Hide My Ass! Review

Verdict

If you need to exist virtually in a specific location to access a given service or make sure that your own web services are accessible, and if you don’t care about media stream, HMA is definitely the provider to go for, thanks to its massive range of endpoint countries.

Pros

  • Good European speeds
  • More endpoint countries than any rival

Cons

  • Keeps logs
  • Poor U.S. speeds
  • Poor UK streaming access

Key Specifications

  • £7.99/mth; £59.88/yr; £71.76/2yrs
  • Connect up to five devices
  • Supports OpenVPN, PPTP, L2TP/IPsec
  • Clients for Windows, macOS, Android, iOS
  • Clear information on connecting other devices without dedicated clients

What is HideMyAss?

UK-based provider Hide My Ass! (HMA) is, of all the many virtual private network (VPN) services we’ve reviewed, the one with the widest range of endpoint locations, covering most of the planet with servers in over 190 countries and territories.

Hide My Ass VPN

HMA! Pro VPN

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HideMyAss – Features and usability

Although owned by Czech anti-malware firm AVG, Hide My Ass! is headquartered in the UK, and is thus subject to Britain’s stringent data retention laws. HMA notes that, although it doesn’t log any of your activity while connected, such as which websites or IP addresses you connect to or what data was transferred, it does log your IP address, connection and disconnection times, duration and bandwidth usage “to prevent abuse and for diagnostic purposes.”

In 2011, before AVG bought it, the company complied with a court order to hand over data that helped in confirming the identities of individuals involved in the LulzSec hacking case. HMA nonetheless promotes its services as a means of bypassing internet censorship under oppressive regimes, saying that, as it follows UK law, “there isn’t a law that prohibits the use of Egyptians gaining access to blocked websites such as Twitter, even if there is one in Egypt”.

In keeping with this, HMA’s glossy client includes a Freedom Mode that lets you “access the web via the closest free-speech country.” Other settings enable automatic connection to the VPN as soon as Windows launches, SOCKS5 proxying and a Secure IP Bond feature that allows you to specify applications that you want to allow online only when the encrypted VPN connection is up and running

While Hide My Ass! used to be one of the more expensive VPN providers around, it hasn’t increased its prices in a while, making both monthly and two-year subscriptions pretty good value compared to the rest of the market.

A month-to-month subscription costs £7.99, while a £59.88 annual subscription works out at £4.99 a month and a two-year subscription at £71.76 works out at just £2.99 per month. Retail editions containing a licence key are available to buy for the privacy-conscious and also tend to be cheaper than buying online.

For online shoppers, there’s a seven-day free trial, but note that it requires your payment information and automatically renews to become a one-year subscription if you don’t cancel it.

Related: What is a VPN?

Screenshot of HideMyAss running on Windows 10.

HideMyAss – Performance

Endpoints/VPN UK Netherlands United States
HideMyAss! (HMA) HTTP 93.36Mbps 80.00Mbps 21.28Mbps
HideMyAss! (HMA) FTP 104.98Mbps 101.73Mbps 23.05Mbps

HMA had a bad month when it came to our performance tests. In the UK, we got HTTP speeds of 11.67MB/s (93.36Mbps) – a significant drop on July’s speeds – and FTP speeds of 13.1MB/s. The Netherlands was slower at 10MB/s for HTTP and 12.7MB/s for FTP, while US results remained poor. Despite repeated test attempts from various endpoint locations, 2.66MB/s was the most we could squeeze out of our US HTTP tests, with FTP at 2.88MB/s.

Its region-shifting performance has always been a little variable, particularly in the UK. This month, we got iPlayer access back, alongside its generally reliable US Netflix connection, plus Shudder and Crunchyroll. No luck with All 4, though.

Should I buy HideMyAss?

Hide My Ass! is completely upfront about the legal history and status of its service, which is laudable. However, the fact that it has handed over logs in the past is an enduring red flag for privacy enthusiasts.

Its pricing is reasonable, but neither its speeds nor its streaming performance are among the best around right now. However, it does have loads of endpoint servers exiting from IP addresses in a massive range of countries.

Verdict

If you need to exist virtually in a specific location to access a given service or make sure that your own web services are accessible, and if you don’t care about media stream, HMA is definitely the provider to go for, thanks to its massive range of endpoint countries.

However, unless you specifically need an endpoint that its rivals don’t offer, KeepSolid VPN Unlimited is faster and cheaper, while Private Internet Access and ExpressVPN’s no-logging policies have been demonstrated in court.

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