HideMyAss (HMA) is a well-known VPN service provider with a vast client base. When compared to other VPNs, it is among the most pocket-friendly VPNs. It is based in the United Kingdom, and it has been providing services for almost a decade.
Previously, HideMyAss has had somewhat a controversial reputation among privacy backers. This controversy was due to its cooperation with the FBI. It willingly provided access to VPN logs. However, HMA has changed since then, and it has worked a lot to clear its name. It is now a 100% no-logs VPN.
HideMyAss has a vast network of servers of over 1,100 distributed in 190 countries worldwide. This is good news to anybody who wants to access censored or geo-blocked content. Its speeds are incredible and can access famous streaming sites like Netflix and iPlayer. This has made it an ideal alternative for VPN users looking for an all-around VPN that is pocket friendly.
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Does HideMyAss Keep Logs?
Logging & Jurisdiction HideMyAss (HMA) VPN Review
HideMyAss is currently a trusted no-logs VPN. The good news is that it finally removed the intrusive logging policy that was once its main setback.
By being a no-logs VPN, HMA does not at any point collect and keep any data that could be used to unmask a user from his/her online activities. Your online activity remains hidden from HMA and private to you.
The small data that HideMyAss logs is aggregated and is not linked to any particular user. This has been confirmed by VerSprite, a verified and trusted cyber-security consulting firm that did an audit on HMA’s systems. VerSprite awarded HMA a “low-risk user privacy impact rating.” This is the best classification.
The only data that HMA retains is your username and email address. This is common among VPNs. The most significant thing is that HideMyAss’s policy on no-logs prevents your online activities from being linked to you. This is very important considering that HMA is based in the United Kingdom.
In case you need a VPN majorly for protecting your privacy and anonymity, I advise that you avoid HMA because of its past controversy. However, if you want to stream or access iPlayer and Netflix, then HMA is a good option for you.
HMA is based in the United Kingdom
HMA’s located in the UK immediately raises eyebrows. The UK is a dreadful base for a VPN. She has data intrusive retention measures now arrayed in the United Kingdom Investigatory Powers Act, popularly referred to as Snooper’s Charter.
The United Kingdom is also an associate of the FVEY (Five Eyes Alliance). This international intelligence-sharing agreement is meant to share and collect surveillance information amongst the world’s super-power countries. Being an ally to FVEY means that the UK will give data to international law enforcement agencies if necessary.
Unfortunately, HMA has a lousy record when it comes to logging. There is a time HMA provided data of a member of the hacktivist to the FBI after a UK court order. The person was successfully arrested. Another incident happened in 2017 where a judge from Texas was put behind bars for harassment and stalking. He was an HMA user, and his identity was unmasked using connection timestamps. HMA has since then tried to justify these instances, but it has been understandably seen as a small breach of trust.
However, all these instances of HMA supplying data to investigative agencies happened under HMA’s old policy. Previously HideMyAss logged sensitive data like connection timestamps and IP addresses, which made it possible for law enforcement agencies to unearth a particular HMA client from his online activity.
How fast is HideMyAss?
HideMyAss (HMA) VPN Review
HMA is one of the fastest VPN; during testing, it displayed fast speeds. When we tried the local download speeds, they were amazing, and they went down slightly, that is, from 99Mbps to 96Mbps. This is when connected to a nearby server. On the other hand, international speeds and connection times were also great. Most locations recorded 70Mbps. This is great and is one of the best VPN speeds.
HMA is also an excellent VPN for gamers because latency is impressively low, approximately 5ms for many locations.
These connections speeds are impressive, and they put HideMyAss at the top of commercial VPNs. The speeds are stable, which implies that HMA can support data-intensive tasks such as gaming, HD streaming, and video conferencing without any problem.
We genuinely commend that a VPN with such consistent and fast connection speeds would be the best choice for torrents. However, due to this VPN’s past misuse of user data, torrents should be a little bit careful with it. The same may repeat; you never know.
Streaming & Torrenting
When it comes to streaming, HMA is among the top VPNs in the market. It is consistent at bypassing firewall checks for the BBC, iPlayer, Amazon Prime Video, and Netflix which is a household name.
HMA features dedicated servers made exclusively for the famous streaming sites, making unblocking iPlayer and US Netflix a walk in the park. Of all the streaming servers we have tested, HMA dedicated servers are among the most reliable when it comes to unblocking popular streaming sites.
The servers are easy to locate in the HMA app and are always accessed through the sidebar. This feature makes it easy to switch between German, the US, and the UK Netflix libraries very simple. Apart from its capacity to access popular streaming sites, HideMyAss has incredible download speeds meaning that streaming BBC, iPlayer, and Netflix will be pretty straightforward.
