscription and the company’s concerning UK headquarters.
What are the advantages and pro’s?
- World’s largest network of servers
- Often has sales with significant discounts
- Cross-platform capabilities
- 5 simultaneous devices
- Great website
- No data restrictions
Table of Contents
|USABILITY:||Simple and easy to use|
|LOG FILES:||Some Logging Policy|
|LOCATIONS:||190+ countries, 950+ servers|
|SUPPORT:||Social media and email
|NETFLIX:||Blocks Netflix USA|
|ENCRYPTION/PROTOCOL:||256-bit AES; OpenVPN, PPTP, L2TP/IPSec|
Pretty Consistent Server Speeds
HMA’s combined speed tests place them at number 20 out of 78 on our list. That doesn’t sound amazing, but there’s not a lot that separates the people at the top. Here’s how the process works. We like to start by getting a baseline reading of our normal internet connection. At the time of this review, those benchmark speeds without a VPN were 97 Mbps download and 53 Mbps upload. Then, we connect to various VPN servers around the world, and use a reputable third-party tool (SpeedTest.net) to get current performance readings and see if this is a really fast VPN.
US Server (New York)
- Ping: 113ms
- Download: 58.98 Mbps (39% slower)
- Upload: 30.38 Mbps (43% slower)
EU Server (Amsterdam)
- Ping: 41ms
- Download: 63.34 Mbps (35% slower)
- Upload: 50.12 Mbps (6% slower)
Asia Server (Hong Kong)
- Ping: 284ms
- Download: 19.25 Mbps (80% slower)
- Upload: 13.09 Mbps (75% slower)
UK Server (London)
- Ping: 45ms
- Download: 64.42 Mbps (34% slower)
- Upload: 43.30 Mbps (19% slower)
These are pretty decent in reality. They’re not the fastest by any stretch. But the US, EU, and UK servers were all pretty consistent, which is a good indicator of overall performance across their other servers. Unfortunately, that Asia one tanked and dragged them down a bit. However, if you have a ~75% chance at getting the US, EU, or UK speeds, you’d be happy.
Tons of Available Servers in Most Major Countries
HMA’s servers reach out across all six inhabited continents. That’s over 930 servers in 280 locations across 190 countries. They reach remote destinations like Greenland, cover Africa and the Middle East really well, plus a few in smaller Pacific Islands, too. It seems like the only place they don’t have a server is Antarctica. Generally speaking, the more available servers, the better.
- Now, it’s not the end-all, be-all metric. Many VPN companies lie about their servers, in fact. They might lease or rent many of these servers from other companies, thereby ‘artificially’ boosting their total number. But overall, total size is a pretty good indicator for expected performance. It means your chances of finding a less-crowded server are better. As well as one closer to your physical location (which tend to be faster than ones further away).
Good Device Compatibility
HideMyAss! has pre-built apps for Windows, Mac, iOS, Linux, and Android devices. It does not support TOR, however. The last time I reviewed HMA!, each account only allows for two different devices to be used at one time.
- This has changed now, and as at February 2021 you can use your HMA! account with up to 5 simultaneous devices. They also offer a business VPN plan for larger numbers of devices. But it’s also more expensive, too.
Fortunately, HMA! works on routers, too. FlashRouters, in particular, have HMA pre-installed on them, so all you have to do is sign in. That means you can hook up a router, and then connect as many devices imaginable including smart TVs and gaming consoles.You can protect all of these devices with OpenVPN (256-bit encryption), PPTP and L2TP/IPSec.
- It’s not the most extensive protocol list we’ve ever seen, but again, it covers the basics well. Most people should just stick with OpenVPN by default, anyway. Unless device limitations force them into L2TP/IPSec. And as a general rule, stay away from PPTP if you can help it.
The HMA! app is really simple to use. Sign up for an account, grab your install files and authentication code, and you’re good to go. The app is even available in multiple languages, so you’ve got tons of potential options.Simply login with your access credentials, and you’re a click away from connecting. No complexity or technical skills required. One of the more user-friendly apps we’ve tested.
