• User Friendly Interface • Limitless Server Locations • Above Average Speeds
The service was first created in 2005 by sixteen-year-old Jack Cator of Norfolk, England, as a workaround to the restrictions his school’s network placed on games and music. Using open source code, he created the program in just a few hours. From there, he promoted the tool on various forums and it was eventually featured on the front page of Digg. By 2014, the service had attracted more than 10 million users. By 2015, it became one of the largest VPN providers in the world. Later that same year, it was acquired by AVG technologies for a sum of $40 million, after which it became part of Avast.
With version 4.0 of HMA comes some new features.
• IP Shuffle. With this feature, you can set up HideMyAss! to randomly shuffle the IP address it uses. Your options are limitless here, so you can switch the address once a day, once an hour, every 12 hours, whatever you like. Randomizing and constantly switching IP addresses means you fool trackers as they can’t keep up with your jumps. This is especially true if you’re utilizing the entire selection of about 900 servers worldwide.
• Kill Switch. Used with the above mentioned IP Shuffle, this feature provides an excellent fail-safe. It’s designed to sever your internet connection if your VPN should drop out for any reason—when switching IP addresses for example. This extra layer of protection ensures you’re never under the assumption you’re cloaked when you’re not.
• Redesigned Location Mode. This simply makes it easier for you to pick and choose your favorite server locations.
• Trusted Networks. You can assign this designation to any network you trust so that your VPN knows it doesn’t need to connect.
Outside of the new version update, HMA continues to use a variety of VPN protocols, and this seems to be dependent on what platform they are running on. HMA uses OpenVPN—considered to be the best protocol—on Windows, but not other platforms. However, this seems to be due to constraints in place on the platform side, not the HMA side.
While this isn’t part of the core software, HMA has added full server-side encryption to their infrastructure. All drives that power HMA’s VPN servers have protection in place against actual physical theft and tampering of data.
Let’s just say HMA has far too many locations to list. The condensed answer is they have more than 940 servers in over 280 locations in more than 190 countries. So chances are, where ever you would like to find a server location, you’ll likely find one.
HMA is compatible with Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, and Linux. Compatible routers are also supported.
Unfortunately, HMA does not have any browser extensions.
Game Consoles & Other Devices
HideMyAss! will natively support the following consoles:
• Chromecast • PlayStation • Xbox
Note: Whatever consoles and devices HMA doesn’t support natively can still be supported via a supported router.
Ease of Use & Performance
The user interface is simple and intuitive, so no issues there. In terms of performance tests, latency, and ping were barely impacted against local servers, but weren’t quite as good against international servers, so expect a bit of a slow down there.
Download speed tests are impressive, with speeds in the top ranks. However, again, when tested against international servers, speeds did drop. It’s important to note though that these drops in speed and performance when using an international server are normal and the same will likely happen with any VPN you choose to use.
Number of Licenses & Package Details
A single HMA license covers up to 5 devices—any combination of desktop or mobile. If your router is compatible, you also have the option of installing this at the router level and protecting your entire network. The HMA website provides a list of compatible devices as well as leads you to how-to articles for the installation procedures.
Unlike some of their competition, HMA doesn’t offer a free plan, but they do have a 30-day money-back guarantee, so at least you have the chance to test it out before you commit long-term.
They have a 1 month, 12 month and 24 month plan. Note that all plans are billed at once, not monthly. Their best deal, price wise, is the 24 month plan. The breakdown cost per month is $4.99 with the onetime billing equaling $119.76. Your other options are $11.99 per month for one month—the most expensive monthly option—and $6.99 per month billed at $83.88 for the 12 month plan.
Customer support consists of an array of how-to guides, FAQs, and a knowledge base. They also have a web forum and 24/7 live chat.
As like other services that offer a web forum, there are staff members who can and will answer questions, but this isn’t a very busy forum. Regardless, you can be sure your questions will be addressed in a fairly timely fashion.
If speed and a server located virtually anywhere are your only considerations, look no further than HMA. However, if you have some significant privacy concerns, you may want to take the time to go over their data collections policies. They are totally transparent about what they log and how long they hold on to those logs, and kudos to them for that. They do log a time stamp of your connection, your true IP address and the IP address of the server you connect to, as well as your username. Frankly, this isn’t much different from what their competitors do, however, they retain this info for up to 3 months, while others will trash it almost immediately.