HideMyAss was originally founded in 2005 by founder and CEO Jack Cator. Over the years, HideMyAss has grown into a market leader, and they compete with the largest names in the industry. Despite their brash and attention-grabbing name, they do have a well-rounded service with fast speeds and reliable connections. Like other VPN service providers, they seem to be in a state of constant expansion, continually adding new IPs and servers to their expansive network.
And as you would expect from any leading VPN service, they can help protect your Internet connection by encrypting your data and masking your IP address. This will help you browse the Internet without the fear of hackers or eavesdroppers spying on your data. With that said, let’s take a closer look at HMA’s features.
HMA originally started out pretty small, but today they have grown into a leading VPN service that operates servers in more countries than just about any other provider. Right now they have 848+ VPN servers in 190 countries, making them one of the most flexible service providers in terms of global connection options. Why would this matter, you ask?
Well, consider that users around the globe typically need to have a VPN server that is located outside their country. This ensures that the data is still encrypted for the entirety of its journey through the nation’s network. In turn, this prevents the government from seeing what users transmit as well as allowing users to access blocked content – but there’s just one problem.
If users connect to servers on the other side of the world, there is going to be a larger latency overhead that can affect the quality of their Internet connection. By having servers in 182 countries, HMA VPN ensures that users can always find a server that is geographically close to them.
Another benefit includes access to 190 countries Internet infrastructure to unblock geo-restricted content. This is critical for travelers and residents in parts of the world where few competing VPN services host servers.
Furthermore, they are based in London, so users who are wary of US-based firms due to the NSA scandals don’t need to worry. They also have exceptionally strong security due to their use of OpenVPN and L2TP/IPsec. Though they do offer PPTP connections, we recommend users stay away from them since they offer weaker security.
Last but not least, users should know about their logging policy. While they don’t ever log user activity, the websites they visit, or the data they transmit, they do keep some logs. Specifically, they log which servers an account connects to, timestamps of connections and disconnections, the quantity of data uploaded and downloaded per session, and your IP address. However, they don’t share this information with third parties. Instead, they use this data to help plan for network and server capacity.
The speed test results were actually very encouraging, and I didn’t run into any speed or capacity issues. I ran the speed test on a 5Mbps DSL Internet connection, and I didn’t notice any performance problems.
The speed test showed 4.62 Mbps download speed and 0.32Mbps upload speed. The download speed worked just fine, and I was able to buffer streaming video without any choppiness or buffer issues. However, the upload speed wasn’t fantastic.
It’s feasible for uploading small files, but on my Internet connection, I’m supposed to have around 1Mbps theoretical maximum data rates. This would make it a challenging and arduous process to use an online backup service, but this is likely due to the speed of my Internet connection and not HMA’s VPN service. In addition, I was able to ping Google’s DNS servers fairly consistently at about 135ms.
All in all, I was very pleased with the speed of their service. But most people want to know if they are the fastest service – and there’s no easy answer to that question. A lot of factors come into play such as the speed of your Internet connection, which servers you connect to, how far away they are, and how many users are connected to the same server. Technical users can refer to a TCP throughput calculator for an in-depth understanding of these factors. However, note they are a fast and reliable service that won’t bog down your Internet connection speeds.
HMA VPN also has the advantage of being favorably priced. They aren’t the most expensive provider on the market, but they aren’t the cheapest, either. The monthly cost of their service can be as low as $6.55 when users opt for a 1-year subscription. We recommend users opt for long-term payment plans since it offers greater value. On the other hand, a month-by-month payment plan costs $11.52, which is a little on the high side. Their payment plans are as follows:
Given the quality of their service, I think their prices are pretty fair. Even the monthly payment plan costs less than a nice meal at a restaurant. However, because they have a 30-day money back guarantee, I would recommend that users at least opt for the 6-month payment option.
HideMyAss VPN offers a moderately well-rounded service with servers all over world. This makes them a great choice for travelers, whether for business or vacation, since they offer the greatest number of countries. In addition, they are a good fit for users in smaller countries. You’ll find that most VPN providers generally have all the major geographic regions covered, but the servers may be too far away to offer viable connections.
HMA’s speed and connection quality make them a good fit for users who want to access geo-restricted content as well as users who are just looking to increase their privacy, anonymity, and security so people can’t track them online.
But let’s take a moment to talk about who shouldn’t use HMA VPN. To be honest, if you are using any applications that have incredibly high latency and bandwidth demands – such as gaming – I would recommend you look for another provider. Also, they are a terrible option for users who want Bit Torrent security and anonymity. Right now they don’t allow P2P traffic across their network, so P2P users need to look elsewhere for a solution.
The two distinct advantages of HMA VPN are that they are based in London (users won’t have to worry about the NSA) and they have servers in more countries than any other provider.
One thing I didn’t like about their service was that the monthly subscription rate is a little on the high side, but that is easily remedied with a 6-month or one-year subscription. They offer great speeds as well, and they don’t impose any bandwidth throttling or monthly data limits.
All in all, I was pleased with the speed of their service, and their software client was fantastic. It’s still easy enough for nontechnical users to use, and it has some great settings features that give users a high degree of control over their VPN connection.