However, it could have been great if HMA could access Disney+ because its competitors can unblock it without any hassle.
Is HMA VPN Good for Torrenting?
Because of HMA’s history and cooperation with law enforcement agencies, we do not recommend it. Apart from this, HMA users have also raised concerns about their accounts being banned for breaking DMCA ((Digital Millennium Copyright Act) laws.
While HideMyAss no longer keeps logs and identifiable data like connection timestamps, it cannot be trusted when it comes to torrenting because of its controversial history of complying with government investigative agencies.
HideMyAss Pricing Plan
HMA has three subscription plans, and each is accompanied by the same features. As always with top VPN service providers, when you go for the most extended subscription plans, you save some good cash even if you will have to pay fully to enjoy it.
The HMA annual plan will cost you $4.99 a month; it is fantastic compared to what you get. HMA’s best price deal comes with a subscription of 3 years, giving you a significant 75% saving and cutting down the monthly cost to $2.99.
While HMA’s price for more extended subscription plans is excellent, HideMyAss’s short-term subscriptions are abnormally expensive. They are additionally separate from HMA’s main pricing page, and it is rare to access them. They are only accessed through HMA’s extended section on its website.
In case you feel these prices are high, HMA offers a fantastic 7-day free trial with no question asked one-month money-back guarantee. This allows you to test the VPN and decide whether you will go for it.
Compared to rival companies, HMA’s prices are a bit high because we have more pocket-friendly VPNs like Surfshark, which asks for $2.21 per month for a two-year subscription. There are other cheaper ones like PrivateVPN, which also asks for $1.98 per month for a two-ye
HMA accepts a number of payment options, including; credit cards, PayPal, Bitcoin, UnionPay, and Alipay.
Is HideMyAss Secure?: HideMyAss (HMA) VPN Review
HideMyAss is secure to use though it is not the most secure VPN. It masks your DNS requests and IP address with strong AES-256 encryption and first-party servers. HMA also features some other tunneling protocols like OpenVPN, IKEv2, and L2TP.
HMA through strong it is not secure when using it on Mac and iOS. This VPN has a compromising past when it comes to security and features on Apple iOS and Mac operating systems.
When we ran HMA, our test results showed that HideMyAss does not leak your DNS requests and the IP address or WebRTC on any device except the macOS and iOS, which leaked the DNS requests and IP address when reconnecting.
Some other advanced security features include split tunneling and an IP refreshing tool that assigns you a new IP in the same location in case the one you were using is suddenly blocked. This is important if a site blocks you, and you don’t want to scratch your head trying other servers until you spot one that works. You only need to click the IP refresh button, and a new IP will be assigned to you in seconds.
Version 5 of HMA has a kill switch feature for Android, Mac, and Windows clients. This feature will make sure that your data doesn’t leak in case your connection suddenly falls or drops.
HMA utilizes the most secure options on the market to encrypt your data. We researched this, and the results were amazing. We found that HMa securely encrypts your traffic and masks your data safely. HideMyAss OpenVPN connections utilize the following algorithms; AES 256, 3DES, 256 bit, and RC5 encryptions. These are very strong and secure encryption options.
When HMA is running, the data is melted down to random text strings and not plain language. This means that your information such as name, passwords, email address, and more will not be left visible to any hacker, especially on unsecured public WIFi networks.
This can sound a bit complicated, but it is of utmost importance. In case your preferred VPN service provider doesn’t encrypt your online traffic, its effectiveness as a security and privacy tool goes down. The only drawback to HMA’s encryption options is that there is a missing link somewhere when it comes to Apple platforms.
HideMyAss has great apps for all popular devices
HMA is supported on all major platforms such as Mac, Android, iOS, and Windows. HMA VPN apps are among the favorite on the market. They are simple to use, they are appealing, and they add some amusement to your VPN experience.
HMA also allows you to connect to five devices with one HideMyAss subscription simultaneously.
There are some differences between HideMyAss applications on different platforms, the section below highlights some of these differences.
HMA’s web proxy extensions proved to be among the best we have ever seen so far. They are free, their consistency in unblocking US Netflix is excellent, and they have unlimited bandwidth.
HideMyAss’ free web proxy unblocks US Netflix
HideMyAss (HMA) VPN Review
The browser extensions are limited to only specific locations. They are limited to just five major locations, which include the following;
- Frankfurt, Germany
- London, United Kingdom
- Paris, France
- New York, United States
- Amsterdam, Netherlands
The limited number of available locations is not that a significant setback. However, you do not have to worry so much because it includes countries with popular streaming libraries like the US, Netflix. You can also download browser extensions online for free.
However, you have to stay cautious because, like most VPN browser extensions, these are mere proxies and not VPN. This simply means that you only mask your location when connected to an HMA web proxy, but your browser activity is not masked. It also does not encrypt your traffic and simply does nothing to mask your online privacy.
