Still looking for that perfect VPN provider, one that ticks all the right boxes? Today, I am going to take a look at a uniquely named business, one that has been around for 10-years. A company that has a chequered past and is under new ownership. So, sit back, and get ready to learn what there is to know in my HideMyAss review.
HideMyAss Review – Pros and Cons
If you are looking to make a quick decision about this VPN provider, and sign up fast. Here are what I think are its biggest pros and cons.
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- Servers in 190 countries
- Responsive customer support
- Secure OpenVPN encryption
- Above average download speeds
- No IP address leaks
- Some session logs are kept
- Limited configurability
- Pricey compared to other providers
- Encryption could be better
Plans and Pricing
To start with let’s get to the crux of what is on your mind … price. How much will access to HideMyAss VPN servers cost you?
Well, to start with allow me to explain what is on offer. Much like most other VPN companies, there are three packages. Each offers different payment options and levels of saving; however, the features available once signed up are the same. Although should you not be happy after becoming a customer, a 30-day money back guarantee, ensures a quick exit.
You have the choice of the following:
- Pay Monthly: Recurring at $11.52 per month
- 1-year plan: Billed in advance $78.66 every 12-months
- 6-month plan: Billed in advance $49.99 every 6-months
Payment and Sign-Up
Once you have chosen the plan for you, click Get VPN. You will then be taken to a sign-up page where the option to pay by credit/debit card, PayPal, or UnionPay is available. From this point, you could be up and running within 9-minutes.
To do that, choose your preferred payment method, and then proceed to enter the required details. Once you have done that, click Place Order then check your email. You should get a welcome message detailing your signed up for service and how to proceed.
Now, that you know what plans are on offer and how to sign-up, what HideMyAss features are there?
While HideMyAss supports all major platforms, Windows, OS X, Android, and iOS. The supporting software is not as configurable as that provided by some of its competitors. Designed so that a novice can pick it up and start using within a few minutes, it ignores advanced users.
However, what this apparent short-coming does mean, is everyone should find it easy to use. Basically, the features and interface on offer are the essentials only. As for layout for each client, they are organized to be easy to find. Meaning a server can be changed, and other features configured to your requirements.
- 840+ VPN servers in 280+ locations in 190+ countries
- Two simultaneous connections
- Supports OpenVPN, Point-to-Point Tunnelling Protocol (PPTP) and Layer 2 Tunnelling Protocol (L2TP) VPN protocols
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- Freedom, instant, and location modes
- Kill Switch
- Simple IP address settings tool
- Speed Guide find the fastest servers near you
- Choose a direct connection, HTTPS proxy, or SOCKS proxy
Privacy and Security
Surprisingly, HideMyAss privacy is a little confusing, on the one hand, they do provide the necessary encryption. But, they also collect customer IP addresses and keep them. Some reports suggest for up to 2-years, even after an account has been closed. Obviously, this may be a little disconcerting to many, as competitors generally only hold on to email addresses.
Other information that is held is customer service chats and some payment details. What precisely those details are, I could not discover, but, I can at least say they are safe from hackers.
As for the technology used to save you from prying eyes, the company uses OpenVPN, PTPP, and L2TP. For the majority of users, on the Windows and OS X platforms, Open VPN is the standard used. However, from time-to-time, this may differ depending on the server, and platform/device you use to access the service.
Unfortunately, when it comes to collecting information, HideMyAss timestamps are gathered. These directly refer to when you connect and then disconnect, plus the amount of data transferred.
While some may see the collection of logs as unsavoury, HMA does explain why in its terms and conditions. And those reasons are of course to prevent it from falling foul of UK law. Plus, to ensure that its service continues to run efficiently. According to it, the data is used to spot potential issues, fix bugs, and to gain an insight into performance.
Speed and Performance
Ultimately using a VPN will affect your internet speed. Yes, companies like HideMyAss, and NordVPN, offer a max download speed of 60Mbps. But the further away from a particular server you are, the slower your download speed will be.
One particular test I conducted, had me connected to a server in the United States. My usual download speed (without a VPN) is 32Mbps. However, this particular server slowed that down to 12Mbps, which was still good for streaming. But not so great for multi-player gaming, which I take part in almost every night.
Fortunately, within the HideMyAss interface, there are three features all of which help. The first being instant mode, it connects you to the nearest server with a click. Often the closest will provide the least drop in speed. Next, there is freedom mode, it enables those in countries with tight censorship to bypass it. And gain access to sites like Twitter, Facebook, or usually unavailable sources of news.
Lastly, there is location mode, it allows you to select a specific HideMyAss server anywhere in the world. To do that you use a search box, to enter a country or city name. After which the results provide you with details about the server.
Apart from price, privacy and security, the number of servers and locations a VPN provider has is extremely important. And that’s where HMA comes into its own; it has one of the most extensive networks of any provider. Which means, should you need a HideMyAss VPN in the U.S.A, Haiti, India, Turkey, Spain, Argentina it has you covered. With approaching 300-servers in more than 190-countries, at 280+ locations, it is almost unrivalled!
Access to Popular Services
It seems as though streaming using popular services could be a little hit and miss via HMA, why? While I was able to use Netflix, others have not. Additionally, the same can be said for BBC iPlayer, and Hulu, why such a mixed outcome, I don’t have an answer. But, some people have complained of gaining access, but streaming was so slow it was unusable. And others could just be down to Netflix and its tight security in a particular county. So, my advice is to try as many servers as you can, you may find a solution.
Failing that, turn to customer service for help!
OK, you’ve tried to solve a problem yourself, but had no luck, can HideMyAss customer service help?
On testing this, I found myself viewing some funny pictures if you’re angry they may well lighten your mood. But, other than that, the options available are average. Yes, there are a few to choose from, including ticket submissions, live chat, and tutorials. But, when you’re having trouble using Netflix, you want instant answers. So, go for the live chat, on trying, I got a fast response, and a friendly representative to knew what she was talking about.
If you feel you need help with something, you can get it by going to the site’s homepage, then click tools&contact followed by support&contact. However, even easier access can be gained by clicking the floating icon in the right hand of the page. Doing so allows you to get fast access to information or an assistant.
With one of the largest networks in the industry, and support for multiple operating systems. Plus, a set of tools that make using it easy, my experience when carrying out this HideMyAss review, is that it’s a worthy contender. Yes, it may keep some logs, but, it clearly states it does so for service stability. So, because of its 30-day money back guarantee, I would say give it a try.