VPN connections aren’t always as secure as they appear to be. The little green icon on your app looks good to go. But your ISP (and everyone else) can actually see where you’re sitting. We ran HMA! through a series of DNS and WebRTC leak tests to specifically look for this problem, and they came out clean in each one.
- The app also has a built-in kill switch which helps with security.You can get connected instantly. Or, switch up your location and adjust settings. That’s about it! That’s significant, because many other VPN companies tout huge server lists, only to have them all highly concentrated in North America and Europe — leaving the rest of the world high and dry.
HMA! has three individual price tiers. You get the same exact features with each one. The only difference is a slight price break for longer pre-payments.
- $11.99 monthly
- $83.88 every 12 months ($6.99 per month – 42% discount)
- $119.76 every 24 months ($4.99 per month – 58% discount)
There is a 30-day free trial. You’ll need to enter a valid credit card or PayPal to take advantage. But they also provide a 30-day money-back guarantee, too. So that means you’re looking at ~60 days to test drive their service. That’s one of the best deals you’ll find.
- The only refund issues are that it has to be the first time you’ve purchased HideMyAss!, and you have to have used less than 10GB of bandwidth. You’ll have to fill out the refund request form. An annual commitment for $6.99/month is not the cheapest VPN out there. But the lengthy test drive period should be worth a few extra bucks.
HMA! delivers most of the features you’d be looking for. No issues or glaring holes there. Speed is pretty good. Tons of servers. Available for most devices. But it’s what’s under the hood that scares us a little bit. Read on to find out.
Potential Suspicious File in their Install files
A VPN protects you from the prying eyes of aggressive governments, ISPs, or hackers. But who, exactly, protects you from the VPN themselves? That’s the key question we’re trying to help you with in this review. For starters, we take the installation files from every single VPN provider and run them through VirusTotal.com to double-check that they’re not inadvertently infecting your machine. HMA!’s files game back with a suspicious warning. This could be a false positive. However, you might want to test your own install files to make sure they’re clean before downloading to your device. It’s concerning to say the least. But unfortunately, it’s also just the beginning of a few warning signs.
HideMyAss! Collects Log Files
Their logging policy confirms that they hang onto the following data:
- Connect and disconnect timestamps
- Amount of data transmitted (upload and download)
- IP address used to connect to the VPN
- IP address of the VPN server used
Already, that’s not good. You don’t necessarily want your VPN to keep track of your own IP address. Because that still gives them a direct link between online activities and your location (and potentially your identity). But that’s not all they track. They also collect the following:
- monitor the use of the network for technical purposes and to manage and improve the service;
- prevent and detect fraud against the service (e.g. credit card fraud);
- prevent and detect abuse of the network, such as spamming, file sharing or other illicit activity.
Inside Five Eyes Security Alliance
HMA! is owned by Privax Limited, a UK-based organization. First off, the UK is among the most aggressive when it comes to spying on their own citizens. But as a card-carrying member of the Five Eyes security alliance, it means they also have the help of other aggressive governments like the U.S. That’s not good. You already saw why in the last point. When courts come calling, HMA! will hand over your data instantly. They also have a connection to your personal data. Other HMA! users have been complaining about having their accounts suspended for violating Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) statutes.
- So guess what’s happening? HMA! is definitely logging your activity. They’re willingly sharing it with UK courts. And then those courts are turning around and sharing it with government agencies across the world. Avoiding any illegal activity while using HMA! is a good start.
- But it’s also not the point. Using a VPN isn’t about concealing illegal acts. It’s about keeping your private information private. And the evidence all says that HMA! fails miserably here. In this case, the VPN tasked to protect you is also the first one to turn you in.
Netflix Streaming and Torrenting Discouraged
HideMyAss! was a very popular choice as a Netflix streaming VPN a few years ago. Unfortunately, that’s not the same case today. We were only able to get one server in Amsterdam to successfully stream content. The others we tried, including New York (U.S.), District of Columbia (U.S.), Montreal and Glasgow all failed miserably.Their site makes bold claims about unblocking content. However, the facts that we saw through actual tests debunk these claims.