In simple, HMA’s web proxy only logs the following data:
- Your original Internet Protocol address
- Files looked at on the sites you visit
- Encoded URLs of the websites you visit
This is invasive data collection from HideMyAss VPN. However, it is right in case you want a straightforward and thrifty way to access geo-restricted streaming libraries like US Netflix.
Avoid HMA’s browser extensions and web proxy like a plague if you are serious about protecting your online security and online anonymity; instead, stick to the VPN.
HMA doesn’t work in China
HMA works inconsistently in China. That means that if you want to access famous websites and apps like Instagram, Whatsapp and Google is not always easy. Though, HMA works more successfully in some other heavily censored locations, with the VPN working in Russia, UAE, and Turkey.
China has currently blocked the HMA website. So, if you want to download it in China, you have to use another VPN to download the HideMyAss application. HMA gives its customers special sign-up URLs with a design to bypass the Great Firewall. However, these specialized URLs have also proved to be unreliable and inconsistent.
HideMyAss VPN allows its clients to get a Chinese IP from any part of the globe; however, it has VPN servers in China. This means you can get good access to CNTV, Tudou, iQiyi, and Youku from any location.
In fact, HideMyAss has had a crisis with the Russian media regulator. HMA was among the ten VPNs that the Roskomnadzor (Russian media regulator) targeted as part of its onslaught on VPN service providers. HMA was adamant about abiding with the Russian government, and it instead decided to remove its servers from Russia. However, you can still use HMA in Russia. It is only that you can’t be able to connect to a Russian VPN server.
Due to HMA’s vast server network in more than 190 countries, the lack of Russian servers is not a big deal as several VPN servers are available in nearly all neighboring countries.
Usability & Features
HMA version 5, which is the newest update, features a couple of intuitive features. It is among the most intuitive and sleekest VPN apps we have ever come across. HMA went ahead and removed the unneeded clutter that was on the previous app, making it simple and easy to use. HMA’s revamped design is the most intuitive about the current update.
It is no longer a stale VPN app as before. The new design modernizes the app and adds in some whimsy. This alone is an outstanding improvement. However, HideMyAss’s effort to make the app simpler is what left us with some questions.
Since then, HideMyAss has removed the confusingly labeled Location Mode, Instant Mode, and Freedom Mode options, which were always confusing and misleading users. These modes have been substituted with a single button, making a connection to the HMA VPN as easy as it is supposed to be. HMA clearly explains some of its advanced connection features. That makes it simple and accessible to even the most novice VPN client. A newly added side panel is also there.
Useful online support but limited live chat
HideMyAss (HMA) VPN Review
HMA is easy and straightforward to install and use on all platforms. However, you are still likely to encounter a couple of issues.
The good news is that HMA is supported by an elaborate online knowledgebase that incorporates FAQ, detailed guides, and sometimes video guides. Nevertheless, if you reach a point where you need to talk to their support representative, HMA’s support for customers is not the best.
HideMyAss currently cut down their hours of availability online from 24/7 to CET 8 am-11 pm. This is really disappointing for a VPN service provider that boasts itself for a worldwide server network.
Their live chat customer support availability from 8 am to 11 pm, for instance, means that clients from Los Angeles will only have from 11 pm to 2 pm to chat with HMA support. Moreover, the clients from Australia and Sydney will have from 6 pm to 9 pm to chat with the support. However, when their live chat is available, they are really helpful and quick to respond to their clients’ issues.
The Bottom Line
HMA is one of the fastest and user-friendly VPNs. When it comes to streaming BBC, iPlayer, and US Netflix, it is one of the most consistent VPNs so far.
While HideMyAss is probably not the most inexpensive or private VPN service provider, its Windows app is where it proves it’s worth a VPN. It is fast, has a plethora of server locations, and will indeed serve many people, especially the streamers and many others.
HideMyAss’s 7-day grace period for trial and the one-month money-back guarantee sounds like a good deal for beginners who want to try it out before they decide to commit their cash to it.
However, HMA’s previous incidents of logging customer data, unreliable kill switch feature, and compliance with the FBI and other law enforcement agencies is something to worry about. This makes HMA, not a good privacy VPN.
HMA works best if you are using it for low-level privacy requirements such as masking your web traffic from your ISP or being safe on Wi-Fi, especially public ones. Furthermore, if you are a streamer who is looking for a reliable, simple, and fast VPN, the HMA will serve you best. If your primary requirement from a VPN is high privacy levels, we advise that you look for a more secure VPN with verified foolproof applications and a no-logs policy. Try elsewhere if you are looking for a VPN for torrenting and anonymity.
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