And while HMA doesn’t prohibit torrenting, they also aren’t exactly torrent-friendly VPN either. They might not block your torrent client, but users have reported either extra-slow data transfer or outright blocking of torrent servers. DMCA warnings haven’t added to anyone’s confidence level, either. If you’re getting a warning or an account suspension for violating copyright restrictions, it’s probably because of HMA!’s records of your torrenting activity.
The Support Of HMA isn’t that great
HideMyAss!’s support team is available on social media and email. Except, they don’t respond quite as quickly as we like to see here. Many support requests on Twitter are simply referred to the standard channels. There are several ways to get in touch with HMA’s support team if you run into any issues. You can submit a request ticket on the website or reach out through HMA’s 24/7 live chat support. You can also get in contact with the support team through social media.
- When I tested HMA’s live chat, I received a response within two minutes. The customer support agent was prompt and helpful. HMA provides other resources on its website, too.
- There is a series of guides on topics like cybersecurity, geo-spoofing, and online privacy. These guides are funny and engaging, as well as informative. There are also detailed installation guides, FAQs, a knowledge base, and a community forum.
Do We Recommend HideMyAss!?
No, we don’t. HideMyAss! starts out well. Speed and server numbers were respectable. Plus, they might have the best name of the lot. But in the end, the privacy concerns are just too overwhelming. We’re sure HideMyAss! wants to do the best they can in supporting their customers’ privacy. But combine their past logging activities, infamous court cases, and aggressive jurisdiction are just too much to overlook.
Plus, this affects other activities you might be looking for, like Netflix or Torrenting. Both are basically nonexistent at the moment, and we don’t see that changing anytime soon. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for catching cyber criminals. However, you’re paying a VPN for privacy at the end of the day. HMA! delivers a lot of things. But based on record after record that we’ve seen, privacy isn’t one of them, for that option you can better use ExpressVPN, Surfshark or NordVPN and Cyberghost VPN.
- Fast, user-friendly VPN that is great for streaming and escaping censorship. HMA offers a sleek, powerful service with a user-friendly interface and excellent server speeds. One-click Lightning Connect makes it easy to escape government surveillance and censorship. On the other hand, privacy lovers may not like the fact that HMA is based in a 5/9/14 Eyes Alliance country.
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Is HMA free?
HMA offers three pricing plans, each with the same features. As is common with VPNs, HMA’s longer subscription plans offer a better value for your money. The subscriptions are affordable and reasonable for HMA’s quality of service. However, the discounts offered on HMA’s longer plans aren’t as big as those offered by some other high-quality VPNs. HMA also has a 7-day free trial and a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can try out the service risk-free. This is a great option if you can’t decide if HMA is the right choice for you.You can pay for HMA through PayPal, Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and UnionPay.
Is HMA VPN Compatible with my Device?
HMA is compatible with all major platforms. There are native apps for Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS. HMA also provides user-friendly manual installation guides for Linux and routers. There are a few differences across devices. HMA’s Windows, macOS, and Android apps include a kill switch, IP Refresh, and IP Shuffle. None of these features are available on HMA’s iOS apps.
The Windows app also gives you the ability to choose which apps are covered by the kill switch. The native Android app offers a useful split-tunneling feature. Split-tunneling allows you to choose which parts of your connection you want to protect with the VPN. You can connect up to five simultaneous devices with one HMA subscription.
Is HMA VPN Good for Torrenting?
HMA offers good support for torrenting. P2P traffic is allowed on designated high-speed optimized servers. P2P-enabled servers are clearly listed on the HMA app. You can choose and connect with one click.
Does HMA VPN Have an Adblocker?
HMA does not include an adblocker in its VPN service.
Does HMA VPN Work in China?
Although HMA has worked in China in the past, it does not reliably provide service to customers in China. Many users in China may find that HMA is blocked. HMA has stated that it will continue to look for ways to provide better access to customers in China. Currently, though, it is not able to guarantee that HMA will function in China.